I can supply more a bit more information that would perhaps lead to an answer in regards to the 1st question.
First, I need to make a bit of a revision to my original words. I used caps to revise, as I don't know the HTML.:
". . .However, where I am majoring in Japanese, I have been encouraged by my professors to learn more about the culture from my Japanese friends. Due to my prior LIMITED knowledge of the culture I had attained through my martial arts training, AND MY INTEREST IN THE JAPANESE CULTURE, the professors took time with me, and AFTER INVITING ME TO BE THEIR WORK STUDY, made sure I knew how to behave appropriately in an office setting. Bowing is a very big part of this, both from the boss to the worker. . ."
Here's a bit more background.
I went to the unversity with a great interest in Japanese culture, and the only views I had were primarily through my martial arts training, which in the scheme of things is very limited. However, I had also taken part in the Japan-America Society of Maine's activities, met some exchange students at the University of Maine, and done a fair amount of reading. In coming to pursue Japanese studies, perhaps through translation, I am hoping to in some ways relate my experience back to my martial arts training.
However, before I could pursue translation or anything else of that nature, I recognized that I needed to learn Japanese. And so, I came to a university that is set up on a modular system (which has it's own advantages and disadvantages), so that I could essentially spend 3-4 hours in class everyday, focusing on one subject (Japanese or whatever), and then study Japanese in the afternoon, and evening (also making time for practice and a social life). For me, this is the ideal.
My first month, I had Japanese class, and studied a lot, got used to the university, and made some friends. During this time, my work study was tutoring Japanese students in English. My 2nd month, however, I had an American culture class. When I had a break from tutoring, I would go to the Japanese classroom, and study. I would ask my professors grammar questions, which they continue to strongly encourage, and I would endlessly memorize vocab. and Kanji. This went on for a little while, and they had questioned me before if I received work study, and dropped hints that they needed one, asking if I had enough work study hours to do it. I told them yes, and they never mentioned it again...until one day, the head of the Japanese studies dept., came in the office that they had been letting me study in, and said something to the effect of, "Tomorrow, I need to to go speak to So And So and tell her I need you here." I was more than happy to do that.
I did that, and then making efforts to be polite with the limited prior knowledge I had, I began to do work study for them. They recognized my efforts, and gave me instruction on "office ettiquette," so to speak. With my slate wiped clean, I just listened and did what they told me to do, for the experience. At this point, there were also 2 others studying in the office with me after class as well--one male, and one female. They are expected to use the same forms of speech, and mannerisms as I am when addressing the professors or "taking orders" or what have you.
However, although this may be the case in this circumstance, I believe that cases and ineteractions vary, depending on the place, time, etc...
In regards to the work place in Japan, I have seen videos, and the men seem to be portrayed more. They were the ones working late and going drinking after. They were the ones golfing on the weekends. They were the ones sitting down with their customers. They women have been portrayed in the house, making sure their children get an education, doing the cooking and cleaning, etc. Also, from what I've heard they are the women usually are the receptionists or secretaries, they do other types of jobs. [This is only what I've seen and heard, and some of it may be a bit dated.]
As far as the treatment in the work environment, I guess mine is good because 1st I'm in America, and 2nd, because I try to do what I'm told to, exactly as I'm told to do it (it doesn't always happen that way, but I try...). However, I imagine maybe that's different in Japan...I don't really know.
As far as in the dojo, I have never trained in a dojo in Japan. I just know of my experience here in a traditional dojo in the US.
As far as Americans working in Japanese companies...I think that a male is more likely to get chosen for a company-type job. In Japan, everything is so systematic, and I guess the system is probably changing, but the folks who run the businesses aren't, and so unless there is a major turnover in business men, I guess this will be the case for a while.
I am not sure of the views held by American companies on such issues, but I guess the story of your friend gives some interesting insight.