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Maciamo
Jun 27, 2003, 19:52
If one thing characterise Japanese people, it's the uniformity of their way of thinking and beliefs. They sometimes hold some kind of believes in order to distinguish themselves from the rest of the world (something they love doing). nfortunately for them, lots of these are just myths. For example :

1) 4 seasons

Japan is (one of the) only country to have 4 seasons

No need to explain why this is plain stupid, as Japan doesn't even have much light difference between summer and winter, like in Europe. So no tennis at 9pm in summer and no going to school/work when it's dark at 8:30am.

Everywhere in Europe and in most of North America, there are colourful autumn leaves, snow in winter, flowers in spring and hot summer days. Japan is far from unique. Even for cherry blossoms... Korea and China also have cherry, plum and peach blossoms galore, enough to advertise them on the official tourist websites.

2)Farmers vs hunters

Japanese have a majority of A blood type, because their society is based on farming, while Westerners are O, because they were hunters. This opposition farmer-hunter also explains the difference of Western individualism vs Japanese collectivism.

If the blood types proportion have some thruth, the analysis that goes with it (farmers >< hunters) is completely erroneous.

Actually it is the opposite.
Farming came to Japan when the Roman Empire had already extended to its maximum and was on its way downwards. Agriculture came to Europe from several millenia (Greece) to several centuries (Northern Europe) before Japan. Farming has always been as important since then than any time in the Japanese history.

I believe that Japanese prefer to consider themselves as traditionally "farmers" rather "hunters" because it sounds more civilised (others are just barbarians living in caves and wearing animal skins ! :atchoo: ). They maybe just think it fits more their peaceful and group-minded attitude. Thinking about how many times I have heard this argument in Japan, they must feel some kind of hidden pride in being the farmers. Sorry to disappoint them, but history shows they are actually one the the latest people in Eurasia to have acquire agriculture.

3) European mentality is uniform

So do most Japanese think. There is probably more difference between an Englishman and an Italian, a Finn and a Spaniard or a Greek and an Irishman, than between an Italian and a Japanese. Japanese tend to believe that all Westerners are the same, and many base their image on the American stereotype. That is as saying that carrots, apples, cabbages, cherries and nuts are all the same because they are not meat or fish. Gross overgeneralisation.

4) What is (traditionally) Japanese and what is imported

Lots of Japanese seem to have a problem with that. Some would believe that the classical music in their commercial (Mozart, Vivaldi, Chopin, Strauss....) is actually modern Japanese music created for the commercials. Other will tell you that French food in Japan is much better than in France, but have never actually set foot in France ! All Japanese are convinced that tonkatsu is a Japanese dish because it bears a Japanese name and is served in 和風 (wafuu : Japanese style) restaurants. Italian have had scallopine milanese and French cotelette de porc panee for ages. Tonkatsu is only one more Japanese import. As everybody know, Japanese were vegetarians before Meiji, and such kind of food didn't actually become popular before the 1950's or later.

But what they really have hard to distinguish is the origin of modern traditions that have Japanese names, such as "mother and father's day "(haha no hi, chichi no hi). I've heard so many times : "In Japan we have mother's day, what about Europe ?" But it IS European in origin ! Same for valentine's day (though "white day" is a Japanese invention) or even sending greeting cards on New Year's day, which falls on the first of January (Japan has adopted Western calendar, not the opposite). As always, people the more at risk of comitting such aberration are those who have never left Japan.

arnadstephen
Jun 28, 2003, 08:28
Other will tell you that French food in Japan is much better than in France


Indian food in Malaysia/Signapore is better than Indian food in INDIA

This is true, I have been to INDIA and MALAYISA/SIGNAPORE
_.

Iron Chef
Jun 28, 2003, 11:42
Great thread btw. When I was living in Sapporo, the notion of 4-seasons seemed utterly absurd. Hokkaido weather for me felt more like 6 months of Winter with Spring/Summer/Fall making up the other six, heh.
:)

miyuki
Jun 28, 2003, 20:21
I never think that Japan is the only country to have four seasons.
We can know it easily through movies or news or photos or web site
even if we have never left Japan.
Recently,as you know or as you see in the world,
soooo many Japaneses go abroad.
When we go abroad,we naturally check up seasons or wheather or temparature of visiting country.

But we often say,'Japanese loves seasons.'
What bases on,I guess...
I guess we have many words to discribe nature or wheather in each seasons.
And we have many craft works or arts in the motif of plants or flowers.
By comparering their sences and mine,I can know my sences or feelings are gross.
The one that tells me such thing is the tradition,isn't it?

It is true that some year's events look like tradition
are related to commercializm.(for example, to eat makizushi-sushi roll-
at Setsubun.)
And the Japanese postal system was institute in 1871,so exchanging new year's cards were later.
;)

Maciamo
Jun 28, 2003, 22:46
Originally posted by miyuki
I never think that Japan is the only country to have four seasons.
We can know it easily through movies or news or photos or web site
even if we have never left Japan.
Recently,as you know or as you see in the world,
soooo many Japaneses go abroad.
When we go abroad,we naturally check up seasons or wheather or temparature of visiting country.

That is for you, but how do you explain that at least 10 people asked me if we had 4 seasons in Europe, which is quite a lot as I don't speak about seasons with everybody you know...
What is shocking is that even people who have travelled still don't know that Europe or the US have seasons.

What's more so many people seem surprised to hear that there are cherry blossom in other countries too. Why would there be cherries and not cherry trees and blossoms ?

mdchachi
Jun 28, 2003, 22:55
What's more so many people seem surprised to hear that there are cherry blossom in other countries too. Why would there be cherries and not cherry trees and blossoms ?

They must be talking about sakura and not just any old variety of cherry. Obviously they know there are trees that produce the American cherries that they see in the supermarket but they probably don't relate the two. Actually, I don't know how the fruit-bearing tree looks when in bloom. Is it similar to the standard (yoshino) sakura?

miyuki
Jun 29, 2003, 00:18
Someiyoshino has small fruits.They are uneatable.

I know an episode about George Washington.
He broke branches of 'sakura.'
I read it in a magazine for children when I was small.
Some of them(or some of 10?) read it and may forget it... ;)

Elizabeth
Jun 29, 2003, 01:15
Originally posted by miyuki
Someiyoshino has small fruits.They are uneatable.

I know an episode about George Washington.
He broke branches of 'sakura.'
I read it in a magazine for children when I was small.
Some of them(or some of 10?) read it and may forget it... ;)
Anyway, the Japanese government and private cultural exchange groups have gifted millions of cherry trees to foreign dignitaries, heads of state, aid organizations etc for at least 100 years now, so they are obviously out there somewhere.

Another myth would probably be that somewhere around 90-98% of Japanese consider themselves part of the chuusan kaikyuu or middle class. :giggle: Atlhough to be fair, that may have been more of an urban myth to begin with, depending on the particular survey and how the questions were worded. I've also seen the number as low as 20 percent in some studies.

Maciamo
Jun 29, 2003, 12:19
There is also the firm conviction that Japanese rice is better than others (at least 99% of Japanese will tell you that it is true). However, when given Japanese and American rice, most Japanese can't tell which is the Japanese one. There are so many rice varieties, that it's obviously easy to find very differently tasting ones, like Indian basmati or Thai rice. But Japanese rice with Indian food is strange, and I certainly can't imagine sushi or "katsudon" made of basmati.

Same idea for Japanese fruits, especially melons, strawberries or peaches. But once again, I've carried on my own test on some people and they have no idea which is made in Japan, or even can't tell the 10.000 yen from the 500 yen one. Nevertheless, some of these people were certain the 10.000 yen tatsed much better. :giggle:

Tiger
Jun 30, 2003, 04:45
"If one thing characterise Japanese people, it's the uniformity of their way of thinking and beliefs."

If one thing characterizes foreigners, it's the uniformity of their way of thinking that all Japanese people are the same.

Ok, not true... But when are people going to stop making these sweeping statements along the lines of "all Japanese think this... all Japanese do that..." Forgive my raised eyebrows, but it's a bit rich to make comments about how Japanese people make "gross-generalizations" when your entire posting was exactly that.

By the way, many people think we have 5 seasons in Japan (summer being split into rainy and non-rainy seasons).

Tiger

NANGI
Jun 30, 2003, 11:03
Konnichiwa Minasan!

about 4 seasons.
The Japanese don't know the inclination of the earth's axis and revolution of the earth around the sun. The Japanese believe the Ptolemaic system even now.:D

about farmers vs hunters.
The God got an offering with great glee from Abel but not Kain. And the Japanese believe that the monotheism believer is a hunting people.:D

about European mentality is uniform.
Because all European obey the Bible. Puritan? Protestant? They are not a Christian without Catholicism.:D

about what is (traditionally) Japanese and what is imported
Because the Japanese believe that the ancestor of Japanese is Judea(Jew).:D

about sakura.
The Japanese love Sakura because the Japanese believe that the forbidden fruit is cherry.:D

about the chuusan kaikyuu.
Yes, most of all Japanese is the chuusan kaikyuu. Because we are all equal before the God without a heathen.:D

about Japanese rice and fruits.
The Japanese believe that Japanese things is better and high priced Japanese things is best. And the Japanese don't understand why the Bible is given free of charge.:D

NANGI

Maciamo
Jun 30, 2003, 11:23
Nangi-san, you really should realise that most younger Europeans don't give a sh*t about religion nowadays. Have you ever visited churches in Europe ? I mean non touristical ones. They are empty during the mass. Only elderly people still attend, and not even half of them. That's a big contrast with the States where even politicians read bibles and people are asked to swear by God or on the bible in Court (unbelievable in Europe, as it is clearly against individual freedom of religion and thinking).

I also recommend the reading of We Europeans, Richard Hill (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/9074440118/ref=sr_aps_books_1_1/026-2231892-3655669), which explains very clearly the difference in mentality and culture between more than 20 European countries (a chapter for each country + comparisons, historical roots of differences and more). It's quite easy and enjoyable to read. I've met the author during one of his seminar when I was at University, felt immediately compelled to buy the book and it captivated me so much that I couldn't put it down till I'd finished it.

http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/9074440118.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg

Maciamo
Jun 30, 2003, 11:47
Originally posted by Tiger
Ok, not true... But when are people going to stop making these sweeping statements along the lines of "all Japanese think this... all Japanese do that..." Forgive my raised eyebrows, but it's a bit rich to make comments about how Japanese people make "gross-generalizations" when your entire posting was exactly that.

By the way, many people think we have 5 seasons in Japan (summer being split into rainy and non-rainy seasons).
Tiger [/B]

Once a majority (over 50%) of the population think one way or another, it's not a gross-generalization to make the comments I make. What's more, ask any Japanese if these things aren't true for most people, even if it isn't for themselves. Or just make your own survey by asking people their opinion (or better get to hear them without asking, like me).

Besides, I've never said that all Japanese thought the same way about these issues, because 1) that's impossible, 2) I don't have this knowledge 3) I usually use "most people" or "a majority of people", but NOT "all people" when I want to speak of a general tendency affecting more than 50% of the people.

