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Thread: Are Japanese more hypocritical with foreigners ?

  1. #151
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    It's not "my man" it' s my father in law, he obviously thinks he has a right to eat before anyone else. I don't think he is thick.

    It's not unusual at all to not have a bath in hokkaido i think, they live in government housing as i said before and all those government houses are the same, with no bath or shower unless one is bought, and i think most people just go 30 minutes drive to the onsen or sento. I've been to some of the neighbours houses and they are pretty much the same.

  2. #152
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    I, as a Japanese man, think it is VERY strange not to have a bath at home ESPECIALLY if you are in Hokkaido. well that's OK I guess, but I just CANT BELIEVE his Father doesn't wait for his family and just start eating, but yea, it's your family, so who am I to say anything about it.

  3. #153
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    Of course you are entitle to think what you like. I don't disagree with you on waiting to eat, i'm actually glad someone like you thinks my way! ;)

    I thought it was strange at first that they didn't have a bath/shower wash room too...i guess i just got used to the idea.

    Even that they have a bath now they never use it...so maybe they are strange....who knows...my mother in law is a jehovah's witness so that could be why...i don't know anything about that religion so i can't say for sure. Maybe thats why my husband doesn't think it's strange either.

    Thanks for your input.

  4. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    Pipokun i will ask my husband...when i can tie him down for a moment to get him to look at it! Might take a few days. Will get back to ya.

    Oh and just to clarify, my mother and sister in law have very small ovens and the cakes are very small, you know those portable ovens they cook like toast in or something, and you open the door and there is one rack? It's less than the size of a small tv.
    Just to clarify what I meant by fish oven. It's indeed what pipokun showed in the pic, and that's not something you buy separately. It's an integral part of standard Japanese stoves. You buy a stove in Japan, you get a fish oven with it. I checked some online stores and I couldn't find any stove that does not have one. So I believe your inlaw's kitchen has one. The reason why I said the lack of one in western kitchens backward (jokingly, mind you) is precisely because western ovens are too big for grilling fish, i.e. yakizakana. My grandpa would go nuts if his kitchen didn't have one.

  5. #155
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    Oh ok, no worries. She may have one then, probably does, but she might never use it, i've never seen her use it anyway, maybe hubby hasn't either. It just made me remember something about fish actually. My mother in law never makes sushi or norimaki! She refuses to make it, even when my hubby was a boy she would never make it for him...so i now make it for him whenever he wants, because he missed out as a boy. I thought this was kinda weird as i thought japanese love sushi and maki, as hubby does. It is no real hassle for me actually, i just got a japanese cooking book and followed it until i got it right...can't see why it would be a hassle but i suppose she has her reasons.

    Hmmm...i'm going to ask hubby when he gets home tonight...will be back with some info later! And sorry i got you guys mixed up.

  6. #156
    In imagination land Chidoriashi's Avatar
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    I can't believe that he starts eating before everyone else either. I have met hundreds of Japanese, been in at least 15 different Japanese homes, and never once been in a situation where everyone did not sit down together and say "itadakimasu". So i hope you don't think his behavior is typical, because it is not.

  7. #157
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    I have met hundreds of Japanese, been in at least 15 different Japanese homes,
    Wow! And there are how many billions living in Japan? Maybe those 15 homes didn't do it. I don't know, i'm just saying. Hubby seems to think it's the normal and in fact he did it when we first met, but then i straightened him out by saying "hey we live in aus we don't do that here" so now he waits for me, or others if we are with other people.

    So i hope you don't think his behavior is typical, because it is not.
    I would like to think it's not typical behaviour, but i'm not so sure.

  8. #158
    japán vagyok undrentide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chidoriashi View Post
    I can't believe that he starts eating before everyone else either. I have met hundreds of Japanese, been in at least 15 different Japanese homes, and never once been in a situation where everyone did not sit down together and say "itadakimasu". So i hope you don't think his behavior is typical, because it is not.
    I don't think it is typical, but I assume OP's family in law is following a very old customs. Maybe 2-3 generations before now, it was more common that a father in a family was regarded as the most important, literally the head of the family, thus sometimes the father (and sometimes his first son as he will be the future head) were served the meal first, and his wife and other children (girls and babies) and the elderies in the family ate after they finished the meal. This is an extreme casem, maybe many families ate together but still men were served first and started first, then other family members followed.
    So for the OP's father in law and his wife, it is quite natural that he's always served first and starts eating first.

