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Differences and Similarities between American and Japanese Friendship

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My concept of Japan was what I have seen in Japanese movies such as the Geisha and was very much the same as almost everyone living in America. My whole idea of the now Japanese culture changed when I went there for a couple of weeks for a business trip. Stepping into Japan is as if stepping into a busier New York but no one speaks English as much.

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Having spent some time in Japan I was able to have a look at their culture and their relationships. On my way, back I analyzed the similarities and differences of American and Japanese friendship. Americans are very friendly people; they care about their friends and family.

They have a life of their own, and do not like uninvited guests. In fact Americans rarely step into some1 else’s house without an invitation. They treat their guests with great respect, offer them a drink and try to make them as much at home as possible. Japanese too are very friendly people and care a lot about their relatives, families and neighbors. They may be living on their own but do not have a private life. If a guest knocks on their door unannounced, they will be honored to have them in the house and would go an extra mile to make them comfortable. Japanese follow the true meaning of ‘A good friend is my nearest relation’.

The American culture does not promote friendship, being friends with someone means knowing that person, trusting him and being there for him. The Americans lead a very busy life and they live their lives with a chip on their shoulder, since they do not know whether someone is being friends with them for personal gain or genuine likeness. Japanese Culture on the other hand believes that if you are unable to figure out a persons character look at his friends, therefore they make sure that from childhood children understand the importance of being friends with someone.

Japanese may chose their friends very wisely but not because they fear being taken for a ride but because their friends reflect their own character and because they believe that once a friend always a friend. It is a misconception that Japanese are busy people and will be found busy in their work. Japanese are sincere people and that applies to their work, their family and their friends. After a hard days work they try to make out time for their loved ones by meeting at a club or going to one’s home.

One thing that is similar in American and Japanese friendship is that when invited to a friends house they never go empty handed, they take either a gift item or food, whatever that their friend likes best. As times are, changing so is the Japanese culture but no matter how much they change one thing that will not change is their attitude towards their friends and acquaintances, since this is part of their upbringing. The American culture however is now trying to promote friendship by creating web spaces for people to interact and not spend their time alone.