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Thread: PG-rated : 40 reasons to think that the Japanese are superficial

  1. #51
    Government Man Doc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I would like to prove once and for all that Japan indeed is a unique society, as about any Japanese would claim. Well, at least it is unique to Western eyes, as Japan may share numerous similarities with its Asian neighours. Here is a summary of my observations of the Japanese people and mindset established after 3,5 years of 'research'.

    To assess this uniqueness of the Japanese culture, I did not include material differences (different architecture, food, etc.) which can easily be copied or exported, but only psychological ones (what make the people different). In fact, I have only concentrated on one particular aspect of the Japanese midset : its shallowness (so this study is totally biased from the start, as it does not include anything else). I could very well do one to prove how much more polite, disciplined, or respectful the Japanese are. But it is not the object of this analysis.

    The purpose is not to animadvert, excoriate or disparage (sorry, couldn't resist lol), but on the contrary emphasize the idiosyncracies of the Japanese mindset as opposed to the Western median.

    The observations hereafter only represent a trend that characterize a majority (i.e. at least 50%) of the Japanese population (sometimes only for one gender group). It may apply to an overwhelming majority of the population (nearly 100%), or only to just about half of it. But still, please take it with a grain of salt and a good sense of humour. Have fun !

    - their favourite topic of conversation is food
    - when travelling abroad, they care little about the local culture except food
    - when they do not talk about food, they talk about money or sex
    - The proverbs "money doesn't buy happiness/love" or "don't judge a book by its cover" have no significance in Japan
    - clothes do make the man in Japan (which explain the success of brand clothes, black suits and even that of cosplay, bunny girls or the importance that Japanese women attach to their wedding dress)
    - people indeed do not get treated the same way (be it in a shop, by government officials, by the police or whatever) depending on how well they dress and look.
    - they think an opuent and expensive wedding is necessary for appearances' sake (even if that is way above their means)
    - some Japanese companies have a tiny head office in Tokyo (esp. Nihombashi) just for appearances' sake, as it is said to give them a higher status.
    - they judge people from their appearance and tend to be easily prejudiced (e.g. toward foreigner-looking persons)
    - they use gestures and speak strange Japanese to foreigners who address them in fluent Japanese (or before they have a chance to speak), as if they had convinced themselves that somebody who didn't look Japanese could not possibly understand their language
    - however Japanese language is so deficient in vocabulary and acurate expressions that it has to borrow thousands of new words from other languages every year
    - the structure of Japanese language is so inflexible and clumsy (no relative sentences, few tenses, few nuances) that Japanese people end up speaking with isolated words (often adjectives, see below) rather than making full sentences.
    - they can't debate and dislike serious intellectual discussions (probably due to the language issues mentioned above)
    - there are very few intellectual programmes on TV (documentaries, debates, political analysis, social phenomenons, literary discussions...), due to a general lack of interest of the population
    - people on TV usualy repeat the same few adjectives all the time (oishii, omoshiroi, hidoi, kirei...) , as if they were linguistically challenged.
    - people in everyday life actually do speak like mentioned above
    - they ask the same routine dumb questions to foreigners ("can you use chopsticks; can you eat sushi, is there 4 seasons in your country, etc.")
    - they tend of lack sexual morals and don't mind cheating "as long as their partner doesn't know"
    - they have casual sex with several partners without protection and don't worry about STD's
    - they have a computer but don't know much how to use even quite simple functions, due to a lack of interest for technology
    - they throw away a dysfunctuning electronic equipment (e.g. computer) or machine, rather than try to repair it
    - they call an plumber, electrician or carpenter to repair things in their house, because they are not interested in DIY (Japan is a service country par excellence, due to people's lack of knowledge or interest in a wide array of things)
    - they go to juku after school because they sleep or are too slow to learn at school (slowing down the teacher's rythm) and can't assimilate the necessary knowledge to pass the exams. They still end up learning much less than European children in foreign languages, history, geography and critical thinking.
    - manga, porn and fashion magazines account for over 90% of convenience stores' literature.
    - shops staff repeat "irasshaimasse", then "domo arigato gozaimashita" like robots to anybody that enters or exit, even if the same person comes in and out three times in 5 minutes
    - they can't think by themselves, and believe the media, commercials or what people tell them much too easily
    - they buy on impulse rather than after careful comparison and analysis
    - there are virtually no magazines that test and rate products such as electronics, books, movies, games, etc. They only introduce these products without critical commentary (because the makers/sellers would sue them for being critical !)
    - they are a nation of followers that suffer from the "sheep syndrome" => if every jumps in the river, let's jump in the river too ! (i.e. lack of critical and independent thinking)
    - as a result, when something becomes fashionable, everybody must have it (e.g. Louis Vuitton handbags), even if that means it looses its uniqueness or originality.
    - when a restaurant is "introduced" on TV, one can be sure that it will be full to the brim for the week to come, then people will forget about it as quickly as they had rushed on it (just to show how influenceable the Japanese are).
    - they think that most women are just good to serve tea, smile, be beautiful and make children (I mean, the cultural influence is so strong that many Japanese women also think so, not just men)
    - politicians are corrupted and inefficient beyond redemption, because they only care about themselves, and not the nation's welfare.
    - people accept that politicians are as mentioned above, because they don't expect their own kind to act in a more virtous way
    - men don't mind paying huge sums of money just to chat with bar hostesses, because they can't get a girlfriend (sad) or feel that it give them some form of status (shallow)
    - about one out of three Japanese men frequents or has already been to one of these hostess bar.
    - not being married after the age of 35 or 40 can hurt some people's credibility or status, as people think that there is 'something wrong' with them
    - they care a lot about marriage, but little about the eventuality of divorce, so that prenuptial agreements are almost unheard of, because people 'don't like to think that bad things could happen' - while Westerners cannot not think about this eventuality and be prepared for it. Similarily, very few Japanese write their testament. Japanese seem to worry a lot, but rarely about things that matter most.
    - many Japanese fathers do not think that they have a role in their children's education. This is so culturally ingrained that in case of divorce, the mother almost always get the exclusive custody of the child(ren), and the father often 'never' see them again - and often doesn't care much anyway.
    - they find pleasure in asking foreigners what kind of Japanese food they can't eat - even if they can't eat it themself (never really understood the purpose of those questions)
    - many Japanese are convinced that their nation is "unique for being unique" (i.e. they think that all the world is a big melting-pot, but Japan is the only country that is 'pure' and homogenous, which makes it unique, and they are the only nation to enjoy such uniqueness.).

