Which Business Culture Are You In ? One and a Half Week With Prof. Ota Hiroshi

So, lately, I’ve been busy with my master program. How is that ? How can be the first few weeks made me so busy ? Well, it is because there’s a visiting professor that came straight from Japan. Okay. His name is Ota Hiroshi. A pretty cool guy. The first time I met him, is on the symposium held by my department. I really surprised by his superb English speech. I mean, I can rarely mention Japanese people who are great in speaking English. Few names would be: Fumio Ito from Kemuri, and, and, well, I can’t really mention anyone else !

Okay, so he came from a university called Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo. At first, I was kinda questioned, like, what university is that ? Never heard of it. After I googled it, I was really surprised. It is one of the most prestigious National University in Japan. It were once ranked 25th IN THE WORLD, by an institution in france, I forgot the name, but it is really awesome to know that.

Another first glimpse would be on his subject. He’s teaching the Japanese Business Culture. Well, I don’t know, I never really have any interest AT ALL in economy, so business would be somewhat vain to me. But it turned out, it is like 85% about the culture itself ! Culture ? Simply my most favorite subject. Okay then, I don’t mind at all ! Turned out his method is rather fun. Each of us have to form a group consist of 5-6 peoples, then present the material in front of the class. What really interesting is, Prof. Ota asks us –not necessarily- to make a skit. Well, another one of my favorite, I always love making skits.

Now, I’m gonna try to wrap his lecture on this pop-ish writing. Maybe, on the general theoritical basic on intercultural business communication, not touching the last 3-4 parts of the lecture, which the culture is specifically in Japan only. I think it is kinda pointless to write it here, since I can’t really relate it with my everyday life. So, here I go !

The First one is Power Distance. Power distance is a distance that existed between two people with two different status, which one is higher than other. The theory is, in a Low Power Distance culture, this relation wouldn’t really be a problem,  since the relation between the lower power holder is somewhat democratic to those who held the higher power. While in a High Power Distance culture, the lower power holder realized that there are an unequal power distribution between them.

In this case, I am in the high power distance. The reason is easy. Because I grow up mostly looking up to my mom. In her family, the power distance is still high. My mom and her sisters (and one brother) still call each other with ‘ceuceu’, a Sundanese way to call an older sister, it indicates a high power distance. While in my dad family, the power distance is low, since they just simply call each other by the name.

 I am more comfortable in a culture when the junior calls their senior with honorifics mentioning. I don’t mind if my junior call my only by name, but, I feel more comfortable if they call me using ‘Kang’, or ‘Kak’, or something at first, first few days. But, I really-really feel uneasy if I have to call my senior without those honorifics. Many people  said that seniority is somewhat outdated, militaristic, etc. But, look at Japan, they’re succedeed with that culture.

The Second one is Individualism vs Collectivism. It is simply just like what it said. Individual or collectivist. It is the degree to which individuals are integrated to the groups. It is somewhat that in individual culture, responsibility is shared to the individuals themselves. So, a failure is considered as an own failure. While in the collectivist societies, individuals are part of their own group, so, responsibilities are shared in the group itselves.

In an individual culture, job desc are nicely divided. So, each person wouldn’t have to overlap each other. While in a collectivist culture, job desc are somewhat blurred, and each person are somewhat obliged to help each other. Which one do I feel more comfortable with ? Definitely the first one. I like to work as an individual being in the group. Although, sometimes, I interfere with others work in the group when they’re not working well, it is simply to save my OWN face, if I see my groupmate is failing –which of course will affect the whole group-.  It is fun to work on my own, I don’t need to synchronize with others, I can work on my on pace, which is always up and own, and I don’t really have that kind of responsibilty to meddle with other works, it is somewhat only ethical, but heck, I think everyone should be entitled to their own job. As long as they do it right, doesn’t have to be good, or perfect, just being right, is enough, to make the work done.

The next one is Uncertainty Avoidance. THIS. THIS ONE. IS THE ONE THAT ALWAYS MAKES ME CRINGE EVERY FU**ING DAY. It is simply a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. In a low uncertainty avoidance culture, people are tend to be more relaxed, always try to bend the rules, always being tolerance to everything. While in the high uncertainty avoidance culture, people are tend to stick to the rules, being somewhat anxious, low tolerance towards mistakes, and well planned.

