The Secret Handshake: Presenting Business Cards in Japan

Editor’s Note: This post was provided by Kuraray, local sponsor to the special exhibition Samurai: The Way of the Warrior on display now at HMNS.

“Do you have a card?” is a phrase uttered daily in American business. To us, it’s a piece of paper. We take notes on them, stuff them in our pockets and hopefully file them for future easy access.

But, in Japan, business cards are considered extensions of the individual — formal self-introductions that are treated with the utmost respect.

As such, “meishi koukan” (the exchanging of business cards) commands a distinct level of etiquette, complete with its own process:

  • Remove cards from an actual business card case prior to the meeting and place them on top.
  • Beginning with visitors, highest-ranking attendees exchange cards first. This helps the Japanese learn who is in command.
  • Hold card on the top corner with right hand and offer it with the information facing out. Left hand holds the case.
  • Briefly introduce yourself as you present the card, stating your name and company.
  • When other person reciprocates, receive card with your left hand. Carefully read the information. Restate the person’s name and thank them.
  • Display cards received during the meeting, arranging them from left to right in the order of seating (from your point of view). Learn the names of the people you are speaking with and show respect.

Other tips to remember:

  • Never stuff a card into your pocket – it’s considered extremely rude.
  • It is a direct insult to bend, damage or write on the card in front of the owner.
  • Always maintain an ample supply of cards. You may distribute dozens in a larger meeting, and give multiples to the same person.

Despite these rules, every situation will be slightly different and your Japanese counterparts may have another understanding of what is considered protocol. When in doubt, always err on the side of showing respect and politeness.

 Want to learn more about Japanese culture and traditions? Visit HMNS to see Samurai: The Way of the Warrior, on display through September 7, 2015. Local support for this exhibit is provided by Kuraray.

 

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 1/19-1/25

family_space_day_feature (1)

Bust out your planners, calendars, and PDAs (if you are throwback like that), it’s time to mark your calendars for the HMNS events of this week! 

Free Shipping, No Minimum Sale at the Museum Store
Sale valid from 1/15-1/25
For a limited time receive free shipping on any online order at the HMNS Museum Store. Use promo code FREESHIP. Shop now!

The Educator Event @HMNS
Saturday, January 24, 2015
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is proud to present The Educator Event @HMNS on January 24, 2015. This conference-style event gives educators a unique chance to learn about the educational opportunities provided by museums, educational nonprofits and local organizations in and around Houston. Attendees will earn three hours of CPE credit by attending a variety of exciting, hands-on workshops and participating in an exclusive, self-guided tour of our Wiess Energy Hall!

Family Space Day
George Observatory 
Saturday, January 24
Blast into outer space on a simulated space flight to the Moon! The Expedition Learning Center at the George Observatory will be open for individual children and adults to sign up for missions. No danger is involved! Astronauts are assigned jobs aboard the Space Station Observer and work together as they solve problems and have fun. Volunteers who work at NASA will run the missions and visit with the participants. Don’t miss this special opportunity to participate in real astronaut training! Limited expedition times available, reserve your mission now!  

 

Wonder Women of STEM: Ada Lovelace, 19th century programmer

Editor’s Note: This post is the second in a series featuring influential women from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields in the lead up to HMNS’ annual GEMS (Girls Exploring Math and Science) event, February 21, 2015. Click here to get involved! 

The modern tech industry is currently dominated by men — a problem with its origins in the 1980s. While many companies have begun to reconfigure their goals and diversify their staffs in order to be more inclusive, it wasn’t always this way.

In fact, many, if not most, of the functions modern computing has taken on, were originally thought of by a woman in the 1800s — a woman who wrote the first computer algorithm. 

This woman was Ada Lovelace, or Augusta Ada, Countess of Lovelace born in 1815 as the daughter of famed poet Lord Byron. It might seem strange that a poet’s daughter would turn “techie” as such, but Lovelace’s computational genius was undeniable and encouraged from a very young age. 

