As a result of globalization, the multi-culture and cultural relation has resulted to increasing demand of learning various cultures. In addition, there are many global issues, such as pollution and climate change that requires coordination and collaboration of the different culture to mitigate. Therefore, the modern societies must learn to coordinate so that they can prevent the problem of mutual self-destruction. For instance, the United States is facing the problem of cultural distortion as a result of immigration into the country. The appropriate way to mitigate such problems is through the intercultural understanding. People should acquire intercultural communication as a tool to bond the cultural differences, solve problems and help them achieve harmonious and productive relations.
When it comes to deal with the Japanese people, becomes difficult and uncomfortable to communicate with them because of their unfamiliar behaviors and customers. I engaged in a cultural interaction with the Japanese friends, and the outcome of the event was not pleasing. Without the cross-culture aspect, I experienced miscommunication and misunderstanding with the Japanese college friends. This was a result of bringing their cultural background in communication, hence making it difficult to understand their motives in the discussion. The cultural interaction with the Japanese People is deteriorated by the fact that unlike Americans, the Japanese mostly uses non-verbal communication such as silence, facial expression, pauses, body language, and actions among others.
Various instances during communication were accompanied by miscommunication mainly because the Japanese friend used their native fluency in communication. As Rushdie (2012) suggested that without a common language in the combination, the communication might not derive effective results. The Japanese friends were in most cases using their accent and misuse of words in their communication that made it difficult for me to understand. In other words, there were various semantic noises in their language. For instance, when they need to alight from the taxi, they usually tell the taxi driver to “drive sideway.” In their conversation, it was difficult to understand that stopping along the road was replaced by “driving sideway.” This was one of the examples of the phrases that were used by the Japanese friend as direct native language translation.
As an American, interacting with the Japanese has always remained an enormous challenge. There are numerous incidences where cultural misunderstanding and miscommunications have occurred. Since Americans and Japanese learn each other through observation, there is no platform that creates a better understanding of each other; they will always differ at some point. Supposed that I took the time to study and gain knowledge about the Japanese history and values, higher chances are that the misunderstandings could reduce. Cultural misunderstandings occurred because I had not allocated enough time to analyze the dynamics associated with the Japanese culture. Japanese has a negative perception towards foreigners as they easily differentiate them and wonder why others appear with giant heights, big noses, and darker skins. They gazed their eyes on me, and I felt so insecure and confused. It was challenging to start a conversation with the Japanese as I felt unease and tensed. Japanese believes that everybody who speaks fluent English is a member of the American culture, and this worked to my advantage. In most instances, Japanese have failed to understand foreigners who are not English speakers as they regard them as awkward people. In such a situation, foreigners and Japanese will fail to understand each other. Tourists who visits Japan should least expect a warm welcome if they have no idea of Japanese culture and values.
For a long duration, Japanese have a notion that they are unique compared to other cultures since people like Americans are incapable of performing simple tasks like speaking Japanese fluently, and using chopsticks. In several incidences, the Japanese people continuously asked whether I could comfortably do these things. The questions were annoying to me as I was not ready to train on the two elements. Since I had little skills in using chopsticks to eat sushi, the Japanese praised me because of the ability. It was astonishing for them to pamper my little knowledge with praise since a 4-year-old child could do that perfectly. Wherever I addressed Japanese using their language, they responded in English because they believed that I could not understand their language at all. It is frustrating when one realizes that Japanese unwillingness to allow foreigners fit in their culture. For the ones that I interacted with using English, they lacked the knowledge of understanding the Basic English. Ironically, Japanese believed that they were master architects in constructing English sentences despite it being associated with the Americans.
The cultural elements that may have resulted to the misunderstandings in the Japanese culture include the use of different languages, environmental and technological considerations, authority conception, time conception, nonverbal communication behavior and social organization. The linguistic differences between the American and Japanese were the most common barrier that presented difficulty in interactions. The experience helped me to learn various things. I learnt about appreciating the values and way of things absent in the American culture. As I interacted with the Japanese, we continued to eliminate the anxieties and misunderstandings experienced during our first interaction.
Another cultural factor that contributed to the misunderstanding and miscommunication in Japanese cultural communication was the use of nonverbal communication, such as paralanguage in their sentences. They were likely spit out their sentences very fast that some words were not heard. Additionally, they used various types of fillers that challenged my understanding on their language. For example, one could though that the use of “Hai/yes” was meant for affirmative "yes." However, these fillers are used to bond their cluster sentences and to show that they understand. In addition, one can understand that the Japanese people are shy or afraid of the face to face conversation because of how they avoid direct eye contact. However, in their culture, they believe that the prolonged eye contact is disrespectful, invasion of privacy, or even rude. Therefore, they are likely to look at the person’s throat rather than the direct eye contact.