PDA

View Full Version : Bad Japanese manners / Where are the polite Japanese ?



Maciamo
Jun 8, 2004, 14:34
Manners are culturally biased. Even more than that, they depend on individual sensibility.

Here are a few things the average Japanese tend to do and which I personally find ill-mannered. As you read this, remember that I am not American :D and even as a European, probably not from the same country as you, and even if you were, you surely don't have the same social background and personal sensitivity. As a result, you may find that other Westerners behave the same way or even worse than Japanese, but these are things I don't like and don't do.

1) Being loud in places like restaurants, cafes, etc. Especially laughing very loud. This is true for most people, from little children shouting and running, to groups of teenage girls, to business people to women on their 50's or 60's. I don't mind laughing in a movie theatre, but not in an expensive restaurant. Japanese tend to be amazingly quiet in cinemas and too noisy elsewhere.

Interestingly Japanese seem not to be very sensitive to noise, and the one I know do not care much about being quiet when people are sleeping (eg. coming back late and talking loud on the phone so that even the neighbour can hear).

2) People carrying an umbrella when it is (almost) not raining. What can be more annoying on a crowded pavement/sidewalk, especially when you are riding a bicycle and those umbrella-carriers do not care about people around and suddenly wave it into your face or arm.

In general, I found Japanese to have a bad "street behaviour", not caring at all about other people, like when 5 people walk side by side taking all the pavement for them and you can't pass when you come opposite them, but they won't open up.

3) Pushing people to get in or out of the train. Shall I also mention men groping women ?

4) Slurping noisily their tea and their food (not just ramen, but everything). This is particularily true of elderly people.

5) Touts and sales people. These can be quite tenacious. At the very moment I was writing this thread, one of them came and rang at my door. I don't open anymore as I get them at least once a week, to sell goods or try to convince me to repair my roof. :okashii: Really annnoying, especially when you open, they see you're a gaijin, they feel embarassed and don't not what to say, but explain anyway, then I tell them I don't need it, but people from the same company come back 3x the same month ! Won't they understand ?!

Mandylion
Jun 8, 2004, 15:04
(After pointing several times ot the very nice intro about cultural relativity) I would add,

1) some people having complete and total lack of control over their small children and not even trying to get them to be quiet/sit still/not run free in restaurants or shopping centers. My favorite is not making their kids apologize for the whole "gaijin da!" comments - I don't buy it in this day and age that young parents don't know that some foreigners consider that very rude indeed. Come on, the kids are not that cute. Once in awhile it is okay, kids will be kids, but all the time? Parents, grow some b****.

2) Maybe more of a country thing, but peeing at the side of the road. Mainly old men do this, and it is more sad than rude since I have seen it about a thousand times by now.

3)Using a toothpick at the table - again, more of a old man habit.

4)Staring. I know what this is all about and why people do it, but it is a shock at first.

5)Smoking in enclosed areas. I'm all for the freedom for people to mess up their bodies and raise the cost of insurance, but smoking where others can suck your smoke is selfish and shows a basic lack of repsect for others. I don't force people to eat the junk food I carry around from time to time, others shouldn't force me to an earlier grave (smoking is still very big in Japan and out in the country).

There are more, but I will stop here.

mad pierrot
Jun 8, 2004, 15:05
Because I'm fairly loud myself. But it's funny you should mention the movie theaters... because just this weekend I went to a theater and couldn't help but notice how quiet everyone was. I mean, I've seen comedies in Japan and no one laughs. It makes me feel like a jerk when I'm the only one in the theater laughing his *** off.

:relief:

Brooker
Jun 8, 2004, 15:20
Compared to Westerners, I think the Japanese a pretty quiet wherever they go. I would talk to gaijin friends on the trains and would constantly be shushhhhhing them because it was a little embarrasing how loud they were. And J-people are usually pretty good about keeping the cell phone conversations down (or at least better than a lot of people I see at home).

Re: Men peeing in public. Yeah, what's up with that!? I could never understand why they thought that was OK. I would see old guys peeing in ditches in clear view of old women, children, etc. without making any attempt to conceal themselves. The only time I ever see that in America is late at night on a weekend right after the bars have closed and it's only young people. If I ever do it in public I at least try to find a place where no one is going to see me.

I let the slurping thing slide even though I find it quite annoying because I know that it's OK in Japan.

What about things Japanese find rude that gaijin do?? For example, I couldn't get used to the fact that I wasn't supposed to eat in public, and I broke this rule a lot. I would always grab an onigiri on the way to work and sometimes got dirty looks from people. Here at home, no one thinks twice about eating in public. On a long JR ride, I'd even sometimes break out a bowl of gyudon from Lawson. I know I shouldn't have, but I just didn't see the harm in it. Am I going to gaijin hell???

Buddha Smoker
Jun 8, 2004, 15:59
1) some people having complete and total lack of control over their small children and not even trying to get them to be quiet/sit still/not run free in restaurants or shopping centers. My favorite is not making their kids apologize for the whole "gaijin da!" comments - I don't buy it in this day and age that young parents don't know that some foreigners consider that very rude indeed. Come on, the kids are not that cute. Once in awhile it is okay, kids will be kids, but all the time? Parents, grow some b****.

1) Being loud in places like restaurants, cafes, etc. Especially laughing very loud. This is true for most people, from little children shouting and running, to groups of teenage girls, to business people to women on their 50's or 60's. I don't mind laughing in a movie theatre, but not in an expensive restaurant. Japanese tend to be amazingly quiet in cinemas and too noisy elsewhere.


I think kids that seem to be from a circus are the ones that get me. I know that I am strict on my daughter which I think is funny sometimes. If we go out to eat with friends and they have their kids which happen to be jumping around and just plain being noisy then my kid wants to join in because she sees the other kids. But, I give her the evil eye and the strong voice and she sits right back down but then I reward her later for being good. I think kids have to have discipline and strictness or else they turn into wild child.

If I had a Circus booth then it would be something like this
*Come on in and see the MONKEY BOY & GIRL..only a 1000 yen..sit down and try to have a nice dinner and we will release the kids to give you the real effect of MONKEY CHILDREN*

Maciamo
Jun 8, 2004, 17:44
But it's funny you should mention the movie theaters... because just this weekend I went to a theater and couldn't help but notice how quiet everyone was. I mean, I've seen comedies in Japan and no one laughs. It makes me feel like a jerk when I'm the only one in the theater laughing his *** off.

I think that is simply because they do not understand the jokes. That's sad, but Japanese translations are horribly bad, or at least we could say that it is often impossible to translate jokes. I have seen movies with Japanese whose English was good enough not to care about the subtitles (and they are few and far between, even among high TOEIC scorers), and they were laughing as they should (like me :p ). But others kept quiet. When the movies are Japanese, or dubbed and easy to translate (like the Disney's), or when the situation (rather than what is said) is funny, then the Japanese laugh quite a lot.

Humour is also a cultural thing. I often watch TV programmes with my wife (because she wants me to or because I am bored), and whereas she laughs all the time, I can't understand what is funny ; it's just plain stupid to me, eventhough I understand everything they say. Japanese people laugh when they see a celebrity eat pasta like a pig, or when someone makes a strange face. I guessed I would have laughed when I was 5, but not ever since for such stupidities. That is one of the reason why I find Japanese TV so puerile (Golgo, what do you have to reply to that ?).


Compared to Westernern, I think the Japanese a pretty quiet wherever they go. I would talk to gaijin friends on the trains and would constantly be shushhhhhing them because it was a little embarrasing how loud they were.

Are your friends American ? Again, why saying "Westerners" when there is such a big gap between each country. Europeans usually Americans are loud (and indeed louder than Japanese in average, which is why I mentioned it in the intro). But even inside Europe, an Italian or Spaniard will definitely be louder than a Finn or a Norwegian. Interestingly, French and Belgian people tend to be quite intolerant to noise, contrarily to their other Latin neighbours.


And J-people are usually pretty good about keeping the cell phone conversations down (or at least better than a lot of people I see at home).

That is true indeed. One good point for them.


What about things Japanese find rude that gaijin do?? For example, I couldn't get used to the fact that I wasn't supposed to eat in public, and I broke this rule a lot.

