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Maciamo
Jun 14, 2006, 07:28
We already have a poll Is the word "Gaijin" a racist slur? (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24406), but I would like to be more specific on what it means to each of us when we hear the word "gaijin". Please vote for all that apply. :-)

ArmandV
Jun 14, 2006, 08:05
I voted "don't know" because no one ever called me gaijin.

Damicci
Jun 14, 2006, 08:06
Edit didn't realize this had turned into a poll. Yeah I can't say there is a non bias option.

DoctorP
Jun 14, 2006, 08:54
I chose to abstain from the vote....no acceptable choices

Elizabeth
Jun 14, 2006, 09:01
I chose to abstain from the vote....no acceptable choices
It always depends....in this case, how much information they have on me, if none naturally I would attribute it entirely to appearance. But I agree there should be a less loaded, more neutral ("Could care less") option(s) on this poll.

DoctorP
Jun 14, 2006, 09:04
It is slightly skewed with a racist tone isn't it!

Silverpoint
Jun 14, 2006, 09:37
I think the admin of this site really dislikes Japanese people. It's not a very positive set of choices, is it?

I don't think there is any perfect answer to the poll because "gaijin" means different things at different times depending on the context of the conversation, the person who is speaking, and their attitude towards foreigners.

Mars Man
Jun 14, 2006, 10:17
There appears to be a problem with this poll; the answers are from the speaker/user point of view. Can we really know that? Or is this a poll of how we intend it when and if we use that term?

As it stands, the question asked for the poll, does not seem to align with the answer/choices provided because they way I feel and react and concieve of any insinuatuations behind the word 'gaijin' are surely in my mind, and, for any such particular moment, are only in my mind.

Could I have a little clarification on either the answers or the question, please. :bow:

note: I posted this without reading any posts--for better or for worse.

kirei_na_me
Jun 14, 2006, 11:50
Heh. I'm not afraid to vote or say what I take it to mean.

Mostly, when I hear "gaijin", I take it as being "You are an outsider, ignorant of Japanese ways". Saying that, I don't mean that the Japanese I know, who use that term, mean any harm by it. I don't really hold it against them.

I don't understand what the big deal is about being called "gaijin" anyway. Yeah, I think it's a little crazy to be called "gaijin" in my own country, but I just see it as how they are, so I just shrug it off. It doesn't bother me at all.

It must bother some people, though, and a lot. When I started a Yahoo group for non-Japanese women married to Japanese men, and called it "Gaijin Wives of Japanese Men", it offended someone enough to make her not want to join. She said if I didn't change the name, she wouldn't join. I thought that was a little extreme, to say the least.

RockLee
Jun 14, 2006, 16:33
I agree with Mars Man, There is no option that seems to reflect how I think about it. :sick:

Maciamo
Jun 14, 2006, 16:54
I chose to abstain from the vote....no acceptable choices

What would be an acceptable choice ? I can always add new options, so just speak your mind. :-)

Maciamo
Jun 14, 2006, 17:03
There appears to be a problem with this poll; the answers are from the speaker/user point of view. Can we really know that? Or is this a poll of how we intend it when and if we use that term?

I want to know how non-Japanese feel about being called "gaiijn" based on they think is intended to mean.

I have asked many Japanese what they meant by "gaijin" and the answer are often very different. So for this poll, choose all the meaning you have encountered. It doesn't have to be a meaning shared by all Japanese, as many have different opinions about the actual meaning or connotation of "gaijin".

I questioned them about whether they called themselves "gaijin" while abroad, but usually they don't. In fact, I remember that both times I went to China with a Japanese tour, the Japanese people in the group frequently referred to the local Chinese as "gaijin", eventhough they were the foreigners in China. That is mostly why I cannot accept the translation "foreigner" as it rather means "non-Japanese".

I also know it's not about being an ethnic Japanese, as Japanese Americans, Japanese Brazilians, etc. are almost always called "gaijin".

That's why I feel most strongly that it means "outsider to Japanese society, culture and customs" OR "physically different".

Maciamo
Jun 14, 2006, 17:05
I think the admin of this site really dislikes Japanese people. It's not a very positive set of choices, is it?

Please propose more choices based on your own reflection on the meaning of "gaijin".


I don't think there is any perfect answer to the poll because "gaijin" means different things at different times depending on the context of the conversation, the person who is speaking, and their attitude towards foreigners.

I did not intent this poll to give a single answer. That is why it is a multiple choice. See it as a "choose all that you think may be true in at least some situation, and leave out those that never apply".

RockLee
Jun 14, 2006, 21:00
I think you should add the option "it just means foreigner to me" :)

Maciamo
Jun 15, 2006, 05:53
I think you should add the option "it just means foreigner to me" :)

And what is the difference between "You are a foreigner" and "You are not a Japanese national" ? :?

nice gaijin
Jun 15, 2006, 09:02
How about "other: please explain" instead of "don't know"

changedonrequest
Jun 15, 2006, 12:41
You know there are times that I read threads like this and get the impression that people are truly misunderstanding the use of the term in most situations.

Some posters are out to make it sound like there is some huge conspiracy among the Japanese public to be racist towards all gaijin and that the use of the word perpetuates that racism.

In my experience here it all depends on the person and HOW it is used. Let's say a 6yr old kid runs up to you on the street point a finger at you and says; Ehh gaijin-da! Are you going to accuse that kid of being a racist? Come on now.

Ok another example, you are shopping in the local grocery store and an elderly obaa-chan looks at you, smiles and says; Konnichiwa gaijin-san!, Is she being racist? I think not.

Of course everyone could come up with examples to counter that and I have heard of pretty much all of them in my time here, so dont start saying what about this case or that, I used those as examples only.

There is no underlying mystery about the people or the word, there is no conspiracy about it's use as well. People from foreign countries that come here or live here in Japan have become IMO overly sensitive to it's use, because they don't like being thought of as being outsiders, which in most cases is the case.

Once the shoe is on the other foot people complain. You want to call me gaijin, fine I dont care, I will call you one back too if I see you here in Japan.

So what it isn't that big of a deal. I think that people need to get the chip off their shoulders and worry about more important things in life like whether or not Japan is going to be able to continue on to the second round in the WC and if they (surly) dont, if Zico should be fired or not. Now that is a better topic to discuss, IMO. :relief:

GodEmperorLeto
Jun 15, 2006, 16:52
There is no underlying mystery about the people or the word, there is no conspiracy about it's use as well. People from foreign countries that come here or live here in Japan have become IMO overly sensitive to it's use, because they don't like being thought of as being outsiders, which in most cases is the case.

That is because in many of our home countries, we have been educated to be extremely sensitive to any racially/ethnically motivated labelling. When we go to college, our housing associations and student networks tell us to "celebrate diversity", and encourage us to make as many friends as we can that are of different races, creeds, and sexual orientations. We have high school classes about the Holocaust, and every single American north of the Mason-Dixon knows about how evil slavery was, and how bad Jim Crow was, and how horrible the White Man was to the Native American.

Plenty of people from outside the United States will be happy to point and say, "Political correctness is a bunch of crap, you Americans are dumb!" But little do they realize that the politicians most non-Americans would prefer running the U.S. are the exact ones that have foisted P.C. upon us in the first place.

We've been taught to be sensitive to this. It's been bashed into our brains since we were children. That Japanese kid pointing and yelling "gaijin da!" would get suspended from school in the U.S., especially if he was a white kid yelling, "Look at that slant-eyed kid!"


So what it isn't that big of a deal. I think that people need to get the chip off their shoulders and worry about more important things in life....

You'd probably be amazed at how many Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese students I tutor who are very quick to claim they've been discriminated against. 9/10 of the time they think someone is discriminating against them because they are Asian or foreign, it is really simply that someone is being an *******.

I'm not sure if it is because they are in a foreign land, or if they know a little about racial difficulties in the U.S., or if they expect the same sort of treatment here that they'd give foreigners to their own lands, or if it is something else. But it definitely seems like my students are coming to the United States expecting to be discriminated against, and take even the slightest incident as a personal attack motivated by racism/ethnocentrism/xenophobia.

changedonrequest
Jun 15, 2006, 17:50
That is because in many of our home countries, we have been educated to be extremely sensitive to any racially/ethnically motivated labelling. When we go to college, our housing associations and student networks tell us to "celebrate diversity", and encourage us to make as many friends as we can that are of different races, creeds, and sexual orientations. We have high school classes about the Holocaust, and every single American north of the Mason-Dixon knows about how evil slavery was, and how bad Jim Crow was, and how horrible the White Man was to the Native American.

I realize that, yet the education system here does not emphasize these things in the way the US does. The US is a melting pot and if people were not educated about cultural and racial diversity open warfare would probably occur. I am not defending the system here, I am just pointing out that the system is different, including the language, and people here are starting to learn to be more PC but not in the same way that it is taught or preached in the US.


We've been taught to be sensitive to this. It's been bashed into our brains since we were children. That Japanese kid pointing and yelling "gaijin da!" would get suspended from school in the U.S., especially if he was a white kid yelling, "Look at that slant-eyed kid!"

Quite possibly so, but this isnt the US and comparing things here to there is not fair either as the backgrounds and history are so different as to trying to compare them to apples and snowballs.

Not saying that it is right yet I am not saying that it is wrong in the sense that the people are consciously discrminating against people.


You'd probably be amazed at how many Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese students I tutor who are very quick to claim they've been discriminated against. 9/10 of the time they think someone is discriminating against them because they are Asian or foreign, it is really simply that someone is being an *******.

No I am not surprised at all. I would however be curious to know just how many Japanese fall into that category. I am not talking about anyone other than the Japanese.


I'm not sure if it is because they are in a foreign land, or if they know a little about racial difficulties in the U.S., or if they expect the same sort of treatment here that they'd give foreigners to their own lands, or if it is something else. But it definitely seems like my students are coming to the United States expecting to be discriminated against, and take even the slightest incident as a personal attack motivated by racism/ethnocentrism/xenophobia.

Once again I would be courious to know how many Japanese are included in this statement? Also would you be willing to ask them how they would feel being called "gaijin" whilst they are in the US in your classroom? I would be willing to bet that some of them would actual look at you incredulously, only because of the fact that to them the word only has the meaning of foreigner when they are talking about or discussing people that are not Japanese.

I do not doubt that you have faced people like this in your classroom (?) Yet I have lived with this for over 20 years now and have come to the realization that the impact of the word gaijin only affects those that let it.

Now this is a question I have for everyone here, if the word "gaijin" holds such a negative connotation to people what word in Japanese would you want the Japanese people to use when talking about a foreigner?

godppgo
Jun 15, 2006, 18:05
Now this is a question I have for everyone here, if the word "gaijin" holds such a negative connotation to people what word in Japanese would you want the Japanese people to use when talking about a foreigner?
Go up to that foreigner and ask him/her to fill out a detail survey on his/her nationality, race, place of birth... etc. Also ask him/her this: "how would you like me to call you so that it will make me look less racist to you?".

Jeez what's the big deal? It's just a different culture, get used to it.

changedonrequest
Jun 15, 2006, 18:37
Go up to that foreigner and ask him/her to fill out a detail survey on his/her nationality, race, place of birth... etc. Also ask him/her this: "how would you like me to call you so that it will make me look less racist to you?".

Jeez what's the big deal? It's just a different culture, get used to it.

Umm I think if you read my posts in reply to this that is just about what I have been saying.

godppgo
Jun 15, 2006, 18:39
Umm I think if you read my posts in reply to this that is just about what I have been saying.
My comment is not to you. Sorry for the confusion.

Mike Cash
Jun 15, 2006, 19:29
I think all too often people fail to make the very, very important distinction between being referred to as "gaijin" and being called "gaijin".

I also fail to find an appropriate answer in the poll and am abstaining from participating in it.

changedonrequest
Jun 15, 2006, 19:35
I think all too often people fail to make the very, very important distinction between being referred to as "gaijin" and being called "gaijin".

I also fail to find an appropriate answer in the poll and am abstaining from participating in it.

Good point, I also did not vote in the poll either, for the same reason as well.

Is it just my imagination or does Maciamo seem to have a distinct dislike for Japan. I also seem to read many posts by him and started by him written with a tendency to put Japan and the Japanese people in a disparaging light.

osias
Jun 16, 2006, 00:42
Is it just my imagination or does Maciamo seem to have a distinct dislike for Japan. I also seem to read many posts by him and started by him written with a tendency to put Japan and the Japanese people in a disparaging light.
Agree. He accuses the Japanese of ethnocentrism, while he is being so euro-centric? He has a negative bias towards Japan.

gaijinalways
Jun 16, 2006, 02:19
I hardly think so, but of course that's only my opinion. Maciamo shares a lot of knowledge about Japan in his posts. I don't think he gained this knowledge by studying and learning about various Japanese aspects of life because he hates the country. I think what you sense more is some bitterness as Maciamo was tired of dealing with some attitudes in Japan even after he had lived here a while and decided to return to Belgium. But if you really want to know, why don't you pm him instead of assuming a lot without reading many of his posts.

As to comparisons, it's usual in life, and most people would be hard pressed to find other developed countries that treat foreigners the way Japan does. In another forum discussing a related issue, someone brought up the example of Israel, but I personally think it's a bad comparison based on a) the relative size difference, b) origin of a country, Israel has been struggling to survive in a perpetual war zone versus Japan's past post war struggles c) Israel is in the midst of other countries trying to take over its territory, so they have a more extreme reaction to others sharing their land.

That being said, an another option for an answer would be useful, and I am curious to hear what these other meanings could be as many Japanese have shown they feel it means non-Japanese (showing shock when '"gaijin" was directed aganist them, or Japanese use it in other countries to refer to the locals, who would hardly be foreigners in their own countries).

As to it being a different culture and getting used to it, than why would the Japanese object to being treated differently if that's what is generally done in their own country? Wouldn't it be a matter of getting used to what you're dishing out in your own country to visitors and long term residents alike?

Mike Cash
Jun 16, 2006, 04:45
every single American north of the Mason-Dixon knows about how evil slavery was, and how bad Jim Crow was, and how horrible the White Man was to the Native American.


While every single American south of the Mason-Dixon reminisces about how righteous slavery was, how good Jim Crow was, and how wonderfully the White Man was to Injuns?

Minty
Jun 16, 2006, 06:42
I questioned them about whether they called themselves "gaijin" while abroad, but usually they don't. In fact, I remember that both times I went to China with a Japanese tour, the Japanese people in the group frequently referred to the local Chinese as "gaijin", eventhough they were the foreigners in China. That is mostly why I cannot accept the translation "foreigner" as it rather means "non-Japanese".
I also know it's not about being an ethnic Japanese, as Japanese Americans, Japanese Brazilians, etc. are almost always called "gaijin".
That's why I feel most strongly that it means "outsider to Japanese society, culture and customs" OR "physically different".

I never been called gaijin by Japanese, not that I have heard of, but I expected to be called a gaijin because I am indeed a foreigner.

changedonrequest
Jun 16, 2006, 09:15
I never been called gaijin by Japanese, not that I have heard of, but I expected to be called a gaijin because I am indeed a foreigner.

And couldn't that be the root of the problem?

People don't like to think of themselves as being a foreigner, particularly after living here a few years.

It almost seems like they expect everyone to know that they belong here or are long time residents.

ricecake
Jun 16, 2006, 09:59
Oddly though,non-Japanese Asians have this common perception of Japanese tend to treat " white-foreigners " well,oppose to consciously snub at yellow folks for backwardness.

osias
Jun 16, 2006, 13:42
As to comparisons, it's usual in life, and most people would be hard pressed to find other developed countries that treat foreigners the way Japan does.

Is the treatment of foreigners a matter of development? i don't see the connection.

gaijinalways
Jun 16, 2006, 15:33
osais posted
Is the treatment of foreigners a matter of development? i don't see the connection.
Yes, I believe it is. When a developed country continues to not recognize that there are racism problems (related with nationality and appearance) in their own country and doesn't have any laws to deal with it even though they signed the UN decree agreeing to outlaw such actions, that would be a larger problem than a country struggling to raise their standard of living via modernization, where equal rights takes a back seat to being able to eat.

changedonrequest
Jun 16, 2006, 15:35
As to comparisons, it's usual in life, and most people would be hard pressed to find other developed countries that treat foreigners the way Japan does

I hope you don't actually believe that....it borders on racism.

Ask any of the "foreigners" living throughout Europe or for that matter the USA.

gaijinalways
Jun 17, 2006, 00:32
Ah, I have. Their answers are mixed. Many make the mistake of pulling the violence card out, which is a separate issue. More violence does not equal racism. No another pet theory is the ignorance one, which probably has a better chance of being defended. But how long can people in a supposed modernized country be ignorant about issues of racism, especially ones that travel as much as the Japanese do? Perhaps it's another '4 seasons' mystery, i.e. the mystery being how the Japanese could think that having 4 seasons is unusual or unique.

GodEmperorLeto
Jun 17, 2006, 03:26
Quite possibly so, but this isnt the US and comparing things here to there is not fair either as the backgrounds and history are so different as to trying to compare them to apples and snowballs.

I'm not trying to compare so much as to explain why Americans (and some other Westerners) may be so overly sensitive to the term gaijin.

You yourself said:

People don't like to think of themselves as being a foreigner, particularly after living here a few years.


No I am not surprised at all. I would however be curious to know just how many Japanese fall into that category. I am not talking about anyone other than the Japanese.

Good point. This puts me in half a mind to do a poll at work. We have fewer Japanese than Koreans and Taiwanese, but I think the percentages work out the same. On average I get at least 1 Japanese student per session complaining they've been discriminated against out of about 5.


Also would you be willing to ask them how they would feel being called "gaijin" whilst they are in the US in your classroom?
That's a damn good idea! Except if I do it wrong I could get fired. The college I work at might frown heavily upon doing it.

As an aside, one of my Japanese students who loves hip-hop made a pilgrimage to Harlem. He came back saying, "In Harlem, I was the gaijin!"


While every single American south of the Mason-Dixon reminisces about how righteous slavery was, how good Jim Crow was, and how wonderfully the White Man was to Injuns?
Ye gods, no! I honestly haven't lived down there so I simply don't know. That's why I left them out. My education was in blue states. I honestly don't know how the red states handle it. I tried to err on the side of caution.

Maciamo
Jun 17, 2006, 06:32
Interestingly, out of 12 people who have voted at the poll so far, none have voted for "You are not a Japanese national" (on the passport), which is the only option that means "gai(koku)jin = foreigner". In other words, there is unanimity on the feeling that gaijin does not mean "foreigner", unlike what some people have been saying... (and who visibly haven't voted)

changedonrequest
Jun 17, 2006, 08:08
Interestingly, out of 12 people who have voted at the poll so far, none have voted for "You are not a Japanese national" (on the passport), which is the only option that means "gai(koku)jin = foreigner". In other words, there is unanimity on the feeling that gaijin does not mean "foreigner", unlike what some people have been saying... (and who visibly haven't voted)

That is most like because the majority of people reading this didn't vote due to the fact that the poll questions are biased to get the answers that you want to hear.

I strongly disagree with the options written, so to me at least your poll and the information gathered so far are invalid due to the bias against people that have no problem with the word at all.

Pachipro
Jun 19, 2006, 05:44
I started a thread on this (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14340&highlight=gaijin)about a year and a half ago about a movement started in Japan by some foreigners to get the word gaijin off official documents and replaced with the word gaikokujin instead.

To me, the word gaijin will always mean "not Japanese", period, as 99.9% of the time that is how I felt it was used when referring to me. I never felt any racism when the word was used nor did I feel any negative connotation. Heck, I even used the word when referring to myself in conversation such as, "henna gaijin da", when someone seemed surprised at my knowledge of the language, culture or food.

So, for long term residents to feel offended by the use of the word, to me, shows that they are overly sensitive and will never understand that no matter how long you have lived there, how well you know their language or culture, you will always be gaijin, meaning not Japanese. Period.

Mike Cash
Jun 19, 2006, 08:25
So, for long term residents to feel offended by the use of the word, to me, shows that they are overly sensitive and will never understand that no matter how long you have lived there, how well you know their language or culture, you will always be gaijin, meaning not Japanese. Period.

As Hachiro pointed out, the very few of us here who have actually lived in Japan for an extended period are largely of a single mind on this: it isn't worth getting worked up over.

The very large number of us here who have 1)never lived here 2)visited as tourists/students 3)cut and run after a short stay tend to clump into the "embracing victimhood" crowd.

Tokis-Phoenix
Jun 19, 2006, 15:42
When you view everyone with suspicion, fear arises.
I think a lot of the people here who live in japan but are non-japanese and are often offended by the term "gaijin", do so because they feel when it is used, it is being used against them as in "you are not a part of our society" or "you will always be a foreigner no matter how long you live here", or perhaps they just feel that their identity as an individual is being smothered by constantly being just grouped as another outsider or foreigner.

When you live abroad, the most important thing is your identity as an individual- in a country that you find hard getting used to, or feel unhappy about in some way or another, it does make you feel better if people give you some mutual respect for being an individual rather than making you feel like outsider all the time.
Its the kind of discomfort you might feel when you've lived your whole life in the countryside, and all of a sudden you find yourself in the hubbub of fast-paced city life. It can be the opposite as well- if you are used to having people around you 24/7 where ever you go, it can be quick a shock to live in the middle of no where, even if you've been doing it for some time, it might not be something you'll ever get used to.

First impressions of the people around you are just as important of theirs of you- if you've lived a large part of your life in japan, i suppose it could become quite disheartening or annoying if people don't give you a chance to be someone different, but just instantly group you up with the rest of the outsiders because of your appearance or family bloodlines. Like others here have said, i think most of what depends is the context the term "gaijin" or "gaikokugin" is used in though.

Personally i wouldn't care less if i went on holiday to japan and some stranger or person i didn't know well called me "gaijin" (as long as they weren't intending it to be deliberatly and obviously offensive) because i am obviously a foreigner, and outsider if you will, and i don't look japanese in the slightest.
If i was half-japanese or korean or something though, i probably would feel offended, because when it comes down to it, there really isn't any obvious difference between most koreans or half-japanese and true japanese (at least to me there isn't), so i would probably be a lot more offended because i would not really be much of a foreigner or outsider, so the person calling me gaijin would probably be raising my non-japaneseness in a more direct way rather than just making a general statement about my appearance (which i believe is the case a lot of the time with non-asian people being called gaijin).

Silverpoint
Jun 23, 2006, 13:31
People don't like to think of themselves as being a foreigner, particularly after living here a few years.
It almost seems like they expect everyone to know that they belong here or are long time residents.
Sorry to respond to this a bit late.

I can't speak for others, but personally my own opinion is the opposite. As far as living in Japan goes, I will always consider myself a foreigner. I will never consider myself Japanese, neither do I feel the need for Japanese people to consider me one of them.

This has nothing to do with not liking Japan or Japanese people. I adore living here, but I'm not one of the otaku crowd who after spending a few years here suddenly thinks they are more Japanese than the Japanese. I'm proud of who I am and where I come from. I have no inclination to want to change that.

Actually, on the second point about "expecting people to know that [we] belong here", I honestly think this does happen to an extent. I seem to recall that when I first came here, shop assistants, schoolgirls on trains, old women and various other people used to apparently find me a lot more amusing and interesting. Perhaps I looked more foreign, more lost, more wide-eyed. Now I find that sitting on the subway or walking down the street I notice a lot less head-turning than I used to get. Perhaps after spending time in one place you do start to blend in a little more, and people are less aware of your difference, or at least they don't point and snigger in the way they used to.

