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Thread: Are Japanese more hypocritical with foreigners ?

  1. #101
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Very good post, JerseyBoy ! I agree with most of your points. I would just like to comment on a few things.

    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyBoy
    4. Reading the other party's mind is considered a necessity and virtue to be socially functional in Japan. It's difficult to coax what's in his/her mind as you cannot solely count on what he/she says; facial expressions, tone of voice, and such can convey more meaning and accurate thoughts and can aide you with better understanding of what the other party is really thinking.
    I agree here too. And in fact, this is mostly why I came to believe that most of the Japanese I've met were nationalists under shy appearances, who believed that their country or culture is superior, from the way they asked me "those questions". When you feel genuine astonishment from your Japanese counterpart when you let them know that depsite of only being a mere Westerner you have managed the great skill of mastering chopsticks although you have only been a few years in Japan, carries the deepest sense of superiority I think someone could be able to express while staying perfectly polite and innocent-looking.

    7. Once we start doing which nationality asks most stupidest and dumbest questions imaginable, the contest will be a draw among all the humanity on earth.
    I disagree here. Small (non-island) and rich countries, like Luxembourg, have a clear advantadge over bigger countries, in that most people are usually well-educated, and all people will have been abroad, and thus not have this "we vs foreigners" approach, which is the basis of many of my complaints about the Japanese.

    8. Like any other people, Japanese will keep some thoughts/opinions to themselves or their inner circle and some to be broadcasted to the general public. Since many Japanese do not say what they are really thinking (this is good and bad as you don't want to say anything which comes to your mind) so that they don't break the social norms, I feel the appearance of ambiguity can be put in the spot light.
    Then, they should learn to express their feelings more openely when dealing with people of other cultures who expect them to speak out their mind. I rather believe that many people lack real personal opinions, because they lack critical thinking. In any culture, people with less critical abilities tend to lack personal opinions.


    When I was a student in Japan (up to high school and one year in college), I was taught and studied the world geography including climate conditions in each geographical regions (and more, of course). I used to memorize all of the names/locations of the major nations/their capitals along with other high lights of each country when I was in junior/high school years. I believe Japanese textbooks may have over-simplified this topic by comparing the Japanese climate with the world at large (which includes the tropical weathers and all). People tend to have selective memory and will always remember the easiest and simplest things even after years of no use (it is quite rare for people to brush up on their geography, math, science, history, and other subjects after they are done with formal education).
    They must be a really bad (even pathologic) memory if when fresh out of university or back from a trip to Europe or North America, or from watching a movie set in Europe or North America, they have already forgotten that snowy winters, budding springs, hot summers on the beach and red-leaves autumn exist on these continents too. The only fact that they know the names of the 4 seasons (not 3, not 5) seasons in English should be enough to give them a clue about British weather.

    11. Some Japanese people still consider their mother tongue (Japanese) as un-crackable code which can be understood only among their follow countrymen/women. I also think the Japanese education system portrays Japanese language as complex compared to other Western languages (it's possible this is to drum up the national pride by looking down on other countries/cultures).
    I also think that the Japanese education system tries to portray Japanese as difficult, from my inquiries about it. And visibly most Japanese have a much better memory for this than for their geography. It seems that selective memory in Japan always works better with anything that make Japan and Japanese people feel superior (even if childishly so, like for the seasons) to other countries. I always like to remind any Japanese that take a bit too much pride in their "difficult language", than the kanji and half of its vocabulary come from China, and that Japanese grammar is almost shockingly simplistic for speakers of Latin languages (less for English speakers, but still fairly easy in comparison). When they try to deny this (and a few have, believe me - especially men), I question them on the 6 ways of expressing the future in English, the 3 conditionals, 3 perfect tenses, etc. and how they would render that into English, as they no equivalent exist in Japanese.

    It's not that I want to make them feel inferior (neither English nor Chinese is my mother tongue, after all), but they just piss me off when they try to demonstrate all the time that Japan is oh superior to the rest of the world - especially for things like language, for which I have a deep interest, and when I hear the nonsense they can utter sometimes.