I guess that will be answer by reading the article regarding Japanese manners and etiquette (http://www.wa-pedia.com/culture/japanese_manners_etiquette.shtml). As I said there, not eating in the street is one of the most difficult thing to adapt to for foreigners (of about any nationality) in Japan. That one really doesn't make sense to me and I criticize Japanese would criticize me for their illogicism, narrow-mindedness and slef-contradiction. They can't even tell me if the problem is eating outside (they eat in "yatai" during matsuri), eating while standing (like in some ramen-ya), or eating while walking (like Japanese do for ice-cream or other snacks like "tai-yaki" or "tako-yaki"). I like eating while standing (even at home) and get scolded by my wife for doing so. But I rarely eat while walking.

Brooker
Jun 8, 2004, 17:46
@Maciamo Re: J-TV :D

So much of humor in English is plays on words and double meanings. Often when I watch a movie and I see something funny, I think, "Man, that wouldn't make any sense when translated."

Maciamo wrote....

Are your friends American ? Again, why saying "Westerners" when there is such a big gap between each country.

No. I say "Westerners" because the friends I was referring to were Australian or English. Australians especially have a tendancy to be loud, but are also a hell of a lot of fun to hang out with.


They can't even tell me if the problem is eating outside (they eat in "yatai" during matsuri), eating while standing (like in some ramen-ya), or eating while walking (like Japanese do for ice-cream or other snacks like "tai-yaki" or "tako-yaki").

I suspect it's the walking while eating that bothers them the most.

stephenmunday
Jun 8, 2004, 17:54
The peeing by the side of the road is right on. I remember driving in Nagano about a year or two ago and there was a group of tour buses and their inmates in a small parking lot just really pulled off the road. This guy obviously really needed to go, and felt that he should turn away from the group out of politeness. Only one flaw with his plan - he ended up peeing into the oncoming traffic. Gave us ashock as we came round the corner....

kirei_na_me
Jun 8, 2004, 18:49
In general, I found Japanese to have a bad "street behaviour", not caring at all about other people, like when 5 people walk side by side taking all the pavement for them and you can't pass when you come opposite them, but they won't open up.

I can relate to this one! Not talking about umbrellas, but just bad 'street behavior' in general. One thing that bugs me more than anything is my husband's apparent disregard for people in public places. Especially if we're in a crowded store with a shopping cart! He cut in front of people, bump into people, he won't move if he's looking at something and someone else comes along and wants to look at whatever it is, etc. etc. And he will not say 'excuse me' for anything like that! It makes me crazy! It is so embarassing and it is just plain rude.

Also, another thing that irritates the hell out of me is his inability to be on time for appointments. I don't know if this is a Japanese thing or just a guy thing or what, but he seems to think he can take his time getting to an appointment. If I have to depend on him to take one of the kids or me to the doctor or somewhere, I might as well count on being at least 10 minutes late. We have had terrible fights over that. My main point is that it is an appointment. That means you're supposed to be there on time or better yet, several minutes before the appointment time. It's common courtesy! He seems to think that because you have an appointment, you are allowed to be late? Oh, it drives me crazy. :mad:

Buddha Smoker
Jun 8, 2004, 19:42
What about the people in the train that spread their legs (usually businessmen) and don't let people sit down? The train seat is typically made to hold 3 (small section on the ends) and 7 (big middle sections) people but they take up two people's room and 5 (maybe 6) are sitting. That really gets under my skin sometimes.

den4
Jun 8, 2004, 23:49
I sometimes wonder if the folks in Japan aren't sometimes lost in their own world, and the personal space issue is annoying, but I guess that could be the same for any asian country with an overabundant population smashed together due to the lack of space. The olde timers that would stop all of a sudden, for no apparent reason, blocking the flow of people traffic flow always annoyed me, moreso than the constant bumping into one another..
but I will say that those that cause accidents, or traffic delays and snarls because they are driving and talking on their cell phones, reading the newspapers, eating, etc. are what annoys me the most...and these people are in the US as well...probably in every country....lost in their own little world with no regard of what's going on around them.... :(

budd
Jun 9, 2004, 04:27
:( @ topic title

I can relate to this one! Not talking about umbrellas, but just bad 'street behavior' in general. One thing that bugs me more than anything is my husband's apparent disregard for people in public places. Especially if we're in a crowded store with a shopping cart! He cuts in front of people, bump into people, he won't move if he's looking at something and someone else comes along and wants to look at whatever it is, etc. etc. And he will not say 'excuse me' for anything like that! It makes me crazy! It is so embarassing and it is just plain rude.

i actually love this about japan! hahahahahaha! it's the main reason i go to japan!
actually, i don't think any of these are bad manners imo


...is his inability to be on time for appointments. I don't know if this is a Japanese thing or just a guy thing or what, but he seems to think he can take his time getting to an appointment.

that is very rare imo/ime
maybe he thinks it's a perk of being in america? (does he do it in japan?) *notes that many americans are pathologically late themselves -- myself being one of them*

kirei_na_me
Jun 9, 2004, 04:44
Maybe I'm just overly sensitive sometimes, but I do think it's respectful to excuse yourself for bumping into someone or getting in someone's way. That's just the way I am. It's not like we live in a major city. We live in a town with a population of under a thousand.

DoctorP
Jun 9, 2004, 05:14
One thing that bugs me more than anything is my husband's apparent disregard for people in public places. Especially if we're in a crowded store with a shopping cart! He cut in front of people, bump into people, he won't move if he's looking at something and someone else comes along and wants to look at whatever it is, etc. etc. And he will not say 'excuse me' for anything like that! It makes me crazy! It is so embarassing and it is just plain rude.

This reminds me of when I lived in San Diego and used to shop at the Asian markets. The people who shopped there were just plain rude. Acting just like you described. I really haven't seen it much in Japan though. People seem to be very respectful to me! :-)


...is his inability to be on time for appointments. I don't know if this is a Japanese thing or just a guy thing or what, but he seems to think he can take his time getting to an appointment

I don't see this as a Japanese thing at all. Whenever I have dealt with Japanese people, I have always seen them as very punctual people. Living in Okinawa on the other hand is another story! It is almost expected that people will be late...no matter what! It is commonly referred to as "Okinawa Time". :-) But I know many mainland Japanese who live here that never fall into that catagory. They are always on time!

A couple of people mentioned the peeing on the side of the road...I never had a problem with this. I grew up in the South(in the country), and it was never a big thing to see someone stopped and relieving themselves somewhere! As long as your not flashing everyone! :D

stephenmunday
Jun 9, 2004, 10:42
I find that being tall, people tend to stay out of my way if I walk towards them. My wife has more stories about being smushed by people in the supermarket or on the street.

Wakaranai
Jun 9, 2004, 12:14
I know that is considered rude for you to wash in the bath water, you are suposed to wash first. Is it ok to fart in the water? I have never heard any one talk about this issue?

-Yu-
Jun 9, 2004, 17:11
1) Being loud in places like restaurants, cafes, etc. Especially laughing very loud. This is true for most people, from little children shouting and running, to groups of teenage girls, to business people to women on their 50's or 60's. I don't mind laughing in a movie theatre, but not in an expensive restaurant. Japanese tend to be amazingly quiet in cinemas and too noisy elsewhere.

Interestingly Japanese seem not to be very sensitive to noise, and the one I know do not care much about being quiet when people are sleeping (eg. coming back late and talking loud on the phone so that even the neighbour can hear).

2) People carrying an umbrella when it is (almost) not raining. What can be more annoying on a crowded pavement/sidewalk, especially when you are riding a bicycle and those umbrella-carriers do not care about people around and suddenly wave it into your face or arm.


3) Pushing people to get in or out of the train. Shall I also mention men groping women ?

4) Slurping noisily their tea and their food (not just ramen, but everything). This is particularily true of elderly people.

5) Touts and sales people. These can be quite tenacious. At the very moment I was writing this thread, one of them came and rang at my door. I don't open anymore as I get them at least once a week, to sell goods or try to convince me to repair my roof. :okashii: Really annnoying, especially when you open, they see you're a gaijin, they feel embarassed and don't not what to say, but explain anyway, then I tell them I don't need it, but people from the same company come back 3x the same month ! Won't they understand ?!

1. I think Japanese people don't like others being loud as well but perhaps they don't tell them to be quiet, cause Japanese people tend not to communicate to others that they don't know.
In western culture people tend to talk to others even if they don't know them but this rarely happenes in Japan.

2.Hummm, I can't really blame on them doing it cause I sometimes do it too though I don't want to. The thing is at crowded and narrowed places you can't really stop doing it.
:relief: and if you are in a ctouwded place, I think you shouldn't ride on bicycle first of all.