Which one am I ? CERTAINLY THE SECOND ONE. That’s why, I ALWAYS WANT TO LIVE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY. IN JAPAN. WHERE THE UNCERTANTY AVOIDANCE IS HIGH. My mom always told me that everything should be prepared well. I stick to that belief up until know. When I have a class on 8 am, I go to the campus at 6 am. You can never guess 100% when the traffic is being nice or being a dick. It is always better to come too early than late. I know people here are tolerant towards time. But still, it is not the reason to be late. Why coming late if you can come faster or on time ? There are rules right ? Waiting is never a waste. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO WAIT THAN BEING WAITED.

Okay, actually, there are two more points in the general intercultural business theory, Feminity  vs Masculinity, and Short Term vs Long Term Orientation. I don’t really relate myself with those. It is not like I don’t understand the concept or something, but I don’t really want to relate those with myself. Since there are time to be both. Since I think both are good. So, I don’t really want to compare these things.

But the big picture is something like this: In a feminine culture, it is more important to be happy and healthy, than to be rich, the quality of life. While in the masculine culture, it is more important to be rich than to be happy, the quantity of life. In  my point of view, you can always be happy and be rich at the same time. The system does not works like that ? Simply learn it, and cheat the system. Come on.

While in the Short Term vs Long Term Orientation, is how to maintain a relationship with the business partner. In the short term, the deals are only done when the deal is done. After that, there’s no need to continue the relationship with that business partner, unless there’s another deal that would be more beneficial if it is done with that partner. While in the long term orientation, it is more important to maintain that relationship with the business partner, since you don’t know what will happen next. It is more important to see the future of the business than the result of the business in the more short oriented deals. Both are better I think. There are some parties that are better in one time deal, and there are parties that are good in a multiple time deal. Just think the hypernims of friends: best friend, acquiantance, colleague, etc.

That’s all from my point of view. It was a great 1 and half weeks by Prof. Ota. Really hope I can meet him and share some things or two with him. I’ll definitely contact him if I’m going to Japan again someday. Amen.


New Life..? Hmm.. Well..

It is almost a month since I am starting my new life. Well, I was really excited before, I think, going out for a it would be somewhat awesome. You see, meeting new peoples, living in a new place, visiting new places, et cetera.  But in reality, in turned out not that it is not really what I’m expected. It is somehow gloomy here, in my new place, (well, most of you the readers of my blog would know where am I now). My mom said, maybe it is because that I am enrolled in a postgraduate program, and the campus is separated from the undergraduate one, so it is kinda normal if the campus is sooooooo silent.

Okay, now, classmate. I’m fine with my classmates. They’re good, they’re kind, the only problem is, all of them are girls. I’m the only boy here. So, it is kinda awkward to throw up some of my favorites filthy jokes, and of course, football talks. I can’t really do the football talks here. Or the video games talk. Or the popular culture talks. Or the politic talks. Or the anime talks. But there’s this one girl who once worked in the JKT48 theater, so I can chit-chat a lot with her, about the 48 group. Well, that’s okay, but, somehow, something’s missing.  So, if any one of you, my classmates read this, this is the reason I always go alone everytime I eat. I simply, don’t want to throw up my filthy jokes in front of you. It will be considered as rude, and I’d rather seclude myself than being rude to other.

I still in contact with my best friends from highschool, from the undergraduate program, or even those from the English course place. Only with them I can share these stuffs. I thanked God sincerely that I can meet them, and of course, thanks to the technology that makes all of these contacts possible. I think, the only TRUE social relationship that cherish me are those in the social media. It is sad really, maybe what Baudillard says as a hyperreality, but, you know, it comforts me, keeping me sane, so, why not ? I enjoy it, and I don’t really think it gave a bad influence for me. Since, when it is time for group works, I do it professionally, and I always do it since my time in the highschool. No excuses for these kind of stuff. I want to succeed, if you don’t want to, don’t drag me into.

The good thing is of course, I meet some of amazing brains here. My lecturers. I think I found two of my favorites ones already. One of them is an expert in Japanese study, the other excels in contemporary philosophy. Great thing about them is, they looks like a lot like my undergraduate thesis advisor, which are the BEST teacher I’ve ever had in any institutions. So, I kinda feel really comfortable in their class, and of course their course are my favorite, might be not my expertise, but I have so much interest in them.

