PDA

View Full Version : Common Japanese misconceptions regarding foreigners



Maciamo
Mar 9, 2005, 17:09
I have summarised here most of the ideas discussed in the past months regarding Japanese misconceptions and prejudices toward foreigners. (http://www.wa-pedia.com/culture/misconceptions_prejudices.shtml)

Feel free to further discuss it here if you wish.

NB : Due to the large number of replies and isolated discussions in this thread, I suggest that you view it in Hybrid Mode (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?mode=hybrid&t=15356)

Jungle Boy
Mar 9, 2005, 19:01
That is a very intersting list indeed, thanks for sharing it. But I think it's the same in every country and definatly not unique to Japan. You would be amazed (if you don't already know) at the general ignorance people in North America have towards Japan and even European countries. I was quite often reminded of thier ignorance when I read the article. I think the best thing anyone can do is try to be the exact opposite of the stereotype. Try to be respectable and cultured and eventually they will have no choice but to realize that those myths just arent true and hopefully, over time a better understanding will occur..

Hiroyuki Nagashima
Mar 9, 2005, 22:36
In a thought.
I meditate for a while. :?
Japanese misunderstanding :worried:
1.Do not say GAIJIN!
2.An education system of a school is bad!
3.Do not treat a foreigner like a criminal!
4.Do not discriminate against a foreigner at a hotel, a restaurant!
5.A foreigner can use chopsticks, too!
6.Do not refuse conversation with the foreigner who can speak Japanese!
7.Don't be proud of there being the four seasons, and there are even other countries.
8.Japan is not origin "Christmas" "Valentine"!
9.A CD, a video game are not invented on the telephone in Japan.
10.If a Japanese watched a white man, they think with an American!
11.Do not think that all Westerners speak English!
12.A Japanese student has a short time learning geography!
Is it such a meaning? :atchoo:
Translation is difficult. :mad:

Maciamo
Mar 9, 2005, 23:13
That is a very intersting list indeed, thanks for sharing it. But I think it's the same in every country and definatly not unique to Japan. You would be amazed (if you don't already know) at the general ignorance people in North America have towards Japan and even European countries.

As I mentioned before, North America is NOT every country, but an exception. Most Europeans are not as ignorant about Japan as Japanese are about any other countries, even their own neighbours. Do you realise that most Japanese know very little about Korea and China, a 2h flight away (nearer than the other end of Japan, wherever they live). Allmost all the Japanese people I told that Korea and China had cherry, ume or peach blossom, and that these countries had 4 seasons were surprised. It's like saying that most US citizens would be surprised to learn that it snows in winter in Canada, or for Canadians to be surprised that it could be hot in summer in Arizona. Are you telling me that the North Americans you know are so ignorant ??

Maciamo
Mar 9, 2005, 23:15
1.Do not say GAIJIN!
2.An education system of a school is bad!
3.Do not treat a foreigner like a criminal!
4.Do not discriminate against a foreigner at a hotel, a restaurant!
5.A foreigner can use chopsticks, too!
6.Do not refuse conversation with the foreigner who can speak Japanese!
7.Don't be proud of there being the four seasons, and there are even other countries.
8.Japan is not origin "Christmas" "Valentine"!
9.A CD, a video game are not invented on the telephone in Japan.
10.If a Japanese watched a white man, they think with an American!
11.Do not think that all Westerners speak English!
12.A Japanese student has a short time learning geography!
Is it such a meaning? :atchoo:
Translation is difficult. :mad:

Yes, that's pretty much what I meant.

Jungle Boy
Mar 10, 2005, 09:45
As I mentioned before, North America is NOT every country, but an exception. Most Europeans are not as ignorant about Japan as Japanese are about any other countries, even their own neighbours. Do you realise that most Japanese know very little about Korea and China, a 2h flight away (nearer than the other end of Japan, wherever they live). Allmost all the Japanese people I told that Korea and China had cherry, ume or peach blossom, and that these countries had 4 seasons were surprised. It's like saying that most US citizens would be surprised to learn that it snows in winter in Canada, or for Canadians to be surprised that it could be hot in summer in Arizona. Are you telling me that the North Americans you know are so ignorant ??

Actually I am... Some Americans actually think all Canadians live in igloos with polar bears and all the police are on horseback.... Alot of Canadians (who are ignorant because of the education system much like in Japan) have no clue about countries like the US and Mexico that are on the same continent. Not everyone mind you but a good percentage don't know alot about them and don't care. Like I said before, it's a problem everywhere.

Ma Cherie
Mar 10, 2005, 10:52
Japanese people think their the only country that has four seasons, please tell me that's lie. :souka:

Maciamo
Mar 10, 2005, 10:54
Japanese people think their the only country that has four seasons, please tell me that's lie. :souka:

Please come to Japan and see for yourself. :-)

PopCulturePooka
Mar 10, 2005, 10:59
I'm curious about this 4 seasons thing as I cant wrap my head around it.

By 4 seasons do they mean 4 obviously discernale seasons or the naming.

I mean one can argue that Australia has two seasons, but we still follow the 4 season model of Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. When Japanese asked me if Australia has four season I would always reply that of course we did.

lexico
Mar 10, 2005, 11:07
Japanese people think their the only country that has four seasons, please tell me that's lie. :souka:I'm sure you've come across at least a hundred posts regarding the 4-seasons matter. It's hilarious, but it seems to be true. I don't think anybody complaining are exaggerating.

On the other hand, I tend not to think there is genuine sarcasm when a Japanese said it, in general. It can be considered insincere, ignorant, and even blatantly rude for people from more direct, transparent cultures, I understand. And of course there must be at least a handful of Japanese who are truely xenophobic. But in most cases (I'm extrapolating from my limited experience with the Japanese) couldn't it be considered a mildly exaggerated surprise at finding something common about another country ?

When nothing is to be taken for granted, such as seeing a baby take its first step, or babling the first intelligible word, everybody's amazed. Now are they being ridiculous or sarcastic ? This may be a bad analogy, but I could also talk about aliens from another planet. I think there are positive ways of looking at the same thing.

But I can't criticize those who feel mistreated, and when the Japanese learn that fact, I'm sure they will stop. The modern norms of hospitality and PC-ness can be quite damaging, and people of both cultures should really seriously look at how to interface without major misunderstanding. It's not something everyone can grow into by long exposure.

Ma Cherie
Mar 10, 2005, 11:45
I would like to travel to Japan, but I'll probably be a freak of nature being black and all. It'll be something I'll learn to deal with. That is something hard to believe, I felt like laughing when I heard that lots of japanese believe their the only country with four seasons. But I'm not one to laugh at other peoples ignorance, no matter how hard it is not to. This just my opinion, but it seems to me that japanese people tend to display their ingnorance about other countries, than anyone I've ever met. I'm not saying that Americans and other people aren't ignorant about other countries, I'm just saying from what I have learned it seems that the japanese show it more. But then again, I could be wrong. :?

Sensuikan San
Mar 10, 2005, 13:03
I have very little experience of this, but I would suggest that the Japanese are very little different from anyone else with regard to their ignorance of another country.

I work for an American company, in Canada. On a daily basis I have to listen to almost continual whines from a select few colleagues who claim " Those ****** Americans just don't understand Canada !" As a non-Canadian with a history of working with Americans .... I am also aware that, in so many respects, those same Canadians are pretty damned ignorant of American attitudes and practices !

It amuses me.

I am also amused by the ignorance displayed by Europeans, wether they be British, German, French - you name it - with regard to both countries! (They all - with the possible exception of Russians - seem to have a particular problem with grasping a concept of the sheer size of the U.S. and Canada).

I also remember my own problems of coming to terms with a (slightly) different culture, too. That, now,also amuses me.

No, infuriating though it may be to some - I wouldn't say that the Japanese are unique in this regard. We're all a little weird sometimes.......

And ... incidentally .... How can anybody claim that Lamb is bland ? Compared with pork ?

It's enough to make me want to burn my entire collection of Australian Womens Weekly cook-books ! (Mutter, mutter ...grumble....grumble...)


Regards,

ジョン

Maciamo
Mar 10, 2005, 14:02
I have very little experience of this, but I would suggest that the Japanese are very little different from anyone else with regard to their ignorance of another country.

I work for an American company, in Canada. On a daily basis I have to listen to almost continual whines from a select few colleagues who claim " Those ****** Americans just don't understand Canada !" As a non-Canadian with a history of working with Americans .... I am also aware that, in so many respects, those same Canadians are pretty damned ignorant of American attitudes and practices !

I think you are going a step further by raising the issue not just of basic factual knowledge (Canada does have snow in winter), but cultural differences. It is much more difficult to understand another (or even one's own) country's culture (i.e. the commonly accepted attitudes, practices, customs and way of thinking), than hard facts about a country (capital, flag colours, climate, population, main languages, etc.). I do not have any problem with the Japanese not understanding other countries' culture, as this is universal. What surprised me is their general ignorance of some very basic facts about the rest of the world. I heard university-educated people who thought that Argentina was in Europe, that Napoleon was an armoured knight from the Middle Ages, that Belgian people spoke Belgian (have you ever heard of a language called Belgian ? Ever !?), or that only Japan had four seasons. A recent study (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showpost.php?p=174809&postcount=38) has shown that 3% of Japanese university students (and they have presumably tough entrance examinations) cannot point out at the US on a world map, and 44% don't know where is Iraq ! Don't even get me started about people with less good education.

I'd be interested to have comparative studies on general knowledge with Western countries. However I expect the Americans average to be close to the Japanese one, as surveys have shown that an incredibly high number of Americans think New York is their capital ! (of course, even 1% would be an incredibly high number, but I think it was more like 20%).

Sensuikan San
Mar 10, 2005, 14:17
Ah, yes ... your point is well taken.

And your statistical examples are quite scary !

I think you might be quite right in your last paragraph, though ... there seem to be an inordinate number of Americans who think it snows in Canada ...all year round..... !

Regards,

ジョン

PopCulturePooka
Mar 10, 2005, 14:29
I had a student who didn't know where the Eifel Tower was.
Two IBM systems engineers or somesuch who couldnt tell me the first man on the moon.

Comedy gold.

mad pierrot
Mar 10, 2005, 19:39
but I think it was more like 20%).

20%!?? :bikkuri:

That seems high to me, I'd like to see the data backing it up. I've never met anyone who made that mistake, but hey, maybe I just naturally gravitate towards intelligent people.
:hihi:

Regardless, I think the question at hand here is not Japan's level of ignorance about foreign culture. (Or anyother nations ignorance about any other place, for that matter.) Instead, I think it has to do with Japan's level of ignorance about its own culture. Not knowing something outside of one's culture/experience is nothing special. (As it has been demonstrated in the thread.) But why should those particular things (four seasons, etc) be unique to Japan? What has lead them to think so? That's what I'd like to know. I would say it might be Japan's isolation, but it has had more than ample time to grow accustomed foreign culture. Why does it still persist? I don't know. After being in the education business for a few years now, I have suspicions. Teachers are perpetuating many of these myths, that's for sure. (I was giving a presentation on American not too long ago, and heard my teacher announce to the class "America isn't humid.")

Maciamo
Mar 10, 2005, 20:13
I would say it might be Japan's isolation, but it has had more than ample time to grow accustomed foreign culture.

Especially that countries like Norway, Finland, Ireland or New Zealand are not less isolated, and probably all (but NZ) have less foreigners than Japan.


Why does it still persist? I don't know. After being in the education business for a few years now, I have suspicions. Teachers are perpetuating many of these myths, that's for sure. (I was giving a presentation on American not too long ago, and heard my teacher announce to the class "America isn't humid.")

Education certainly has a lot to do with it. Especially that it is controlled very closely by the government, which wants to make all their citizens feel that Japan is (superiorly) unique in the world. That's indoctrination. Japan and China aren't that different regarding government and education. The way they proceed is the same. The difference is the content (communist propaganda in China vs "unique culture and country" in Japan).

Shiro
Mar 10, 2005, 20:45
Teachers have virtually no freedom to customise their curriculum, and must follow exactly the textbooks, including for moral education and "what to think of foreigners" (it is part of the education system in Japan!), regardless of their own opinions or experience.In which class is that "what to think of foreigners" taught?
Where is it written in what textbook?
Tell me if you can find anything applies to it in this education guidelines.
http://www.mext.go.jp/a_menu/01_c.htm
the Japanese commit proportionally more crimes than the Westerners or Koreans in Japan. As I said it before, what NPA released is the crime stats of VISITORS. Permanent residents are not counted in them. So, as for Koreans, you have to subtract 489,900 (tokubetsu eijuusha) from 625,422 (tourokusha) for estimating the rate at first. Calculate it once more.
http://www.moj.go.jp/PRESS/030530-1/030530-1.html

This table of stats makes no sense.
http://www.wa-pedia.com/society/foreign_crime_in_japan.shtml
This may not be annoying at the beginning, but when someone has been living in Japan for 3, 5 or 10 years, speaks Japanese fluently and is still constantly asked whether they can use chopsticks just because they look foreign is close to racism.I agree with this point of view.
It may be difficult to believe for a Westerners that almost all Japanese believe that their country is somehow unique for having four seasons That's the weirdest misconception.
What Japanese often admire Japan's nature for is it's distinct changing of four seasons, and the blessing of nature each season has. not for that Japan has it "four".