3 It is matter of too large population and not enough space in trains for them.
I've never seen men groping women before but seen this kind of things on the media many times.


4 Slurping food actually annoys hell out of me but I can't say it to them cause I was brought by my father who hates people doing it and he told me not to, I think it was because he knew a lot about western culture. In result, as I wrote above, I can't stop them from doing it cause how you eat food is really up to you in Japan, I think.
Oh, by the way, I eat something like noodles with making sound, cause I'm a Japanese!!!

5 Yes, indeed it's quiet annoying and really dirty job. What one of the gus who came to my house did was after my father refusing his negotiation the guy kicked the entrance's door and ran away.

Maciamo
Jun 9, 2004, 19:19
Whenever I have dealt with Japanese people, I have always seen them as very punctual people. Living in Okinawa on the other hand is another story! It is almost expected that people will be late...no matter what! It is commonly referred to as "Okinawa Time". :-) But I know many mainland Japanese who live here that never fall into that catagory. They are always on time!

I don't like the abusing use of "always" and "never". :okashii: Anyhow, you shouldn't base yourself on such stereotypes. Among the Japanese I know, some of them are typically 10 or even 20 min late to appointments, while most of more or less on time and a few in advance. I have noticed that those who usually arrive late tend to be dressed in a much more casual manner too. The male/female rate is about the same. At least there is some regularity, and those who are late are late most of the time. Among about 100 Japanese I have had appointments with (for business), only 6 have been almost constantly late. That is few, but they exist.

Buddha Smoker
Jun 9, 2004, 22:39
I don't like the abusing use of "always" and "never". :okashii: Anyhow, you shouldn't base yourself on such stereotypes. Among the Japanese I know, some of them are typically 10 or even 20 min late to appointments, while most of more or less on time and a few in advance. I have noticed that those who usually arrive late tend to be dressed in a much more casual manner too. The male/female rate is about the same. At least there is some regularity, and those who are late are late most of the time. Among about 100 Japanese I have had appointments with (for business), only 6 have been almost constantly late. That is few, but they exist.

I agree the Always & Never words are not possible in just about any society.

Rich303
Feb 21, 2006, 23:08
Maybe I should keep my mouth shut as I've only spent a short time in Japan,
but while on the train the past year in the UK I've been spat at, called a 'queer' by a girl I wouldn't give a cigarette to, and hit in the head for the 'crime' of falling asleep.
I find all this much more offensive than any manners I encounted in Japan.

However, I guess over a period of time things can get to you so I will keep an open mind. When you spend any length of time in a country you will find things that bug you.

Tokis-Phoenix
Feb 22, 2006, 00:47
(After pointing several times ot the very nice intro about cultural relativity) I would add,
1) some people having complete and total lack of control over their small children and not even trying to get them to be quiet/sit still/not run free in restaurants or shopping centers. My favorite is not making their kids apologize for the whole "gaijin da!" comments - I don't buy it in this day and age that young parents don't know that some foreigners consider that very rude indeed. Come on, the kids are not that cute. Once in awhile it is okay, kids will be kids, but all the time? Parents, grow some b****.
2) Maybe more of a country thing, but peeing at the side of the road. Mainly old men do this, and it is more sad than rude since I have seen it about a thousand times by now.
3)Using a toothpick at the table - again, more of a old man habit.
4)Staring. I know what this is all about and why people do it, but it is a shock at first.
5)Smoking in enclosed areas. I'm all for the freedom for people to mess up their bodies and raise the cost of insurance, but smoking where others can suck your smoke is selfish and shows a basic lack of repsect for others. I don't force people to eat the junk food I carry around from time to time, others shouldn't force me to an earlier grave (smoking is still very big in Japan and out in the country).
There are more, but I will stop here.

With the smoking thing, i dont see a problem with it as long as the people smoking are doing in a smoking area/room(which are usually conviently placed near a door or fan/air vent or whatever etc), because its a located area where they are supposed to do it if they want to- i agree though if the person is smoking in area where they shouldn't, or it doesn't say(which usually means they shouldn't) then i agree its quite rude.
I agree though with all your other points, although i would like to add that i personally find it worse when people eat with their mouth open throughout their entire meal at the table rather than picking their teeth clean.

Tollen
Mar 1, 2006, 07:53
Maybe I should keep my mouth shut as I've only spent a short time in Japan,
but while on the train the past year in the UK I've been spat at, called a 'queer' by a girl I wouldn't give a cigarette to, and hit in the head for the 'crime' of falling asleep.
I find all this much more offensive than any manners I encounted in Japan.
However, I guess over a period of time things can get to you so I will keep an open mind. When you spend any length of time in a country you will find things that bug you.

I dont know what its like to live in japan but for sure in the UK on trains and busses i'v often been called or had things thrown at me or seen it happen to others... its just plain wrong

And i don't know about smokers in public places (i do agree its wrong) but on public transport in the UK (which is non-smoking) I'v occasionally found cannabis smokers which is just completely out of order...

lol so to me it seems that manners in japan and on japanese public transport seem bliss ^_^ :blush:

Kinsao
Mar 1, 2006, 17:57
Yeah, the wonderful UK, such a friendly and welcoming country... :okashii:
I kid, it's not so very bad -- but the public transport isn't exactly pleasurable. :buuh:

nurizeko
Mar 1, 2006, 20:20
Interestingly Japanese seem not to be very sensitive to noise, and the one I know do not care much about being quiet when people are sleeping (eg. coming back late and talking loud on the phone so that even the neighbour can hear).
Oh how i know about it, i wonder how they ever get sleep, and why is it so hard to put at least basic sound proofing into the walls?.....its not going to kill them.
I guess us pampered gaijin are too used to you know, privacy and peace and quiet durring the night. Silly foolish us. :souka:

2) Maybe more of a country thing, but peeing at the side of the road. Mainly old men do this, and it is more sad than rude since I have seen it about a thousand times by now.
Its more then understandable on the motorways in tokyo, it took getting out into the country before i could take a whizz, but i couldnt hold that long, i eventually had to go pee in some bushes by the side of the road....so utterly embarrassing....i tell you at that time, i wanted to hunt koizumi down and tell him to f***ing do something useful like adding rest stops along the japanese motorways....it just boggles the mind, japanese must have bladders of steel... :(

3)Using a toothpick at the table - again, more of a old man habit.
Apparently its okay if you cover your mouth with your hand, i aint got a problem with toothpicks myself.

What about things Japanese find rude that gaijin do?? For example, I couldn't get used to the fact that I wasn't supposed to eat in public, and I broke this rule a lot. I would always grab an onigiri on the way to work and sometimes got dirty looks from people. Here at home, no one thinks twice about eating in public. On a long JR ride, I'd even sometimes break out a bowl of gyudon from Lawson. I know I shouldn't have, but I just didn't see the harm in it. Am I going to gaijin hell???
Yes...well, not really, i musta lived in a really bloody progressive thinknig part of japan because ive never had troubles with manners and rudeness (mostly) though maybe im just by chance of happy coincedence in a way similar to the japanese mindset, i do enjoy keeping to myself in public, and ever since i was little i was always told i was shouting when i talked to people as a kid, ive made a concious effort to be as quiet as possible. :p
Not only is it quiet, they all sit there until the end credits have finished, ik couldnt believe it, i wanted to leave but i sat there like a ***** because i didnt want to look like the dumb gaijin :souka: but, we went to see memiors of a geisha/sayuri, (my girlfriends name is similar, have a guess) but i couldnt believe it, it was actually in english with japanese subtitles, so at least i could understand what they were saying. :cool:
As for foreigners being loud i dunno, im british, most gaijin i saw were quiet, but theres always a group of americans (or canadians maybe...) that you can hear long before you spot them comming, and god forbid your in a store when they are there, misbehaving as immature kids in adult bodies they are, and then you have to get "the look" from the japanese as if they expect me any minute to break out in similar poor public behaviour....:okashii:

I like eating while standing (even at home) and get scolded by my wife for doing so. But I rarely eat while walking.
I was always walking about the livingroom with a bowl of rice sometimes and eating it, and my girlfriend was always telling me to sit down.....i always assumed she worried i had the hand control of a 5 year old and would drop my food all over the floor, it was an interesting experience getting told off like a child again, despite the fact i am bigger and taller then here, i guess the few months age gap she has on me gives her a boosted ego. :p

In general, I found Japanese to have a bad "street behaviour", not caring at all about other people, like when 5 people walk side by side taking all the pavement for them and you can't pass when you come opposite them, but they won't open up.
Oh dont get me started, i actually had to learn to apologise again when i got home because i just gave up caring when they constantly showed no concern for the fact they bump and push right past, there was at least once or twice when i wanted to thump one of the culprits in the gob for the total utter lack of manners. In a country where you wont tell someone their hair is on fire for fear of their reaction, why cant they take half a second to say "sumimasen" or "gomen"?.....though to be fair a few did, which i was thankful for, but they were a precious few....i did mention the time i helped a delivery man move a large parcel onto our elevator, and his utter joy and gratitude for this act of kindness was so great, his smile was beaming a happyness light that burnt through the walls, along with the constant sound of "aah! arigatou!"?