Maciamo
Jun 23, 2006, 17:32
I can't speak for others, but personally my own opinion is the opposite. As far as living in Japan goes, I will always consider myself a foreigner. I will never consider myself Japanese, neither do I feel the need for Japanese people to consider me one of them.
That is why some people (like you, who doesn't mind being seen and called a foreigner) don't mind the term gaijin, but some (like me) do. However, there are several possible explanations to not liking being reminded of one's foreignness all the time. One may be being an "otaku", I don't know as I am not very familiar with the feeling as I am not a fan of video games, manga or other teenager stuff. What I know are causes of disliking to be called "gaijin" on a nearly daily basis are :

1) when someone comes from a society where foreigners are supposed to do all they can to "fuse into the local culture" and behave like natives. This is the case of France and Benelux countries, but not so much of most English-speaking countries. Japan is more extreme than English-speaking countries, as the natives refuse (unconsciously ?) to accept that foreigners could behave like Japanese, just because of their different looks.

2) when someone is married to a Japanese, and thus belongs to a Japanese family. This urge to be accepted as part of the family and society is even stronger when the person speaks Japanese and is completely used to the Japanese lifestyle.

3) when someone is an immigrant, which means they have no intention of returning to their country of origin, and ultimately will become a permanent resident or naturalised.
It is possible to be in more than one of these situations. Points 1 and 2 applied to me, and a little bit point 3 as I already achieved permanent residency, although I had no intention of staying forever in Japan or be naturalised.


I'm proud of who I am and where I come from. I have no inclination to want to change that.

I think I am even prouder than you of my origins. But only someone completely confident about who they are can decide to adopt a new culture on top on the one(s) he/she already knows. If you cannot change, it means that you are afraid of not being able to come back to who you were before, and that sounds a bit pathetic to me. People change, progress, and keep what is good in what they have learned and experienced, and throw away the rest.



Actually, on the second point about "expecting people to know that [we] belong here", I honestly think this does happen to an extent. I seem to recall that when I first came here, shop assistants, schoolgirls on trains, old women and various other people used to apparently find me a lot more amusing and interesting. Perhaps I looked more foreign, more lost, more wide-eyed. Now I find that sitting on the subway or walking down the street I notice a lot less head-turning than I used to get. Perhaps after spending time in one place you do start to blend in a little more, and people are less aware of your difference, or at least they don't point and snigger in the way they used to.
I don't know how long you have been in Japan, but if it has been over a decade, couldn't it be that the Japanese in the area where you have lived are getting more familiar with the presence of foreign faces ? That doesn't mean that your behaviour is the cause of their different reactions. I know that because I considered myself well-adapted to life in Tokyo, never seemed "lost", dressed like a Japanese (by my wife :blush: ), acted as much as possible like a Japanese would, but still noticed people looking at me like at a weird creature.

At first it didn't bother me so much. It only became irritating once I became fluent in Japanese (about 2 years after arriving), because people would still see me as a "gaijin", which in their heads meant "you are outsider, ignorant of Japanese ways and cannot possibly speak Japanese", with clear result that many of them feigned not understanding me when I talked to them. Frankly, what can be more frustrating that having strangers (e.g. train staff, shopkeepers...) in the whole society where you live feigning not to understand you because you don't look like them ? (and they automatically assume that you speak English, even when it's not your mother-tongue).

How often have you had salespeople ring at your door, and exclaim "oh, gaijin da !" when you opened the door, then apologise in an embarassed fashion because you cannot possibly be a prospective customer as you are not Japanese and surely do not understand what they have to tell you. Maybe my neighbourhood was a particulat prey to these door-to-door salespeople, but it happened to me in average every 2 weeks - Well, sometimes my wife answered the door, so it only happened a dozen times to me personally (but always the same reaction : "oh gaijin da !").

I hope this helps you understand why it is possible to be irritated by the term "gaijin" even when you are proud of your non-Japanese origins. It's just a matter of basic respect, which the Japanese interestingly seem to lack in some situation when dealing with foreign-looking people (I know it happens to naturalised foreigners like Arudo Debito, so I won't say "foreigners").

Maciamo
Jun 23, 2006, 17:42
As Hachiro pointed out, the very few of us here who have actually lived in Japan for an extended period are largely of a single mind on this: it isn't worth getting worked up over.
The very large number of us here who have 1)never lived here 2)visited as tourists/students 3)cut and run after a short stay tend to clump into the "embracing victimhood" crowd.

Or maybe some of the long-term residents haven't had many experiences of salesmen at their door exclaiming "oh gaiijn da", then walked away without double-checking whether you actually speak Japanese. :blush: I thought it was justly those who lived in "gaijin houses" or "expat accommodation" (or even expact districts like Roppongi, Azabu or Yoyogi) that never experienced that. Well, maybe I am wrong. Maybe the Japanese outside the big Tokyo Metropolis and Kansai region are more open-minded ? Maybe they assume that if a foreigners lives in a small country town or village they must speak Japanese ? What I noticed here is that the long-term residents who haven't got a strong negative opinion of the term "gaijin" live in the countryside (Mikecash, Mikawa Ossan...), not in big cities...

changedonrequest
Jun 23, 2006, 17:47
How often have you had salespeople ring at your door, and exclaim "oh, gaijin da !" when you opened the door, then apologise in an embarassed fashion because you cannot possibly be a prospective customer as you are not Japanese and surely do not understand what they have to tell you. Maybe my neighbourhood was a particulat prey to these door-to-door salespeople, but it happened to me in average every 2 weeks - Well, sometimes my wife answered the door, so it only happened a dozen times to me personally (but always the same reaction : "oh gaijin da !").


Personally I don't care whether they say it or not. They are not saying it to be disrepsectful as they have no idea that a "gaijin" is living there or not.

You probably gave off the aura of "leave me alone I am a touchy overly-sensitive gaijin". How can you sit here and say that you automatically "know" what and how people are thinking just because they say "Aaa gaijin da". You create the situation and the problem by always being on the defensive, as if to say that you are ashamed of being a "gaijin".

I didn't know you were a mind reader as well. :okashii:


I think I am even prouder than you of my origins. But only someone completely confident about who they are can decide to adopt a new culture on top on the one(s) he/she already knows. If you cannot change, it means that you are afraid of not being able to come back to who you were before, and that sounds a bit pathetic to me. People change, progress, and keep what is good in what they have learned and experienced, and throw away the rest.

Maciamo what you wrote there is either arrogant as hell or pot-kettle-black way of thinking and speaking. You ***** quite often about the way Japanese people treated you or how you felt discriminated against because they called you "gaijin" right? People change, did YOU? Did you ever learn to let it go? I dont think so.

Maciamo
Jun 23, 2006, 18:09
When you view everyone with suspicion, fear arises.
I think a lot of the people here who live in japan but are non-japanese and are often offended by the term "gaijin", do so because they feel when it is used, it is being used against them as in "you are not a part of our society" or "you will always be a foreigner no matter how long you live here", or perhaps they just feel that their identity as an individual is being smothered by constantly being just grouped as another outsider or foreigner.

I agree. I also noticed that the word "gaijin" is often used in negative context. For example, my wife and a Japanese friend (married to a Belgian and who has lived in Europe for over 5 years) entered in the metro in Brussels and her friend said "gaijin kusai !" (it stinks the "gaijin"). She was referring to the stronger smell of the many African people in that carriage, but it still offended me because she just associated bad smell with "non-Japaneseness". The Japanese often complain that Caucasians and Blacks "stink" whenever it's hot. It's probably true that in average Mongoloid people have lesser body smells when they sweat, but that does not justify saying "gaijin kusai", especially for a Japanese living abroad.


When you live abroad, the most important thing is your identity as an individual- in a country that you find hard getting used to, or feel unhappy about in some way or another, it does make you feel better if people give you some mutual respect for being an individual rather than making you feel like outsider all the time.

I completely agree here as well. I maybe more "sentitive" than some other foreigners in Japan about always being referred to as a "gaijin", because I have experienced living in many foreign countries, and was never singled out as a foreigner as much as I was in Japan.

Of course, if one has nothing to compare it to, it's hard to speculate whether this is normal behaviour toward foreigners around the world, or if the Japanese are exceedingly keen on stressing people's foreignness. I'd say that Japan is not normal by Western standard (at least Europe, Canada and Australia), but people in other East Asian countries (Korea, China, Thailand, Indonesia...) behave pretty much the same way in that regard. So it's more like a conflict of civilisation (wider cultural group) than just about Japan.

I didn't feel that Indian or Middle-Eastern people made so much fuss about my being foreign. But maybe that's because I haven't really try to integrate there and learn the language ? Well, I knew the equivalent term for "gaijin" after a week in Thailand ("farang") because so many Thai point at you saying "farang" (much more than in Japan, despite the numerous tourists there). I am not aware of the existence of a similar term of "differentiation and exclusion" in any Indo-European language.

Maciamo
Jun 23, 2006, 18:20
Personally I don't care whether they say it or not. They are not saying it to be disrepsectful as they have no idea that a "gaijin" is living there or not.
You probably gave off the aura of "leave me alone I am a touchy overly-sensitive gaijin". How can you sit here and say that you automatically "know" what and how people are thinking just because they say "Aaa gaijin da". You create the situation and the problem by always being on the defensive, as if to say that you are ashamed of being a "gaijin".
I didn't know you were a mind reader as well.
It is disrespectful because they don't even try to talk to me and check whether I speak Japanese or not. They just walk away assuming I am not Japanese and don't speak Japanese. They are the ones assuming, not me ! No need to be a mind-reader to understand that !



Maciamo what you wrote there is either arrogant as hell or pot-kettle-black way of thinking and speaking. You ***** quite often about the way Japanese people treated you or how you felt discriminated against because they called you "gaijin" right? People change, did YOU? Did you ever learn to let it go? I dont think so.
I can adapt to a lot of situation, probably faster than most people. I can eat almost anything, get used to different lifestyles, learn about almost anything, live in any kind of place... Some people have the ability to grow a thick-skin and ignore insults and criticism thrown at them - but unfortunately this is something I haven't managed to do yet. Maybe that is because I am so worried about doing things the right way and improve myself whenever I can that I will never tolerate insults or discrimination. For me the use of the term "gaijin" as I have experienced it is both insulting and discriminatory. Usually people develop a thicker skin with age. But for me having a thick skin equals being insensitive and "thick", which also means one cannot learn, change and adapt so well anymore - a clear sign of aging indeed. So, I don't care whether you like it or not or if it is not "politically correct" to say so, but I believe that the faculty of learning and adaptation is invertly proportionally to thickness of skin.

DoctorP
Jun 23, 2006, 19:28
I still have much reading to do to catch up on this thread, but Maciamo I assume that you would consider me rude after today`s flight.

As I made my way to my seat, I noticed that I was sitting with two Japanese men. One older and one younger. I naturally greated them in Japanese. The younger man returned the greating and the older man answered me in very good English.

I am guessing that you would look down upon me because I initiated a conversation with them, while in the US, using Japanese instead of English? It seemed quite possible to me that they did not speak English. I did find out, however, that the older gentleman spoke quite fluently. I continued to speak throughout the flight in Japanese and he would answer in English. It made the flight quite enjoyable!

DoctorP
Jun 23, 2006, 19:30
It is disrespectful because they don't even try to talk to me and check whether I speak Japanese or not. They just walk away assuming I am not Japanese and don't speak Japanese. They are the ones assuming, not me !


But you are not Japanese are you?

changedonrequest
Jun 23, 2006, 19:59
Maybe the Japanese outside the big Tokyo Metropolis and Kansai region are more open-minded ? Maybe they assume that if a foreigners lives in a small country town or village they must speak Japanese ? What I noticed here is that the long-term residents who haven't got a strong negative opinion of the term "gaijin" live in the countryside (Mikecash, Mikawa Ossan...), not in big cities...

I am rather amazed at this, as in my experience here in Japan it is the direct opposite. The people that live in the cities or metropolitan areas were much more accomodating to "gaijin" than people in "inaka". I have personally experienced more negativity towards "gaijin" in "inaka" than in the city.


It is disrespectful because they don't even try to talk to me and check whether I speak Japanese or not. They just walk away assuming I am not Japanese and don't speak Japanese. They are the ones assuming, not me ! No need to be a mind-reader to understand that !


Pretty easy assumtion to make isnt it? Are you Japanese? Do you even closely look like a Japanese? You allow them to make that assumption by not stopping them and asking them what it is all about.

I have had countless sales people among others stop at my house and when they say "ahh gaijin da?", which is a pretty easy assumption to make as I stand 6'4", lilly white, and weigh about 220lbs, what OTHER assumption can they make, I ASK them "Nani Ka? Do nashaimashitaka? They INSTANTLY get the "hint" that this person, meaning me, is not an "ordinary" "gaijin". Then they go into their sales pitch, if I am interested I listen, if not.....well it is really easy to shut the door.

Why is it disrespectful? Why do you assume that Japanese people should act as you do? The fault imo is on you and not them.


I can adapt to a lot of situation, probably faster than most people. I can eat almost anything, get used to different lifestyles, learn about almost anything, live in any kind of place... Some people have the ability to grow a thick-skin and ignore insults and criticism thrown at them - but unfortunately this is something I haven't managed to do yet. Maybe that is because I am so worried about doing things the right way and improve myself whenever I can that I will never tolerate insults or discrimination. For me the use of the term "gaijin" as I have experienced it is both insulting and discriminatory. Usually people develop a thicker skin with age. But for me having a thick skin equals being insensitive and "thick", which also means one cannot learn, change and adapt so well anymore - a clear sign of aging indeed. So, I don't care whether you like it or not or if it is not "politically correct" to say so, but I believe that the faculty of learning and adaptation is invertly proportionally to thickness of skin.

So can I as I have already in over 20 years of living here. I think you have it wrong there, people that have a "thick skin" are more adaptable to the situation that they are living in, not being insensitive. It means that one is more able to accept things that they are not familar with or that one finds to be different.

I have a skin like an elephant, things that people say about my "gainjiness" really do not bother me and do you know why? It is because if I let it bother me I would be either in jail for murdering someone for their "insensitivity" to my being a foreigner living in Japan OR I would be dead from a heart attack after worrying so damn much about why people here are always picking on me for being a "gaijin", which I am.

I have too much to live for, 3 kids, whose "kids" someday I would really love to see.

Maciamo sorry guy but we are just going to have to agree to disagree, I can not agree or accept your assertions that you have made here on this thread and others that are similar to this one.

I emphathize with you for the troubles and problems that you had here in Japan, but I am sorry I can not agree with you.

Mikawa Ossan
Jun 23, 2006, 22:06
What I noticed here is that the long-term residents who haven't got a strong negative opinion of the term "gaijin" live in the countryside (Mikecash, Mikawa Ossan...), not in big cities...
Hi again, Mac!
I'm curious as to how you define big cities vis a vis the countryside. Is it the standard Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, etc. versus everything else, or do you mean something different? I'm just curious.

On a side note, I have lived in Osaka for a short time, and I have lived in Nagoya proper for a year. Other than that, the biggest city I have ever lived in within Japan is about 120,000 people (where I live now).

gaijinalways
Jun 23, 2006, 22:42
I haven't had salesmen say this, but I have had kids and quite a few other people 'assume' too much. That and just people doing a u-turn instead of sitting in my area (my evil eye!:p ). The funniest was a lady who was heading to my side of the car, suddenly wheels backwards and plants herself between two chainsmoking ojisans (who I would prefer not to sit next to). So fo course she was trying to avoid sitting next to a male (2 males she chose, a lady to my other side, me on the end of the bench), something a right wing moderaror on another forum tried to tell me. He couldn't get it through his head, if you're a foreigner in Japan, sometimes people run away like you have the plague!

Of course, there are plenty of times when it doesn't happen, but you still notice the seat next to you is often filled last. The size arguement doesn't cut it either, as I've seen sumo guys board and they don't get this 'avoidance behaviour'.

So bascially what Maciamo is telling you is not that far from the truth, that the tolerance for foreigners in Japan is low, and the messages from the government just support the same line.

changedonrequest
Jun 23, 2006, 22:48
Which is a heck of a lot smaller than the 300,000 people that live in Naha alone......and if you want to include the area surounding Naha, because we are limited as an island, there are probably closer to 1 MILLION people living in an area smaller than Yokohama City.

SO the area I am in is just the same as any metropolitan area of Japan, unless of course you want to "discriminate" against area's outside of Tokyo.


Now I truly am waiting for a reply to THAT....

Mikawa Ossan
Jun 23, 2006, 23:05
Which is a heck of a lot smaller than the 300,000 people that live in Naha alone......and if you want to include the area surounding Naha, because we are limited as an island, there are probably closer to 1 MILLION people living in an area smaller than Yokohama City.

SO the area I am in is just the same as any metropolitan area of Japan, unless of course you want to "discriminate" against area's outside of Tokyo.


Now I truly am waiting for a reply to THAT....
Just for fun...

Did I mention that in Mikawa, my city is only an average sized community with an area of 50.45km? (BTW, I got the population number wrong, the official population as of November 1st, 2005 was 141,364.)

changedonrequest
Jun 23, 2006, 23:08
Just for fun...

Did I mention that in Mikawa, my city is only an average sized community with an area of 50.45km? (BTW, I got the population number wrong, the official population as of November 1st, 2005 was 141,364.)

You actually live in an area that is, population wise, MUCH MUCH smaller than I do.

Outside of Tokyo I am curious to know what areas of Japan Maciamo is refering to?

Mikawa Ossan
Jun 23, 2006, 23:11
You actually live in an area that is, population wise, MUCH MUCH smaller than I do.

Outside of Tokyo I am curious to know what areas of Japan Maciamo is refering to?
I'm sure you're right. Of course I'm not including the 3 cities that are only 5 minutes driving distance from my home.

EDIT: Well, now you've gotten me curious, so I went and checked the census numbers for the cities that were supposed to merge together last year (if it weren't for one holdout!) If that merger had gone through, I would now be living in a city of 494,121. Not even remotely Tokyo-like, but big enough for my tastes.

Maciamo
Jun 24, 2006, 02:49
I still have much reading to do to catch up on this thread, but Maciamo I assume that you would consider me rude after today`s flight.
As I made my way to my seat, I noticed that I was sitting with two Japanese men. One older and one younger. I naturally greated them in Japanese. The younger man returned the greating and the older man answered me in very good English.
I am guessing that you would look down upon me because I initiated a conversation with them, while in the US, using Japanese instead of English? It seemed quite possible to me that they did not speak English. I did find out, however, that the older gentleman spoke quite fluently. I continued to speak throughout the flight in Japanese and he would answer in English. It made the flight quite enjoyable!

Is this post addressed to me ? Why ? Seems like a very normal situation with which I have no problem.

What if the Japanese guy had addressed you in German because he assumed you were German (for no particular reason) and feigned not to understand your Japanese when you talked to him, then continued to reply in German to you ? Just replace German by English and you have the typical Japanese behaviour toward me in Japan. Now even if you do speak German, as it is not your mother tongue, wouldn't it annoy you to have people always assuming that you are a German-speaker, and if they don't speak German they would tell you in broken German "kein Deutsch !" while making a cross sign with their hands. You would wonder why they would do that in Japan, right ? Well I wondered why they did that with me about English, as it's not written on my forehead that I am an English-speaker, and indeed I am not a native English-speaker. Japanese do get offended when they are told "I don't speak Chinese" by Westerners when they say something in English...

Maciamo
Jun 24, 2006, 02:51
But you are not Japanese are you?
Are you saying that only Japanese people can speak Japanese. I am a permanent resident in Japan, so that alone makes me almost Japanese and likely to understand Japanese. I am also eligible to become a Japanese citizen (about the same conditions as permanent residency). I just didn't choose it because Japan doesn't recognised dual citizenship, otherwise I probably would be Japanese.

This also answers Hachiro's post and his stupid assumption that I could not be Japanese because I don't look Japanese. Hachiro, are you of Japanese descent by any chance ?


Pretty easy assumtion to make isnt it? Are you Japanese? Do you even closely look like a Japanese?

If I were to acquire Japanese nationality tomorrow, would it change salespeople' behaviour toward me ? NO ! Is it difficult to become Japanese when married to one ? No !

Maciamo
Jun 24, 2006, 03:09
Which is a heck of a lot smaller than the 300,000 people that live in Naha alone......and if you want to include the area surounding Naha, because we are limited as an island, there are probably closer to 1 MILLION people living in an area smaller than Yokohama City.
First of all, I was just wondering, not stating facts about Japanese in the country being more open-minded toward foreigners. Secondly, I was quite skeptical about that 'wonderment', as country people are usually (globally) more closed to the world and narrow-minded. Yet, I hear people in cities complain and people in the country say it's not true. I haven't lived in the Japanese country, but cannot recall any similar problem while travelling there.

And to answer both Mikawa Ossan and you about what is a "big city", I mean the Greater Tokyo and Greater Osaka, while Fukuoka, Hiroshima or Sapporo would be "cities", something like Nagano, Nara, Nagasaki or Naha would be big towns, and 120,000 people would be a regular town, under 10,000 to 100,000 people a small town, and under 10,000 a village (and under 100 people a hamlet, if you really want to know)...

changedonrequest
Jun 24, 2006, 09:01
Hachiro, are you of Japanese descent by any chance ?


How many "lilly white" Okinawan/Japanese do you know that stand 6'4" and weigh 220lbs? No I am not Japanese nor do I look it either and I do not expect people here to assume anything different either. Even if I was a citizen of the country I would still expect that people would think that I am "gaijin", so what, it's a fact of life living here that people are going to think and act that way.


so that alone makes me almost Japanese and likely to understand Japanese

Good lord man do you wear the card glued to your forehead proclaiming to everyone that "I have PR, I have PR"....geez how in the heck do you expect people to know? What do you want them to ask..."Summimasen eijyu shiteru GAIJIN-san desuka?"

I've got PR status as well and I live here. But if the flag under your name is any indication of location of where one is you are not here. You may have the status but you're not living here. Be that as it may, you have a huge chip on your shoulder that an A-bomb couldn't knock off.

It is not a stupid assumption, it's a fact of living here. If you are bothered so much by it why keep the PR status, you wave that around like some flag making you an authority on Japan. Yet from reading many of your posts here you hate the damn place as well. You dont need the PR status if you are not living here. Maybe you have plans to come back in the future I dont know nor do I care it's up to you. However just assuming that people should automatically respect you as an "almost citizen" because of your unseen status, because of a stamp in your passport means nothing.

I'm willing to bet that everyone else that has PR status here in Japan all have stories to tell about discriminatory experiences while living here, but none outside of you Maciamo expect people to automatically accept them as a Permanent Resident upon intial meeting. Oh besides the fact that just having PR is no garuntee that the "gaijin-san" speaks or understands any Japanese.


If I were to acquire Japanese nationality tomorrow, would it change salespeople' behaviour toward me ? NO ! Is it difficult to become Japanese when married to one ? No !

I know you are trying to say that looks shouldn't matter, and in a utopian world that may be so, but this isn't utopia it's Japan and if you can't deal with things like this may be you shouldn't return. Oh and btw you failed to answer my question on whether you look Japanese or not....because it DOES matter to people looking at you. This is not a racially or culturally diverse society and I think you know that as well. You are wishing to impose or apply the rules of a diverse society as you think of them here on Japan and it's people.

According to your profile you only lived here for 3 to 5 years and from reading many of your posts it seems to me at least that in comparison to all the troubles you had in your time living here I would have to live 10 lifetimes here to equal them. It's no wonder that you have so much animosity towards the people and the country.

However I wonder if many of the incidents that you often refer to were more your problems with perception of the situation and maybe misunderstanding the people talking to you. I still can't not image why you would be proud to claim PR residence here if in fact you had all these troubles while living here. Do you enjoy pain and frustration so much?

