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Thread: Are Japanese more hypocritical with foreigners ?

  1. #176
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    Hey Genki,

    I liked reading your response, and i must agree with you with what you wrote that it seems that way, there is alot of unwritten rules that i just don't get. My main questions/irks were "why do you let your father boss me around?" "Why can't i go outside by myself even when YOU suggested it and your father won't let me?", "why is it not okay to read the magazine at the table while your father is cooking?" (because it's such a rare moment in history???), etc etc. Some of the reasons i could guess...but it has seemed so annoying to me a times when in those situations and coming from somewhere where an offer to do housework is an offer of help, not an insult into your ability to do the housework.

    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?
    Ok, i just had a deep and meaningful with my husband and it seems i was kept in the dark. So i apologise for saying something that has been the wrong thing.

    Apparently the nearest onsen is 15 minutes walk away, BUT, no one took me there, hubby included because they assumed i would not want to bathe with others. Instead everytime we go, we go to Obihiro for sento which has "family baths" in that it is separate little baths that two or more can use without mixing with strangers. And i've also just been told that it's also an onsen which hubby says "is a real sento". Grrr. All this time and nobody has asked me, just assumed. Yes, before you say anything the shoe is definitely on the other foot right now!

    Sorry for the confusion people, but i have to say, joining this forum has been good for me as it's led me to question quite a lot and get answers to my questions, and if i hadn't, i would still be walking around thinking i know this, when i don't! Certainly an eye opener.

    Sorry pachipro if i sent you on a wild goose hunt with your wife, my apologies.

    Hearing about your girlfriend makes me cringe, but on the other hand, i feel i can sympathise with her "why the hell should it be so hard to get a refill?" As you know i'm still a learner big time, and i can see both points.

  2. #177
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    Hey Genki,
    I liked reading your response, and i must agree with you with what you wrote that it seems that way, there is alot of unwritten rules that i just don't get. My main questions/irks were "why do you let your father boss me around?" "Why can't i go outside by myself even when YOU suggested it and your father won't let me?", "why is it not okay to read the magazine at the table while your father is cooking?" (because it's such a rare moment in history???), etc etc. Some of the reasons i could guess...but it has seemed so annoying to me a times when in those situations and coming from somewhere where an offer to do housework is an offer of help, not an insult into your ability to do the housework.
    Ok, i just had a deep and meaningful with my husband and it seems i was kept in the dark. So i apologise for saying something that has been the wrong thing.
    Apparently the nearest onsen is 15 minutes walk away, BUT, no one took me there, hubby included because they assumed i would not want to bathe with others. Instead everytime we go, we go to Obihiro for sento which has "family baths" in that it is separate little baths that two or more can use without mixing with strangers. And i've also just been told that it's also an onsen which hubby says "is a real sento". Grrr. All this time and nobody has asked me, just assumed. Yes, before you say anything the shoe is definitely on the other foot right now!
    Sorry for the confusion people, but i have to say, joining this forum has been good for me as it's led me to question quite a lot and get answers to my questions, and if i hadn't, i would still be walking around thinking i know this, when i don't! Certainly an eye opener.
    Sorry pachipro if i sent you on a wild goose hunt with your wife, my apologies.
    Hearing about your girlfriend makes me cringe, but on the other hand, i feel i can sympathise with her "why the hell should it be so hard to get a refill?" As you know i'm still a learner big time, and i can see both points.
    Actually , I am glad you have opened up, b/c it can only get better from here on in. There are a lot of unwritten rules here and some will baffle you for a long time before you can understand them. You need to understand that sometimes offering to do something for someone can be interpreted as a lack of trust or not recognizing their ability to do a certain thing, and not be taken as that you are only trying to help. Most people will never let you know if they have been offended by you even if you did not know that you have offended them. It is sort of a catch 22.
    Myself, I have offended someone before onlt to realize that I did 8 years down the track, I then appologised to them and we have been so much closer since then.