    And then the universe imploded.

    Doc
    "Rather than offer you the illusion of free choice, I will take the liberty of choosing for you... if and when your time comes round again. I do apologize for what must seem to you an arbitrary imposition, Dr. Freeman. I trust it will all make sense to you in the course of... well... I'm really not at liberty to say. In the meantime... this is where I get off." -G-man

  2. #52
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc
    And then the universe imploded.
    So that is what happened. I was also wondering.

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  3. #53
    Government Man Doc's Avatar
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    What can I say? The universe itself can only take so much superfical crap from humanity before it too decides to go bai-bai. Hell could probably call it a mercy killing too.

    Doc

  4. #54
    Junior Member white.rabbit's Avatar
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    Might I point out that the majority of, if not all, economically secure and westernized countries share many of the traits listed...
    Also, you must also factor in the history and culture of Japan, and many other asian countries. There is a rather great difference between European countries and Asian countries as far as culture goes...
    However, many of those points are quite valid

  5. #55
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by white.rabbit
    Might I point out that the majority of, if not all, economically secure and westernized countries share many of the traits listed...
    Have you ever set foot outside the US ?

    Also, you must also factor in the history and culture of Japan, and many other asian countries. There is a rather great difference between European countries and Asian countries as far as culture goes...
    Yes, that's a fact!

  6. #56
    Regular Member Reiku's Avatar
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    Ah...

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    - manga, porn and fashion magazines account for over 90% of convenience stores' literature.
    ...that's pretty much true here in the states too.
    Baka ningen.

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    Maciamo, I enjoyed reading your links and the entire forum regarding your original post. I would have to say I agree with most of what you wrote. I do come from some experience, having lived three times in Japan, first from '89 - '90, then most recent being from 09/02 to 09/03 in a small town called ashikaga (inaka). Also, have studied Japanese for quite a few years, and currently live with a beautiful Japanese woman here in the US.

    Anyway, my question would be that as you obviously feel very passionately about the differences (or to subphrase your postings .. the deficiencies of Japan vs. the modernized world) ... why wouldn't you try to do something about it? Posting in this forum is obviously a way to educate 'gaijin' about your opinions or insight of Japan, but from your postings you seem to really want to make a difference (i.e. comparing yourself to Perry and McAurther).

    Perhaps an NPO which could collectively add a collaborative effort among industrialized nations to integrate Japan into your mode of thought? ... just rambling.. but you might find this link interesting ... http://www.usajapan.org/PDF/051004_n...cs_summary.pdf

    I found that through a simple google search, I'm sure there are plenty out there...