"having unique four seasons" and "being unique for having four seasons" are completely different matters.
Indoctrination goes so far that most Japanese do not know that 1st January is not their traditional New Year day before Japan adopted the Western calendar in the late 19th century.Most Japanese do know 旧正月 and what it means.
The same goes with inventions. No the Japanese did not invent the telephone, not even the first mobile phone. They did not invent the CD (the Dutch company 'Philips' did), they did not make the first video game (some Americans did), and no, they did not invent the camera. The system of NHK (the national TV broadcaster) to tax TV owners to finance the programmes is not Japanese either. They copied it on the BBC. The list goes on ad nauseam. The half of the top 10 patent recipients in the U.S. are Japanese companies nowadays. Japanese are good at inventing, as well as at adopting other's idea, I think.
http://www.answers.com/topic/list-of-top-united-states-patent-recipients
Japanese teachers misinform their students by telling them that all Westerners speak English. This is plain lie.

Maciamo
Mar 10, 2005, 21:32
In which class is that "what to think of foreigners" taught?
Where is it written in what textbook?
Tell me if you can find anything applies to it in this education guidelines.
http://www.mext.go.jp/a_menu/01_c.htm As I said it before, what NPA released is the crime stats of VISITORS. Permanent residents are not counted in them. So, as for Koreans, you have to subtract 489,900 (tokubetsu eijuusha) from 625,422 (tourokusha) for estimating the rate at first. Calculate it once more.
http://www.moj.go.jp/PRESS/030530-1/030530-1.html

Didn't you say that it was for visitors AND residents ? How could they separate crime statistics based on whether the people are residents or not ? If they really do separate, where are the statistics for residents ? I am sure that the 1,800,000 residents (mostly Korean and Chinese) do commit at least some kind of crimes or offences.



"having unique four seasons" and "being unique for having four seasons" are completely different matters.

Exactly. No Japanese I met seemed to emphaise the fact that Japan had more distinct seasons when they asked me "does you country have 4 seasons ?". Anyway, European countries often have even more distinct seasons that Japan. In Tokyo and most of southern Japan, there is almost no winter. It snows just a few days a year, doesn't freexe (there are always flowers blossoming troughout winter). This winter, the ginko (銀杏) were still full of yellow leaves on New Year's Day, and the plum trees were already blossoming mid-February. Where is winter ?

Another seasonal change that lacks in Japan compared to Europe is major change in daylight between summer and winter. I was used to see the sun rise at 8-9am in winter (and set at 3-4pm), while it rises around 4-5am in summer and sets around 10-11pm. This is not even for Scandinavia or Scotland where the differences are even more marked.


Most Japanese do know 旧正月 and what it means.

Alright, then tell me when was the traditional New Year in today's calendar.



Japanese teachers misinform their students by telling them that all Westerners speak English.
This is plain lie.

Oh yes ? Maybe in your experience, but many of the Japanese I know (including my wife) told me that. There has been a lot of discussion about this on this forum. For example, one Japanese member explained this earlier in this thread (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14915&page=3) (see post #100 by Epigene)

miu
Mar 11, 2005, 22:59
8.Japan is not origin "Christmas" "Valentine"!
9.A CD, a video game are not invented on the telephone in Japan.


:hihi:

When I think about something like "every foreigner speaks English", I would assume it means that you're able to comunicate in English when you go to a foreign country... But this isn't even related to the topic too much :blush:

I had a Japanese friend who said that he used to think all foreigners speak Japanese with an American accent. When he saw a documentary about people studying Japanese in Europe, he was really surprised to find out their accent wasn't quite so American! Well, to be more accurate: he thought most foreigners speak Japanese with a thick American accent and was surprised when he noticed that foreigners are able to pronounce words the japanese way (e.g. for Finns pronouncing Japanese isn't quite as difficult as the Finnish pronunciation is much, much closer to japanese than English.) I was very surprised by what he said because I'd never assume something like that...

corocoro
Mar 12, 2005, 01:46
About four seasons, I read a few posts by Korean people in some forums that they said the same thing "We have four seasons." So maybe it's Asian thing? :clueless:

And Maciamo-san, I agree with what Shiro-san said.

That's the weirdest misconception.
What Japanese often admire Japan's nature for is it's distinct changing of four seasons, and the blessing of nature each season has. not for that Japan has it "four".


I also think this is totally a lie too. But I guess you wouldn't believe us(Shiro-san and me).

Japanese teachers misinform their students by telling them that all Westerners speak English.

I'm sorry to say this and I don't mean to be rude, but almost every time I read your comments about Japan, I feel really weird misconceptions in them although there are some points that I would agree with. Is that because my poor English? :p

And one more thing. I think you've said in some of your posts(and some other people too) that we Japanese think that we were superior to others. But I've never met a Japanese person in my whole life who said or acted like that. (I wonder where I can meet such narrow minded Japanese people? You should tell me! :p )

Maybe your too much european superiority(Yes, I said it! I feel a lot of it when you talk about Japanese/Japan or the U.S. It's strange you blame us for it but I feel vice versa. :sorry: ) or pride make you think that you were condescended by us? That's what I felt from your Threads.

Sorry if my comment was too direct and my choice of words were too blunt. I have NO INTENTION to offend anyone. Actually, I came to think that's good thing for people from other countries to know not only positive side but also negative side of Japan. So I'm thankful to Maciamo-san in a way, but I also feel that many misconceptions from you. :(

Maciamo
Mar 12, 2005, 09:21
I had a Japanese friend who said that he used to think all foreigners speak Japanese with an American accent.

Yes, among Westerners it's mostly native-speakers of Germanic languages, and especially English, that have problems with the Japanese pronuciation. All Latin languages, Finnish, Greek, etc speakers have all the Japanese sounds in their language (except the "h" for Latins, but that they can replace by a soft "f").

Maciamo
Mar 12, 2005, 09:54
And Maciamo-san, I agree with what Shiro-san said.

That's the weirdest misconception.
What Japanese often admire Japan's nature for is it's distinct changing of four seasons, and the blessing of nature each season has. not for that Japan has it "four".

I understand that. I know that. In fact we could argue (and some Japanese do) that Japan has 5 seasons (with the "tsuyu"), or 3 (no real winter in some places), or else. But if Japanese people admire so much the seasons that they feel the need to tell ALL foreigners about it, how comes they don't alreday know that about all Western countries have 4 seasons ? If they do know, why ask this particular question and ask it this way ? They could ask "Are the seasons in your country as distinct as in Japan ?" or "Does each season in your country last about the same time as in Japan, or are some seasons shorter and longer ?" I have no problem at all with such questions. However, I was never asked them by any of the 100+ Japanese who asked me if my country had four seasons.

So, yes the Japanese do admire the changing of seasons, and it doesn't matter if there are 3, 4 or 5 of them, as Shiro and you said. But I think that the Japanese are so indoctrinated to think that their country is unique that many of them truely believe that Western countries may not have distinct seasons.





I also think this is totally a lie too. But I guess you wouldn't believe us(Shiro-san and me).
[quote]Japanese teachers misinform their students by telling them that all Westerners speak English.

I think you are judging things too easily. Are you saying that my wife, or some of my Japanese acquaitances lied to me about this ? It may be that you and Shiro were not told by your teachers that all Westerners speak English, but some people are, and probably enough of them so that there will always be some Japanese starting to talk English to the first Westerner they see, or enough Japanese believing that any Western teacher at NOVA or such schools is a native English teacher. In fact, whatever these schools say, there are many non-native teachers too, because most Japanese don't see the difference, as they believe Westerner = Native English-speaker.



And one more thing. I think you've said in some of your posts(and some other people too) that we Japanese think that we were superior to others. But I've never met a Japanese person in my whole life who said or acted like that.

1) have you ever studied psychology and psychoanalysis (the unconscious, subconscious, etc.) ? Many Japanese (especially older generations) feel superior at an unconscious or subconscious level. Anyway, even if it was fully conscious (maybe a few people), most Japanese are too polite to tell that they feel superior, because even in very direct cultures, people rarely say it even when they think it.

2) have you never heard of theories of "nihonjinon" ? This is what I am talking about. Akio Morita , the founder of Sony, is just one example of people who don't mind saying it publicly. But many politicians also think like that, for example the mayor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara. It is because a majority of Japanese agree with his racist ideas that he was elected and re-elected. But I understand very well that most Japanese will never tell a foreigner directly that they think of them as "barbarians" (=inferior), because they want to avoid direct confrontation.

3) During WWII, the Japanese showed well enough that they felt superior and were meant to govern the world (at least Asia). Many of the older generation nowadays grew up with such a minset and such values. It is very difficult to change. So they may not say it, but still feel it's true. Many politicians or company president in Japan are in their 70's, and so most grew up with such a mentality. These people also designed the Japanese education system, and try to inculcate the notions of nihonjinron as subtly as possible, so that it does not clearly appear in textbooks because it would be condemed by the United States.

4) questions like "can you use chopsticks" or "does your country have 4 seasons" are derivatives of this national indoctrination of "nihonjinron". Even if younger Japanese don't feel it consciously, a gaijin is always only a gaijin - and so probably doesn't speak Japanese, canot eat sushi, cannot sit in seiza, cannot appreciate the beauty of the uniquely Japanese cherry blossoms, or any other prejudice.

Here is Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihonjinron)'s definition of nihonjinron. As you see, thinking that Japan is unique for its disticnt seasons or whatever is a step toward nihonjinron.

Nihonjinron (日本人論, "discourse on Japaneseness") is a Japanese term referring to culturally nationalist concepts of Japanese uniqueness. Such concepts may be scientifically, artistically, or politically produced.

I think it is sad that so many Japanese do not realise that they have been subtly indoctrinated by their education system about this. The fact that "critical thinking" is not taught in Japan is the best way to facilitate this indocrination, as too critical people would immediately notice it.

There is a reason why China or Korea pressure the Japanese government to change their history textbooks. There is a reason why Westerners like me think that Japanese have underlying racist attitudes based on the nihonjinron. There is a reason that Japan invaded all most of Asia in the 1930's and 40's. There is a reason that an openly racist politician can become twice mayor of Tokyo (as much as there is a reason for a extremist Christian to be elected as president of the USA). There is a reason why -right-conservative politicians have been in power in Japan for the last 50 years. Because that it what a majority of Japanese want, or wanted at the time.

Maciamo
Mar 12, 2005, 10:46
Maybe your too much european superiority(Yes, I said it! I feel a lot of it when you talk about Japanese/Japan or the U.S. It's strange you blame us for it but I feel vice versa.) or pride make you think that you were condescended by us? That's what I felt from your Threads.

This is a separte issue, so let me answer separately.

First of all, I do not feel associated with only one country in Europe, but neither do I feel much in common with many European countries (eg. Eastern Europe). So I use the word European to refer to myself, although I should really say North-West European.

Secondly, I come from a very individualistic society, and even there I am consider as very individualistic. That means that I wouldn't think or other people, even in my own family, as similar to me, or part of the same group.

Now, what I say about Japan, the US, Europe or any other country is an independent opinion. I do not try to elevate my country, as I don't feel part of any in particular.

You might feel like I feel superior when I said that Japan didn't invent the telephone, the CD, etc. but that's only because it makes you feel bad. If I said that the Chinese had invented the kanji, confucian values that rule Japanese society, the traditional "Japanese" zodiac, etc. would that make me feel superior ? I am not Chinese. In the same way, there were many inventions I mentioned that were American. So I was certainly not trying to make me or my country of birth feel superior.

Brooker
Mar 12, 2005, 14:08
Some Americans actually think all Canadians live in igloos with polar bears and all the police are on horseback....

Igloos? I think that might be going a little far. I think some Canadians often imagine the misconceptions about them. A twelve year old might have some misconceptions, but I think most Americans think Canada is very similar to America (which probably makes Canadians angrier than wild misconceptions :-) ).

But I agree that stupid people are everywhere and ridiculous misconceptions happen everywhere.

