zasetsuikenaiI gave a keynote speech at the 2009 annual conference of the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) in Kyoto, Japan, that talked about my observations of Japanese business operations, highlighting the differences that become barriers to communication. This morning, I had the privilege of seeing a write-up of the talk in IT Media that faithfully captured the entire talk. I think it’s always interesting to see how one’s own words wind up in translation; this time, though, the differences don’t seem to be very severe.

It was a little bit unnerving to give a talk about Japanese language and business culture to an audience that included a large number of Japanese. After all, they would all have much more experience than I do in Japanese business settings. But I tried to make the case that the differences–things that lead to misunderstandings–are extremely important, too. I was really excited to get positive feedback not only from the overseas audience, but also from the Japanese audience. That so many people enjoyed the talk made me very pleased indeed.

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