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Maciamo
Oct 22, 2006, 21:52
This is not the first thread on the subject (in fact, most thread in the "culture Shock" section are related), but I want to make a poll about it.

Here are a few backgrounders if you are new on the forum :

Common Japanese misconceptions regarding foreigners and foreign countries (http://www.wa-pedia.com/gaijin/misconceptions_prejudices.shtml)

Japanese attitude to health and environmental issues (http://www.wa-pedia.com/politics/japan_health_environment_policy.shtml)

Dogs and Demons : the fall of modern Japan (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=823)

Quality of life in Japan compared to other developed countries (http://www.wa-pedia.com/statistics/japan_world_ranking.shtml)

Foreign criminality in Japan (http://www.wa-pedia.com/gaijin/foreign_crime_in_japan.shtml)

Discrimination in Japan (http://www.wa-pedia.com/gaijin/discrimination_in_japan.shtml)

Sino-Japanese relations (http://www.wa-pedia.com/politics/sino-japanese-relations.shtml)

nice gaijin
Oct 22, 2006, 23:05
Just an observation, since you selected every item on the poll... is this thread meant to see who shares your complaints about Japan?

As for myself, my only complaint of late would be the schitzophrenic weather. I haven't been here long enough to experience or notice many of the things you have listed, or encounter the attitudes you take issue with.

Bucko
Oct 22, 2006, 23:32
I can't understand this from the 'Common Misconceptions' link:

"but probably 1/3 of those are not native speakers of English, as English-speaking countries are predominantly immigration countries. So only about 30% of all Westerners are in fact native English speakers. The European Union alone has 20 official languages, and dozens more non-officials ones and dialects."

Care to state your source? I'm from one of those "immigration" countries and I'd say it was quite rare to meet someone whose mother-tongue wasn't English. For your information, I've taken the following from wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Australia#Country_of_Birth

76.9% Australian born, 23.1% foreign born.
The most commonly declared foreign countries of birth amongst respondents were:
United Kingdom : 1,036,253 (5.8%)
New Zealand : 355,765 (2.0%)

So all the Australian born people are naturally native English speakers. Plus all the New Zealand and UK people. That amounts to over 82%. So it might be fare to say that around 18% of all foreign-born Australians come from non-English speaking countries. Dare I say countries like America, New Zealand and Canada might be the same.

Bucko
Oct 22, 2006, 23:51
The complete randomness of city design in Japan baffles me. But I guess I'm use to towns having some structure and design to them, like with a proper city centre, and allocated alotments for certain building types. On my way to Kyoto from Osaka the other day I was looking out the window of a train, into the country side, and in the distance I could see a huge office tower, or residential tower or something, basically in the middle of nowhere. It looked awful. However, as a non-Japanese, who am I to judge the way their cities look? What I can judge however, is the destruction and "taming" of all nature. That type of of recklessness affects all humanity. It really makes me sad when I see a river with a big concrete wall on either side.

The whole "all westerners speak English" thing, while completely irritating, is completely understandable. Although outside Japan there are millions of white people who don't speak English, in Japan I reckon that 98% of whites would be able to. My whole time here I've met one westerner who couldn't speak English. She was Italian. I've met quite a few French, a few Indians, and other people from around the world, and they all speak English to some degree. Even Maciamo speaks English, and can write it fluently. So, yeah, in Japan, if you're white, you speak English.

Bucko
Oct 23, 2006, 00:03
About police checks, I've been asked for ID four times, however, coincidently, twice was one day, and twice was on another. Here's a breakdown, judge for yourself if it looked discriminatory:

First time: I was lost in a neighbourhood so approached two police officers asking which way a certain district was. They saw that my bike didn't have a lock and, after helping me with a map, asked for ID and registration details.

Second time (same day as first): Five minutes after the first time I cycle around a bend, and am them pulled over by two police and asked for my details.

Third time: My (white) girlfriend and I were riding into town. We stop at some lights where a policeman happened to be standing. I get asked for ID and registration details because of my bike having no lock. My girlfriend doesn't get asked.

Fourth time (same night as third): I'm riding home, a little bit drunk, maybe going a little bit fast. Two police officers pull me over and ask for ID, then do a full check, asking where I work, how long I've been in Japan etc, writing it all down. They said I was riding my bike recklessly and to take care on my way home. On my way home I see police EVERYWHERE stopping cars and doing checks. It was quite bizzare.

Bucko
Oct 23, 2006, 00:12
Regarding foreign crime, I remember one funny English conversation class that I had where there was a police officer present. Nice guy, had some great stories. One student asked him if he has to deal with a lot of foreign crime, specifically, Chinese crime. The police officer shocked everyone by saying it was like next to nothing.

That guy had some great stories about the seedy side of Osaka, especially around the minami area (Shin Sekai, Tennoji, Nishinari) near where I live. I hope I get to meet him again.

Maciamo
Oct 23, 2006, 02:11
Just an observation, since you selected every item on the poll... is this thread meant to see who shares your complaints about Japan?

Yes, but also to see if other people have other complaints about Japan, which they can express in this thread.

Maciamo
Oct 23, 2006, 02:25
"but probably 1/3 of those are not native speakers of English, as English-speaking countries are predominantly immigration countries. So only about 30% of all Westerners are in fact native English speakers. The European Union alone has 20 official languages, and dozens more non-officials ones and dialects."
Care to state your source? I'm from one of those "immigration" countries and I'd say it was quite rare to meet someone whose mother-tongue wasn't English. For your information, I've taken the following from wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Australia#Country_of_Birth
76.9% Australian born, 23.1% foreign born.
The most commonly declared foreign countries of birth amongst respondents were:
United Kingdom : 1,036,253 (5.8%)
New Zealand : 355,765 (2.0%)
So all the Australian born people are naturally native English speakers. Plus all the New Zealand and UK people. That amounts to over 82%. So it might be fare to say that around 18% of all foreign-born Australians come from non-English speaking countries. Dare I say countries like America, New Zealand and Canada might be the same.
Australia and New Zealand have a combined population of 22 million, i.e. less than Belgium and the Netherlands combined (27 million). All Europe (including Russai) has a population of 710 million, of which only about 55 million are native English speakers (the UK+ Ireland 's population is 64 million, but let us not forget that many Irish, Welsh and Scots speak Gaelic or Scots as their mother tongue + the immigrants). According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_English-speaking_population) and the US government stats, only 215 million out of the 300 million inhabitants of the USA are native English speakers. So even if 100% of Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders were native English speakers (which is far from true), the Western world would count about 320 native English speakers out of 1,060 million people, i.e. about 30% - and it is a generous estimation.

kooo
Oct 23, 2006, 04:59
My only complaint about Japan is the humidity.

Bucko
Oct 23, 2006, 11:01
Australia and New Zealand have a combined population of 22 million, i.e. less than Belgium and the Netherlands combined (27 million). All Europe (including Russai) has a population of 710 million, of which only about 55 million are native English speakers (the UK+ Ireland 's population is 64 million, but let us not forget that many Irish, Welsh and Scots speak Gaelic or Scots as their mother tongue + the immigrants). According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_English-speaking_population) and the US government stats, only 215 million out of the 300 million inhabitants of the USA are native English speakers. So even if 100% of Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders were native English speakers (which is far from true), the Western world would count about 320 native English speakers out of 1,060 million people, i.e. about 30% - and it is a generous estimation.

I think you misunderstood me. This is the part I had a problem with - "400 million live in English-speaking countries - but probably 1/3 of those are not native speakers of English, as English-speaking countries are predominantly".

So you're saying that 33.33% of people living in America, New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, and Canada are not native English speakers? I've already proved that perhaps only 18% of Australians are non-native English speakers (almost half your figure).

Dutch Baka
Oct 23, 2006, 16:09
pff I am getting annoyed by a lot of foreigners who keep complaining about certain things...