5 seasons

Once again, if you ask 1000 Japanese in the street if Japan has 5 seasons, can you frankly expect more than 5 answering "yes" ? I don't think so, except if you explain your logic that the rainy season is a season in itself. One of the word for season in Japanese (as I know 4 possible translations) is "shiki" 四季, which literally means "the 4 seasons". But there isn't such a word as "goki" 五季 (the 5 seasons). With this logic, I could divide some countries' climate in 6 or 8 seasons, though no inhabitant of that country would ever think about it. What about the typhoon season, the hunt season, the "kouyou"
紅葉 season, the ski season and the cherry-blossom viewing season (10 days, not all Spring). Japanese also know these seasons and call them like that. But you are wrong to think anybody would seriously think they are seasons on their own, outside the 4 seasons. Ditto for the tsuyu 梅雨 (rainy season).

Tiger
Jun 30, 2003, 16:15
If you want to point out majority opinion, state it as people so. Your opening paragraph was blatantly written to sound as if Japanese people think this way as a unit, even if you didn't intend this to be the case. Personally I don't really care whether you meant it or not.

On the 5 seasons issue - it was just a throwaway comment, not some kind of big debating point. It's more of a lighthearted view in Japan that there are 5 seasons - an old joke if you like, but not perhaps one that you may have heard. Of course people know that there are only 4.

Tiger

NANGI
Jul 1, 2003, 23:24
Konnichiwa Maciamo-san!

Thank Maciamo-san for recommendation of good book. Book is a history of mankind. And reading a good book can sometimes change one's outlook on life. :note:

But my former post is a laughable text but not serious. And you should hold your sides with laughter but not recommend a book when you read my post. Don't take my joke seriously.
Or, do you believing seriously that the ancestor of Japanese is Judea(Jew)?:D

And you didn't understand the point of my former post. The point is a affirmation about Japanese myths but not a joke. I wrote a laughable text from some of opinions about Japanese myth. But I never denied those opinions. If anything, I agreed to those opinions by sneer at Japanese foolish idea.:cool:

My joke is unimportant, the point of my former post is a approve of Japanese myths. We talk about Japanese myths now and European religion have no connection with this thread. You should not stick to trifles.
But thanks for recommendation of good book.:bow:

NANGI

Maciamo
Jul 2, 2003, 01:54
Sorry for the misunderstanding. I knew you were joking in your comments... As fo the book, I meant that I recommend it to everybody, Europeans included, not just you Nangi-san.

Nonetheless, I'd be happy if Japanese (and Americans) had a kind of world history, geography and culture class at school. You seem to know quite a lot about history, religion, etc., but most Japanese know very little outside Japan, even those having lived abroad, to my disappointment. How comes that among dozens of Japanese I know have lived in Europe (usually in the UK or France) for 1 year or more still don't know basic historico-cultural things, such as distiguishing ethinco-linguistic groups (Latin, Germanic, Celtic, Slavic...), knowing the difference between Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox, and knowing that most people nowadays are either agnostic, deist or atheist, having a bit of knowledge about Ancient Greece and Rome, knowing a few fundemental dates (in Britain : 1066, William the conqueror's Normand invasion, 1815 : Waterloo, etc.). These are as basic as knowing the name and dates of Japanese eras, knowing the difference between Shinto and Buddhism or that Ainu once inhabited the North of Japan. Most Westerners in Japan know about these things because they want to know about the country they live or travel in (and it's written in every guidebook too), even if it's just for 1 month. How comes that Japanese who study so hard, go to juku till late at night, to yobiko, all learn English several years, and travel so much, have such false stereotypes about the rest of the world ?

I included the learning of English in the list, because I find it to be normal to learn the history and culture that go with the language one learn. That is how I've been taught languages at school and in countries where I've lived (also in my Japanese school in Tokyo). I've since quite a few English textbooks used in Japanese schools, and there is almost nothing cultural about them. So children grow up thinking that America, Europe and Australia are more or less the same country, with white people that all speak English and behave the same way.

Grachan
Jul 3, 2003, 19:07
Originally posted by Maciamo
Other will tell you that French food in Japan is much better than in France, but have never actually set foot in France !

This made me laugh a bit. We went to a restaurant in England, although it was a French restaurant. My wife's friend actually remarked that the food wasn't as good as what she called 'Japanese French'. I think, to a degree, French is seen as a style rather than the actual country of origin.

pimpia
Mar 20, 2005, 22:34
I toally agree with U Maciamo. Because I`m also a forigner who live in japan for two years. They have myths like that some times they think that the Kite is origin in japan. :embarasse And they think that all over the worl useing the Japanese language to communicate.
And also that`s true that japanese think that they are the only people have oranges, strawberry, melon... I`m not from a europian country but asian. Yes it`s true that we don`t have melon except other three.

Index
Mar 21, 2005, 19:33
I'd like to add some observations just to help keep perspective in this thread; firstly, I think it is important to remember who one is talking to, when hearing these outrageous statements (eg. only Japan has certain fruits or four seasons). The first conclusion I would draw from comments of this nature is that Japan has, like other countries, a significant number of naive, misinformed and badly educated buffoons. Is the cross-section of society that is giving these opinions representative of Japanese? Have you spoken about these issues with people from other social, professional, or educational backgrounds?

Some would argue that they have a lot of contact with Japanese of all sorts through their work, at places like Nova, Berlitz or any of the other big language schools. These schools, however, also attract only a certain cross section of society, and it could be suggested that the students which are attracted are the ones who know least about foreign countries (hence their desire to learn something at these schools), are the most naive and unexperienced (and so are partial to being manipulated into attending these pseudo-schools by advertising, and paying their ridiculously high tuition fees), and are the ones who have nothing else better to do than learn English as a hobby (which could be associated with not having a job or better options in life, both of which are factors related to education).

I am not implying of course that anyone who has opinions in this thread is an English teacher at Nova, but rather, that it is important to recognize the relative weight and value of one's observations.

As an aside, I sometimes wonder whether Japanese people are somewhat more likely to admit to their ignorance in certain matters much more readily than the corresponding 'dimwit' of a western country....I had this feeling a number of times whilst in Japan. It's possible that this is a phenomenon found in interactions between a Japanese person and a foreigner, since the Japanese person may feel like he suddenly has an opportunity to get some information from a 'genuine' foreigner, and/or is speaking to 'only' a foreigner so he is safe in revealing the extent of his ignorance.

I'd also like to point out the concept of humble language, which exits in Japanese. It's purpose is to honor your interlocutor by humbling yourself and in essence putting yourself down. Since this idea exists in language (which, it can be argued, is thought), it could also conceivably be observable in other aspects of verbal behaviour such as the topic of conversation, and one's (presented) attitudes and beliefs. This does not seem too outrageous in light of what is said about the fluidity of morals and ethics (in relation to context) of Japanese thinking. If this were the case, then it would not be unthinkable that a Japanese speaker would be humbling himself (through humbling of his opinions, education, views etc) in order to put you (as represented by your culture and country) in a better light.

Maciamo
Mar 21, 2005, 23:39
Is the cross-section of society that is giving these opinions representative of Japanese? Have you spoken about these issues with people from other social, professional, or educational backgrounds?

I mostly frequent university-educated business people working in central Tokyo (mosty in finance, banking, IT, etc.). Id say that once we get to more ordinary people, the percentage of "bufoons" as uou called them, rises to astronomical proportions. But even among these well-educated elite, I have heard many very gross misconceptions. My job involves meeting lot's of people, and talking about many things, and the most deeply-ingrained misconceptions in all socio-economic classes (again rising as the social level decreases) were about the 4 seasons, food, blood groups and all the hings I cared to mentioned in this article (http://www.wa-pedia.com/culture/misconceptions_prejudices.shtml) (note that this thread is almost 2 years old).


These schools, however, also attract only a certain cross section of society, and it could be suggested that the students which are attracted are the ones who know least about foreign countries

I don't teach at a school (I go directly to companies), and I'd say that most of the people I meet have already been either to Europe or America or both (in addition to Asian countries). I'd say the ignorance is even worse (the type "Do you have melons in Europe") once we talk to people who haven't travelled at all (eg. some of my wife's friends). I have actually been asked the 4 season question by people who had studied a year abroad and travelled extensively ! So far, nobody who I asked me about blood groups didn't believe that the higher O-type rate among Westerners was due to the fact that the Japanese were "farmers" and Europeans were "hunters". :mad:


As an aside, I sometimes wonder whether Japanese people are somewhat more likely to admit to their ignorance in certain matters much more readily than the corresponding 'dimwit' of a western country....

It's not even that they admit it, they start asking dumb questions and display their ignorance, just out of the blue. Who else would do that ? Very often, they don't even ask because they want to know, but they are persuaded that most countries don't have 4 seasons and that the Japanese were farming earlier than the Europeans and that it has influenced blood groups, or other nonsense.




I'd also like to point out the concept of humble language, which exits in Japanese. It's purpose is to honor your interlocutor by humbling yourself and in essence putting yourself down. Since this idea exists in language (which, it can be argued, is thought), it could also conceivably be observable in other aspects of verbal behaviour such as the topic of conversation, and one's (presented) attitudes and beliefs. This does not seem too outrageous in light of what is said about the fluidity of morals and ethics (in relation to context) of Japanese thinking. If this were the case, then it would not be unthinkable that a Japanese speaker would be humbling himself (through humbling of his opinions, education, views etc) in order to put you (as represented by your culture and country) in a better light.

So far, the questions I was asked almost always indirectly put Japan above the West (since the connection to the nihonjinron), and I have rarely (if ever, outside a shop) been addressed in keigo (humble/honorific language) by Japanese people when we discuss in Japanese.

den4
Mar 22, 2005, 08:03
you teach at companies? That's a scary thought....I used to do the same thing.... :D
I think I understand some of why you come up with these threads, Maciamo-sama :D

Index
Mar 22, 2005, 09:27
I wasn't directing what I wrote at you Maciamo, specifically, but you brought up some interesting points.

The education/development system, or maybe I should say tradition, in Japan is peculiar to say the least. Firstly there is the total freedom of youth before starting school, followed by the hard slog of school and cram schools, which is again followed by the relaxed and laisser faire environment of university, once again followed by the strictness of work. But anyway, most university students really seem to have an easy time. Most work part time (sometimes full time), and there is not much insisitence on academic affairs on behalf of the lecturers and staff. I had a friend who had not written her graduation thesis on time and so was told by her superviser that she should write one page, photocopy it one or two hundred times and subimit that. Of course that is just one case, but it is interesting. My point is that a university education in Japan doesn't guarantee much, just as a secondary education in western countries doesn't guarantee much.



So far, the questions I was asked almost always indirectly put Japan above the West (since the connection to the nihonjinron), and I have rarely (if ever, outside a shop) been addressed in keigo (humble/honorific language) by Japanese people when we discuss in Japanese.

