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Maciamo
Oct 6, 2004, 18:22
BBC News : Japan mulls multicultural dawn (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3708098.stm)


Faced with calls to relax immigration restrictions, the government has shown some flexibility. The immigration bureau is in talks with the Philippines about accepting Filipino care workers - badly needed to help look after Japan's elderly.

I always hear of Phillipinos as the ideal immigrant to become care workers for the elderly. Why them in particular and not others ?


The difficulty, however, comes when considering unskilled labourers, who are currently not allowed to work in Japan.
...
"In 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, you have to ask yourself who is going to be finding the holes in the tunnel and patching them up so people don't die, who is going to be climbing the buildings to wash the windows, who is going to be building bridges and fixing bridges, and the answer is you don't have these people," he said.


I understand that this is to reduce potential social problems and crime rate (as unskilled labourers earn less and are more likely to commit cirmes in the need). But the fact is that Japan will need them above all. Not because Japan lacks unskilled labourers of its own (there are plenty of them), but because they prefer being unemployed than doing the dirty or dangerous jobs.

mad pierrot
Oct 6, 2004, 20:13
I think what really needs to be addressed here is Japan's categorical view of foreigners. I.e., foreigners are dangerous criminals, don't speak or understand anything Japanese, all speak English, etc.

Something has really been bothering me lately.
Remember those old films made in the 20's and 30's where the "help" was always some poor African American? You know, the kindly old man who means so well but is just so clumsy. "Oops, sorry massa, I didn't mean to drop it." Then the white people have a laugh and the movie continues. Comic relief.

Has anyone seen that TV programme in Japan about "Bobby"??? This TV show follows Bobby's life around Japan. The gag is watching Bobby make goof up; mispronouncing Japanese, use Japanese things the wrong way, make faces when he eats nattou, etc. Bobby does all the things that Japanese people expect a foreigner to do: fit in all the dumb stereotypes. (And have a laugh at his expense.) This didn't used to bother me, until I saw it being applied in everyday life. If I go somewhere and speak Japanese well, or show that I can do something "Japanese" (sit on my knees, etc.) no one cares. If anything, they seem miffed. However, as soon as I make a "mistake", I'm the center of attention.
Ha ha, look at the silly gaijin! He doesn't like sushi! Foreigners can't eat sushi, hahaha!

I see this kind of view being handed down and passed on, and it gets to me from time to time. For a change, I'd love to see someone Japanese make a cultural faux pass on TV.

Whew! Rant over.

Maciamo
Oct 6, 2004, 23:13
If I go somewhere and speak Japanese well, or show that I can do something "Japanese" (sit on my knees, etc.) no one cares. If anything, they seem miffed. However, as soon as I make a "mistake", I'm the center of attention.
Ha ha, look at the silly gaijin! He doesn't like sushi! Foreigners can't eat sushi, hahaha!

After arriving in Japan, some people made comments such as "oh, you can use chopsticks" (actually better than many Japanese, including my "in laws") or "nihongo jouzu desu ne" (when I was just a beginner, as I haven't heard it in a long time - since I now speak better Japanese than most of them English, for some reasons they shut up, which kind of proves it was hypocritical before).

Whenever someone ask me stupid questions like "can you eat sushi/natto ?", I first return them the question before answering. "Can you ?" Half of the time, it appears that they can't eat sushi or natto themselves (while the polls (http://www.wa-pedia.com/polls.shtml) show that most foreigners love sushi, and is even the most popular Japanese food outside Japan). If they ask "can you use chopsticks ?", I just ask them seriously "can you use a fork and a knife ?" and they understand how stupid their question was. Sometime they say "but foreigners don't use chopsticks in their country". So I reply "Foreigners ? Do you mean Chinese people ?" or "Yes, we do in Chinese restaurants" (which is partly true), and they look like the stupid ones who don't know anything about the world.


I see this kind of view being handed down and passed on, and it gets to me from time to time. For a change, I'd love to see someone Japanese make a cultural faux pass on TV.

Japanese faux-pas ? I see and hear them all the time ! I don't think there has been a single day in 3 years where I didn't meet some Japanese making some faux-pas, some more important, other less. For example, as I was teaching a student (in her thirties, working for a big company) recently, the text was about the privatizations of the 1970's in the UK. My student asked me if the 1970's was the British industrial revolution. :mad: I just said calmly "no, that was 200 years before that". She looked very embarassed...

Believe it or not, but this kind of reflections happen all the time with the Japanese. And I am only talking about college-educated adults. I have been asked "in which part of Europe was Argentina" :eek: , "whether "the official language of Belgium was Belgian" (as if such a thing existed :rolleyes: ), etc. When talking about Napoleon (ask them yourself approximately when he lived), some would think he was a medieval knight, and others tell me about Japan's 3000 year-old history, when it only started about 1500 years ago, and the current Japanese people didn't cross from Korea to Japan until around 300BC. Others don't know what is Shinto (their country's native religion) and even after explaining or showing the kanji, still have no idea. While most Japanese cannot distinguish between Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples (which is pretty easy, just from the name or the style). So, it seems to me that most (not all, but I'd say about 99% from my observations) of Japanese are ignorant of the world, of their country and other countries' s most basic history, geography and religion. Talk about faux-pas ! The funnist and most ironical is that those very Japanese often consider Westerners as cute and "a bit childish", but I can only behave toward the average Japanese as if they were children for 1) their lack of knowledge of the world and their own country, 2) for their generally irresponsible behaviour regarding all serious matters (STD's, contraceptions, politics, corruption, social laws), and 3) for their childish and naive attitude to life in general, caring only about physical pleasures (i.e. food, sex, massages, onsen).

-end of rant-

Warshrine
Oct 20, 2004, 00:12
Japan is a great place to visit and to do exchange study , but not too great a place to live your life (for a foreigner).

If i'm given the choice to immigrate , I would choose United states and Canada.