    If OP wants her father in law to start eating after everyone is served, I wonder if she could ask her husband to talk to his father not to while they're visiting OP's home country - I don't know the exact situation but it could be the case that her father in law just does not know it is rude to start eating before everyone is served, as his behaviour is something a matter of course for him.
    It seems that OP and their parents in law are in good relationship, then I guess if OP is willing to follow the in law's way whiel she's staying with them, they should be also willing to follow the customs in OP's home country when they're staying there.

    It seems that their kitchen and bathroom (and maybe the whole house) seem to be far below the avarage of Japanese houses, but if they simply cannot afford those things, I feel sorry for them, especially the mother in law, it must be very embarassing for her to be pointed out the lack of such facilities.
    I might offer her an oven with fish grill as a present, if I were in OP's position, but again this is just an idea, as I really don't know OP or her family in law personally.

    To me it does not really look like a "cultural-difference-between-Japan/Australia" issue, because even among Japanese people sometimes people complain about one's partner and/or partner's family because each family has its own culture, something one has been taking granted for can be something quite strange or outrageous for another.
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  9. #159
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    Frustrated Dave,
    My parents in law do not live in a very old house, if you read my post properly i said it was a blue square tub made from plastic, not stainless steel.
    Gotcha, missed that one, your in-laws live in a housing development. I see this a cost issue, not that they don't want one. Am I right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    And also, your view of Japanese people is that they only cook tasty Japanese food, well that's what it sounds like on your post. BUT my mother in law and my sister in law often cook pizza, spaghetti bolognese, cookies, cakes, and other stuff, none of which is traditional japanese. And i did state that my mother in law lamented the fact she could not have an oven like we do here because SHE wanted to cook our style of food too! You just pigeonholed japanese women into only cooking one style of food. I made statements on the fact that my mother in law says her kitchen should be bigger and have more convenience objects rather than what i think it should be, and if you are going to totally disregard this fact i have nothing to say to you.
    No.... I said Japanese are more creative when cooking meals. I didn't say they didn't like cooking a meatloaf ,Pizza ,spaghetti or cup cakes every now again. But you will find that most people from your parents generation will stick mainly to traditional style cooking most of the time, so no I didn't just pigeonhole all Japanese women into one group. The younger generation as I said in my post earlier is changing quite a bit and ovens are now included in a lot of kitchen packages. You are calling you mother in laws house backward and I am not trying to be rude ,but government housing projects rarely reflect a typical Japanese house, they are built with money in mind and that is it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    I didn't say i was savvy on japanese culture. When did i ever say that?
    And the statment you made below was to clearly state that you didn't know much about the Japanese culture?
    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    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.
    Hmmm... I must be reading your posts wrong, b/c when someone goes to this lenght to say how much they have been involved with the Japnese langauge and culture, you would naturally assume that they were saying that knew a lot about it...



    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    Don't go getting your knickers in a knot, you obviously know everything about Japanese culture. They should make you an honorary citizen!
    I was not the one who was getting her knickers in a knott... And if you could write a referance for me to become an honorary citizen I would really appreciate it. (sorry ,I just had to say it, your statement was quite funny)
    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    And quite frankly i think it's childish of you to come on here and try to brow beat me, but whatever. I don't really care who knows more.
    And this is where you are missing the point I was making, you see it as some sort of competition, but I see it as a learning curve ,as in you never stop learning new things while you have an open mind.
    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    My mother in law seems subservient because she is. She has to get up at 5am every morning to make otoosans lunch. She suffers terribly with depression but otoosan won't let her sleep in. So she gets up in the morning, makes lunch and breakfast and in between we find her napping on the lounge with the broom in her hand because she was forced to do housework even when she doesn't feel like it. If otoosan comes home and there is no dinner he goes to bed without any because he won't make any himself and then he is really angry with okaasan. Right. She's stuck in this crappy place that has no understanding of what depression is like. I do, because i've had it. In fact i had post-traumatic stress disorder after the first time i went to japan. Another story, but, the short of it is, maybe some women are not subservient, but my mother in law is, and i feel so sorry for her, i want to bring them out here so they can live and i can help her have a little bit more freedom. Just a dream, but when they retire i would like to bring them over here to live rather than us going there. So maybe in your perfect world dave women are not subservient, some people are, some people have illnesses that society doesn't deal with very well either.
    Your mother in law may be subservient, but the majority are not. Most women have control over most things that go on in the household.... And please don't try to take that as me saying your mother in law is not subservient.