    I did find your postings informative, and agreed with most of it.

    P.S. If you believe in immorality, how could you not believe in God? ... Just a thought

  8. #58
    Comfortably Ignorant Faustianideals's Avatar
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    I liked the post very much, good job Maciamo!

  9. #59
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tai2
    Maciamo, I enjoyed reading your links and the entire forum regarding your original post. I would have to say I agree with most of what you wrote.
    Thanks. Glad to see that people who have experienced Japan like me also agree with my observations.

    Perhaps an NPO which could collectively add a collaborative effort among industrialized nations to integrate Japan into your mode of thought? ... just rambling.. but you might find this link interesting ... http://www.usajapan.org/PDF/051004_n...cs_summary.pdf
    Thanks for the link and advice.

    P.S. If you believe in immorality, how could you not believe in God? ... Just a thought
    Do I believe in immortality ?

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    1st post...hi all :)

    Maciamo,
    Some of the OP is kind of funny, and I take it with the grain of salt you prescribed. Here's my reaction:

    A whooole lot of the list could be said about many other countries so it really proves nothing about the uniqueness of Japan. I mean food? sex? May as well call all humanity shallow.

    Many other things on the list are only 'shallow' when you look at them with Western blinders on. In your years of research, I'd be surprised if you didn't pick up on the very subtle yet ubiquitous Japanese ideal of impermanence. You're trying to find meaning and depth precisely where the Japanese are not aesthetically (or even spiritually) inclined to put it. Enjoying each meal, cup of tea or passing fashion as a once-in-a-lifetime experience can be profound. Shallowness is not letting go of passing things.

  11. #61
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aha yes
    A whooole lot of the list could be said about many other countries so it really proves nothing about the uniqueness of Japan. I mean food? sex? May as well call all humanity shallow.
    Am I guessing that by this reaction you are American ?

    In your years of research, I'd be surprised if you didn't pick up on the very subtle yet ubiquitous Japanese ideal of impermanence.
    In what way is that unique or special. I certainly do feel the impermanence more than many Japanese. In fact, we could argue that the Japanese dislike change (why I love it and need it). The concept of impermanence in Japan comes from Buddhism/Hinduism, so we could say that it is shared by at leats half of the people in the world (just China and India make up 2.4 billion people).

    Enjoying each meal, cup of tea or passing fashion as a once-in-a-lifetime experience can be profound. Shallowness is not letting go of passing things.
    For me, enjoying one's senses is never profound. That is what we share in common with many animals, especially mammals. For me, profoundity relates to using the frontal cortex of one's brain.

    I admit that I may judge too much based on my way of thinking and socio-economic background rather than for all Westerners. There are quite a lot of shallow people in the West too. The proportion is usuall higher among the lower classes and some middle class (money does not determine class for me, as I explained in this article about the [url=http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15637]social classes[url]). I have mostly compared upper-middle class people in Western Europe to upper-middle class and middle-class people in Japan (didn't take Americans into account as I haven't lived in the States). If you compare lower classes, there is probably not so much difference. So I guess you agree or disagree with me more based on your own background and the country where you are from.

    I think the Japanese are quite similar to other East Asians regarding their obsession with sensual pleasures (food, massages, baths, etc.). Or maybe it is because I get my impression from proportionally more Japanese women than men, and in a society where gender role is so important, women are not encouraged to be deep and intellectual, but cute, naive and superficial (well, there are a few notable exceptions, but there are just that, exceptions). What do you think ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Am I guessing that by this reaction you are American ?
    I am, but I don't see how that's relevant. Food, sex and looks are important in any culture..


    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    In what way is that unique or special. I certainly do feel the impermanence more than many Japanese. In fact, we could argue that the Japanese dislike change (why I love it and need it). The concept of impermanence in Japan comes from Buddhism/Hinduism, so we could say that it is shared by at leats half of the people in the world (just China and India make up 2.4 billion people).
    Agreed, impermanence is not unique to Japan. That wasn't a claim.


    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    For me, enjoying one's senses is never profound. That is what we share in common with many animals, especially mammals. For me, profoundity relates to using the frontal cortex of one's brain.
    How austere. Thing is, no matter how much you use the ol' frontal cortex, no matter what country or socio-economic class you're from, you still have to eat and have sex. We are after all animals. That the Japanese do not deny this but make good sport of it is a different brand of profundity than you're allowing here.