I disagree with certain things here on the poll, because how many people in here had a police check because they were a foreigner? plus the discrimination thing ( discrimination happens everywhere in the world, not only in Japan... I don't think that there is THAT much discr. in Japan .... or maybe I just care less than a lot of others)

But okay, one of the things that I don't like is the WAY TO SEXUAL commercial on tv ( what is not good for kids, and for the female in the Japan)

nice gaijin
Oct 23, 2006, 18:18
Maybe I'm not staying up late enough, but television has been extremely tame in comparison to what I'm used to watching back home. Unless someone can recommend a good station to tune in to...

As for discrimination, I was biking with a friend a few weeks ago and he was coasting with his feet up off the pedals while I swerved around trying to take a photo behind my back. Just then, a cop pulled us over, and completely ignored me while grilling my friend (who is asian and is commonly mistaken for Japanese) about his bike registration and asking to see his ID, before warning us about riding in such an unsafe manner (referring to my friend). Other than that, the omawari-san have been nothing but helpful to me.

Iron Chef
Oct 23, 2006, 19:14
I voted for "Ignorance about the rest of the world (cultures, geography, history...)" because it's amazing to me to hear what some of my students say when I ask them about such things (and i'm not talking about an isolated few or just the younger generation).

Maciamo
Oct 23, 2006, 19:22
I think you misunderstood me. This is the part I had a problem with - "400 million live in English-speaking countries - but probably 1/3 of those are not native speakers of English, as English-speaking countries are predominantly".
So you're saying that 33.33% of people living in America, New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, and Canada are not native English speakers? I've already proved that perhaps only 18% of Australians are non-native English speakers (almost half your figure).

Yes, but the USA alone, by far the most populous English-speaking country, has 85 million non-native English speakers (29% of the population). In Canada (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_in_Canada), only 17 of the 30 million inhabitants have English as their first language, so 43% are non-native English speakers.

About 10% of people in the UK are non-native speakers of English, which is probably the lowest proportion of non-native of any English-speaking country.

If we add South Africa or Singapore, which are predominantly English-speaking countries (main language of government and education), the proportion of native speakers is actually quite small (maybe less than 10% of native English speakers). So it all depends what we include in "English-speaking countries".

For the USA, Canada, the UK, New Zealand and Australia alone, there are about 107 million non native speakers of English for a total population of about 410 million. That is just 26%. You are right, that is not 1/3, but that was a rough estimation without calculating (just gut-feeling). I wasn't so far from the truth though... In North America (USA + Canada) the proportion is 30%. If you count the number of second-generation immigrant whose parents are non-native speakers, but who consider English as their mother-tongue despite speaking with many mistakes (learnt from their parents), I think we are well over 33%.

Bucko
Oct 23, 2006, 20:13
Fair enough, I'll give you your 1/3.

Not sure about your last comment though. I've never met a second generation immigrant whose English has suffered as a result of their parents'. My girlfriend's father is Dutch, and her English is perfect. So is his, I might add. And I've met a lot of Chinese Australians/Canadians in Japan who speak English 100% naturally. Some 2nd generation Australians have slight accents though, notibly the Greek community, but the only mistakes they'd make in their speech would be natural mistakes that all speakers make.

Maciamo
Oct 23, 2006, 22:31
Not sure about your last comment though. I've never met a second generation immigrant whose English has suffered as a result of their parents'. My girlfriend's father is Dutch, and her English is perfect.

That's quite natural ! Most Dutch people born and raised in the Netherlands speak English very well, some almost like native speakers, without having lived in an English speaking country. Dutch is the closest language to Old and Middle English, that explains a lot !


And I've met a lot of Chinese Australians/Canadians in Japan who speak English 100% naturally. Some 2nd generation Australians have slight accents though, notibly the Greek community, but the only mistakes they'd make in their speech would be natural mistakes that all speakers make.

Just on this forum I have noticed a lot of US-born Americans who do not master English very well - less well than many Northern Europeans who have English as their 2nd or 3rd language.

Maciamo
Oct 23, 2006, 22:43
Back to the topic, there are other things that I dislike or that bother me about Japan, but many are too personal to be mentioned, or linked to my own experience only. There are also things that I dislike because of my personality or sensibility, and which I understand that not all normal people might dislike (many don't even notice). For instance, I dislike the fact that Japanese language uses so many words from English even when words in Japanese exist to express the same thing (e.g. ドア vs 扉). I also dislike Japanese humour, and dislike the way they go "oooohh" and "eeeehh" on TV or elsewhere.


pff I am getting annoyed by a lot of foreigners who keep complaining about certain things...

Then don't read the complaints. My opinion is that one must have a honest and truthful view of things in life, which includes a balanced view of the good and the bad. I dislike people who are blinded by their passion and only see everything in pink (the Japan lovers) or in black (the Japan haters). I see myself as balanced, and I feel that the more good is written on this forum about Japan, the more bad has to be written to counter-balance, and vice versa.

This thread was originally intended as a balance to the polls Greatest Japanese contributions to the world (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16125) and What are your interests for Japan ? (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=564), which I also started.

Bucko
Oct 23, 2006, 23:01
The amount of words that come from English baffles me. Words like "chenji" instead of 変える and "durinku" instead of 飲み物 I find simply rediculous. I sometimes wonder if there's some sort of deep-seeded cultural reason for using words like these. OR...maybe the only reason they look so out of place is because they're written in katakana, whereas in English a lot of foreign words are hidden.

Mrjones
Oct 23, 2006, 23:14
I think Japanese people just want to show, their knowledge in English in everyway possible. :)

Maciamo
Oct 24, 2006, 03:07
I think Japanese people just want to show, their knowledge in English in everyway possible. :)

So that would be a tactful outlet to individual pride in a society where modesty and self-depreciation are some of the most revered values. Interesting theory. I like that.

DoctorP
Oct 25, 2006, 00:14
Honestly the only two things that I dislike about Japan are:

1. The way the news is presented on TV. If I wanted to read the newspaper, then I would just buy the damn newspaper!

2. People who continually complain about how Japan is not like their home country. If you wanted to be in your home country, why did you leave and come to Japan?

Sukotto
Oct 25, 2006, 00:31
The complete randomness of city design in Japan baffles me. But I guess I'm use to towns having some structure and design to them, like with a proper city centre, and allocated alotments for certain building types. On my way to Kyoto from Osaka the other day I was looking out the window of a train, into the country side, and in the distance I could see a huge office tower, or residential tower or something, basically in the middle of nowhere. It looked awful.



I actually absolutely love this about Japan. It makes going places an adventure. My experience is based on Nagasaki, Fukuoka, and like 2 days in Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Shinjuku (Tokyo) each. Shinjuku around the station was by far the most confusing. Of course, I was only visiting and didn't have to live & work there...

It actually seems much more organic the way it seems to have just developed over time.


As to the rest of the questionare, I really don't have enough experience to comment.

Bucko
Oct 25, 2006, 00:49
It actually seems much more organic the way it seems to have just developed over time.

Hmm...interesting choice of words. Definately puts it all into a new light for me now. Thanks :)

Spyder93090
Oct 25, 2006, 07:38
Pretty much only their humid Summers and their (lack of) Dental Hygiene. Their girls would be hotter with tans but not a big deal.

ricecake
Oct 25, 2006, 08:40
Pretty much only their humid Summers and their (lack of) Dental Hygiene.





Hmmm .... I've read and heard some ( truth and half-truth ) little unpleasant comments to baseless anti-Japanese crap about them,lack of dental hygiene is the first for me.Can you elaborate further,isn't " cleanliness " a deep-rooted cultural trait ?

Bucko
Oct 25, 2006, 09:40
Hmmm .... I've read and heard some ( truth and half-truth ) little unpleasant comments to baseless anti-Japanese crap about them,lack of dental hygiene is the first for me.Can you elaborate further,isn't " cleanliness " a deep-rooted cultural trait ?