Also, another thing that irritates the hell out of me is his inability to be on time for appointments.
My girlfriend takes her time getting ready, then every time without fail, 7-5 minutes before were actually meant to be getting on the train, she starts panicking and wigging out, its quite amusing, except for when she turns on me, and i just wonder, if we've had the whole day off, why are we only NOW needing to leave for a train?....i woulda left 10 minutes ago, and lightly strolled to kabe station, waited for a train got on and been in time, infact i like arriving 15 minutes before an appointment time just in case, but because my girlfriend is odd like that, we have to run in cold weather to the train, needless to say my lungs hurt and im knackered out.

What about the people in the train that spread their legs (usually businessmen) and don't let people sit down? The train seat is typically made to hold 3 (small section on the ends) and 7 (big middle sections) people but they take up two people's room and 5 (maybe 6) are sitting. That really gets under my skin sometimes.
Im british so im used to always getting a seat on a train, but when im on a train, ill always allow a lady or someone else to take a seat (they dont say thankyou by the way) i do this on the busses in my home city, and i always let everyone else on a bus first, so it annoys me when i signal to a lady or something on the train she can have a seat that im right next to, but then someone else barges past and sits down, i swear ide love to punch them in the face throw them across the carridge and allow the elderly lady to sit down as i intended.
What also annoys me is when a bloke is clearly checking out my girlfriend on the train, and is aware that im noticing it, but continues regardless i mean wtf?....i know it isnt a crime to find a woman attractive, no matter who she is with, but you can at least try and show me some f***ing respect and not drool over my woman when you know fine and well i am noticing it. :okashii:

I know that is considered rude for you to wash in the bath water, you are suposed to wash first. Is it ok to fart in the water? I have never heard any one talk about this issue?
I always thought the rule was just to wash up the nether regions first before you get in, anyway thats what i was taught.
Personally i like to take my time in the bath, just sit there and soak, but my girlfriend is always washwashwashwash so in the end i had to say "hun, this bathing together has to stop....when you said we should share a bath, i envisioned it being a bit more romantic and a little less torturing". :blush:

Maybe I should keep my mouth shut as I've only spent a short time in Japan,
but while on the train the past year in the UK I've been spat at, called a 'queer' by a girl I wouldn't give a cigarette to, and hit in the head for the 'crime' of falling asleep.
I find all this much more offensive than any manners I encounted in Japan.
However, I guess over a period of time things can get to you so I will keep an open mind. When you spend any length of time in a country you will find things that bug you.
The infamous pikey/chav/townie....oh how i loath them, they have utterly no respect for public manners and other people and ugh....they just irritate the f*** out of me, i would support any plan to squeeze them into rockets so tightly a japanese train commuter would complain, and launch them into the sun, but their corrupted taint would only make the sun spit them out again.

scieck
Mar 3, 2006, 23:03
As a result, you may find that other Westerners behave the same way or even worse than Japanese, but these are things I don't like and don't do.
In my opinion the above is very optimistic, what Maciamo describe as “ill-mannered” are behaviors that cannot be associated with the average Japanese person, since this behaviors are found in every corner of this planet.
i.e.

Being loud: ever been to a Latin country ?
People carrying an umbrella: ever been to London ? “street behavior”, no comment is just plain funny.
Pushing people to get in or out of the train: i wish i could do that in London, the tube is half empty and people just don't move from the front of the door.
Slurping: you got me i don't know where else this is found, apart from very elderly people in need of a new set of teeth.
Touts and sales people: so Japanese sales people are quite tenacious, this, i think has more to do with the average (successful) selling person in the world rather than the average Japanese person.



I agree the Always & Never words are not possible in just about any society.

I don't agree, the Always & Never words are not possible in just about any thing.

Dutch Baka
Mar 4, 2006, 16:48
Compairing bad manners to my country... I like Japan :D:D:D

gaijinalways
Mar 4, 2006, 23:11
Well, annoying sometimes, but not necessarily rude.

Slurping (in China too).

people carrying an umbrella, people seem to do it here more often, especially swinging them (when it should be obvious there are other people around who will/may get hit by them)

people pushing in/out - didn't ever see this in London, I think it's rare
worse in Hong Kong, India

Being loud - have to laugh, I'm pretty loud myself at times, goes both ways

Touts and salespeople - don't have any problem with them (but I am big enough to have my own ward named after me :wave: !)!

ludoNL
Mar 5, 2006, 00:04
Compairing bad manners to my country... I like Japan :D:D:D

Although I've never been to Japan; from what I've read here... I totally agree with you.

People who refuse to stand up for old ladies in a bus.
Getting beat up just because you looked at somebody.
And worst of all.... people who let their dogs **** all over the sidewalk.

Minty
Mar 5, 2006, 10:03
Manners are culturally biased. Even more than that, they depend on individual sensibility.
Here are a few things the average Japanese tend to do and which I personally find ill-mannered. As you read this, remember that I am not American and even as a European, probably not from the same country as you, and even if you were, you surely don't have the same social background and personal sensitivity. As a result, you may find that other Westerners behave the same way or even worse than Japanese, but these are things I don't like and don't do
1) Being loud in places like restaurants, cafes, etc. Especially laughing very loud. This is true for most people, from little children shouting and running, to groups of teenage girls, to business people to women on their 50's or 60's. I don't mind laughing in a movie theatre, but not in an expensive restaurant. Japanese tend to be amazingly quiet in cinemas and too noisy elsewhere..

:gohan: :hey: :ramen: Chinese do the same. My husband was so annoyed by the loud talking in the food halls when we were travelling in Taiwan.


Interestingly Japanese seem not to be very sensitive to noise, and the one I know do not care much about being quiet when people are sleeping (eg. coming back late and talking loud on the phone so that even the neighbour can hear).

This is funny I talk loud (in his opinion) to my parents on long distance phone calls and my Western European Husband always complaint, "shhhh this is not China!" I am not from or born in China. He knows this of course but he just never said "Shh, this is not Malaysia", for some reason.:blush: But I don't talk loud in public areas.:p Also I don't talk loud in the middle of the night like our neighbour upstairs. Their children is mostly noisy too throughout the day I never complaint.


2) People carrying an umbrella when it is (almost) not raining. What can be more annoying on a crowded pavement/sidewalk, especially when you are riding a bicycle and those umbrella-carriers do not care about people around and suddenly wave it into your face or arm.

:-) Not just Japanese people do this throughout East to South East Asia everybody does this, not sure about South Asia though.


3)In general, I found Japanese to have a bad "street behaviour", not caring at all about other people, like when 5 people walk side by side taking all the pavement for them and you can't pass when you come opposite them, but they won't open up.
Pushing people to get in or out of the train. Shall I also mention men groping women ?

:lol: A lot of Asian countries do that I think but not Thailand for some reason.

4) Slurping noisily their tea and their food (not just ramen, but everything). This is particularily true of elderly people.

:giggle: Again same in Chinesec


Also, another thing that irritates the hell out of me is his inability to be on time for appointments. I don't know if this is a Japanese thing or just a guy thing or what, but he seems to think he can take his time getting to an appointment. If I have to depend on him to take one of the kids or me to the doctor or somewhere, I might as well count on being at least 10 minutes late. We have had terrible fights over that. My main point is that it is an appointment. That means you're supposed to be there on time or better yet, several minutes before the appointment time. It's common courtesy! He seems to think that because you have an appointment, you are allowed to be late? Oh, it drives me crazy.

No it is not a guy thing. Not sure about the Japanese thing because I am always the one who is late because I take long to get ready and my husband is always the one who hurries me.:bluush:

I find that being tall, people tend to stay out of my way if I walk towards them. My wife has more stories about being smushed by people in the supermarket or on the street.

