Hajimemashite, Monika Lubitz desu. Dôzo yoroshiku onegai shimasu. はじめまして、モニカ・ルビッツです。どうぞよろしくお願いします。This is the way I greet my customers when we meet for the very first time. Literally translated this means: „We are starting, and I am Monika Lubitz. Please accept me for who I am.“
The Japanese then will also introduce themselves with the same expression. Most of them will bow, but some of them are quite experienced in international culture and may also extend a hand. If they do so, don’t grab their hand too firmly and shake it too wildly. In doing so you might scare your partner being so bold in trying to adapt to Western culture. Please do not slap the Japanese on the shoulder and try always to keep enough space between you and the other person to be able to bow in order not to make them feel uneasy (such intimacy is of course possible with old friends…). Also note that the Japanese usually do not use first names among themselves. Addressing them appropriately means either using Mr. (Abe) or (Abe)-san in the Japanese style.
For the Japanese this first meeting is ideally the start of a long-term relationship. Networking is always important to them. That is one of the reasons why everyone has a business card, which should be handed over with both hands. Among the Japanese it is important to know which chinese characters are used to write the partner’s name and unusual characters are always a good way to start a conversation. To see the name of their Western partner in Katakana will help the Japanese pronounce it correctly. However, as the japanese syllabry does not encompass all of our letters and as only the letter „n“ can stand alone without a vowel following, their pronunciation will sound strange to our ears. Lubitz, for example translates to Rubittsu in Japanese, as they also don’t distinguish between „r“ and „l“.
We will be introducing you to more expressions of greetings in our next blog article and say good-bye with Sayônara さようなら, which literally means „if it may be so“ – as we don’t know for sure if and when we will be meeting again.