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  2. #102
    Back in town JerseyBoy's Avatar
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    I would like to add some comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I disagree here. Small (non-island) and rich countries, like Luxembourg, have a clear advantage over bigger countries, in that most people are usually well-educated, and all people will have been abroad, and thus not have this "we vs foreigners" approach, which is the basis of many of my complaints about the Japanese.
    I should have added a few more conditional sentences in my post. I did not mean the actual head counts on this matter; I am rather referring to the fact there are always some blatantly close-minded (or uneducated) people in each country. I agree the small and wealthy country has higher percentage of well educated populace compared to larger countries, rich or poor. With a larger country, there would be more bad apples.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Then, they should learn to express their feelings more openly when dealing with people of other cultures who expect them to speak out their mind. I rather believe that many people lack real personal opinions, because they lack critical thinking. In any culture, people with less critical abilities tend to lack personal opinions.
    I agree with your comment. The current Japanese education system does not emphasize critical thinking. The typical class rooms in Japan are usually one way street from a teacher to students, not much going the other way around. Students typically take in (or are encouraged to take in) what they were told by a teacher. Debating with teachers on subject matters is not encouraged in general.

    I have an exposure to both Japanese and USA education systems; so, comparing both, I can tell, form my experience, the higher education system in USA encourages critical thinking and debating subject matters with teachers/professors. Proficient debating & critical thinking skills will be very important to express your thoughts clearly and convincingly to other parties, especially if the other parties are from different cultures or countries. I feel the Japanese education system does not equip its students with this important communication skill which is a prerequisite for their voices/opinions/ideas to be heard on the world stage. It is foolish or reckless to count on other people to read your minds or between the lines (this type of communication will often cause misunderstanding between people especially if the parties involved are from different cultures or backgrounds).

    Because of those reasons among others, I feel some Japanese people are afraid to engage in critical thinking and debates with people from other cultures because they know they are not ready for the prime time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    They must be a really bad (even pathologic) memory if when fresh out of university or back from a trip to Europe or North America, or from watching a movie set in Europe or North America, they have already forgotten that snowy winters, budding springs, hot summers on the beach and red-leaves autumn exist on these continents too. The only fact that they know the names of the 4 seasons (not 3, not 5) seasons in English should be enough to give them a clue about British weather.
    Yes, that beats me too. If someone on this forum is currently attending Japanese junior or high school, please look up the geography text book on Japanese and world climate to see what it says. I am curious to see what it says on this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    When they try to deny this (and a few have, believe me - especially men), I question them on the 6 ways of expressing the future in English, the 3 conditionals, 3 perfect tenses, etc. and how they would render that into English, as they no equivalent exist in Japanese.
    I think those Japanese have not learned foreign languages themselves (taking English classes in Junior and high school in Japan does not count as learning English in a practical sense). I think the education systems and Japanese media have been portraying Japanese as a complex language for decades and if you grow up with that constant conditioning, it is possible you will accept it as a fact (instead of unfounded theory or myth). As more foreign nationals start speaking Japanese, I think this self perpetuated myth will be put to rest.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Or you ask a fork and a knife when you eat out. Or you don't eat out in Japanese restaurants with Japanese people ?
    Wrong, and wrong as normal.

    I still think complementing a gaijin on their "chopstick skills" is more likely to be an ice breaker to start a conversation/break a silence rather than anything malicious and it's pretty silly to get worked up about such a little thing.

  4. #104
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaijin 06
    Wrong, and wrong as normal.
    Sorry, my joke was wrong. You visibly don't understand the use of smileys...

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Sorry, my joke was wrong. You visibly don't understand the use of smileys...
    Appending a smiley onto a statement doesn't make it funny to me.

    What were you actually trying to say in your post?