Mikawa Ossan
Jun 24, 2006, 10:14
To answer the original OP, the best way to sum up what I think of the word "gaijin", I think I should refer you to the following post from Pachipro. I think it has an excellent analogy.
http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showpost.php?p=357597&postcount=138

DoctorP
Jun 25, 2006, 10:47
Are you saying that only Japanese people can speak Japanese.

I said nothing of the sort. I was merely pointing out that the salesman was correct. He merely stated that you are/were a foreigner. Nothing more, nothing less. Whether you can speak the language is a moot point at this juncture.





I am a permanent resident in Japan, so that alone makes me almost Japanese and likely to understand Japanese.

It makes you nothing of the sort...it merely means that you are a permanent resident!



I am also eligible to become a Japanese citizen (about the same conditions as permanent residency). I just didn't choose it because Japan doesn't recognised dual citizenship, otherwise I probably would be Japanese.


These statements lead me to believe that you are on a personal conquest to be a citizen of multiple countries. You seem to me to be the individual at parties that constantly has to "one up" everyone.

DoctorP
Jun 25, 2006, 10:52
Is this post addressed to me ? Why ? Seems like a very normal situation with which I have no problem.



It was addressed to you. The reason being that numerous times you stressed how rude people were to not assume you could in fact speak the language of their home country (namely Japan). I did this exact thing being that I was in the US and addressing a Japanese person in Japanese. (assuming that he could not speak English). Add to that, everytime he spoke English I continued to answer in Japanese. From many of your previous posts on this forum, I was extremely rude by refusing to speak in the language chosen by the foreigner to communicate with.

By reading your response, I can not understand why you would become so irate with the Japanese while you were living in Japan. What I did was the same, but you see no problem with it?

Mike Cash
Jun 28, 2006, 22:17
It makes you nothing of the sort...it merely means that you are a permanent resident!


"Permanent" residents don't bail out after 4 1/2 years. Those are more properly called "tourists".

changedonrequest
Jun 29, 2006, 07:04
"Permanent" residents don't bail out after 4 1/2 years. Those are more properly called "tourists".


Couple of comments to this, if that is the case I seriously wonder how he got Permanent Residence Status in the first place. Generally speaking if a man gets married to a Japanese national their spouse visa is as first 1 to 3 years renewable after the 2nd renewal (meaning after 5 to 6 years of continuous living here) application for Permanent Residency is accepted.

Unless maybe he is confusing a spouse visa with permanent residence visa?


Immigration is pretty strict on who they give PR status to.

I also noticed that Maciamo hasnt responded to any of the comments/questions directed towards him...I wonder why?

Maciamo
Jun 29, 2006, 20:33
"Permanent" residents don't bail out after 4 1/2 years. Those are more properly called "tourists".
Funny, my definition of 'tourist' is someone who comes to a country for sightseeing and typically moves around staying in hotels, hostels or other short-term accommodation. Countries which have "tourist visas" never grant them the right to work, afaik.


Unless maybe he is confusing a spouse visa with permanent residence visa?

No, no, I am talking about "Eijuuken" (iZ ).

changedonrequest
Jun 29, 2006, 20:46
Funny, my definition of 'tourist' is someone who comes to a country for sightseeing and typically moves around staying in hotels, hostels or other short-term accommodation. Countries which have "tourist visas" never grant them the right to work, afaik.



No, no, I am talking about "Eijuuken" (iZ ).

Ok you answered, thank you. But I still wonder how you got the status in such a short period of time. Also why you are so proud to have it, not live here and generally complain about the problems that you "suffered" through while you were here.

You sound like a person that enjoys pain.

Oh and you may have noticed but a few other people made some comments and directed towards you and you haven't replied to those. I would for one anyway be curious to know what your thoughts are in reply to CC1's comments.

Maciamo
Jun 29, 2006, 20:58
Oh and btw you failed to answer my question on whether you look Japanese or not....because it DOES matter to people looking at you. This is not a racially or culturally diverse society and I think you know that as well. You are wishing to impose or apply the rules of a diverse society as you think of them here on Japan and it's people.

First of all, I wish to mention that unlike you I come from a country that is not racially diverse (or not much and only due to recent immigration). I do not look Japanese, but I never assume that Asian people I meet in the streets of a Western country are Japanese, unless I hear them speak Japanese like native speakers (which requires me first to be able to understand and recognise Japanese, which not all Westerners can do). If I hear Asians speak a language that I don't know, I won't assume that they are from this or that country, because I just can't. I also won't assume that they are not nationals of the country where I am and that they cannot speak the language of the country. Why ? Because I know there is a minority of Asian people who have emigrated to Western countries, become naturalised and can speak both the local language and that of their country of origin. Because there is a slight possibility that they indeed are NOT foreigners and speak the local language, I won't make any prejudicial statement. Why can't Japanese (or any other people, it doesn't matter) do the same ? If you support the Japanese behaviour it can only mean that you also behave the same way and prejudge people based on appearances...

In Japan, just too many people assume that because I am Caucasian I am an 'English-speaking American'. Well, over half of all the world's Caucasians are European, and not even all American speak English.

I have not had this problem only in Japan. While travelling around Asia, I have met people in almost every country assuming that I was American or Australian just because there were a lot of tourists from these countries in that place. Some people ask first, of course, but not all. In Japan it seems that a majority of the people just think "gaijin" when they see a Caucasian and hardly care where they are from unless they intend to become friends (and sometimes even in spite of that).


I still can't not image why you would be proud to claim PR residence here if in fact you had all these troubles while living here. Do you enjoy pain and frustration so much?

I wanted to test whether becoming a permanent resident would make any difference or not. Actually I enjoyed my 2 first years in Japan. The 3rd wasn't bad. The 4th and 5th were the worst and getting worse with time, so I decided to leave as I had had enough.

DoctorP
Jun 29, 2006, 21:02
all of that said, you have to admit that you are an English speaking caucasian...so they are at least partly right!

DoctorP
Jun 29, 2006, 21:05
and not even all American speak English.



did you really type this? AFAIK, the only Americans that do not speak English would be naturalized Americans, and they do have to take a literacy test. Whether or not they pass the test is for another thread all together.

Maciamo
Jun 29, 2006, 21:17
It was addressed to you. The reason being that numerous times you stressed how rude people were to not assume you could in fact speak the language of their home country (namely Japan). I did this exact thing being that I was in the US and addressing a Japanese person in Japanese. (assuming that he could not speak English). Add to that, everytime he spoke English I continued to answer in Japanese. From many of your previous posts on this forum, I was extremely rude by refusing to speak in the language chosen by the foreigner to communicate with.
By reading your response, I can not understand why you would become so irate with the Japanese while you were living in Japan. What I did was the same, but you see no problem with it?

But you were in a plane (between Japan and the US, was it ?), so in an international zone. First, that doesn't count as being in any particular country. Secondly, you are still not getting my point at all. I don't have any problem with having a conversation in English with a Japanese in Japan, as long as they know that I do speak English. Of course, as an English teacher I had many opportunities to speak English with many Japanese. That doesn't bother me. There are 3 things that bother me :

1) that they assume on looks only (without having any information about where I am from or what language I speak) that because I am a Caucasian I automatically am an English speaker. I have family members that cannot speak English or not well. I am being offended at the assumption that all Caucasian speak English on behalf of all non (native) English speakers in Europe (i.e. 85% of all Europeans).

2) that they assume that because I am Caucasian, I cannot speak Japanese (again without asking), as if Caucasian people were too stupid to be able to speak Japanese. This is all the more vexing when it is a Japanese fluent in English that tells you that, because although they were able to learn English, they think that you most probably are not able to learn Japanese. This is a kind of complex of superiority shared by many Japanese. How many times have you heard Japanese people saying that Japanese is more difficult to learn than English ? They usually agree that English is difficult for them, but that Japanese must then be impossible for foreigners to learn ! Sorry but that is a racist assumption.

3) that when I address some in Japanese, they feign not to understand. When I repeat, they make gestures or say "no English". That would be ok if they answer back in English if they knew I spoke English. I am French speakers friends who speak well Japanese but not English. It is very annoying to them when they ask something in Japanese and get an answer in English. Then when they say "eigo ga wakaranai" the Japanese tend not to believe them and laughing at what they thought was a joke. :okashii:

Why is it that all Caucasians must speak English ? But well this feeling is probably too difficult to understand for an English speaker. Just imagine you come to Belgium to learn Dutch (wild fancy :p ) and everytime you try to ask something in Dutch in Brussels (which is officially bilingual Dutch-French and most people in shops must speak both), you get an answer in French (a language you don't understand) because they assume that you are a French-speaker as you have an accent in Dutch ! Can you imagine the frustrartion if that happened on a daily basis for years ? If you can, you have an idea of my frustration in Japan (yeah, I know it's a bit different as I speak English, but I wish they would not just assume it as I only speak English for having studied it).

DoctorP
Jun 29, 2006, 21:21
Ah, but it is you that can not comprehend what is being said here!

I was in the US.

I began a conversation with a Japanese looking person by speaking Japanese.

Even after he answered me in English, I continued to speak Japanese.

Same as the situations you have mentioned many, many times. He did not get frustrated and we had a nice conversation.

End of story.

Maybe you are too sensitive.

Maciamo
Jun 29, 2006, 21:26
did you really type this? AFAIK, the only Americans that do not speak English would be naturalized Americans, and they do have to take a literacy test. Whether or not they pass the test is for another thread all together.
You don't have to be naturalised to become American. FYI, anybody born on US soil (even if they moved the next day to another country never to come back) is automatically American. I know some South American and Israeli people who have a US pasport. When I asked them how came that they had one, yet never lived there and do not speak English like native speakers or with an American accent, they told me that their parents just wanted them to be born in the US to have the nationality, then went back to their country. In fact, most Israeli that I met while travelling had non-Israeli passport (e.g. French, Italian, Australian, Canadian, American...).

Secondly, there is a HUGE Spanish-speaking community in the South-Western USA. Many were born in the US, and thus American, but still speak only Spanish. Same for some Chinese in Chinatows around the country ; born there, but don't speak English (or not much). FYI, the USA does NOT have any official language, unlike most European and Asian countries.

Funny that you shouldn't know that as an American...

Maciamo
Jun 29, 2006, 21:31
Ah, but it is you that can not comprehend what is being said here!
I was in the US.
I began a conversation with a Japanese looking person by speaking Japanese.
Even after he answered me in English, I continued to speak Japanese.
Same as the situations you have mentioned many, many times. He did not get frustrated and we had a nice conversation.
End of story.
Maybe you are too sensitive.

I still have no problem with your situation except if you assumed that they spoke Japanese without hearing them speak Japanese or having some clues that they were Japanese (e.g. name on the handbag, Japanese book or newspaper, etc.). What would you have done if the person had not been Japanese and couldn't speak Japanese ? Would you have felt embarassed or not at all ?

Mikawa Ossan
Jun 29, 2006, 21:38
I wanted to test whether becoming a permanent resident would make any difference or not.For the life of me, I honestly can't comprehend why you thought it might.

DoctorP
Jun 29, 2006, 21:38
Funny that you shouldn't know that as an American...


snide remarks only make you seem much smaller a person!

funny that you wouldn't realize that much of the spanish speaking population are not legally in the US.

DoctorP
Jun 29, 2006, 21:41
What would you have done if the person had not been Japanese and couldn't speak Japanese ? Would you have felt embarassed or not at all ?


I would have apologized...I am not so full of myself that I can not accept being wrong!

Maciamo
Jun 29, 2006, 21:57
all of that said, you have to admit that you are an English speaking caucasian...so they are at least partly right!

I speak 7 languages and English is of course one of them. But Japanese also is one. Neither are my native languages. What makes them think that a young Caucasian in Japan has higher chances of speaking English than Japanese, with all the exchange students and the people interested in modern Japanese culture that come to Japan to learn Japanese ?

I would have been equallly offended had they addressed me in any other language (regardless of whether I speak it or not) than Japanese or my mother tongue (French) without knowing whether I spoke that language or not.

I was raised in a multilingual country which has the unpoken rule that people should use the official language of the area where they are (e.g. French in Wallonia, Dutch in Flanders, either in Brussels) in case of doubt. While in Japan, I expect even other Caucasians to address me in Japanese if they don't know me.

When I was in Italy, I would address and be addressed by everyone, Italian or not, in Italian. Same in Germany. Same in Spain. It would not have crossed my mind to address someone in French or English in these countries even if I could see they were not locals (e.g. tourists with cameras or other students in my Italian school), because we were in Italy ! If they didn't speak Italian, they would say something in their language, and we could have seen if we spoke a common language.

I suppose that Americans and Japanese just don't have enough experience of learning languages abroad and not associating looks with a language. In Europe, almost everybody could be from any country from looks (sometimes you can guess where they are from, but without guarantee of being right), and languages are different in almost every country (or within the same country). So you get used NOT to assume anything and just speak in the local language if you can (and learn it if you can't :-) ).

The Japanese having an even harder time to differentiate Caucasians, they should be all the more careful when addressing them. If someone address you in Japanese, reply in Japanese unless you know what language they speak !

CC1, in your case, I guess that you had enough clues that the person was Japanese not to embarass yourself. After that, if you were in the US it is fine for the Japanese guy to talk back to you in English, and fine for you to talk to him in his mother tongue. In Japan people don't address/reply to me in my mother tongue, and many don't even reply to me in Japanese. See the difference ?

changedonrequest
Jun 29, 2006, 21:58
If you support the Japanese behaviour it can only mean that you also behave the same way and prejudge people based on appearances...


Wrong!! You assume that the Japanese should be like you and follow how you think. Now you are going beyond your knowledge and are talking nonsense. If I didnt know any better you are accusing me of being a racist. Why not read my score on a thread you started;

http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15719&page=4

In the first line of your reply to me you said that you do not come from a racially diverse country like I do. Then you go on to accuse me of something I never have and never will be? You are naive.

To me you have a bad habit of making accusations or assumptions if anyone else here did the same things or made similar posts as you have they would either be warned or banned for thier commentary.


In Japan, just too many people assume that because I am Caucasian I am an 'English-speaking American'. Well, over half of all the world's Caucasians are European, and not even all American speak English.


So...what did you expect coming here?


I have not had this problem only in Japan. While travelling around Asia, I have met people in almost every country assuming that I was American or Australian just because there were a lot of tourists from these countries in that place. Some people ask first, of course, but not all. In Japan it seems that a majority of the people just think "gaijin" when they see a Caucasian and hardly care where they are from unless they intend to become friends (and sometimes even in spite of that).


Ok this is Japan and it is a fact of lif living here that one has to go through this kind of ****.



I wanted to test whether becoming a permanent resident would make any difference or not. Actually I enjoyed my 2 first years in Japan. The 3rd wasn't bad. The 4th and 5th were the worst and getting worse with time, so I decided to leave as I had had enough.

Get rid of the PR status then if you had such a bad time of it. Or quit using that as the basis you use here on this forum to "prove" yourself as an "expert" about Japan.

How in the hell are people looking at you going to know? They aren't, even if you tell them that you have it, means nothing. Like CC1 wrote in a reply to your post and to which I wholeheartedly agree with;


Quote:Originally Posted by Maciamo
I am a permanent resident in Japan, so that alone makes me almost Japanese and likely to understand Japanese.


It makes you nothing of the sort...it merely means that you are a permanent resident!

Maciamo
Jun 29, 2006, 22:02
For the life of me, I honestly can't comprehend why you thought it might.

Indeed, and so apparently does it make no difference to be naturalised Japanese. That is why we can rightfully accuse the ethnic Japanese of Japanese nationality to consider that anybody who doesn't look like an ethnic Japanese is automatically a foreigner who cannot speak Japanese and is ignorant of Japanese ways, even if the person is a naturalised Japanese who speak Japanese and know as much about Japan as a Japanese.

(phew, that must be the sentence with the most repetition of the word "Japanese" that I have written !)

Conclusion : the Japanese are prejudiced toward different-looking people (which is sometimes a definition of "racism"). Thank you, that's all I wanted to say.

Mikawa Ossan
Jun 29, 2006, 22:03
To me you have a bad habit of making accusations or assumptions if anyone else here did the same things or made similar posts as you have they would either be warned or banned for thier commentary.
Maybe, but they wouldn't be an admin now, would they? As Mel Brooks said, "It's good to be the king!"

Mike Cash
Jun 29, 2006, 22:08
Funny, my definition of 'tourist' is someone who comes to a country for sightseeing and typically moves around staying in hotels, hostels or other short-term accommodation. Countries which have "tourist visas" never grant them the right to work, afaik.


Four and a half years is "short term".

The permanent residence visa only means that the government has given you permission to stay as long as you like. I can't understand how you would expect the average Japanese stranger to either know or care that you have (had?) it, or how they should treat you differently because of it.

Maciamo
Jun 29, 2006, 22:15
snide remarks only make you seem much smaller a person!
funny that you wouldn't realize that much of the spanish speaking population are not legally in the US.

I was only referring to the legal population taken into account for statistics about languages.

Mike Cash
Jun 29, 2006, 22:26
I'd be interested in seeing a list of all the Caucasian Japanese citizens. I can only think of two, neither of whom I have met personally.

Is it really all that odd that Japanese seeing white people automatically think we're foreigners? Hell, in practically every single case, they're right.

DoctorP
Jun 29, 2006, 22:29
The "legal" population is not at all accurate. Census takers in the past did very poorly in verifying who was indeed legal or illegal. That was one cause for the numbers being inaccurate. Also note that in the last census, the illegals were encouraged to partake in order to obtain more accurate numbers of the total number of peoplel living in certain areas.

Maciamo
Jun 29, 2006, 22:37
So...what did you expect coming here?

I admit that I had a slightly idealised image of Japan. Contrarily to many Americans, I never looked down on the Japanese for sleeping on the floor, eating rawfish and loosing the war. My image was that of a technologically advanced and modern country where people were disciplined, well-educated and well-travelled. I can't say I was wrong, except for the things I took for granted and which happened to be so different in Japan. Japan was not half as socially and politically developed as I had imagined. Its people were far from open-minded from their travel and education, and even knew very little of the rest of the world and were so full of prejudices about looks, money, etc.

I didn't expect Japan to be many things, including :
- so promiscuous (even more than the US, which I perviously regarded as the height of promiscuity in the developed world),
- so materialistic (again as much or more than the US, which was my maximum standard)
- so ignorant of the world and poorly education in social sciences (even about Japan) and languages.
- so unaccepting of foreign residents (under pretenses of politeness)
- so politically corrupt (which in my mind was the opposite of the image of the self-disciplined nation I had)
...



How in the hell are people looking at you going to know? They aren't, even if you tell them that you have it, means nothing. Like CC1 wrote in a reply to your post and to which I wholeheartedly agree with;

You still don't get that it wouldn't change anything to my situation if I took on the Japanese nationality, do you ?

Maciamo
Jun 29, 2006, 22:41
The "legal" population is not at all accurate. Census takers in the past did very poorly in verifying who was indeed legal or illegal. That was one cause for the numbers being inaccurate. Also note that in the last census, the illegals were encouraged to partake in order to obtain more accurate numbers of the total number of peoplel living in certain areas.

Doesn't matter if the total population is accurate or not. We only care about the number of US citizens who don't speak English in this case, not illegal immigrants. And stats about US citizens should be correct as every citizen is registered in the government files (at least for nationality).

DoctorP
Jun 29, 2006, 22:50
how can you not know that those numbers come from the census?

Nevermind...talking to you is like talking to a brick wall. I can understand why you find life challenging!

Maciamo
Jun 30, 2006, 00:19
how can you not know that those numbers come from the census?
Nevermind...talking to you is like talking to a brick wall. I can understand why you find life challenging!

Talk for yourself. There should be stats for the mother tongue of all US citizens. Such exact stats exists in Belgium, so that the government can send official documents or notices in the right language to each person. I suppose that the US is as evolved as Belgium and also holds detailed stats of its population.

Here is what I found on census.gov (this one is just a census for all residents regardless of nationality, but the US government should have the exact number for US nationals) : Language Use & English speaking ability in 2000 (http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/c2kbr-29.pdf). These stats are for people over 5 years old. There you see that over 3 million people answered that they do not speak English at all, and another 7.6 million doesn't speak English well. Overall, almost 47 million people in the USA are not native speakers of English - i.e. 18% of the population ! Don't tell me that all of them are illegal immigrants. In fact, even if common sense has it that a big part of all these non native speakers are in fact US citizens, I can actually prove this. Here are the stats regarding non native English speaker divided by US-born and foreign-born (http://www.census.gov/population/cen2000/phc-t20/tab06.pdf). As you can see, nationwide, out of the 47 million non native English speakers, only 54.3% are foreign born, which mean that 45.7% are automatically US citizens by birth (regardless of the naturalization rate of the foreign born). 5.6 million of these US-born non-native-speakers admit speaking English less than very well. I wish there were also the figures for "not at all", but I haven't found them on this page.

Let's come back to your previous replies to me :

did you really type this? AFAIK, the only Americans that do not speak English would be naturalized Americans, and they do have to take a literacy test.
...
snide remarks only make you seem much smaller a person!
...
Nevermind...talking to you is like talking to a brick wall. I can understand why you find life challenging!

You may try to abuse me with such remarks, the bottom line is that you started attacking/mocking me for something you didn't even know about your own country. For your defence you only tried to insult me, but it is obvious to most readers of this forum that you are the one making a fool of yourself. I have the statistics, you only have your insults.

DoctorP
Jun 30, 2006, 00:32
please provide a link that works next time

Mars Man
Jun 30, 2006, 00:46
We do have to be careful with statistics, even regardless of what source they come from. I can't get any results from the links either--one of them was titled 'illegal'... MM

Maciamo
Jun 30, 2006, 01:06
Is it working now ? (btw, it is a pdf file)

Seku Hara-chan
Jun 30, 2006, 03:08
Wow, This thread is getting a little heavy. When I was in Japan, I never was called Gaijin to my face (behind my back (literally!) if at all). But when I was with other foreigners we referred to ourselves as gaijin. We sort of held the belief that it was ok for us to say it because we all were, but probably would have been a little pissed if a Japanese person called us gaijin.

Mike Cash
Jun 30, 2006, 04:33
Wow, This thread is getting a little heavy. When I was in Japan, I never was called Gaijin to my face (behind my back (literally!) if at all). But when I was with other foreigners we referred to ourselves as gaijin. We sort of held the belief that it was ok for us to say it because we all were, but probably would have been a little pissed if a Japanese person called us gaijin.

Because you had heard from others that you were supposed to be offended by it?

Mike Cash
Jun 30, 2006, 04:36
I admit that I had a slightly idealised image of Japan. Contrarily to many Americans, I never looked down on the Japanese for sleeping on the floor, eating rawfish and loosing the war.

- so promiscuous (even more than the US, which I perviously regarded as the height of promiscuity in the developed world),

- so materialistic (again as much or more than the US, which was my maximum standard)


These irrelevant and gratuitous snide swipes at Americans are getting tiresome and they are offensive. Get off your holier-than-thou European high horse.

changedonrequest
Jun 30, 2006, 07:17
You know what Amin here or not I have a few things to say in reply to you Mr. Maciamo. I get very well what you are saying.



Conclusion : the Japanese are prejudiced toward different-looking people (which is sometimes a definition of "racism"). Thank you, that's all I wanted to say.]


You are prejudiced against people that look like you. Your snide comments about Americans and equalling them with all that is wrong with the world. You are as guilty if not more so than the Japanese people of prejudice or racism. At least the Japanese people have ignorance on their side.

If I didn't know better I would think that your posts on these types of topics was the work of a high class troll, but a troll none the less. You know why? There is absoluetly no way a person that allegedly speaks 7 foreign languages, has travelled extensively through different countries in the world graduated(?) from college and among a whole list of other things not lastly being married to a woman that gives you a constant reminder of the country that you obviously hate has such a narrow view of one particular country and it's people. It's incredulous to say the least.