Sensuikan San
Mar 12, 2005, 14:32
A twelve year old might have some misconceptions, but I think most Americans think Canada is very similar to America (which probably makes Canadians angrier than wild misconceptions :-))

You're right on the button, bud ! It does.

I can only asume that the reverse is true !

Regards

(Don't blame me - I'm British !) ジョン :relief:

Maciamo
Mar 12, 2005, 14:56
But I agree that stupid people are everywhere and ridiculous misconceptions happen everywhere.

What titillates my interest is the constancy and homogeneity of Japanese misconceptions. It always seem to be the same erroneous ideas that come back again and again, regardless of the person's socio-economic background or region of origin within Japan.

Brooker
Mar 12, 2005, 15:10
Yeah, I worked with a lot of Canadians while in Japan and I learned that most of them are desperate to prove that Canada is very unique and has nothing in common with America. Wanna piss off your Canadian friends? Say something like this, "You know, I've been to Canada and America, and really I can't see any difference." :D On second thought, don't do it. They'll probably run you out of town.

Brooker
Mar 12, 2005, 15:14
The four seasons thing was always a mystery to me. I was asked that a few times and I was never sure what they were asking me. I didn't know about their misconception at the time. To me that's like saying, "Did you know that in America, when you drop something, it falls down, instead of up."

mad pierrot
Mar 12, 2005, 16:12
I've seen a Scottish man almost kill a Japanese person for introducing him as "from England."

People beware......

:p

mad pierrot
Mar 12, 2005, 21:20
Just something random to add:

Tonight someone asked me if we have toothpicks in America.

Index
Mar 12, 2005, 22:07
I was asked about the four seasons countless times as well and I came to the conclusion that the issue was the sudden, abrupt change in seasons more than the fact that there are four seasons. Actually, where I grew up the seasons blend in to each other over quite a long time and it's not easy to categorically state when it is summer or autumn etc, so I found the 'precise' seasons in Japan quite novel.

Maciamo
Mar 12, 2005, 22:15
Actually, where I grew up the seasons blend in to each other over quite a long time and it's not easy to categorically state when it is summer or autumn etc, so I found the 'precise' seasons in Japan quite novel.

Well, I don't find the Japanese seasons so clear-cut. There were still yellow leaves on most gingko trees in central Tokyo for the New Year, and one and a half month later the plum trees were already blossoming. However, 2 weeks later (early March) we got the first snow, and 1 week after that () some winter cherry trees were already blossoming too, although it's still cold.

As for summer, one year we get rain for 3 weeks in July and temperature around 25'C, the next we get only 2 short showers in the same period and temperature reaching almost 40'C.

In Tokyo winters are warmer than almost anywhere south except southern Kyushu and Okinawa.

Let's say the seasons here are a bit f#cked up.

TwistedMac
Mar 12, 2005, 22:45
about speaking english to foreigners/assuming we all speak English:
You can't please everyone. If a Japanese person sees a foreigner and wishes to communicate, his best bet is going to be English.. He can't read minds, he can't speak all languages and odds are better this person knows English than Japanese.

And starting off in English then turning to Japanese when it turns out the foreigner knows Japanese is in no way rude or impolite.

Mike Cash
Mar 13, 2005, 10:13
The four seasons thing was always a mystery to me. I was asked that a few times and I was never sure what they were asking me. I didn't know about their misconception at the time. To me that's like saying, "Did you know that in America, when you drop something, it falls down, instead of up."

It has always been a mystery to me how something like climate/weather can become such a matter or national pride. After all, if we took the entire populations of, for example, Japan and Greenland and swapped them en masse their respective climates wouldn't make the move with them. In other words, while climate may arguably play a role in shaping the character of a nation and it's people, the people can lay no claim to shaping the character of the climate.

I'll never forget one Japanese fellow who was bragging on how hot, humid and miserable summers are in "Japan" (actually: "Japan" = "our corner of Gunma"). He asked me about the summers where I am from. Basically he wanted me to acknowledge that summers in "Japan" were more intolerable (and that the fact that wareware Nihonjin were tolerating them made them something special, I guess).

I informed him that summers in my home area, West Tennessee, are every bit as hot, humid and miserable as summers in East Gunma. He insisted this couldn't be true. I told him it was. This went back and forth several times, with the guy getting more and more irate. I seriously thought he was going to attack me. He was that pissed off about it. If I hadn't been twice his size, I suspect I would have had a fight on my hands.....and all over something as asinine and unattributable to the virtues of the people of a nation as what sort of weather they have.

mad pierrot
Mar 13, 2005, 10:49
Funny story, mike.

It reminds me of something I heard my girlfriend say last fall. We were talking a stroll down the philosophers path in Kyoto. Looking at all the fall colors, she commented, "This makes me proud to be Japanese."

Needless to say, I kept my mouth shut.
(at least for that time being)
:relief:

Maciamo
Mar 13, 2005, 13:29
Today, I overheard a conversation between my wife and her grandmother. My wife was explaining that there were more and more vegetarians in Western countries* because many people do not want to kill animals. The grandmother replied "if they are so sensitive, how come they always start wars" ! I refrained myself from saying that it was Japan that invaded Asia and attacked the USA, not the other way round. That's another kind of prejudice held by elderly people, who usually see Westerners as barbarians.

I have even heard old Japanese people saying that the only fact that Westerners were more hairy proved that they were less civilized ! I also refrained from explaining how hairiness is due to high testosterone, which can be a sign of more rational and analytical minds, as opposed too over-emotional people who think that having lots of cherry trees make them more civilized. There are definitely advantages to the fact that Japanese assume that the gaijin sitting at the next table cannot understand what they are saying. :okashii:

*Btw, we saw a TV programme in Japan explaining the way lobsters had to be killed in Australia to prevent them from suffering - basically by putting the lobsters a few minutes in ice-cold water as an anaestesia, then cutting through the body from head to tail in one quick movement.

Rgchrono
Mar 13, 2005, 14:29
you know what is odd....?

some of my japanese friends do not know where Guatemala is located. >_<

some of them wanted to know where my parents were from I said, "My dad is from Mexico", which they were able to understand where that was, " and my mom is from Guatemala." That totaly left them out in the dark. They didn't know where it was. >_<

I confused them a lot more when I said, "you don't know where guatamala is??...it is next to Salvador and Nigaragua." That totaly confused them and they didn't have a clue what on earth I was talking about. >_<

Yet again, I've met some japanese people online who studied spanish. And when I told them where my parents were form, they were able to understand where those places were located. ^_^

Everybody has to learn something new from time to time. ^_^

Brooker
Mar 13, 2005, 14:35
I don't think it's odd to be proud of the beauty of your home (even if you had nothing to do with making it beautiful).

One of my coworkers told me that a Japanese student once asked him if there were McDonald's in America. :D True story.

Maciamo
Mar 13, 2005, 18:57
you know what is odd....?

some of my japanese friends do not know where Guatemala is located. >_<

some of them wanted to know where my parents were from I said, "My dad is from Mexico", which they were able to understand where that was, " and my mom is from Guatemala." That totaly left them out in the dark. They didn't know where it was. >_<

I confused them a lot more when I said, "you don't know where guatamala is??...it is next to Salvador and Nigaragua." That totaly confused them and they didn't have a clue what on earth I was talking about.

That's not odd. Japanese people are usually so bad at geography that 44% of the university students don't know where Iraq is (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showpost.php?p=174809&postcount=38), although it's one of the most talked about country in the world since Saddam came to power in 1979, and especially since the Gulf War of 1991 and again 2 years ago.

The same article also says that 7% of Japanese highscool students can't find the USA on a world map !!

nurizeko
Mar 13, 2005, 19:44
reading the article and having said it somewhere before, i really think the japanese school system needs to change, and instead of creating drones for bussinesses, they should try and actually do a good job as educators and instill a love of learning.

in the west i think its unacceptable for a child to go through school, and yet be allowed to retain ignorance.

but apart from my personal opinion that the education system betrays the ideals of teaching and actually enlightening, and focuses more on simply churning out good little drones like a factory, most of japans problems are simply examples of what can be found in any western country, britain itself, my home country, has a group of individuals refered to as chav's, neds, the non-working class, it infuriates me no end how not only are these people ignorant, they seem perfectly happy to retain their ignorance, call me a snob, but i just feel that its impossible from my point of view how anyone would want to stay so ignorant of the world and themselves, it just boggles my mind...anyway i rant on...

its up to the enlightened japanese who do take interest in the world otuside, to try and see that the education system in japan is reformed, because its good at churning out workers, but not very good at churning out educated thoughtful individuals, and being the snob i am, i think thats unacceptable lol, sorry, i just love learning, you dont need to be a rocket scientist, but just have SOME interest in knowing the world outside your own little bubble.

Shiro
Mar 13, 2005, 20:12
That's not odd. Japanese people are usually so bad at geography that 44% of the university students don't know where Iraq is (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showpost.php?p=174809&postcount=38), although it's one of the most talked about country in the world since Saddam came to power in 1979, and especially since the Gulf War of 1991 and again 2 years ago.

The same article also says that 7% of Japanese highscool students can't find the USA on a world map !!
WHAT ABOUT AMERICANS?

Among 18- to 24-year-old Americans given maps: (http://archives.cnn.com/2002/EDUCATION/11/20/geography.quiz/)

87 percent cannot find Iraq
83 percent cannot find Afghanistan
76 percent cannot find Saudi Arabia
70 percent cannot find New Jersey
49 percent cannot find New York
11 percent cannot find the United States

Maciamo
Mar 13, 2005, 20:30
WHAT ABOUT AMERICANS?

Among 18- to 24-year-old Americans given maps: (http://archives.cnn.com/2002/EDUCATION/11/20/geography.quiz/)

87 percent cannot find Iraq
83 percent cannot find Afghanistan
76 percent cannot find Saudi Arabia
70 percent cannot find New Jersey
49 percent cannot find New York
11 percent cannot find the United States

Well, that confirms what I always said. The education system in the US sucks even more than in Japan. :p Thanks for the stats ! Do you have the data for any EU country ?

Lacan
Mar 13, 2005, 20:38
Well the same goes for the French. I was humiliated when the master of ceremonies at Moulin Rouge asked me to do a katate chop on stage. Do they really think all Asians are Japanese, and that all Japanese can do Karate chops ? Does it ever strike the French that I could be seriously offended by that kind of language when I'm there as a visitor ?

Some french people think all Asians are chinese, and that all chinese can do karate chops :shock: some friends of mine still think I'm dating a chinese girl (even after 6 years) and when I say she is JAPANESE they are like "it's the same thing, isn't" :box:

please accept my sincere apologies for the stupidity of some of my fellow citizen :sorry:

Maciamo
Mar 13, 2005, 20:49
reading the article and having said it somewhere before, i really think the japanese school system needs to change, and instead of creating drones for bussinesses, they should try and actually do a good job as educators and instill a love of learning.

Totally agree.


in the west i think its unacceptable for a child to go through school, and yet be allowed to retain ignorance.

After lots of debating with forum members, I think this is more of a European thing rather than really "Western". In the US it depends a lot on how lucky you are with your school and teachers rather than a national consciousness that education should give the desire to learn by oneself and know the basics common knowledge (history, geography, sciences, maths, languages...) even if it doesn't serve you for your job. At least you won't look stupid in an internation community ! As for the UK, in regard to your next remark, one's views on the importance of knowledge depends very much on one's social class (maybe in France too, to a lesser extend). Because of this image of lower class people who are by definition ignorant (as class are not fixed, and anybody born working-class who becomes well-educated and cultivated automatically changes class), it is only natural that the Brits (and some other Europeans) see ignorant people as lower-class. Well, manners can partly make up for it, which helps the Japanese look middle-class, but not the average American.



its up to the enlightened japanese who do take interest in the world otuside, to try and see that the education system in japan is reformed, because its good at churning out workers, but not very good at churning out educated thoughtful individuals, and being the snob i am, i think thats unacceptable lol, sorry, i just love learning, you dont need to be a rocket scientist, but just have SOME interest in knowing the world outside your own little bubble.

In my experience, a Japanese is more easily offended if told that Japan looks poor or that Japan's seasons are not different from most other countries, than if told that he/she personally is stupid ("baka", which isn't much of an insult in Japan) or ignorant (translated as "mugaku" or "mukyoiku", but not very common words in Japanese, as people don't really care anyway). It is almost difficult to imagine a Japanese getting really offended for being told they are stupid or ignorant, but they surely will if you say they dress like homeless or their bag "looks" cheap. I am pretty sure that most European wouldn't care much about being told that they or their country looks poor or whatever, but would be offended to be called stupid or ignorant if they are well-educated (sometimes even if they are not).