Yeah probably, my husband who is tall push his way around if people refuse to give way and people donft dare to do anything back where as with me I have to wait till people get out of the way and sometimes that could take a while!:balloon:


With the smoking thing, i dont see a problem with it as long as the people smoking are doing in a smoking area/room(which are usually conviently placed near a door or fan/air vent or whatever etc), because its a located area where they are supposed to do it if they want to- i agree though if the person is smoking in area where they shouldn't, or it doesn't say(which usually means they shouldn't) then i agree its quite rude.

Yeah same goes for people who use mobile phones and eat at a place they shouldnft.:okashii:


What also annoys me is when a bloke is clearly checking out my girlfriend on the train, and is aware that im noticing it, but continues regardless i mean wtf?....i know it isnt a crime to find a woman attractive, no matter who she is with, but you can at least try and show me some f***ing respect and not drool over my woman when you know fine and well i am noticing it.

Men do that from many other cultures too from my personal experiences.:D Guys will always be guys.

SortOf
Mar 5, 2006, 10:46
When I was in Japan I went to a McDonalds, I was second in line and let out a gigantic fart. Some Japanese guy behind me backed up, holding his nose and made soome "ahghhhh" sound. He bumped into the lady behind her and she dropped some papers she was holding, given my western nature I started laughing loudly. Everybody was looking at me, and I just kinda shook my head, freaking hilarious.

yidaki
Mar 7, 2006, 17:50
This thread seems more about the bad behaviour of westerners.
Makes me feel kind of ashamed, as people might think I'm the same.

I'm swedish, but given the descriptions at the top of this thread, I think swedes are alot like japanese. Being loud in the cinema is amongst the rudest things I know, people just don't have any consideration of others. And I laugh out loud anywhere else. It's probably not very japanese, but I can sit in the bus and laugh because the book/manga I'm reading is so funny. But always quiet in the cinema. It ruins the movie when someone crumbles a paper, laughs, talks, make unnecessary noises.

Kinsao
Mar 7, 2006, 19:54
people pushing in/out - didn't ever see this in London
Really?! :shock: I find it all the time in London and in my city, too.



like when 5 people walk side by side taking all the pavement for them and you can't pass when you come opposite them, but they won't open up.
I find people do that all the time here... :okashii: It amazes me how easily a small number of people can take up the width of a wide walkway. Yet, at a time if I am carrying 6 carrier bags or something like that, no one will ever shift themself so much as an inch to make it easier for me to get past them... I end up banging their leg with one of my bags, even if I'm trying hard to sidle past them in a shop or something... ><

Haha, Sortof... I have to admit I hate it when people fart in a public place... ewww.... :sick:


It's probably not very japanese, but I can sit in the bus and laugh because the book/manga I'm reading is so funny. But always quiet in the cinema.

Ahh, I laugh out loud at some times, too... :blush: I laugh at work, and people look at me and I have to tell them what is funny... ^^ And sometimes if I am smiling, and walking down the street, you know, other people coming towards me, they catch my eye and start to smile as well! I noticed this and now I try and smile more... it really does not take much to make people smile at you, here... I don't know why... it seems like everyone normally goes around with such a downcast expression that they are really surprised to see someone looking happy... :clueless:

I hate people being noisy in the cinema. :okashii:

Maciamo
Mar 8, 2006, 04:10
When I was in Japan I went to a McDonalds, I was second in line and let out a gigantic fart. Some Japanese guy behind me backed up, holding his nose and made soome "ahghhhh" sound. He bumped into the lady behind her and she dropped some papers she was holding, given my western nature I started laughing loudly. Everybody was looking at me, and I just kinda shook my head, freaking hilarious.

Western or not, I think that everyone here would have been shocked by your attitude too (both the fart and the loud laugh).:okashii:

Philip
Mar 8, 2006, 04:18
Well, dansih peolple are also loud. But that is only when we are drunk :bluush: Actually we sing a lot when we are drunk.

nurizeko
Jul 26, 2006, 00:59
I'm so intolerant to noise I will close my double-glazed south-facing window every night durring a heatwave so I can sleep, rather then risk the sound of a passing car or something.

My girlfriend has the comfiest bed ever and her room seems well insulated from most destracting noise, apart from her own family fuffing about the place.

If her family came to Aberdeen they'd probably be amazed how quiet it is in comparrison....and then be even more suprised to see I wont even tolerate a passing car durring my sleep, when they live on a main-road in mega-tokyo.

gaijinalways
Aug 9, 2006, 08:14
Noise tolerance is a cultural and personal thing. City dwellers get used to mechanical noise, whereas country folk are used to natural noise (crickets, birds, etc).

I myself am not too tolerant to noise myself, though my wife thinks I am noisy, yet she vacuums the house at 2 a.m. because the neighbors never say anything (at least not directly).

kirby36
Aug 9, 2006, 08:41
I've eyewitnessed some Japanese expressed facial discomforts toward nationalities they see as undesirable !

jaytee
Aug 13, 2006, 23:49
When i was in Osaka, i seen people urinating in the streets all the time, i was qute surprised at first but i just grew accustomed to it. Doesn't mean that it's okay though.

With regards to England, a number of my Japanese mates have been shouted at or had young lads swearing at them in Liverpool, calling them chinkys and telling them to F**k off back to China etc. One friend of mine had two lasses sitting behind her tugging her hair and calling her a chinky, she turned around told them that she was Japanese and told them to stop, they thought it was funny, and she eventually turned around and told them to f**k off.

On the bus just 2 days ago there was 3 drunk young people, two lads and one lass. The lass was shouting at her boyfriend for something he had done and was full on hitting him in the face and telling him to f**k off etc in front of old women that were on the bus. When they sat down the lass kept telling him how much she loved him and that's why he was 'making' her behave like this!? She kept saying, "i really love you, you know" then throwing punches at him because he was indifferent to what she was saying! Then the 3rd guy sat behind me trying to chat up some young girl and thinking i couldn't hear him because i had my headphones in my ears dared her to pull my hair and that he would take the blame because he was going to jail soon. haha

And then he started saying rude things to passengers who got on the bus, asking him if he was a donkey? And saying i hope you don't get kncoked over by a joy rider tonight and laughing at him.

Oh i just love England

yamada
Aug 23, 2006, 22:28
It's intolerable to noise for me on a platform.

Maciamo
Aug 30, 2006, 15:30
In all my years living in, and visiting, Japan not once was I ever mugged.

And have you been mugged anywhere else ? :shock: My impression of an unsafe country is one where one get shortchanged in shops or pickpocketed in public transports, where people spit in the street and the police might annoy you. I guess that's the difference between a Belgian and an American. So after all there is some truth is all the street violence we see in American movies and series. :auch:

yamada
Sep 1, 2006, 18:47
Why a japanese woman covers the mouth with her hand, when she laughs? A korean tv comentater who often appears in alot of japan tv shows. Even she does the same thing.

ricecake
Sep 1, 2006, 18:54
I've followed both Japanese and Korean TV programs for much of my adulthood,I've never seen a clip of any Korean or Japanese woman in such scenerio.

If you're referring to Akiko Wada,she isn't Korean rather a Japanese woman of Korean extraction.Yes,she often appears on Japanese TV shows as commentator or entertainer of some sort.

nurizeko
Sep 2, 2006, 00:29
When i was in Osaka, i seen people urinating in the streets all the time, i was qute surprised at first but i just grew accustomed to it. Doesn't mean that it's okay though.
With regards to England, a number of my Japanese mates have been shouted at or had young lads swearing at them in Liverpool, calling them chinkys and telling them to F**k off back to China etc. One friend of mine had two lasses sitting behind her tugging her hair and calling her a chinky, she turned around told them that she was Japanese and told them to stop, they thought it was funny, and she eventually turned around and told them to f**k off.
On the bus just 2 days ago there was 3 drunk young people, two lads and one lass. The lass was shouting at her boyfriend for something he had done and was full on hitting him in the face and telling him to f**k off etc in front of old women that were on the bus. When they sat down the lass kept telling him how much she loved him and that's why he was 'making' her behave like this!? She kept saying, "i really love you, you know" then throwing punches at him because he was indifferent to what she was saying! Then the 3rd guy sat behind me trying to chat up some young girl and thinking i couldn't hear him because i had my headphones in my ears dared her to pull my hair and that he would take the blame because he was going to jail soon. haha
And then he started saying rude things to passengers who got on the bus, asking him if he was a donkey? And saying i hope you don't get kncoked over by a joy rider tonight and laughing at him.
Oh i just love England


D=Sad to hear this, if it makes you feel any better, most British folk find these people pathetic and shameful aswell, the worst part is we have to live with them all our lives, while others can return to another country. :(

They are called Chavs, and they are a real social blight on our country, looking at Japan, and then at Britain, I can only assume they were of our own making, but Middleclass and normal Britons everywhere yearn for the day these pimples on society are removed.