Mikawa Ossan
Jun 30, 2006, 07:34
We do have to be careful with statistics, even regardless of what source they come from.
Yes. Statistics are meaningless without interpretation. In the hands of a crafty propagandist, the same statistics can be turned to mean almost anything.


These irrelevant and gratuitous snide swipes at Americans are getting tiresome and they are offensive. Get off your holier-than-thou European high horse.I agree. What do your views about America have to do with your views on Japan?


If I didn't know better I would think that your posts on these types of topics was the work of a high class troll, but a troll none the less. You know why? There is absoluetly no way a person that allegedly speaks 7 foreign languages, has travelled extensively through different countries in the world graduated(?) from college and among a whole list of other things not lastly being married to a woman that gives you a constant reminder of the country that you obviously hate has such a narrow view of one particular country and it's people. It's incredulous to say the least.There are two topics in which discretion is the better part of valour in these realms when an admin steps in. One is religion. Any guesses on the other?

ex-gaijin
Jul 2, 2006, 20:06
I was in Korea with a german friend, visiting a templein Seoul. We arrivedto the temple pretty early and the next tour in english was around midday. My friend, feeling confident in my japanese, decided to take the japanese tour instead...

We ended up in a group of almost 100 Japansese, not to mention we were the only gaijin, everyone stared at us!
While queueing, I heard a few comments from a lady in her 50s, standing behind us. She siad: aahah look at these stupid gaijini (baka gaijin), they`re taking the Japanese tour and won`t understand a word! How can they be so stupid..(sonna ni bakayaro)

I couldn`t contain myself by saying something! I broke into the conversation and told her: look, I speak Japanese I`m going to translate for my friend. You`ve been very unrespectful and noisy (shitsurei and urusai) and you should apologise for what you siad!

She realised she had put her foot in her mouth and started praising my japanese, " oh your pronounciation is so good", "oh you should come and visit me in Tokyo"...and so on!

I think some of them don`t really mean anything when use the word gaijin. But I have to say that many people use it as a derogatory word to address the foreigner as "weird creatures coming from outside"!

Silverpoint
Jul 2, 2006, 20:12
- so promiscuous (even more than the US, which I perviously regarded as the height of promiscuity in the developed world),

Haha... that's one of the best typos I've seen in a while...


These irrelevant and gratuitous snide swipes at Americans are getting tiresome and they are offensive. Get off your holier-than-thou European high horse.

I've been reading this forum for quite a long time before I finally became a member, and I've personally lost count of the number of times you've said something similar. I greatly admire your tenacity, but as for getting down off the horse, I think we both know it's never going to happen.

Maciamo
Jul 2, 2006, 21:37
While queueing, I heard a few comments from a lady in her 50s, standing behind us. She siad: aahah look at these stupid gaijini (baka gaijin), they`re taking the Japanese tour and won`t understand a word! How can they be so stupid..(sonna ni bakayaro)
I couldn`t contain myself by saying something! I broke into the conversation and told her: look, I speak Japanese I`m going to translate for my friend. You`ve been very unrespectful and noisy (shitsurei and urusai) and you should apologise for what you siad!
She realised she had put her foot in her mouth and started praising my japanese, " oh your pronounciation is so good", "oh you should come and visit me in Tokyo"...and so on!

Thanks for sharing this. I have experienced this kind of situation many times too. If someone does not realise that many Japanese are hypocritical to foreigners and tend to disparage them behind their back, then praise and compliment them in their presence, then either this someone has been to Japan, doesn't speak Japanese, or is a poor psychologist. I am tired of some people who constantly deny the obvious because it would be too painful for them to admit it (maybe because they would have to feel differently about Japan or the Japanese people they know). Don't deceive yourself, don't live in an illusionary world. Look at reality. Thank you ex-gaijin ! :cool:

ex-gaijin
Jul 3, 2006, 01:31
Well Maciamo, I have a lot of stories like that, and I`m gonna have to agree with what you say about Japanes people and their concepts of Gaijin forever! They will never accept us as part of their society. Sakoku is still well rooted in modern Japan...

DoctorP
Jul 3, 2006, 01:35
While queueing, I heard a few comments from a lady in her 50s, standing behind us. She siad: aahah look at these stupid gaijini (baka gaijin), they`re taking the Japanese tour and won`t understand a word! How can they be so stupid..(sonna ni bakayaro)

I couldn`t contain myself by saying something! I broke into the conversation and told her: look, I speak Japanese I`m going to translate for my friend. You`ve been very unrespectful and noisy (shitsurei and urusai) and you should apologise for what you siad!



I would think someone would be more offended by the word baka, instead of gaijin, but obviously you and Maciamo are ok with that!:blush:

gaijinalways
Jul 3, 2006, 01:46
This is not a racially or culturally diverse society and I think you know that as well. You are wishing to impose or apply the rules of a diverse society as you think of them here on Japan and it's people.

Interesting comment, one that has been applied to myself. The problem is that Japan identifies itself as a nation seeking to be more internationally minded and signed a UN decree in 1994 promising to pass laws banning racism or prejuidice aganist foreigners. So basically, if Japan wants to be seen as a 'fairer' society to minorities, they need to actually do something about it rathe than just put out more windowdressing about this being a global society because they have English signs in some of the major cities.

Another interesting example is the right wingers who regularly yell through a megaphone in the Ikebukuo area with the continual 'chant' of 'get foreigners out of Japan because they cause all the problems here' tirade. Another right winger's comment about the above, "Oh no, they would want the foreigners allowed in to work here!" Uh, except that's not what they have been saying, duh!

Uh, Maciamo, I usually would support your comments, though the comparison of Americans to Japanese did seem to be a low blow (then again, I probably used to think the same about French women, heh, heh).

As to this tiff between Mikawa Ossan, Hachiro and CC1 and yourself,

Uh, guys, you all have some valid points. I think Maciamo is not aganist Japan per se, he already has given you plenty of reasons why he would not rather live here in Japan (in this thread and others) and something I am starting to think myself (another PR for nine years). As to his wife, you haven't heard her side. My Japanese wife and I would also rather not live here, but at the moment it's what we're doing.

I think that the Maciamo's critics are being overly harsh as they don't like the picture he is painting, that Japan is not such a welcoming place for minorities. This is something you seem to somewhat agree with, though everyone is not sure about the degree of problems it causes in Japan and whether it is something to worry about.

Mike Cash, people that have PR status here are hardly tourists; we work, are usually married to locals, pay taxes, etc and may have lived here longer than some native residents!

As to what language should be used when addressing people, well, I would tend to agree with what Maciamo said, using the local language if one wasn't sure what language the person knew would be a more logical choice normally, but since when do things in Japan follow normal Western logic:bluush: ?

Mike Cash
Jul 3, 2006, 03:33
Mike Cash, people that have PR status here are hardly tourists; we work, are usually married to locals, pay taxes, etc and may have lived here longer than some native residents!


Congratulations on a wonderful job of thoroughly missing my point.

changedonrequest
Jul 3, 2006, 06:57
gaijinalways firstly I appreciate where you are coming from think about this we are all minorities while we are in Japan. Sure there may be variations to how the Japanese treat Caucasians vs Black, but we are all minorities.

This is supposedly a forum about Japan. Sure letting people know about the good points and bad points of the country are necessary, yet as a person that holds an Administrative (owner) position on this site it is more than just a little worrysome that Maciamo bashes it nearly every chance he gets.

Mikawa Ossan
Jul 3, 2006, 07:14
I do not have a tiff with Maciamo. I just disagree with him. This disagreement is nothing new. It has been going on since I first joined. It's kind of an ongoing conversation that waxes and wanes.

And just because I disagree with Maciamo doesn't mean that I think Japan is some kind of utopia, devoid of problems for the non-Japanese residents. But neither is Japan a utopia for Japanese nationals. Japanese people are not immune from discrimination, either, you know. I look at the way Japanese treat me, and then I look at the way that I think the Turks were treated in Germany. The way Koreans are treated in Sri Lanka. The way my friend's Pakistani husband is treated in America, and the way she gets treated for having married him. Japan is just fine with me.

ex-gaijin
Jul 3, 2006, 07:40
I would think someone would be more offended by the word baka, instead of gaijin, but obviously you and Maciamo are ok with that!:blush:

Both words put together really annoy me! The term Gaijin is ok in some contexts but when used as derogatory, I really despise it. Sometimes they use it on purpose, especially when they rely on the fact that you don`t understand a word of what they say.

During my stay in Japan I`ve been called baka-gaijin, ki no nai-gaijin, busho-nagaijin (slightly the same meanaing, kitanai-gaijin, urusai-gaijin...etc. etc. etc.

They were all from Japanese people who thought I wasn`t able to understand. Most of the time I pretended not to hear, but sometimes they really winded me up...

changedonrequest
Jul 3, 2006, 07:45
I do not have a tiff with Maciamo. I just disagree with him. This disagreement is nothing new. It has been going on since I first joined. It's kind of an ongoing conversation that waxes and wanes.

And just because I disagree with Maciamo doesn't mean that I think Japan is some kind of utopia, devoid of problems for the non-Japanese residents. But neither is Japan a utopia for Japanese nationals. Japanese people are not immune from discrimination, either, you know. I look at the way Japanese treat me, and then I look at the way that I think the Turks were treated in Germany. The way Koreans are treated in Sri Lanka. The way my friend's Pakistani husband is treated in America, and the way she gets treated for having married him. Japan is just fine with me.

I agree that it isn't paradise, it could be a whole hell of a lot worse.

Circumstances have put me where I am, where I live it is relatively safe and a reasonably decent place to raise my children. Sure there could be "things" that could make it better, but it is my choice and I choose to adapt to the location that I am in. It would be the same no matter where I live.

The Japanese in generally are imo no better or worse than people any where else in the world.

DoctorP
Jul 3, 2006, 07:55
During my stay in Japan I`ve been called baka-gaijin, ki no nai-gaijin, busho-nagaijin (slightly the same meanaing, kitanai-gaijin, urusai-gaijin...etc. etc. etc.
They were all from Japanese people who thought I wasn`t able to understand. Most of the time I pretended not to hear, but sometimes they really winded me up...


I am guessing that at least one of those terms was accurate? Most gaijin I have the opportunity to observe are quite urasai!

changedonrequest
Jul 3, 2006, 08:54
I am guessing that at least one of those terms was accurate? Most gaijin I have the opportunity to observe are quite urasai!

On that I agree as well. What makes matters even worse then is the "guilty" by association mentality that some Japanese have as well.

Some people may see that as my making their points for them with a comment like that but I see it as an opportunity to educate Japanese people to the fact that not "all" gaijin are the same. I have had many a lively discussion about this "differences" in culture discussions.

To some here that often come across with negative comments about this subject I would suggest they attempt to look at things with a bit of optimism instead of always being so pessimistic.

ex-gaijin
Jul 4, 2006, 04:15
Well, I`m not a loud person, not as loud as Japanese people abroad though:

旅の恥は掻き捨て do you guys understand this?

They just like to blurt words out...especially when they refer to a gaijin.

I`ve been considered lazy because after work I put my shirt out of my trousers. A japanese colleague pointed it out and his mate said: oh he is only a lazy gaijin! We usually work harder than them. They just spend long hours in the office without doing anything serious.

I`ve been considered dirty because I`m hairy. I was on a train from Osaka to Kyoto. It was really hot and I was wearing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. I heard two ladies speaking about my hairy arms and legs. One of them said: all the gaijin look really dirty because of their hair! This really surprised me because they usually like hairy men.

I`ve been called loud gaijin becasue I was speaking in Japanese with my girlfriend, on the platform, waiting for the tube!

Hachiro - I tried to be very positive, I tried to wide my horizons, I tried to understand and accept the culture and everything, but enough is enough! They see us like Aliens, e.g. gaijin card, and they will never change their mind.

They believe in stereotypes like: Americans are fat, Italians eat pasta everyday, English food is bad, Chinese are dirty and loud...

how can they be so square?

SlipperyFrog
Jul 4, 2006, 04:25
They believe in stereotypes like: Americans are fat
Have you seen the news lately? We are getting fatter!


English food is bad
an opinion, but to me it really is!

and another stereotype:


This really surprised me because they usually like hairy men.


So true that there are many rude people out there that would say such things, but that is true of any nation and it's people don't you think? It doesn't mean that all Japanese are this way does it?

Mikawa Ossan
Jul 4, 2006, 07:08
ex-gaijin, I'd be curious to hear more of your story, esp. where you lived.

I'm curious as to why you were called such things so much. In my years in Japan, I have never had such problems with people calling me names, at least not within earshot!

changedonrequest
Jul 4, 2006, 07:16
Hachiro - I tried to be very positive, I tried to wide my horizons, I tried to understand and accept the culture and everything, but enough is enough! They see us like Aliens, e.g. gaijin card, and they will never change their mind.

They believe in stereotypes like: Americans are fat, Italians eat pasta everyday, English food is bad, Chinese are dirty and loud...

how can they be so square?

Thanks for trying, but you do sound awfully bitter.

ex-gaijin, I'd be curious to hear more of your story, esp. where you lived.

I'm curious as to why you were called such things so much. In my years in Japan, I have never had such problems with people calling me names, at least not within earshot!Today 03:25

I would also be curious to hear more as well. Like Mikawa Ossan I have been living here for a number of years and never had things happen like and others have described here. Leastwise outside of the times I deserved it.:relief:

ex-gaijin
Jul 4, 2006, 07:19
Well, all my american friends are not fat...

English food is bad? Have you ever tried it? Do you know much about Cottage Pie, Cornish Pasty, Sunday Roast?

For me Japan is one nation with one mind (forma mentis), they are 99% so predictable and discouraging...

I have to admit though that sometimes they really surprised me. When you are too sure about something they are going to do, they end up doing completely the opposite. It`s scary though, because at the end of the day, you never know what they actually think....

Pachipro
Jul 4, 2006, 07:25
I'm curious as to why you were called such things so much. In my years in Japan, I have never had such problems with people calling me names.
I second that because with all the years I lived and worked in Japan I never overheard some of the things you heard or some of the things you experienced except for maybe once or twice. Especially from your own mates in your own company and within earshot or directly at you. Why did you not defend yourself when you were called lazy and accused of not working as hard as your mates? I don't know you, but were they speaking the truth to be so forward?

But, as was said above by Slippery Frog, things like that happen in every nation and city on the planet. Do not the people of your own country sometimes talk that way about foreigners from a particular country or about their own people from the countryside or the ghettos and such? I'm sure they do and please don't tell me they don't.

I don't care who you are or where you live, there will always be sterotypes spoken about people who are different and "alien" to one's culture. To paint just Japan with one long stroke in that the Japanese are ALL that way is quite unfair and, in its own way, a little discriminatory in itself don't you think?

ex-gaijin
Jul 4, 2006, 07:35
ok guys, I lived in Osaka for three years. I worked in a busy office and I moved to Japan because I studied Japanese linguistics at university. I used to love every minute of it, but after the second year I started feeling uncomfortable and not accepted by my japanese colleagues, by the neighbours, at the gym...etc. I also thought it was me, maybe I was expecting something different, but I wasn`t the only one to feel like that...

Well, they were nice with me, but in a weird way...I don`t even know how to explain it. Just words, polite words, empty words, the classic Omote-Ura...

Maybe in Kansai they have a more provincial mentality? Unwilling to accept foreigners? There is still alittle bit of Sakoku? Maybe Tokyo (I never lived there) is different?

Mikawa Ossan
Jul 4, 2006, 07:57
Thank you for your quick response!
Maybe in Kansai they have a more provincial mentality? Unwilling to accept foreigners? There is still alittle bit of Sakoku? Maybe Tokyo (I never lived there) is different?
I have never lived in Tokyo, but I find that there are two Tokyos. The city and the suburbs, and they are completely different. I much prefer the suburbs.

As far as Osaka is concerned...that's a toughie. Osaka people are generally known for being "in your face", even among Japanese people. How they in the aggregate feel about foreigners, I don't know, but when I used to go there a lot, I never had problems. But then again, the longest I have ever stayed there is a mere 3 months. Incidentally, one of my least favorite places in Japan is America-mura.

A couple more questions. Sorry.
Did you associate with a lot of other foreigners?
Do/did you feel comfortable calling yourself a gaijin to Japanese people?
How "Japanese" do you think you acted? dressed?

If I think of other questions, I might ask some more. I hope you don't mind, but in my experience there is rarely only one truth to be had, so the best thing to do is to gather information. I certainly do not deny your experience; I am just trying to understand it.

ex-gaijin
Jul 4, 2006, 07:59
I second that because with all the years I lived and worked in Japan I never overheard some of the things you heard or some of the things you experienced except for maybe once or twice. Especially from your own mates in your own company and within earshot or directly at you. Why did you not defend yourself when you were called lazy and accused of not working as hard as your mates? I don't know you, but were they speaking the truth to be so forward?
But, as was said above by Slippery Frog, things like that happen in every nation and city on the planet. Do not the people of your own country sometimes talk that way about foreigners from a particular country or about their own people from the countryside or the ghettos and such? I'm sure they do and please don't tell me they don't.
I don't care who you are or where you live, there will always be sterotypes spoken about people who are different and "alien" to one's culture. To paint just Japan with one long stroke in that the Japanese are ALL that way is quite unfair and, in its own way, a little discriminatory in itself don't you think?


ok, I always reacted to those "attacks" and I always caught them out.

My colleagues were speaking in Osaka-ben, underestimating again that fact that I could actually understand them. Maybe they were right, BUT I was on a different contract, 40 hours a week instead of 50; 10 (?) days paid holidays instead of zero, two days off a week instead of one....you guys know that when it come to work conditions foreigners are treated differently!

What you say about slagging foreigners off it actually true! But it is also true that in the country where I live, we make foreigners very welcome. I know people who have been here for ages and are completely well intagrated. No one thinks of them as foreigners. I would like to state the same about Japan...

ex-gaijin
Jul 4, 2006, 08:17
Did you associate with a lot of other foreigners?

Well, for the first year I didn`t really have many friends apart from my Japanese colleagues. I used to go out with them, to the local Izakaya/Kaiten-zushi/Italian restaurant...but I didn`t feel comfortable. Also, my Japanese wasn`t really good at the beginning. I improved a lot though, but still there was something missing. I didn`t really know those people, I didn`t know if they were married/ingaged, what they liked to do outside work, if they played golf only because the Kacho said so, or because they liked it!

During the second year, I started hanging out with other foreigners, americans, English, Italians...it was fun, I started enjoying myself more.

Do/did you feel comfortable calling yourself a gaijin to Japanese people?
Yeah it was not a problem for me to say "I`m a gaijin". Some of my Japanese freinds used to laugh at me as well. I didn`t like it when it was used as a negative thing, a derogatory word..

How "Japanese" do you think you acted? dressed?

I never dressed Japanese. I thought it was stupid trying to emulate them...I got my own personality.
Sometimes though I acted Japanese, especially when speaking in Japanese. It`s all part of the process, the language, the aizuchi. the gitaigo...that all helps to make you clearer and to undestand the locals, I think! Obvioulsy when I speak English, I don`t really say ehhh tooo, sokka....ahaha ehhh nani?

changedonrequest
Jul 4, 2006, 08:47
You know a long time friend of mine once commented that in some cases it it easier for a gajin to get along here without knowing more than rudimentary Japanese.

Silverpoint
Jul 4, 2006, 09:23
I do think though there is a danger of playing the gaijin card too strongly, or at every opportunity. I think there is a certain mindset that often jumps to the wrong conclusion either through laziness or prejudice and just assumes that every time a Japanese doesn't satisfy your every whim, they're obviously being negative to you because you're a foreigner.

I'm reminded of a time several years ago, when I was tired after a long day's work and couldn't be bothered to cook, so I called up a pizza delivery place. The guy asked for my phone number and name and I confirmed both at which point he hung up. He could obviously tell I was a foreigner and just didn't want to have to deal with me, I thought. I was just cursing the company, thinking how I'd never use them again, when the phone rang. It was the pizza guy calling me back to apologize for accidentally hitting the wrong button on his phone and to ask for my order.

changedonrequest
Jul 4, 2006, 14:43
A couple more questions. Sorry.
Did you associate with a lot of other foreigners?
Do/did you feel comfortable calling yourself a gaijin to Japanese people?
How "Japanese" do you think you acted? dressed?


I went through a phase here where I wanted nothing to do with any other gaijin at all. Where I lived I was the only caucasian "gaijin" male around. There were a few nesei and sansei from Peru and Brazil but we never hung out together. I felt "uncomfortable" having to share my space with them. After I got over the "special" gaijin phase it no longer bothers me in the least and we often have fellow "gaijin" over to the house.

I have no problems calling myself gaijin to other Japanese people, it doesnt phase me at all. I have gotten accustomed to the staring, pinching, poking.....:p . It is truly no big deal whatsoever.

How I dressed......well sometimes I get accused of looking like a member of the mafia because I wear black suits, pastel colored shirts with appropriate ties and with mirror sunglasses. It is the only time I get comments about my clothes that are notable.

Mike Cash
Jul 4, 2006, 16:22
My colleagues were speaking in Osaka-ben, underestimating again that fact that I could actually understand them. Maybe they were right, BUT I was on a different contract, 40 hours a week instead of 50; 10 (?) days paid holidays instead of zero, two days off a week instead of one....

So many foreigners in Japanese companies have exactly that sort of arrangement, then scratch their heads and wonder why their Japanese coworkers "include them out". There's no "maybe" about it; they're exactly right to do so and who can blame them?



you guys know that when it come to work conditions foreigners are treated differently!

I know nothing of the sort. I am employed under the exact same conditions as my Japanese coworkers, perform the exact same tasks, and receive the exact same pay/holidays/etc.

I also know that all the foreign employees who p1ss and moan about not being treated equally in the workplace would turn their noses up at the thought of having to work under the exact same conditions as their Japanese cohorts. Yet they're perfectly comfortable going on and on about how they felt excluded or even discriminated against.


I know people who have been here for ages and are completely well intagrated. No one thinks of them as foreigners. I would like to state the same about Japan...

Try finding foreigners who would volunteer to live and work among the Japanese on the same conditions as the Japanese do, and then you will be able to state the same about Japan. Not all of the blame falls on the shoulders of the Japanese; foreigners do a wonderful job of holding themselves apart all on their own.

gaijinalways
Jul 4, 2006, 17:33
Originally Posted by gaijinalways
Mike Cash, people that have PR status here are hardly tourists; we work, are usually married to locals, pay taxes, etc and may have lived here longer than some native residents!
Congratulations on a wonderful job of thoroughly missing my point.

So, please tell me, what was your point, beyond being misleading or overly sarcastic:bluush: (not sure, yours or mine)?


Mikawa Ossan posted
I just disagree with him. This disagreement is nothing new. It has been going on since I first joined. It's kind of an ongoing conversation that waxes and wanes.

Sorry Mikawa, didn't realize it's 'old' water under the bridge, so to speak, I haven't posted here that long in this forum.


Hachiro posted
To some here that often come across with negative comments about this subject I would suggest they attempt to look at things with a bit of optimism instead of always being so pessimistic.

Ah, well racism and sterotyping are not usually 'happy' subjects. I guess this is one of those the glass is half full or half empty outlooks.

CC1 posted
I am guessing that at least one of those terms was accurate? Most gaijin I have the opportunity to observe are quite urasai!

Interesting, I guess you haven't noticed the young Japanese with their ipods/walkmans that crank their music and 'share' it with everyone on train! That and some of junior high and high school students who seem to think everyone should 'share' in their conversation as well!


Hachiro posted
On that I agree as well. What makes matters even worse then is the "guilty" by association mentality that some Japanese have as well.