    Things can be taken in completely different ways , and just one wrong word can dismantle all the trust we have gained with that person. (and they we not let you know it either) I swear the Japanese society invented teleapathy, b/c you need to know what someone is thinking without saying a word that direectly relates to what you are trying to say. Subtle hints are to most people a dirrect kick in face, where as most western societies need you to spell it out for someone to get the point. (I think we can be so obtuse in some circustances in western societies)

    But, once you understand some of these things (no-one expects you to understand them all) you will have such a more fulling life as Japanese people can be , I don't know the english word but Japanese are "心が熱い".

    As for your family assuming stuff about you, it can be hard to ask someone what they want to do and in Japanese you never ask someone what they "want" to do, it is more like what "shall" we do. So them( your family) not asking you can be quite normal. Anyway I have babbled long enough , but I am so pleased you have taken the approch you have taken.

  3. #178
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    Hey Dave,

    Thanks for your response.

    You need to understand that sometimes offering to do something for someone can be interpreted as a lack of trust or not recognizing their ability to do a certain thing
    I'll say! It's really hard to get used to. I find i have to catch myself alot, being that i don't live there, i just don't get used to not saying some things. I'm the kind of person that always offers help to someone, it's my nature, not something that i think about, but when in Japan, i have to think about it, lest i stuff up and make someone else feel bad.

    it can be hard to ask someone what they want to do and in Japanese you never ask someone what they "want" to do, it is more like what "shall" we do
    I see what you mean. And so if you didn't want to do something would it be ok to say "lets not"? Or would that still be rude? I'm always direct with my husband, but i don't really know the protocol for saying no when i'm in Japan. I have said it to hubby before and he's passed on the message, but how do i actually say it myself? I would like to be able to express myself directly without treading on someone's toes but without playing chinese whispers in my husbands ear!

  4. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrustratedDave View Post
    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.
    Thank you Dave, I’ll stick around for a bit. I only hang out with Japanese people in Japan, so looking at Japan from English part of my brain is pretty interesting. I really didn’t realize why Maciamo was so frustrated with people asking him about 4 seasons all the time, but as I was typing my own post, it came to me. It could be annoying to me too if the question was something like “does your country have snow?” .….Wait, no if it’s “snow” I can start talking about skiing and stuff which I love to, so snow is OK, then again, “tornado” is boring.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pachipro View Post
    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.
    I remember there were some news about the trend of sentos closing down all over Japan at some time in the past, probably in the mid 80’s. It became more common to take bath at home rather than going to sentos, and they could no longer sustain their business. The sento around our placed closed down in the early 80’s too, and I bet there was one very close to Azuma-san’s in-low parents’ place before.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pachipro View Post
    Very interesting way of putting it. Hope you don't mind if I steal it.
    I’d be proud of myself if I see it somewhere on the net in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pachipro View Post
    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.
    She understood after I explained it to her that they care about this pot of tea so much they probably brew it with specially selected water at precisely calculated temperature for what they think is the optimal length of time (well for $15 a pot, they’d better.), and so asking “hey why don’t you casually put some more tap water here. It doesn’t cost you anything anyway right?” was an insult to their diligence. But I couldn’t explain all that in several seconds and this kind of situations occurred way too often. So yes, it was somewhat frustrating.

    Now we are more cautious though. I try to let my girlfriend learn things the hard way, and she tries not to think I am telling her what to do when we are in Japan. We are going to Tokyo next week, so we’ll see how much we grew up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Barkley View Post
    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...
    There is one of the best schools in Japan at Takadanobaba (Waseda University) so the main target for the room is probably those poor students. It’s nice to know that even if I go back to Tokyo I still have cheap places to live, but I don’t want to live like a college student neither if I don’t have to.

  5. #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    "why is it not okay to read the magazine at the table while your father is cooking?"
    It sounds like you offered to help, and he took it as an insult, and still he doesn’t like you to read magazines around him?? Your father in-law really puzzles me too. “because it's such a rare moment in history” might actually just be. I need more details to have any idea of what he really wanted if that’s ever possible. Some Japanese men, especially the ones in the north, speak very little and rarely express their feelings, so it is sometimes very hard to guess what they want even for me. I probably understand why he doesn’t let you walk around though. Most likely he thinks girls walking around at night is not safe, so it doesn’t matter who asks. You might think it is your own safety and it’s your own responsibility, but Japanese parents tend to treat their children, including in-laws, well, like their children, even after they became adults, especially when they are under their parents’ roof. “As long as you are under my roof, you follow my rules” literally means that in Japan. I presume that they said not much about “your” rule when they were under “your” roof. Even I, 37years old male, sometimes avoid staying at my parents place because they, more like my mother in my case, could be really nosy and bossy. So I understand the frustration.