PopCulturePooka
Mar 13, 2005, 21:43
A teacher who posts at another board was once asked by an older married Japanese couple if foreigners get back pain.

corocoro
Mar 13, 2005, 21:56
I understand that. I know that. In fact we could argue (and some Japanese do) that Japan has 5 seasons (with the "tsuyu"), or 3 (no real winter in some places), or else. But if Japanese people admire so much the seasons that they feel the need to tell ALL foreigners about it, how comes they don't alreday know that about all Western countries have 4 seasons ? If they do know, why ask this particular question and ask it this way ? They could ask "Are the seasons in your country as distinct as in Japan ?" or "Does each season in your country last about the same time as in Japan, or are some seasons shorter and longer ?" I have no problem at all with such questions. However, I was never asked them by any of the 100+ Japanese who asked me if my country had four seasons.
Okay. :-)


Japanese are so indoctrinated to think that their country is unique that many of them truely believe that Western countries may not have distinct seasons.
indoctrinated by who? and what for? :okashii:
I think it's just we are a country who appreciate and admire very much the nature that we are blessed with. And this doesn't mean that we think we are more unique or superor to others, other countries or nature in other countries. The idea like Western countries may not have distinct seasons is simply coming from ignorance. I think nothing has to do with uniqueness.



I think you are judging things too easily.
May I say the same thing to you? :p
It's no problem to say "some" Japanese teachers "seems" to misinform their students. But how can you be so sure about it when you say "only" your wife and some of your acquaintances said so? And No, ofcause I don't think your wife and the acquaintances lied. But I'm almost certain that you misconstrue what they meant. It's too obviously weird idea for Japanese so me and Shiro-san couldn't stop claiming it's not ture. Please ask them again and make sure if they meant that "all" Westerners speak English and if they think it's a common idea that we have been taught about it in Japan.



there will always be some Japanese starting to talk English to the first Westerner they see,
Yes, Because it's the language we study at school. And it is considered a international language. So we assume most of the Westerners probably speak some of it. That's all.



enough Japanese believing that any Western teacher at NOVA or such schools is a native English teacher. In fact, whatever these schools say, there are many non-native teachers too, because most Japanese don't see the difference, as they believe Westerner = Native English-speaker.
Yes, Many Japanese believe that Western teachers at those schools are native English speakers because those schools are for learning "English". And There are probably many Japanse who can't tell the difference and believe that the teaters are native, but There are also many Japanese who can tell the difference and rather feel disappointed on the lessons.



1) have you ever studied psychology and psychoanalysis (the unconscious, subconscious, etc.) ? Many Japanese (especially older generations) feel superior at an unconscious or subconscious level. Anyway, even if it was fully conscious (maybe a few people), most Japanese are too polite to tell that they feel superior, because even in very direct cultures, people rarely say it even when they think it.
I don't think you need to study psychology to understand the unconscious and subconscious... :relief:

So if I study psychology, is it okay to make generalization like you do? I told you I have never met a Japanese who imply superiority toward non-Japanese people in my life. Maybe you could consider the fact a little. I think Japan is still too homogeneous that we barely have a oppotunity to communicate with non-Japanese people unless you have a certain interest in other cultures or you live in a certain place in a big city. I really don't want to be rude, but to be honest, most of Japanese barely think about Gaikokujin in our everyday life... And Have you ever imagin that we might have experienced the same kind of unconscious and subconscious superiority from Western people? :relief:



2) have you never heard of theories of "nihonjinon" ? This is what I am talking about. Akio Morita , the founder of Sony, is just one example of people who don't mind saying it publicly. But many politicians also think like that, for example the mayor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara. It is because a majority of Japanese agree with his racist ideas that he was elected and re-elected. But I understand very well that most Japanese will never tell a foreigner directly that they think of them as "barbarians" (=inferior), because they want to avoid direct confrontation.
"nihonjin-ron" It's just a theory...
Excuse me? You really believe A majority of Japanese agree with his racist idea? Most of us disagree with it. We are supporting for him because he carries out his word unlike other politicians who seems to take forever to decide one tiny thing.



3) During WWII, the Japanese showed well enough that they felt superior and were meant to govern the world (at least Asia).
If the past has something to do with superiority, Japan won't be the only one, I guess.



try to inculcate the notions of nihonjinron as subtly as possible, so that it does not clearly appear in textbooks
What for? :souka:



4) questions like "can you use chopsticks" or "does your country have 4 seasons" are derivatives of this national indoctrination of "nihonjinron". Even if younger Japanese don't feel it consciously,
Again, What for? What is the benefit for us to doing so when it seems to only bothers many non-Japanese like you do?



a gaijin is always only a gaijin - and so probably doesn't speak Japanese, canot eat sushi, cannot sit in seiza, cannot appreciate the beauty of the uniquely Japanese cherry blossoms, or any other prejudice.
This part, I'd agree with you 100%. We really need to change. But one thing I really like you to know is most of these ideas are comming from ignorance not from superiority.



Here is Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihonjinron)'s definition of nihonjinron. As you see, thinking that Japan is unique for its disticnt seasons or whatever is a step toward nihonjinron.

I think it is sad that so many Japanese do not realise that they have been subtly indoctrinated by their education system about this. The fact that "critical thinking" is not taught in Japan is the best way to facilitate this indocrination, as too critical people would immediately notice it.
You are assuming again...



There is a reason why China or Korea pressure the Japanese government to change their history textbooks.
There must also be some reason for us why we don't then...



There is a reason why Westerners like me think that Japanese have underlying racist attitudes based on the nihonjinron. There is a reason that Japan invaded all most of Asia in the 1930's and 40's. There is a reason that an openly racist politician can become twice mayor of Tokyo (as much as there is a reason for a extremist Christian to be elected as president of the USA). There is a reason why -right-conservative politicians have been in power in Japan for the last 50 years. Because that it what a majority of Japanese want, or wanted at the time
Yes, They are a reason for things. But most of part, You are just assuming things as you wish to be. To me, It seems as if you are rejecting the fact that we Japanese are just same human being as anybody else. I really don't know why you want to distinguish people like Japanese, American or European that much. I've learned by visiting other countries that after all, no matter what color you are, people are basically all the same. So your idea surprises me a lot. :relief:

Anyway, This post might be miss the point a lot. This is beyond my poor English ability. I hope you would understand what I mean.

Thank you for reading.

Index
Mar 13, 2005, 22:25
Yes, They are a reason for things. But most of part, You are just assuming things as you wish to be. To me, It seems as if you are rejecting the fact that we Japanese are just same human being as anybody else. I really don't know why you want to distinguish people like Japanese, American or European that much. I've learned by visiting other countries that after all, no matter what color you are, people are basically all the same. So your idea surprises me a lot.

I think this is an important point. Whilst we are all the same, we are also all different, so generalizations regarding national characteristics are bound to fail. It's too easy to extrapolate beyond your own experiences, but that can be fraught with danger.

Maciamo
Mar 13, 2005, 23:46
indoctrinated by who? and what for?

Let me answer here all the "what for" in your post. :-) The people who wish to indoctrinate the Japanese population usually have a strong ego and believe themselves that the Japanese are superior to other peoples. These are the Japanese politicians (maybe not all, but probably quite a lot of them from what I have seen, heard and read about them). It's only natural for some humans to want power and pride, and politicians are a sort of special gathering of the people who feel the most like this - especially in big countries like Japan, the US, UK, France, etc. because that make them feel even more powerful and proud to control a rich and populous country.

Try to feel how the leaders of Japan during WWII felt, and understand what was their motivation to invade Asia. Power, pride, and a sense of superiority. Unfortunately, this is part of human nature, and such people are to be found in every country. The problem I feel about Japan (not at first, but the more I read about Japanese politics, the more I feel so), is that the way of thinking of high-ranking politicians has changed little since WWII regarding their greed for power, pride and has even increased regarding money. They now have to be politically correct vis-a-vis the United States, because they lost the war and still feel it. But their pride is still strong, and one way of showing it was by rebuilding the country and try to surpass the US economically.

When that suceeded in the 1980's (the Bubble years), not only the politicians but many Japanese felt superior to the rest of the world. You can't deny it because many books were written at that time by many Japanese people to explain how everything Japanese was better and more efficient than in other countries. Their ego literally followed the rise of the stock exchange. It's only with the bubble burst from 1990 and 15 years of sluggish economic growth that most of the Japanese really started to wonder what was wrong with them, their political system, their management style or their education system. You can't deny that. Everybody knows it.

So now you tell me that the Japanese do not feel superior. Well, maybe they can't admit it because it's not politically correct, AND the economy cannot prove it anymore (that's where we see how money is important to rate things in Japan - more than one's knowledge of the world). So frustrated Japanese people turn their hidden (subconscious) sentiment of superiority to something else. That's when we see the media accusing foreigners of the rise in crimes (few people question that it could be due to 15 years of economic slowdown). Instead of fairly reporting all crime cases, the news agencies concentrate on "foreign crime" and insinuate that all the problems of Japan are caused by the increased foreign population. And people like Shintaro Ishihara get elected and re-elected in Tokyo (the most cosmopolitan and "liberal" city in Japan - so I wonder how that is in the conservative countryside !). Do you mean that there is not even one other trustworthy politician in all Tokyo to elect instead of a self-proclaimed racist ? With the things he said and wrote in his book (the "Nanjing massacre never happened", etc.), he would have been banned from being governor in most European countries. (for instance, Jorg Hayder party in Austria, the Vlaams Blok in Belgium, etc. were forbidden to form any ruling party).

I have witnessed myself how the police stops any foreigner in the street for no reason just because "a gaijin is always suspect". I am not the only one to feel so. Just check Arudo Debito's website (http://www.debito.org/"). I have also seen sign "foreigners and dogs not allowed", and experience being refused accommodation by landowners who had never seen me just because I had a foreign name. These kind of things happen everyday in Japan. So no matter how many times you tell me that Japanese do not feel superior (eg. morally, being better behaved, less "risky", etc.) or are not even a bit racist, I won't believe you from my personal experiences.

I think that most Japanese do not realise that they are being indoctrinated since their birth by the government via the media and schools, but they are, otherwise they wouldn't hold such homogenous prejudices against foreigners, foreign countries or even foreign languages (see my new addition "Chinese is similar to English" in the original article).


Yes, Many Japanese believe that Western teachers at those schools are native English speakers because those schools are for learning "English". And There are probably many Japanse who can't tell the difference and believe that the teaters are native, but There are also many Japanese who can tell the difference and rather feel disappointed on the lessons.

But native speakers are not always the best teachers. Many lack qualifications to teach or have a personality that is not made for teaching. But a non-native speakers who has become as fluent as a native knows how to learn that language, and can usually teach it better than natives. The problem is that not all of them speak decent English, even (or especially?) in school like NOVA.


I really don't know why you want to distinguish people like Japanese, American or European that much. I've learned by visiting other countries that after all, no matter what color you are, people are basically all the same.

I have a very international experience, having lived in 7 countries and visited over 30 more. However I disagree with you. All humans may be the same in average, notwithstanding interpersonal differences even inside the same family (different character, interests, intelligence...). But it is very possible to compare whole countries, based on their culture (mentality) and education system. This last one is what distinguises so much Japan, Europe and the US. Eventhough there are many very different cultures inside Europe, the education system in each country is more similar than with any non-European country, which is what unites Europeans.

My complaints are not about Japanese people as human beings, but about the education system (school + home). It makes the Japanese ignorant of the rest of the world, and ignorance creates racism (police, discrimination about accommodation, etc.) or other problems (insulting comments about using chopsticks, etc.). I hope you understand.

ArmandV
Mar 14, 2005, 00:19
I don't think it's odd to be proud of the beauty of your home (even if you had nothing to do with making it beautiful).

One of my coworkers told me that a Japanese student once asked him if there were McDonald's in America. :D True story.

The same thing happened to one of our tour members last summer. :p

miu
Mar 14, 2005, 20:51
Yes, among Westerners it's mostly native-speakers of Germanic languages, and especially English, that have problems with the Japanese pronuciation. All Latin languages, Finnish, Greek, etc speakers have all the Japanese sounds in their language (except the "h" for Latins, but that they can replace by a soft "f").

I'm quite sure that the Japanese /u/ doesn't exist in Finnish as well as the /r/. I had to pay serious attention to the Japanese /r/ because it's so different - we roll our r's much more :blush: And the pronunciation of /u/ in Japanese is much closer to the Swedish /u/, so I don't think it exists in Finnish... But I could be wrong, though!

