Unlike what most westerners believe, Japanese do know how to communicate, although in a very different way, much more subtly and gently, which usually baffles westerners and is perceived as being politely rude, pretentious, inflexible, indirect, or indifferent.
In Japan, the first rule of communication is “Less is more.” And the second rule is “Never inconvenience the others.” Japanese assume people are compassionate, sympathetic and able to understand each other’s needs without having to resort to talk.
Japanese expect people to have the ability to think for the others, while westerners believe people should always spell out their needs, if they want anything done for them at all.
Patience is considered a must-have virtue here in Japan, and the communication is done by many ways other than verbal. But in the west, it’s encouraged to have your say and voice precisely what you think, at the exact moment when you think it.
When a Japanese asks someone for a favor, he would first take all things into account, especially whether it would cause too much trouble to the other party. After carefully assessing the situation, he would then decide if it’s the right favor to ask. And that’s why Japanese can’t easily say no to the others. In general, they just don't.
This process of inner struggle is unfathomable for most westerners, because come on, what's so hard to simply say no??? You know the others would say it to you too!
Japanese believe every individual is just part of the team, while westerners feel teams are only for sports and the year-end performance evaluation.
With such a huge culture gap, no wonder westerners believe Japanese are stony-faced stuck-ups, while Japanese regard westerners selfish savages!