Uh, you mean you agree with the comments, that they are loud, if so read my above comments.

Hachiro posted
This is supposedly a forum about Japan. Sure letting people know about the good points and bad points of the country are necessary, yet as a person that holds an Administrative (owner) position on this site it is more than just a little worrysome that Maciamo bashes it nearly every chance he gets.

I haven't gotten that impression, as Maciamo's interests range far. He often compares things in Japan with other places he has lived and traveled to, not always negatively painting Japanese customs, as some posters would seem to think he does.

ex-gaijin
Jul 4, 2006, 18:22
gaijinalways - thanks for sharing this. Especially the part regarding the URUSAI youth in Japan....especially girls who scream and shout with thier "angelic" voises....

I find them so annoying...

Mike-cash - I don't know what sort of company you work for but I'm sure it's not the norm. I could never work 50 hours a week maybe more, no sick-leave, no holidays, no time-off...etc. etc.

All the Japanese who live and work abroad, say that they never coulf go back to their home country. Most of them don't even feel Japanese anymore and never go back to Japan for holiday.

Hachiro - I don't like the attention on me. I don't like being stared all the time. I don't like the feeling of being "unique"...just because I'm tall and hairy. Most people love that probably, I don't!

Mike Cash
Jul 4, 2006, 18:23
So, please tell me, what was your point, beyond being misleading or overly sarcastic:bluush: (not sure, yours or mine)?


My point was that in and of itself, a "permanent" resident visa means nothing as regards the permanency of one's residence. Maciamo loves to point out that he has (had?) permanent residence status....yet he bailed out after just a very brief stay. You yourself indicated that despite currently having PR status, residing here is only what you are doing at the moment, leaving one to surmise that your permanent residency is also of questionable permanence.

I've stayed here considerably longer than the both of you combined, have no intention of leaving, yet do not yet have a permanent resident visa. By the way, I also am employed, pay taxes, and all the other blah-blah you mentioned that holders of PR visas have or do.

Maciamo gives the impression that he feels the mere holding of PR status should cause Japanese to consider him as some sort of semi-Japanese and that they should neither notice his foreign origins nor make any comment on it. I always find it funny when people who go on and on about their "permanent" resident status either don't reside in Japan or have expressed their intention to not actually reside here permanently.

Mike Cash
Jul 4, 2006, 18:35
Mike-cash - I don't know what sort of company you work for but I'm sure it's not the norm. I could never work 50 hours a week maybe more, no sick-leave, no holidays, no time-off...etc. etc.

I call working 50 hours "Monday through Thursday". You're right; what I do is not the norm. But a single exception is sufficient to disprove the rule.

I appreciate your candor in admitting you would not tolerate the same working conditions as your Japanese coworkers. I'm sure you also see how the special (read: "privileged") working conditions typically afforded expat staff, combined with the presumed temporary nature of their presence, conspire to cause Japanese employees to never quite allow for the expat staff to be considered entirely "inside" the circle at work. Those factors alone account for the bulk of the cause, without even needing to give consideration to xenophobia or racism.


Hachiro - I don't like the attention on me. I don't like being stared all the time. I don't like the feeling of being "unique"...just because I'm tall and hairy. Most people love that probably, I don't!

I don't suppose you'd find it any consolation to be told that the being stared at problem is only a sickly shadow of its former self. Compared to what it was even only a decade ago, it is practically nonexistant these days.

Mikawa Ossan
Jul 4, 2006, 18:50
Mike-cash - I don't know what sort of company you work for but I'm sure it's not the norm. I could never work 50 hours a week maybe more, no sick-leave, no holidays, no time-off...etc. etc.
I am not Mike Cash, but a 50 hour work week in a Japanese company is indeed the norm. Well, 50 or more. That's about what I work. I have worked at at least one job where 50 hours a week would have sounded like a vacation!

But Japanese have a different mentality towards overtime than perhaps many people in the West do. Overtime is just part of the deal. I go to work 30 minutes early, and I usually stay a good 2 hours past my official ending time. Or longer. Oh, and the nature of my contract is such that I do not get paid for overtime. Not a single yen.

Why do I do it? It's just what you do. Being the first person to go home is almost embarrassing. Being late is inexcusable barring some natural disaster! Taking a week off for personal vacation seems so selfish, even if I am entitled to the days of vacation by my contract.

I guess one way to put it is to say that in Japan the contract is the minimum amount of effort required in your job. If you care about your job, you are expected and expect yourself to go the extra mile.

This is how I feel, anyway.

Mikawa Ossan
Jul 4, 2006, 19:19
It`s all part of the process, the language, the aizuchi. the gitaigo...that all helps to make you clearer and to undestand the locals, I think! Obvioulsy when I speak English, I don`t really say ehhh tooo, sokka....ahaha ehhh nani?
Thanks for your response! (I included the quote just to make it clear that this post is in response to yours. I like your example!)

I thought of another question. Would you say that you noticed the rude behavior directed at you more at any one time than another, or moreso under certain conditions, or after a certain point in time?


Sorry Mikawa, didn't realize it's 'old' water under the bridge, so to speak, I haven't posted here that long in this forum.No problem! If my memory serves me correctly, this is one of several topics that Maciamo and I have mutually agreed to disagree and leave it at that.

For that reason I do not get remotely upset by his posts on this topic. I think I know what post of mine you were referring to when you included me in your comment on "the tiff". If I'm correct, my actual point in that post was that getting too emotional over something, especially when an admin comes in, will only lead to trouble. I phrased it to be a little flavorful, so I can understand how it was less than crystal clear. But seriously, if one ONLY posted posts as dry as this, it wouldn't be very interesting, would it?

changedonrequest
Jul 4, 2006, 20:28
Hachiro - I don't like the attention on me. I don't like being stared all the time. I don't like the feeling of being "unique"...just because I'm tall and hairy. Most people love that probably, I don't!

Well I stand 193CM so I stick out quite a bit. I have gotten used to people staring. I never said I liked it, yet I have gotten accustomed to people "looking". If people want to stare that's fine by me, it's their problem not mine.

Hell I remember when I was a kid and seeing NBA players that literally dwarfed me, standing 7ft tall or more, I STARED at them too.

The attention is fleeting at best, annoying at worst. BUT it is one of the things that us "giant" gaijin have to live with here in Japan.

Oh and btw the Japanese sumo wrestlers and team Japan volleyball players get stared at just as much as we henna gaijin do. :relief:


I wont lie and say that it doesnt bother me at times, particularly when everyone around you only stands about 170 to 175cm at best, like lined up at a funeral, paying respects to the dead. People NOTICE, but then again people would notice ANYTHING out of the expected "ordinary" too.


I don't suppose you'd find it any consolation to be told that the being stared at problem is only a sickly shadow of its former self. Compared to what it was even only a decade ago, it is practically nonexistant these days.
Yes sir you are quite right, it HAS gotten better than before, and with time things will improve more still.

I was raised in an area that one HAD to have a 6th sense to survive, so I can feel the hairs raising on the back of my neck when someone stares at me....do you know the feeling I am talking about....you can just sense it. Over here THAT sense has gone haywire because it happens so often. Once you can learn to shut it off it gets easier, at least it did to me.

Oh an to being unique, whether you like it or not YOU are unique. The sooner you get accustomed to it the easier it is to accept life living here in Japan. Cheers!

Silverpoint
Jul 4, 2006, 23:43
you guys know that when it come to work conditions foreigners are treated differently!

I too have an identical contract to my co-workers. I get the same benefits, bonuses and salary scale that they do. I also regularly work longer hours than just about any foreigner I know (I've never met Mike Cash!), but I enjoy my job so it's not really an issue.

This week and next are particularly busy. I will probably leave my house at 6am each day and get home at about 10pm (Monday-Friday, plus Saturdays when I'll work a half day). It's not always like this, but when things need doing, everyone mucks in. I wouldn't dream of skulking off home when the rest of my department are sat at their desks finishing stuff off.

I haven't done anything different to anyone else in this company. I just follow the rules, stick to my job, try to give a little more than I'm paid for, and my company has been incredibly good to me as a result.

gaijinalways
Jul 5, 2006, 15:17
Mike Cash posted
My point was that in and of itself, a "permanent" resident visa means nothing as regards the permanency of one's residence. Maciamo loves to point out that he has (had?) permanent residence status....yet he bailed out after just a very brief stay. You yourself indicated that despite currently having PR status, residing here is only what you are doing at the moment, leaving one to surmise that your permanent residency is also of questionable permanence.

Thanks Mike, that was much clearer. would like to add though that I said my wife also, who is Japanese, wants to leave as well.
I think you are misreading the meaning of 'permanent residence'. It implies that we often have a slightly more invested interest in what goes on in the country, because of family, length of stay,etc. No place that I have lived would I look at as a real permanent residence, in other words, have passport, love to live around, i.e. I am not tied to any one place.

As to paying taxes etc, it was obvious that Maciamo and I brought this up in response to your tourist comment, remember?

As to how long you've been here, are you looking for some recognition or have you just forgotten what life is like anywhere else:-) ?

Mikawa,

No problem, just seems that things get heated on occasion, perhaps more than necessary. I have seen a lot on another forum that I have accused of being a forum version of Japan-Lite as the members can't bear to have somebody seriously criticize Japanese society. One of the members, perhaps half-Japanese (Japanese American), doesn't even live here yet thinks he knows what I think and how society runs here. I'm still waiting for him to show up again (he was a real tourist with an extended 6 week tour) and get his illusions shattered by living here.

Hachiro,

I'm 198.3, know the feeling, but I would suggest some of the staring is not related to above average height. I have seen people stare at average height foreigners too, both men and women. In countries where people never have left the country and they get few tourists, you might expect it, but here? Technology just doesn't prepare you for reality, does it?

Pachipro
Jul 5, 2006, 16:35
Great replies and an interesting, amicable debate. I have a few questions myself for Mike Cash, Stinger, Mikawa Ossan and others who work for Japanese companies and follow the same rules and working hours of the Japanese.

Do you find yourself or feel "discriminated" against in the same vein as ex-gaijin?

Are you accepted by your colleagues as any Japanese would be?

Do you participate in outside activities with your co-workers and bosses like drinking after work, or golf on weekends or company outings and such?

I ask this because I also followed the "unwritten rules" when I worked for a Japanese trading company in Japan and the Japanese company I worked for here in the US for 9 years.

I stayed the extra hours in Japan and when all other Americans here in the US company went home at exactly 4:30. I played golf on the weekends here in the US even when I really didn't want to, participated in company outings. Had colleagues over for dinner and vice-versa, went out with colleagues after work in Japan, etc. Why? because I knew it was expected of any Japanese worker. Something my American colleagues could not, and would not, do.

Maybe, psychologically, I "thought" I was no different from them as I spoke their language, lived, ate, and commuted like they do and therefore, acted like I was one of them. I never even thought about discrimination in the work place and was quite comfortable. I don't know what the answer is.

And you know what? I hardly ever felt discriminated against or put off by the rest of the staff. Well, to be honest, I really did feel that way by some of the aloofness I felt by one or two colleagues at times but I surmised that it was more out of jealousy or a dislike for foreigners in general. For the most part, I was treated as an equal and felt as such. I received no special treatment, was scolded a few times and praised on other times for my work. Much as my Japanese colleagues. No better, no worse. And my promotions in the US company matched the effort I put into the job. The bad part was that I was looked at like a kind of "Uncle Tom" by my American colleagues of which I will not go into here.

Would I do it today? Now? Again? Probably not as I've been too spoiled these past 8 years driving a truck and away from the corporate rat race, but I did enjoy it for the most part and, in a weird way, it gave me a sense of "belonging" if that is the right word. Not that I NEEDED to belong to anything. Maybe it's something I cannot put into words. My thoughts on it were, "Hey, this is how it's done in a Japanese company. If you don't like it leave." I liked it.

I may have been a gaijin, but I sure didn't feel it or was made to feel like one.

Mike Cash
Jul 5, 2006, 18:23
Great replies and an interesting, amicable debate. I have a few questions myself for Mike Cash, Stinger, Mikawa Ossan and others who work for Japanese companies and follow the same rules and working hours of the Japanese.

Do you find yourself or feel "discriminated" against in the same vein as ex-gaijin?

Not at all. I attribute in in part to my being employed even though I am a foreigner instead of being employed just because I am a foreigner. If anything, being a foreigner is a distinct handicap to obtaining employment in my field. Certainly no aspect of my foreignness plays any role in my work.


Are you accepted by your colleagues as any Japanese would be?

Yes.



Do you participate in outside activities with your co-workers and bosses like drinking after work, or golf on weekends or company outings and such?

Yes.

Mike Cash
Jul 5, 2006, 18:33
Mike Cash posted
Thanks Mike, that was much clearer. would like to add though that I said my wife also, who is Japanese, wants to leave as well.

I noticed that. It is irrelevant to my point, though. That you want to leave is not.



I think you are misreading the meaning of 'permanent residence'.

I am not misreading it in the slightest. I am a permanent resident. I reside here permanently. You and Maciamo are/were "permanent" residents. One of you has left and the other wishes to leave. The both of you have permanent resident visas, but you are not permanent residents. Perhaps in the sense that a permanent wave is "permanent", but that's about it.


It implies that we often have a slightly more invested interest in what goes on in the country, because of family, length of stay,etc.

While either not actually residing in Japan, or planning to not reside here permanently.....




As to paying taxes etc, it was obvious that Maciamo and I brought this up in response to your tourist comment, remember?

I recall you bringing it up. Did Maciamo mention it as well? The fact that he basically let some little kids saying "gaijin da!" run him out of the country after a very brief stay sort of takes the wind out of the sails of anything he may have to say regarding permanent residency and one has to wonder why he still wears (or ever wore) that visa as some sort of badge of honor.



As to how long you've been here, are you looking for some recognition

Not at all. I only mention it to point out that a permanent resident visa does not a permanent resident make.


or have you just forgotten what life is like anywhere else:-) ?

I've spent almost my entire adult life here, and the America of my childhood is gone forever, so one could perhaps make a strong case that I have forgotten what life is like anywhere else.

Maciamo
Jul 5, 2006, 19:59
Do you participate in outside activities with your co-workers and bosses like drinking after work, or golf on weekends or company outings and such?

I wonder if Japan also copied the US after WWII for this. In Belgium (and many European countries) people just don't go out with their coworkers or boss after work. We also don't play golf or go to see baseball, football or whatever other sport with clients or coworkers. I know that Japan already copied the US for having sports clubs in schools, and school vs school tournaments (e.g. baseball, American football, boxing...). We also don't do that here. Work is work. School is school. Sport clubs and competition are separate things done in private. Same for going out; people go out with their friends (and especially girl/boyfriend) not with coworkers. I personally dislike both watching sports and drink in bars or other loud places. I imagine how hard it must be when the so-called social customs force you to do so even if you dislike it.

Maciamo
Jul 5, 2006, 20:01
Did Maciamo mention it as well? The fact that he basically let some little kids saying "gaijin da!" run him out of the country after a very brief stay sort of takes the wind out of the sails of anything he may have to say regarding permanent residency and one has to wonder why he still wears (or ever wore) that visa as some sort of badge of honor.

You never miss an opportunity to badmouth me, do you ?

Mikawa Ossan
Jul 5, 2006, 20:20
Great replies and an interesting, amicable debate. I don't see it so much a debate as an exchange of ideas at this point. I think it's a great conversation thus far, and I am glad that everyone seems to be maintaining level heads about everything!:cool:
I have a few questions myself for Mike Cash, Stinger, Mikawa Ossan and others who work for Japanese companies and follow the same rules and working hours of the Japanese.
Do you find yourself or feel "discriminated" against in the same vein as ex-gaijin?By my coworkers? Never. Not once. I had a job where a girl didn't like me (probably because I am not a native speaker and therefore have certain "holes" in my Japanese), but I didn't care for her, either.

Actually, I take that back now that I think of it. She decided she didn't like me after I told one of her ex-clients that she was busy with another client,
but I could call her if they liked. They decided against bothering her, as they had only come to say hi anyway, which I relayed to her soon. But, you can't please all people.
Are you accepted by your colleagues as any Japanese would be?To the best of my knowledge, yes.

Do you participate in outside activities with your co-workers and bosses like drinking after work, or golf on weekends or company outings and such?Yes.

Mike Cash
Jul 5, 2006, 20:37
You never miss an opportunity to badmouth me, do you ?

You consider a statement of fact badmouthing?

gaijinalways
Jul 6, 2006, 01:52
Maciamo posted
Same for going out; people go out with their friends (and especially girl/boyfriend) not with coworkers.

Possibly, though it is much more flexible in America, the going out with coworkers; if you want to do it, you might, but if you just feel like leaving work to do your own thing, it's cool. An Englishman mentioned the same thing to me, that in English people didn't generally go out with coworkers.

Mike Cash posted
The fact that he basically let some little kids saying "gaijin da!" run him out of the country after a very brief stay sort of takes the wind out of the sails of anything he may have to say regarding permanent residency and one has to wonder why he still wears (or ever wore) that visa as some sort of badge of honor.

Maciamo posted
You never miss an opportunity to badmouth me, do you ?

Mike Cash posted
You consider a statement of fact badmouthing?

Hmm, the impression I get here is that you are glossing over a lot of Maciamo's other experiences in Japan as the 'dame' kids were a small part of what he related. As to it being a badge of honor, yours is a matter of opinion, hardly a statement of fact.

Gaijinalways posted
Thanks Mike, that was much clearer. would like to add though that I said my wife also, who is Japanese, wants to leave as well.

Mike Cash posted
I noticed that. It is irrelevant to my point, though. That you want to leave is not.

I think it's very relevant as people carry different travel docuements, but can choose to live where they wish, my wife and I included. The permanent resident status is similar to being a resident alien in the US.

Gaijinalways posted
I think you are misreading the meaning of 'permanent residence'.

Mike Cash posted
I am not misreading it in the slightest. I am a permanent resident. I reside here permanently. You and Maciamo are/were "permanent" residents. One of you has left and the other wishes to leave. The both of you have permanent resident visas, but you are not permanent residents. Perhaps in the sense that a permanent wave is "permanent", but that's about it.

Gaijinalways posted
It implies that we often have a slightly more invested interest in what goes on in the country, because of family, length of stay,etc.

Mike Cash posted
While either not actually residing in Japan, or planning to not reside here permanently.....

I am still residing here at the moment. Just to add to that, what's permanent is very much a matter of perception.

Actually, it is indeed more than that as I am planning to adopt my wife's family name (forget the exact term in Japanese). In other words, I would be eligible to inherit property from them directly, which at the moment I can't. That seems to be a pretty permanent link to me. In addition, my in-laws plan to retire in Hawaii near us, so I expect my link to that part of Japan will remain for some time to come:wave: .

Mike Cash
Jul 6, 2006, 04:01
You do realize you just made yourself sound like a gold digger, don't you?

ex-gaijin
Jul 6, 2006, 08:00
I thought of another question. Would you say that you noticed the rude behavior directed at you more at any one time than another, or moreso under certain conditions, or after a certain point in time?


I started noticing the "attitude" towards me after a certain time, probably only when I started picking up the language and understanding what was going on around me. As I have an MA in Japanese Studies, it didn`t take too long to get to the point to have a conversation with a native. Say, 4-5 months probably! At that point I started having the feeling that there was something weird about the way they related to me. It just didn`t sound right.

Silverpoint
Jul 6, 2006, 13:29
Sorry for the late reply. Rather ironically, I didn't have time to get online because work was so busy ;-)


Do you find yourself or feel "discriminated" against in the same vein as ex-gaijin?
I have to admit, I don't entirely understand the question. I'm not sure what you mean by ex-gaijin. But on the subject of discrimination, I don't really feel any different from my co-workers. I think Mike and subsequent poster's comments about special treatment for expat workers echoes my feeling. If I went home on the dot of 5pm every day and didn't do anything outside my working hours, sure I'd probably get treated differently, but I try to tow the line.

Sometimes the fact that I am from a different country is difficult to avoid, or it has an influence on things. But this is rarely a negative thing; for example if we go to karaoke, I get bombarded with requests to sing The Beatles or other English bands. But I see that much more as celebrating my culture rather than being treated differently. Or since it's my native language I might get asked to do something involving use of English, such as when we had some Australians visit our office a few weeks ago, and I was asked to show them around. But if you have a group of visitors in the building who don't speak a lot of Japanese, assigning the English guy to look after them is just plain common sense.


Are you accepted by your colleagues as any Japanese would be?
Well put it this way. In April@of this year I got promotion. This was based on my manager, my manager's manager and several co-workers recommending this course of action to the president. I don't think they would have done that if they had a grudge against me.


Do you participate in outside activities with your co-workers and bosses like drinking after work, or golf on weekends or company outings and such?
I actually quite enjoy our company dinners (in fact probably more so than some of my colleagues) . I don't play golf, mainly because I can't, but I'm thinking about taking it up. Every once in a while we have a company weekend away usually to an onsen/resort. 18 of my co-workers came to my wedding. 2 of them gave speeches.

Silverpoint
Jul 6, 2006, 13:55
Just to add to that, what's permanent is very much a matter of perception.
Eh? No it's not. Something is either permanent or it's not. Perception doesn't come into it. The distinction is as clear as black and white. I don't disagree with some of the stuff you said, but I have to take issue with this particular comment.


You never miss an opportunity to badmouth me, do you ?
Mr. Pot meet Mr. Kettle.

gaijinalways
Jul 7, 2006, 02:10
Mike Cash posted
You do realize you just made yourself sound
like a gold digger, don't you?

So I guess my wife, who wants me to do it, is one too?

No, I think the bigger problem is, you don't know my situation. My wife is concerned about her parents's future, but also changing my name would bring some additional duties.

In addition, obviously Maciamo still has duties as well as he is still married so he still has some link to his wife's family here in Japan. Whether we wish to reside here or not doesn't lessen the familial ties that we have here.


Posted by gaijinalways
Just to add to that, what's permanent is very much a matter of perception.

Stinger posted
Eh? No it's not. Something is either permanent or it's not. Perception doesn't come into it. The distinction is as clear as black and white. I don't disagree with some of the stuff you said, but I have to take issue with this particular comment.

Well, we might have to disagree then. For me the distinction is not that clear, I didn't create the name that the Japanese Government uses for the visa or residency permit, I just use it. I may continue to use it if I 'share' my residency between here and the US (or Europe if we can manage jobs there). So as I said earlier, permanance is in your perception. recently the only things that seem really permanent to me are life and death, but then I could put taxes in the same category for most people (and paying those government health insurance premiums here, ouch).

Silverpoint
Jul 7, 2006, 09:26
Re: Gold digging


So I guess my wife, who wants me to do it, is one too?
No, I think the bigger problem is, you don't know my situation. My wife is concerned about her parents's future, but also changing my name would bring some additional duties.
To be fair to Mike, he was pointing out that your comments made you sound like a gold digger. Not that you are one. Which was indeed true - you did give the impression that you were changing your name for material gain.


So as I said earlier, permanance is in your perception. recently the only things that seem really permanent to me are life and death, but then I could put taxes in the same category for most people (and paying those government health insurance premiums here, ouch).
Again, a slightly academic point, but what I was meaning was that the concept of 'permanence' is non-negotiable. It has a fixed and intransient meaning in the English language. 'Permanent residence' on the other hand is a different issue. Actually from your follow up comments, I'm not sure you fully understand the definition of the word, given that you classify life and tax as permanent entities when neither is so.

DoctorP
Jul 7, 2006, 10:56
Actually, it is indeed more than that as I am planning to adopt my wife's family name (forget the exact term in Japanese). In other words, I would be eligible to inherit property from them directly, which at the moment I can't. That seems to be a pretty permanent link to me.

