Quietness: Words cannot explain

Japanese garden

Japanese gardens are typically quiet and free from noises. The gardens are silent, but the visuals and smells make your mind calm and peaceful. Traditional Japanese gardens generally have stones, trees, and a waterfall around ponds to create a miniature of the natural scenery.

Expressions of Quietness

Words have limitations in explaining how quiet the Japanese garden is. Meanwhile, you feel the quietness of the garden by your eyes and your nose. The lush greenery with fresh smells of trees and plants make you feel soaked in nature.

Sounds also explain how quiet the garden is. Deer Scarer (鹿威し “Shihi-Odoshi”), a bamboo water foundation, emphasizes the garden’s quietness when the bamboo hits the rock to make a sharp sound.

Our Senses Telling

What you experience is more than words can say. We cannot describe how the greenery smell of trees makes us feel refreshed and calm. We cannot explain how a Matcha drink in the garden makes you feel soothed, relaxed and calm, either.

Culltural Challenges

Quiet is not always received positively in the global business context, however. Quiet also has different meanings depending on situations in Japan. For example, quiet can shut down any noises to think deeply. Quiet can also be when a person shuts down their negative emotions to avoid spoiling the business. Japanese use their senses to understand what quiet means (空気を読む “Kuuki wo Yomu“). Understanding the situation without words (“Kuuki wo Yomu”) is important for communications for networking in Japan. Meanwhile, quietness is often negative can often receive quite negatively in global business situations. Quiet can be interpreted as passive, no engagement, and even hiding something.

In general, low-context communications with explicit verbal expressions help inter-cultural communication exchange information and opinions explicitly by reducing wrong interpretations of unspoken matters. It is also the fact that our brains directly receive sensory cues of objects and situations without verbal processing.

I hope that non-verbal sensory cues on objects, situations and even human communications receive attention in the global business without being put aside as just a local niche.

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