  6. #106
    Sakurai Atsushi Child_prey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mad pierrot
    when it comes to dealing with foreigners. (In general.)
    Man, it drives me nuts when I'm asked, "Do you have this in America?" when it's something obviously not from Japan. Especially words, like "virus."
    (Rolls eyes.....)
    I've compiled a list of things I've been asked if are in America....
    1. 4 seasons
    2. convenience stores
    3. Disney Land
    4. Snoop and Winnie the Pooh
    The list goes on.....
    *falls down on the floor laughing*

    21st Cherry Boy, I Wanna To Be Your Toy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pachipro View Post
    I challenge anyone to ask your average American to point out Japan on a blank map and more than two thirds will be unable to do so. Granted not ALL americans feel or think the way I replied above, but quite a few of them, and I do mean the younger ones do.


    That is NOT true. In all honesty, I have to say that elderly americans are far more ignorant to japanese and all it has to offer.

    Example:
    My grandfather is 56, and believes that japanese STOLE american technology to make cars, and that toyota is american. He's not stupid, just uneducated. But, ask anyone in my highschool, and they know japanese are advanced. Sorry, but whatever kids you've talked to must be "special".

    I didn't start getting interested in japanese seriously until this year, but I knew that pokemon was japanese, as well as my beloved cup ramen. I have known it since pokemon came out on WB(Warner Bros. channel), and I was only... oh, 10 or so back then.

  8. #108
    Nobuta Power Dogen Z's Avatar
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    IMO some westerners have a problem with this because of their overly strict perspective of truth and non-truth (or lying, if prefer). However, Japanese don't consider lying a bad thing in consideration of the other person's well being. (This is probably the crux of your argument.) Rather than being "honest" and contentious, Japanese would rather be "false" and keep a harmonious relationship. Both ways can cause problems for society but which way is better? Who knows.

    See this article: http://sfgate.com/columnists/morford/

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  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ocean Dude View Post
    IMO some westerners have a problem with this because of their overly strict perspective of truth and non-truth (or lying, if prefer). However, Japanese don't consider lying a bad thing in consideration of the other person's well being. (This is probably the crux of your argument.) Rather than being "honest" and contentious, Japanese would rather be "false" and keep a harmonious relationship. Both ways can cause problems for society but which way is better? Who knows.
    See this article: http://sfgate.com/columnists/morford/
    Honne and tatemae contributed to the general populace's attitude toward militarization during the early 20th century. These concepts are antithetical to democratic sentiment. A democracy, or at least a democratically inclined republic, must have contention. Without it, people become sheep.

    The new generation's difficulty with these concepts is endemic of larger cultural change. They are trying to strike a balance between this aspect of their culture and the need to have strong feelings about politics and foreign policy. At some point, Japanese society may shrug off the old concepts altogether, relegating them to the past. Somehow, though, I doubt it.
    Ὦ ̃ῖ', ἀέɃɃÃǃ ȃÃǃʃ̓ί̓ς ὅу ῇƒ
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  11. #111
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    I feel bad for you and it must be atough situation. Don't feel bad though because I think in general Americans are the same way with foreigners. They have their own sterotypes and whatnot. Sometimes they're true and sometimes they're not. Maybe with the person at the store you should just one day go in there to buy what you need and than talk to him in Japanese and just be polite and ask how they're doing etc and the basic common polite things. And with the police it seems they go to the person who is the most "out of place" person whether by their actions, looks etc. Even though it may make you feel bad you also have to remember their jobs but definitley speak Japanese to them too since you seem to be fine in it. I hope some of this works for you! Just my friendly advice.

  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodEmperorLeto View Post
    Honne and tatemae contributed to the general populace's attitude toward militarization during the early 20th century. These concepts are antithetical to democratic sentiment. A democracy, or at least a democratically inclined republic, must have contention. Without it, people become sheep.
    The new generation's difficulty with these concepts is endemic of larger cultural change. They are trying to strike a balance between this aspect of their culture and the need to have strong feelings about politics and foreign policy. At some point, Japanese society may shrug off the old concepts altogether, relegating them to the past. Somehow, though, I doubt it.
    I don't think most Japanese want the freewheeling, individualistic democracy that the U.S. has. They seem to prefer a more cooperative, peaceful social order. Thinking that the individual is more important than society is considered immature and selfish. Moreover, one person's version of "truth" may not be the same as another's (I'm sure my version of the truth is not the same as Bush's). In such a case, wouldn't it be better to preserve an outward working relationship rather than taking a hard line position and destroy that relationship only to find out later that the belief was wrong.