This is something that still shocks me everyday and was one of the first things I noticed when I came to Japan. Still, no one has given me a good explanation as to why so many Japanese people's teeth are so bad. (we're not just talking crooked here, we're talking crooked, rotting, plaque covered, black, brown, stinking teeth)

ricecake
Oct 25, 2006, 10:49
Still,no one has given me a good explanation as to why so many Japanese people's teeth are so bad. (we're not just talking crooked here, we're talking crooked, rotting, plaque covered, black, brown, stinking teeth)





Are those individuals from lower economic class in Japan,can't afford dental plan ?

None of Japanese nationals I've been in contact with person to person ( for many years ) here in northern California has any of those mentioned denture symptoms,no bad breath or stinking teeth.

gaijinalways
Oct 25, 2006, 12:33
Better dental hygenie awareness seemed to come to Japan later than some other modernized countries. Many young people here still could use braces, but stinking teeth seem to be a thing of the past.

Maciamo
Oct 25, 2006, 15:55
Better dental hygenie awareness seemed to come to Japan later than some other modernized countries. Many young people here still could use braces, but stinking teeth seem to be a thing of the past.

I also noticed that many young people still have very apparent metalic teeth fillings in Japan. Here it is over a decade (maybe over 15 years) that fillings are white and invisible. My wife had her fillings changed in Belgium because she couldn't find a dentist that did white fillings in Japan, after I told her about it when we were living in Japan. I noticed that Japan was very late (usually over 10 years) in matters of medicine compared to Belgium or France. My wife has a few Japanese friends who have given birth in Belgium or France, and they said that hospitals and gynaecologists were so much better here than in Japan. Two of them had already given birth in Japan and could compare knowingly.

Maciamo
Oct 25, 2006, 16:14
2. People who continually complain about how Japan is not like their home country. If you wanted to be in your home country, why did you leave and come to Japan?

Two things for you to reflect upon :

1) not all foreigners in Japan chose to live in Japan. Personally I went to live there because of my wife. Many people are there for their job (expats, US servicemen, embassy staff, etc.).

2) Many of the complaints in this thread so far concern things which nobody would accept in their home country. Personally, there are things in this poll which I have also criticised in Belgium on Eupedia (e.g. political corruption (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24254), urban planning and public transports (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24230), colonial abuses (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16707), etc.). Many of the cited complaints are things which are universally disliked : natural disasters, destruction of historical and natural heritage, discrimination...

Most of the rest regards the condition of foreigners in Japan, something that one cannot compare with his/her home country. In my case, though, I can compare it to my other experiences of living in several foreign countries, and I only complained when I found that Japan was worse than other (developed) countries for that matter.

I intentionally refrained to add my complaints about language and cultural differences I do not like (e.g. slurping tea and noodles) in the poll itself, because it is too personal.

DoctorP
Oct 26, 2006, 00:07
Two things for you to reflect upon :
1) not all foreigners in Japan chose to live in Japan. Personally I went to live there because of my wife. Many people are there for their job (expats, US servicemen, embassy staff, etc.).


Understand that I do not wish to make this personal...but I will say that you did have a choice! Just as you chose to leave, you also chose to come here.
Military personell also have choices...you wouldn't know, you never served.



2) Many of the complaints in this thread so far concern things which nobody would accept in their home country. Personally, there are things in this poll which I have also criticised in Belgium on Eupedia (e.g. political corruption (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24254), urban planning and public transports (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24230), colonial abuses (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16707), etc.). Many of the cited complaints are things which are universally disliked : natural disasters, destruction of historical and natural heritage, discrimination...

Please leave Eupedia out of this, they are seperate forums, and I would not be able to verify anything you have posted there anyway.

DoctorP
Oct 26, 2006, 00:19
I also noticed that many young people still have very apparent metalic teeth fillings in Japan. Here it is over a decade (maybe over 15 years) that fillings are white and invisible. My wife had her fillings changed in Belgium because she couldn't find a dentist that did white fillings in Japan, after I told her about it when we were living in Japan. I noticed that Japan was very late (usually over 10 years) in matters of medicine compared to Belgium or France. My wife has a few Japanese friends who have given birth in Belgium or France, and they said that hospitals and gynaecologists were so much better here than in Japan. Two of them had already given birth in Japan and could compare knowingly.


White fillings are/have been available in Japan for several years...how long I am unsure, but they do have them.

As for dental hygiene. It seems as though there has been a swing in the last 10 years to where there is more trust in dentists and more teaching going on as to the importance of good dental hygiene.

Many children still have terrible teeth, but it is getting better. Braces are extremely expensive, and I think that Japan should find a way to make it less so. My oldest son will be getting braces soon, and I am dreading the costs involved.

Many mothers do not brush their babies teeth. This combined with breastfeeding, contributes to rotted teeth in babies. Once the children grow, they have not been taught any good habits, and tend to not brush themselves. I have see changes to this though. There are three dentist offices withing 6 blocks of my house. Many children go there right after school now for their appointments. Two of the dentists have installed monitors on the chairs so that the kids can watch TV/DVD's while being seen. They can also use the monitor to watch what the dentist is doing inside their mouth. It has made the dentist quite fun and entertaining, and the children actually enjoy the visits. Maybe more of them will continue to go now.

ricecake
Oct 26, 2006, 08:16
Then don't read the complaints.

I dislike people who are blinded by their passion and only see everything in pink (the Japan lovers) or in black (the Japan haters).





Your thread has over 500 viewer hits versus under 100 for " what do you like about Japan and Japanese people ? " thread.:souka::?

craftsman
Oct 26, 2006, 22:37
Your thread has over 500 viewer hits versus under 100 for " what do you like about Japan and Japanese people ? " thread.:souka::?
Don't diss my thread please ricecake. 103...104....now I've got 105.

Mrjones
Oct 27, 2006, 01:07
I don't know why, everybody is saying just go home, or its your fault where you are living you had a choise. In my country we say "go home" to foreigners, usually to people who have said something very stupid and embarassing to public press. Like the case where national soccer player said he would not want to play for Finland, but some other country. This got people pretty mad, but usually people from my excperience try to avoid to say such a rude thing, becouse it is usually related to things which are none of their busnessess anyways...(rant ends here). I am sure we all got our reasons to live, which ever their are they are what we chose.

White fillings are/have been available in Japan for several years...how long I am unsure, but they do have them. ... There are expectianally many gold theeth in Japan compared to me home country. Also many dentist students come to Finland to do exchange study, I think there is reason for this exchange study too. Japan is great country.... but still an country(okuni like every place else)..

jenova_han
Nov 28, 2006, 22:21
sometimes too mania or crazy in sex.. >.<

japantvhost
Dec 12, 2006, 00:40
Its too warm inside the packed trains in winter time.

taehyun
Dec 18, 2006, 13:38
Japanese men

:evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

tampopo
Dec 19, 2006, 23:08
being tall, I hate low fire exit signs, low light chandeliers and anything that is low for a tall westerner, but high enough for Japanese!!! I had so many bumps in my head after my first visit!
In a private house where one is obliged to walk around barefoot (no problem there) when I realised that the tread in the door way is raised about an inch or a couple of cms above floor level, leading me to rap my toes on a regular basis. Oh it's painful.
I noticed bad teeth in several Japanese. I was once told that it's considered kinda cutesy to have one little tooth sticking out from the others.
I also believe that it's not such a culturally important thing over there as it is in, lets say USA or Canada.
___________________________________-
Edit here.
Yeah, I've been thinking of the teeth thing for ages. I do love good teeth! I was thinking the only two people, celebrities or famous people in the public eye with bad teeth are the actor Steve Buscemi and Shane McGowan from The Pogues!

A couple of more things that make life hard (in a tiny tiny way) are small slippers/flip flops that are to be used instead of outdoor shoes-esp for tall foreigners.It's a pain. I was looking in my wardrobe today and at the back I have a Japanese national rugby jersey. Size L. The sleeves are up to my wrists! There was something else, I suppose I'll have to edit again.