Maciamo
Mar 14, 2005, 21:13
I'm quite sure that the Japanese /u/ doesn't exist in Finnish as well as the /r/. I had to pay serious attention to the Japanese /r/ because it's so different - we roll our r's much more :blush: And the pronunciation of /u/ in Japanese is much closer to the Swedish /u/, so I don't think it exists in Finnish... But I could be wrong, though!

True, but if you pronounce Japanese r's as l's, they will understand. Just roll you l's a bit and you'll sound like a Japanese. The Japanese 'u' is between the French 'u' and 'ou'. It's true that it's not exactly the same, but the Japanese themselves sometimes pronounce it more like one or the other, depending on the word.

Harvey
Mar 14, 2005, 21:32
Just something random to add:

Tonight someone asked me if we have toothpicks in America.

I've been asked the same thing heh.

After reading this thread. Well... you know... island nation. Homogeneous population... What can you expect?

kirei_na_me
Mar 14, 2005, 22:02
I've been asked the same thing heh.

After reading this thread. Well... you know... island nation. Homogeneous population... What can you expect?

That's my husband's excuse for everything. Every answer starts, "When you live on island country..."

:okashii:

PopCulturePooka
Mar 15, 2005, 07:34
That's my husband's excuse for everything. Every answer starts, "When you live on island country..."

:okashii:
Which is bollocks...
Ask him why New Zealanders don' have the same mindset?

kirei_na_me
Mar 15, 2005, 07:38
Which is bollocks...

Exactly.


Ask him why New Zealanders don' have the same mindset?

I'm going to the next time he starts up with that...and it won't be long.

Maciamo
Mar 15, 2005, 08:33
Which is bollocks...
Ask him why New Zealanders don' have the same mindset?

Why, Austalians are not islanders ? Well Australia doesn't have any land boundaries with other countries.

We could also add Britain, Malta, Cyprus, etc. None of these countries have the same "island mentality" as Japan (just a bot for Britain whe it comes to joining the euro, riding on the right, or stuff like that).

PopCulturePooka
Mar 16, 2005, 21:29
Why, Austalians are not islanders ? Well Australia doesn't have any land boundaries with other countries.

We could also add Britain, Malta, Cyprus, etc. None of these countries have the same "island mentality" as Japan (just a bot for Britain whe it comes to joining the euro, riding on the right, or stuff like that).
Heh I used NZ for its closer geographical size.

corocoro
Mar 16, 2005, 23:23
Maciamo-san,
I didn't post in this tread because I was offended nor defensive as a Japanese, but I simply felt that your idea is full of misconceptions. I mainly wanted to let you know it's not like what you assume to make you feel more relieved and comfortable. :-)

But I have not much things to say since you are so determined to your idea. But Perhaps Isn't it you who actually want to believe the idea that Japanese feel superior to others, but not us Japanese? That's what I felt from your posts.:p

corocoro
Mar 17, 2005, 22:51
Hi Suleiman58-san,
I think the explanation in my posts is not enough because of my very limited English. So some(many?) people would misunderstand what I mean...


we all confident that the life of every one of us is going to an end , is not it ??

We must search for eternal life with happiness.

This is a reality..... with real proof ... gloriuos evidence .........
I'm sorry I'm not sure what you really meant. But I know that everyone judges things based on his/her experience and we are searching for happiness. So I won't deny there are racists or people who feel superiority in Japan nor your/Maciamo-sans experience. But Every country has those type of people. And I also think it's too easy to generalize a whole nation by ones experience or reading books. And it may narrow one's scope. That is my concern.

I can understand why many non-Japanese people like here have misconceptions about our country. Because our custom/habit/our way of dealing with foreign people/launguage problem... all these things are mixed badly and makes it look like racisum. If I wasn't Japanese, I would probably have felt the same thing. That's why I would like to clear up some misunderstandings.

Anyway, Here's some examples...

1)foreigners are forbidden signs...
We actually do this among Japanese. People who have tattoo are forbidden at public bathhouse, and there are stickers which says "Salespeople are forbidden." or " Hucksters are forbidden." I think this is the way we avoid troubles beforehand, In this case, it's not foreign people but the troubles that we may have(launguage/manner).

2)Lesidential issue...
Well, I think it would be the same reason as I mentioned above. I've heard some same stories that Japanese landlords treated foreign people the same way they did to Japanese first, but there were many troubles occurred between them so they become reluctant to lend rooms to foreigners.

I know it's not acceptable to generalize all the foreign people like this, but knowing these reasons may also be helpful when non-Japanese people deal with us Japanese. :relief:

Maciamo
Mar 17, 2005, 23:51
1)foreigners are forbidden signs...
We actually do this among Japanese. People who have tattoo are forbidden at public bathhouse, and there are stickers which says "Salespeople are forbidden." or " Hucksters are forbidden." I think this is the way we avoid troubles beforehand, In this case, it's not foreign people but the troubles that we may have(launguage/manner).

People with tatooes in Japan are usually yakuza. Forbidding foreigners is equal to saying that foreigners are as bad/dangerous as yakuza. I understand perfectly what you mean.


2)Residential issue...
Well, I think it would be the same reason as I mentioned above. I've heard some same stories that Japanese landlords treated foreign people the same way they did to Japanese first, but there were many troubles occurred between them so they become reluctant to lend rooms to foreigners.

I know it's not acceptable to generalize all the foreign people like this, but knowing these reasons may also be helpful when non-Japanese people deal with us Japanese. :relief:

I am sure most landlords don't have more problems with (Japanese-speaking) Westerners than with Japanese. I went to some big real etate agencies with my wife, and they said frankly that most landlords didn't want to rent apartments to foreigners, even Westerners with a stable job and married to a Japanese, and even with as several Japanese guarantors. However, most Japanese landlords have never rent anything to foreigners (or at least Westerners). In English, this s called prejudice (=unjust behaviour formed on a preconceived opinion not based on actual facts or experience).

corocoro
Mar 18, 2005, 21:20
People with tatooes in Japan are usually yakuza. Forbidding foreigners is equal to saying that foreigners are as bad/dangerous as yakuza. I understand perfectly what you mean.
Is this my English? or Are you just trying to ignore my point? I think You totally don't understand what I mean... You don't even try to understand which makes me feel a little sorry.:p



I am sure most landlords don't have more problems with (Japanese-speaking) Westerners than with Japanese. I went to some big real etate agencies with my wife, and they said frankly that most landlords didn't want to rent apartments to foreigners, even Westerners with a stable job and married to a Japanese, and even with as several Japanese guarantors. However, most Japanese landlords have never rent anything to foreigners (or at least Westerners). In English, this s called prejudice (=unjust behaviour formed on a preconceived opinion not based on actual facts or experience).
That's terrible situation you had to face with. I'm so sorry to hear these things actually happen to many foreign people in my country. I sincerely hope things like this will improve better way and non-Japanese people would be able to spend more pleasant time here.

Gee, I am acting like Maciamo-san's stalker here! Sorry Maciamo-san. :sorry:

Have a good night! :-)

lexico
Mar 18, 2005, 21:44
Gee, I am acting like Maciamo-san's stalker here!If you were Maciamo-san's stalker-san, Corocoro-san, I'd be his devil-san ! :evil:

misa.j
Mar 18, 2005, 22:14
This report was on the radio last night. It's been said many times on this forum, and I hate to be redundant, but I thought it will clear your views a little more. I really hope they make new laws, and some drastic changes will be done against how foreigners are treated in Japan, or I don't want to go back there again.

den4 had posted the direct link.

kirei_na_me
Mar 18, 2005, 22:43
Is this my English? or Are you just trying to ignore my point? I think You totally don't understand what I mean... You don't even try to understand which makes me feel a little sorry.:p

I think he, and everyone else, understands what you're saying. I believe the point he's trying to make is that it's just not fair.

Sounds like my husband. Just because he can explain something, it doesn't mean he's right.

I also think that everyone understands that you can't change it. Things like this won't change overnight.

den4
Mar 18, 2005, 23:39
This report was on the radio last night. It's been said many times on this forum, and I hate to be redundant, but I thought it will clear your views a little more. I really hope they make new laws, and some drastic changes will be done against how foreigners are treated in Japan, or I don't want to go back there again.

http://theworld.org/
Click on the title:It's not easy being foreign in Japan.
:D
I just put the same story on another thread... LOL
but here is the direct download link:
http://www.theworld.org/content/03174.wma
the dailies keep getting changed, and people may have a hard time finding it again.... :D

kirei_na_me
Mar 18, 2005, 23:58
It won't play for me? :?

misa.j
Mar 19, 2005, 07:59
Thanks for the link, den4. Yeah, I kind of had a feeling the site would have totally different reports everyday, and that particular one would get lost.

I got the error message when I tried to attach the direct link, that said it was too big.

kirei, I hope it works for you because it's an interesting report.

lexico
Mar 19, 2005, 08:02
I listened to the very interesting broadcast (alarming, to be honest!). I also downloaded it, so if you want one, I can mail it to you. But somebody needs to tell me how I can attach it to my PM's, or where the directions are. :blush:

Maciamo
Mar 19, 2005, 19:41
I have added an important misconception to the list : Japanese used to be farmers, while Europeans used to be hunters (http://www.wa-pedia.com/culture/misconceptions_prejudices.shtml#Farmers)

Ma Cherie
Mar 20, 2005, 03:16
"Chinese and English are similar" that's the strangest thing I've ever heard. But then, most Westerns believe that Chinese and Japanese are very similar. When in fact, coming from someone who's studied both Chinese and Japanese, they're very different languages. However, it would probably make more sense for Chinese and Japanese to sound more similar than English and Chinese.

lexico
Mar 20, 2005, 03:34
"Chinese and English are similar" that's the strangest thing I've ever heard.I may not have been the first to say it, but I do believe that Chinese & English share many interesting features. Please see this thread Write English in Kanji (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=679), post #13.

Brooker
Mar 20, 2005, 05:38
Chinese and Japanese are probably about as similar as English and French or something. But I don't know any Chinese or French, so what do I know? :clueless:

Silverbackman
Mar 20, 2005, 05:56
What are some common Japanese misconceptions of people who look Indian (from India)? Just curious, since most of the talk seems to be how Japanese view white people.

ArmandV
Mar 20, 2005, 07:13
I am sure most landlords don't have more problems with (Japanese-speaking) Westerners than with Japanese. I went to some big real etate agencies with my wife, and they said frankly that most landlords didn't want to rent apartments to foreigners, even Westerners with a stable job and married to a Japanese, and even with as several Japanese guarantors. However, most Japanese landlords have never rent anything to foreigners (or at least Westerners). In English, this s called prejudice (=unjust behaviour formed on a preconceived opinion not based on actual facts or experience).


You're right! It is unfair. Maybe it is about time that Japan passes fair housing laws like we have in the U.S.

Ma Cherie
Mar 20, 2005, 07:26
What are some common Japanese misconceptions of people who look Indian (from India)? Just curious, since most of the talk seems to be how Japanese view white people.

My darling you'll probably get stared at, gawked at possibly, asked questions that would seem stupid to you, just like most foreigners who travel to Japan. I wouldn't worry too much about that, though. Because you'll probably end up making friends. :-)

Maciamo
Mar 20, 2005, 09:37
I may not have been the first to say it, but I do believe that Chinese & English share many interesting features. Please see this thread Write English in Kanji (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=679), post #13.

Thanks for referring my idea, but that works for about all European languages (at least the Romance and Germanic ones + Greek). In fact, it works best of all with Greek. When I was 10-11 years old, we learnt the roots of Latin and Greek words at school (I suppose other European children did too), such as "democracy" comes from Greek "demos" (the people) and "cratos" (power") so power to the people.

Maciamo
Mar 20, 2005, 09:38
What are some common Japanese misconceptions of people who look Indian (from India)? Just curious, since most of the talk seems to be how Japanese view white people.

Hey, I wrote the article and I am not Indian, so I will not venture say what Japanese think of/react to Indian people without a solid experience on the matter.

livi
Mar 29, 2005, 02:38
Most of what Maciamo and some others scribble here is, frankly, beyond me.
I have been several times to Japan, befriended a fine and large japanese family in Chiba, had dinners and many social interactions with them and their friends.
"Can you eat with chopstiks?" - she asked me - 'no'. So WHAT? She still likes to kiss me, rather than a japanese chap. 4 seasons ? - nonsense.
Japanese superiority? If you are a bimbo, poorly dressed, shooting hot air, gold on your hands, wrists and the neck, dirty jeans and so forth, you will 'get it' everywhere on this melone.
Let's face it, foreigners who go to live in Japan are rarely the "brain surgeons".
I have seen there many and all kinds of foreigners with whom I would not care to sit down. Foreigners living in Japan are not a representative specs of theirs own countries. Too many "teachers", bartenders, "entertainers", too.
Many, of course, are just fine.
When in Japan, I still have to hear a provocative or thinly veiled question aimed at me. (I did hear it times and times again in N/A and in the "supercivilized" Europe.)
No, they are not perfect, but chopsticks, weather, 'all foreigners speak English' and so on, is a total pubertal nonsense.

