HOW TO GET AHEAD: Working Abroad ... Tokyo - It may be conservative but you’ll get a warm welcome in the land of the rising sun

’Tokyo is very surprising,’ says Janet Fitzpatrick, CEO of MindShare Japan. ’It’s not architecturally beautiful and it’s largely low rise as it’s an earthquake zone. But there are parks and in spring the cherry blossom is gorgeous.

’Tokyo is very surprising,’ says Janet Fitzpatrick, CEO of

MindShare Japan. ’It’s not architecturally beautiful and it’s largely

low rise as it’s an earthquake zone. But there are parks and in spring

the cherry blossom is gorgeous.



’Essentially, Tokyo is a string of villages with separate

identities.



I’ve been here four years and spent the previous five in Hong Kong, so I

don’t find it as frenetic as some people might.



’It’s a tough business environment as it’s a conservative and opaque

market. Issues are carefully considered before decisions are made so

there’s no instant gratification. But if you try to fight the system it

will defeat you.



’The western preconception of extreme formality is not accurate.

Politeness and respect are important, but people can be very warm. I

haven’t found being a foreign woman a disadvantage. If anything it’s a

slight advantage as you are something of a novelty and hard to

stereotype.



’I live 15 minutes from the office as I didn’t want to commute and was

determined not to use the subway, which is incredibly clean and

efficient but very crowded. I take a taxi to work daily. The drivers are

polite and immaculate in suits and white gloves.



’I love the elegance of Tokyo, the politeness and the sense of harmony.

It’s also the safest place I have ever known. You can walk through the

nightlife district at 3am without any risk.’



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