Angry for Recieving Useful Information?

At work, when I explicitly pointed out an error in our product documentation when wording an email to request to have it changed, a Japanese colleague said that it was almost as if I were saying – “hey look, you were wrong here!” With the (Japanese) cultural implication that it was bad to say so outright. Our counterpart was in North America, so I must have been applying my North American cultural template.
So my response to my co-worker was: “Suppose you’re doing a martial art. If there are flaws in your technique, wouldn’t you want someone to point them out? Doesn’t it seem kind of pointless to be angry for receiving useful information?” And he smiled and nodded. So I guess I was able to convey an intuitive sense of the preferred U.S. style by way of a Japanese cultural reference.

2 thoughts on “Angry for Recieving Useful Information?

  1. playfulaikido

    Sometimes culture and ettiquette are good. Sometimes, I think they get in the way and convolute or complicate things. Other times, I think they are stupid and very bad. In many ways, the reason I love training in Gracie Jiu Jitsu is for the absence of the culture and traditions, as compared to say Aikido. In Gracie Jiu Jitsu, we do have respect for each other, but with a lot less formalities as compared to other martial arts and cultures.

    1. hassonyang Post author

      I totally agree man – martial arts is something to be learned when participants are receptive, open to experimentation, but keep each other honest. Incidentally, this is the only attitude by which progress is possible in the sciences, and the only proper way to move through life.


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