PopCulturePooka
Mar 29, 2005, 06:57
Nonsense that almost everytone here who has lived in Japan has been asked or accosted with numerous times.

livi
Mar 29, 2005, 08:24
accosted with what?
weather
chopsticks
leeching
do you eat sushi
do you speak english????
apt. not for foreigners? ( many are for foreigners only, so what?)
I have been twice to Australia and had been accosted with more nonsense than that!!!
I have been to over 40 countries and dwelled in some. Been in Canada many years, You should see this nonsense here, talk to some immigrants (as well as in Australia)and see the so called canadian justice. Yet in the world's view this country is the idol, a white lily.

PopCulturePooka
Mar 29, 2005, 08:39
Areyou saying people should grin and bear not getting access to apartments as we are all 'criminals'?
NICE!

Are you saying that as foreigners we must grin and bear being annoyed in public by scum suckers wanting to get free english lessons, regardless of the fact that you are reading, listening to music, hanging with your significant other or public?

NICE

Are you saying that people who have lived in Japan for a few years should be ok with people in their workplace, friends, family and people close to them still treating them like babies in terms of language ability, culinary selection and cutlery use?

NICE!

Do you think non-caucasian visitors to the country automatically being viewed as criminals and undesirable is nice ok?

VERY NICE!


Class act all round!

livi
Mar 29, 2005, 09:08
you are putting your words into my mouth - none of this i claim - only an idiot would
*i am older than you, but good looking too, not once had anyone 'accosted' me on the train or elsewhere - leeching. i wish some of the beautiful girls would (that would be rather rare in australia)
*apartments leasing has nothing to do with 'criminals' - you are exaggerating
*i myself own apts for rent and have to be careful - i had problems few times
*4 seasons - pardon me, that's childish
*at work - yes, that is often a legitimate complain, but try to compete at work in canada as a non anglosaxon foreigner or even worse a non white, they will show you!
you are angry, but i respect it.
but, then, why don't you go home to your wonderful australia?
perth is nice!
ah, yes, about the cutlery : i was born "with a spoon in my mouth" and never had even tried to use chopsticks. i do not find them appealing!!!

Index
Mar 29, 2005, 09:21
you are putting your words into my mouth - none of this i claim - only an idiot would
*i am older than you, but good looking too, not once had anyone 'accosted' me on the train or elsewhere - leeching. i wish some of the beautiful girls would (that would be rather rare in australia)
*apartments leasing has nothing to do with 'criminals' - you are exaggerating
*i myself own apts for rent and have to be careful - i had problems few times
*4 seasons - pardon me, that's childish
*at work - yes, that is often a legitimate complain, but try to compete at work in canada as a non anglosaxon foreigner or even worse a non white, they will show you!
you are angry, but i respect it.
but, then, why don't you go home to your wonderful australia?
perth is nice!
ah, yes, about the cutlery : i was born "with a spoon in my mouth" and never even tried to use chopsticks. i do not find them appealing!!!


Ha ha ha. Finally a breath of fresh air. :cool:

Dekamaster
Mar 29, 2005, 09:45
I am sure most landlords don't have more problems with (Japanese-speaking) Westerners than with Japanese. I went to some big real etate agencies with my wife, and they said frankly that most landlords didn't want to rent apartments to foreigners, even Westerners with a stable job and married to a Japanese, and even with as several Japanese guarantors. However, most Japanese landlords have never rent anything to foreigners (or at least Westerners). In English, this s called prejudice (=unjust behaviour formed on a preconceived opinion not based on actual facts or experience).

Gomen, but what did foreigners do to merit such prejudice ? :?

PopCulturePooka
Mar 29, 2005, 09:45
you are putting your words into my mouth - none of this i claim - only an idiot would
*i am older than you, but good looking too, not once had anyone 'accosted' me on the train or elsewhere - leeching. i wish some of the beautiful girls would (that would be rather rare in australia)
*apartments leasing has nothing to do with 'criminals' - you are exaggerating
*i myself own apts for rent and have to be careful - i had problems few times
*4 seasons - pardon me, that's childish
*at work - yes, that is often a legitimate complain, but try to compete at work in canada as a non anglosaxon foreigner or even worse a non white, they will show you!
you are angry, but i respect it.
but, then, why don't you go home to your wonderful australia?
perth is nice!
ah, yes, about the cutlery : i was born "with a spoon in my mouth" and never had even tried to use chopsticks. i do not find them appealing!!!
And you reveal, in all of 3 posts, taht you are a petty troll taht must use petty little insults.

Well done sport.

But just for show...


*i am older than you, but good looking too, not once had anyone 'accosted' me on the train or elsewhere - leeching. i wish some of the beautiful girls would (that would be rather rare in australia)Ignoring the obvious and untrue troll attempt, it has happened to a good many people taht have lived in Japan long term. Two of my favourites were the time I was playing Gameboy and had an onld lady plonk down near me with a notebook full of english notes and when me and my girlfriend were annoyed by a drunk salaryman who wanted to speak america.
Theres a difference between being in a place where and when you want to socialise (IE a bar) and a place where its obvious you want to be left alone (reading a book or talking to friends on a train).


*apartments leasing has nothing to do with 'criminals' - you are exaggeratingNope, others will tell you that many landlords in japan refuse to lease to ANY gaijin as they assume all gaijin are criminals or destructive and will lose them money.


*4 seasons - pardon me, that's childishResult of a weak education system. I myself have never been bothered by the seasons thing though.


*at work - yes, that is often a legitimate complain, but try to compete at work in canada as a non anglosaxon foreigner or even worse a non white, they will show you!Funnily enough the levels I saw in japan were way higher than what happened in workplaces in Australia. But then your ony repsonse will be a petty troll flame bait wont it?


you are angry, but i respect it.
but, then, why don't you go home to your wonderful australia?
perth is nice!
ah, yes, about the cutlery : i was born "with a spoon in my mouth" and never had even tried to use chopsticks. i do not find them appealing!!!

^Flamebait from a troll^

Did not read.

livi
Mar 29, 2005, 09:53
i repeat my question, which you neglected to answer:
why, the hell, you don't go back home?

Ma Cherie
Mar 29, 2005, 09:58
Gomen, but what did foreigners do to merit such prejudice ? :?


This is a good question to ask my dear, but judging from I've read about Japan on this forum and other sources I have looked to. It seems that the only reason why foreigners are a target of prejudice is the simple fact that they're foreigners.

Dekamaster
Mar 29, 2005, 10:17
This is a good question to ask my dear, but judging from I've read about Japan on this forum and other sources I have looked to. It seems that the only reason why foreigners are a target of prejudice is the simple fact that they're foreigners.

Ah...ok, I guess I underestimated Japan's cultural make-up. I have read that they (Japanese) have an uncanny ability to assimilate culture and make it their own. Pan is a Portuguese (I think :relief: ) word that is also used for bread in Japan, plus numerous borrowed engrish :-) (konbini, biru, noto, etc.). The kana and their educational system is patterned after China. I think they do this to ensure the continuance of their own unique culture, so as to keep it from being corrupted by foreign influences. The more it changes, the more it remains the same. In this sense, I could relate that maybe they still have some residual insular views. :blush:

PopCulturePooka
Mar 29, 2005, 10:35
i repeat my question, which you neglected to answer:
why, the hell, you don't go back home?
Look at my location and search the forum and stop trolling.

kirei_na_me
Mar 29, 2005, 10:42
Timeout everyone...

Maciamo
Mar 29, 2005, 10:55
"Can you eat with chopstiks?" - she asked me - 'no'. So WHAT?

You must actually be an exception. How can you have spend some time (several weeks/months ?) in Japan and not be able to use chopsticks ? Does that mean you set your mind in not trying to ? Why ?


Japanese superiority? If you are a bimbo, poorly dressed, shooting hot air, gold on your hands, wrists and the neck, dirty jeans and so forth, you will 'get it' everywhere on this melone.

The theory of nihonjinron I referred to dates from WWII, and was revived in the Bubble Years, when the Japanese economy was growing so fast that many Japanese thought that their system was intrinsicly superior, owing to their superior culture. Have you never read about Japan to say such things ?


Let's face it, foreigners who go to live in Japan are rarely the "brain surgeons".

Maybe not brain surgeons, but it seems to me that about half of the Westerners at least in central Tokyo are expats, i.e. usually top managers, financial analysts, embassy staff, etc. Did you know that one cannot get a working visa in Japan without a 4-year university degree ? That sets a minimum to what kind of people they accept as residents.


I have seen there many and all kinds of foreigners with whom I would not care to sit down.

What does that sentence mean ? Sit down ? Do you mean sit in the traditional seiza position, which most young Japanese people can't maintain properly for a full meal ?


Foreigners living in Japan are not a representative specs of theirs own countries. Too many "teachers", bartenders, "entertainers", too.

Whatever, except for the entertainers that are mostly Asian, all must have a 4-year university degree. This indeed does not make it very representative of their country's population, which surprises me all the more knowing that so many Japanese believe that the recent rise in crime in Japan is due to foreigners in general (not just those from developing countries).

Maciamo
Mar 29, 2005, 11:18
you are putting your words into my mouth - none of this i claim - only an idiot would
*i am older than you, but good looking too, not once had anyone 'accosted' me on the train or elsewhere - leeching. i wish some of the beautiful girls would (that would be rather rare in australia)

How long have you actually stayed in Japan ? I got from your post that you didn't live there, but just visited a few times, which is probably why you didn't experience most of these things.

This is a bit offtopic, but it took me over a year to start being annoyed by these things. In fact had I stayed only for a year, I would never have been checked by the police. The first time was almost 2 years after I came to Japan, and it was followed by 5 more times in one and a half year. If you don't ride a bicycle everyday (I didn't the first one and a half year), your chance of being bullied by the police are lower.

You will only realise how deeply ingrained and wide-spread some stereotypes and misconceptions about foreigners/westerners are after talking to hundreds of people from all over Japan (good point of Tokyo is that half of the people working there are not originally from the Tokyo region). I was not much annoyed aout some questions until being asked them again, and again, and again. I don't mind one or even 5 people ask me if I can use chopsticks or eat sushi, but when it becomes a routine and you can't have a friendly conversation (I mean non-business related) or going to a restaurant with new aquaintances without being asked those identical questions, and get the same dumb "oohh" and "aahh" or "ohashi no tsukaikata jozu desu ne", it becomes somewhat tiresome and you wonder if those people were taught to ask foreigners these questions, as it cannot be a coincidence on such a scale and regularity.

I realise that this may not be a problem for the short-term visitor, but it is for the long-stay resident.


*apartments leasing has nothing to do with 'criminals' - you are exaggerating

Would you care to have a look at the articles in the Immigration & Foreigners (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=48) subforum, and read the article Discrimination in Japan (http://www.wa-pedia.com/society/discrimination_in_japan.shtml).


*i myself own apts for rent and have to be careful - i had problems few times

So do you ask people if they are "normal", meaning the same race as you ? (see this article (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1442)) or does that allow you to post a sign with "no dogs or foreigners allowed", as has been seen several times (without legal consequence) in Japan ?

Maciamo
Mar 29, 2005, 11:23
Gomen, but what did foreigners do to merit such prejudice ? :?

Westerners, nothing. Foreigners as a whole have always been "suspect" in Japan, just for not being Japanese. WWII may be over, but prejudices die hard. The Japanese media and government like to report foreign crime as a whole without distinguishing nationalities, saying such things as "crime has been rising in Japan due to an icreased number of foreigners" and forgetting to mention that the crime rate among Japanese was in fact increasing more than among foreigners, and that this is due to 15 years of economic stagnation. The problem is that most Japanese are very influenceable, naive ane quite credulous of things that comes from their government and media.

Just have a look at Japanese websites, especially those of the government. They try to scare the public with the increase of foreigners in their "pure" country. Here (http://www.moj.go.jp/PRESS/030530-1/030530-1.html) is an example given by Shiro (who is Japanese) in this thread. It represents evolution of the foreign population (in red) compared to the total population of Japan. Look at the scales. The one for foreigners is in "thousands", while those for Japanese is in "hundred of thousands", so that the increase in foreigner appears more dramatic.