You see, her mother (who was apparently not very fond of Lord Byron) wanted her daughter to be as unlike her father as possible, and thereby stressed mathematics and science, and left out poetry, in her tutoring.

However, Lovelace’s inner poet could not be extinguished, manifesting itself in her beautifully artistic approach to her field, calling it “poetic sciences.” 

When she was 17, Lovelace was introduced her to Charles Babbage, who was working on a prototype for the Analytical Engine, one of the predecessors to electronic computers. 

Devised as a way to solve complex mathematical formulas, Ada created the first algorithm for the engine. However, she saw past this function, envisioning a future where the machine could perform a variety of tasks and questioned how technology and society interact and affect one another. On this, she said: 

“[The Engine] might act upon other things besides number, were objects found whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of the abstract science of operations, and which should be also susceptible of adaptations to the action of the operating notation and mechanism of the engine…

Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent.”

While the plans for the Analytical Engine were never fully realized, Lovelace wrote scholarly papers on the theoretical machine, along with her algorithm, which proved vital for those building the first computer a century later.

HMNS is highlighting females that made contributions to STEM fields leading up to our annual GEMS (Girls Exploring Math and Science) event, February 21, 2015!

Girls Exploring Math and Science (GEMS) is an event that showcases some of the great things girls do with science, technology, engineering and math! Students can present a project on a STEM related subject for the chance to earn prize money for their school.

If you, or a student you know is interested, apply for a student booth today!

Want to know more about the wonder women of STEM?
Click here for the first post in the series, Wonder Women of STEM: Mary Anning, Fossil Hunter

 

 

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 1/12-1/18

tea_ceremony
Bust out your planners, calendars, and PDAs (if you are throwback like that), it’s time to mark your calendars for the HMNS events of this week!

Behind-the-Scenes Tours
Tuesday, January 13
6:00 p.m. 
Samurai: The Way of the Warrior
Witness the exquisite objects related to the legendary Samurai warriors of Japan in the special exhibition Samurai: The Way of the Warrior. Museum master docents will lead you through the collection that includes full suits of armor, helmets, swords, sword-hilts, and saddles, as well as exquisite objects intended for more personal use such as lacquered writing boxes, incense trays and foldable chairs. 

Shark!
Learn about the important roles sharks play in ecosystems and about their unique physical characteristics in the Shark! touch tank experience. Museum biologists will lead this special after-hours, hands-on tour. 

Adult Education Class – Japanese Tea Ceremony
Saturday, January 17
11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. 
The Japanese tea ceremony tradition dates back centuries when samurai lords were among the few allowed to participate. A demonstration of the ceremony will be performed by Midori Mochizuki-master of Chado, the way of the tea. Tea master Heather Clary will provide commentary during this silent ceremony. A tea tasting for all course participants will follow the demonstration and lecture. Click here for more info.

Telescope Classes 
George Observatory 
Saturday, January 17
Do you have a new telescope that has never been out of the box? Need help learning how to set it up? Come let an expert astronomer teach you how to set up your scope so that it will work. It is not as easy as the box would lead you to believe! After you get help, it will be easy to use.
The astronomer will help you set up and learn some stars so that you will be successful. Bring all your parts and the instructions that came with the new telescope. If you want to stay later, you can allow the public to come look through your new scope and see how much fun it is to volunteer at the George Observatory.

Refractor And Reflection Telescope Class
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Go-To Computerized Telescope Class
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Day Excursion – Battleship Texas – Behind The Scenes Tour
Sunday, January 18
9:00 a.m. 
Climb 60 feet above the water to the flying bridge or down 20 feet below the water into the engine room. Tour the restored sleeping quarters and medical facilities, engine room, guns and anchors with historian guides. Our group will also receive special access to parts of the ship not open to the public and enjoy a special presentation by director Andy Smith. Participants will meet at San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. Click here for more info.