The campus here is quite sophisticated. They have this humongous library that can be accessed easily. The environment is  nice, there are trees surrounding a lake, a Starbucks, it is a perfect place to hang out under the trees, reading the books you borrowed from the library. Sounds pretty awesome right ? But, no, it is not. The problem is the weather. I know I’m being somewhat spoiled here, but it is true. One does not simply leave Bandung without complaining about weather somewhere else. It is goddamn hot here. Even when it is after rain, there’s always this oozy felling, I can’t tell you in English, but I think the appropriate word would be ‘sumuk’. Or something. I can’t simply just enjoy it, and I forgot to mention how crowded the place is in weekdays.

Another thing living in this new life would be ‘enjoying’ the city life. Well, I can’t say I really enjoy Jakarta, I enjoy my house in Jakarta, of course, with the playstation 3 installed in my room, bunch of books I brought from Bandung, superfast internet connection,  24 hours food service (delivery service, of course), I don’t have to leave my room to enjoy it. Something I really liked. Playing playstation all day long when there’s no schedule is just heavenly.

Some of my undergraduate friends –not those in my inner circle- did ask me to eat together or something out, I’m okay with it, it is fun. Always fun.  But I don’t really know Jakarta, so I can only meet them at some place really famous, or can be easily reached by car. I always have a hard time on memorizing the roads, not really my talent with directions. Let’s put that aside, and talking about the foods. The foods here are having these kind of characteristics (comparing it with the one in Bandung would be just simply insane) :

  1. If it is good, healthy, and easy to reach, it would be expensive.
  2. If it is good, healthy, and cheap, it would be hard to reach.
  3. If it is good, easy to reach, and cheap, it would be unhealthy.
  4. If it is bad, easy to reach, and expensive, you can simply find it in famous malls.
  5. Etc.

Few days ago, I paid like 150 thousands rupiah for: mixed dimsum, 6-8 pieces (2 portion of regular dimsum, typically, I eat like 4-5 portions of regular dimsum as main course, it is normal, considering dimsum is snack or something), hongkong chicken noodle, and one portion of cakue dimsum. And all of those tasted nooooo good at all. But I gotta admit, that the atmosphere there is comforting for urban people. But I can’t feel such comfort. Loud music, dimly lit, I can’t simply enjoy it, but maybe, for urban people, the food price with such atmosphere is great.

Yeah, most of the foods here are somewhat like those, they kinda like only selling the atmosphere, but I can never accept it. I love to eat, because I love to EAT. I love delicious foods. I don’t mind eating near the stinky and lumpy traditional market, as long as it taste good. So, sometimes I’d rather cook than eat outside, but then again, the kitchen in my house here is so small, and I have to share it with the housekeeper, I don’t want to be troublesome, so I have to work harder in the kitchen in order to cook great dishes.

Oh yeah, another good thing, my favorite online shop can still deliver to my house here. So, I can still order books and video games easily (as long as I got the money, of course, otherwise, it won’t happen). Oh, and there’s a big bookstore near my house, gramedia, so I can easily restock my comic books here. No problem !

So, that’s a wrap up about my new life. Doesn’t sounds too good right ? Well, I can still enjoy it though, but I can’t lie, I really miss Bandung. I’m thinking on catching up a train there on weekend, meeting with my old friends, eat well at my favorite resto, and of course, driving THE GOLEM, my love.

Teman Tinta Wrap Up: Third Batch

Kali ini temanya Daun. Jujur, saya sendiri belum membaca tulisan teman-teman, karena saking sibuknya kuliah.. Beginilah:

1. Pengingat Itu Bernama Daun

Oleh: Bima Prawira

2. The One With The Leaf Support

Oleh: Aya Dwijayastri

3. Aku Dita

Oleh: Arief Rosadi

4. Hutan(g)

Oleh: Feby Anggiani

5. Solilokui Daun Maple Merah

Oleh: Pradipta Dirgantara

6. Cara Mengubah Daun Menjadi Uang

Oleh: Remon Tulus

7. A New Leaf

Oleh: Geza Wiedya

8. Soal Restoran India, Daun Pisang, dan Lain-Lain

Oleh: Reza Rahmadiansyah

9. Daun Terinjak

Oleh: Fahminoor Muhammad

Pengingat Itu Bernama Daun

Hei kawan, apakah kau sadar, tentang pengingat manusia yang selalu ada setiap hari ?

