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The Accidental Office Lady: An American Woman in Corporate Japan

Overview

A young woman with a new degree in Japanese studies and plenty of youthful idealism and can-do spirit accepts a job as the first American trainee at Honda's headquarters in Tokyo. Her image of Japanese corporate life is dramatically challenged on her first day at work when she is issued a blue polyester uniform—a uniform worn only by women!

From menial beginnings serving tea to executives and cleaning the boss's desk, to a stint in public relations, to developing training ...

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The Accidental Office Lady: An American Woman in Corporate Japan

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Overview

A young woman with a new degree in Japanese studies and plenty of youthful idealism and can-do spirit accepts a job as the first American trainee at Honda's headquarters in Tokyo. Her image of Japanese corporate life is dramatically challenged on her first day at work when she is issued a blue polyester uniform—a uniform worn only by women!

From menial beginnings serving tea to executives and cleaning the boss's desk, to a stint in public relations, to developing training classes for Japanese associates going to America, Laura Kriska recounts her struggle to adapt to—and ultimately thrive in—the culture of a traditional Japanese company. Shortly before her departure, she travels full circle by introducing a successful campaign to make women's uniforms optional.

Now with a new foreword by the author, The Accidental Office Lady is a vivid and valuable firsthand account not only of corporate Japan and the gender inequality that persists within it, but of an outsider's successful attempt to work within cultural boundaries to affect organizational change.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Elisabeth Bumiller
…funny and insightful…Kriska comes off as a determined, irreverent and very human American trying to grow up professionally in a foreign country that doesn't want her to…her book is a revealing portrait of the corporate culture that reflects, and defines, Japan.
BusinessWeek - Nanette Byrnes
[Kriska's] book, The Accidental Office Lady, is an informative…account of what it was like to be the first American woman ever employed at Honda Motor Co. headquarters.
From the Publisher
"The Accidental Office Lady: An American Woman in Corporate Japan, originally published in 1998 and recently rereleased with a new foreword by the author, is her story. The book is a testament to the fact that it is possible to thrive in even the most alien of cultures." —Bangkok Post

"This book resonated with me because it largely mirrored the experiences I had working in a Japanese office in the early 1980s. I could completely relate to the author's loneliness and frustration, as well as the way her experiences changed her, helped her grow, and left her with an abiding love of Japan." —Goodreads

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9784805311561
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/10/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,024,429
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Kriska is a leading Japanese business consultant specializing in communication and teamwork. She is dedicated to creating successful relationships between Japanese and Americans in the workplace. Kriska's writing has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Working Woman, Self, and Mangajin.

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS
Foreword
Prologue
Uniform
Office Ladies
Ms. Mori
Sisters and Uncles
Conformity and the Helicopter Ride
Alone
Finding Myself on the Map
The Maverick
The Art of Negotiation
Lessons on Mt. Fuji
Transition
Salaryman
The Factory
Life in Sayama
Culture Lessons
Permanent Effects

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2012

    Great!!

    Very entertaining.....well written. A great insight into the daily life of an OL in japan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2003

    Inspirational for anyone looking to effect change when the odds are against you!

    Kriska not only paints a compelling picture of being the first American woman to work for Honda Corporation in Japan, but also provides a roadmap for anyone trying to get unstuck from a frustrating, demeaning position. With honesty and integrity she shows us her foibles and fumbles as she negotiates her way through the austere Japanese hierarchy and sexism in the workplace. By the end of the book, she has begun to master the subtle art of deference and found chinks in the armor of a huge corporation. She and the Office Ladies of the title manage to get the sexist policy of workplace uniforms for women only revoked at Honda. No small task given the steadfast nature of rules in Japan. This book is inspirational for anyone looking to effect change when the odds are against you!

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

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