  10. #160
    もちもちした食感 ASHIKAGA's Avatar
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    Alright. Mrs.Azuma's father in law is a mannerless B#&*#$d who doesn't wait until everyone has been served before he starts eating and he and his long suffering wife lives in a crappy house, and Mrs. Azuma is somehow of the opinion that that is the norm in Japan.

    I would like to wish much happiness for her and her husband and everyone in her extended family.

    Now, let us get back to the topic of this thread, shall we? I don't think it had anything to do with "if a typical Japanese house has a bath in it / if the man of the house should be served first at meals".

    Let us all go back to the OP and find out exactly WHAT this thread was about. I have no idea. lol
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  11. #161
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    Firstly, can i ask what is OP?

    Secondly, Dave i was trying to clarify my background, not say how much i knew about Japan so if i gave you that impression, i am sorry for that, merely i was trying to state that i have an interest in Japan and always have. I don't claim to know all there is to know or even understand, hence the reason why i came on here in the first place.

    Ok, so i read some things wrong, i apologise for that too.

    Ashikaga, yes, i agree with you, lets get off the bath/toilet/fish oven topic, and yes i agree with you on the first comment about father in law yada yada haha.

    Undrentide, thanks very much for the info, i didn't know that about 3 generations back, so that was really good to know. Now i can see a little bit about where they are coming from, and yes it's a very good idea to look into buying a fish oven if i find out that they don't have one.

    Despite people getting sick of this back and forth i've enjoyed discussing with all of you.

    I would like to add a comment to this thread to do with the topic. It happened to me on the weekend and i also blogged about it, but have you ever had the experience where a Japanese has called you a gaijin while you've been in your own country? When i pointed this out to a friend who called me a gaijin, and told them they were in fact the gaijin, they said they didn't want to be known as a gaijin because it was too bad, they would prefer being called Japanese. Do you think this is hypocritical of Japanese? To call others a derogatory name but not themselves want to be called it?

    If this is not the right place to post i will not go on about it here, but i thought it was worth mentioning.

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  12. #162
    japán vagyok undrentide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    I would like to add a comment to this thread to do with the topic. It happened to me on the weekend and i also blogged about it, but have you ever had the experience where a Japanese has called you a gaijin while you've been in your own country? When i pointed this out to a friend who called me a gaijin, and told them they were in fact the gaijin, they said they didn't want to be known as a gaijin because it was too bad, they would prefer being called Japanese. Do you think this is hypocritical of Japanese? To call others a derogatory name but not themselves want to be called it?
    To most Japanese people, "gaijin/gaikokujin" is not a derogatory terms, it simply means "non-Japanese". (A bit different from the definition of "foreigner") Thus some of the Japanese who are visiting abroad think they are surrounded by "gaijin/gaikokujin". Those people do not think it twice that in a freign country, they are "gaikokujin" to the people from that country.
    When this fact is pointed out, some people understand it and laugh the funny remarks they'e made, but there are also some people who cannot see the things from different aspects, like they always measure everything with their own rule, they never imagine that there are diffent measuring rules - inch, cm, sun (this is old Japanese measuring unit), for example.

    *Disclaimer: personally I don't think "gaijin" is a derogatory term like "Jap", it means the same as "gaikokujin", it is neutral. If one is offended when the word is used, I assume it comes not from the word it self but rather a situation it is used, or the way the word is used. It is possible to offend people with any word(s).
    But since I know there are many people who are offended with the word "gaijin" so I do not use it myself. It is really not worthwhile to use it when I know it may offend someone.

  13. #163
    No rain in Seattle! grapefruit's Avatar
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    Actually, my father doesn't wait for other family members either.... So, to me, Azuma_Fujin's in-law father does not sound that strange. I can imagine Japanese middle-aged men behaving in this way in private, informal settings (but not on public, formal occasions).

