Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wright Brothers on Clark Street

As I believe I have written before, I live across the street from a college dorm. While the police did show up at 2am once this semester and the kids who come home in the middle night can be noisy, overall I am amused.

My amusement continued yesterday as I looked onto the balcony from the loft and saw what at first glance looked like trash.

As I climbed down my ladder, I realized what it was. Someone had successfully launched a giant paper airplane onto my balcony. What's funnier is what the airplane was made out of. Looks like a lot of skin!

I can just imagine the scenario... a couple guys, packing up at the end of the semester, decide that they no longer want their poster. They've already got packing tape on hand and at some point in the last few months they noticed my balcony across the way. Friday night, braving some pretty strong winds blowing down the street from the river, they launched their creation. Who knows how many times they attempted the flight before they were successful. I am just thankful that the final flight didn't crash land into my window. I would have wet my pants!


Blogger Kyoko said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Kyoko said...

Hi, Erin: Sorry, I made an error and removed my own comments for some reason... ;(

Now I am working on it again. Bear with me.
Hi, Erin.
I am working with a German expat in Tokyo and the company is way too famous to even say the name, but anyhow I do some interpretation works there [back and forth in between Japanese people and very serious German gentlemen]. I happen to work with a very high-ranking group of management there, who do not speak Japanese, so I basically fill in the blanks for foreign expats to understand cultural gaps and difference with the foreign people and not-culturally oriented Japanese employees there.

I enjoyed your German Adventure blogs, and I wonder if you would share with me what the best description of cultural difference in between American business people and German business people can be in your mind?

I stayed in the States for approximately 12 years and I feel I am more Americanized [obviously], and I see German businessmen more stoic, stone-cold but serious and business-like, not to mention extremely tidy and formal. Absolutely NO first-name base friendliness nor is there a smiling face in the office either... It seems at least initially I gotta admit that I had a tough time melting in. ;)

How was Erin-style???

BTW, I enjoy your webposts. I have a web blog page and I wonder if I can make a link there... Of course, my English is not as great as yours... If you do not mind, I mean... Well, I wrote too much. Sorry!

Have a great one, Erin!

12:00 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Dear Kyoko,

Feel free to link to my blog. As for German business cultural differences, I'll have to think about it. Check back later today.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

okay, so here is my thought on German and American business ettiquette... I think Americans are less formal and more flexible when it comes to business. You already mentioned the name thing (though I think that is slowly fading). But more generally, Americans seem more prepared to hire someone who's degree doesn't exactly match with the job and think about different work scenarios.

Seems that Germans enjoy that formality as a way to draw the line between work and social lives. I always felt too that if my boss was upset and called me "Frau ______" it was a lot easier to not take it personally because he wasn't using my first name.

Anyway, adding the Japanese dynamic into all of this is fascinating. I found that most of my German colleagues lightened up after a while not only because they got to know me but also because I was a carefree American, almost outside their social structure. I would guess (and this is just a guess) that Germans perceive Japanese business culture as equally if not more formal than their own. So out of respect for the country in which they are operating, you might never see them lighten up. Again, just a guess, might depend on the people.


4:07 PM  

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