International management Comparisons the cultural differences in food between Japan and USA



Business managers and those in the marketing field are also constantly challenged to offer products and services that are unique so as to give them a competitive edge among other players in the same industry (Salvacruz 1998). In this paper, the researcher shall present how international management is brought about, with the emphasis on food in the United States and in Japan, and the cultural differences of food in both countries. Individuals in the United States naturally eat traditional food that are unique to their own culture, just like any other country. In the US, it is not unusual for people to constantly change their menu regardless of the meal time. In fact, food that is usually eaten during lunch may be eaten for dinner as well. While this is normal for people residing the country, other countries may not consider this to be of normal practice. Food preparation is also a factor to consider, as Americans are known to take a shorter time to prepare certain meals, such as breakfast. The rationale for this is simple. Rush hours and hectic work schedules can explain why Americans would rather purchase their breakfast from a fast food joint or at a restaurant, instead of prepare the food themselves. However, when it comes to preparing other meals, Americans may typically take a longer time to prepare their dinner as compared to their lunch and even more so, their breakfast. In fact, preparation time may take an hour and a half or even longer. There are some Americans though who prefer to just heat the food the leftovers that they have left from their lunch time and eat the same for dinner (Siregar 2011). The Japanese, on the other hand, take a longer period of time to prepare their food. Preparing meals is considered to be “an art form,” from cutting up sushi and even to brewing and drinking tea (Jane 2011). In the previous paragraph, it was mentioned that improvements and developments in technology have allowed for success in the food industry, in terms of the food that is produced and the increase in food consumption. True enough, according to Powell et al. (2007), in the United States, 36 percent of advertisements shown on television were all food advertisements for the pre-adolescent set, or at the very least, food-related. 36 percent of the viewing time of American children was consumed by just viewing these advertisements showcasing fast food restaurants and their food through the same medium. On the other hand, 26 percent of such advertisements shown through television was targeted towards the adolescents, and overall, 90 to 98 percent of all advertisements shown through television were food-related, with all of them advertising food that consist of high sugar, fat or sodium levels. Indeed, according to Powell et al. (2007), such commercials are targeted towards the younger generation in order to draw their attention to the food that is available to them, and make them “customers for life.” Thus, it comes as no surprise that one of the problems being faced by a lot of Americans is obesity. Kobayashi (2010) conducted a study on the fast food intake of college students in the United States and in Japan, with regards to how television advertisements have influenced their eating habits. Based on the study, while Japan has followed suit when it came to advertising their food through television and other mediums, the fast food int