Sukotto
Dec 21, 2006, 14:05
That I'm not there


(until I am there, of course ;)

loquela
Jan 4, 2007, 22:58
That's quite natural ! Most Dutch people born and raised in the Netherlands speak English very well, some almost like native speakers, without having lived in an English speaking country. Dutch is the closest language to Old and Middle English, that explains a lot !
Just on this forum I have noticed a lot of US-born Americans who do not master English very well - less well than many Northern Europeans who have English as their 2nd or 3rd language.

That doesn't really explain anything. Old and Middle English are about as far removed from modern English as Normandy French.

loquela
Jan 4, 2007, 23:25
I have seen a number of your posts Maciano and I have noticed a trend that leans towards the vilification of Japan and the Japanese. In another post someone was complaining that it's always the Americans (not the Europeans) that complain about the country. I think you have succeeded in pulling us Europeans up from the rear end.

I'm curious. Are the negative points you have in your poll born of your own personal experience. Because the interesting thing is that they seem almost to be quoted verbatim from the sources you invite us to read before responding to your poll.

Wouldn't is be more helpful to ask readers to post their own personal experiences rather than form opinions based on third party, often very subjective views?

I see in your profile that you have spent '3 to 5' years in Japan. Does that mean 3 years, then 2 years separately? Whatever it means I don't think you have spent enough time in Japan to assimilate or at least try to understand the culture you found yourself in.

I was in Japan for about seven years and certainly I found things that frustrated, annoyed, upset. But my trick was to accept that this happens anywhere and is even more likely to happen in a place that I don't fully understand. Do think the Japanese find Japan as annoying as you do? I certainly don't find England as annoying as my wife does.

I reckon it would be healthier and more constructive to discuss more about what you really like about Japan. Go on, I dare you!
:wave:

Mrjones
Jan 4, 2007, 23:39
"I reckon it would be healthier and more constructive to discuss more about what you really like about Japan. Go on, I dare you!"
I agree there is only one healty answer for person, unfortunately I cant do it..
Every man has his/hers own mind.

(what i mean is, everybody always wants to see other people agreeing with themselves..when somebody disagrees, he is automaticaly wrong.)

loquela
Jan 4, 2007, 23:57
I agree there is only one healty answer for person, unfortunately I cant do it..
Every man has his/hers own mind.

I don't think I said there was only one healthy answer. I was just suggesting and alternative to the constant barage of negative discussions.


(what i mean is, everybody always wants to see other people agreeing with themselves..when somebody disagrees, he is automaticaly wrong.)

I don't feel this way. I am glad for anybody to point out that I am wrong or I have made a mistake or I am misguided, etc. I certainly beats stomping around in ignorance.

fuma_kamui
Feb 3, 2007, 19:59
personnally, i live in ja pan since a while now (a  little while lol....excus e my poor english)... and  i have not espacially to  complain about anything.
maybe there is some probl ems with the government,  but all over the world it  s the same thing. for th e environmental problem,t hey are doing a lot of ef fort (?).etc...

Kaoru Hino
Feb 5, 2007, 12:13
Japan is seem to be a modern country which accepts foreign culture (outside Asia) and which is prepare for foreigner issues...

In my oppinion that is just a lie.

One of the examples: when you came here, you always think everyone can speak at least English (at least around Tokyo area), but you just have to ask:

-ちょっと、英語分かりますか。

To make them look at you with a panic face.

I'm not an English native speaker, and I can speak Japanese more or less, but when I have troubles, I really want to have a language in which I can be understood... But here sometimes it seems to be impossible.

Another example... Every Japanese will ask you about your culture, about your history, your experience, and so on... But I still cannot find a person who I can really talk and discuss things to. And I'm gonna tell you just an example of what is happening me around here:

One day, I was in the University, and we were talking about the Spanish Colonization of America and then the Spanish trip to Japan, and so on... And well, because I'm Spanish, the teacher looked at me and told me:

-You are from Spain, so you should know that Spanish came here to invade our country, so explain that to us. And also, explain the relationship between the colonization and the Industrial Revolution in Europe.

I was shocked at first. As fas as I know, and I studied History, Industrial Revolution and Colonization have nothing in common because they are two different topics, and also, Spain never tried to invaded Japan. The Spanish who went here just tried to teach Christianism, and actually, there were not enough Spanish in Japan to do that xD. But OK, I thought, maybe here is a problem of different ways of study History...

So I started some kind of debate between me and the teacher... And the teacher just let me know that Japanese way of study history is the real one, and that Japanese killed Christians because they were trying to conquer them... But anyway my what surprise me most is when in the middle of the debate, he just told me:

-Well, that's is your point of view, but I'm not gonna change mine.

That made me think I was right, but he didn't want to tell us.
So, what was the purpose of the discussion?. You ask me for some information, I give it to you, but you're going to do nothing with it. That is completely useless.

I mean, is OK if Japan wants to mantain its own culture. And also, I think is the best thing they can do, because Japan has such a fascinating culture. But, Japanese (in general) need to open their minds and think that sometimes, they are not right withouth feeling some kind of country pain. Because yes, the Japanese is proud of being Japanese, and that's good also, but when this starts to make you think that you cannot be mistaken, it starts to become a problem, right?

But anyway, this is just my oppinion

caster51
Feb 5, 2007, 13:21
So I started some kind of debate between me and the teacher... And the teacher just let me know that Japanese way of study history is the real one, and that Japanese killed Christians because they were trying to conquer them... But anyway my what surprise me most is when in the middle of the debate, he just told me:
is he a teacher..........?
I was surprised


Every Japanese will ask you about your culture, about your history, your experience
??

KirinMan
Feb 5, 2007, 18:47
There are a few things that I have found to "not" like about Japan, but that doesn't mean that I want to leave, heck I think there are probably a million things that I could write, figuratively speaking of course, about my own home country that I hate as well.

I guess I have just learned to take the good along with the bad and leave it at that.

I would probably say the same thing about anywhere I lived so it just doesnt pertain to Japan alone.

However if someone chooses to dwell on the negatives that they have experienced here then "they" have the problem and not the Japanese people.

Oh I want to add here that this comment is directed at noone in particular, it is just my own opinion, that's all.

pipokun
Feb 5, 2007, 19:06
Kaoru Hino, share your thought not here, but in the History & Traditions.


One of the examples: when you came here, you always think everyone can speak at least English (at least around Tokyo area), but you just have to ask:
-ちょっと、英語分かりますか。
When I answer your question above in English, "Yes" or "No", then someone else points out, "I don't know why all Japanese always answer my questions in English, even though I ask them in Nihongo".

Kaoru Hino
Feb 5, 2007, 19:35
Maybe is a question of your lucky...

But well, that were the things I dislike about Japan ^^

pipokun
Feb 5, 2007, 20:13
you always think everyone can speak at least English (at least around Tokyo area)
At least, you are quite a lucky guy.

Kilt
Feb 6, 2007, 11:35
However if someone chooses to dwell on the negatives that they have experienced here then "they" have the problem and not the Japanese people.


I have to disagree with that one. If I glance over the dislikes, it is amazing how many foreigners find the same dislikes in common. One I notice that is missing is the pollution. But that might be relative to where you live and where you came from.
Take discrimination. I no longer notice it on a day to day basis, but I am often the only one on the train with an empty seat beside himself. Even when I take the company bus, jam packed with people often no one will sit beside me. Yes, I shower twice a day, so it isn't a hygene issue.
Now if I notice and dislike the discrimination I see and feel, that is my problem, rather than being a problem with Japanese culture/people? Sorry, I don't buy that. Just people a culture/people discriminate, doesn't mean you have to accept it.
There are some good aspects about Japan. My 95 pound wife can walk home at 11 oclock at night from the station through dark alleys and I don't have to worry about her. When I go to the pub, I never feel that I will need to defend myself at any time. And I even enjoy the smoking hot humid summers.
And some problems people point out (like ID check by police) has never happened to me. For one, often these guys getting the ID checks are riding bikes that either are stolen or look stolen. I make a effort to look like I belong. I have even called the police to my home to deal with some noisy construction workers. It worked, and the police were very helpful.
Side note: the police here don't crack down on everyday crimes, speeding, noise violations, drunk driving, ect. They can certainly improve their image a bit in my eyes.
Certainly the dislikes outweigh the likes. Pollution, concrete and wires are easily the biggest dislikes. It is just depressing, no wonder so many people smurf themselves.
If you don't like it, leave - sounds good to me. When I get back home, I suspect there will plenty of things that annoy me and piss me off. But the big difference is, back home I can do something about the things I dislike, and if you make enough noise and other people agree with your view, then things will change. Here, you can't change anything.

