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To achieve cross-cultural understanding, people living in a foreign land should first become fully aware of the cultural differences they face, then learn to respect them and finally attempt to reconcile the differences using their own culture’s framework.

International business consultant and author Fons Trompenaars gave the advice June 26 during a speech in Tokyo. “It’s important to remember that we can find many of the same seemingly bizarre cultural differences within ourselves,” he said. “Many foreigners in Japan may complain that when the Japanese say yes they often mean no.

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