So you're thinking of working for a Japanese firm. You might be wondering whether what you've heard about working in Japan is true. Or, if you're already working here, you may wonder if what you're experiencing is typical.

I've devoted my career to the subject of non-Japanese working in Japanese companies. I was caught up in the first wave of hiring of non-Japanese employees, back during the bubble economy, when I got a job at the headquarters of a large Japanese bank.

Puzzled at why things didn't work the same way that they did when I was at an American company back in Chicago, I became curious about how Japanese organizations operate and how non-Japanese can succeed in them. I ended up going back to grad school, writing a book on this issue, and, for the past 25 years since, have been consulting to Japanese global companies on cross-cultural and human resource topics. I split my time between Japan and the United States, where I work with non-Japanese employees working in Japanese companies in both places in industries ranging from cars to video games to pharmaceuticals.