The Japanese concept of ”amae” is not easily translatable. Entire books have been written about it. It can mean setting undefined expectations— where you expect others to understand what you think or what you want without stating the obvious. This is part of daily life in America, too. Communication in Japan is subtle and requires reading between the lines based on societal hierarchies (parent-child, boss-worker, shacho-hisho, etc.) whereas frank opinions and directives connote normal communication in America. Being loud can get results in the USA. 🤣 Understanding “amae” helps when interacting frequently in the Japanese society.

Japanese psychiatrist Takeo Doi wrote a good book for anyone interested in this facet of Japanese culture. In America, we tend to react and respond quicker. In Japan, there’s often a pause followed by an indirect response or no response at all. It’s a really good thing or a bad thing based on the situation.

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