    This kind of thinking can be very frustrating to westerners (believe me I know...you can call me Mr. Wagamama) but it is the way Japan works, IMO.

  13. #113
    Veni, vidi... vicodin? GodEmperorLeto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBelle82 View Post
    Don't feel bad though because I think in general Americans are the same way with foreigners.
    Japan doesn't have an ACLU that can further political agendas by helping foreigners hassled by cops sue for "profiling" and discrimination. Nor are there gigantic protests for "illegal immigrant" rights. Japanese treatment of foreigners is a heck of a lot more consistent that the Americans. In Japan and America, you'll have people treating foreigners like crap. In America, though, there are a hundred ways to scream out your displeasure, and get a lot of journalists, lawyers, and liberal pundits on your side.

  14. #114
    Junior Member wendygirljp's Avatar
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    It does appear that cultural perception seems to be colored by age. For what I see, the younger the average message sender, the quicker one is to call "prejudice", instead of realizing cultural differentiation and relativity.

    Yes, one can find sites on youtube, for example, which shows the "overwhelming hatred" of foreigners in Japan. Nothing like taking a small minority of acts/situations and making them the norm.

    Like in any group, the 3% rule applies - 3% of the group are the radicals and make 97% of the noise. This also goes with those posting here, of course.

    Japan, like ANYWHERE, has its great points and "not so great" points. It depends on which you prefer to see and which you may filter out. Please do not let your fears get in the way of your perceiving people accurately.

  15. #115
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    For what I see, the younger the average message sender, the quicker one is to call "prejudice", instead of realizing cultural differentiation and relativity.
    Interesting statement. So since Japan signed the UN agreement and they still haven't (some time later)made any discrimination law(s) that is because;

    discrimination is not a big problem here (stated by one elder politician)

    we're still studying the problem (and waiting for the comfort women to die too)

    HIS was charging higher prices for foreigners

    Like in any group, the 3% rule applies - 3% of the group are the radicals and make 97% of the noise. This also goes with those posting here, of course.
    I challenge the 3% rule. I can count a much larger percentage of people who at best are just ignorant or will tell you they can't trust Chinese, black people, etc. When you ask when they have dealt with such a person, they quite often answer never, my grandfather, etc.. told me about them or even better, all Japnese know that. Amazing what they 'all' must know!

  16. #116
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    Unhappy

    I'm really glad I found this site! Like many other people I always dreamed about going to Japan so I wanted to learn more about it so as not to look foolish when I did go. I was under the impression that they were a nice helpful clean and high-tech people. Although most of them do sound to be all of those things. Really I should have thought more clearly about it. They are like another people after all; they have their faults to just like we all do.

    I didnft think they were racist though? How sad...I feel almost as if I should not go if they hate people like me or my country... It doesnft help that I'm female, sounds like from what was said earlier in this forum that they donft have high aspirations for women either...so really not looking good for a little white female that wants to live there someday. Didnft someone say earlier that they don't like democracy on top of it? Hmmm...Maybe, not sure. Ifm still gunna try and go there though despite it all! What does everyone else think about it?


    P.S.I apologize if anything I said was rude or out of line. I don't mean to hurt anyone of course! I just wanted some answers. Sorry.

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    Maciamo, what I missed in your post is how you treat and talk to the Japanese people you describe. Because, although I have only spent 6 or 7 weeks in total in Japan, I cannot confirm this for people I have actually interacted with (by which I mean, talked to with more than the few words you say at the conbini and proving that I'm capable of conversation - which "Hai, onegaishimasu" in reply to "Atatamemasuka?" is not sufficient for).