Tentang  rasa ingin tahu seekor kucing, yang pada akhirnya menghabisi hidupnya

Atau tentang kepasrahan seekor kerbau, yang pada akhirnya membuatnya diseret ke sana ke mari ?

Atau mungkin, tentang biri-biri tak berdosa yang kulitnya dipakai oleh si Serigala ?


Jika kau rasa menyamakan dirimu dengan binatang terlalu rendah, bagaimana dengan tumbuhan ?

Tentang duri si cantik mawar, yang membahayakan orang yang memegangnya

Atau tentang si Melati, yang harum mewangi, namun penuh dengan misteri yang terus bertahan ?

Atau mungkin, tentang si Beringin yang besar, menaungi sekitar, namun hanya bisa diam percuma ?


Ah, mungkin terdengar membosankan dan klise, kalau begitu, bagaimana dengan benda langit ?

Tentang mentari yang selalu menyinari bumi setiap hari, tanpa bosan ia selalu siap sedia di sana

Atau tentang si rembulan, yang muncul di tengah malam, menemani mereka yang hatinya sakit ?

Atau mungkin, tentang si bintang, yang bersinar terang, dengan indah, namun sinarnya tidak nyata ?


Hmm, ah, mungkin sulit mengamati mereka, mereka tidak ada setiap saat, kalau begitu apa ?

Aku punya jawabannya kawan, namanya daun, ia memang bagian dari tumbuhan, tapi ia berbeda

Ia istimewa, meski hanya bagian kecil dari tumbuhan, ia adalah yang paling lantang dalam bersuara

Ketika ia tertiup angin, ia akan bergemeresak merdu, sedang ranting dan batang diam tak bersuara


Ia seakan menjadi pengingat untuk kita, manusia, makhluk yang konon paling mulia

Ketika kita, menjadi sebuah bagian di antara sesama, yang tidak mencolok, tidak mencuat

Sama seperti daun di pohon, ketika terguncang angin masalah, kita harus bersuara paling kuat

Saat kawan atau bahkan pemimpin kita –si ranting dan si batang- diam, kita harus bersuara


Daun juga pengingat, tentang bagaimana manusia adalah unik, tak perlu takut untuk berbeda

Kita tidak bisa memakan daun pandan, ia keras, namun, ia bisa menimbulkan rasa yang istimewa

Seakan mengingatkan manusia, bagaimana mereka berbeda satu dengan lainnya, unik

Namun kadang, kita terlena dengan apa kata orang, melupakan diri sendiri, menjadi orang lain. Panik.


Daun juga pengingat, tentang bagaimana manusia seharusnya selalu bisa bangkit dari bawah

Pernahkah kau lihat daun teratai ? Rimpangnya berada di dalam lumpur, namun daunya ada di air

Seakan mengingatkan kita, tidak semua manusia berasal dari atas, tidak semua hidup mewah

Namun manusia bisa selalu berusaha, hingga berada di atas, dengan perjuangan tanpa akhir


Pada akhirnya, daun pun menjadi pengingat, tentang bagaimana kematian, akhirnya akan datang

Lihatlah daun-daun berguguran, mengering, lalu hancur terinjak orang lewat. Tanpa ampun.

Mengingatkan manusia bahwa suatu saat, ia akan jatuh dari tempatnya, lalu menghilang

Akhir itu pasti datang, ketika Sang Pencipta sudah memanggil, tak akan bisa dicegah seorangpun


Begitulah kisahku tentang daun, si pengingat yang hebat.

Masih ada ribuan daun di dunia yang bisa ditiru manusia.

Tak mungkin kusebut semua di sini, hanya tersebut sekelebat.

Tak pernah kau duga bukan ? Bagaimana daun bisa menjadi begitu mulia ?

Harga Kawan

Berjalan sendiri di jalan sepi

Tak kulihat bulan benderang di langit

Ia sembunyi di balik malam sunyi

Pikiranku berkelahi dengan sengit


Mereka bertarung dengan diri mereka sendiri

Mereka tidak tahu siapa yang akan menang

Siapakah yang akhirnya akan berdiri ?