I wasn't suggesting being addressed in keigo per se, but being addressed with the attitude of keigo. I have rarely met non-native English speakers in Japan who speak English well enough to be able to operate in a way reminiscent of Japanese keigo in English. On the other hand, I wouldn't feel comfortable having a Japanese conversation in keigo either (frankly, I don't know keigo well at all), but I have been spoken to with that mood.

GaijinPunch
Mar 22, 2005, 11:56
I think my favorite Japanese myth is that virgins have pink nipples, and they slowly get darker as they have more sex.

Maciamo
Mar 22, 2005, 12:58
I think my favorite Japanese myth is that virgins have pink nipples, and they slowly get darker as they have more sex.

Never heard that one before. Is that only nipples ?

Maciamo
Mar 22, 2005, 13:04
you teach at companies? That's a scary thought....I used to do the same thing....
I think I understand some of why you come up with these threads, Maciamo-sama

What kind of companies did you teach at (and what level) ? Why would that be a scary thought ? I found people in big Japanese (or Western) companies to be usually better educated than people with a "arubaito" or doing non-intellectual jobs. But even the most educated ones still stick to stereotypes and misconceptions, something that would not normally happen to someone with the same education level in Europe.

PopCulturePooka
Mar 22, 2005, 17:32
I found the big company salarymen to be the dumbest, most mind numbingly boring and hygienically appalling of my students.

Maciamo
Mar 22, 2005, 17:47
I found the big company salarymen to be the dumbest, most mind numbingly boring and hygienically appalling of my students.

Did you teach managers, accountants and company presidents or floor-level staff, salespeople and secretaries ?

PopCulturePooka
Mar 22, 2005, 19:34
Did you teach managers, accountants and company presidents or floor-level staff, salespeople and secretaries ?
Accountants can be low level. Thats like a double dose of boring. Also one or two managers.

IBM system engineers were a big one. Our school was very close to the IBM R&D center so they all came to my NOVA.

A heart surgeon whose breath smelt like... bad things.

Mike Cash
Mar 22, 2005, 20:12
Never heard that one before. Is that only nipples ?

Nope. Labia too.

DoctorP
Mar 22, 2005, 20:14
Nope. Labia too.

I thought it just happened with age...I didn't realize that it was tied to virginity! :-)

Maciamo
Mar 22, 2005, 20:49
I thought it just happened with age...I didn't realize that it was tied to virginity! :-)

It suppose that skin colour also plays a role.

Ewok85
Mar 22, 2005, 22:24
I've been having some fun discussions with my girlfriend, who it seems accepts whatever she is told as a barefaced fact and thats that.

She was going on about the high levels of crime in Japan that are carried out by those nasty Korean and Chinese illegals, and that any Japanese person can spot them a mile away! So out comes http://www.alllooksame.com/ and she scored 3/18, which made her listen a bit better as I explained the last 200 years in Asia and the various going ons, covered basic Australian and American history and surprised her on a few points. "Why do the chinese and koreans hate us so much!?" google "nanking massacre" and the Jref news section. No apologies for this, no trials. I've met a few German people and they have always know about their countries past and the evils carried out by the Nazi party, the acknowledge it and are disgusted in the same way I am. But in Japan?...

Then it dawned on me, all I ever remember being taught in high school in Japan was ancient history in meaningless detail (ie. blow by blow account of the Byzatine empire, zzzz) or Japanese history with no holds barred! ("And what meal was eaten by the 4th Shogun at his 32nd birthday?"). Nothing modern or of any use. And when the often said idea of "Japanese people are unique and all the same" came up I asked "so where did they come from? Ainu? Or perhaps... KOREA?!".

Now you get an interesting reaction to this kind of statement, I suggest you try it some time. Makes for interesting discussion at the very least.

Got a few other things, but they can wait a day or so :D

Ma Cherie
Mar 23, 2005, 05:06
Since I've been on this forum I was able to gather some insight about misconceptions the japanese have towards the outside world. But the only I want to ask is what's being done to change the mentality? This is all I would like to know. :p

den4
Mar 23, 2005, 05:43
What kind of companies did you teach at (and what level) ? Why would that be a scary thought ? I found people in big Japanese (or Western) companies to be usually better educated than people with a "arubaito" or doing non-intellectual jobs. But even the most educated ones still stick to stereotypes and misconceptions, something that would not normally happen to someone with the same education level in Europe.

I taught at all sorts of companies in and around the Concrete jungle of Tokyo and the surrounding satellite cities. Since we were basically sent to the client (company) for an in-house Engrish (I mean English) instruction, it went anywhere from average "What is your name?" level to some assistance with translations from Japanese to English, or preparing speeches for clients that were heading out overseas (mostly to US or Canada), or advanced level conversation debate classes to ensure the clients' level of English did not deteriorate once they returned to their regular jobs once again.
Yes, you are very correct that even the advanced level folks held certain stereotypes and misconceptions, but usually they were of a level to debate the validity of such notions amongst each other, so that tended to be a plus.
I rarely taught children's level stuff, since most of our clients were in large companies...although I do recall having to test potential clients once at a company, and when the student went into a state near catatonic panic at having to speak in English, that tended to be somewhat "disturbing."

Why is it scary? Well, I figure it is frightening that you probably had to go through the same sort of nonsense I had to at those types of corporation-as-client classes.....and so, I can understand why you pose the questions that you do.....
I could be way off base, of course, but from the nature of most of your commentaries, I suspect I'm not too far off the mark.... :D

Maciamo
Mar 23, 2005, 10:51
Since I've been on this forum I was able to gather some insight about misconceptions the japanese have towards the outside world. But the only I want to ask is what's being done to change the mentality? This is all I would like to know.

If something was being done, I would not be complaining so much about it. I am sometimes appalled to see that many Japanese know very well how poor and dysfunctional their education system is. The news tell them all the time. The Japanese are the world's 3rd worst performers in TOEFL (=English language) tests, they are among the worst at learning languages in general, they cannot debate, lack critical sense, have an almost inexistent knowledge of geography, geopolitics and world history. But I haven't heard that the government was going to tackle any of these issues (well yes, I heard about 2 years ago that they wanted to introduce "debate classes" but haven't heard it had been approved).

Anyway, the wrong has already been done. All the people above the age of 17 will not benefit from any changes to come, so that most of the active population will remain basically ignorant of the world and bad at speaking languages or thinking by themselves for at least 2 more generations (as people who are 20 now will still be working in 40 years from now, and the 6-year old now will only start working in 15-20 years from now).

Maciamo
Mar 23, 2005, 10:59
Why is it scary? Well, I figure it is frightening that you probably had to go through the same sort of nonsense I had to at those types of corporation-as-client classes.....and so, I can understand why you pose the questions that you do.....
I could be way off base, of course, but from the nature of most of your commentaries, I suspect I'm not too far off the mark.... :D

I think we had a similar work experience, and heard similar nonsense then. I have to say that a few of my students are really interesting and more "world-aware" than average. But they are exceptions, peope who have actually lived abroad and are very interested in at least one particular country (eg. the UK or the USA), or who frequently travel to Western countries for research purposes (for their job). Some less tarvelled people are also more careful in their questions and do not ask dumb questions. I'd say that only about 3/4 of the people I have met ask dumb questions (which is a lot, but leaves a good 1/4). But rare are the people who have never been to Europe or America (apart from Hawaii), who do not have strong misconceptions (even if they have been to Asian countries).

den4
Mar 24, 2005, 03:23
If something was being done, I would not be complaining so much about it. I am sometimes appalled to see that many Japanese know very well how poor and dysfunctional their education system is. The news tell them all the time. The Japanese are the world's 3rd worst performers in TOEFL (=English language) tests, they are among the worst at learning languages in general, they cannot debate, lack critical sense, have an almost inexistent knowledge of geography, geopolitics and world history. But I haven't heard that the government was going to tackle any of these issues (well yes, I heard about 2 years ago that they wanted to introduce "debate classes" but haven't heard it had been approved).

Anyway, the wrong has already been done. All the people above the age of 17 will not benefit from any changes to come, so that most of the active population will remain basically ignorant of the world and bad at speaking languages or thinking by themselves for at least 2 more generations (as people who are 20 now will still be working in 40 years from now, and the 6-year old now will only start working in 15-20 years from now).

You are right about the debate aspect of their education. When confronted in a debate fashion, very few people (students included) had any effective reasons they could offer in response to a challenge. Many that did offer an opinion used old, outdated misconceptions or cliched information that did nothing to better their arguments. I found the best way to get them out of this mode of thinking was to get them into an izakaya or pub, where, partially inebriated, they were less guarded of their opinions and more open about their personal thoughts. Having done this, of course, led to much amusing conversations about other more in depth misconceptions, but their opinions were not so filled with stock answers they are used to using in the classroom.

About the only way I have seen where the folks got rid of their misconceptions was to actually live in another country for a number of years. But like you have mentioned, even this doesn't always work.... :D

darg
Mar 25, 2005, 13:22
Now Maciamo, you seem to think that this stupidity is an inherant (or maybe learned) Japanese trait, but I'd say it's more just a simple case of ignorance and misinformation. People that ask you such questions most likely have had limited contact with the world outside of Japan and are just spouting off the rediculous things they've been taught. This happens the world round though, the Japanese are not "uniquely" stupid.

You say that you've observed this behavior in both Japanese people that have traveled abroad and those that haven't. Well in my experience, Japanese that have lived abroad don't make such stupid generalizations. Maybe if they've just gone to another country on business and haven't really had a chance to actually experience the culture then they'd come out of the situation with little effect to their opinions based on misinformation spoon-fed to them by Japanese media and schools, but if they've lived there for a significant period of time this isn't really the case. Talk to some people that have done a study abroad or have lived/worked abroad and you'll get much more reasonable responses to these questions. You can avoid cultural interaction if you're only there for a week or 2, especially if bogged down with meetings and work, but if you live there for any signifigant amount of time (even just a few months) you can't.

Also, ignorance of international affairs isn't specific to any one region of the world. I've heard some pretty stupid questions about Japan from Americans around me, and some equally rediculous and sweeping generalizations about places outside of America. I think something like 2/3 of Americans don't even have a passport, and a similar proportion probably couldn't point out Afghanistan or Iraq on a world map, even though Bush has sent troops to both of these places in the past 5 years! If you've ever talked to anyone from China or North Korea, you'd know about all the crazy things their government and media feeds them... it could be worse, believe me.

Finally, people know details about things they care about. I'm interested in Japan so I know the language and many cultural peculiarities, but I probably don't know things about Europe that you'd consider general knowledge because frankly, I'm just not interested. If a Japanese person isn't interested in the US, then I wouldn't be surprised if they ask me some stupid question like whether I have a gun or if everyone I know goes to church. The more interested they are, the more I would expect them to research such things and come up with informed opinions.

Maciamo
Mar 25, 2005, 14:56
People that ask you such questions most likely have had limited contact with the world outside of Japan and are just spouting off the rediculous things they've been taught. This happens the world round though, the Japanese are not "uniquely" stupid.

This thread is a bit old. Have you read this one (http://www.wa-pedia.com/culture/misconceptions_prejudices.shtml) on the same topic ?

