7 most common things you better know before joining a Japanese company!

Hi there. It is me, fs.
Currently, I am a working expat at a Japanese company in Singapore.

It has been almost 5 years since I moved to Singapore, which made me notice the common things among Japanese expats, of course me too! (or at least, I was in)

Mostly, Japanese expats are in the upper position, so I think it is useful for local people or those working with Japanese companies to know their style. Or even who you are interested in Japanese business.
You will know;
・the atmosphere in Japanese company
・the habit of Japanese bosses
・the way to get along well with Japanese expats

Benefit of Japanese companies

Let us start from the benefits of working at Japanese companies.

(Almost) NO risk to get fired

This is probably the biggest merit for working at Japanese companies. Or I can say if you get fired, seriously there must be something huge to be improved.

Even though, performance-based evaluation system is being introduced and applied more and more.
The persistence of lifetime employment is still there, strongly.
Even Employment law in Japan also does not accept firing people, so you will never hear things like sudden firing.
(Maybe you have heard the conversation.. but it will not be in real action)

Anyhow, this belief means you do not really need to be outstanding to get stably paid.
So, it might be suitable for people looking for security and not challenges in the job.

Definitely, good for your Japanese skill

There are expats that nailed English, but we need to accept that the majority of Japanese are not good at English.

Especially, if you send them an email in English.. It takes 3days to reply.
But, email in Japanese could be in a minute!😅

Accordingly, if you would like to upskill for Japanese, this is the perfect environment.

Chances to go to Japan

Since the Headquarter office is in Japan, you surely have chances to go to Japan. Maybe you have dreamt of it, but never been to. Here is the chance!

Being an isolated island at the edge of the world,Japan has some uniqueness in its own culture.
For example
・Japanese good
It seems we have known how to entertain ourselves since the past period! 😂
Luckily, they are all being loved all over the world.

Especially for the food, I would recommend trying Snow Crab from Hokkaido, the northern gem! You will feel the sweetness and full taste from the crab.
Please try asking your boss to arrange a business trip to Japan.
Daydreaming could be real anytime!

What’s the typical daily life of Japanese expats?

Speaking of all the benefits, here we come to the reality that you need to deal with Japanese bosses.

Drinking everyday

Not only him, but you too! Another strong persistence in Japanese company’s culture is drinking dinner or “Nomikai” Everyday after work, they will go to an “Izakaya” or dine-in pub and restaurant, mainly for alcohol drinking.

Start from beer, some small dishes as snacks, then finish with carbohydrates like rice or Ramen.
You will get to drink alcohol everyday, and this is very typical for Japanese salary man so far.

If you enjoy accompanying them, and moreover be able to introduce a good Izakaya to the bosses.
We need to admit that it could be a plus point for your work.

Not a strong negotiator

With the lifetime employment system, there is almost no dismiss in Japanese companies, but also your negotiation power in salary will not be common.(as they already give you lifetime security) And, the salary is also not as attractive as an offer from others i.e. US, European companies.

However, as you may know it is very common to negotiate and bring up the salary issue overseas. You could discuss and voice up your satisfaction with it.

Working for Japanese companies overseas, the culture also must be adapted to the local.
If you are not satisfied with the salary, please go ahead and negotiate for it.
It might take long and exhausting, but I have seen local employees get raises with their firm affirmation

Never beat HQ

No matter what your position is, you just can not bear HQ. As you are still expats under a period, and at the end you need to return to HQ.

So, basically expats will obey HQ, and try not to go against HQ as much as possible.
Even there have dispute between local practice and HQ policy, they will easily ends with “follows whatever HQ said”

Golf on weekend

Japanese expats are always hanging out together, even on weekends. They might not be familiar with staying alone at all. Most salaryman in Japan also; ・Weekdays → work in the daytime, drinks at nighttime. ・Weekends → dedicated to golf with company folks, customers or VIPs. We have been trained in this routine for a long time.

So, being relocated overseas does not mean you can enjoy a different life in different countries. Somehow, your free time will inevitably be filled with golf programs.. no matter what you want.

From my experience, I totally could say this is the first thing most expatriates will do, finding golf accompanion! Unfortunately, if you are not keen to play, you might be forced to. Fortunately for golf players, your promotion could be faster than others too.
This also applies to foreigners, so do not be worried. Or, if you are not into golf, be prepared..😅


To sum up, this is the common life that you could face in any Japanese company. Definitely, there might be good and bad, some exist or do not exist in the company. But, you surely see one of these;

-Benefits of working in Japanese companies.
①(Almost) no risk to get fired
②Good training for Japanese language skill
③Chances to go to Japan

-Life of Japanese expats you might involve.
①Work and Drinks all comes together.
②Not a good negotiator
③Not able to beat HQ
④Golf on weekend is no joke.

It might be different from other global companies, but if you like Japan, satisfied with a good package of salary and benefits, love drinking or playing golf and all above.
You definitely enjoy it.

For the one keen on working in Japanese companies, I hope this article helps you figure it out. No matter how, I hope you enjoy reading it.

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