    Quote Originally Posted by FrustratedDave View Post
    Your mother in law may be subservient, but the majority are not. Most women have control over most things that go on in the household.... And please don't try to take that as me saying your mother in law is not subservient.
    Aren't there still Japanese men who want their wives to quit their jobs once they get married? Aren't Japanese women still expected to cook for their family members? So, I am not sure about claiming that most Japanese women have control over most things that go on in the household, especially with Japanese women of 50 years old or above.

  14. #164
    Sumo Freak becki_kanou's Avatar
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    Just to play devil's advocate a bit here, but most of the older generation (50/60) of Japanese women I personally know, have a much better deal than the men. They make the breakfast and lunch in the morning, finish up the housework in the A.M. and then have the rest of the day to relax, play golf, have lunch with friends and take all kinds of fun classes and lessons while their husbands are slaving away at the office all day.

    I know this isn't true of all Japanese women, but it seems like they don't get such a raw deal to me. Add to that the fact that they mostly control the finances and make most of the major household decisions and it sounds pretty good. I'm not at all saying that sexism doesn't exist, as it most certainly does, especially in business and the workforce, but I've seen many more かか 天下 type families than 亭主関白 types.

  15. #165
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    To most Japanese people, "gaijin/gaikokujin" is not a derogatory terms, it simply means "non-Japanese". (A bit different from the definition of "foreigner") Thus some of the Japanese who are visiting abroad think they are surrounded by "gaijin/gaikokujin". Those people do not think it twice that in a freign country, they are "gaikokujin" to the people from that country.
    When this fact is pointed out, some people understand it and laugh the funny remarks they'e made, but there are also some people who cannot see the things from different aspects, like they always measure everything with their own rule, they never imagine that there are diffent measuring rules - inch, cm, sun (this is old Japanese measuring unit), for example.
    Yes, i see what you mean and i guess yes i don't really have a problem with the word gaijin but it has been said to me in a derogatory aspect before so i guess that's why i have a problem with it. Also the kanji of of gaijin "outside person" just kind of gets to me because i feel like gaijin means always outside, forever. I would prefer it if they called us "visitors" or "travellers". You know like we call travellers or backpackers instead of foreigners, or just call them by their nationality instead of giving them a group name.

    You are right when you say that people sometimes are surprised when they go somewhere and the rules are different. That has happened to me and i've seen it happen to others. It's sometimes funny and sometimes completely frustrating too.

  16. #166
    JREF Resident Alien Pachipro's Avatar
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    When I mentioned that my father-in-law got served first I failed to mention that this did not mean that he ate first. He always waited for everyone to be at the table and "itadakimasu" was said. However, my father-in-laws' older brother was always served first and he ate first which I found weird. However, they are country folk and, like Azuma_fujin's father-in-law, maybe it is the way it's done in the old home town and the older generation.

    I would be curious to learn if any of the "country folk" in Japan still follow this custom where the elder male eats before the rest of the family.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_fujin
    It's not unusual at all to not have a bath in hokkaido
    Then it must be old governmental housing as I remember 30 years ago having to seek out an apartment that had a bath as they were rare and most people in the neighborhood went (walked to) the local sento (bath house) for their daily ritual. In fact, an apartment with a flush toilet AND a bath would cost an additional 3-5,000 yen or more per month in rent. It really was a luxury back then. However, there was a certain "togetherness" and comraderie of the daily trip to the local sento where a bath would set you back about 30 - 100 yen. A shower? Almost unheard of even in the 1980's unless you were living in a modern "mansion" (condo) or a newer house that had one built-in with the bath.

    Quote Originally Posted by Genki
    I, as a Japanese man, think it is VERY strange not to have a bath at home ESPECIALLY if you are in Hokkaido.
    Really? How old are you Genki and did you come from a wealthy family as most wealthy families did have a bath even in the 50's and 60's, but the majority of the general population in the 60's, 70's and early 80's did not have one. It was only after newer houses were built after the economic boom that families started having baths in their houses. Today, it is a given in all new housing.

    Quote Originally Posted by undrentide
    I don't think it is typical, but I assume OP's family in law is following a very old customs. Maybe 2-3 generations before now, it was more common that a father in a family was regarded as the most important, literally the head of the family, thus sometimes the father (and sometimes his first son as he will be the future head) were served the meal first, and his wife and other children (girls and babies) and the elderies in the family ate after they finished the meal. This is an extreme casem, maybe many families ate together but still men were served first and started first, then other family members followed.