I am sorry, but I have lived in 6 countries and travelled to over 40, and I don't think this kind of misconceptions are so common "the world round". Certainly not where I come from.


You say that you've observed this behavior in both Japanese people that have traveled abroad and those that haven't. Well in my experience, Japanese that have lived abroad don't make such stupid generalizations. Maybe if they've just gone to another country on business and haven't really had a chance to actually experience the culture then they'd come out of the situation with little effect to their opinions based on misinformation spoon-fed to them by Japanese media and schools, but if they've lived there for a significant period of time this isn't really the case.

You shouldn't need to travel a lot or actually live in a country to know the basic things I mentioned in the article in link above. As you said misinformation is "spoon-fed to them by Japanese media and schools". I have nothing against the people who say such stupid things. I am just angry at how institutionalised such misconceptions and prejudices are in Japan. As I mentioned in the article in link, I think this has a connection with the government trying to subtly instil the ideas of nihonjinron into the minds of the masses. And unfortunately, they have succeeded brilliantly. As a result, most Japanese are utterly lost and surprised when they go abroad, and if they don't, they somehow feel that Japan is culturally or morally superior to the rest of the world.


I've heard some pretty stupid questions about Japan from Americans around me, and some equally rediculous and sweeping generalizations about places outside of America. I think something like 2/3 of Americans don't even have a passport, and a similar proportion probably couldn't point out Afghanistan or Iraq on a world map, even though Bush has sent troops to both of these places in the past 5 years! If you've ever talked to anyone from China or North Korea, you'd know about all the crazy things their government and media feeds them... it could be worse, believe me.

I am a bit tired of saying this, but Americans are apperently worse than the Japanese. My reference is Europe, not the US. I could start criticising American people for being ignorant of the world too, but this website is dedicated to Japan, and I haven't got enough experience of the US to find the root of the problem. What's more, people in the US are very mixed and there are huge differences in knowledge of the world between the people, while it is much more uniformous in Japan. It seems clear that the problem in Japan stems from the government,who misinform its citizens through the education and media on purpose, for the reasons I mentioned in the article in link.

[quoyte]Finally, people know details about things they care about. I'm interested in Japan so I know the language and many cultural peculiarities, but I probably don't know things about Europe that you'd consider general knowledge because frankly, I'm just not interested. If a Japanese person isn't interested in the US, then I wouldn't be surprised if they ask me some stupid question like whether I have a gun or if everyone I know goes to church. The more interested they are, the more I would expect them to research such things and come up with informed opinions.[/QUOTE]

This is true, but I think there is a minimum knowledge that should be taught by the compulsory education system. This includes, in geography, the name, capitals and flags of every countries in the world (of course, some change with time, but if they could at least recognise those they have learnt), knowing about the different types of climates and riughly where they are found (so as not to think that France is tropical and Congo is temperate ;-) ). If you disagree (or other Americans on this forum), then that is the difference of cultural values between me (a North-Western European) and you (an US citizen).

I have been raised like that, and can't understand how people could graduate even from highschool without this basic knowledge (+ the basics of history, sciences, languages, maths, etc.). I have been told that secondary education was designed in a way so that any student completing highschool should be able to choose any subject at university. But the education system I followed was probably stricter than in most countries in the world. Some will call it elitist, but for me it is just standard (and everything that is less good is therefore inferior). The funniest thing is that I found my education system to be already too easy and primitive, and only hoped to be taught some more serious stuff, but I know that not everybody share my craving for knowledge, so the current system should suffice for ordinary people.

It is sad that some other developed countries like the US and Japan have such low academic requirements. That fosters leaders ignorant of history and geopolitics like GW Bush that can only be seen with contempt by the rest of the world.

YAMA
Mar 25, 2005, 18:33
Hi, I'm new to this Forum. I'm a Japanese who live in Australia.
I think when Japanese people ask Europeans if they have four seasons in Europe, they just wanted to break the ice.
It is true we taught at school that our country is a beautiful country which has four distinguish seasons.
But it doesn't mean that we've been taught "No other counties have four seasons like we have in Japan. "
Some Japanese people(like myself) pretend to be naive when they speak to foreigners because they are not confident to carry on a complicated conversation in English.

lexico
Mar 25, 2005, 19:30
You've found the forum's hottest thread on you first post. Are you into stocks or lottery by any chance ? :D
when Japanese people ask Europeans if they have four seasons in Europe, they just wanted to break the ice.Your example can be compared to the British comment on weather, or the French, Italian, Spanish, German or American reference to "it." It can be a million different things, but the first thing that comes to mind in the langauges (if anyone cared to think about what "it" meant) is weather/climate. Comment ca va, Buon giorno, Buenos diez, Guten tag, How is it going, Nice day ! The expressiong "I'm having a bad day" can also be argued as a metaphor springing from the original reference to the day's weather. I couldn't agree with you more on the "ice breaker." It would be unfortunate to take it as a pride-wielding, snobbish ice-pick. Who in their right minds would be that dumb or senile ?
It is true we taught at school that our country is a beautiful country which has four distinguish seasons. But it doesn't mean that we've been taught "No other counties have four seasons like we have in Japan."This is also true in Korea. Don't all countries do that to a degree ? How about China, Taiwan, Mongolia, Turkey, Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, or Greece ?
Some Japanese people(like myself) pretend to be naive when they speak to foreigners because they are not confident to carry on a complicated conversation in English. I think many refined cultures have in essence the same way of assuming ignorance. One wishes not to be pretending to know just because one has read a few lines in a book. How much can you trust a book ? The personal contact is highly valued in such sophisticated cultures, so it doesn't count if you knew anything beforehand. It becomes special knowledge only because the person you met told you "in person." It is also more scientific to ask a person from the country, rather than believing whatever's in the book. That's what I think ... although some from a less sophisticated culture may choose to disagree ... *feigning ignorance* :blush:

Nevertheless, there seems to be a small number of obstinate, prejudiced, supremacist, condescending individuals in any society, not only in Japan. Does anyone have an objective, numerical breakdown on "bigots statistics found worldwide by country/nationality/ethnic group/language group ?" I would be highly interested in examining such a list of reliable statistics.

That aside: Welcome to the forum, again, Yama-san ! :balloon:
Knowing that Australia is in the southern hemisphere, but not wanting to pretend to know anything about it without ever having set foot in your country of residence, if I may be so bold as to ask you:

"Are you having fair weather in your country ?"
"Are your four seasons exactly the same as what you've had in Japan ?"
"When does your spring, summer, autumn, and fall begin and end ?"
"Have you experienced snow in Australia ?"
"Have you noticed what might be related to global warming recently ?"
"How is it going with you ?" ;-)

YAMA
Mar 25, 2005, 22:06
Thank you for your reply, Lexico-san.

Befere I came to this forum, I have never imagined that asking "Do you have four seasons in your country?" is so offensive to some Western people.
I myself usually ask this question to foreigners. Most of the time, it is for ice breaker, but sometimes I really have no idea about their climate when I speak to people from countries such as Sudan or Lebanon.

I think the Japanese people feel the same sort of offense when asked
"Do you eat raw fish?" with a superior smile from Western people.

Fortunately, I have never asked this question in Australia, but when I traveled to Germany, I was asked this question and I was a little bit upset.

Anyway,I agree that we have to know more about other countries.

Lexico-san

"Are you having fair weather in your country ?"
Yes, we are.I love the sub-tropical climate in Brisbane.But sometimes it is too warm to me.

"Are your four seasons exactly the same as what you've had in Japan ?"
I arrived in here just 1month ago, so I can't say.But summer is similar to that of Tokyo's.

"When does your spring, summer, autumn, and fall begin and end ?"
Spring,Sep-Nov Summer,Dec-Feb,Autumn, Mar-may,Winter,Jun-Aug
It supposed to be Autumn now, but it's still hot.30℃!

Have you experienced snow in Australia ?"
Not yet.Maybe it will never snows in BNE.

"Have you noticed what might be related to global warming recently ?"
Before I came here I was in Melbourne,one day the maximum temperature dropped down to 13degrees in the middle of summer. I think something is going wrong in global weather system.

"How is it going with you ?"
I'm enjyoying my stay in Australia.Wonderful country!

Maciamo
Mar 26, 2005, 00:27
I think when Japanese people ask Europeans if they have four seasons in Europe, they just wanted to break the ice.


I couldn't agree with you more on the "ice breaker." It would be unfortunate to take it as a pride-wielding, snobbish ice-pick. Who in their right minds would be that dumb or senile ?

This was not the impression I had, as I was not usually asked this question at the beginning of a conversation, but maybe after talking for 30 minutes. It was almost never at the first meeting, but sometimes after a few months I had known the person (more often within the first 5 times I met those people though).


But it doesn't mean that we've been taught "No other counties have four seasons like we have in Japan. "

Funny because some Japanese (few, but yet), actually told me that they were told that only Japan had four seasons. Probably among less educated people, though.


I think many refined cultures have in essence the same way of assuming ignorance. One wishes not to be pretending to know just because one has read a few lines in a book. How much can you trust a book ? The personal contact is highly valued in such sophisticated cultures, so it doesn't count if you knew anything beforehand.

Do you mean that one cannot trust books about climates found around the world ? One cannot trust pictures of trees blossoming in spring, hot summers on the beach, red and yellow autumn leaves and snow in winter as you find in any travel book or brochures. Give me a break, will you! I have never been to China but I have seen plenty of pictures of the seasons. What's more with all those Western movies showing in Japan, it is just impossible not to know that Europe or the US also have clearly distinct seasons with about all the features found in Japan. I don't mind if they asked if there were cherry or plum blossoms in my country, but seasons ?? :?


"Are you having fair weather in your country ?"
"Are your four seasons exactly the same as what you've had in Japan ?"
"When does your spring, summer, autumn, and fall begin and end ?"
"Have you experienced snow in Australia ?"
"Have you noticed what might be related to global warming recently ?"

Australia is a huge country (almost twice bigger than the European Union), and most of it lies within the tropics. Therefore the weather will depend a lot on where Yama-san is staying. But you can reasonably guess than if he is staying in a tropical humid area like the north coast or subtropical like the north-east coast, it will be hot and humid, while if he is in the mediterean area (Perth, Adelaide, Sydney...), it will be autumn at this time of the year, although probably a bit warmer than in Japan. In Tasmania however, where the weather is cold temperate (just junior highschool knowledge), he might experience some weather more similar to most of Japan (including snow in winter).

Anyway, I was not asked any detailed questions about the European climate by any Japanese who asked me about the seasons. They mostly want to know if "my country has 4 seasons", then I have to explain that yes it does, and which region of Japan it is more similar to.

Maciamo
Mar 26, 2005, 00:34
I myself usually ask this question to foreigners. Most of the time, it is for ice breaker, but sometimes I really have no idea about their climate when I speak to people from countries such as Sudan or Lebanon.

First you say you ask this to Westerners, the you talk about Sudan and Lebanon. :? Anyway, it seems obvious to anybody who has seen a world map that Sudan is hot almost all year round (being partly in the Sahara desert) and Lebanon is forcedly mediteranean, as it is on the Mediteranean Sea.