RockLee
Sep 2, 2006, 01:21
Oh noes! Not Chavs! I've read about those dorks.
http://something-beautiful.org/me/wp-content/uploads/2006/03/chav.jpg
HeeHee :giggle:

A video bout these "chavs" : http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8212038174455494428&q=devvo

ArmandV
Sep 2, 2006, 01:39
Why a japanese woman covers the mouth with her hand, when she laughs? A korean tv comentater who often appears in alot of japan tv shows. Even she does the same thing.

That's something left over from the old days about "not showing bone" when laughing.

gaijinalways
Sep 3, 2006, 02:39
Well, though this seems gettting away from manners, but my wife was mugged in Paris, and pick pocketed in London. In America, uh just annoyed with my family and surprised that they don't lock their doors.

So Japan is okay, except for the traditional 'racism'.

pbjsandwich
Sep 3, 2006, 15:19
Slurping noisily their tea and their food (not just ramen, but everything). This is particularily true of elderly people.
I'm not sure if anyone explained this yet. *Is too lazy to read through all the posts* But my parents told me that the Japanese slurp their soup/noodles to show that they like the food. It's to show respect to the chefs and it's actually considered rude if you don't do it.... Like you're insinuating that the food isn't delicious if you don't slurp.

And it makes sense that it's the elders who do this especially because this is a traditional courtesy. Now the younger generation have pretty much done away with the custom, because it would be like... uh, how should I say... a woman curtsy-ing by way of greeting. It just isn't done anymore by most of the younger people.

Maciamo
Sep 3, 2006, 16:53
I'm not sure if anyone explained this yet. *Is too lazy to read through all the posts* But my parents told me that the Japanese slurp their soup/noodles to show that they like the food. It's to show respect to the chefs and it's actually considered rude if you don't do it....

That is not true. They do it at home too (I have lived with my in-laws in a while), even when they cook it themselves. So it's definitely not to show appreciation. They slurp any liquid that it hot because it is hot. I noticed that the Japanese have an amazing ability to eat or drink anything at a much hotter temperature than I could ever do. For them I am "nekojita" (lit. "cat's tongue", which means having a tongue sensitive to heat).

I noticed that quite a few other Europeans I know were also said to be "nekojita" in Japan. I guess that is because the Japanese have developed a skill to absorb air while drinking their hot tea or ramen soup, so that the coolig process takes place inside the mouth. I prefer to hold my noodles above the bowl for a few seconds and even blow some air on it until it has cooled down a bit. Japanese people rarely do that.

I am not sure they should be proud of this ability to eat/drink too hot; after all the Japanese have a much higher rate of oesophagus and stomach cancer than Westerners, and this is probably the main cause.

Maciamo
Sep 3, 2006, 17:01
Well, though this seems gettting away from manners, but my wife was mugged in Paris, and pick pocketed in London. In America, uh just annoyed with my family and surprised that they don't lock their doors.
So Japan is okay, except for the traditional 'racism'.

Pickpocketing also happens in Japan. In fact I saw many police signs warning of pickpockets in banks and bag snatchers in the streets. Bicycle and umbrella thefts are rampant in Japan... (not that bad, but it is still theft)

gaijinalways
Sep 3, 2006, 23:45
Definately, didn't mean to imply it never happens here, just less likley. They also give warnings about pickpockets at the airports and on the trains to the airports.

DoctorP
Sep 4, 2006, 00:20
Speaking of the eating/drinking of hot items. Many Japanese tend to believe that one problem with Westerners (mainly US) is that we drink too many cold liquids. They say that it isn't healthy to always drink ice laden drinks. (Of course the Japanese love ice cold beer!) But if you notice, they usually drink coffee or warm/hot tea.

They say these warm liquids help in the natural movement of energy in the human body.

My wife loves her soup extremely hot...so hot that I usually have to wait 10-15 minutes for it to cool enough to eat it. She thinks this is strange, but I too think she is strange, so it evens out!

pbjsandwich
Sep 4, 2006, 00:42
Bicycle and umbrella thefts are rampant in Japan...
Wtf...? Umbrella thieves? Umbrellas cost like, what? Ten bucks?

That is not true. They do it at home too (I have lived with my in-laws in a while), even when they cook it themselves. So it's definitely not to show appreciation.
I stand by my arguement. I was told that it was traditional manners. And maybe the reason why people do it even if they cook the food themselves is probably because that tradition turned into a habit that everyone is taught to pick up.

Maciamo
Sep 4, 2006, 01:12
Wtf...? Umbrella thieves? Umbrellas cost like, what? Ten bucks?

Anything from 100 yen to 50,000 yen. As you know Japanese people are addicted to brands, and I know quite a few people who had pretty expensive umbrellas (some more expensive than a mountain bike).

DoctorP
Sep 4, 2006, 02:09
I stand by my arguement. I was told that it was traditional manners. And maybe the reason why people do it even if they cook the food themselves is probably because that tradition turned into a habit that everyone is taught to pick up.

Actually Maciamo is correct. The primary reason for slurping is to cool the food.

RockLee
Sep 4, 2006, 05:16
I also heard in China you have to burp after dinner to show appreciation. What a load of crock ! I didn't even hear 1 person burp...Only saw even really hot girl spit on the ground. Stereotypes are just what they are, nothing more.

leonmarino
Sep 4, 2006, 14:33
I don't consider slurping "bad manners", it's just different manners. It might have originated as a way to cool off your food/drink, but it has a nice advantage that it improves your tasting. Wine-tasters also slurp their wines so they get more oxigen in their mouths and so they can taste better.

Anyways, the few things that bother me in Japan is sexism and racism. Women are often treated differently than men and are supposed to fulfill a taxing role in the old-fashioned man-woman-relationship, taking care of the man. At the same time the male counterpart is unable to perform a wide array of tasks like cooking, washing and other basic tasks to take care of one self.. I just find that very, very sad.

The other thing is racism, but a lot has been said about that and there is little I can add to it. One recurring thing springs to mind though. When I am with my Japanese girlfriend and I order something (for example curry rice) many waiters/waitresses ask my girlfriend for further questions (for example how hot I want the curry to be). I keep telling myself that they do that out of politeness (what if the customer doesn't understand what the waiter is saying, he might look like a fool), but I can't help experiencing it as very rude.

ricecake
Sep 4, 2006, 15:03
Women are often treated differently than men and are supposed to fulfill a taxing role in the old-fashioned man-woman-relationship.

When I am with my Japanese girlfriend and I order something (for example curry rice) many waiters/waitresses ask my girlfriend for further questions (for example how hot I want the curry to be).



Japanese men are esteemed in society at the expense of their women-folk is how Japan structures it,I am not seeing any sign of dramatic changes in regard to gender matters.

This scenerio comes up often,is it customary or these Japanese individuals just want to get it right as they're known perfectionists :?

Maciamo
Sep 4, 2006, 16:37
The other thing is racism, but a lot has been said about that and there is little I can add to it. One recurring thing springs to mind though. When I am with my Japanese girlfriend and I order something (for example curry rice) many waiters/waitresses ask my girlfriend for further questions (for example how hot I want the curry to be). I keep telling myself that they do that out of politeness (what if the customer doesn't understand what the waiter is saying, he might look like a fool), but I can't help experiencing it as very rude.
First when I read your post I thought you were complaining about waiters asking how people want their curry, but as it didn't make sense I re-read and understood that the problem was that they ask your girlfriend about your curry (not hers), rather than asking directly to you, just because you are a foreigner. It has happened countless of times to me.

There have been times with my in laws when my wife's mother or grand-mother wanted to ask me a question they asked my wife, who repeated it to me in Japanese, rather than ask me directly (even at the dining table). When I told my wife that I found this strange, she explained that traditionally it was not polite for a woman to address a man directly. That doesn't make sense because my wife is also a woman, and we are all family... It also doesn't make sense because male waiters or JR staff would also answer to my wife when I asked them a question. I stayed long enough in Japan to notice that women all address men directly between Japanese. Only foreigners get asked questions indirectly.