    My point is that this '40 reasons' thing says much more about your own cultural values on superficiality than about anything inherent to Japan.

  13. #63
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aha yes
    I am, but I don't see how that's relevant.
    Well, the fact that I could guess it means something. You are not the first person on this forum to react like this (and almost all others before you were American).

    Quote Originally Posted by aha yes
    Food, sex and looks are important in any culture..
    ...
    Thing is, no matter how much you use the ol' frontal cortex, no matter what country or socio-economic class you're from, you still have to eat and have sex. We are after all animals.
    If you took care to make the difference between what's important, essential to survive, or fun, and what is "profound", you would understand better my point of view. I love good food, but that doesn't make me feel particularly profound to eat or discuss about food.

    Obviously eating and having sex are fundamental aspects of being a human being. They are very basic needs, can be very enjoyable, but that does not mean these things are "intellectual" or "profound". There is more to being a human than eating and having sex. The very meaning of superficial is to care too much about those basic things, and not enough about using one's brains to understand complex issues, be creative or acquire new knowledge.

    FYI, I refer to this defintion of superficial :

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary : "concerned only with the obvious or apparent"

    I used it as a synonym of "shallow", defined like this : " not showing, requiring, or capable of serious thought".

    I believe that my list of observations match well these definitions, and that food, sex, etc. are always shallow, no matter how enjoyable they may be. People need shallow stuff too, but when it becomes the dominant trait of character, those people become worringly close to returning to their animal condition (I am not talking about the Japanese in particular here, but anybody in this world).

  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Well, the fact that I could guess it means something. You are not the first person on this forum to react like this (and almost all others before you were American).
    So...what am I guilty of?


    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    If you took care to make the difference between what's important, essential to survive, or fun, and what is "profound", you would understand better my point of view. I love good food, but that doesn't make me feel particularly profound to eat or discuss about food.
    You may love good food but you obviously don't really loooove food. It's no one's loss but your own if you treat your eating experience as a means of survival only and not something profound.


    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Obviously eating and having sex are fundamental aspects of being a human being. They are very basic needs, can be very enjoyable, but that does not mean these things are "intellectual" or "profound". There is more to being a human than eating and having sex. The very meaning of superficial is to care too much about those basic things, and not enough about using one's brains to understand complex issues, be creative or acquire new knowledge.
    Intellectual does not necessarily equal profound. Lots of cultures back to the primitives have central rituals and myth about food and sex precisely because they are essential to our survival. Nothing intellectual about that. But it's profound, how we consume life to live. How about the fertility cults of farming cultures (thanking God for veggies)? Or the elaborate ceremonies used by Native American groups to renew the soul of an animal killed for food (thanking God for meat and hoping it doesn't run out)? Or how about the Bible story where humans were cut off from God because they ATE an apple? Or was that about SEX? Are these examples not complex or creative enough? Too animal-like for modern civilized intellectual man? Exactly how complex is it to be human? What more is there?


    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    FYI, I refer to this defintion of superficial :

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary : "concerned only with the obvious or apparent"

    I used it as a synonym of "shallow", defined like this : " not showing, requiring, or capable of serious thought".

    I believe that my list of observations match well these definitions...
    Why not? As long as we're evaluating the Japanese worldview by one-line definitions in foreign language dictionaries published in another culture.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    , and that food, sex, etc. are always shallow, no matter how enjoyable they may be. People need shallow stuff too, but when it becomes the dominant trait of character, those people become worringly close to returning to their animal condition (I am not talking about the Japanese in particular here, but anybody in this world).
    You ride your intellect to profundity. I ride enjoyment. You are no more human than I.
    Last edited by aha yes; May 1, 2005 at 17:03.

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    Very typical gaijin view of Japan. Its unfortunate that most people only ever see this perspective of Japan, perhaps because the language and social barriers are still too great after all these years. More unfortunate that most people in this thread seem to agree with the original post. Apparently most people never get beyond talking about completely meaningless talk with a Japanese person, which is why they are perceived as being shallow. I can tell you that the boring and shallow conversations that you are probably having with a Japanese person, despite the apparent enthusiasm expressed by them, is totally reciprocal and they are totally bored too. With so many foreigners in Japan you would think there has been some bridge across the cultures, but apparently not yet.

    In some way, the isolation that this creates for Japanese can be constructive as it means they can go and do the weird and wonderful things that they do, without judgement. Once there is understanding between western and japanese cultures, then anything that anyone does has to be "good" under western values as well. That day will probably be the end of true uniqueness of Japan, which would also be a pity.