I think the Japanese people feel the same sort of offense when asked
"Do you eat raw fish?" with a superior smile from Western people.

?? Where you asked if you eat raw fish by Westerners ? Do you mean, after you asked them if they can eat it and they said yes ?

Index
Mar 26, 2005, 00:42
First you say you ask this to Westerners, the you talk about Sudan and Lebanon. :? Anyway, it seems obvious to anybody who has seen a world map that Sudan is hot almost all year round (being partly in the Sahara desert) and Lebanon is forcedly mediteranean, as it is on the Mediteranean Sea.



?? Where you asked if you eat raw fish by Westerners ? Do you mean, after you asked them if they can eat it and they said yes ?

I think he wrote that he ased this of 'foreigners', not 'Westerners'. In regards to geography, I think Maciamo that you are pre-supposing too much about what others may or may not find obvious when looking at maps.

Asking non-Japanese about raw fish is justifiable I think, since eating raw fish is relatively rare outside Japan, especially Europe, Australia or the US.

YAMA
Mar 27, 2005, 13:36
Maciamo-san, hajimemashite. Comment allez vous?


Funny because some Japanese (few, but yet), actually told me that they were told that only Japan had four seasons. Probably among less educated people, though.

I agree with you that "a few" Japanese believe that "ONLY" Japan has four seasons.
And I would like you to know that majority of the Japanese do not think Japan is the "ONLY"country which has four seasons.
Please, believe me!

Hello, DZIENDOBRY Index-san.


Asking non-Japanese about raw fish is justifiable I think, since eating raw fish is relatively rare outside Japan, especially Europe, Australia or the US.

Yes, I Know. Most of the time they just don't know about our food culture.May be I am a little bit persecution mania, but sometimes I sense a sort of sneer.(Eat raw fish? What a barbarian!) :blush:

Here in Brisbane, you can find sushi takeaway shops everywhere. And sushi rolls are very popular among Aussies. :cool:

Index
Mar 27, 2005, 14:03
Hello, DZIENDOBRY Index-san.



Yes, I Know. Most of the time they just don't know about our food culture.May be I am a little bit persecution mania, but sometimes I sense a sort of sneer.(Eat raw fish? What a barbarian!) :blush:

Here in Brisbane, you can find sushi takeaway shops everywhere. And sushi rolls are very popular among Aussies. :cool:

I'm moving to the Gold Coast in May so I hope there are some good sushi restaurants!

YAMA
Mar 27, 2005, 14:33
I'm moving to the Gold Coast in May so I hope there are some good sushi restaurants!

Are you coming to Gold Coast?
I've been there only once, but there are a lot of Japanese restrants there.
Even you can find a raamen noodles restaurant.

Lamington National Park near Gold Coast is good for trecking. :-)
I went there yesterday.

PopCulturePooka
Mar 27, 2005, 21:54
Here in Brisbane, you can find sushi takeaway shops everywhere. And sushi rolls are very popular among Aussies. :cool:
But those sushi rolls here aren't very good at all!

Haha and the katsudon is TERRIBLE!

cicatriz esp
Mar 28, 2005, 05:42
Asking non-Japanese about raw fish is justifiable I think, since eating raw fish is relatively rare outside Japan, especially Europe, Australia or the US.

Ceviche, prepared in central and South America for hundreds of years.

bossel
Mar 28, 2005, 09:25
Asking non-Japanese about raw fish is justifiable I think, since eating raw fish is relatively rare outside Japan, especially Europe, Australia or the US.
Actually pretty common at least in parts of Europe: in Germany & the Netherlands many people like to eat Matjes, Rollmops or Bismarck-herring, which is salted or marinated raw herring.

Caviar is pretty common, too. OK, that's only roe, not really fish yet, but quite fishy.

Index
Mar 28, 2005, 09:35
Actually pretty common at least in parts of Europe: in Germany & the Netherlands many people like to eat Matjes, Rollmops or Bismarck-herring, which is salted or marinated raw herring.

Caviar is pretty common, too. OK, that's only roe, not really fish yet, but quite fishy.

Get up on the wrong side of bed today? :p

Relatively was the key word in that post. Two or three types of fish isn't really comparable to the varieties available in Japan.

As an aside, rollmops and herring is common in Poland but it's not really considered raw in the same way as sashimi or sushi.

lexico
Mar 28, 2005, 09:41
Asking non-Japanese about raw fish is justifiable I think, since eating raw fish is relatively rare outside Japan, especially Europe, Australia or the US.
Yes, I Know. Most of the time they just don't know about our food culture. May be I am a little bit persecution mania, but sometimes I sense a sort of sneer.(Eat raw fish? What a barbarian!) :blush:It could be just another fad; yet in California with a sizeable Asian population, there is quite a bit of peer pressure to be able to use the chopsticks properly, and to be able to enjoy Asian delicacies regardless of ethnic identity. A mild craving for fresh-fish-type sushi would be considered an accomplishment in overcoming racism and crude, ignorant ways of the bigot. I found that rather funny at times; a bit forced actually. But hey, people are free to be what they want to be.

Index
Mar 28, 2005, 09:52
By the way Lexico, much raw fish in Korean cuisine?

lexico
Mar 28, 2005, 10:01
Yes, we do, and very popular, too. I've never looked into this historically, but I understand that the practice of eating raw fish has been quite common on the fishing boats and in the fishing villages mainly for hygenic reasons. It's ingrained in the culture, and especially with the Japanese shushi being an example of high-quality cuisine, quite a few regional dishes have become widely popular. Traditionally, we have called it 회 WHE 膾.

I understand the Chinese also had the practice. But nowadays they don't eat raw fish. I don't know exactly when they stopped. Could be related to change in weather, pollution, or cultural change ?

bossel
Mar 28, 2005, 11:20
Get up on the wrong side of bed today? :p

Relatively was the key word in that post. Two or three types of fish isn't really comparable to the varieties available in Japan.

As an aside, rollmops and herring is common in Poland but it's not really considered raw in the same way as sashimi or sushi.
Just on the way to bed now.

I understood your previous post slightly different: "relatively rare outside Japan, especially Europe" as "especially rare in Europe."
While I think, it's pretty common. Yeah, not as many different types, but if you go for that, vegetables/fruits are also "relatively rare" in Europe (compared to what my girlfriend tells me about China).
You are right that Europeans very often may not recognise that they are eating raw fish, although they do. I sometimes heard people talk about Japan & how unusual it is to eat raw fish. When told that their Matjes is essentially raw, too, they often seemed a bit surprised.



I understand the Chinese also had the practice. But nowadays they don't eat raw fish. I don't know exactly when they stopped. Could be related to change in weather, pollution, or cultural change ?
Don't know about Sushi-like stuff (can't ask my girlfriend, she's already asleep), but they also eat raw fish, though dried (like they do in Korea, too).

They look down upon us Europeans for eating raw meat, though (oh, what a barbarian I am).

Index
Mar 28, 2005, 11:46
I understood your previous post slightly different: "relatively rare outside Japan, especially Europe" as "especially rare in Europe."

Sorry, I meant it's more rare in Europe, US and Australia than in other countries (mainly Asia I suppose), not that it's particularly rare in Europe.

I love steak tartar. But actually there's a similar dish in Korean cuisine, if I'm not mistaken. I had it in Japan and it was called yuke, or yuuke.

lexico
Mar 28, 2005, 12:18
Sorry, I meant it's rarer in Europe, US and Australia than in other countries (mainly Asia i suppose), not that it's particularly rare in Europe.

I love steak tatar. But actually there's a similar dish in Korean cusine, if I'm not mistaken. I had it in Japan and it was called yuke, or yuuke.So that's what it's called, steat tartar. Got it's name from the Mongols in Europe ?
Anyway my dad loves that yukhwe 육회 肉膾 which I found a little difficult to swallow. I mean it's super fresh and even tasty, but I don't exactly drool over it. Is it popular, this steak tartar ?
Don't know about Sushi-like stuff (can't ask my girlfriend, she's already asleep), but they also eat raw fish, though dried (like they do in Korea, too).

They look down upon us Europeans for eating raw meat, though (oh, what a barbarian I am).I wouldn't excatly call dried fish 'fresh' because it's been processed by disemboweling, halving, possible salting, and most importantly radiation and drying in the sun and wind. This is my idea of fresh (http://www.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/a/ae/School.gif).The word 膾 was used during the 3 Kingoms period China in the 3rd century at least.

That aside; has anyone accused you for eating steak of tartar ? They have fresh horse meat I hear, which would be more difficult to swallow than raw beef.

Index
Mar 28, 2005, 12:26
I think it's quite popular in Poland, though not everyone eats it. In my family I'd say half of us like it. Incidentally the Korean version is very similar to the Polish variant, the differences being mainly in the herbs and spices added. Funnily enough I was planning on having it for breakfast today but I forgot....

Maciamo
Mar 28, 2005, 12:42
Sorry, I meant it's more rare in Europe, US and Australia than in other countries (mainly Asia I suppose), not that it's particularly rare in Europe.

Actually I'd say that nowadays sushi are more common in Western countries than in most Asian countries. You will not find sushi, or almost any fish dish in a country like India for instance. I almost haven't eaten fish (even fried or steamed) in 3 months in South-East Asia either. However most major Western cities have sushi-ya, and they are getting quite popular.

Index
Mar 28, 2005, 13:18
Yes recently very popular, but not mainstream though, and hasn't yet had a chance to make it's way into popular eating culture or tradition I daresay.

bossel
Mar 30, 2005, 08:45
So that's what it's called, steat tartar. Got it's name from the Mongols in Europe ?
Is it popular, this steak tartar ?
Quite popular in Germany, but more popular is the pork (Tatar is beef) variety: Mett (no direct translation, I think). I love it, on bread with onions, pepper & paprika.
Don't know for sure, but I think, the name Tatar is related to the Mongols.


I wouldn't excatly call dried fish 'fresh' because it's been processed by disemboweling, halving, possible salting, and most importantly radiation and drying in the sun and wind.
Fresh? Hmm, well, it all depends on the definition I suppose. I wouldn't call it fresh, either. But I would call meat & fish raw, unless it has been heated either by cooking, frying or similar.

If you go for "processed" as being not raw, then most of Sushi preparations aren't raw. The fish stuff I mentioned wouldn't qualify as raw either, for being processed one way or another, just like Mett or Beef Tatar.


That aside; has anyone accused you for eating steak of tartar ? They have fresh horse meat I hear, which would be more difficult to swallow than raw beef.
I don't eat Steak Tatar, since it's too expensive. But they called my habit of eating Mett barbaric.
Two of my Chinese friends actually tried very small portions of it. They didn't exactly puke or anything, but they also didn't really like it (may have to do with the fact that they actually tried the meat as such, without bread, onions & spices).

For Chinese eating raw horse meat: None of my friends does so. They don't even know about such a habit, although when I suggested that the Mongols perhaps eat the stuff, they considered it possible.

Faustianideals
Mar 30, 2005, 08:48
Isn't there a myth in japan about this butcher who pickeled children and sold them to customers as pork? Then a local clergy stopped and killed the butcher?