I said I wouldn't be back, but I hate ignorance. Therefore I find it necessary for me to hang around and keep people in check.


I'm not sure if it is necessary to change your name or not...I just purchased land in my name though and I'm not even a "permanent resident!"

changedonrequest
Jul 7, 2006, 12:52
I said I wouldn't be back, but I hate ignorance. Therefore I find it necessary for me to hang around and keep people in check.


I'm not sure if it is necessary to change your name or not...I just purchased land in my name though and I'm not even a "permanent resident!"

CC1 You are not the only one either, a buddy of mine has land and built a house and all the property is in his name, not his wifes.

Mike Cash
Jul 7, 2006, 21:17
Mike Cash posted
So I guess my wife, who wants me to do it, is one too?

No, I think the bigger problem is, you don't know my situation. My wife is concerned about her parents's future, but also changing my name would bring some additional duties.

The bigger problem is that you didn't read what I said. You read what you thought I said.

I didn't say you are a gold digger. Nor did I say your wife is a gold digger.



In addition, obviously Maciamo still has duties as well as he is still married so he still has some link to his wife's family here in Japan. Whether we wish to reside here or not doesn't lessen the familial ties that we have here.


Has someone stated or suggested otherwise? I must have missed it.

changedonrequest
Jul 7, 2006, 22:51
The bigger problem is that you didn't read what I said. You read what you thought I said.

I didn't say you are a gold digger. Nor did I say your wife is a gold digger.


Hey Mike as you probably already know people here only read what they want to hear and not what is written.

Mike is right you know, he hasnt accused anyone of anything!

Mikawa Ossan
Jul 8, 2006, 09:34
I said I wouldn't be back, but I hate ignorance. Therefore I find it necessary for me to hang around and keep people in check.
I'm not sure if it is necessary to change your name or not...I just purchased land in my name though and I'm not even a "permanent resident!"
Actually gaijinalways never said anything in that post about "buying" property. He said that he would be able to "inherit" property, which is quite different.

He is referring to the process whereby his in-laws will legally adopt him, thereby giving him the same rights to inheritance, etc., that their blood children have by virtue of birth into the family. It's called "youshi" ({q), and it's fairly common, especially in the countryside, where a family has only daughters and they want to keep the family "alive".

DoctorP
Jul 8, 2006, 09:54
Yes, I understood that. It is my experience that most (of the people I know) outright purchase the property, even if it is for a ridiculously low price and then transfer it to their name. This is actually much easier and relieves the family of paying yearly taxes...since they are usually older and not working.

But I apreciate you pointing that out for the others reading this.

Mike Cash
Jul 8, 2006, 09:59
Yes, I understood that. It is my experience that most (of the people I know) outright purchase the property, even if it is for a ridiculously low price and then transfer it to their name. This is actually much easier and relieves the family of paying yearly taxes...since they are usually older and not working.


That might also be to avoid paying the confiscatory death taxes in this socialist nation.

gaijinalways
Jul 9, 2006, 01:48
Thanks Mikawa san, I thought since Mike has lived here as long as he has, he would be aware of that(if you were you didn't give that impression with your question).

And I'm sorry but I disagree, Mike's question was that he thought it made me sound like a golddigger, which in my book is the same as accusing me of being one.

Stinger posted
Again, a slightly academic point, but what I was meaning was that the concept of 'permanence' is non-negotiable. It has a fixed and intransient meaning in the English language. 'Permanent residence' on the other hand is a different issue. Actually from your follow up comments, I'm not sure you fully understand the definition of the word, given that you classify life and tax as permanent entities when neither is so.

Uh, Stinger, when my life finishes, that is the end of my permanent residence, and the end of any taxes I'll be paying (of course, people named in my will may be paying). I think you are following more the literial dictionary definition, whereas I'm following more of a philosophical definition of the word.

No worries, I'll be permanently unpermanent in your world!:p

Mike Cash
Jul 9, 2006, 08:59
And I'm sorry but I disagree, Mike's question was that he thought it made me sound like a golddigger, which in my book is the same as accusing me of being one.


Then you don't read your book any better than your read my post. Maybe you should get one with more pictures in it. Maybe some pop-ups.

If I had wanted to call you a gold digger, I would have called you a gold digger. I'm not exactly the most bashful poster on JREF.

GaijinPunch
Jul 10, 2006, 13:29
That might also be to avoid paying the confiscatory death taxes in this socialist nation.

That's actually a brilliant idea. Never thought about that.
Any way to get out of the taxes when inheriting things like tax? (other than full on evasion, of course).

changedonrequest
Jul 10, 2006, 15:01
Originally Posted by gaijinalways
And I'm sorry but I disagree, Mike's question was that he thought it made me sound like a golddigger, which in my book is the same as accusing me of being one.



To me that is how you came across even though that was not your intent. I mean hell you don't have to take your wife's name just to inherit property, they could give it to her and not you.

Until you provided more information afterwards it was not very clear what your intention was, now that you explained it more detail it is understandable why you are taking your wife's name.

Hell even Stinger read it the same way as well. It's what you write here and not what you are thinking about that causes confusion at times, and that goes for myself as well.

Silverpoint
Jul 10, 2006, 17:53
Gaijinalways - I think you're a little confused over your terms.


recently the only things that seem really permanent to me are life and death, but then I could put taxes in the same category for most people.


Uh, Stinger, when my life finishes, that is the end of my permanent residence, and the end of any taxes I'll be paying.

So in the first quote, you claim both life and tax to be permanent entities. Then in the second, you claim they will come to an end, thus directly contradicting the former.


I think you are following more the literial dictionary definition,

Amazing things, dictionaries. They tell you what words actually mean!


whereas I'm following more of a philosophical definition of the word.

No, you are following the wrong definition of the word.


No worries, I'll be permanently unpermanent in your world!:p

Of that I have no doubt.

gaijinalways
Jul 10, 2006, 22:55
Mike,

You're right, you have been here too long. Again, you still haven't answered my question, why even make a reference to a possibility rather than PMing ,
me or just posting online and asking me? Believe me, there are reasons besides the ones stated, but they are not ones I wish to get into on a public forum.

As to your past forum history, please don't use it as a justification for being what I consider rude. That in itself is pretty low and self serving.

Hachiro,

See the above.

And, I disagree, it's very easy to insult people online and try to pass it off as a misunderstanding. Perhaps both of you need to review the meaning of the word before you dismiss its use as okay.


PS Mike, keep the day job, comedy is not your thing. Then again, hell, I'm a frustrated comic too, though I mostly keep it in the classroom:blush: where I sometimes geta laugh and I get paid!

Mike Cash
Jul 11, 2006, 07:28
Mike,
You're right, you have been here too long. Again, you still haven't answered my question, why even make a reference to a possibility rather than PMing ,
me or just posting online and asking me? Believe me, there are reasons besides the ones stated, but they are not ones I wish to get into on a public forum.

Maybe it's because I just woke up, but I can't figure out what the hell you're talking about.



As to your past forum history, please don't use it as a justification for being what I consider rude. That in itself is pretty low and self serving.

I am what I am, and you are free and welcome to your opinion of it. I think you're dense or deliberately obtuse, but I've so far been able to resist telling you.




PS Mike, keep the day job, comedy is not your thing. Then again, hell, I'm a frustrated comic too, though I mostly keep it in the classroom:blush: where I sometimes geta laugh and I get paid!

Keep that dancing monkey job, discussion requiring careful reading or critical thought isn't your thing.

You've been here all this time and you're still doing the Nova/Aeon/Geos/Whatever gig? No wonder you're clueless about assimilation.

RockLee
Jul 11, 2006, 08:27
Keep it cool guys. No need to get personal.

Mike Cash
Jul 11, 2006, 21:46
Merely responding in kind. I'm very accommodating that way.

Tyshepp
Sep 14, 2006, 18:13
I've heard the term many times and have also been excluded from clubs because they are "Japanese only." Thing is, I dont give a flying f, well you know what. Japan is a very complicated society and are, in fact, a civilization all to themselves. I like lots of things in Japan, but when I come across peeps so ignorant they are afraid of "gaijin" I say screw 'em.

But friends or not, westerners will never be accepted as "Japanese" like someone can go to the USA and become an "American."

chickie
Sep 14, 2006, 23:29
I don't like the word "gaijin", so insted I use the word "gaikoku-no-hito" or something like that.
But I don't know the reason why I hate it:p

gaijinalways
Sep 15, 2006, 01:01
Mike, I'm a university lecturer, so why don't you move your own career on somewhere. I believe the 'golddigger' phrase is what I took offense to. Sorry you're still short on memories and manners.

Maciamo
Sep 15, 2006, 01:52
I don't like the word "gaijin", so insted I use the word "gaikoku-no-hito" or something like that.

Haha. Good one. It doesn't change anything to me whether it is gaijin, gaikokujin or gaikokunohito. It's still a term that put all foreigners in the same bag, and keeps all the connotation in the poll above.

Gaijin4Life
Sep 27, 2006, 01:22
I dont know how dumb people can get I mean no offense but Some nationalities are really really STUPID to get offended by the word Gaijin. OH dont call me Gaijin its rude. SCREW off ure a FOREIGNER which is EXACTLY what Gaijin means. No more no less! If you were in my country u'd be a foreigner too and if i was in urs it's the SAME Case so there's nothing wrong with being called that. It's those idiots who make up stupid meanings and interpretations that DONT even exist. I mean the stupidest thing i saw is the movie Tokyo Drift when that guy is being called Gaijin. That's so lame and ignorant seriously. People stop being dumb PLZ.

This message has been brought to you by.. Yes i said it.. A GAIJIN.

GAIJIN 4 LIFE BABY!

gaijinalways
Sep 27, 2006, 15:24
But I doubt you group tem all together, especially when you already know the nationaility of the person you are speaking of (like when I am referred to as a gaijin with people I have already worked with for 8 years). I wouldn't refer to a Japanese person as a non-Caucasian (or a non-American), especially if I knew he/she was Japanese.

DoctorP
Sep 28, 2006, 04:43
So...you would clasify them even more by referring to them as Japanese rather than just foreigner? Some people would consider that being more racist, don't you think?

leonmarino
Sep 28, 2006, 06:55
Haha. Good one. It doesn't change anything to me whether it is gaijin, gaikokujin or gaikokunohito. It's still a term that put all foreigners in the same bag, and keeps all the connotation in the poll above.
I might not make a difference to you, but I know more people that rather not use the word "gaijin", and prefer to use "gaikoku no hito" or "gaikoku no kata"..

I don't mind the word in the sense that I do mind if it's used to refer to me, but only because I am half-Japanese and feel not-so-gaijin. But then again, there are a lot of times when I do feel gaijin, and proud of it!! (When confronted with Japanese bureaucracy or racism for example.)

But that's a different story: in essense I don't mind "gaijin", "gaikoku no kata", "gokiburi" or whatever. It's just a word isn't it. In Holland I'm being called a "foreigner", "Jap" or whatever by friends trying to tease me.. I got used to it I think.

thistle
Sep 28, 2006, 09:42
I did not read all of the thread there are too many, but after 19 years in Japan I still hate when they say just 'gaijin' but don't mind so much if they say 'gaijin-san' which they often use here in Okinawa. I believe now it is really only a term for them to differentiate us, they are in no way being racist.
I do make a habit though of correcting people and asking them to say 'gaikoku-jin'.

gaijinalways
Sep 28, 2006, 15:32
CC1 posted
So...you would clasify them even more by referring to them as Japanese rather than just foreigner? Some people would consider that being more racist, don't you think?


CC1, If you already know they are Japanese, it makes more sense. It is like calling something an animal until you know it's a dog, and calling it a dog until you identify the breed as a collie, and then calling it a collie, until you know the name given it by the owner.

We tend to use more specific terms when we are fairly certain of what something is. If you prefer uncertainty, that's another issue. Obviously most of the foreigners living in Japan don't, in other words they would prefer to be called by name (if known to the speaker) or by nationality (again if known) or even by occupation as another alternative. Or simply "Sir" or "Madam" if you are in a public place being served by someone.

DoctorP
Sep 28, 2006, 17:37
CC1 posted
CC1, If you already know they are Japanese, it makes more sense. It is like calling something an animal until you know it's a dog, and calling it a dog until you identify the breed as a collie, and then calling it a collie, until you know the name given it by the owner.



I understood you...it is like calling someone black when you know that they are a person!

ricecake
Sep 28, 2006, 17:49
but after 19 years in Japan I still hate when they say just ' gaijin ',I believe now it is really only a term for them to differentiate us,they are in no way being racist.





Japanese kanji for " gaijin " similiar to 2 characters Chinese refer to " foreign persons " ( www.urgentculture.com ),it's a NON-racist slang when we say " lao-wai " to mean Caucasians however rarely to their face which is rude and dis-respectful in Chinese culture.

I've never lived in Japan therefore have no grasp of native population's mentality in their dealing with NON-Japanese ( or Nikkeijin ) foreigners in regard to this matter.

Tyshepp
Sep 28, 2006, 18:24
Keep it cool guys. No need to get personal.

Why not?

Maciamo
Sep 28, 2006, 20:03
I understood you...it is like calling someone black when you know that they are a person!

"Black" is a person ? I thought it was an adjective of colour !

Maciamo
Sep 28, 2006, 20:08
Obviously most of the foreigners living in Japan don't, in other words they would prefer to be called by name (if known to the speaker) or by nationality (again if known) or even by occupation as another alternative. Or simply "Sir" or "Madam" if you are in a public place being served by someone.

Very well said.

Maciamo
Sep 28, 2006, 20:17
I might not make a difference to you, but I know more people that rather not use the word "gaijin", and prefer to use "gaikoku no hito" or "gaikoku no kata"..
It doesn't make much difference because it is just an "esthetic" change, and I care much more about the "form", just the mindset behind the word. The Japanese could even say something like "their great and honourable majesty the Gaijins", or otherwise embellish it in flattering language, their mind still works in a despicable "black-and-white" manner (the Japanese vs the others). It bothers me because it is a primitive way of thinking; not because the term "gaijin" itself is offensive, but because it is the only word they know to describe someone who is not like them.

Do not misunderstand me, I am as annoyed at people in my own country who call all foreigners and foreign-looking people by the term "foreigner". I just don't know anybody who does it. The French are the French. The Germans are the Germans. The Japanese are the Japanese. If we want to stress that someone is a foreigner, we will still distinguish tourists from (short- or long-term) residents from immigrants from refugees, etc. We also distinguish them by ethnic group, language, religion and many other criteria. It isn't necessary to mention all criteria at the same time. It all depends on the situation. Who would ask an Indian tourists "How do you foreigners celebrate the New Year ?" It is shocking because in the mind of the speakers an Indian, a Senegalese, an Irish, a Peruvian or a Korean are all the same, and all celebrate New Year the same way. This is extremely disrespectful to the person you are talking to not to do the slightest effort to try to understand where the person is from, or that not all the world is alike outside one's country.

misa.j
Sep 29, 2006, 08:08
I read somewhere that the word "gaijin" is becoming more of a taboo word and disappearing from newspapers and tv broadcast. I don't have any source to back that up, though.

This is a very interesting discussion to me. Now, I realize how commonly it is used; 5 out of 11 people whom my husband met personaly, including my close friends, said 'gaijin wa blah, blah, blah'. They sure didn't use it with negative connotation, but it made both of my husband and me uncomfortable.

We also distinguish them by ethnic group, language, religion and many other criteria.
I'm not sure how many, even educated Japanese people, are familiar with those terms. I have to confess that I wasn't until I came to the US.
Education, I think, is the key for the Japanese who use the word deliberately to emphasize the fact that someone is non-Japanese, that there are better words if they really need to make a distinction on people from different backgrounds.

leonmarino
Sep 29, 2006, 21:42
It doesn't make much difference because it is just an "esthetic" change, and I care much more about the "form", just the mindset behind the word. The Japanese could even say something like "their great and honourable majesty the Gaijins", or otherwise embellish it in flattering language, their mind still works in a despicable "black-and-white" manner (emphasis added by leonmarino) (the Japanese vs the others). It bothers me because it is a primitive way of thinking; not because the term "gaijin" itself is offensive, but because it is the only word they know to describe someone who is not like them.
But.. Who's generalizing who? I mean not all Japanese are like that. Sure, it is true that most of them are, and don't get me wrong, three weeks in Japan last August was enough discrimination for me for a while, but I think that there are also people whose mindset is changing, and as Japan is (hopefully) internationalizing further this culture of us vs. them will decrease.
It will never disappear though, of that I am sure. But let us not be hypocrites. We are all human beings and subject to the same psychological processes. There is this thing called the in-group bias (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingroup_bias) which basically makes us discriminate and perceive ourselves, or the group we beliong to, better than others. In the case of multi-ethnic groups or people like some European countries and the US, this black-and-white behavior seems to be less significant. However, you do consider your group ("the open-minded people" or "the non-black-and-white-thinking people") better than "the Japanese".
The people of a land in isolation.. Can they help it that they think it this black-and-white manner? Education is important in this point, because if you've always been told (or at least never have been told the opposite) that foreigners are different than "us islanders", how can you know what is true?
It is very easy to say "ow, them Japanese are racist" or whatever, but Japan is very young with respect to its international role (140 years since the Meiji Restoration (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meiji_Restoration)), and it will take some time until "us" and "them" are on the same level. All of us on this forum will probably never see that day.
Let us not "despise" Japanese people for their (in our eyes) crooked views. All we can do is communicate, teach, learn and motivate; despising them and considering them "different" is no better than any other racist view.

Mikawa Ossan
Sep 29, 2006, 21:49
Let us not "despise" Japanese people for their (in our eyes) crooked views. All we can do is communicate, teach, learn and motivate; despising them and considering them "different" is no better than any other racist view.
Who do you mean by "us" and "our"? (BTW, good to see you posting again, leonmarino!)

leonmarino
Sep 29, 2006, 22:03
Who do you mean by "us" and "our"? (BTW, good to see you posting again, leonmarino!)
"Us" and "our" are.. Anyone who feels being addressed by this post really. :relief:

And yeah, this is my first post on a subject other than food, English/Japanese and chit-chat in a long while!!

pipokun
Sep 29, 2006, 22:07
us vs. them
I guess the vs. in the above is what Prof. Yoro calls "Baka no Kabe".
The book is interesting to read. The wall is not only among Japanese, but so far I am happy to live here, for the word, "hate crime", is not common here, no matter how many times I hear Japan is such a racist country or whatever.

Mikawa Ossan
Sep 29, 2006, 22:17
I guess the vs. in the above is what Prof. Yoro calls "Baka no Kabe".
The book is interesting to read. The wall is not only among Japanese, but so far I am happy to live here, for the word, "hate crime", is not common here, no matter how many times I hear Japan is such a racist country or whatever.
Amen to that!

Maciamo
Sep 30, 2006, 01:34
I guess the vs. in the above is what Prof. Yoro calls "Baka no Kabe".
The book is interesting to read. The wall is not only among Japanese, but so far I am happy to live here, for the word, "hate crime", is not common here, no matter how many times I hear Japan is such a racist country or whatever.

I suppose that once you repeat something enough times to someone there is a point when they will finally understand what you mean, so I do not dispair. I will repeat it one more time for you : racism is not just about violence. It's a state of mind.

Maciamo
Sep 30, 2006, 01:37
I'm not sure how many, even educated Japanese people, are familiar with those terms. I have to confess that I wasn't until I came to the US.


Do you mean that most Japanese do not automatically categorise people by ethnic group, language, religion in their head ? This would confirm that the way they express themselves ("gaijin, blabla") indeed macthes the way they see people. No distinctions !

Maciamo
Sep 30, 2006, 02:13
But.. Who's generalizing who? I mean not all Japanese are like that.

I never said that either. When I do not say "all" it means "most", by default.

It will never disappear though, of that I am sure.

If only it could be limited to a small minority of people, I would already be very happy. :-)


But let us not be hypocrites. We are all human beings and subject to the same psychological processes.

I won't debate this in detail, but each brain works in its own fairly unique way. We can also categorise brain types according to their acidity/alcalinity, sensitivity to each kind of neurotransmitter (serotonin, adrenaline, etc.), and in many other ways. But what matters most in this case (differentiating between "foreigners") is certainly just a matter of education.


In the case of multi-ethnic groups or people like some European countries and the US, this black-and-white behavior seems to be less significant.

I am not sure about that. I felt that people from some less multi-ethnic European countries differentiated people even more accurately than many Americans, because some differentiation may be politically incorrect in the US.


However, you do consider your group ("the open-minded people" or "the non-black-and-white-thinking people") better than "the Japanese".
The people of a land in isolation.

I what way is Japan more a " land in isolation" than Scandinavian countries, which have never been invaded or occupied by non-Scandinavians, and are more genetically homogenous than the Japanese (keep in mind that the Japanese are hybrid Korean-Ainu) ? No, it is a matter of education, not isolation or ethnic homogeneity.


It is very easy to say "ow, them Japanese are racist" or whatever, but Japan is very young with respect to its international role (140 years since the Meiji Restoration (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meiji_Restoration))

Really ? Are you aware that Japan continued to trade with Korea, China and the Netherlands during the 250 years or so of seclusion ? What is more, Japan was not closed to the world before the Edo period, and even imported most of its culture from China. No, Japan does not lack international experience more than, again, Scandinavia, or Ireland.

ricecake
Sep 30, 2006, 02:59
most Japanese do not automatically categorise people by ethnic group, language, religion in their head ? This would confirm that the way they express themselves ("gaijin, blabla") indeed macthes the way they see people. No distinctions !





I rummaged through a few old threads yesterday,coincidently stumbled upon one post written by Jref tutor NANGI simply truthful replied his people only know distinction between Japanese and NON-Japanese not gaijin's ethnic background or nationality.

It's Japanese deep rooted clannishness mentality ( group-mentality ) NOT Japan's isolation for their xenophobia toward " outsiders ".Aren't Japanese since Meiji Restoration indoctrinated at very young age,Japan is part of Western World and Nihonjins are NOT related to East Asian ethnicity rather a " token " member in the European Race category ?

misa.j
Sep 30, 2006, 03:28
I found an interesting article on Japan's multicultural education written by a professor at Tokyo University. The article ilustrates how Japanese schools are struggling finding ways to teach multi-ethnic culture in classrooms. http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/multicultural/murphy-shigematsu.htm

leonmarino
Sep 30, 2006, 03:46
I don't know about the situation in Scandinavia, but a quick browse through Google made me find a lot of articles of saying how racist people of Sweden are. So if it's right that Sweden is/was as isolated as Japan, this might confirm there's a correlation between a country's isolation and the "racist" mindset of the people.

Anyway, am I correct when I say you're saying that education is the key to people's understanding of other cultures? I seriously doubt Japanese are told through the educational system that us foreigners are bad folk.

It is all about social interaction; interaction breeds understanding. When I was younger, I met many Japanese people who met a foreigner for the first time in their lives!! For us Dutchies that is something unthinkable, a people so homogeneous and isolated. Even though the number of foreigners in Japan is rising, it is nothing compared to many European countries, of that I am sure.

People are also inclined to make the fundamental attribution error; if one foreigner commits a crime, or less extreme, is impolite to the Japanese, he is labeled as impolite and a criminal. This is not a Japanese trait, but a human trait. In Holland many people in the big cities are racist against Turkish and Maroccan people. These people are immigrants, often of lower class, and people of lower classes, no matter what cultural background they have, are more inclined to criminal activity. But people not knowing this fail to see that as many Dutch people of lower classes commit crime, and blame the foreign population for all crime. That is how racism works.

So in a land where there are so little foreigners, and where people make the same judgmental error everyone makes, it seems only natural that they wish to consider themselves different to foreigners. Again, I am not saying that I am in favor of racism, but I can understand it from a historical and societal point of view.