    As for the happy "thanks and come again", isn't it just as much as a programmed line as the happy "Next is... Yokohama! Yokohama!"? That recorded voice sounds so happy everytime, it makes me want to cry tears of joy. Still, it's fake and the voice lady can't be that happy about a train approaching a station..?
    Who knows, maybe the less fake-enthousiastic phrases (thanks, bye, welcome,..) toward foreigners are because the Japanese simply don't expect you to understand them anyways or maybe, and they might jus be right, they don't think shopkeepers are as friendly in your own country. I mean, here in Belgium, more than a friendly "Bye" isn't to be expected either. Or maybe it's because they think they may be free drop the fake happiness in front of a foreigner who wouldn't expect it anyways?
    Whichever it is, don't take it negatively. Japanese = humans. And humans like to put a wall between themselves and others, and maybe the Japanese make just a bit thicker walls. Many walls can be broken or climbed over though.

    As for Japanese treating me "coldly" or like the case of the women who stepped on your foot... Yeah, maybe they don't expect me to understand Japanese anyways.
    But when I say "Nihongo de ii 'ssuyo" or when I apply typical Japanese gestures to small things like "Suimasen!" + head bow, they get quite genuinely happy and that was often, in my experience, the beginning of a looooooooong conversation, taking each-other home, treating each-other to meals and more.
    You haven't mentioned much about taking the initiative in speaking Japanese to any of the people you said treated you coldly. One Japanese guy I met in Osaka told me he had at first been afraid to talk to me because he thought I might not understand him and even send him for a walk. But once he realized we could speak Japanese, which I initiated, he spent the rest of my time in Osaka with me.
    To sum it up, the Japanese that I took the initiative in showing that my conversation skills were beyond tourist level, have all dropped the keigo quite quickly and we were all soon chattering like long-time friends about the most private of things.

    Look, when I go to Israel, shame on me, I can't speak Hebrew. If someone there addresses me in Hebrew or very poor English, I don't know what to reply cause I don't know what they said anyways. As sorry as I may be in such cases, conversation's over. No mutual comprehension = no communication, it's as simple as that, and many, many Japanese people don't expect you to speak much of their language and have little confidence in their own English skills, so they may avoid conversations they deem hopeless for lack of understanding one-another.
    So in short, the conversations I had with Japanese people after breaking some ice, were among the greatest I ever had. Making them feel at ease and like they don't have to put on an act, is a good thing, just don't be explicit about it.

    I apply the rule: if they don't smell of evil/false niceness, don't search for any. Be nice and take the chat as far as they let you, and if they start quieting down, you probably went too far, but if they can't stop talking and listening to you, you're doing great. Believe in kindness when it's offered to you.
    Maybe the Japanese are said to be two-faced but unless I smell this two-facedness, which I am capable of, I want to take their friendliness to be genuine. Why look for negativity when it's not flying in your face?

  18. #118
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    It is funny how many japanese react to foreigners. I see it as a sign of that they aren't really used to seeing them. The first time I saw a chinese guy (or a black guy or an arab or what ever..) I must have stared at them like many japanese stared at me in Japan.
    I too got annoyed at all the standard questions pretty fast but I really remember some hilarious scenes too.

    A kind on a street pointed me with his finger and shouted "amerika-jin, amerika-jin", I said "chigau! Finrando-jin da!", but he just kept shouting that. In the end I pointed him with my finger and yelled "nihon-jin, nihon-jin". It became a yelling contest!
    That felt really strange!


    Btw: How about answering "okagesama de. Sochira koso, ohashi ojouzu desu ne" when getting complimented on your skill with the hashi for the n'th time!

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    LOL @ that anecdote! Reminds me of a dude in Akita City:
    "Amerikajin desuka?"
    "Ano, berugiijin desu."
    "Berugii? Minnesota no?"
    Oh my... Yes, Belgium so is in Minnesota.