If you search the internet, you'll find thousands of Japanese sites treating of the relatively minor problem of foreign crime (it accounts for about 2% of the total crimes in Japan, in proportion to the foreign population). I searched Google with the keywords "外国人犯罪 増加" ("foreign crime" increase) and got over 10,000 results). Have a look at this article (http://www.debito.org/foreigncrimeputsch.html) explaining the problem of overreporting foreign crimes in Japan.

livi
Mar 29, 2005, 12:38
You must actually be an exception. How can you have spend some time (several weeks/months ?) in Japan and not be able to use chopsticks ? Does that mean you set your mind in not trying to ? Why ?



The theory of nihonjinron I referred to dates from WWII, and was revived in the Bubble Years, when the Japanese economy was growing so fast that many Japanese thought that their system was intrinsicly superior, owing to their superior culture. Have you never read about Japan to say such things ?



Maybe not brain surgeons, but it seems to me that about half of the Westerners at least in central Tokyo are expats, i.e. usually top managers, financial analysts, embassy staff, etc. Did you know that one cannot get a working visa in Japan without a 4-year university degree ? That sets a minimum to what kind of people they accept as residents.



What does that sentence mean ? Sit down ? Do you mean sit in the traditional seiza position, which most young Japanese people can't maintain properly for a full meal ?



Whatever, except for the entertainers that are mostly Asian, all must have a 4-year university degree. This indeed does not make it very representative of their country's population, which surprises me all the more knowing that so many Japanese believe that the recent rise in crime in Japan is due to foreigners in general (not just those from developing countries).
Maciamo, thank you for your views.

Chopstiks - as I wrote, I do not find eating with chopstics appealing - believe me, I am not a snob, but really I have even difficulty to watch someone to use them - it is simply to me - let's put it this way - unaesthetic. It may be due to some residual european bigotry in me, I plead guilty for it. It may be, that I have observed some 'wrong' people using them. My Japanese friends didn't mind it at all, they automatically asked for a fork for me. Not an issue at all.

Yes, many do feel superior, I suppose most of them would be old. I did not feel it, and here you are probably right, as I did not live there and more importantly, had never been engaged in any employment situation. The ones, that may look like that, to me were rather pitiful creatures, with arrogant manners on the train. My japanese companion noticed it, too. Of course, this you will find in many other, mainly european countries, which feel special by the nature of their history or achievements. I understand, that at the the work place it can be destructive.
I do not know exactly the working status of foreigners, but in Roppongi, many are whites, americans and europeans simply behind the bar or as waiters.

"Sit down" - I have learned it long ago, that you do not socialize with just anybody. I try to use my judgment. It pays off.

Finally, Maciamo, I did not use the word "normal", but you have to use your common sense , there is no better way yet around. I could name for you right now here at least one respected european country where you would face the same discrimination.
Some of the bad things we just have to accept, otherwise we would have to stay at home.

I may be somewhat prejudiced as I socialize here at home with some japanese girls-flriends and always had a ball in Japan. Became almost a part of a big family there in Chiba.
I've been to Japan 3 times, allogether I guess about 8 weeks. Not enough.

My regards to your japanese wife.

Index
Mar 29, 2005, 13:04
Why is it that I get negative rep points whenever I show up in this thread? Must be pissing someone off... :thankyou:

Konoike no neko
Mar 30, 2005, 18:38
中国語と英語、日本語の文法の話しは孤立語と屈折語と 膠着語との関連の観点からの話でしょ。
英語の内の孤立語的な性質と中国語、日本語との比較。
その当否は教養の無い俺なんかにはわからんけどね。

箸とか日本語とかの話ね、季節もそうかな?
日本語の言いまわしから訳してCanとかHaveとか使っち 痰、から馬鹿にしてるとか、
差別してるって怒られるんだよね。
相づちや合いの手を沢山入れても、或いは感心したり誉 めても
馬鹿にしてるって怒る人が居るし。
日本で、日本の文化の範囲の中で振舞ってるんだけど馬 鹿だのレイシストだって
お目玉食らうのね。相手が日本語から訳して相手の文化 で理解して怒るってのも るわな。
面倒くさくて疲れる。

Maciamo
Mar 30, 2005, 21:33
中国語と英語、日本語の文法の話しは孤立語と屈折語と 膠着語との関連の観点からの話でしょ。
英語の内の孤立語的な性質と中国語、日本語との比較。
その当否は教養の無い俺なんかにはわからんけどね。

箸とか日本語とかの話ね、季節もそうかな?
日本語の言いまわしから訳してCanとかHaveとか使っち 痰、から馬鹿にしてるとか、
差別してるって怒られるんだよね。
相づちや合いの手を沢山入れても、或いは感心したり誉 めても
馬鹿にしてるって怒る人が居るし。
日本で、日本の文化の範囲の中で振舞ってるんだけど馬 鹿だのレイシストだって
お目玉食らうのね。相手が日本語から訳して相手の文化 で理解して怒るってのも るわな。
面倒くさくて疲れる。

I have tried to translate this, but unfortunately I could not make much sense of what was being said. If somebody can help me shed some light on what Konoike no neko wanted to say. The main problem is that I don't know who he/she is talking about, as he/she did not write the subject in most sentences. Here is my attempted translation.

--------------
"This discussion is about English, Chinese and Japanese grmmar and the relation between isolating languages, inflected languages and agglutinative languages, isn't it ?
(It is about) the comparison between the isolating properties inside English, and Chinese and Japanese.
Not being very cultivated I cannot judge which is right or wrong.

Talking about chopsticks or Japanese language, or maybe even the seasons ?
Because of the way of saying things in Japanese, when translating mistakenly use "can". "have", etc., some people think they are being made fun of, and they that it is discimination and get angry, don't they ?

Even pausing often, or even admiring or praising someone, some people think we are making fun of them and get angry.

In Japan, within the confines of Japanese culture, people behave like this, but saying it's stupid or racism, we get our eyeballs eaten (???). When the one person translate from Japanese and understand it with their culture, it of course happens that they makes them angry.

Aah, it's so troublesome it tires me."
-------------

First of all, I don't know why Konoike no neko starts talking about the the linguistic relations between English, Chinese and Japanese. :?

Then I have no idea what's his/her point about chopsticks, Japanese language or the seasons.

I also don't remember that we talked about anybody being made fun of because they misused English words like "can", "have" or whatever. Maybe this is about saying "can you eat sushi?" instead of "do you like sushi?", but if it is it is irrelevant because I am usually asked "sushi wo taberareru?" and not "sushi wo suki desu ka?" in Japanese. If it's cultural, it means that the Japanese are racist by the very properties of their culture (see below).

I only understand the 2 last paragraphs, but I don't know what it has to do with this thread. Regarding the chopsticks, I didn't even complain about people trying to make fun of foreigners by saying they can use well their chopsticks. The only fact that they ask someone who they know has been living in Japan for several years whether they can use chopsticks is rude and condescending, and the difference of culture is no excuse. The difference of culture would excuse that they ask short-term visitors. Westerners don't normally ask Japanese or other Asian visitors if they can use a fork and knife. I can understand that the Japanese culture influence them into asking these questions to people who've just come to Japan, but never to people who have been living in Japan for years and are married to a Japanese.

I also don't know why "racism" was evoked here. I think that one of the problems of many Japanese is that they have no idea of what "racism" means. There is no (simple) word in Japanese for racism, and most of the Japanese I have talked to think it is related to violence (eg. beating up people of a different race). Being racist, however, just means that one person believes that "there are characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to each race" (defintion from the Oxford Dictionary). In that sense, I'd say that any Japanese person who thinks that a foreigner who has lived in Japan for several years may not be able to use chopsticks, sleep on a futon, etc. just because he or she is a foreigner is racist, according to the Oxford dictionary.

zeroyon
May 4, 2005, 15:55
Igloos? I think that might be going a little far. I think some Canadians often imagine the misconceptions about them. A twelve year old might have some misconceptions, but I think most Americans think Canada is very similar to America (which probably makes Canadians angrier than wild misconceptions :-) ).

But I agree that stupid people are everywhere and ridiculous misconceptions happen everywhere.

I am an american, was born in colorado, moved to canada when i was six years old, and then moved back to the usa when i was 18. I kind of consider myself more of a canadian than an american since I grew up and went through grades 2-12 there, and I hold both USA and Canadian citizenship. When people ask me what nationality I am... i usually reply that I am canadian. Once I explain how I was born in colorado, and moved to canada etc... I have been asked by many people in the USA if "it was hard living with no roads, traffic lights, etc", or "if its good to be back in civilized america"... i was dumbfounded by the idiocy of many of the questions. Now, I am in NO WAY saying that all americans think like this... just that it does happen more often than some would expect.

There are many problems with ignorance in Canada too though. Many people when they knew I was an american in canada, hated me outright for being an american, no matter who I was or what I liked. I was hated MUCH more for being an american in canada than i am for being "mostly" a canadian in the USA now. I recieved comments in Canada like "goddamn george bush lover", without them knowing if I even support him or not... and "stop attacking other countries you evil *****", while I obviously don't have control over the US military, and without them knowing if i support the USA's current foreign policy or not. But not everyone is like this there obviously, im just saying that this happens more in canada than the usa.

That said though... there probably aren't as close to as many ignorant canadians about the USA as ignorant americans about canada, mostly due to american culture being totally rampant in canada (for example. tons of the channels on cable TV in canada are american channels, and channels which aren't american have mostly american programs on them anyways). I sometimes consider Canada the "51st state" (in a joking way), since they are similar in so many ways.

please note that im using the term "american" as reffering to the USA.

Mike Cash
May 4, 2005, 17:34
I have seen there many and all kinds of foreigners with whom I would not care to sit down.

You like you very much, don't you. That's nice; somebody should.

Pachipro
May 5, 2005, 00:59
Wow! Where the hell have I been? How did I miss out on this thread? I love a good knock down, drag 'em through the mud, hair pulling debate. Gotta pay attention more! :box: Glad to see things have chilled out a bit. :bikkuri:

lonesoullost3
Jul 3, 2005, 00:38
I just read the article...I was shocked at some of the conclusions. I haven't spent much time in Japan (only 5 days) so I haven't been able to be inundated with the local population and the local culture. My only experience with people from Japan are my penpals and friends at Cornell - thus they are all inherently more open to foreigners and are interested in learning about the world.

One of my friends, who was an exchange student for a year at Cornell provided me with a great insight about the state of Japan's education system. He took a 20th century Japanese History course with me in his second semester - he said he learned more there than he ever had back in Japan. He always told me he felt secluded from the rest of the world in Japan. He said learning about Japan from an "outside" view gave him a whole new light about the history of his country. And he is by no means an (said with great disgression) 'average' japanese citizen: father swiss, mother taiwanese, has nearly perfect english (though he doesn't believe it) and went to school in Singapore for three years.

budd
Jul 6, 2005, 07:52
maybe it's to ensure that "foreign" people don't lose face
don't know don't care
ditto asked about chopsticks -- this was from somebody i had taken to dinner at authentic (wood paper screens, etc) japanese resturant twice
asked also if i could read japanese - despite having emailed each other for six months
recently sent a gift to express gratitude for their hospitality -- constantly marvelling/expressing amazement that the card was written in japanese
maybe it's just having dealt with so many ignorant/uncaring/uninterested foreign people has desensitized?
dunno
don't care
but since it was bumped...

Maciamo
Dec 5, 2005, 06:21
What I dislike most with most of the Japanese with whom I have talked, is their way to assume that some things don't exist outside Japan, even when they are not typical Japanese things. Rather than ask whether we can find one thing in a particular country (e.g. "Is there soy sauce in Belgian supermarkets ?"), they just insinuate that there can't possibly be this thing outside Japan, usually saying "abroad" ("gaijkoku", "mukou"), rather than specifying the country. E.g. "there isn't soy sauce abroad, right ? It's a Japanese thing only". I have found this attitude prevalent when speaking in Japanese with a group of Japanese (less often, one to one).

Just before leaving Japan, I met 5 friends of my wife. As we were discussing moving to Belgium, they said we had better buy a garlic crusher as this was obviously only to be found in Japan. They also assumed that we would not be able to find soy sauce, nihonshu or Japanese rice in Belgium, and they asked my wife how she was planning to survive in such a "hostile" environment (they didn't actually say "hostile", but to the tone of their voice, it sounded like Europe was a vast jungle). My wife answered that we could find everything in the average Belgian supermarket, to their great surprise. What I hate is that they just assume that "Japanese things" cannot be found abroad, and even non-Japanese things which maybe they think are Japanese, like a garlic crusher.

In fact, I know that many daily objects are supposedly "Japanese" in the mind of many Japanese. That irritates me like nothing else. In 4 years in Japan I have had the time to hear such misconceptions about things that go beyond the imagination. Mad Pierrot's example "Is there McDonald in the US ?" is NOT too far fetched. I have met people who visibly thought that it was not obvious that there should be Xmas or New Year greeting cards, mobile phones or pasta in Europe (!).