Kilt.

KirinMan
Feb 6, 2007, 12:20
But the big difference is, back home I can do something about the things I dislike, and if you make enough noise and other people agree with your view, then things will change. Here, you can't change anything.


Really, what can you do about people not sitting next to you on a crowded bus back home?

Really now, if you read my post you would see that I said dwell on the negatives, it is that particular persons problem not the Japanese people's problem.

I have no idea where you come from so I can not say whether or not you can change circumstances there, but here if one learns to pick and choose the battles that they CAN win you can make a difference here.

But dwelling on the negatives does no one any good.

fuma_kamui
Feb 6, 2007, 19:19
Japan is seem to be a modern country which accepts foreign culture (outside Asia) and which is prepare for foreigner issues...
In my oppinion that is just a lie.
One of the examples: when you came here, you always think everyone can speak at least English (at least around Tokyo area), but you just have to ask:
-ちょっと、英語分かりますか。


...the japan is doing a lot of effort to be accessible (english?) to the foreigners. but you can't change all a country in 10 years only.
and, european language are quite ''近い'' from english... you can't compare a japanese who don't succed to speak english and a european.

to finish, i'm french, if you come in france, you would have some difficulties to be understood in english ... but this country is ''a modern country which accepts foreign culture and which is prepare for foreigner issues...''

:souka:

Kilt
Feb 7, 2007, 13:30
Really, what can you do about people not sitting next to you on a crowded bus back home?
I have no idea where you come from so I can not say whether or not you can change circumstances there, but here if one learns to pick and choose the battles that they CAN win you can make a difference here.
But dwelling on the negatives does no one any good.

You are grabbing at straws here.
Off topic, I dont take buses back home if I can avoid them, and as a male I would generally let an elderly person or a woman take a seat instead of myself, so you question isn't applicable.
I do know that if someone decided to not sit beside me it would be for personal reasons, rather than general cultural ignorance.

I think one of the very reasons why Japanese people dont try to change things is that they feel they are powerless to do so. I do understand your pick the battles you can win, its very Japanese, but, most people get in a habit of dealing with it, rather than fighting.
I agree it doesnt do one any good to dwell on negatives. But to sit and watch your country rot into oblivion and pretend everything is peachy does not help either.

The original post was, " what do you dislike about Japan ". I have met alot of foreigners in Japan. Many of them say they like it here. Some of the reasons I find are stupid, but that is my opinion. Interestingly, when these people leave Japan, I often hear back that they are happy they left and would never want to come back. On the flip side, many who dislike Japan often come back because, although they dislike, when they move away, they find there are many things they miss.
I know I will miss the food. And the convenience. I also find in the business enviroment, service is generally good and people are very polite, although often quite ignorant. But I will never come back. I used to hope Japan could fix itself. Now I know it is the nature of Japanese people (the culture or something Japanese) that defines Japan and it is precisely why Japan can't fix itself. But, that is another topic.

Kilt.

fuma_kamui
Feb 7, 2007, 14:54
2. People who continually complain about how Japan is not like their home country. If you wanted to be in your home country, why did you leave and come to Japan?

wouaouw... i saw it just now... i glad to see someone who think like me lol.
i agree with you!! their is not any comparision possible between japan and europe, japan and america, etc...
this cultures are too differents to be compare (bad english...scuse my poor level)!!:cool:

KirinMan
Feb 7, 2007, 15:13
You are grabbing at straws here.
Off topic, I dont take buses back home if I can avoid them, and as a male I would generally let an elderly person or a woman take a seat instead of myself, so you question isn't applicable.
I do know that if someone decided to not sit beside me it would be for personal reasons, rather than general cultural ignorance.


I dont think so, I think you may have missed the point of that statement. How can you be so positive that the person didn't sit down next to the "gaijin" because they were "gaijin"? Someone is making an assumption, I grant you that it may be a pretty fair assumption but it still is an assumption on your part. The point also was about changing what you can change and not force what you see as an issue upon a people that don't see it quite the same way as you do.


I think one of the very reasons why Japanese people dont try to change things is that they feel they are powerless to do so. I do understand your pick the battles you can win, its very Japanese, but, most people get in a habit of dealing with it, rather than fighting.
I agree it doesnt do one any good to dwell on negatives. But to sit and watch your country rot into oblivion and pretend everything is peachy does not help either

Ok, yet I still am hearing, correct me if I am wrong, you are expanding your values and morals upon a country or people that have a very different view of things as they are.

Also from what I have seen so far from living here is that this country will not change for you, but you have to change or adapt to this country. You meaning the foreigners that live here. Also as an extension of that, changing the things that you can and starting with the community or area that you live in you can make a positive change in the way people view or treat "gaijin".

Generally speaking it works easiest with children first because most of them don't have any preconcieved ideas or opinions about "gaijin" and are truly curious about learning about them and their cultures. Most of their ignorance is passed on from their environment.


The original post was, " what do you dislike about Japan ". I have met alot of foreigners in Japan. Many of them say they like it here. Some of the reasons I find are stupid, but that is my opinion. Interestingly, when these people leave Japan, I often hear back that they are happy they left and would never want to come back. On the flip side, many who dislike Japan often come back because, although they dislike, when they move away, they find there are many things they miss

I'll agree with you here, as I have heard very much of the same thing as well. To each his or her own I guess.


I know I will miss the food. And the convenience. I also find in the business enviroment, service is generally good and people are very polite, although often quite ignorant. But I will never come back. I used to hope Japan could fix itself. Now I know it is the nature of Japanese people (the culture or something Japanese) that defines Japan and it is precisely why Japan can't fix itself. But, that is another topic.


Maybe we don't see eye to eye on this one, because I think it really is also a matter of perception as well. Many Japanese realize that there are problems with their system, but when the issue turns towards the one of foreigners they are blissfully unaware that there are issues that the foreigners living here face on a daily basis, for what ever reason. I also feel that they take offense at hearing their "problems" pointed out to them by foreigners, which is natural as well.

Heck it isn't just Japan that hates having it's mistakes or problems pointed out to them by people that are not from there or live there as guests or otherwise. I can not blame many Japanese people for thinking that if the foreigners have a problem with it, then why do they stay here, leave if that is how you feel. I am not suggesting that at all, and as sad as that statement may be, I can in a way understand the motivation behind it. However I am not saying that I agree with the mentality.

If anything is going to change here it is going to have to be a Japanese solution and not one force fed or dictated by foreigners. There are many issues on the table for the Japanese government and people right now and I think the problems are going to get worse in some ways before they get better, because from what I have seen so far in my time here is that the pendulum swings radically from one side to another before finally settling to the middle and a reasonable solution.

Kilt
Feb 8, 2007, 12:12
Obeika
One last post on this, hopefully.