    So, for the OP's (OP means "Original Poster") father in law and his wife, it is quite natural that he's always served first and starts eating first.
    I believe you are quite correct and I'd still like to know if this custom is still followed today in the country and outer provinces where the old customs may still be followed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_fujin
    Might i add my in laws are not elderly, my mother in law is 50 and my father in law is 54. They are not old and decrepit.
    Heck! I am 54 and I do not feel "old and decrepit". I do even feel "elderly"! Yuck!. However, there is something to be said of, and a warm feeling to be had, when I visit the older homes of my wife's family where there is no bath and we all must go to the local sento. Even though I had an apartment with a bath, I still enjoyed the friendliness of going to the local bath house a couple of times a week and even enjoyed it. I bonded with my neighbors and even made a couple of friends which are still my friends to this very day. They are becoming rarer and rarer these days, but I do miss them.

    Quote Originally Posted by becki_kanou
    Just to play devil's advocate a bit here, but most of the older generation (50/60) of Japanese women I personally know, have a much better deal than the men. They make the breakfast and lunch in the morning, finish up the housework in the A.M. and then have the rest of the day to relax, play golf, have lunch with friends and take all kinds of fun classes and lessons while their husbands are slaving away at the office all day.

    I know this isn't true of all Japanese women, but it seems like they don't get such a raw deal to me. Add to that the fact that they mostly control the finances and make most of the major household decisions and it sounds pretty good. I'm not at all saying that sexism doesn't exist, as it most certainly does, especially in business and the workforce, but I've seen many more かか 天下 type families than 亭主関白 types.
    You are quite correct I believe in your assessment of Japanese housewives as I have heard that on more than one occassion from Japanese housewives. Most have it "made in the shade" so to speak and enjoy their position in Japan as they control everything!

    Quote Originally Posted by ASHIKAGA
    Now, let us get back to the topic of this thread, shall we? I don't think it had anything to do with "if a typical Japanese house has a bath in it / if the man of the house should be served first at meals".
    Let us all go back to the OP and find out exactly WHAT this thread was about. I have no idea. lol
    Which is, "Are Japanese more hypocritical with foreigners?".
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  17. #167
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    Then it must be old governmental housing as I remember 30 years ago having to seek out an apartment that had a bath as they were rare and most people in the neighborhood went (walked to) the local sento (bath house) for their daily ritual. In fact, an apartment with a flush toilet AND a bath would cost an additional 3-5,000 yen or more per month in rent. It really was a luxury back then. However, there was a certain "togetherness" and comraderie of the daily trip to the local sento where a bath would set you back about 30 - 100 yen. A shower? Almost unheard of even in the 1980's unless you were living in a modern "mansion" (condo) or a newer house that had one built-in with the bath.
    Yes, you are right Pachipro, it is government housing, and it's like a long block of houses, that share a common wall, and they have a little bit of land out the back that is open to the road where there is usually a washing line and a vege patch or a dog house, and the front has a driveway and a shed/storage house. I think it's about 5 "houses" long. It's really not much more than a very small genkan, toilet off to the side (thankfully a flushing one!), a tiny kitchen, a combined dining/living, and 3 small bedrooms. It's all a basic square shape. The sliding door of the living room opens up to the vege patch outside, facing another road. I'm sure the buildings themselves are quite old, although the inside has been kept well and is not shabby. I quite like the communal atmosphere of the living/dining, in that everyone congregates in there when they are not sleeping, so it seems more family oriented than alot of homes i have visited in Australia.

    I have fond memories of going to the local sento, every time we go back to japan it's something i look forward to. I love the private baths, they are so deep, when i step in, i have forgotten just how deep it is, and how hot! But the feeling i get when i get out is one i cannot get from any other bath, it's such an amazing feeling. Then afterwards walking out of the sento with hubby and going to the vending machine and getting an ice cold gogo tea. That is one of my favourite times. I agree with you that some of the greatest family moments are around these shared experiences.