Siapakah yang akhirnya akan dikenang ?


Udara malam dingin mencekam

Bagaikan ribuan tatapan orang-orang

Tatapan tajam bagai macan yang siap menerkam

Menghakimi tanpa hati, tanpa tahu memori yang terekam


Satu titik di mana pikiran harus menang

Satu titik di mana harus melupakan apa yang dikenang

Satu titik di mana harus memutus benang

Benang yang membelit, menyerang


Satu tambah satu memang dua

Satu tambah satu tambah satu jadi tiga

Tapi manusia bukan angka

Satu tambah satu tambah satu bisa jadi dua


Hilang satu tak tumbuh seribu

Kepercayaan bukan pahlawan

Ketika mati, ia mati, tak jadi baru

Karena itu, jagalah seorang kawan


Cahaya penerang di kala kelam

Bagai lentera api di tengah malam

Menerangi jalan menuju kebahagiaan

Begitulah kiranya engkau kawan


Terlalu berharga untuk dibuang

Terlalu mahal jika hanya untuk dikenang

Lebih baik biarkan jiwa terkekang

Daripada membunuh dari belakang….

Speed of Light

Speed of Light

One of the Shinkansen train of Japan. I forgot the type, is it Nozomi, Kodama or Hikari ? It is the Tookaidoo line for sure, since it was taken in the Shin-Osaka station. Simply one of the best transport mode in the world. Well, really hope someday I can be on it again. Maybe in the future Tokyo-Hokkaido line ? Hope so ! 😀

Teman Tinta Wrap Up: Second Batch

Akhirnya, sudah dua tema yang diselesaikan oleh Teman Tinta. Tema yang diberikan oleh Guest of Honor kali ini adalah: Cahaya. Namun kali ini, ada yang sedikit berbeda. Saya tidak mau bilang istimewa, karena ini sifatnya duka. Ya, kami kehilangan salah satu teman kami di HI UNPAD 2007. Khairunnisa. Ia meninggalkan kami untuk selama-lamanya. Ia istimewa bagi kami. Ia seorang wanita yang kuat, yang tanpa gentar melawan penyakit yang menggerogotinya. Walaupun ia menderita, ia tetap tersenyum. Karena itulah, kali ini, tulisan kami, kami persembahkan buatnya.

1. Empat Cahaya Manusia

Oleh: Bima Prawira Utama

Tulisan tentang cahaya secara konotatif dari berbagai macam sisi. Ini bukan tulisan fiksi, tetapi lebih ke renungan.

2. The One With The Candle

By: Aya Dwijayastri

A short (factual) story about a lost of friend. How a lost, which is implied in a blown off candle, can be so devastating, and how to handle it in a Buddhist way.

3. Inspirasi

Oleh: Arief Rosadi

Tentang bagaimana, perjuangan seorang Khairunnisa, mampu menjadi cahaya yang menginspirasi untuk orang-orang yang mendengarnya.

4. Sampai Nanti

Oleh: Feby Anggiani

Sepotong sajak pengingat, bahwa suatu saat, akan tiba waktu itu untuk kita semua.

5. Fragmen

Oleh: Pradipta Dirgantara

Sebuah cerpen yang dibangun dari potongan kisah-kisah yang sudah penulis lewati dengan Khairunnisa.

6. Hikayat Cahaya

Oleh: Remon Tulus

Tentang apa itu hikayat cahaya. Sesuai dengan judulnya.

7. Not Yet Submitted

Oleh: Geza Wiedya

8. Tentang Kematian dan Kehilangan dan Di Ujung Terowongan

Oleh: Reza Rahmadiansyah

9. Lirik Wanita Elok

Oleh: Fahminoor Muhammad

Sebenarnya, masih ada 3 orang yang belum mengumpulkan tulisannya pada bagian kedua ini. Nanti jika mereka sudah mengumpulkan, post ini akan saya update. Selamat menikmati tulisan-tulisan kami semuanya !


-Sudah ditambahkan post punya Fahminoor Muhhammad

-Sudah ditambahkan post punya Reza Rahmadiansyah