  6. #181
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    and saying "no" is a tricky one 'cause Japanese just don't say it very often, but "I'd rather not." with a sorry facial expression whould probably work just fine.

  7. #182
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    Genki, he wouldn't let me out alone in the day time. I should have clarified that. If it was at night i could have seen why, but in broad day light? I just needed some "me" time, alone, so i wanted to just go for a bit of a walk round the block, and i wasn't allowed. I also wasn't allowed to catch the train to Obihiro by myself in the day, even though hubby said it was fine, i know my way, can read the signs blah blah...

  8. #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_Fujin View Post
    Genki, he wouldn't let me out alone in the day time.
    Wow in the day time? he is, eh, hardcore old man to say the least.I'm still a little bit confused though. Do they make you stay at their place or do they flip and scream things like "xxxx(your husband name here) !! anata isshoni itterasshai!!!" and make your husband go with you? Former is very strange. Japanese girls don't get that kind of treatments ether. If it's later, I can see that happen. They can't see they are limiting your freedom.
    I need to get on the plane to Narita in 7 hours, so I may not be able to respond to you for a while like 2 weeks. But I just found that I missed some of your posts here and I'll try to check them in Tokyo if I can.
    I might have some cultural conflicts with my girlfriend to talk to you guys about when I come back. Later.

  9. #184
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    Ok no worries, have fun Thanks for your help by the way.

    Just for clarification, no they don't make my husband go with me. If he doesn't want to go out, then i can't go out, coz he'll tell me "sure, go out if you want", then fatherinlaw will go "no she's not to go out by herself", so then i can't go anywhere. If he goes out without me, i'm stuck in the house coz i can't go out for a walk even. So then i have to sit there with okaasan while she naps on the lounge when she's supposed to be doing housework, then sometimes she nicks up to the supa on her mamachari, so i'm stuck in the house by myself, actually locked in would be a better word.

    Oh yeah...let us know if you have any cultural hiccups

  10. #185
    『〜★〜』 Ahega's Avatar
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    Maybe I've missed it in a post, but have you asked your hubby why his father won't let you go out by yourself?

    I don't know if this would help or not, but how about joining your mother-in-law for shopping, offer help with some duties outside so they'd be able to see that you can manage the world outside their house very well on your own.
    Your father-in-law really puzzles me. This can be terribly wrong but it kinda seems as if he doesn't want anybody to see that your staying with them (sorry if you consider this thought as offending, but it just crossed my mind)

  11. #186
    JREF Resident Alien Pachipro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azuma_fujin
    Genki, he wouldn't let me out alone in the day time. I should have clarified that. If it was at night i could have seen why, but in broad day light? I just needed some "me" time, alone, so i wanted to just go for a bit of a walk round the block, and i wasn't allowed. I also wasn't allowed to catch the train to Obihiro by myself in the day, even though hubby said it was fine, i know my way, can read the signs blah blah...
    Now, IMO, this is just going a little overboard if you ask me. I mean, you have bent over backwards to suit their needs and understand their culture, but hey, they have to do a little bending over backwards and understand your culture also! It's a two way street when it comes to international marriages and if it were me (and I'm not a woman so easy for me to say) I'd put my foot down in that you are an adult, you know what you are doing and YOU ARE NOT Japanese! So if you desire a little "me time" to walk around the neighborhood or take the train to do a little shopping, then they should respect that as you are not Japanese and your husband should respect that also and stand up for his wife to his parents in the long run.

