Osaka, as the seat of the nation's oldest capital and a hub of marine transportation, has been an economic and cultural center of the nation since primitive times. Many historical and cultural properties remain in this prefecture. In addition, outstanding traditional performing arts known as the "kamigata," or Kyoto-Osaka culture, as well as many festivals of shrines, temples and communities have also been passed on from generation to generation.
It can be a little unnerving coming to Japan for the first time. It may be your first time abroad and Japan has very different cultures and customs. As long as you show respect for these differences you will have no problems irrespective of how many errors you make.
You may have been pumped full of ideas as to how to bow, how to hold you chopsticks, when to take off your shoes (important one), how to accept a business card, what to wear etc etc, but you may end up freezing up trying to remember all of the 'rules'. The good news is that you are not expected to 'understand' when you first arrive. So relax and learn as you go, most people are understanding and willing to show you how things work.
Since ancient times, as a gateway overseas, Osaka has served as a center of the Japanese economy. In modern times, as the forerunner of the industrial revolution, Osaka has led the Japanese economy, giving birth to many vital industries and prominent companies.
The first feature of Osakan industry is the buoyancy of its small and medium-sized enterprises. Many of them boast a major world's share in their respective fields with their original technology. Small and medium-sized enterprises account for 65% of the industrial production of Osaka Prefecture. The second feature is the outstanding adaptability and vigorous spirit of entrepreneuism. Many unique products, such as instant noodles, and new businesses have roots in Osaka.
Today, the Kansai region including Osaka is one of the world's most energetic, vibrant areas, with numerous large-scale projects under way. Following the opening of Kansai International Airport in September 1994, Osaka is expected to develop even further as the business hub of the Asia-Pacific region.
Working in the Group
You will quickly find out that working practices in Japan differ hugely to those back home. Imagine not taking your contracted holiday time or using it when you take a day off sick. The notion of the 'group' is a reality here and you will be working for the group ahead of your individual benefit. This is a reciprocal thing as your working group will often look after you when you yourself need help.
However, as much as you sacrifice for the group, you will most probably never truly be accepted as you are a newcomer and a foreigner. It takes a long time and one to two years is not long enough. So why play by their rules? Well for the sake of harmony and respect at the very least. You are not expected to play by these rules because as a Western gaijin you simply would not understand the notion of sacrificing for a group as we are only about ourselves and individual gain. Its your call, but you can surprise them a great deal and challenge their pre-conceptions by playing it team.
Being on Time
One thing that is a universal and even more important in Japan is punctuality. It is considered very rude to be late in Japan so try to be on time for everything. Probably out of sheer concern for the foreign teacher in a new country if you are more than 5 minutes late for school, there will be a search party set up, flashlights, helicopters and all.
So save being late for when you are meeting westerners, they will understand. Also, rushing anywhere in Japan in the summer is not cool, quite literally, unless you want to arrive in a sweaty mess then make good time for getting to places you need to be.
There is not another city in the world like Chicago. There is a great balance between business and entertainment, making Chicago a great place to live and work, as well as to visit.
Chicago Cultural Center
Visit the Chicago Cultural Center website for complete information on the myriad of free public programs and exhibitions presented here. Chicago's Architectural Showplace for the Lively and Visual Arts and home of the city's official Visitor Center.
Art Institute of Chicago
World-famous collection of masterpieces from historical to contemporary. 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
Millennium Park website
Visit the Millennium Park website for information on Chicago's newest attraction.
Discover Chicago's unique charm and many offerings while learning something new about the city with a Chicago Greeter. Catch the enthusiasm of city-wise locals who volunteer to share their knowledge and love of the city.
Chicago Neighborhood Tours
Find descriptions and tour schedules of Chicago Neighborhood Tours which provide over 22 neighborhood and theme tours in Chicago's richly diverse neighborhoods.
Maxwell Street Market
The New Maxwell Street Market is a family affair. Moms, dads, kids and grandparents, alike, enjoy strolling the market looking for bargains and where bargaining is the universal language.
Map of Chicago area landmarks and attractions. Discover Chicago's landmarks and the architects who contributed to Chicago leading the way in design and innovation.
Riverwalk Gateway Murals
Riverwalk Gateway, a magnificent 336-foot long mural, by Ellen Lanyon tells the history of Chicago and its river.