Maciamo
Mar 30, 2005, 10:43
Isn't there a myth in japan about this butcher who pickeled children and sold them to customers as pork? Then a local clergy stopped and killed the butcher?

That's the story of St Nicholas (aka Santa Claus) who saved those children from the butcher. It's a Christian story originally from Turkey ! Nothing to do with Japan, and don't think any Japanese know it.

Faustianideals
Mar 30, 2005, 11:42
My mistake, sorry. ^_^

basuotoko
May 17, 2007, 20:52
Eating peanuts will make your nose bleed.
Leaving a window open while you sleep will give you a stomach ache.
Leaving a fan on while you sleep will make you sick and may kill you.
Drinking soda (especially dark ones) will melt your bones.
Leaving a bottle of water outside your home will keep cats away.

Can anyone think of others? I'm not sure how many people believe these, but I've heard and seen all of these in Japan (some several times). The fan one is really strange. I remember a few times in the summer when I spent the night with my girlfriend and she would turn the fan off in the middle of the night because she was concerned. I nearly died from heat stroke! Anyone who knows how miserable a Japanese summer is can attest to that.

nice gaijin
May 18, 2007, 00:24
The only one of those I've ever heard of was the water bottle ones, and from what I've seen it works pretty well....

so I guess I'm turning the fan off tonight :D

bakaKanadajin
May 18, 2007, 00:41
I slept with a fan on all summer, I couldn't survive without it. Good thing my girlfriend was American. I've read articles that say the 'white noise' of the fan is pleasant to the subconcious mind and helps you sleep beause it mimics the background noise of the womb. Maybe more Japanese would sleep better if they tried the fan hehe.

Also, thanks for explaining the bottles of water thing, I just DIDN'T understand it while I was there. I had assumed they were markers or something to help them park their cars because I often saw them in driveway entrances, and I notice the Japanese sometimes don't fully turn around in their seats the way Westerners drive when reversing, they use their mirrors and back up physically facing forward in the car.

misa.j
May 18, 2007, 07:35
I've heard most of them except the one with the windows open.
Here are three more that I know. Some older Japanese people can be very superstitious, and I remember being warned about many things by the old ladies when I was growing up.

You won't be able to be present at your parents' death if you clip your nails at night.
Snakes will come out if you whistle at night.
Stepping on the threshold is a bad luck.

SushiShin
May 18, 2007, 07:53
So now i know who puts off the fan at night! My japanese girlfriend do this :p
wait i've heard from a guy but im not sure he said one time that some of his girlsfriends sometime eat ginseng roots it enlarges your breast :p is this possible?? owh and about the water thing that drives cats away it didn't work a dog came instead of a cat :p

bakaKanadajin
May 18, 2007, 15:12
Come to think of it, I remember in Hiroshima my uncle did something rather strange when a funeral procession went by. He either avoided looking at it directly, or said some small prayer or something, I can't remember exactly. His reasoning was that if you do not do this the next funeral is your own? Or something along those lines. I have no idea if this was his own superstition or a Kansai thing or what.

Ewok85
May 18, 2007, 16:03
Leaving a bottle of water outside your home will keep cats away.

Thats not Japanese - they do that in Australia and the UK as well ;)

basuotoko
May 18, 2007, 17:23
Thats not Japanese - they do that in Australia and the UK as well ;)
Yes! I was surprised when I heard about this recently. I've never been able to check it out myself, but I wonder how widespread it is. I don't really understand the whole thing in the first place.
First of all, I think the whole belief is that the cat will see itself reflected in the bottle and run away. Wouldn't a mirror work better?
Also, what's so bad about stray cats anyway? I've heard the downright bone chilling meows they make at night, but it doesn't matter if they're right in front of your house or a block away, you'll still hear it! :souka:


I've heard most of them except the one with the windows open.
Here are three more that I know. Some older Japanese people can be very superstitious, and I remember being warned about many things by the old ladies when I was growing up.

You won't be able to be present at your parents' death if you clip your nails at night.
Snakes will come out if you whistle at night.
Stepping on the threshold is a bad luck.

I've heard something about nail clipping, too. But as I recall, my girlfriend said that clipping your nails at night will bring bad luck, possibly death. Similar to what you heard, but more direct.
Also, one of my friends told me not to sleep with my head pointed north because it might kill me. (A lot of small things cause death, it seems.) :okashii:

SushiShin
May 18, 2007, 18:10
So now i know who puts off the fan at night! My japanese girlfriend do this :p
wait i've heard from a guy but im not sure he said one time that some of his girlsfriends sometime eat ginseng roots it enlarges your breast :p is this possible?? owh and about the water thing that drives cats away it didn't work a dog came instead of a cat :p

well, im replying on my own quote for the next reason:p :

i called my friend and i asked him it again and this is what he told me:

Herbal☆, my girlfriend(s) chop the root into pieces and put it on a plate and they add some salt and after a day,.. REALLY they breast have enlarge a bit:souka:

But you can also just use a lotion to enlarge it:relief:

Ewok85
May 18, 2007, 18:11
First of all, I think the whole belief is that the cat will see itself reflected in the bottle and run away. Wouldn't a mirror work better?

No, because a mirror is flat - but a mirror ball would work very well ;)
Its not the reflection of the cat, but the reflection/refraction of light that does it. You are supposed to half fill a bottle, and lie it down so it can move about a bit, but not having gardens, and having half full bottles would be dangerous, the idea still appears to work.


Also, what's so bad about stray cats anyway?

You are aware that cats carry various parasites and diseases that can have negative effects on humans, as well as on pet cats. I wouldn't get near a stray cat if I were you, and I always thing people are stupid to pet them.


Also, one of my friends told me not to sleep with my head pointed north because it might kill me. (A lot of small things cause death, it seems.) :okashii:

No no no, you should have your head pointing north - ie. your bed lined up so the pillow is at the northern end. Its very important :p

made of stone
May 18, 2007, 18:17
Thats not Japanese - they do that in Australia and the UK as well ;)

Well i've never yet seen that in England, I must say!

Ewok85
May 18, 2007, 19:06
Well i've never yet seen that in England, I must say!

My Granddad did it all the time, and when I did a search to read some more about it I found lots of .co.uk sites with the exact same stuff ;)

DoctorP
May 18, 2007, 19:13
Yes! I was surprised when I heard about this recently. I've never been able to check it out myself, but I wonder how widespread it is. I don't really understand the whole thing in the first place.
First of all, I think the whole belief is that the cat will see itself reflected in the bottle and run away. Wouldn't a mirror work better?
Also, what's so bad about stray cats anyway? I've heard the downright bone chilling meows they make at night, but it doesn't matter if they're right in front of your house or a block away, you'll still hear it! :souka:


Yes, you will hear it, but the bottles seem to keep the cats from marking their territory (pissing) in my garage!

Dogen Z
May 18, 2007, 21:07
>Eating peanuts will make your nose bleed.
>Drinking soda (especially dark ones) will melt your bones.

If they really believed this, it would be hard to explain all the bags of peanuts and cans of soda that are sold in convenience stores as snacks; why Coke is one of the best selling beverages in Japan, and; why peanuts are sold in a such variety as shelled, unshelled, and mixed with those rice cracker things.

>Leaving a window open while you sleep will give you a stomach ache.
>Leaving a fan on while you sleep will make you sick and may kill you.

Maybe your gf was just trying to test your mettle. I've heard that in some karate classes you are forced to train Tokyo in the middle of summer in a room with the windows and doors closed and no a/c. And in Hokkaido during the winter in a room without heating.

Did you pass the test?

gaijinalways
May 18, 2007, 22:15
I remember reading on a cat website that the bottle trick was something originally discovered in Norway (or Finland). I have found it doesn't work on most cats, and I have never seen anyone with bottles in their garden in England. Here you see them in a lot of driveways withe stray cats knocking them over.

One of my favorites is one I have heard in Chinese communities and in Japan, 'Don't mix lemon with milk' (I like it in my tea). Supposed to be poisonous or something, strangely enough I have survived 47 years of the stuff.:-)

basuotoko
May 18, 2007, 22:48
>Eating peanuts will make your nose bleed.
>Drinking soda (especially dark ones) will melt your bones.
If they really believed this, it would be hard to explain all the bags of peanuts and cans of soda that are sold in convenience stores as snacks; why Coke is one of the best selling beverages in Japan, and; why peanuts are sold in a such variety as shelled, unshelled, and mixed with those rice cracker things.
>Leaving a window open while you sleep will give you a stomach ache.
>Leaving a fan on while you sleep will make you sick and may kill you.
Maybe your gf was just trying to test your mettle. I've heard that in some karate classes you are forced to train Tokyo in the middle of summer in a room with the windows and doors closed and no a/c. And in Hokkaido during the winter in a room without heating.
Did you pass the test?
Well, I don't think they believe that simply eating peanuts will make your nose bleed or drinking dark cola will make your bones melt, but rather that eating or drinking in excess can lead to such things. It's more like, if somebody's nose bleeds, they'll try to trace back the last time they ate peanuts and attribute it to that if possible. Kind of like how many people around the world try to blame junk food on acne when (as any dermatologist can tell you) there's not really a connection. But anyway, people still love junk food.
The fan thing isn't really exclusive to Japan. I've heard from friends that people in Korea also believe it, so it's probably East Asia in general. I know that a lot of people really believe this because I've been warned about it by several Japanese friends during the summer months.

Ewok85
May 19, 2007, 11:19
I've heard that in some karate classes you are forced to train Tokyo in the middle of summer in a room with the windows and doors closed and no a/c. And in Hokkaido during the winter in a room without heating.
Did you pass the test?

Most martial arts are done in school gyms - that means no a/c, no heating, and most of the time the best you can hope for is to leave a door open :(

basuotoko
May 23, 2007, 07:52
As I often do for reading practice, I was looking at some blog entries on mixi.jp when I found a post from a guy who was worried about his health because of a recent nose bleed. In the comments section of his post, I happened to stumble upon the peanuts/nose bleed belief again.

A user commented:

突然なんてピーナッツ大量に食べすぎた時以来ないよ。

Translation:
Ever since a time that I ate a lot of peanuts, I haven't had a sudden [nose bleed].

So there it is again. While I doubt Japanese believe eating peanuts alone will cause nose bleeds, they obviously think eating a lot will. What I also found interesting is that the majority of people told him he should go to the hospital. I really don't think an isolated nose bleed or two is cause to see a doctor, but Japanese seem to go for really small things like this all the time. Hypochondriacs? Or is that part of the reason they live so long?

Anyway, that's another topic altogether....

gaijinalways
May 23, 2007, 13:27
Doctors here tend to overprescribe, and a minority of patients live in clinics and hospitals (tend to be elderly or later middleaged). My wife will suggest to see a doctor over bruises, which I'm likely to ice and say 'ouch' about.

KirinMan
May 23, 2007, 14:17
Drinking soda (especially dark ones) will melt your bones.


Actually I've heard that one used by American's as well, not quite that way and directed towards young athletes.