    Heck! I am 54 and I do not feel "old and decrepit". I do even feel "elderly"!
    Sorry, i did not mean to say that you were old and decrepit, just that my parents in law were not old, as i don't consider 50's to be old. My aussie mum is 64 and i still think of her as young. She's certainly not in the elderly category. I guess you're only as old as you feel! ;)

    You are quite correct I believe in your assessment of Japanese housewives as I have heard that on more than one occassion from Japanese housewives. Most have it "made in the shade" so to speak and enjoy their position in Japan as they control everything!
    I have read of such circumstances. If my mil was not sick as she is, and fil made more money, maybe that would be the case for her too. I guess like everywhere, some people are more privelaged than others. Good luck to the people who have lives like this.

  18. #168
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    Hey Pipokun,

    I have an answer for you. I asked my husband he said it's called a "grill", i said to him, i thought you said you didn't know what a fish oven was! He said "fish oven?" I thought you said "fish orange!". That just proves what i've been saying all these years is that he never listens to me... haha He said it is called a "grill" (not sure the spelling in Japanese guriru?) and the stove is called a "konro" or something.

    So yeah...i was wrong! I can't ever remember seeing this before though...so it was new to me. I'm gonna have a look next time we're in Japan. Thanks for the learning curve

  19. #169
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    Firstly, can i ask what is OP?
    Secondly, Dave i was trying to clarify my background, not say how much i knew about Japan so if i gave you that impression, i am sorry for that, merely i was trying to state that i have an interest in Japan and always have. I don't claim to know all there is to know or even understand, hence the reason why i came on here in the first place.
    Ok, so i read some things wrong, i apologise for that too.
    Hey , I said it straight as I don't have a lot of time to post something that could be more eloquently stated. I apologise for that. But I do hope you keep an open mind on a lot of things that have been said here as it will make your life a lot easier when you understand why somethings are done or said a certain way. I too do not think that the Japanese way of life is best , nor do I think that the western way of life is best, more so they are just different and now understanding that life has become so much more enjoyable.
    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    Ashikaga, yes, i agree with you, lets get off the bath/toilet/fish oven topic, and yes i agree with you on the first comment about father in law yada yada haha.
    Undrentide, thanks very much for the info, i didn't know that about 3 generations back, so that was really good to know. Now i can see a little bit about where they are coming from, and yes it's a very good idea to look into buying a fish oven if i find out that they don't have one.
    Despite people getting sick of this back and forth i've enjoyed discussing with all of you.
    Sorry , Ashikaga....

  20. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pachipro View Post
    Really? How old are you Genki and did you come from a wealthy family as most wealthy families did have a bath even in the 50's and 60's, but the majority of the general population in the 60's, 70's and early 80's did not have one.
    OK, “I can't believe" was an overstatement. I am 37 and I remember there was a sentou around our place when I was a kid around late 70's and early 80's. But of several friends' houses I visited back then, there was only one アパート that didn't have a bath and it was not like they were all rich. Actually the style people take bath have changed around 60's and 70's, so you are right. Back in 50's not many people had baths at home. Most of them went to sentou. But 90% of all homes in Japan have baths today, and it is Hokkaido where temperature can drop way below freezing, and It is not a one room アパート and is 30min drive from the nearest sento. The chance for this kind of place not having a bath today is probably like 1% or less. But they may just like the classic way, and I'm digressing so I'll stop. It was too interesting to not respond to an English speaking guy who has this much insight into the history of the modern Japanese bath.

  21. #171
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    It's interesting that Azuma-san found her husband became bossy telling her what to do as soon as they got to Narita. My girlfriend snapped once in Tokyo saying that I kept telling her what she had to do. We were in a coffee shop in Ginza having a ridiculously expensive pot of tea and when it ran out, she wanted hot water to refill the pot. If you live in Japan long enough, you know you usually don't get refill water for a teapot. And I was sure that this coffee shop was so stuck up and wouldn't do it so I told her I wouldn't ask because they don't do it in Japan. Then she insisted on asking it herself because "it doesn't hurt asking" and I stopped her as asking these out-of-the-rule things to a Japanese could be an embarrassing experience with them making faces and all that.