    If they insist on you doing that, then I would completly change my thinking on if and when your in-laws ever visited Australia. If they insisted on you acting as a traditional Japanese woman while in Japan, then I would insist on them acting like Australians while they are in Australia and that includes the father not eating first, but waiting for all others to eat together. I know it sounds like a contradiction and hypocritical, but they should not be putting those restrictions on someone who is not of Japanese origin if they are not willing to abide by restrictions placed on them while being in a foreign country.

    There has to be some give and take in all relationships, especially international ones, but it seems to me they are doing all the taking while not giving anything. Hell, I know few Japanese women who wouldn't put of with those kind of restrictions in modern society and I wouldn't blame them one bit. My wife comes to mind. She may do it out of respect during a visit, but I can guarantee it would not last long if she settled there permanently.

    Am I out of line in my thinking here or have I had too much to drink?
    Last edited by Pachipro; Oct 22, 2008 at 23:10. Reason: clarification replaced 'would with 'wouldn't'
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  12. #187
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    Ahega, to answer your question, my husband said it was because there was a serial killer lose, just kills anyone, randomly, but this was last year, and i've been going to Japan for 5 years... so i can't really see the logic. The serial killer wasn't around for the 4 years previous, so it kind of seems like a convenient excuse to me.

    Pachipro, you are not out of line at all. I agree with you. I've actually thought that next year when we go back i'm going to put my foot down. I'm sick of being told what to do by his father. I mean, regardless of who they are in relation to us, my husband and i are married, and have been for nearly 6 years, i'm sure we are capable of deciding between ourselves what we can do. Oh yeah, and my husband's sister sometimes comes over, she is 2 years younger than me, and she is allowed to go out by herself. She lives in her own place about 30 minutes drive away. It seems like because i'm not Japanese i can't be trusted to go out by myself. It's so weird. I've travelled to singapore by myself, and my own mother was worried, but she didn't stop me going. While i stayed with a friends family in Singapore, they cared what happened but they didn't stop me going out and having a walk around the block and having a look.

    I mean for me, when i am staying in Hokkaido, there are so many scenic places, and even the houses, i never get sick of looking at because they are so different from what we have in perth. So, i like going for a walk around the block and seeing the different houses etc. It's not a big deal for me. It's like if they had a dog i would walk it.

    I'm really determined to get to the bottom of this, seeing as it doesn't seem to be normal. I mean, from the posters reactions on here, they seem like it's not normal. So when i go back i'm definitely going to try to get them to see my point of view. It's not like i'm a first-time visitor to Japan or anything. While i don't live there, i think i know their locality pretty well.

  13. #188
    もちもちした食感 ASHIKAGA's Avatar
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    A serial killer on the loose???? Your story gets better and better...lol

    I thought your hubby's family sounded wacky but now it sounds like he is not too far off himself.

    Are you sure you want to continue on with this thread? The longer it goes on, the more I am convinced the whole thing has been what this exactly sounds like... a story.
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  14. #189
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASHIKAGA View Post
    A serial killer on the loose???? Your story gets better and better...lol
    I thought your hubby's family sounded wacky but now it sounds like he is not too far off himself.
    Are you sure you want to continue on with this thread? The longer it goes on, the more I am convinced the whole thing has been what this exactly sounds like... a story.
    LOL.... I am inclined to agree.

    Could be a research project for a 15 drama series?

  15. #190
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    If only it was a story, no it's my life and what i am experiencing. You have never experienced something like this, no reason to shoot it down in flames as a "story".

    Yes, a serial killer on the loose. So hard to believe? I think it was the beginning of this year in Japan that there was a random killer on the loose and it made major headlines on the news. The guy that was on the loose in Hokkaido, just randomly attacked people too, whenever he felt like it. I'm not sticking up for my in-laws but i saw the article in the local newspaper.

    Believe whatever you want, but my life is not a story. I don't have the inclination or the time to get on here and write false stuff. I came here to share my experience and maybe get abit of help with my problems. Frustrated dave was the one who said i had a narrow-minded view, i shouldn't lump all Japanese together, so why are you? (i mean you don't want to believe there are some wacky Japanese that won't let their daughter in law go out...just because you've never heard of it before, that is kind of narrow-minded in my view).