I suppose that the main reason for them to do that is because they think that foreigners cannot understand Japanese. But again, my in laws knew as I usually spoke only Japanese with my wife after 2 years in Japan, and they (esp. the grandmother) kept making indirect questions via my wife, although I answered in Japanese. Sometimes my wife would even repeat what I said in Japanese with the exact same words. When I complained about it, she said that her grandmother couldn't understand my pronuciation, which is obviously a false pretext, as everybody else understood without problem. I came to understand that the true reason is that she didn't really want to talk to me directly (maybe was she intimidated by my being a foreigner). But it seems to be true for many waiters, shop assistants and JR/metro staff too (not all, fortunately). They are so intimidated at talking to Westerners that they had rather talk back to my wife than me when I ask them something. More than racism this is actually xenophobia (literally "fear of foreigners"). Actually I cannot think of a better illustration of the term xenophobia in its most literal sense. Naturally, people who seek to meet Westerners (in bars, nightclubs) or take private English lessons with a Westerner do not behave like that.

ricecake
Sep 4, 2006, 16:58
she explained that traditionally it was not polite for a woman to address a man directly.

she said that her grandmother couldn't understand my pronuciation,which is obviously a false pretext,I came to understand that the true reason is that she didn't really want to talk to me directly (maybe was she intimidated by my being a foreigner).

More than racism this is actually xenophobia (literally "fear of foreigners"). Actually I cannot think of a better illustration of the term xenophobia in its most literal sense.Naturally,people who seek to meet Westerners (in bars, nightclubs) or take private English lessons with a Westerner do not behave like that.



It's only true for older female generations in any East Asian culture,no longer in practice though.

There are Oriental grannies ( including my mother ) do feel un-comfortable talking directly to " foreigner males " not necessarily imply disliking or disrespectful.

Honestly,there are some Orientals in Pacific Rim region not comfortable socially interact with " foreigners ".I can't say that's the case for Japanese in this regard since they're indoctrinated at very young age by the notion Japan is part of Western World.

I am NOT defending certain perceivingly " racist or foreigner-unfriendly " behaviours of Japanese,I can understand gaijins are irritated by those social annoyances in Japan.I would find it extremely rude if a waitress chooses not to address me directly because I look racially or ethnically different.

ArmandV
Sep 4, 2006, 22:43
I think a lot of waiters/waitresses are so used to gaijins like me (who know diddly-squat in Japanese) that they automatically turn the the Japanese person who's with you and then are shocked when the occasional gaijin shows up who speaks Japanese.

When I went to a French(!) restaurant in Ginza with a Japanese ladyfriend, I didn't feel at all that I was given rude treatment. The menu was bi-lingual but she ended up telling the waiter our order and what wine I requested. It just made things go all the more smoothly.

gaijinalways
Sep 4, 2006, 22:52
Yes, but this aspect of Japan seems to be often overlooked by the natives here, who are puzzled why 'others' be annoyed by it until you treat them the same way. I have had a soft right-winger at another site try to aoid admitting anything, looking for any excuse as to why Japanese might ;

not sit near any foreigner in some cases (old, young, fat, thin, short, tall, etc)

always direct questions to another if they are Asian looking, even if they don't understand Japanese

insist on not allowing you as you 'might' upset the other customers

If this is traditional behaviour, I'm glad I'm not atraditional xenophobe-racist!

ArmandV
Sep 4, 2006, 23:28
I've had numerous Japanese go out of their way to sit near me (mainly older men and younger women) to strike up conversations. I've never noticed "avoidance."

The fact is, if you allow minor things to upset or annoy you, you will be upset and annoyed.

ricecake
Sep 5, 2006, 06:03
I have had a soft right-winger at another site try to avoid admitting anything, looking for any excuse as to why Japanese might not sit near any foreigner in some cases (old, young, fat, thin, short, tall, etc)

always direct questions to another if they are Asian looking,even if they don't understand Japanese



I've read a lyric written by a gaijin on another Japan-oriented forum,in describing how one can be frown upon for gaijin-looking in JR/metro.I've had some reservation to that post,this confirms some of you actually experienced it.

This is a bit surprise to me,Japanese in Japan are comfortable with Asiatic peoples as it's the opposition elsewhere.Probably a minor case of Japan's Dr Jekyle and Mr Hyde.

gaijinalways
Aug 26, 2008, 16:43
I know that I have discussed on different threads about Japanese politeness, sometimes focusing on what is important such as keeping the 'wa', even if it means telling untruths that not even a child would believe.

No, this is something different, people who seem to think that everyone else has rules except them. I believe I did relate this first incidence earlier, where in a sushi bar there were two kids running around as if it was a play ground. Not a word from the owner or the parents. This seems to be a more common occurance recently, where I get middle-aged Japanese disbelieving that it happened, forgetting that the way their parents raised them is different than how some 'Shibuya' Moms raise their kids now.

This more recent event ocurred at a dance festival on Saturday. It was raining, so people started using umbrellas and in some cases raincoats. What was appalling was how some people were using them. First case in point was a woman who showed up, and throughout the festival continued to talk to her friend on her cellphone, while absentmindedly poking her umbrella dangerously near the back of my wife's head. Of course people are near each other as they cowd in to try and see the dancers, but I have never seen some one so intent on her conversation for the duration of event as to forget there are other people around.

But this wasn't the worst. Two women in front of us decided for some reason to keep leaning their umbrellas backwards, at one point practically soaking my wife on one side of her jacket. When my wife politely decided to point this out to the woman directly in front of her, the women continued to swear at her, and then stood up trying to push the umbrella further behind her, ignoring the fact that she was hardly keeping herself drier. She stated that she had f%%%%ing been there since the morning so she had the right...I think you get the picture.

I have to wonder, where are the polite Japanese I keep hearing about?

Glenski
Aug 26, 2008, 17:28
People can be oblivious on their cell phones, gaijinalways. I hope you "pointed" that out to her. Pun intended. Let's just hope she doesn't drive and use her cell phone.

By the way, what was your wife's reaction to the f&#37;%%%ing ***** with the umbrella soaking you?

Mike Cash
Aug 26, 2008, 20:36
I'd like for him to teach me the Japanese swear words.

Dogen Z
Aug 26, 2008, 21:07
Tokyoites can be really rude. Someone told me about one obasan on a bicycle who hit another obasan in the back with ther bike then complain that the walking obasan shouldn't have been in her way!:souka:
The Japanese have a saying, "Tokyo is not Japan.":blush:

gaijinalways
Aug 30, 2008, 13:21
I'd like for him to teach me the Japanese swear words.

I'm sure you probably already know them. I didn't hear exactly what was said, just providing my wife's translation. It was a somewhat heated arguement. I probably should have butted in with an "Oi, nani-o shimashita ka?" in a booming voice, but I'm not sure that would have ended it or not. This woman was obviously someone with no concept of manners.


Tokyoites can be really rude. Someone told me about one obasan on a bicycle who hit another obasan in the back with ther bike then complain that the walking obasan shouldn't have been in her way!

Exactly, this seemed to be her atitude, that having waited for a long time to see this dance festival made it permissable for her to act in any fashion she chose.


The Japanese have a saying, "Tokyo is not Japan."

What's interesting is that Tokyo often gives me the impression of being an 'inaka-shi' or a city full of country bumpkins. With some 70% of the city residents being from elsewhere (and often rural areas), this is not that far off the mark.

Sophisticated is not quite the word I would use:okashii:.

wheehee3
Aug 30, 2008, 13:46
On average, Japanese are politer than many other nationalities. But you could find all kinds of people there too.

On a side note, your constant whining is starting to get on my nerves.

Mike Cash
Aug 30, 2008, 14:27
I'm sure you probably already know them.


No, I don't already know them. That's why I asked you to teach them to me. Your (English) version of what was said intimates that there was some Japanese vocabulary I have somehow managed to not run across despite nearly two decades of working with Japanese truck drivers. I'd love to hear what came out of an okusama's mouth that has never come out of theirs.



I didn't hear exactly what was said, just providing my wife's translation.

Just as I thought. You irresponsibly ramped it up a notch claiming profanities in your English version for the purposes of sensationalizing it. As though it weren't bad enough just as it was.



I probably should have butted in with an "Oi, nani-o shimashita ka?" in a booming voice, but I'm not sure that would have ended it or not.