    One occasion of VERY!! quickly broken ice was the 5th of this month in Yokosuka, before Kubozuka's party. Most Japanese I manage to break some ice with, do stay polite despite becoming more sincere, but one dude asked me why I won't just go and address THE Yosuke Kubozuka, and I said:
    "Hanashikaketaikedo, nanka yuukidasenakute..."
    ("I wanna address him, but I don't have the courage")
    "Teretenno?"
    ("You shy?")
    "...un..."
    ("Yup")
    And he yelled (and smacked me): "Kawaii toko annja, kono yaro!"
    ("You can be cute after all, you bastard!")
    That was HILARIOUS! It may be rude for Japanese standards, but I just love this kind of familiarity. I hate running into ice all the time and he mercilessly smashed it with a sledgehammer

    But that's something I noticed about the local reggae scene. They seem to be a lot warmer and sociable than the people I met at eg Visual Kei or other rock events. At reggae events, people tend to try and drag me along for a drink and stuff, while at VK events, I find myself stared at, but never talked to. Reggae. One luv. LOL.

    As for remarks like the hashi thing, I think they're funny but I've had my jokes misunderstood and taken as offensive many times, so I try to stay serious or make only jokes totally unrelated to the person I'm talking to.
    Like, I was talking to that girl/woman, and she mentioned Kubozuka liked fishing and she liked it too, but wouldn't eat the fish, just enjoy catching it. I said, half-kidding: "Tada no sakanagoroshi jan" and she flinched and apologized. Didn't mean for her to take it that harshly.

  20. #120
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    I would completly agree with you. Most japanese people are afraid of speaking to foreigners who do not speak japanese. However, I also had great conversation with Japanese people, and some people met at random actually became real friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by Otenba View Post
    Look, when I go to Israel, shame on me, I can't speak Hebrew. If someone there addresses me in Hebrew or very poor English, I don't know what to reply cause I don't know what they said anyways. As sorry as I may be in such cases, conversation's over. No mutual comprehension = no communication, it's as simple as that, and many, many Japanese people don't expect you to speak much of their language and have little confidence in their own English skills, so they may avoid conversations they deem hopeless for lack of understanding one-another.
    So in short, the conversations I had with Japanese people after breaking some ice, were among the greatest I ever had. Making them feel at ease and like they don't have to put on an act, is a good thing, just don't be explicit about it.
    I apply the rule: if they don't smell of evil/false niceness, don't search for any. Be nice and take the chat as far as they let you, and if they start quieting down, you probably went too far, but if they can't stop talking and listening to you, you're doing great. Believe in kindness when it's offered to you.

  21. #121
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    I would add to this that perception of discrimination really depends from your personal context, and how secure you feel about your position in Japan.

    I remember that when I was in a delicate situation at my job in Tokyo, I really saw discrimination everywhere (having the impression people were looking at me strangely in the subway ...). Then, I moved back to Europe, and came back to Japan as a tourist, and I felt much more relaxed. At that time, I did not feel there was discrimination anywhere.

    Anyways, just my 5 cents...

    Quote Originally Posted by wendygirljp View Post
    It does appear that cultural perception seems to be colored by age. For what I see, the younger the average message sender, the quicker one is to call "prejudice", instead of realizing cultural differentiation and relativity.
    Yes, one can find sites on youtube, for example, which shows the "overwhelming hatred" of foreigners in Japan. Nothing like taking a small minority of acts/situations and making them the norm.
    Like in any group, the 3% rule applies - 3% of the group are the radicals and make 97% of the noise. This also goes with those posting here, of course.
    Japan, like ANYWHERE, has its great points and "not so great" points. It depends on which you prefer to see and which you may filter out. Please do not let your fears get in the way of your perceiving people accurately.

  22. #122
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    That's what I've been trying to say all the time, but since I haven't spent half a life time in Japan, everyone tells me I'm beeing fooled, all Japanese people who I thought became friends or at least nice contacts truly hate me and only act politely and so on and so on...

    Oh well, does it matter? No. My gut feeling is all that matters and my gut feeling tells me my relations are just fine.

  23. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by uchimizu View Post
    I would completly agree with you. Most japanese people are afraid of speaking to foreigners who do not speak japanese. However, I also had great conversation with Japanese people, and some people met at random actually became real friends.
    And that is where it ends , at conversations. You really need to be on the same level as someone else before you can be accepted as part of the group. Of corse it is not impossible but it takes avery long time gain someones trust.

