We’ve just come back from some training in Kobe, and once more I find myself marvelling at the ways in which God has prepared us to be here.
Over the last year or so, my communication style has changed to become much more ambiguous. Several family members and a couple work/engineering colleagues understandably expressed frustration at the amount of time that it took me to “get to the point” with this change in the way I communicate.
However, it would now appear that this change to ambiguity is very close to the way that the Japanese express themselves. It’s quite interesting to see how this plays out. Sometimes we have the luxury of having a translator with us in meetings, and conversation will go on in Japanese for a minute or two, yet the translator is often able to summarize everything in a sentence or two. This is because communication to the Japanese is not just about relaying information or making decisions; it’s about maintaining and strengthening relationships. By contrast, with a direct approach, North Americans often appear very rude to the Japanese mindset.
There are many complexities in the choreography of communication in Japan, and we know that it will take us years, if not decades, to get a basic grasp of some of these infections, but I’m so encouraged to see how God has already been preparing us in the sphere of communication as well.