The Blog for Culture Vultures

Satiate your inner Culture Vulture with regular news and posts about cultural awareness, doing business abroad, working in a multicultural environment, HR diversity and global mobility.

Carlos Ghosn: A Lesson in Leadership and Cultural Differences

Carlos Ghosn: A Lesson in Leadership and Cultural Differences

Every now and again the business world hands the cross-cultural training world some great examples of cultural difference in action!

One such case study is that of Carlos Ghosn, ex-CEO of the Japanese car giant, Nissan.

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The Role of Royalty in Japanese Culture: Some Fast Facts!

The Role of Royalty in Japanese Culture: Some Fast Facts!

News of the abdication of Japan’s Emperor Akihito has made the Japanese monarchy the biggest trending online search term today.

As the ‘father of the nation’, the monarch is an essential part of Japanese culture, so if you know very little about Japanese royalty, but want to be part of the online buzz, then here are some quick and easy insights to get you going:

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Cultural Differences and the Acquisition of Japanese Companies

Cultural Differences and the Acquisition of Japanese Companies

The global nature of commerce means today's businesses are always looking for opportunities outside of their domestic markets.

Acquiring, or merging with, a foreign company is common way to achieve this.

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New Emperor Marks New Era for Japan

New Emperor Marks New Era for Japan

The 1st of May will mark the start of a new era in Japanese history.

Emporer Akihito is making way for his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, in Japan’s first imperial abdication in over 200 years.

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Nominication – How Alcohol Helps Communication in Japanese Business Culture

Nominication – How Alcohol Helps Communication in Japanese Business Culture

Doing business or working in Japan can be tough for foreigners.

The cultural differences for some can be vast and it takes a while to get used to how the Japanese like to do things.

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Japanese Cultural Values and their Influence on Business

Japanese Cultural Values and their Influence on Business

Values are a useful way of trying to understand another culture.

It is often a combination of the values held close by a culture that shape and drive much of their beliefs and behaviours.

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Japanese Culture and the Art of Words

Japanese Culture and the Art of Words

If you're doing business in Japan or working with the Japanese culture, it's crucial to get your head around some key language phrases.

The Japanese have a way of using words to beautify their communication.

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The Importance of Apologies in Japanese Culture

The Importance of Apologies in Japanese Culture

Did you know the Japanese have over 20 ways to say 'sorry'?

If you plan to do business in Japan, you need to get up to speed with how apologies work in Japanese culture.

The BBC recently published a great little artice that examines the Japanese culture of apologies and politeness on the island nation.

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Relocating to Japan? 3 Great Videos That Introduce Japanese Culture

Relocating to Japan? 3 Great Videos That Introduce Japanese Culture

Relocating to a foreign country for work is a big deal. New home, new language and new culture! There is a lot to get your head around.

Without doubt Japan is one of those countries that, culturally speaking, does cause confusion for the foreigner.

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A Brief Introduction to Shinto

A Brief Introduction to Shinto

Shinto is regarded as the religion indigenous to Japan and is thought to predate all reliable historical records.

Literally translated the word 'Shinto' is composed of two words from the original Chinese Shêntao: 'shin' meaning gods or spirits and 'to' meaning the philosophical way or path.

Shinto has no fixed dogma, moral precepts or sacred scriptures but many shrines ('jinja') around the country which have often been bases of power with ties to Imperial and Shogunal rule throughout the ages.

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Culture and the Michigan Fish Test

The Michigan Fish Test provides a great view into a person’s psyche and is also a great way to see their perception of the world and culture around them. You see, not everyone looks at their position within the world and within their own culture in the same way. It all depends on how your culture nurtures you, as this will have a very clear impact on your perception of the world around you.

The Michigan Fish Test is an image that was developed to test a person’s view of the world. It is an image that is made up from an underwater scene, with larger fish and smaller fish in a watery environment complete with bubbles and seaweed.



The test was put forward to two groups of people; one group from America and the other group from Japan. The study was interesting as the comments that came back from each group were strikingly different. The participants were asked to look at the Michigan Fish Test image for around 5 seconds and were then asked to comment on what it was they remembered from the picture. The answers provided an insight into the difference in culture between the two countries. The American group tended to only notice the larger fish and dismissed the peripheral images whilst the Japanese group tended to look at the image as more of a whole and commented on the environment as well as the characters.

Furthermore, when the image was changed slightly the Japanese group were able to point out the changes, whereas most of the American group were unable to do so.

The study showed that an individual’s perception of the world around them and of the people and things that they shared the world with was as a direct result of the way in which the world was positioned around them.
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Culture and the Michigan Fish Test

The Michigan Fish Test provides a great view into a person’s psyche and is also a great way to see their perception of the world and culture around them. You see, not everyone looks at their position within the world and within their own culture in the same way. It all depends on how your culture nurtures you, as this will have a very clear impact on your perception of the world around you.

The Michigan Fish Test is an image that was developed to test a person’s view of the world. It is an image that is made up from an underwater scene, with larger fish and smaller fish in a watery environment complete with bubbles and seaweed.



The test was put forward to two groups of people; one group from America and the other group from Japan. The study was interesting as the comments that came back from each group were strikingly different. The participants were asked to look at the Michigan Fish Test image for around 5 seconds and were then asked to comment on what it was they remembered from the picture. The answers provided an insight into the difference in culture between the two countries. The American group tended to only notice the larger fish and dismissed the peripheral images whilst the Japanese group tended to look at the image as more of a whole and commented on the environment as well as the characters.

Furthermore, when the image was changed slightly the Japanese group were able to point out the changes, whereas most of the American group were unable to do so.

The study showed that an individual’s perception of the world around them and of the people and things that they shared the world with was as a direct result of the way in which the world was positioned around them.
Continue reading
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Being British

"Being British is about driving a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, the travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows and a Japanese TV"
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