"Drinking carbonated soda's are detrimental to the growth of bones. "

Some of these "superstitions" evidently are based on old wives tales as I am sure that nearly every country in the world has.

For example here is one; "Dont each ocha-zukei in the morning"

Now at face value that sounds like a bunch of BS particularly in this day and age of "instant foods" but in the era of no refrigeration the left-over fish from the previous evenings meal was used in the preparation of the fresh "ocha-zukei", and if the fish wasn't fresh anymore it is easy to understand how or why someone might get sick from eating it the next morning. Easy to understand the reasoning behind that one.

How about this one; "Don't go directly home after attending a funeral."

Reason being that it is possible for a person to bring the dead or some dead spirits back home with them. So a person should go somewhere else before going home and once a person gets home have someone from inside the house throw a bit of salt at them to ward off any "dead" spirits that may have remained with them.

Tokyofan25
May 25, 2007, 05:57
these are quite intresting,IMO. Never heard of any of these

kiedistidus
May 25, 2007, 06:46
well if that fan thing is true i should of been dead along time ago ill test it out on my dad tonite

Grammarsaurus
May 25, 2007, 09:28
I keep a fan on 24/7 in my bedroom during the summer. I'm not dead yet!

made of stone
May 27, 2007, 03:09
I keep a fan on 24/7 in my bedroom during the summer. I'm not dead yet!

I find even when i'm really hot, and unable to relax, and thus to completely let go of my excess heat on a summer's night, that if I sleep until norning with a fan on me, I often wake up in the morning with a bit of a chill...

:blush:

basuotoko
May 27, 2007, 05:10
I find even when i'm really hot, and unable to relax, and thus to completely let go of my excess heat on a summer's night, that if I sleep until norning with a fan on me, I often wake up in the morning with a bit of a chill...
:blush:

Do you cover with a blanket? You gotta do that. :-) I point the fan directly toward my face in the summer heat (which seems to be just getting started now in Shizuoka).

Also, like another poster mentioned earlier, the sound of the fan is very relaxing.

made of stone
May 27, 2007, 05:18
Do you cover with a blanket?

Yes!!


I point the fan directly toward my face in the summer heat (which seems to be just getting started now in Shizuoka).
Also, like another poster mentioned earlier, the sound of the fan is very relaxing.

Lol, that's exactly what gives me a head chill...:(

Sennin_Xam
May 27, 2007, 05:31
Leaving a window open while you sleep will give you a stomach ache.
well it might not make you ill but it will keep you warm in winter and keep out burglers lol.

Leaving a fan on while you sleep will make you sick and may kill you.
Turnin the fan off at night probably wont save you from illness but it will save you on electricity.

Drinking soda (especially dark ones) will melt your bones.
This is a good superstition as well, might not melt your bones but will stop your teeth from rottin and from getting fat.

Leaving a bottle of water outside your home will keep cats away.
I dont know how common it is in the UK but i have seen some neighbours here in Scotland keep bottles of water in their gardens to keep cats out.


You won't be able to be present at your parents' death if you clip your nails at night.
Snakes will come out if you whistle at night.
Stepping on the threshold is a bad luck.
Interesting, my parents are Turkish and they think its unlucky to clip your fingernails and your toenails at night, also whistling at night is thought to bring out spirits and ghosts instead of snakes. Are snakes considered related to the otherside in Japan?
Can you explain what you mean by stepping on the threshold please?

Its also bad to look in mirrors at night among Turks too.

leonmarino
May 27, 2007, 05:38
Interesting, my parents are Turkish and they think its unlucky to clip your fingernails and your toenails at night, also whistling at night is thought to bring out spirits and ghosts instead of snakes. Are snakes considered related to the otherside in Japan?
Can you explain what you mean by stepping on the threshold please?
Its also bad to look in mirrors at night among Turks too.Wow!! This is another argument to support the thinking that Turks and Japanese are related not only by language, but also culturally. I read about it somewhere and it kind of fascinates me..

Anyway, this thread (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=30191) might be interesting too.

Sennin_Xam
May 27, 2007, 06:04
Wow!! This is another argument to support the thinking that Turks and Japanese are related not only by language, but also culturally. I read about it somewhere and it kind of fascinates me..
Anyway, this thread might be interesting too.
Thanks for the link.
Turks are also very superstitious. I would imagine some superstitions are native to Anatolia, others to the region (Balkans through the Middle East), and others are traditional Turkic folk beliefs.
Its these Turkic folk beliefs that reach all the way into Inner Asia, the traditionally historic homelands of Turkic peoples, that i would think may be related to Japanese folk beliefs as well as other Asian peoples.
I dont know the ancient history of Japanese people but i think there is a theory that they also originated in the same general area as Turks and Mongols, so maybe the superstitions which are similar have a really ancient origin.
All speculative however, although nontheless still interesting.

leonmarino
May 27, 2007, 07:22
Thanks for your reply. It's a subject I would like to know more about, but do not have the time for to research it properly at the moment. But who knows, maybe in the future..

By the way, welcome to the forum!! :cool:

Sennin_Xam
May 27, 2007, 08:11
Thanks for the welcome leonmarino.
I asked my dad why they thought it was bad luck to cut ur nails at night and he said that you will have a short life. I dont know if not being present at your parents death is related (i.e. dying before your parents). Kinda spooky lol.

Goldiegirl
May 27, 2007, 08:47
The nail thing is strange...we grew up with the belief that if you cut a babies nails with a clipper before they are a year old they will grow up to be a thief! So what's so important about finger/toe nails????

包龙星
Jun 2, 2007, 23:36
Eating peanuts will make your nose bleed.
Leaving a window open while you sleep will give you a stomach ache.
Leaving a fan on while you sleep will make you sick and may kill you.
Drinking soda (especially dark ones) will melt your bones.
Leaving a bottle of water outside your home will keep cats away.

Can anyone think of others? I'm not sure how many people believe these, but I've heard and seen all of these in Japan (some several times). The fan one is really strange. I remember a few times in the summer when I spent the night with my girlfriend and she would turn the fan off in the middle of the night because she was concerned. I nearly died from heat stroke! Anyone who knows how miserable a Japanese summer is can attest to that.

I think old people mostly believe these,younger generations won't completely do that...
But it is interesting that many old chinese more or less believe these Strange Beliefs,such as my grandmother,she always told me not drink too much soda or there'll something wrong with my bones...she also told me not to eat too much peanut or I will get"上火" and nose bleed..
I don't know how do these strang beliefs come
:?:?:worried::worried:

SouthernBelle82
Jun 3, 2007, 04:01
Very interesting. I haven't heard some of these and I agree that the fan thing is weird. Right now here where I am in the world it's stuffy in the mornings when I go to bed but the thing that sucks is sometimes that air does get cold. I went on a cruise a couple of years ago and the air was on pretty cold with the room my family and I were staying in and I woke up feeling bad and had to take a warm bath to feel better. I've never heard of the dark soda one. That's interesting and the same with the bottle of water. Does that one work?? We used to have stray cats come around here a lot but they haven't in a while but I'll have to remember that one if it works.


Eating peanuts will make your nose bleed.
Leaving a window open while you sleep will give you a stomach ache.
Leaving a fan on while you sleep will make you sick and may kill you.
Drinking soda (especially dark ones) will melt your bones.
Leaving a bottle of water outside your home will keep cats away.

Can anyone think of others? I'm not sure how many people believe these, but I've heard and seen all of these in Japan (some several times). The fan one is really strange. I remember a few times in the summer when I spent the night with my girlfriend and she would turn the fan off in the middle of the night because she was concerned. I nearly died from heat stroke! Anyone who knows how miserable a Japanese summer is can attest to that.

SouthernBelle82
Jun 3, 2007, 04:11
Doesn't seem to work for me. :( I've been having trouble sleeping lately and I always leave my fan on. I guess my mind is too busy thinking of stuff or something. That's how I do with my driving on the car but only because I'm short and can't see totally well over the seat head like I can with a mirror but if I'm parking out of a parking space I'll turn halfway backwards.


I slept with a fan on all summer, I couldn't survive without it. Good thing my girlfriend was American. I've read articles that say the 'white noise' of the fan is pleasant to the subconcious mind and helps you sleep beause it mimics the background noise of the womb. Maybe more Japanese would sleep better if they tried the fan hehe.
Also, thanks for explaining the bottles of water thing, I just DIDN'T understand it while I was there. I had assumed they were markers or something to help them park their cars because I often saw them in driveway entrances, and I notice the Japanese sometimes don't fully turn around in their seats the way Westerners drive when reversing, they use their mirrors and back up physically facing forward in the car.

SouthernBelle82
Jun 3, 2007, 04:16
My bed is faced north (pillow) and I have my fan on but it doesn't seem to work for me. :( I slept alright last night once I fell asleep but it's falling asleep that's the problem. :okashii:


No, because a mirror is flat - but a mirror ball would work very well ;)
Its not the reflection of the cat, but the reflection/refraction of light that does it. You are supposed to half fill a bottle, and lie it down so it can move about a bit, but not having gardens, and having half full bottles would be dangerous, the idea still appears to work.
You are aware that cats carry various parasites and diseases that can have negative effects on humans, as well as on pet cats. I wouldn't get near a stray cat if I were you, and I always thing people are stupid to pet them.
No no no, you should have your head pointing north - ie. your bed lined up so the pillow is at the northern end. Its very important :p

Arabic Boy
Jun 10, 2007, 20:33
that finger nails thing :souka:

it's in USA , Japan But don't ask me how my mother do belive it too !

( Cutting you nails at night will make your life shorter )

as for the fan thing ... I don't know ... I use a A\C all the time

without it I will die becuse the temperture some time reachs 50 !!

FrustratedDave
Jun 11, 2007, 17:53
You are not suppossed to sleep with your head pointing north b/c that is the postion they lay people when they die and it is not that you will die if you do it, but it is suppossed to be bad luck.

The fan and the window one are related and it is b/c if you cool your waist region it can give you the runs. So no it won't kill you. Also drinking cold drinks are thought of in the same fashion, as it will give you the runs too. Or so goes the superstition.

Livia_Drusilla
Jun 12, 2007, 04:15
Eating peanuts will make your nose bleed.
Leaving a window open while you sleep will give you a stomach ache.
Leaving a fan on while you sleep will make you sick and may kill you.
Drinking soda (especially dark ones) will melt your bones.
Leaving a bottle of water outside your home will keep cats away.

I must say I have never heard about this before, but then again I haven't been to Japan yet. How many people believe in these things?
I actually kind of wish, that we had strange beliefs like this in Denmark. I love these quirky little things in different cultures!

Goldiegirl
Jun 12, 2007, 04:30
I was told that sprits/ghosts live underneath the branches of weeping willow trees in Japan.

bakaKanadajin
Jun 12, 2007, 06:25
I was told that sprits/ghosts live underneath the branches of weeping willow trees in Japan.