  24. #124
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    Oct 11, 2008
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    You all find it hard as a man in Japan but you try being a foreign wife of a Japanese man! That's even worse.

    Just to clarify, i started learning Japanes ein year 8 in high school (when i was 13) and maintained an interest right up until now. I completed a 1 year diploma and then went to university for 4 years with Japanese language and culture as my major. So i am by no means ignorant of Japanese culture and customs. I also speak very good Japanese. I also studied up on all the little do's and don'ts before i went to Japan with my husband so as not to embarrass him nor make a fool of myself.

    Someone on this thread mentioned that women in Japan are not treated very highly. Boy is that an understatement! My husband's family all knew my study history and knew i could speak Japanese very well, but when they wanted to know something about me, they always ask my husband about it, not to me, even when i am there in front of them. He asks me, and in some instances i have replied directly to them, but they still wait for my husband to give them the answer! The last time we went to Japan and this happened again i got so angry at my husband and told him that basically, in my eyes, he wasn't supporting me very well. He should say to them "well, she speaks and understands Japanese well, so why don't you ask her, not me?" but he said to say that would be very impolite, especially as they are older members of his family. Well hello but i'm his family too!

    At other times we have visited his former colleagues and most of the time they ignore me. I have only experienced one time where the guy engaged in conversation (in japanese) with me. They talk about me like i don't exist. I also was expected to stay at home with the in-laws while my husband went out for drinks with his friends. In my country (australia) wives go out with their husbands for drinks with the friends, we don't get shut away in the closet at home like a hermit.

    I also hate the thing in Japan where when you sit next to someone on the train, they get up and move. My husband says it's because i'm non-japanese and they can't speak english and they are afraid i might speak to them and they won't be able to understand or respond. Is it really that scary?? I've sat next to Chinese people or non-Australians in china, and i didn't feel scared even though i don't speak chinese! Just because i sit next to someone doesn't mean i want to talk to them. What kind of weirdo do you take me for? I'm no stalker!

    I have a lot of criticisms of Japanese people and not only in Japan. Especially when they come to my country i feel very annoyed. They seem very rude, especially in supermarkets, they do not say excuse me when they want to get past, they just squeeze past me, and if they knock me or step on my toe, they never say sorry. They might not speak english, even if they don't, would it hurt to just acknowledge you stepped on my toe? I don't think it's so hard.

    I also find alot of Japanese tourists, especially when travelling to tourist destinations ignore the rules either because they can't understand, or they just can't be bothered and are too busy talking. I was on the ferry to rottnest island and the captain told us explicitly to stay seated until the ferry had docked. As soon as the ferry was near to docking all the Japanese stood up and rushed to the exits, but because the ferry was still rocking some of them fell over and hurt themselves, then blamed the ferry people, when in fact it was their fault because they didn't listen. There are so many instances like this, and i'm not out to get the Japanese, because half my family are Japanese now, and i'm married to one, but i guess i just am more aware of how annoying and ignorant these people are. God forbid if i ever have to live in Japan, which is likely, as my husband is the first and only son (meaning he has to look after his parents)! I know that i would hate living in Japan full-time. They are so backwards. With all their technological advances, my mother in law doesn't even have a bath/shower or even an oven!

    Anyways, that's my rant. But you guys have it easy. At least they are speaking to you if even only about chopsticks! I get totally ignored!