My family is Japanese. Most, almost all of my friends are Japanese. You are correct, they realized Japan has problems. I don't need to point these things out to them, although sometimes I am guilty of making quick comments that could be considered insulting (even then, family and friends can't disagree with me, they might dislike what I have said, but it is an honest opinion shared by most). I almost have sympathy for my family, because they worry about their future, the economy, their grandkids and that is all they do. I doubt they will ever do anything about it. It is almost as if they feel there is no solution to the problems.
Oh, but that is another beauty to Japanese life. Japanese life is easy. I have friends who have worked a company for 5 years, and basically done nothing. Taxes are low, it is easy to save, everything is convenient. So it is not difficult to be content, and I think most people are. But deep down inside, they worry. The other thing I have noticed is people have become content because some things are the norm. Take the excessive noise, or the concrete, people don't even notice it. It is the norm, they cant remember what it was like before everything was plastered with concrete and steel. Or if they do, they try to ignore it.

I feel there are solutions. Maybe it is a different perspective. What I see wrong with Japan can be fixed, over time. Not gonna happen overnight. But it won't get fixed, because no one ever disrupts the harmony.
Foreigners have unique problems (like discriminations ect). As others have said this happens anywhere, and generally here it only makes one uncomfortable. People don't get threatened or beat up because they are not Japanese (except in schools). I do agree with the statement if you don't like it, then leave. If you are here because of your family or simply to make money, then sacrifice and deal with it.
So another difference of opinion, u feel Japan can fix itself. I think of it as the same way I see global warming - basically too late, and at the rate other things get fixed, it just isn't going to happen.

Kilt.

KirinMan
Feb 8, 2007, 15:22
Kilt...

Thank you for sharing that. I guess I am just forever the optimist and think that eventually people can learn to change things for themselves.

gaijinalways
Feb 13, 2007, 18:49
Yes, passive discrimination is 'better' from the point of being not violent, but it certainly affects one's life. It affects employment opportunties, housing choices, etc.

To be honest, I haven't encountered a lot of violence in the US, so I don't know what I am missing. Violence does happen here in Japan, but it is rare. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen. One of my mates once got attacked in a club in Shibuya by a group of Japanese. He was drinking with another coworker, a Jpanese-American who had introduced him to the club. The Japanese-American left, and later my friend had people who started hitting him. The bouncers kept trying to stop him from beating off the group (maybe 7 or 8) that were attacking him, but didn't do anything about breaking up the attack. When he finally manged to escape the club (after no one in the club bothering to call the police, even though he asked for help), he found a police station and was asking for help, with some blood coming from a gash in his head. The police started laughing at him until he became angry and complained to them.

Another incident was related by my wife's student. He went out with some of his Japanese class classmate, and got angry with a Japanese club bouncer because he didn't want to let him in with jeans in (this after allowing in some Japanese similarly dressed). He swore at the bouncer, who called his partner, and they preceded to beat my wife's student up pretty badly. His classmates were afraid to intervene and just helped him leave afterwards.

kilt posted
I think of it as the same way I see global warming - basically too late, and at the rate other things get fixed, it just isn't going to happen.

Well put, and with a common 'shoganai' attitude here, things often don't change or just change very, very slowly.

macadamia_cocoa
Feb 16, 2007, 23:51
There are a lot of awful things about Japan - just like every country in the world... it's all been said, though. So I'll just say that the one thing I can't stand about Japan is the amount of seafood they have all the time, because I'm allergic to seafood and that doesn't always leave me with a lot of options.

KirinMan
Feb 17, 2007, 07:57
There are a lot of awful things about Japan - just like every country in the world... it's all been said, though. So I'll just say that the one thing I can't stand about Japan is the amount of seafood they have all the time, because I'm allergic to seafood and that doesn't always leave me with a lot of options.

Well it is an "island" country. I kind of feel sorry for you that you have an allergy to seafod here, that is one of the reasons I like it here.

I hope you find what you like to eat that doesnt aggrivate you allergies.

macadamia_cocoa
Feb 19, 2007, 10:19
Well it is an "island" country. I kind of feel sorry for you that you have an allergy to seafod here, that is one of the reasons I like it here.
I hope you find what you like to eat that doesnt aggrivate you allergies.

Yeah, I sort of took an unhealthy habit to just dropping by at Mister Donuts and McDonald's. x_x

Sukotto
Feb 20, 2007, 05:29
Yeah, I sort of took an unhealthy habit to just dropping by at Mister Donuts and McDonald's. x_x


haha.
that reminds me.

What I don't like about Japan: there are too many ミスタードナツ (i hope i spelled that right) (Mr Donuts)

Here's why, a MrDonuts story if you will,
An American friend and I went seperate ways for a while leaving Nagasaki seperately and were to meet up in Kyoto a couple days later at the station. Neither one of us had a phone so we had to call our Japanese friend on her cell phone as a go between. We decided to meet at the Mr Donuts. After many hours we figured out there were 3 Mr Donuts at or near the station. I ate 3 chocolate donuts over the hours waiting there. The employees may have gotten a strange impression about American-looking person and donuts.

fuma_kamui
Feb 22, 2007, 09:58
If you don't like it, leave - sounds good to me.


:cool:

(excuse my poor english)

i agree with this sentence. Really, i don't understand how several people can live in a country that they really dislike.
The most part of the answer on this forum 'what do you dislike...' are complains.
Ok, it was the goal of this forum, but in fact, it looks like a meeting for home-sick persons.
me too, i have never had any problem with the police, and i can come back home after the midnight without a lacrymogene bomb (i don't find any traduction for this word in english) with me.:okashii:

please, i would like an answer about why are you in japan if you can't live here?:souka:

and for them who are complaining about the japaneses who don't speak english... aren't you complaining if a foreigner in your country isn't able to speak your language?
Of course, i don't say it for those who are here since a short time, but after a half year, or one year, i quite don't understant why you feel obliged to ask it.

maybe if you were living or trying to enter in the system of this country, you could be more able to understand and accept this customs, etc.

i don't pretend this thread to be a kind of lesson, but just a kind of point of view.

KirinMan
Feb 22, 2007, 15:12
I can understand the need for people to rant and rave about the things that they dislike or have problems with in living here in Japan, or for that matter any foreign country. Adjusting to living somewhere else takes time and quite a bit of energy.

Yet the "problem" I have sometimes is the people that continually post their rants over the course of a period of time, somthing which tells me that they are having a really hard time adjusting or are just unrealistic in what they expect from living here.

Mr Man
Apr 2, 2007, 13:37
I hate the national obsession with consuming brands and accumulating status symbols, which just goes to further strengthen the idea that appearances are everything here. Although, not entirely unique to Japan only, it is a problem in that it creates an indifference to nature and preservation of resources, a tendency to feel entitled to unfettered self indulgence, which leads to obscene amounts of wastage!!! Most Japanese grow up in a highly urbanized environment. Their macro-focus on the environment is ultimately destructive, as they become accustomed to appreciating tiny nuggets of natural beauty within the ever expanding urban sprawl. Japanese kids lack even basic respect for the environment, i.e putting the garbage in a bin!! Couple this with the fact that municipal governments don't supply public trash bins and it results in the huge amounts of garbage you see everywhere.

KirinMan
Apr 2, 2007, 13:47
it results in the huge amounts of garbage you see everywhere.

Wow you know that's the first time I ever heard anyone complain about Japan being dirty. Interesting observation.

Mr Man
Apr 2, 2007, 13:57
Wow you know that's the first time I ever heard anyone complain about Japan being dirty. Interesting observation.
Admittedly, this is NOT the dirtiest country on the planet, (India makes this place look positively sterile) but it's definitely not what I'd classify as a clean country either, probably because I come from one of the cleanest. (Mind you, if NZ had the population of Japan, I would probably have to eat my words) I could go on about all the postitive aspects of life here too, but those are things I don't want to see changed. There is always room for improvement, and to complain (constructively) is a healthy way to perhaps get a ball or two rolling. :-)

basuotoko
Apr 3, 2007, 11:46
I've looked around here for awhile and I've seen a lot of good comments made by people regarding the stuff that can really get annoying for foreigners in Japan. But really, the way I see it, everyone in the world is annoying. It just manifests itself in different ways depending on where you're living.