    Then she snapped. According to her, I had been telling her what to do and what not, ever since we got off the plane at Narita. To me it was really obvious that asking was a bad idea, and I was trying to save us from an unpleasant experience, but she didn't/couldn't see all these little untold rules that all Japanese follow, and took it as I was bossing her around. It was like "don't even think about asking for the refill” printed on the wall with the paint only I could see and I couldn't make her believe it was there.

    I don't know if Japanese are hypocritical, but there are a lot of inexplicit little rules like this that may explain some of the Japanese's weird behaviors. One of them could be "You ask about 4 seasons when asking how someone's home town's nature is.". Japanese poem have a rule that it must include a word that implicitly specifies one of the 4 seasons and this style of poem dates back to 9th century. We still have these poems written by people from 1000 years ago, and they talk about all the things that happen in the nature and their lives in each season. So “4 seasons” isn’t just talking about weather and temperature and length of daytime, but it is also strongly related to all the changes in nature and other things that happen in each season. Spring is not just weather condition between winter and summer, but it is also cherry blossom, love of cats, abalone, wasabi, clam picking, swallows, and the list goes on. So when Japanese are asking if your country have 4 seasons, they are also asking about these things strongly related to each season as well. It may be rather dumb to expect non-Japanese to understand all this background, but for them “4 seasons” has always been like this and they don’t know other “4 seasons”.

    Oh, now I understand why he was so mad. I would go crazy too if everybody I meet asks me if Japan has tornados.

  22. #172
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Genki , you are a breath of fresh air. Look forward to your post in the future, as I do with a few other people here.

  23. #173
    JREF Resident Alien Pachipro's Avatar
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    OK, “I can't believe" was an overstatement. I am 37 and I remember there was a sentou around our place when I was a kid around late 70's and early 80's. But of several friends' houses I visited back then, there was only one アパート that didn't have a bath and it was not like they were all rich. Actually the style people take bath have changed around 60's and 70's, so you are right. Back in 50's not many people had baths at home. Most of them went to sentou. But 90% of all homes in Japan have baths today, and it is Hokkaido where temperature can drop way below freezing, and It is not a one room アパート and is 30min drive from the nearest sento. The chance for this kind of place not having a bath today is probably like 1% or less.
    I appreciate your honesty Genki and, as Frustrated Dave said, "You are a breath of fresh air" and I hope you stick around a while and continue posting your views.

    However, I did not realize that in Hokkaido and such that the average sento would be a 30 minute drive from one's place as you and Azuma_fujin mentioned, but after thinking about it I guess it would make sense way out in the middle of nowhere and away from a central town. What I don't understand is why these houses were built without a sento in the first place when a public bath was not within walking distance. Does anyone have any insight as to why? As the Japanese are so fond of the bath and cleanliness I would have assumed that all rural houses would have a bath as a necessity. If one didn't have a car or it broke down I guess the family would have to wash up with a wet cloth.

    Sounds weird, but I learned something new that I didn't know and will ask my wife about this as her family hails from rural Yamagata prefecture. When we visited her relatives there, although there was no bath in the house, the sento was a 15 walk away.

    It was like "don't even think about asking for the refill” printed on the wall with the paint only I could see and I couldn't make her believe it was there.
    Very interesting way of putting it. Hope you don't mind if I steal it.

    I can understand your frustration with foreigners not knowing the unwritten rules and nuances of Japanese culture as, what may seem normal to them/us and not such a big deal can be a VERY BIG DEAL in Japan. Interesting experience.

  24. #174
    TNT Basketball Analyst Charles Barkley's Avatar
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    I saw an ad for a cheap apartment in Tokyo the other day (near Takadanobaba)--3 man a month for a 5畳 room and no bath. I couldn't do it...

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    JREF Resident Alien Pachipro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Barkley
    I saw an ad for a cheap apartment in Tokyo the other day (near Takadanobaba)--3 man a month for a 5畳 room and no bath. I couldn't do it...
    In Tokyo? At 3 man a month? If I were single and not making much money and there was a sento within walking distance I would jump on it to live in Tokyo proper for such a cheap price. Even though it was one room I hope it at least had a small kitchen/area for cooking or I couldn't do it either.

    MY apartment 30 years ago was 30 miles from Tokyo, was a 2dk with bath and only cost 3 man a month ($100 back then). I couldn't afford to live in Tokyo. Today that same apartment is going for 38,000 yen per month last time I checked during my visit at New Years time.

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