After 4 years of working in Vietnam - The gap I felt between Japanese and Vietnamese cultures

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Greetings. This is Nakamoto of Netmarks Vietnam 新規タブで開く . I'm in charge of sales.

I am sharing this blog article from Vietnam.

There has been an increase on the number of Japan oriented companies advancing to Vietnam. Vietnam is now seen as a good place to make an investment on.

There is also an increase on the number of Vietnamese working in Japan. So, I believe Vietnam is becoming more and more familiar for everyone.

The country's official name is Socialist Republic of Vietnam. As it says in the name, it is a socialist nation.

It's only been since 1976 that Vietnam became independent. Until then, interventions by some countries were made.

Although there was a successive Royal Family under the Vietnamese Dynasty back in the time, Vietnam has long been under a control by the neighboring country, China.

In the 19th century, a short time after a liberation from China, France then came in to occupy Hanoi and Vietnam technically became a French colony. There are still many European style buildings as the remnants.

People's Committee Building Ho Chi Minh, Le Thanh Ton Street

French colony's impact can also be seen in the food culture here. Bread called Vine Me is a popular breakfast in Vietnam.

Vine Me - a bit softer and smaller than the French Baguette.

4 gaps I've felt in the daily life & at work:

1.Everybody leaves work on time at once

Although this may be a common philosophy to many of the overseas countries, Vietnamese cherish their private times & consider a work is just a tool to earn money. People here value the time spent with their family, so they prefer to spend the after-work hours for that purpose.

However, that doesn't mean they leave their duties uncompleted. Just like the Japanese, I find many people are diligent and hard workers.

Netmarks Vietnam Ho Chi Minh office - No one is to be seen at 17:35. (End of the day of our office is 17:30)

2.Everybody loves soccer

Especially the men in Vietnam love soccer. I have not yet seen a man who claims he doesn't like soccer. I often see many people playing soccer at a ground after work.

You will also see this trait after the national team games end. The traffic gets congested as they come out riding on their bikes. Me the Japanese try to get home before this traffic gets bad. <laugh>

I'll bet you, playing soccer will be the fastest way to make friends with the Vietnamese men.

Aftermath of a National soccer team game. Youngsters holding up the national flag.

3.Everybody loves Karaoke

I hear the elderly people singing Karaoke loudly when going into the suburbs.
Sometimes, I hear someone signing in my apartment as well & this can be annoying. <laugh>
Many sing the old-style songs like the Japanese "enka" although the singing quality has a room to grow for many. <laugh>

4.Everybody loves alcohol

The Vietnamese shout "Một! Hai! Ba! Vô!" and drink unbelievable amount of alcohol. Many prepare to stock strong homemade alcohol for the gatherings at the end of the year. On the day of the gathering, the drinks keep flowing and it's never ending.
Thankful to my colleagues, they come one by one to make a toast. It is unavoidable to not get hang over the next day. So, be careful especially if you work for a large company. <laugh>
The Vietnamese way to make a toast is to make a toast every time you sip a drink. It will be considered a bad manner to keep drinking without making a toast.
There are many other cultural gaps I felt. I hope to introduce them more sometime.
As Vietnam/Vietnamese become more familiar in Japan, what kind of images do you have of Vietnam? Was it the same as you thought? Or, was it more unexpected?
I hope you have a bit deeper understanding of the Vietnamese culture now.

Nakamoto Tohru

Netmarks Vietnam

Entered Netmarks Vietnam in 2019. Works as a local sales representative to make proposals to the Japan Oriented Companies and manage projects. Been in Vietnam for 4 years.