I've traveled quite a bit throughout Asia and it has given me a little perspective on what is the most annoying about the people of each country. :)

One thing I like about Japan, contrary to many Asian countries, is the respect for lines. Nearly everyone respects the integrity of a line. Have you ever been to places like China? You'll always feel like you're second in the line, no matter how long you wait. You know what I mean?

The one thing I hate is that every foreigner living in Japan is an English teacher. Whether you get paid for it or not is a different matter. What I mean is every foreigner speaks English (at least Japanese think so) and we're all expected to put out.

I don't mind helping my friends out sometimes if they're interested in English, but I really hate it when I meet new people and they want to speak to my in English even though I speak their language at a much higher level. Sometimes I just want to fit in, or at least delude myself.

There are other things too, but that's the most annoying for me. Later I can teach everyone what's most annoying about places like Uzbekistan or Yemen. :)

Abasio
Apr 17, 2007, 22:25
I don't get it much but it pisses me off when people casually assuming that you don't speak Japanese talk loudly about you within earshot. But then I love the look of horror & social embarrassment when I tell them that I understand & have found what they are saying about me to be very rude.

The number of people who smoke also bothers me a little bit, especially in the station, right under a no smoking sign!

DoctorP
Apr 24, 2007, 09:51
I have to say that the only thing I truly can not stand in Japan is that there is no sense of order in the video store. You could literally walk around for hours and never find what you are looking for! With the exception of some of the stores that seperate the movies by the leading man/woman.

lost_in_tokyo
Sep 19, 2007, 08:04
:cool:
Really, i don't understand how several people can live in a country that they really dislike.
The word is gaman. I know it well. I know several families who continue to live in Japan despite everything they dislike about living here. For some, this is because of investments they can't leave; for others it's family, kids, divorce; I've met some veteran expats who are afraid they'd not find a job "back home", and so put up with it here for years.

For me, it's because I came here expecting to show my kids something wonderful about their heritage, but before I was competent enough in the language and culture, I got us stuck with a bad investment in an area with a limited job market. Five years passed. Now that we have chosen to go home, we're facing an immigration process that could take a year.

These things happen. Our problems are not the fault of the Japanese, they're mistakes we made years ago. But the result is that my family and I have to put up with discrimination every day on the streets, on the trains, at work and at school, no matter how good my Japanese gets, or how native-sounding my kids are.

Try raising kids here in an ugly, working class neighborhood and see how "cool" Tokyo is. Forget seats on the train: my toddlers have been indiscriminately pushed, squeezed, and knocked down, elevator doors closed in their faces on purpose, just so someone could get to work on time. Try inviting families over... kids here play in parks, at school, and at the youth centers, but birthday parties? Play dates? Sleepovers? Trips together? "Best friends?" Hasn't happened for us, not once, not with Japanese families.

I envy those of you who would criticize the negativity of this post, you with your bright, cheery feelings about how hip everything is here, or how you found yourself in Japan, or how Japan's problems are no worse than anywhere else's. But this is not a political view: it's a personal view, of a Dad who wants more for his kids.

Earlier quote: "Go home!"
I wish! I never liked it here, and I'm taking my family home as soon as I can. But in the meantime, our mere presence here does not justify the ostracism that we face every day.

Ewok85
Sep 19, 2007, 09:41
Lately it has been people who make unfounded/unsourced comments (both positive or negative) based on hearsay or a single experience, also people who take any negative comments about Japan as some sort of personal affront and refuse to see the reality right infront of them.

(On a different forum I made a light comment that the government must be using some sort of revolving door policy when it comes to top ministers, pointing out that 7 full and vice ministers have retired this year, and someone argued that it has no effect, then got annoyed when I asked if he was suggesting that he meant that he was suggesting the government does nothing... riiiight)

scorpion da black
Sep 22, 2007, 08:20
i hate the fact that the japanese youth are forgetting their own culture and traditions due to westrenization!!

the culture i loved and embraced is fading away

Murs
Sep 22, 2007, 21:42
The thing is, theres no way you can be really western without knowing the language. Yes, you can listen to msuic but would you understand the lyrics? I think the Japanese youth can only imitate the west in consumer products but its really difficult to, for e.g. understand western humour, customs etc. Being "G'd up" and "rolling on dubs" doesnt mean their even close to being hip hop as people in the US. Just making themselfs look stupid.

scorpion da black
Sep 23, 2007, 01:02
The thing is, theres no way you can be really western without knowing the language. Yes, you can listen to msuic but would you understand the lyrics? I think the Japanese youth can only imitate the west in consumer products but its really difficult to, for e.g. understand western humour, customs etc. Being "G'd up" and "rolling on dubs" doesnt mean their even close to being hip hop as people in the US. Just making themselfs look stupid.

you gotta point there
but some r no longer proud of who they are and try to imitate other western societies.....oh and they can adapt to western society.....i find knowing about it and the jokes or what ever easy to understand

Murs
Sep 23, 2007, 01:35
True, alot of things can easily be attained by the people, but I think their is a fundamental difference between us that is very difficult to be a part of a foreign culture. Like being Japanese is more than Manga, videogame etc which us westerner eat up like theirs no tomorrow. The same is true for Japanese to western.

I think that a lot (not most) people in each country (depending on exposure to the world) doesn't really care much for their own country. For example the English love Spain and alway say they like the culture, I just think unless your governement tells you you're the best thing ever (America) then the populations eyes will tend to wonder around other nations and cultures than you start comparing yourself to them (not a bad thing tbh).

Homerduff
Sep 23, 2007, 02:19
I voted for the education system. I have heard stories from some of my Japanese friends about the entrance exams system in all Japanese universities and that attending yuku school during weekend or evenings during week is a must. I don't understand why Japanese high school isn't sufficient enough to get entrance to a university. In Belgium, you can go for any degree (except if you want to become a dentist or specialise in medicine, these are one of the few degrees where you do need to pass an entrance exam) in any college/university. So either Japanese high school is from a poor level, or universities in Japan are from a very high level. But again from what I have heard, universities in Japan tend to be rather 'easy' ?

It must be frustrating for Japanese students to 'waste' so many hours in high school and to know that's not even enough to get yourself a university ticket. Some students even have school on saturday which only give them one day of rest.

Though I must say, I like the system of club activities after school in Japan. It's a great way to stimulate students to do sports or play an instrument. This is more or less the same case in the USA but in Belgium (and maybe a big part of Europe in general) this is not the case.

Some other things bothering me: the fact that if a Japanese person sees me he/she immediatly thinks im Americain. It's like there's only one 'great' country out there which is called 'America', while we all know Europe has a bether social wellfare system but ofcourse you don't see those things in movies. So I could also vote for the 'ignorance to the rest of the world' part of the poll, but im probably accepting cause the USA has the same problem. When I met someone outside of Europe and we are talking about politics, geography and etc. I always think that only students in Europe learn about the history of the USA, China and Africa. That is just a feeling though.

Thuglife
Sep 24, 2007, 15:35
Um....

How about people littering everywhere??