  16. #191
    もちもちした食感 ASHIKAGA's Avatar
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    You had mentioned that your father-in-law would not let you go out alone in your post a while back, yet you only brought up the reason behind it NOW?
    Hmmm.... sorry, I'm not buying it.
    A serial killer in Hokkaido? Wow. How many did s/he kill? I am surprised it did not make the national news.

  17. #192
    In imagination land Chidoriashi's Avatar
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    I agree, mass killers and serial killers always make the news in Japan.. (well i guess i cannot prove that..) but still it seems strange to think otherwise.

  18. #193
    Regular Member Azuma_Fujin's Avatar
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    Well, whatever, i don't really care. I brought it up because it came up. However the serial killer is not the problem because it happened after i had experienced those problems. If you're going to yap on about my timing in bringing it up, you can be picky all you like.

    I find that alot that goes on in the backwaters of japan are not necessarily big news in Japan, especially in tokachi. It's not some high buzz event, it's just a guy who killed people that were out and about.

    Even the girl that died from the biggest fireworks in tokachi, i don't think it was on the news (as a consequence they cancelled the fireworks for a few years).

    The fact is, we were not talking about serial killers, we were discussing about Japanese people, so whether or not you believe or not believe, is beside the point.

  19. #194
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    I agree with an older post mentioning that some Japanese people are so proud of "their" inventions (though they're only "Japanized" versions of western ideas, e.g. famous songs and cartoon characters like winnie the pooh) and technical development that they feel like the most superior and advanced country in the world.
    My friend from Poland was asked if she wasn't surprised by the light turning on automatically upon walking into the toilet cubicle in our dorm! I mean, wow, what do they think about Europe? Do they think that Europe is that old-fashioned as it is shown in some anime or manga? ^^#
    Of course, they are more advanced in computer technology but most of them are mentally unstable and immature. Being completely ignorant toward other cultures.

  20. #195
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yersinya View Post
    Of course, they are more advanced in computer technology but most of them are mentally unstable and immature. Being completely ignorant toward other cultures.
    Most of the Japanese are mentaly unstable? And I suppose you would be the leading authority of mental illness in Japan? And haven't the Japanese done well for themselves for being mentaly unstable? Looks like there is one more person we can add to the mentaly unstable list ,can't we Yersinya?


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  21. #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrustratedDave View Post
    Looks like there is one more person we can add to the mentaly unstable list ,can't we Yersinya?
    Oh yeah, FrustratedDave


    Quote Originally Posted by FrustratedDave View Post
    Most of the Japanese are mentaly unstable? And I suppose you would be the leading authority of mental illness in Japan? And haven't the Japanese done well for themselves for being mentaly unstable?
    I don't mean that they're lunatics or retards. With mentally unstable I mean prone to pressure and public opinion. Ever since I'm attanding the university in Japan there have been 2 suicides among Japanese students. Sorry, but this is not normal to me. The authority and local news papers tried to hide the cases to prevent copy cats.
    As I said how others think of you is very important. So important that you're supposed to hide how you really feel so that no one thinks bad about you.
    There's even one Japanese saying which supports my observations: 顔で笑って、心で泣く。

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    Quote Originally Posted by yersinya View Post
    ...
    The authority and local news papers tried to hide the cases to prevent copy cats.
    ...
    I don't know what you are trying to say, but as far as I know, it (hiding or whatever you might call) is an effective way, empirically proven in some countries incl. European nations, to prevent suicide.

    Of course, I am fully aware that there still remains tons of stupid media here who want to be a profiler.

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    I've never seen so much discussion about Japanese behavior! Wow, intriguing

  24. #199
    JREF Resident Alien Pachipro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kanye
    I've never seen so much discussion about Japanese behavior! Wow, intriguing
    Keep reading and you will discover more. After all this is a forum about Japan.

  25. #200
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    I think that the bottom line is that you are a Gaijin. You always will be no matter how much you try to be accepted as a Nihonjin. Don't worry about it and just accept things as the way they are. There is nothing in the world you can do to change it. However, by learning Japanese and trying to conform with Japan's social niceties and social customs, you are doing all you can.

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