Sure, anti-discriminatory education might work, but its effect is often blown away if someone is hurt, mentally or physically, by a member of another ethnic group. In a land where rules, honour and everything is highly appreciated, someone from "outside" can easily, unintendedly project a bad image.

ricecake
Sep 30, 2006, 06:16
Are you aware that Japan continued to trade with Korea,China and the Netherlands during the 250 years or so of seclusion.No,Japan does not lack international experience.





Japan had full exposure to Western modern culture and people between 1840's-1940's.Any Japanese TV doramas with story background for this time period often reflect adaptation of Western cultural aspects was welcomed by native population in many facets of Japanese society.I've seen B & W photos and old newsreel footage clips of European-imitation-looking high ranking Japanese military officers and Japanese noblemen sported " whisker " appeared before cheerful Japanese crowd.Yeah,those big bearded European-imitation-looking Japanese men rode in imported-European-stagecoach acted like silly puppeteer FAKE-Western old dudes.

Funny argument,Japanese aren't comfortable with " the people " they've imitated and emulated for 150 years.:genji: :silly:

alt
Sep 30, 2006, 13:58
racism is not just about violence. It's a state of mind.

Hopefully people will read this and let it sink into their heads.

Unfortunately many fine people who would never consider themselves to be racist in any way shape or form also have racist tendencies from within their own "mind-set". In a manner of speaking, myself included here, I think everyone, here on this board, as well as throughout the world have racist tendencies within themselves. It's just a matter of whether or not they "choose" to let those tendencies manifest themselves through their thoughts or actions.

And that is something that practically no amount of "talking", educating, or therapy will change until the person themself is truly aware that it exists within themselves.

Otherwise one just ends up repeatedly beating their heads into a wall trying to explain it or like talking to your doorknob.

namakemono
Sep 30, 2006, 20:37
Hopefully people will read this and let it sink into their heads.
Yes, it is. I quite agree with you.:cool:

gaijinalways
Sep 30, 2006, 21:32
Good point Alt, and one that hardly excuses the Japanese from the amount of us and them thinking they engage in. Sadly, many foreigners that live here work harder at defending this kind of attitude than some of the Japanese (of course, many Japanese don't seem to think about it much, at least in my opinion).

Tyshepp
Sep 30, 2006, 21:54
I just don't get it. Why you care what some Japanese think of you if it's not in your best light? Why you care if they call you gajin? So what? That really bother you and if so why? Inferiority complez or illusions of granduer? And leave my spelling out of this!

Some ya'll seem just a bit too sensitive.

alt
Sep 30, 2006, 22:49
I just don't get it. Why you care what some Japanese think of you if it's not in your best light? Why you care if they call you gajin? So what? That really bother you and if so why? Inferiority complez or illusions of granduer? And leave my spelling out of this!
Some ya'll seem just a bit too sensitive.

See imo that's part of the problem, many people that come here have not or never been exposed to being on the receiving end of any racial discrimination and it is an eye opener for them.

They end up putting the "blame" for the discrimination on the Japanese people when whether or not they are aware of it they have been the ones that may have been subconsciously been discriminating against others.

When the shoe is one the "other" foot it puts them in an uncomfortable position that they have probably never been in before, hence the need to find fault with "all" Japanese as being guilty of racism against "foreigners"

In fact there is racism against many foreigners here in Japan, yet in my experience it is those that "allow" themselves to be victimized that end up being the ones that ***** the most.

Elizabeth
Sep 30, 2006, 23:05
I just don't get it. Why you care what some Japanese think of you if it's not in your best light? Why you care if they call you gajin? So what? That really bother you and if so why? Inferiority complez or illusions of granduer? And leave my spelling out of this!
Some ya'll seem just a bit too sensitive.
I agree in a sense that discrimination is definately not only limited to gaijins, even natives that are considered different or not conforming to the expectations of how a Japanese should behave can easily experience discrimination everyday, depending on their circumstances. The foreigner issue is only one small aspect of a much larger mindset....although it's obviously going to be a focal point on a
forum by, for and often about, them. :souka:

gaijinalways
Oct 1, 2006, 02:09
I am still wondering though what is the best way to try to modify this mindset. Of course, education, setting a good example, and exposing people to others outside their group may change things, but I would say overall the government in Japan doesn't support these efforts much. If anything, the government line seems to encourage keeping the status quo, basically ignoring that there is any problem in dealing with non-Japanese in Japan.

Of course, not all of us are inclined or want to be social activists, but there is a fine line between tolerance and submission. The problem for many of us is that we have decide if it's worth the effort, especially for those staying here longer and having to deal with what I like to call unfair `umbrella labeling and grouping`.

Maciamo
Oct 1, 2006, 06:49
I agree in a sense that discrimination is definately not only limited to gaijins, even natives that are considered different or not conforming to the expectations of how a Japanese should behave can easily experience discrimination everyday, depending on their circumstances.

You are talking about two different problems :

1) discrimination by Japanese against Japanese (e.g. to force them to conform)
2) discrimination about non-Japanese

However, if I remember well, this thread is about neither of them. It is about the meaning of the term "gaijin". Let's not muddle up everything. I personally do not see discrimination in the use of the term "gaiijn". I disaprove of it because it underlies a primitive way of thinking (lack of differentiation), and I feel that this in itself is offensive because being called a "gaiijn" is no better than being associated with a group of identical clones that make the non-Japanese world in the mind of the Japanese using and abusing of the term "gaijin". I am a strong individualist, and someone who likes to give as accurate categories as possible to the group of people I am referring to.

Another (related) reason that I dislike the word "gaijn" is that it reminds me of the utter ignorance of the world (cultures, religions, geography, history...) of most of the Japanese I met. For instance I was asked such absurdities as :

- what is the currency of South America ? When I asked which country, my Japanese interlocutor was surprised that all South American countries didn't have the same currency.

- all the assumptions that North America and Europe were one homogenous culture.

- In an English textbook exercise, my university-educated student thought that Argentina was in Eastern Europe.

- people who claim to be Buddhist and can't even tell me what branch of Buddhism they belong to, and visibly don't have any knowledge of Buddhism.

- people who think that the Amazon is in India, or that it is a synonym for jungle.

- hundreds of other examples...

Hearing the word gaijin strongly reminds me of the serious general knowledge mess-up in the mind of so many Japanese, and it makes me want to puke. So I certainly do not want it to be used to refer to me.

Maciamo
Oct 1, 2006, 07:07
See imo that's part of the problem, many people that come here have not or never been exposed to being on the receiving end of any racial discrimination and it is an eye opener for them.

You may be right, but I have another problem with it. Here in Belgium, and in many other European countries (e.g. Netherlands, as leonmarino said it), discrimination or racism is normally directed at a national, ethnic or religious group that is held responsible for a lot of crimes and problems in the country. For instance, it cannot be denied that the Moroccans in Belgium cause much more trouble than any other group, and indeed 1/3 of people in Belgian jails are Moroccans (which is completely disproportionate to their number, but nevertheless a fact). As leonmarino said, these groups are typically lower-class. I would even say that before living in Brussels (where more than half of the Moroccans in the country live), I thought of them as "lower class", but now I see them as "underclass" because their social level (weath, education, manners...) is so much lower than the Belgian lower class.

What I mean by this is that in Belgium or Europe in general, people discriminate or hold racist feelings for justified reasons against a very specific group, NOT all foreigners, and not even all Muslims. I would say that it is mainly directed at male Moroccans, in Belgium, as we very rarely hear of women causing troubles, do not speak with such a strong accent on purpose, do not provoke or commit vandalism or crimes, and in consequence they also tend to get better jobs. So far the only Morrocan people which I have met working for Belgian or international companies (shops, real estate, etc.) were all women.

The problem I have with the Japanese is that they do not differentiate foreigners by national, ethnic, linguistic or religious groups, and just put everyone under the term "gaijin". They are especially good at that when reporting crimes in the news, or when blaming "gaijin" for the woes of Japan. If they directed their anger at a particular group with facts to support their claims, I would not mind. What I cannot accept is that :

1) they associate me with lower-class economic immigrants. I was told by one of my English-school employers, while negotiating the salary, that "foreigners come to Japan to make easy money because Japan is a rich country". I automatically replied that my country had a higher living standard and higher salaries than Japan, as did most Western countries (see article (http://www.wa-pedia.com/society/japan_world_ranking.shtml)).

2) they discriminate against people who belong to an equal or higher social class, are equally or better educated than them, equally rich or richer than them, etc.

leonmarino
Oct 1, 2006, 18:54
1) they associate me with lower-class economic immigrants. I was told by one of my English-school employers, while negotiating the salary, that "foreigners come to Japan to make easy money because Japan is a rich country". I automatically replied that my country had a higher living standard and higher salaries than Japan, as did most Western countries (see article (http://www.wa-pedia.com/society/japan_world_ranking.shtml)).I couldn't have hold my laughter if I were in that position.. As the article point out, Japan doesn't look at all like a first-world country in some aspects!!

2) they discriminate against people who belong to an equal or higher social class, are equally or better educated than them, equally rich or richer than them, etc.It seems like you are saying it is ok to discriminate against people of lower class and not against others. I know you don't mean that, and that you say it is understandable (from a historical/social point of view) why people would discriminate against people of lower classes, right? :relief:

Anyway, it is indeed very frustrating that I and other people are being discriminated against. I think it is because many foreigners, including me, do not understand and follow every little rule in Japan. These constant culture shocks form the image of foreigners being different than Japanese. Sure, there are also Japanese people who break the rules or are impolite sometimes, but they don't stand out in the crowd.

Speaking of "standing out", don't you think the fact that foreigners are easy to detect is also causing this racism? In Europe you can hardly see any difference between many people, Dutch, German, English, Belgian.. We all look the same. (Although I love to argue that we Dutch are different than you Belgians :blush: ) In Japan, any non-Japanese person would stand out immediately. This simple "they look different, so they must also be different from the inside"-way of thinking.. I think that factor also contributes to the in-group/out-group bias.

Nonetheless, it is indeed frustrating, and from comtemporary western views it is.. Not good. But hey, what can you do about it? :p

gaijinalways
Oct 1, 2006, 19:15
Good points leonmarino, people looking different than oneself would make it easier to distinguish them as different, especially in a country like Japan where many residents have similar Asian features (I am thinking more of the Chinese, Koreans, and the Japanese, and yes, I know there are some broad diffrences, but often they are indistinguishable amongst themselves, unless their manner, dress, or language gives them away). The Japanese have never been able to let go on that aspect. Not that it is easy anywhere, but especially here, I think that is why so few non-Asians here take up citizenship (not that Japan's lack of a real immigration policy helps either), they realize that it is almost impossible to be fully accepted as an equal here.

ricecake
Oct 1, 2006, 19:38
Most Caucasians who end up in Japan are part of the group of Western society that's least racist,and most tolerate of other races.This is WHY they can't understand,if they are so open-minded,why anyone shouldn't be open-minded unto them.This is because previously as member of the majority in their home countries,they never experienced racism on the degree that they do in Japan.

gaijinalways
Oct 1, 2006, 20:09
ricecake posted
Historically,it has always been Caucasians inflicted " racism " onto other races.

I suppose we can overlook the African slave traders and the Japanese invasions during WWII then (though of course you could argue that the Jpanese in invading parts of Asia weren't being racist, just biased aganist ethnic or national backgrounds that were non-Japanese). You seem to have forgotten a lot of history, yes?

ricecake
Oct 1, 2006, 20:14
I should've worded it .... historically in the US.

Hmmmm ... I think I flipped on the last sentence,just disregard it.:relief:

Yes,I am well aware Arabs were slave traders.As for Japanese,there are 10-20 old posts of mine specifically acknowleged their attitudes toward other Asian folks.

gaijinalways
Oct 1, 2006, 20:48
Historically that has been true in most places. Either being in the majority and/or possessing more power (through numbers or just better military technology) has led many to abuse the minorties in places. The difference in Japan of course, is that we are talking about now and of course a non-violent type (usually) of discrimination.

alt
Oct 1, 2006, 21:34
I should've worded it .... historically in the US.
Hmmmm ... I think I flipped on the last sentence,just disregard it.:relief:
Yes,I am well aware Arabs were slave traders.As for Japanese,there are 10-20 old posts of mine specifically acknowleged their attitudes toward other Asian folks.
As I am sure you know racism however is not an "American" thing.

Japan doesn't have a corner on racism. In fact I would be willing to bet that racism in Japan is not as "big" a problem as nearly every country in Europe, as a comparison of course.

In my opinion racism in Europe is much more of "problem" than Japan.

Maciamo
Oct 1, 2006, 22:23
Most Caucasians who end up in Japan are part of the group of Western society that's least racist,and most tolerate of other races.This is WHY they can't understand,if they are so open-minded,why anyone shouldn't be open-minded unto them.

I think that this is a very good point. Most of the Westerners who decide voluntarily to come and live in Japan belong to one of the least "racist" or intolerant section of Western society. Their open-mindedness and tolerance is basically what brings them to Japan: to learn about another very different culture. You don't go and live in a ethnically different country if you are racist.


Historically,it has always been Caucasians inflicted " racism " onto other races.

Gaijinalways has already replied to this, but I also wanted to add the examples of numerous genocides (many unknown to historians) by Africans against other African ethnic groups. One of the most famous recently was in Rwanda and Burundi. Darfur (now !) is an example of violent racism turning to genocide committed by the Arabs against Black Africans. China has also attempted the genocide or ethnic replacement over most of the non-Han territory, the most famous of which is Tibet.

Maciamo
Oct 1, 2006, 22:51
It seems like you are saying it is ok to discriminate against people of lower class and not against others. I know you don't mean that, and that you say it is understandable (from a historical/social point of view) why people would discriminate against people of lower classes, right?

Yes. Discrimination is nothing more than rejecting certain category of people which are not considered "good enough" to socialise with, work with, or even do business with (e.g. rejecting potential customers because we fear they might cause more trouble than profit). Usually lower-class peolpe, in any society, are those that do not have enough manners, education or good behaviour to be accepted by the others. It used to be ok when the lower classes made up most of the population (until the mid-20th century in the West, and until now in developing countries). It was a richer minority who didn't want to associate with the "poor, dirty and ill-mannered" majority.

Now that such lower class people have become a minority, the term "discrimination" has become more significant for them. The problem in Europe nowadays is that economic migrants, especially from Africa, are even lower in the social scale than the native lower class. The gap being so big, many natives don't want to interact or socialise with such immigrants because they look so dirty, benighted, or even scary because of their less refined manners and lack of respect for many social conventions (e.g. they throw more rubbish in the street, urinate in public, commit acts of vandalism, talk too loud, spit, behave aggressively...). So yes, it is normal, and even natural, for people of higher classes not to want to associate with such people, regardless of their ethnicity. So even "natives" can belong to the discriminated group.

Japan's case is a bit different from Europe. The Japanese being so "narrow-minded" in their social expectations and respect of conventions (so much that many Japanese who can't take it anymore leave Japan to live in more liberal Western countries), it is not surprising that their level of tolerance and acceptation toward non-Japanese is so low. It is not necessarily racist because even Japanese born or educated abroad, as well as some Japan-born ones, face such discrimination. People who look non-Japanese are easier targets, because even if they try to behave like "good Japanese", they are rarely given the chance to be accepted as such, just because of their different appearance. This, however, is racism or xenophobia.

In Europe, I am personally ready to accept immigrants that do effortts to adapt to their host society, behave well, learn the language and culture, etc. I never have negative feelings against well-educated and well-mannered people from any ethnic origin. I have interacted and socialise positively many times with middle or upper-middle class Moroccans. But I just can't accept the "underclass" I often see in the streets of Brussels, because they are very ill-mannered, troublesome and scary (enough to make why wife cry for being around them). So discrimination in this case is not only understandable, it is a natural reaction to protect oneself.

In Japan, however, I cannot see how some well-educated and well-behaved upper-middle-class Westerners who come to Japan to learn more about the country they like, and even get to know more about the local culture than some natives, should be seen as any "threat" to the locals. Discrimination against them is not based on a major difference of social level, so only actual xenophobia is the cause, which I cannot accept.

Maciamo
Oct 1, 2006, 23:07
In my opinion racism in Europe is much more of "problem" than Japan.
In the light of my last post above, I think that there is not so much real racism in Europe, but a lot of discrimination (both ways) or social tension caused by :

1) the sheer difference of "class" between the natives and some economic immigrants (rarely the Eastern Europeans).

2) the lack of integration of Muslim immigrants for religious reasons.

However we can see that European government are doing their best to help these immigrants to integrate. For example, there are now compulsory "integration courses" in several countries (Belgium, Netherlands...). The local election will take place next Sunday in Belgium, and I noticed that about 1/3 of the Socialist Party ("PS", the biggest French-speaking party in the country) canditates in Brussels are of North African or Black African descent. This is proportion is much higher than the number of naturalised African immigrants in Brussels (onlt 5% of the Moroccan immigrants have adopted the Belgian nationality). So we can say that this party was so concerned about not giving good opportunities to those economic migrants that it has overdone it and given them an exceedingly important representation. Just have a look at the elected representative of the PS for the state of Brussels (http://www.ps.be/index.cfm?Content_ID=629043&R_ID=1005). Out of 24 elected politicians, 12 are of Arabic/Moroccan descent, 1 of Black African descent, and only 11 of European (not even all Belgian) descent ! As the PS is the ruling party, we can say that Brussels, the capital of the EU, is ruled at 55% by African immigrants !

This kind of excess of kindness toward immigrants is very usual in Belgium. For instance, they are given the same social security and unemployment benefits even if they have not been naturalised. Islamic communities now even received state subsidies equal to those of the Catholic Church in Belgium ! Yet Muslims only make up less than 5% of the population, and almost all Christians in the country are Catholics. So if their is discrimination from the government, it is against the native and non-Muslim Belgians.

ricecake
Oct 1, 2006, 23:23
My observation here in the USA,only those Japanese women married to Americans can forge " close friendship " with Chinese and Caucasians.I've always been approached by Japanese females ( ones have been in America for an extend of time ) sought casual chat,haven't had any similiar encounters from Japanese FOB with in-group mentality as if they're programmed to keep a distance from NON-Japanese.

My Taiwanese neighbor has a Japanese female friend for nearly 30 years,they both met at a college in Monterey County nearby.

IheartNihon
Oct 2, 2006, 09:20
I've been reading for a while and trying to understand where everyone is coming from and I just had to comment on one thing.

they look so dirty, benighted, or even scary because of their less refined manners and lack of respect for many social conventions (e.g. they throw more rubbish in the street, urinate in public, commit acts of vandalism, talk too loud, spit, behave aggressively...).
Are you refering to ALL lower class citizens especially African ones?
Not everyone who comes from a "lower class" fits into those categories.
I think I'd be more offended by that than someone calling me a gaijin.:(
I was really feeling bad that everyone was against you and was trying to figure out why you felt the way you did. I figured maybe you felt that way because you felt you needed to fit in moreso because your wife was Japanese and everytime someone called you a gaijin you were reminded that you were different.:( :(

ricecake
Oct 2, 2006, 10:53
Regardless,Maciamo was bombarded with " unwarranted " direct mudslings from several forumers for months and I was appalled by the scene at that time.Individuals all have different life experiences,we shouldn't discount there is one or two person(s) actually stinged by ugly human behaviours he or she never anticipated.I've encountered a few ******* Japanese male forumers in cyberspace,I could feel " evilness " in their posts.

I've had a few disagreements with him either indirectly or directly in diplomatic manner.

Maciamo
Oct 2, 2006, 17:01
I've been reading for a while and trying to understand where everyone is coming from and I just had to comment on one thing.
Are you refering to ALL lower class citizens especially African ones?
Not everyone who comes from a "lower class" fits into those categories.
I think I'd be more offended by that than someone calling me a gaijin.

I think you should read my threads about social classes to understand what I mean by that :

What is your image of each social class ? (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24191)

Do you care about social classes ? (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15637)

I don't know where you are from, but for many Europeans including myself social class is more about behaviour, manners, education and family background than money. So if someone is illiterate or has no social manners (as described above), they are automatically lower-class, even if they are billionaires in euro/dollar.

pipokun
Oct 2, 2006, 22:34
Eupedia Forum

alt
Oct 3, 2006, 07:27
Regardless,Maciamo was bombarded with " unwarranted " direct mudslings from several forumers for months and I was appalled by the scene at that time.Individuals all have different life experiences,we shouldn't discount there is one or two person(s) actually stinged by ugly human behaviours he or she never anticipated.I've encountered a few ******* Japanese male forumers in cyberspace,I could feel " evilness " in their posts.
I've had a few disagreements with him either indirectly or directly in diplomatic manner.
Whether or not that is true, "unwarranted" is one persons opinion and I do see an awful lot of "banned" people on this site in comparison to other forums like this which tells me one thing disagreeing with an administrator is not tolerated here. So be it. If that's the way it is then thats the way it is.

Imo Maciamo's comments and opinions on the differences between racism and discrimination are similar to attempting to split an atom. Sure there are distinct differences semantically yet practically they go hand in hand.
Japan doesnt have a Nazi party glorifying Hilter, it doesnt have French immigrant workers being burned out of their apartments, nor does it have Algerian workers being racially discriminated against in Germany either.
Imo the examples that he gave, be they true or otherwise are the exception and not the rule for life in Japan.

If the comments or experiences are true then it just sounds like he was a magnet for discriminatory actions, which may mean something else as well, I don't know.

Racism and discrimination go hand in hand in many cases, at least from what I have read so far about Maciamo's experiences here so far on this thread at least the racism or disrimination was color-blind. Which to me lends credence to it being a isolated case.

I feel sorry for both him and the people that he felt were discriminatory towards/against him, racially or otherwise, in the case of the latter I would be willing to bet it was out of ignorance more so than any outward sense of "racial superiority".

ricecake
Oct 3, 2006, 07:44
Whether or not that is true," unwarranted " is one persons opinion.

I do see an awful lot of "banned" people on this site in comparison to other forums like this which tells me one thing disagreeing with an administrator is not tolerated here.





I stand by my word on the nasty scene I eyewitnessed in those past months,involved individuals attacked Maciamo like a pack of wolves as if they meant to ripped him in bits and pieces because he rattled their extreme pro-Japan appetite.

I've seen some forums NOT effectively ban overt racist troll-like forumers propagating hate-messages,JT's crisscross forum is one ugly place.I regular several Asian-forums ban forumers right and left for not tow the line of the site's administrators or moderators there.

gaijinalways
Oct 3, 2006, 17:09
I have witnessed a lot worse things than you see here at 'Young Dude's guide to Japan' . On that forum, I'm not sure who is worse, the resident right winger, or some of his 'friends' who try to defend his attitude of coming down hard on any criticism of Japan. I don't have anything aganist people having a different opinion, it's people who think they come across as being tough by being insulting that annoy me or just sling out examples that it must not be that bad an experience living here (when they never have even experienced living here).


I feel sorry for both him and the people that he felt were discriminatory towards/against him, racially or otherwise, in the case of the latter I would be willing to bet it was out of ignorance more so than any outward sense of "racial superiority".

I'm not sure this excuses them very well. As has been explained earlier (in either this thread or one like it), the Japanese have hardly been isolated from foreigner contact (travel, media, etc., so being ignorant at this point would be just odd in my opinion (slow learners, anyone?).

Maciamo
Oct 3, 2006, 18:19
I'm not sure this excuses them very well. As has been explained earlier (in either this thread or one like it), the Japanese have hardly been isolated from foreigner contact (travel, media, etc., so being ignorant at this point would be just odd in my opinion (slow learners, anyone?).