If that is indicative of your ability to participate at a heated level, I can guarantee you it would have accomplished nothing.

bakaKanadajin
Aug 30, 2008, 20:25
Yea unfortunately.... well fortunately, actually.. in a society as non-violent as Japan's the ability to navigate the grey area of swearwords and (dis)respect is so important it's tantamount to fisticuffs. Therefore language barriers keeps most foreigners on the perimeter of an argument unless their Japanese is excellent, and I mean excellent. Using masu-ke when you're angry is, as Mike Cash said, not going to be terribly effective.

In his defense though, given his Japanese level, perhaps it wasn't his fault and his wife just gave him a Western-friendly translation that she thought equated the f-word.

To respond to the topic, Tokyo is quite unfriendly, I agree. It's cold because it's what's needed to get by in a city so densely populated. Actually I think I'm still happier to be here than in Toronto simply because despite the relative rudeness this place is still ten times better than any major Western city I've spent time in.

orochi
Aug 30, 2008, 20:38
Therefore language barriers keeps most foreigners on the perimeter of an argument unless their Japanese is excellent, and I mean excellent.

Gaaah, I think you are over-analyzing. Japanese is not that insanely difficult.

gaijinalways
Aug 31, 2008, 02:03
I'd love to hear what came out of an okusama's mouth that has never come out of theirs.

Just get out more, I'm sure you might. You might want to consult some slang dictionaries as well.


Just as I thought. You irresponsibly ramped it up a notch claiming profanities in your English version for the purposes of sensationalizing it. As though it weren't bad enough just as it was.

I didn't do any such thing. I just repeated what my wife said and I assume she had no reason to lie. Interesting that you'd like to pit your Japanese knowledge aganist hers, a native speaker.

gaijinalways posted
I probably should have butted in with an "Oi, nani-o shimashita ka?" in a booming voice, but I'm not sure that would have ended it or not.

mikecash posted
If that is indicative of your ability to participate at a heated level, I can guarantee you it would have accomplished nothing.

I think it would depend on the person. I have used it in some cases and the results have been varied. I'm pretty big so my voice and body language often get enough of the message across. Just sometimes I can't be bothered (as in this case I just thought the woman was annoying more than anything else). Kind of like a similar case in an Internet forum...:okashii:

Mike Cash
Aug 31, 2008, 08:33
Yeah, that's my whole problem; I've just never spent enough time where people were speaking Japanese. You conveniently ignored the "nearly two decades of working with Japanese truck drivers" part.

Please ask your wife how to say "F&#37;%%%ing this and F%%%%ing that" for us in Japanese. One can be rude in Japanese, one can be crude in Japanese, but it is nigh on to impossible to be profane in Japanese.

Emoni
Aug 31, 2008, 18:09
People vary because they are people. I've run into assholes in Japan just like anywhere else. Just because the initial behavior "tends to be" one expectation doesn't mean you won't sometimes run into those who fit the exact opposite of that expectation from time to time.

Just remember that one person doesn't represent an ENTIRE culture, race, social group, or nation. It's my hope that one person isn't considered a representative as I know plenty of Americans who have f'd up a lot of situations in Japan due to their behavior and I don't want to be labeled along with them.

Yan
Sep 1, 2008, 04:15
The politeness of an entire culture cannot be evaluated by only two or three kids who think they rule everything around them. I know a lot of polite people in Quebec but some of them are not. I'll never say that Quebecers don't know about respect only because of two or three people...

FrustratedDave
Sep 1, 2008, 08:27
Therefore language barriers keeps most foreigners on the perimeter of an argument unless their Japanese is excellent, and I mean excellent.
I agree completely. And I just love how people keep playing this fact down.

Anyway, just like anywhere in the world where ever you go there will always be rude people. I can't coun't the amount of times I have been cut in front of by an obachan while waiting in line a a supermarket, but I can also tell you some very kind people when all I was buying was a pack of chewing gum and they had a whole basket full of shopping and let me go in front of them. There are always good, bad people where ever you go, but how you handle the situation will be a big factor in how the situation will turn out.

JimmySeal
Sep 1, 2008, 11:15
I can't speak for other areas of Japan, but at least around here, people seem to have no qualms about making fun of someone's weight.
And now with the government-sanctioned discrimination against slightly overweight people, and a new politically-correct way to make fun of slightly overweight people ("metabo!"), it's only going to get worse :auch:

FrustratedDave
Sep 1, 2008, 12:04
I can't speak for other areas of Japan, but at least around here, people seem to have no qualms about making fun of someone's weight.
And now with the government-sanctioned discrimination against slightly overweight people, and a new politically-correct way to make fun of slightly overweight people ("metabo!"), it's only going to get worse :auch:
If it makes for a healthier nation, I am for it. And I don't think you need to be politically correct to make jest on someones weight here. I far as I can remember having someone comment on someones elses weight did not need the governmental policy and the new found word of "metabo" to do so. Nothing has changed in my eyes, it is just another thing to laugh at. Which is another topic in its self.

In some cases what used to seem rude(past tense, my oppinion has changed quite a bit) to me is the norm here, eg . When eating ramen it is fine to slurp them up , but go overseas and you will a lot of places will find this act rude and inconsiderate. This is just one example of the many things that a lot of foriegners have a hard time wrapping their heads around.

gaijinalways
Sep 1, 2008, 12:27
I have to concur with FrustratedDave's comments somewhat. My wife seems to think though, that people are progresively getting ruder in Japan (and not just in Tokyo. Of course, I could say that for other places as well, but I have encountered some exceptions. I have met some of the nicest people in Strasbourg, France (though I'd have to say Paris seems to attract some of the worst, both French visitors and residents). Some areas in some countries tend to be better known for dealing with people politely.

Japan often has a reputation for having very polite people, but recently I tend not to meet them. Of course, you can argue it's a very 'surface' politeness even when it does exist, but even that would be an improvement over what happened at that festival.

Back to Cash's linguistic question, I suppose "you ****** old woman why are you bothering me?" would have been a better literal translation, but the translation wasn't the main point of this thread (which you often seem to forget in other threads as well). As to the offered Japanese 'interuption' expression, if you have a better suggestion, please offer it (rather than just saying that won't work and offering nothing). It's difficult to say what will work when you have never tried it yourself.

Mike Cash
Sep 1, 2008, 18:48
Alright then, back to your main point.

The wisest and most concise comment on the politeness situation I have ever heard in all the time I have been here came from a Canadian fellow who had been in Japan six months. His astuteness and perspicacity are a large part of the reason I think time in Japan is such a poor indicator of anything other than how long a person has been in Japan.

He said, "The Japanese are polite in their sock feet."

If anyone needs that explained to them, I will be happy to elucidate at a later time.

Someone4373
Sep 1, 2008, 22:47
Tokyoites can be really rude. Someone told me about one obasan on a bicycle who hit another obasan in the back with ther bike then complain that the walking obasan shouldn't have been in her way!:souka:
The Japanese have a saying, "Tokyo is not Japan.":blush:


(though I'd have to say Paris seems to attract some of the worst, both French visitors and residents).

Funny, in France the French say "Les Parisien ne sont pas Fran&#231;aises" (The Parisians aren't French). My relatives always told me that if I was to meet real French and French hospitality, I had to go to villages, small towns, etc.

(I apologize for the comment, if any Parisian read this. :relief:)

Crystallize
Sep 6, 2008, 03:27
Hm, I must say, lately, well, lets say the latest month to be more exact I've actually done a truthful attempt to really know Japanese people on different forums and I must say I never managed to meet a rude Japanese, how ever they can be a bit distant or impersonal and a few a bit close minded ... but never directly unkind or rude and most are very nice and warm hearted IMO ... :blush:

Mike Cash
Sep 6, 2008, 09:12
Hm, I must say, lately, well, lets say the latest month to be more exact I've actually done a truthful attempt to really know Japanese people on different forums and I must say I never managed to meet a rude Japanese, how ever they can be a bit distant or impersonal and a few a bit close minded ... but never directly unkind or rude and most are very nice and warm hearted IMO ... :blush:

I've never been to Antarctica but I've seen photos on the web and I must say that it isn't nearly as cold as I thought it would be.

Nhat_Hoang
Sep 13, 2008, 12:36
I've never been to Japan, but I 've met some Japanese. I found them very friendly and warmly. I think impolite people are very few

SpikeDaCruz
Oct 1, 2008, 18:30
Of all the Japanese people that I knew, I don't have any complain about them. ;)