Also just before I left Japan, I was having lunch with my in laws, and my nother-in-law worried that there may not be vegetable graters in Belgium. My step-father-in-law, an well-educated man, who has lived 7 years abroad, and whose son lives in the USA (where he goes for a few weeks every year), confirms that "graters are not common in Western countries" (!!). First of all, how could he speak for all Western countries when he has never been to Europe and only knows the US ? Then, he made a big mistake as vegetable/cheese graters were certainly not invented in Japan, and are very common in Belgium (of course, in such a cheese-loving country, every family has at least one of these ;-) ). I had to reassure my in-laws that we even had an electric multi-function grater that made fruit/vegetable juices, grated carrots and everything.

This attitude of pre-judging countries they don't know is what I call "prejudice". From my experience in Japan, the vast majority of the Japanese, regardless of their education and overseas experience, have deep prejudices against "abroad" ("gaikoku"). I am quite happy to have left Japan just so that I wouldn't hear such stupidities on a daily basis again. In fact, everytime I came back to Europe from Japan and talked about Japan with various people (family, friends, shopkeepers, civil servants...), none made such weird assumptions. None had seriously mistaken stereotypes about Japan. A few days ago, I spoke to a construction worker who came to my house for a reparation. I told him that I had just returned from Japan, and we started talking about it. He was not a very educated or cultivated man, but his stereotypes of Japan were basically correct : people eat sushi with chopsticks at a low table, bow to greet each others, are excessively polite and well disciplined.

A Japanese person would not have given an opinion of Belgium or any other country we were talking about. They would have asked whether there were sushi in that country, whether people could eat them, and assumed "no" for both. Rather than caring about how the other country looks like, they care about how much of Japanese culture is present there, and whether people there can behave like Japanese people. Why does it always have to be centered on Japan ? Why can't they just see the world without rating it according to how many Japanese products they can find there, and assume false things rather than ask questions when they don't know ?

Gaijin 06
Dec 5, 2005, 07:02
A recent study (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showpost.php?p=174809&postcount=38) has shown that 3% of Japanese university students (and they have presumably tough entrance examinations) cannot point out at the US on a world map, and 44% don't know where is Iraq ! Don't even get me started about people with less good education.


I bet both numbers would be higher in America.

(edit - just read the rest of the thread and it is true).

Gaijin 06
Dec 5, 2005, 07:23
In English, this s called prejudice (=unjust behaviour formed on a preconceived opinion not based on actual facts or experience).

Actually, you're wrong again. Prejudice is simply an opinion or idea, formed by "pre-judging" someone or something.

The act of denying an alien an apartment to rent is discrimination.

You should really learn the difference between discrimination & prejudice, given how much you like using these two words.

ArmandV
Dec 5, 2005, 07:43
Actually, you're wrong again. Prejudice is simply an opinion or idea, formed by "pre-judging" someone or something.

The act of denying an alien an apartment to rent is discrimination.

You should really learn the difference between discrimination & prejudice, given how much you like using these two words.


Actually, prejudice does lead to discrimation. The first time I experienced discrimination in Japan was my trip there in October. I was going to go to a nightclub in Ueno but the guy at the door said, "Sorry, Japanese only!" My thought was, "Hmmm, those guys at JREF were right." :-)

Gaijin 06
Dec 5, 2005, 08:18
Of course prejudice leads to discrimination, in the same way as drinking can lead to being drunk - however the two things are not the same :)

Many people have innate (cultural or personal) prejudices - some will consciously suppress them in order not to discriminate.

Maciamo
Dec 6, 2005, 00:22
Actually, you're wrong again. Prejudice is simply an opinion or idea, formed by "pre-judging" someone or something.

The act of denying an alien an apartment to rent is discrimination.

You should really learn the difference between discrimination & prejudice, given how much you like using these two words.

Oxford Dictionary (http://www.askoxford.com/results/?view=dict&field-12668446=prejudice&branch=13842570&textsearchtype=exact&sortorder=score%2Cname) defintion of prejudice :

1 preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or experience. 2 unjust behaviour formed on such a basis. 3 chiefly Law harm that may result from some action or judgement.

ORIGIN Latin praejudicium, from prae ‘in advance’ + judicium ‘judgement’.

This thread is not about discrimination at all, only about misconceptions and prejudices. Learn to read.

Mikawa Ossan
Dec 6, 2005, 21:13
Hi Maciamo!

I'm glad that you have made a choice hopefully for the best. Obviously you and Japan had irreconcilable differences, and the best thing was probably to say good-bye.

Please try not to be too bitter! I hope you can turn your mental accuities to something else more positive!:cool: :wave:

Gaijinian
Dec 7, 2005, 02:56
have fun in Belgium!

A ke bono kane kotto
Jan 13, 2008, 03:38
This article made me think of "Little Britain" : "Unlike other countries, Britain has people of two genders : women, and men !"

scorpion da black
Jan 18, 2008, 21:56
i was called "chites" once on another forum which i later learned i meant whites who want to be Japanese..and it is a races term.

the funny thing is: who ever said i am a Caucasian ???
even though i am white..i am Arabian...
that is a misconception..not every white skin man is an american

A ke bono kane kotto
Jan 19, 2008, 01:24
the funny thing is: who ever said i am a Caucasian ???
even though i am white..i am Arabian...
that is a misconception..not every white skin man is an american

Caucasian does not mean American, but White.

scorpion da black
Jan 20, 2008, 06:41
Caucasian does not mean American, but White.

oh i was mistaken for an American too..i forgot to mention that..
oh and you didn't see the greater picture...i was mistaken for being of the white race...not only that "chites" is a curse.. or so i was told

A ke bono kane kotto
Jan 26, 2008, 00:12
oh i was mistaken for an American too..i forgot to mention that..


So what ? Anybody can be an American. It's the most mixed country on earth !

BobbyS
Feb 21, 2008, 04:59
"Foreigners can't speak or understand Japanese well." Wow do I hate that one.

brave_new_world
Mar 18, 2008, 11:59
Japanese people tend to have a thought about foreigners as stupid and uneducated.
Japanese who have never visited outside of Japan, think that all foreigners are less smarter than ordinary Japanese people.

tokapi
Mar 18, 2008, 12:17
In fact, I know that many daily objects are supposedly "Japanese" in the mind of many Japanese.




MSG is one popular food flavoring-enhancer among many Chinese,they also think it's " Chinese " :blush:

In fact,it's a Japanese invention.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosodium_glutamate

Ignorancy has no national boundary.People are indoctrinated by education & media to some degree,also own prejudices.

gaijinalways
Mar 19, 2008, 22:20
That is true to an extent, but some concepts held by Japanese tend to be more widely held than in most other cultural groups I have met. Americans that haven't traveled abroad still tend to think the US is the best place to live. Those of us who have seen outside have different opinions, depending on where you live.

I think other nationalities tend to ask more questions than educated Japanese do, and not assume so much. Can't dismiss it by the number who travel (a lot of japanese have a passport), but when they travel, do they really see?

JMoon
Mar 22, 2008, 02:23
[QUOTE=corocoro]
And Maciamo-san, I agree with what Shiro-san said.
I understand that. I know that. In fact we could argue (and some Japanese do) that Japan has 5 seasons (with the "tsuyu"), or 3 (no real winter in some places), or else. But if Japanese people admire so much the seasons that they feel the need to tell ALL foreigners about it, how comes they don't alreday know that about all Western countries have 4 seasons ? If they do know, why ask this particular question and ask it this way ? They could ask "Are the seasons in your country as distinct as in Japan ?" or "Does each season in your country last about the same time as in Japan, or are some seasons shorter and longer ?" I have no problem at all with such questions. However, I was never asked them by any of the 100+ Japanese who asked me if my country had four seasons.
So, yes the Japanese do admire the changing of seasons, and it doesn't matter if there are 3, 4 or 5 of them, as Shiro and you said. But I think that the Japanese are so indoctrinated to think that their country is unique that many of them truely believe that Western countries may not have distinct seasons.
I think you are judging things too easily. Are you saying that my wife, or some of my Japanese acquaitances lied to me about this ? It may be that you and Shiro were not told by your teachers that all Westerners speak English, but some people are, and probably enough of them so that there will always be some Japanese starting to talk English to the first Westerner they see, or enough Japanese believing that any Western teacher at NOVA or such schools is a native English teacher. In fact, whatever these schools say, there are many non-native teachers too, because most Japanese don't see the difference, as they believe Westerner = Native English-speaker.
1) have you ever studied psychology and psychoanalysis (the unconscious, subconscious, etc.) ? Many Japanese (especially older generations) feel superior at an unconscious or subconscious level. Anyway, even if it was fully conscious (maybe a few people), most Japanese are too polite to tell that they feel superior, because even in very direct cultures, people rarely say it even when they think it.
2) have you never heard of theories of "nihonjinon" ? This is what I am talking about. Akio Morita , the founder of Sony, is just one example of people who don't mind saying it publicly. But many politicians also think like that, for example the mayor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara. It is because a majority of Japanese agree with his racist ideas that he was elected and re-elected. But I understand very well that most Japanese will never tell a foreigner directly that they think of them as "barbarians" (=inferior), because they want to avoid direct confrontation.
3) During WWII, the Japanese showed well enough that they felt superior and were meant to govern the world (at least Asia). Many of the older generation nowadays grew up with such a minset and such values. It is very difficult to change. So they may not say it, but still feel it's true. Many politicians or company president in Japan are in their 70's, and so most grew up with such a mentality. These people also designed the Japanese education system, and try to inculcate the notions of nihonjinron as subtly as possible, so that it does not clearly appear in textbooks because it would be condemed by the United States.
4) questions like "can you use chopsticks" or "does your country have 4 seasons" are derivatives of this national indoctrination of "nihonjinron". Even if younger Japanese don't feel it consciously, a gaijin is always only a gaijin - and so probably doesn't speak Japanese, canot eat sushi, cannot sit in seiza, cannot appreciate the beauty of the uniquely Japanese cherry blossoms, or any other prejudice.
. As you see, thinking that Japan is unique for its disticnt seasons or whatever is a step toward nihonjinron.
I think it is sad that so many Japanese do not realise that they have been subtly indoctrinated by their education system about this. The fact that "critical thinking" is not taught in Japan is the best way to facilitate this indocrination, as too critical people would immediately notice it.
There is a reason why China or Korea pressure the Japanese government to change their history textbooks. There is a reason why Westerners like me think that Japanese have underlying racist attitudes based on the nihonjinron. There is a reason that Japan invaded all most of Asia in the 1930's and 40's. There is a reason that an openly racist politician can become twice mayor of Tokyo (as much as there is a reason for a extremist Christian to be elected as president of the USA). There is a reason why -right-conservative politicians have been in power in Japan for the last 50 years. Because that it what a majority of Japanese want, or wanted at the time.
Great post. It's a little scary to hear all this, but I experience this in the US as well.
Though, thinking about it, the US is a little better, well the parts I grew up in, since it was a melting pot. I grew up in NYC, and it's filled with people from all over the place, speaking their native language.
Though, I get a little anxious, when I hear these brainwashed Americans are all "support the troops", anti-Iraq or any country we are at war with...
Raising the Flag, patriotism, is all a little too scary for me and result in hate-crimes.
In the end, you have to find the right people, who will accept you for who you are.

ratriyoru
Feb 9, 2010, 16:55
I'm curious about this 4 seasons thing as I cant wrap my head around it.
By 4 seasons do they mean 4 obviously discernale seasons or the naming.
I mean one can argue that Australia has two seasons, but we still follow the 4 season model of Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. When Japanese asked me if Australia has four season I would always reply that of course we did.

Really??? That's interesting.... In Indonesia, we have 2 season..... but we never said that we have four season....

IpekBLC
May 9, 2010, 05:13
Even if I've been to Japan for a very short time, there are some of those things I have experienced, for example the all foreigners are American thing. It was really weird since my looks are not quite American, because I'm half Turkish! :souka:

BEAT
Sep 22, 2010, 09:47
Wow very interesting article.
The sad thing is, Half of these were actually told to me over skype by this stupid English chick that is a foreign exchange student in Japan. She is delusional she really soaked up the Japanese culture I guess?
And on the 4 season thing, so? I am fine living in California where our seasons are Spring, Summer, Summer, Fall.
But, I on the otherhand am not sure how I would be affected by discrimination. I tend to laugh it off and not think much of it because I am a white American all I get discriminated for is for political views or just because I AM white. It's all irrational crap.