I heard that one too!
A piece of folklore I found:



Trees hold importance in various world cultures. In Japan the Buddhist religion has many folklore attachments to trees where nature spirits feature strongly. One such 600 year old story is told of a young Samurai Warrior, Tomotada, who whilst sheltering from a storm in a small forest dwelling beside three willow trees meets a lovely young woman named Aoyagi who lived there with her elderly parents.
Tomatada fell in love with the beautiful young woman and with his Lord’s blessing he married the lovely Aoyagi and took her on his travels throughout the land.
Five happy years had past when suddenly and without warning the young Aoyagi screamed in pain and collapsed upon the floor. She reached out her shaking hand to the young Samurai saying “someone is cutting down my tree; I can no longer withhold the truth from you.
The soul of the willow tree is my soul,
The heart of the willow tree is my heart,
The sap of the willow tree is my life”.
Within seconds the lovely Aoyagi disappeared into a mist leaving only a pile of clothes in the spot where she had fallen. The distraught young Samurai returned to the Willow Grove to tell her parents of their sad loss. When he arrived at the spot where the dwelling had once stood, there remained only three forlorn cut down willow tree stumps.
Tomatada later became a Buddhist monk.

Goldiegirl
Jun 12, 2007, 06:47
Wow bakaKanadajin, thank-you for posting the story of the willow tree. What I didn't mention in my post is that I was told that they are always woman spirits! Now I understand why! Excellent. :)

basuotoko
Jun 12, 2007, 17:01
You are not suppossed to sleep with your head pointing north b/c that is the postion they lay people when they die and it is not that you will die if you do it, but it is suppossed to be bad luck.
The fan and the window one are related and it is b/c if you cool your waist region it can give you the runs. So no it won't kill you. Also drinking cold drinks are thought of in the same fashion, as it will give you the runs too. Or so goes the superstition.

Interesting... but you do know that diarrhea can kill? It is actually one of the leading causes of death of children in developing countries. But anyway, my girlfriend is very adamant about keeping the fan off at night. She's told me before that it will make me very sick (possibly leading to death). She takes these things really seriously. So maybe the story varies a bit depending on the person.

caster51
Jun 12, 2007, 17:41
how about Kotodama?

you should not say that the cake will be cut(kiru) when a couple cut the cake at their wedding.....

you should not say speaking(話す、hanasu) when you request someone a speech at wedding

FrustratedDave
Jun 15, 2007, 13:21
Interesting... but you do know that diarrhea can kill? It is actually one of the leading causes of death of children in developing countries. But anyway, my girlfriend is very adamant about keeping the fan off at night. She's told me before that it will make me very sick (possibly leading to death). She takes these things really seriously. So maybe the story varies a bit depending on the person.

When was the last time Japan was called a developing country?
And yes peoples oppinions will vary, but the general consensus on this one is that you may get the runs or catch a cold, but not die. BTW, what does you girlfriend do in the middle of a Japanese summer? Does she lock all the windows, turns off the fan and does not use the air conditioner? Must be like sleeping in a sauna.

a51ts4
Jun 15, 2007, 14:20
Coke for ex. has caffeine and caffeine uses up the calcium in the bones. I guess it can be true to some extent.

basuotoko
Jun 17, 2007, 03:54
When was the last time Japan was called a developing country?
And yes peoples oppinions will vary, but the general consensus on this one is that you may get the runs or catch a cold, but not die. BTW, what does you girlfriend do in the middle of a Japanese summer? Does she lock all the windows, turns off the fan and does not use the air conditioner? Must be like sleeping in a sauna.

I don't know... when I see guys pissing on the street downtown I sometimes forget that I'm not in a backwoods village of some third world country. Anyway, I'm just saying that it can kill, but that's really beyond the point.

Yes, the summer is tough with my girlfriend. It basically becomes a battle of will between the two of us. I crack the window and turn on the fan, and she'll at some point close it and turn it off. :) But everyone has their weird hangups. I studied at a university in Japan with a German guy who insisted that we never ever turn the air conditioner on in the classroom because it's "bad for your health." Are these people just gluttons for punishment or is it something in the water here?

elektrokitten
Jun 19, 2007, 11:12
well, im replying on my own quote for the next reason:p :
i called my friend and i asked him it again and this is what he told me:
Herbal☆, my girlfriend(s) chop the root into pieces and put it on a plate and they add some salt and after a day,.. REALLY they breast have enlarge a bit:souka:
But you can also just use a lotion to enlarge it:relief:


Wonders where you can find Ginseng root in Okinawa....haha~


Also is it true that it's disrespectful to take pictures of tombs here?

KirinMan
Jun 19, 2007, 14:25
Also is it true that it's disrespectful to take pictures of tombs here?
Yes and to point at them either, even if you are just pointing them out to someone. Evidently there is a belief that it is disrespectful of the spirits of the dead.

KirinMan
Jun 19, 2007, 14:32
Wonders where you can find Ginseng root in Okinawa....haha~



朝鮮人参, ちょうせんにんじん,Chousen Ninjin, or Asian ginseng, can be found here in Okinawa at any number of herbal pharmacies, however, real or otherwise, it can cost quite a bit.

elektrokitten
Jun 20, 2007, 11:48
朝鮮人参, ちょうせんにんじん,Chousen Ninjin, or Asian ginseng, can be found here in Okinawa at any number of herbal pharmacies, however, real or otherwise, it can cost quite a bit.

thanks so much for all the info. are you in okinawa?

basuotoko
Jun 20, 2007, 18:06
Speaking of herbal remedies, because of East Asian culture, the Japanese seem to buy easily into every "miracle drug" or miracle food type of belief. Shortly before I arrived in Japan this year, there was apparently some kind of major fallout from a television show telling people that eating a type of tofu will make them magically lose weight. When people found out it wasn't working, they got upset.

...

You'd think people would know better, but they just never learn. Japanese are very bad at learning from their mistakes in this area, because it seems like every month I hear "the new" miracle diet food. This month will be something like gyoza soy-vinegar dipping sauce or something equally stupid. And the same people will buy into it.

Americans and Europeans at least, are a little better about deceiving themselves about their weight. They at least buy diet medications, which are equally ineffective, but mask themselves behind fancy sounding pseudo-medicine with their marketing. Japanese just expect to eat tofu and *poof* lose weight, because TV told them. Did everyone sleep through biology class or something?

elektrokitten
Jun 21, 2007, 14:40
You mean all the things I hear on TV aren't true? :D

SushiShin
Jun 21, 2007, 17:58
taking a shower when you are feel really tired can have bad endings?

drinking coffee after beer is like taking water with an aspirine?

Sleeping on the floor is a little bit better for your health then sleep on a futon or bed?

eating egg's fully is energetic?

eating different peanuts (healthy peanuts like amandels etc..) is very good for your heart?

That every day a little glass with wine is good for preventing cancers?

That when you go to sleep you fully shutdown your television is better for your electricity bill? (this really work :p)

Gambatte ne!

greetz, Herbal☆.

caster51
Jun 23, 2007, 23:18
a day of New year in 1946, the Japanese believed Showa Emperor did Humanity Declaration

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ningen-sengen

i dont think he did:p

Gorotsuki
Jun 27, 2007, 06:15
Hmm well the fan thing is a possible...ive gotten sick quite a few times from having the fan on me while I am sleeping. A person could get pneumonia and die.

basuotoko
Jun 27, 2007, 16:17
Hmm well the fan thing is a possible...ive gotten sick quite a few times from having the fan on me while I am sleeping. A person could get pneumonia and die.

Or they could get heat stroke and die if they don't use it. My god, it's so hot here today. The humidity is what really gets me. And the A/C is useless against it. I think it's a dangerous belief, especially for older people who are more prone from succumbing to heat stroke, and especially in Japan, where the homes have no insulation or central air. A fan can't make anyone sick, unless they stick it right in their face or something. But common sense should prevent something like that...? :souka:

Kuro-Neko
Jul 2, 2007, 14:31
[QUOTE=basuotoko;468148]Eating peanuts will make your nose bleed.
Leaving a bottle of water outside your home will keep cats away.

Why would someone want to keep cats away anyways they do no harm.

kirei_na_me
Jul 2, 2007, 21:12
Gosh, if I hear the thing about covering your stomach at night one more time! Make sure you cover your stomach at night, so that it doesn't get cold! If you don't, you'll have a stomach ache!

And you better believe I sleep with a fan...no A/C pointed directly at me at night. I haven't had a stomach ache from it yet, much less died from it.

Eat vegetables while pregnant, and you will have a girl. Eat meat, get a boy. Or is it vice versa?

And what's the saying about throwing teeth on the roof?

The fights that my husband and I got into while I was pregnant. It seemed like the weird beliefs really came out while I was with child. I'm not superstitious at all, and it really got on my nerves, to say the least. I learned to just ignore it and go on as I pleased.

One of the main things was the prenatal vitamins. No, no, no...you don't "swallow pills" when pregnant. Never. Not even vitamins! I definitely didn't pay attention to that one. Oh, but it was ok to drink some champagne(which I didn't object to one glass myself) or smoke.

Kirie_Maiden
Jul 2, 2007, 21:22
I just found this bizzare one.


If you lie down immediately after eating, you will become a cow.

For some reason, I find it hard to believe that either the Japanese or anybody else would believe this one.

chickie
Jul 2, 2007, 22:49
Eating peanuts will make your nose bleed.
OK, I must admit - I had believed eating too many peanuts will make my nose bleed til I read this thread!


You won't be able to be present at your parents' death if you clip your nails at night.
I heard that this is kind of a play on words.
clipping your nails at night = 夜爪を切る
- 夜 has the same pronunciation as 世(world, life)
- 爪 sounds like つめる(to shorten)
So, it leads to this superstition, clipping your nail at night can make your life shorter!

I know these beliefs are just beliefs, but I can't help acting on these supersitions just to avoid bad luck:p

Kirie_Maiden
Jul 3, 2007, 21:44
Yeah. God knows what they are based on. Some of them may be true. I think http://www.snopes.com is a good site to find out if Urban Legends and superstitions are true, because it seems that these beliefs aren't only held in Japan but they are world wide superstitions.

Norwegiandude
Jul 5, 2007, 18:22
How about the one that if you eat too much chocolate you get a nose bleed?
My host mother worried alot in the beginning when I was eating japanese chocolate..

Dutch Baka
Jul 5, 2007, 18:33
How about these nose bleeds when you are looking at J-rockers.... ?

Norwegiandude
Jul 5, 2007, 19:01
Or when you see someone really hot/pretty and have nose bleeds?
My host grandma told me that if I saw a maiko/geisha I would have a nosebleed....

Kirie_Maiden
Jul 5, 2007, 20:11
It seems to be a common thing that looking at hot people will give you a nose bleed. I've seen it in TV shows, anime, manga, music videos. It happens all the time. Not sure about real life though. Is that one just in Japan???

kombizz
Jul 9, 2007, 01:34
I heard the following superstitions:
Going to bed naked will give you a headache.
Drinking sweet mineral water will keep you sexual organ healtier.
Leaving a toilet's open while you sleep will make you a restless !
Eating dried bread will make your earache.
Leaving a bottle of water outside your home will keep cats away.