Nasty habit that stuns me, as my image of Japan never included the epidemic that is "litter".

kireikoori
Sep 24, 2007, 16:06
Concrete buildings and the lack of urban planning
Not something I know much about, but the buildings I saw when in Japan were quite nice.
Lack of respect of nature (concrete all along the coast, hills, few parks in cities, etc.)
Japanese people don't respect nature? That's not the vibe I got. I saw some beautiful parks in Hanamaki.
It seems to me that Japanese people respect nature far more than Chinese do. Look at what happened recently in China, a wonderful breed of Dolphin went extinct!
Non-buried electric lines everywhere
Not something I noticed, but not a problem.
Lack of thermic isolation and central heating in houses
Yeah, the lack of air conditioning while I was there wasn't the greatest.
5-month-long muggy summers (except Hokkaido and Tohoku)
It felt pretty hot and humid I must say. Actually about the same as where I live.
Natural disasters (earthquakes, typhoons...)
I fear for Japan because of those things, but it doesn't particularly make me fear for my life.
Lack of preservation of the historical heritage
I don't? Doesn't seem to be that way.
If so that's sad. Japanese history is quite a precious flower.
Political corruption (amakudari system, government using postal savings...)
Yeah, that kind of bugs me. Makes Japan seem even more dark and mysterious though. I do wish there were less corruption though.
Police checks on non Japanese (e.g. gaikokujin torokusho)
Sorta sad, but I kinda understand where they're coming from.
People pointing or staring at foreigners, or saying "gaijin, gaijin !" or "Hello America !"
That's not too bad. Not everyday you get to see a foreigner. America would be appropriate considering I am an American.
Doesn't bother me. Infact it seems kinda cute.
People telling you that gaijin come to Japan to make money, when salaries are higher in your country
That bugs me. Definitely. I mean, I'm from a first world country just like Japan. So going to work in Japan definitely isn't for the money.
Assumptions that foreigners in Japan commit much more crimes than the Japanese
It makes me sad. Though I can understand the stereotype. Japan does seem to have less crime than alot of countries.
Assumptions that almost all foreigners living in Japan cannot speak Japanese
I think that's a fair assumption considering Japanese has only 130 million speakers. I mean, it's quite hard to learn Japanese outside of Japan, so they probably figure you didn't know any before hand, and are just learning a little coming in.
Remarks inspired by jingoism (4 seasons, farmer vs hunter, etc.)
What the heck is with that four seasons thing anyway? All countries have a Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Well, maybe not all, anywhere tropical is pretty hot much weather all year round. But thinking that your country is the only one with four seasons is kinda naive.
Ignorance about the rest of the world (cultures, geography, history...)
Not a big deal. America does quite a bit of that too.
General denial or downplaying of war atrocities
Not really actually. It's similar to the way depictions of African American slaves as happy being slaves doesn't bother me.
Discrimination in general (toward women, young people, foreigners, burakumin...)
Incredibly terribly sad.
The education system (school + juku + homeworks and they still do not learn anything)
Engrish seems to be proof that their education system does not work well enough. I dunno what it is, but it needs fixing.
The exceptional Japanese ability to copy what China or the West did/does
I feel no jealousy towards Japan's amazing ability to copy from others and improve the copy. Go Japan!

Murs
Sep 24, 2007, 22:36
The exceptional Japanese ability to copy what China or the West did/does
I feel no jealousy towards Japan's amazing ability to copy from others and improve the copy. Go Japan!


And pretend they invented it!

Incognito69
Mar 19, 2009, 12:00
The electrical wirings all around Japan kills the scenery. Even Hakone's pine trees can't hide those stupid wires well. I thought I hate Tokyo's housing but I guess I cannot blame them as they had their reasons there. I hate the discrimination especially sex discrimination. Good thing that the discrimination isn't so bad as in the past. At least now women can go home a little later than usual and not get beaten. The thing I hate most about Japan is earthquake. I don't want to sit in the toilet and wait for people to rescue me, I don't want to get sick as my house sways her and there T_T

akakaze
Mar 20, 2009, 04:35
being tall, I hate low fire exit signs, low light chandeliers and anything that is low for a tall westerner, but high enough for Japanese!!! I had so many bumps in my head after my first visit!

Ah yes, the ATF (Anti Tall Foreigner) Fields. I've seen many, and been a victim of them as well... especially in Kobe...

Another thing, yes I stand out a bit, but is all the staring really necessary?

That said, the people in Kobe were VERY friendly, I was approached a lot more often than in Tokyo, I guess they're not as used to Gaijin.

konki_d
Mar 20, 2009, 06:00
The things I did or did not like about Japan were, in essence, not significantly different than what I do or do not like about other places. That is, there are many things I found very Japanese, but nothing that seemed beyond the norm for any given human culture. That being said . . .

I did NOT like the process of getting a driver's license in Japan. Ugh! That was a four month long torture process. Of course, that I was able to get one without ever having to submit to one of the driving schools in Japan makes me somewhat proud of myself. Silly, I know.

:bluush:

JerseyBoy
Mar 20, 2009, 21:14
I tried to like Japan for the last 1.5 years. But, I could not. I am going back to New York as I feel I am more comfortable in the American culture. I admit I had good paying jobs in Japan but I decided to let go of them and go back where I won't be constrained by the J-business culture.

minime
Apr 7, 2009, 15:21
so far so good...

kukuruu
Apr 7, 2009, 20:58
What don't I like about Japan... hrrrmmm....

It's too expensive for me to visit at the minute.
I've been saying that I wanted to learn Japanese since I was 14 and still havn't. So I'd be useless over there.
Plus... it's a LONG flight and I'm scared of flying. lol.

So it's not really Japan that is the problem, it's me. :lol:

Larry Battle
Apr 7, 2009, 22:13
It's hard finding a trash can outside.

Kappa
Apr 8, 2009, 01:28
I'm interpreting this question to be about things I personally find unpleasant or inconvenient when living in Japan, rather than matters of policy or suchlike (though I think the choices given straddle that).

My biggest complaint would be the climate. Japan certainly does have four seasons: a little too hot, a little too cold, way too hot and way too cold (^_^). But then, I'm from California so most anywhere seems a step down on that score.

I disliked the crowding and how cramped things are, and some of the things that flow from that. Even fairly small towns have a dense, urban mid-rise feel to them. I'm the first to admit that they're better than American cities in many ways, but concrete is concrete and traffic noise is traffic noise.

I also found the "one right way to do anything" attitude increasingly annoying the longer I stayed. As a foreigner, you're excused from a lot of it and your lapses often seen as more endearing than anything else. It can become a nasty issue if you get into closer relationships though, especially with the Japanese reticence to openly discuss disagreements.

Zatoya
May 29, 2010, 17:08
I have only been here 3 months. I dont care much about political issues. What I dislike most is the uncomfortableness of accommodation. It was too cold when I arrived and it's already too hot now. Summer is not yet there and I fear it will be unbearable. Houses surely are shaggy and poorly insulated. I can hear everything going on in the street from my room.

ushiwakamaru
Jan 4, 2011, 16:54
I'd have to say cults. Every large train station there's always people handing out flyers and you never know which one's wanna throw you in a commune and take your bank account info. I also hate that "no-pants" look that women are all sporting now.

Maciamo
Jan 14, 2011, 23:32
I also hate that "no-pants" look that women are all sporting now.

What do you mean by "no-pants look" ?

ushiwakamaru
Jan 16, 2011, 16:00
The big trend of women now to show their entire leg, without tights of stockings. I call it "no pants" because its followers, except for high-schoolers, who have to wear school-issue jackets, tend to wear a big sweater, which is about as big as my raincoat, except there's only skin beneath it down to their shoes.

I don't see the appeal at all. It's not attractive, it just looks like the woman was stupid enough to forget her pants.

Hoshinoko
Jan 6, 2012, 03:06
My Heart lies in Japan. Though I haven't yet been able to physically get there yet (that shall be remedied just before Christmas this year) It has even replaced Switzerland (where I was born) as my country of love. The Tetsudo (JR and private lines) are in my most humble opinion second to none on Planet Earth. I am a Nichiren Buddhist (Nichiren Shu) and (so I have been told) I carry Japanese ancestry as well.

The only shocker that I have run into is the requirement that one must MANDATORILY have a four year college degree -- even if the prospective employer does not require such -- and a two year degree is apparently not acceptable! This is a problem for me as I live for the moment(outside of Switzerland) in a place where higher education that offers 4 year degrees are horribly expensive (非常に高い!) and inaccessable to those less fortunate on an economic or financial level. I only wish that this would be relaxed a bit.

Also Domestic partnership. It would be so nice if the Japanese government would reconsider and allow for domestic relationships that are not necessarily exclusively heterosexual in nature to bring their "significant others" to live with them in Japan proper. Otherwise, I am already considered to be "Japanese" in my mannerism and culture. 私も自分の日本語に取り組んでいます。

どうもありがとうございました! 星の子