Exactly. Japan has been one of the most avid learner of the Western system, and probably the singlemost eager non-Western country to copy all things culturally Western from fashion to cuisine. What is more, the Japanese are well-known for travelling a lot, and are among the most numerous long-term language students in European language schools (especially in the UK, France and Italy). The Japanese media relates events from all around the world (much more so that the Australian media, as I noticed, having lived in both countries myself).

Yet, I have not experienced half as much "ignorance" from Indian, or even Thai, Malaysian or Indonesian people as I did in Japan. My strong reaction of surprise toward the Japanese was mostly in contrast to my previous experiences in Asia. I have since noticed that the Koreans and Chinese may be quite similar to the Japanese in this regard. I suppose it is less the case in the Philippines because it is a Christian country, with even closer ties to the USA, and a Spanish colonial past. In Thailand it may be due to the extemely high number of European tourists, which give them more opportunity to observe the differences between people from each country. In Malaysia or Singapore, it is surely because these countries are multicultural (Malay, Chinese, Indian) and people are so aware or the differences between each of their own community, and so do not assume that all Westerners are be alike. The same is true for India, to an even greater extent (the country has over 800 languages, numerous ethnic groups and all major religions).

So it could very well be Japan's (or Korea's) apparent cultural, linguistic and ethnic homogeneity, and their self-centered education system that are responsible for this "ignorance". But even a lot of those who have travelled or lived abroad keep this naive ignorance, so it runs deeper than that. I think that Japanese culture promotes a lack of critical sense, so people may see and hear things, but their brain doesn't process the information. It has to be pre-processed for them.

Dutch Baka
Oct 3, 2006, 18:31
I think certain forms of racism will always exist. I just think that sometimes people shouldn't care TOO MUCH about about it.

Maciamo
Oct 3, 2006, 19:14
I think certain forms of racism will always exist. I just think that sometimes people shouldn't care TOO MUCH about about it.

This thread is not about racism itself. It is about the term "gaiijn", and the ignorance that goes with it. Racism itself is not what bothered me in Japan, it is ignorance, xenophobia and their daily expression.

ricecake
Oct 3, 2006, 23:56
Japan has been one of the most avid learner of the Western system, and probably the singlemost eager non-Western country to copy all things culturally Western.

What is more, the Japanese are well-known for travelling a lot,the Japanese media relates events from all around the world.




Japan is the best disciple of Western modern culture more so than one and only truly " Westernized " Asian-Pacific nation named Phillipinnes.The " Japanese ONLY " sign is a copycat of long-gone US segregated era,Japanese are good at throwing indecent crap back at Westerners.One scene in 1990's Hollywood film " Black Rain ",this one middle-aged Japanese actor bluntly said to Michael Douglas " You Americans stuffed American values down our throats ! ".

Decipher Japanese psyche becomes a pastime for me,Japan is one Asian nation traps between 2 worlds since Meiji Era.:D

I've seen some Japanese variety shows with overhead ceiling string of worldwide flags with Japan alongside some European nations plus America NO NON-Western nations.Only in past few years,they would display PRC's flag accasionally.

ricecake
Oct 4, 2006, 12:45
Re-read last 10 words in the paragraph.Is English,a native tongue of Japanese ?

Mikawa Ossan
Oct 4, 2006, 13:16
I used to argue much like alt that people shouldn't get so upset about these injustices such as the use of the term "gaijin". But now, I say, let them get upset. I don't really care anymore. The only person they are 'hurting' by getting upset is themselves.

gaijinalways
Oct 4, 2006, 13:30
I would say it's neither of these as being sensitive, something sometimes the Japanese pride themselves on, is a cultural attribute and has varying degrees. Sometimes the Japanese are very sensitive about some things, avoiding hurting people's feelings by lieing about something, about attributing blame, etc., but other times it's like using a hammer when Japanese fail to recognize that using some labels does hurt people.

The main difference again seems to be this inside/outside concept, in which most Japanese don't allow foreigners to truly penetrate into their group. Hence, why I state again, sometimes I think most of Japan has more of a 'small villiage' mentality (don't trust outsiders) than the 'international minded' mentality they claim to be seeking. Hence, I often think teaching English here is sometimes a lesson in futility, because quite a few Japanese still use English for entertainment rather than as a tool to unlocking the world outside of Japan (of course business men do use it, but it sometimes is still on a very limited basis, unless (gasp) their company merges or is acquired by a foreign entity.

ricecake
Oct 4, 2006, 13:41
The main difference again seems to be this inside/outside concept, in which most Japanese don't allow foreigners to truly penetrate into their group. Hence, why I state again, sometimes I think most of Japan has more of a 'small villiage' mentality (don't trust outsiders).





Both Chinese and Koreans have known about this deeply-rooted Japanese cultural trait ( it's their strength ) for thousand years,finally revealed to Westerners ( BIG surprise ) ! :cracker:


P/S : This is my last post in this thread,I've had enough fun.:relief:

gaijinalways
Oct 4, 2006, 14:16
They just don't get it and probably never will. It is easier to beat my head against a wall than get them to understand and admit their misconceptions.

Which are? That Japanese don't consider other ethnic groups' feelings?

And no, the Japanese do have expressions they use when they don't know a man's or women's name, so there would be no excuse to use gaijin-san or any of its other forms. You thought they just call other Japanese whose names they don't know 'Japanese (looking) person'? Nihonjin-san?

Note; Talking about uses of -san is for another thread.

leonmarino
Oct 4, 2006, 15:26
But now, I say, let them get upset. I don't really care anymore. The only person they are 'hurting' by getting upset is themselves.I totally agree. One can either get upset and ***** about it, or one can.. Well, get on with with their lives basically.

Crazy Russian
Oct 4, 2006, 20:30
Unlike some countries, in Russia there isnft a racial hysteria. On TV, the black can be called ethe blackf; the emigrants from Caucasia can be called ethe faces of Caucasian nationalityf. In the peoplefs consciousness, ethe blackf and ethe faces of Caucasian nationalityf donft have an offensive undertone. The black call themselves ethe blackf. As to ethe faces of Caucasian nationalityf, this expression has a kind and ironical (in the finest sense of the word) implication.

Racists are those who become irritated because of being called, for example, ethe blackf, at the same time being aware that in the peoplefs consciousness of the country they live an expression ethe blackf doesnft have an offensive undertone and that speakers utter ethe blackf without the least hidden motive.

Some feminists also become irritated when they are called ewomenf, because in their consciousness a word ewomanf is associated with something mediocre and second-rate. They also want men to regard women as ehuman beingsf, not as ewomenf. Though men utter ea womanf without the least hidden motive.

By the way, in Russia many Jews become irritated because of being called eJewsf, in spite of there being no offensive undertone in the peoplefs consciousness related to a word eJewf. Isnft it idiocy?

As to Japan, I donft know whether a word egaijinf has an offensive undertone in the peoplefs consciousness or not. If it hasnft, you can call me eRussianf, ewhite manf or egaidjinf. I donft care. Ifm not a racist.

There is a difference between

A. Today two Afro-Americans have blown up five cars in N. district.

and

B. Today two n*ggers have blown up five cars in N. district.

Isnft it?

Crazy Russian
Oct 7, 2006, 00:15
Yep, one more thing...

I am disgusted by foreigners who come to Japan (or any other country) and dare say, eDonft call me thus and thusf, eDonft do this and thatf, eDonft point out what I must dof, etc. Dear foreigners (or gaijins), you are just guests in Japan. You have no right to demand anything. If you donft like Japan, if you donft want to respect the Japanese culture and traditions, please, get the <censored> out of Japan.

It is something like a manfs knocking at someone else's door and saying, eHi! Ifm going to become a member of your family. Call me c First of all, I would like to assign roles. You will do this. I shall do thatf, etc.

Foreigners can be held in respect if they are respectful to the country, people, culture they want to be a part of.




Sometimes it is much easier to love someone or something far apart.

Perhaps, the first rule of love is keeping some kind of a distance. ;-)

gaijinalways
Oct 7, 2006, 01:19
No it is not the same as the people who are complaining aout this;
work here
pay taxes here
may have a Japanese spouse
want the same respect we grant to Japanese people (Hmm, maybe I will just start runnign around calling people 'gaijin-dame-san' and see if that works).
As I have tried to explain to some others in this forum, doesn't sound like a 'guest' to me (try a hotel instead). A non-citizen resident, maybe, but that doesn't mean those people have no rights.

Steve Ototo
Oct 7, 2006, 22:54
Do not forget that all human people have the habit of excluding people who look different from them. This has been a primitive method of gathering tribes together. Now that we are civilized, many thousands of years after tribalism, we still struggle to understand our tendencies.

The US claims to be all-inclusive, but just seventy years ago, it was illegal for people with "Japanese blood" to own farms and land! White people could own the land, and rent it to Japanese. Even if your family had been in America for many generations, you could not own the land because of your "blood."

It is only recently that the United States has struggled to become free for all people.

In Japan of 100 years ago, gaijin made no sense. They had no koseki, and no real names - just katakana noises - and no real language, just grunting (English). How were Japanese people to understand them? Were they to be considered REAL PEOPLE? So, they were gaijin.

As Japan struggles with post-tribal thinking, just like the rest of the world, there is still the habit of describing people as Us or Them. I do not see it as a defect in Japanese character - just a common human struggle.

Maciamo
Oct 8, 2006, 00:56
Do not forget that all human people have the habit of excluding people who look different from them. This has been a primitive method of gathering tribes together. Now that we are civilized, many thousands of years after tribalism, we still struggle to understand our tendencies.
This is my point. Tribalism based on looks is quite primitive and, although natural to our ancestors, shouldn't be accepted in today's world.

It is only recently that the United States has struggled to become free for all people.
This is why we Europeans see the US as late by a few decades socially speaking. Even slavery (an relatively old issue) was made illegal almost 100 years earlier in Britain or France than in the US.


In Japan of 100 years ago, gaijin made no sense. They had no koseki, and no real names - just katakana noises - and no real language, just grunting (English). How were Japanese people to understand them? Were they to be considered REAL PEOPLE? So, they were gaijin.
So the Japanese entered the antique era of intercultural relations in the 20th century. Their way of calling all foreigners "gaijin" remind me of the Ancient Greek way of calling all non-Greek speakers "barbarians" (which meant something like "gaijin" at the time, and only acquired a strongly negative connotation later).

As Japan struggles with post-tribal thinking, just like the rest of the world, there is still the habit of describing people as Us or Them. I do not see it as a defect in Japanese character - just a common human struggle.
Actually when we look back at history it is not so surprising that the Japanese are a few thousands years backyard in the state of social development. The earliest Japanese civilisation (i.e. settled, agricultural society) only dates from the age of the Roman Empire. All of Europe had agricultural societies from 5000 BCE, i.e. 5000 years before Japan. In South-Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Greece...), it predates Japan by 7000 or 8000 years. Indeed, Japan was still in the height of the medieval era in the mid-19th century, so about 500 to 800 years late compared to Europe. It had caught up so much (5000 to 500 years) thanks to the heavy influence of China, which developed much earlier. Japan is only "developed" today because copied the West in the late 19th century, then was forced to adopt an Americanised system after WWII. But mentalities do not change nearly as quickly as systems and technologies. This is why the Japanese socio-cultural mindset still carries strong elements of ancient or medieval way of thinking by Western standards.

I am not saying this to disparage Japan; I am trying to analyse history as rationally and objectively as possible. It may sound offensive, but to me it is just cold facts which political correctness will not change. History is history, whether it is nice or ugly, whether we like it or not.

Maciamo
Oct 8, 2006, 01:13
Yep, one more thing...
I am disgusted by foreigners who come to Japan (or any other country) and dare say, eDonft call me thus and thusf, eDonft do this and thatf, eDonft point out what I must dof, etc. Dear foreigners (or gaijins), you are just guests in Japan. You have no right to demand anything. If you donft like Japan, if you donft want to respect the Japanese culture and traditions, please, get the <censored> out of Japan.


I seriously hope you never come to the EU, If you do I wish people look down on you and call you communist scum because you come from Russia, regardless of what you believe and why you come to the EU. The Japanese do not differentiate tourists, business people, immigrants, refugees, legal or illegal residents, permanent residents, integrated or non integrated foreigners, people who like Japan and people who don't, people who speak Japanese and people who don't. They see your face, you are a "gaijin" and that's it. You can learn the language and culture, work and pay taxes, never cause the slighest problem, happily hand over your ID card when the police request it, but you will be and always remain a gaijin.

Conclusion, do not even try to integrate in a society like Japan, it's a waste of time, except if you look Japanese (e.g. Koreans or some Chinese). If you haven't lived in Japan, please refrain from telling other non-Japanese who have lived in Japan what they should think; I am disgusted by foreigners who talk about Japan (or any other country) and dare tell people living there "If you donft like Japan, if you donft want to respect the Japanese culture and traditions, please, get the <censored> out of Japan". Naturally if you come from a country where people used not to be able to choose their own form of government or criticise anything, I understand where you are coming from. But Japan isn't Russia, it was supposedly a free and democratic country since 1946.

gaijinalways
Oct 8, 2006, 01:56
Maciamo,

Your explanation makes a lot of sense, though I would think if Japan readily copied the technology aspect, why wouldn't they copy other aspects beyond mere surface details (such as clothing, music, some sports)? But I suppose customs change slowly, especially in Japan (where there seems to be resistance to any real change), but that's why it seems odd they could pick up some aspects so quickly.

So I guess I should come back to Japan in 500 years or so?

DoctorP
Oct 8, 2006, 10:06
I seriously hope you never come to the EU, If you do I wish people look down on you and call you communist scum because you come from Russia, regardless of what you believe and why you come to the EU.


You guys please keep it clean and do not provoke one another. It could result in an infraction!

taehyun
Oct 8, 2006, 10:15
Do not forget that all human people have the habit of excluding people who look different from them. This has been a primitive method of gathering tribes together. Now that we are civilized, many thousands of years after tribalism, we still struggle to understand our tendencies.
My research also has something to do with this problem, and I've read many books on the Japanese view on the "outside", and what is "outside" and "them", opposed to "inside " and "we". In most of the books, including that one I started to read yesterday, the authors reffer to the division of the visual world on inside and outside as a basic human concept.It has developed the way Steve describes above, but they view it as typical feature of the human society even now, and give some examples how this idea has evolved in the modern world. An example I read yesterday was about bulling, and noone will deny that bulling exists in every part of this world.It has nothing to do with the problem to what extent a society has developed.

Steve Ototo
Oct 8, 2006, 15:21
This is my point. Tribalism based on looks is quite primitive and, although natural to our ancestors, shouldn't be accepted in today's world.
This is why we Europeans see the US as late by a few decades socially speaking. Even slavery (an relatively old issue) was made illegal almost 100 years earlier in Britain or France than in the US.
So the Japanese entered the antique era of intercultural relations in the 20th century. Their way of calling all foreigners "gaijin" remind me of the Ancient Greek way of calling all non-Greek speakers "barbarians" (which meant something like "gaijin" at the time, and only acquired a strongly negative connotation later).
...
I am not saying this to disparage Japan; I am trying to analyse history as rationally and objectively as possible. It may sound offensive, but to me it is just cold facts which political correctness will not change. History is history, whether it is nice or ugly, whether we like it or not.
Thank you so very much for your post, Maciamo! :-)

About 100,000 years ago, a group of Homo sapiens came out of Africa, and populated the rest of the world. I call them the EBA (Go) people - Everyone But Africans. That is the group that made the Swedes, Japanese, Filipinos, French, American Indians - Go.
I believe that the Go had the tendency to exclude others who did not look the same - that is why there is so much variety in the Go branch of Homo sapiens. (The Africans may have the same tendency, but they stayed on the mother continent.)
Therefore, the children of the Eba People have a tendency towards xenophobia. It made them associate into tribes or clans that would war against each other for small percieved differences.
It has only been 100,000 years since we were all from the same little branch that left Africa. This is just an eye-blink in evolutionary history. And yet, so quickly, we have developed our instincts to a point where we do not recognize other Go as even human!
I live in New Mexico. There are Native North Americans here in many tribes. People worry whether it is politically correct to call them "Native Americans" or "Indians." Ol, Ol, ѓ, ςȊOl?
The answer is, they do not care if you say "Native American" or "Indian." They care very much about what you have to say to them. If you treat them like stupid dirty savages, they don't care what you call them. If you treat them like honored friends, they don't care what you call them.
I work with a friend who is Navajo. They call themselves "Din&#233;" which means "The People," or "Human Beings." Everyone else is gaijin - even other Indians. My friends who are Navajo are fascinated with Japan, as the Din&#233; follow a strict ː system from mother's descent. You are born to mother's family, but from father's mother's family, and in each generation you have a major lineage from mother, and a minor lineage from father. You are not allowed to marry into the same "clan," or lineage, as mother's descent, as this is considered incest - even to ten generations!
We are all from a tribal clan, that of the EBA people, and we are struggling to learn how not to be so tribal. All of us.

gaijinalways
Oct 8, 2006, 18:53
But wouldn't you say that this xenophobic tendancy is more pronounced in Japan (and some other countries I can think that are not as developed in the economic and technological sense in Asia)? In other words, we are contrasting this behaviour across countries, yet a lot of people seem to find it acceptable behaviour if it is not violent.

Let's face it, in that sense, Japan is a safer country. Generally your chances of being attacked are pretty low here (though that is sadly changing), but of being 'mistreated' because you are not Japanese is very common for some of the posters (the others maybe are just lucky or don't notice it).

pipokun
Oct 8, 2006, 19:18
This is another aspect of what some of you call us-them free society today.

Maciamo
Oct 9, 2006, 03:00
Steve Ototo,

You are talking about prehistoric men, early homo sapiens, about 90000 years before the rise of agriculture and the first civilisations. What differentiate humans nowadays is their level of civilisation, their local culture, language, code of conduct, morals, laws, social conventions, etc. This has only really started to evolved since men live into organised states, with cities, specific jobs, social classes, laws, etc. My point is that the Japanese still behave like ancient Europeans because they have only settled in such organised agricultural societies for about 2000 years, as opposed to 7000 to 9000 years for Europeans (and all Westerners descendent from Europeans).

Crazy Russian
Oct 9, 2006, 21:08
Originally Posted by Maciamo:

ecommunist scumf

Wow! I like it! :cool: :cool: :cool: But I prefer eKommunistisch russisch Schweinf. (The Nazis called us so.) Now I know what you think of us and the Chinese. ;-)

I really donft care how you will call me. If I it annoys me whilst being in the EU, I shall go back to the best country in the world – to Russia.




Originally Posted by Maciamo:

eNaturally if you come from a country where people used not to be able to choose their own form of government or criticise anything, I understand where you are coming from. But Japan isn't Russia; it was supposedly a free and democratic country since 1946.f

Ha! :D What do you know about the Russians? I respect people who search, want something and try to achieve something. And it doesnft matter whether they achieve what they want or not. Europe is a big refuse pit without an aim and wishes. It is doomed to perishing. And it will one day.

Napoleon almost created unified Europe. He wanted Europe to be the ruler of the world. I really regret his having failed. Now Europe is a big nothing. It is living the rest of its days. In Europe, I respect only France, Germany and Italy. They are pleasant exceptions to the rule. I hope that Russia will never become a member of the EU.

As to being unable to criticise anything, you, probably, know history very bad. You, probably, donft know that those who criticised were immediately executed or died in Gulags afterwards. Stalin, for example, killed 40 million Russians.

And what is a democracy? Nowadays, democracies are slaves to the USA. Those who are afraid to contradict the USA are called democracies. Those who contradict the USA and want to be free and independent are not called democracies. (Though there are several exceptions.) Your country has been a slave to the USA for a looooong time.

By the way, Japan is not a slave to the USA. It is forced to be the USf ally.

By the way, thank you for being honest. I appreciate it!

P.S. Have you read A. Solzhenitsyn?

Steve Ototo
Oct 9, 2006, 22:06
My point is that the Japanese still behave like ancient Europeans because they have only settled in such organised agricultural societies for about 2000 years, as opposed to 7000 to 9000 years for Europeans (and all Westerners descendent from Europeans).
Thank you for the kind reply. I find that many people, even the Americans, tend towards tribalism. I think that it is an ingrained social habit in many communities, more of a common human habit, than one from current social structures.
Americans can be just as "tribal" as anyone else. There are interstate rivalries between Texas and Oklahoma that are sometimes taken very seriously - and these states were only settled 200 years ago!
Your thoughts are always appreciated.

gaijinalways
Oct 14, 2006, 22:40
I agree with Maciamo, that Japan acts like a very small village (we're talking most of the country. It borders on paranoia sometimes, when you hear about the dangerous outside of Japan. This and my parents don't lock their doors, even when they go out!

Of course Steve O., you get some of this behaviour everywhere. In a rural part of Central Maine in the US, a resident who had lived in a town for over 20 years was still called "a New Yorker", even though he had been in that town longer than some of the resident kids who had gone to school out of state!

Mrjones
Oct 16, 2006, 16:05
I think gai-jin is racistic slur, if there is no polite attachment in the end. There is also another word: gaikogu-jin, which does not need polite attachment, it is polite version of same word already.

kooo
Oct 18, 2006, 09:35
I've only been called a gaijin by children, and they all seemed to have been more surprised by seeing me like, "wow, you're a foreigner!" and not really leaning towards having any negative or positive opinion.

I voted "You are not an ethnic Japanese" which seems most correct for me personally. I'm sure a lot of people have been called "gaijin" in a rude way, unfortunatley.

*chelly~panda*
Dec 2, 2006, 06:19
to me it really just depends how its used. like saying stupid forigner is rude but it can be used like um kooo used it or it can be used to state the obveous. your a forigner. im not sure why people take so much offence to it. a lot of people in the US say the same thing to mexicans ect. and usally its not a nice thing. i wouldent take it offencivly because its true you are a forigner. deal with it. btw {im sorry but i cant spell...} soem people just bleve that people should stay in there own countrys wich is a little ignorant really but it just the way the world works. (why are there so many fourms about this genjin thing.)

i told you i cant spell. *gaijin* sorry :relief: ill make a note to learn how to spell romanji words :note:

MoBay
Dec 2, 2006, 12:23
Can't believe the big fuss over the word gaijin. At least they are not pursuing the American way of burning crosses on your front lawn for god sake. Why is it that some people ***** so much about so little? All you white fokes get a grip!
"Nobody knows the trouble I have seen"

Goldiegirl
Dec 3, 2006, 13:54
An American English professor living and working in Japan with his Japanese wife told me to just think of the word gaijin as "permanent guest". It was his way of just dealing with it. I was repeatedly called gaikogu-jin by everyone who was with me while they were talking amongst themselves. I still think any word to describe a person can be negative; it just depends on the context of how it is being used. That said, I can understand some of the frustration foreigners feel that really live there, that they are never truly accepted. The professor told me that he takes advantage of that because if he makes a mistake he can always plead that he is an ignorant gaijin that doesn't know any better. I am not saying that is the ideal way of handling things, it was just his opinion and I found it interesting and I might say a little funny! :)

nhk9
Dec 17, 2006, 18:35
You are never going to be a Japanese if you were not born Japanese. Just have a look at Lafcadio Hearn's story and you shall know. The Japanese are fascinated with being in omote and ura groups, so not only would it be difficult for them to accept foreigners as a part of them, but many times they wouldn't be able to accept fellow Japanese who they deem to be not qualified to be in their group. The term gaijin tell me that I am a foreigner of the country. It's not like I want to be a Japanese any time soon, so I have no problems really with this word. Besides there are many more words that serve the same purpose of denigrating others but much stronger in tone. As long as those words are not used, I am ok with the word Gaijin being used.

English also has terms like "alien", which can somewhat be translated as Gaijin. The difference is that you don't hear people calling others aliens in the US (probably except Neo nazis), but you hear the word gaijin quite frequently.