Aizuchi (article)

The Japanese culture has ingrained a formal listening etiquette as part of everyday communication. It’s not easy to communicate with this formality as a foreigner. I struggled with the aizuchi technique for many years during an immersive time in Japan. It’s quite remarkable how the Japanese manage to get along based on their drawn-out listening culture: Link

I believe this explains how they seem to have less day-to-day friction versus the get-to-the-point American style. In America, listening with this kind of patience might not derive the kind of reaction expected in Japan. It might have negative repercussions since speed drives communication and decisions. Things often take much longer to get done in Japan. Quick responses, rapid conclusions, and immediate actions run counter to the Japanese way.

Aizuchi is not the way of a digital world, but it provides hope to a world consumed by imbalance and stress in human relationships. The rise of mindfulness and active listening in the Western world is largely derived from the Eastern world. A lesson in Aizuchi is ultimately a lesson in becoming a better listener for a hardcore Westerner like myself. I saw a peaceful society function in Japan. It won’t take a revolution to bring it back if more of us think like the Japanese.