  25. #125
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    You all find it hard as a man in Japan but you try being a foreign wife of a Japanese man! That's even worse.
    Just to clarify, i started learning Japanes ein year 8 in high school (when i was 13) and maintained an interest right up until now. I completed a 1 year diploma and then went to university for 4 years with Japanese language and culture as my major. So i am by no means ignorant of Japanese culture and customs. I also speak very good Japanese. I also studied up on all the little do's and don'ts before i went to Japan with my husband so as not to embarrass him nor make a fool of myself.
    Someone on this thread mentioned that women in Japan are not treated very highly. Boy is that an understatement! My husband's family all knew my study history and knew i could speak Japanese very well, but when they wanted to know something about me, they always ask my husband about it, not to me, even when i am there in front of them. He asks me, and in some instances i have replied directly to them, but they still wait for my husband to give them the answer! The last time we went to Japan and this happened again i got so angry at my husband and told him that basically, in my eyes, he wasn't supporting me very well. He should say to them "well, she speaks and understands Japanese well, so why don't you ask her, not me?" but he said to say that would be very impolite, especially as they are older members of his family. Well hello but i'm his family too!
    At other times we have visited his former colleagues and most of the time they ignore me. I have only experienced one time where the guy engaged in conversation (in japanese) with me. They talk about me like i don't exist. I also was expected to stay at home with the in-laws while my husband went out for drinks with his friends. In my country (australia) wives go out with their husbands for drinks with the friends, we don't get shut away in the closet at home like a hermit.
    I also hate the thing in Japan where when you sit next to someone on the train, they get up and move. My husband says it's because i'm non-japanese and they can't speak english and they are afraid i might speak to them and they won't be able to understand or respond. Is it really that scary?? I've sat next to Chinese people or non-Australians in china, and i didn't feel scared even though i don't speak chinese! Just because i sit next to someone doesn't mean i want to talk to them. What kind of weirdo do you take me for? I'm no stalker!
    I have a lot of criticisms of Japanese people and not only in Japan. Especially when they come to my country i feel very annoyed. They seem very rude, especially in supermarkets, they do not say excuse me when they want to get past, they just squeeze past me, and if they knock me or step on my toe, they never say sorry. They might not speak english, even if they don't, would it hurt to just acknowledge you stepped on my toe? I don't think it's so hard.
    I also find alot of Japanese tourists, especially when travelling to tourist destinations ignore the rules either because they can't understand, or they just can't be bothered and are too busy talking. I was on the ferry to rottnest island and the captain told us explicitly to stay seated until the ferry had docked. As soon as the ferry was near to docking all the Japanese stood up and rushed to the exits, but because the ferry was still rocking some of them fell over and hurt themselves, then blamed the ferry people, when in fact it was their fault because they didn't listen. There are so many instances like this, and i'm not out to get the Japanese, because half my family are Japanese now, and i'm married to one, but i guess i just am more aware of how annoying and ignorant these people are. God forbid if i ever have to live in Japan, which is likely, as my husband is the first and only son (meaning he has to look after his parents)! I know that i would hate living in Japan full-time. They are so backwards. With all their technological advances, my mother in law doesn't even have a bath/shower or even an oven!
    Anyways, that's my rant. But you guys have it easy. At least they are speaking to you if even only about chopsticks! I get totally ignored!
    Male or female, things are difficult for any foriegner living in Japan in a situation like you described.

    All I can say is you have a lot to learn. You can study the culture all you want and still not even come close to understanding it. It doesn't sound like you want to even try to be accepted in this culture, but if you do you need to throw out all of your values and what you think is common sense that you have been taught up until now and start all over. If not you will always have things that bother you.

    As for your family not speaking dirrectly to you, I don't know the situation and how good your Japanese is ,but I can understand why they are speaking to through your husband. The reason is most likely b/c they are asking your husband about you and not actually asking you, so if this is the case it will have nothing to do with your ability to speak Japanese well. And if you are just meeting them for the first few times it wouldn't matter if you told them you were Japanese in a previous life, they will always be hesitant to ask you b/c unlike you most people here will shy away from awkward situations and naturaly go the route that they feel comfortable with. Once they become more comfortable with you they will speak to you in their own good time Again this has nothing to do with you. But you sound like a typical foriegner who always thinks it is about ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, ME and has no patience. That is another thing, if you are being aggitated in front of them they will read you like a book and be less inclined to want to address you, which you will have to realise that it may be your fault in the end.

    Anyway, for your many years of study on Japanese culture you seem to be show quite a lack of understanding on your part, maybe you will find my advise helpful or just a kick in the face, I will leave it up to you.

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