    So theres good and bad in this, probably more good than bad actually.

  16. #66
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim0000 View Post
    Very typical gaijin view of Japan.
    Really ? That's strange I have rarely heard such views on forums in English about Japan. In fact I found that many "Japan-lovers" didn't want to see or hear anything like that at all. Btw, are you a Japanese or a non-Japanese ?

    I can tell you that the boring and shallow conversations that you are probably having with a Japanese person, despite the apparent enthusiasm expressed by them, is totally reciprocal and they are totally bored too.
    My wife says that she has never learnt so much about all kind of things as since she met me - because she had never met any Japanese as interesting or knowlegeable as me (her words, not mine). I have had many individual students who continued their weekly lesson with me for 1, 2 or in some cases even 3 years because they learnt more than just English. They were free to change teacher or stop the lessons anytime they wanted. So I doubt I that I was a total bore.

    What I criticise is Japanese society in general, not only the individuals I have met. Look a the media - boring and superficial. Compared to the median of society I am a bit more on the intellectual side, and I can tell you that it is hard to find food for the mind on Japanese TV. Where are all the debates about society and politics, where are the documentaries about history, science and nature, where are the geo-political analysis of worldwide issues (e.g. the war in Iraq, the situation in Darfur, the conflict in Kashmir) ? No, Japanese TV is full of stupid games and variety shows, with series and movies, but nothing to make you think.

    When I am in a cafe or restaurant in Japan and I eavesdrop on conversations around me, it is very often the same things that are always discussed : food, marriage, fashion, celebrities... Very few people talk about more serious stuff. It is completely different here in Belgium.

    As you can see it is not a language issue in my case, but an actual cultural difference. Japanese culture encourages superficial talks. On the contrary French-speaking culture encourage serious discussions.

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    <quote> Its unfortunate that most people only ever see this perspective of Japan, perhaps because the language and social barriers are still too great after all these years. </quote>

    Japan is supposed to be at least one of the major economies in the world we live on. Somehow I would think these major economies should be little bit more openminded, at least for their own people. Still they have their own mafia openly running their yakuza businesses. How logical is such thing to exsist in major economies ?

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    tsuyaku o tsukete kudasai nurizeko's Avatar
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    Maciamo, the problem is you hold yourself in high regard (not necisarrily a character flaw), you pride yourself on YOUR view of the world, YOUR view of everything, every specific opinion and every specific quality.

    The problem starts when you percieve a country to be somehow below your high standards.

    Why should Japan comply with your specific Eurocentric view of the universe?, why must Japan face judgement from a very European perspective?, why do you need to constantly point out how great Belgium is and japan isnt?.

    Your ONE person with one UNIQUE view.

    Japan is a seperate country seperated by geography and the haze of history from the rest of the world for a long time.

    The Japanese have had many many hundreds of years to refine their world view and decide what is important and what isnt.

    Everyone here knows fine japan has problems, it has short-commings, the problem starts is that 1) Your making it out as if Belgium and Europe are the height of civilization, you might not mean it, but thats how it is, yeah, so what if the Japanese think differently of food and sex, so what if they could care less about something you specifically hold as sacred? they arent imposing their will on you, so its not your concern, and diversity is simply a fact of human life.

    The Japanese arent shallow, and I'm sorry your experiences werent very satisfying, but, your experiences of japan arent the only one and they cant and never will override the mass of experiences of everyone else who has experienced life in Japan.

    It boils down to one simple thing, this one simple thing I mentioned a long time ago on this forum and this is it.

    You either love or hate Japan.

    You hated it, nearly everyone else managed to find part of it they loved.

    You had bad experiences and Japan just didnt fit you. You admit yourself, Your very specific and stone set on what you like and dont, what you prioratise in life and what you disregard.

    Japan simply pushed the limits of what YOU find acceptable, fine, your an individual, free to your own specifics.

    I would say, its not that you cant comprimise in certain areas like many of us, its just that while some of us can comprimise certain things like our sensitivities to certain "slights", you couldnt.

    While you found many examples of descrimination or ignorance nearly unbearable, Many others could look past it, so it didnt ruin their visit/life there, for others, they simply never suffered any really note-worthy examples of descrimination or ignorance.

    In my case if a lady in the same apartment building as me wants to look wide-eyed and terrified of me then go ahead, look like an idiot, not my problem.

    If my girlfriends Grandpa wants to be a racist dinosaur good for him, I pity him, I dont take any real offense, because I know he's just poor pitiful old man with pre-set idea's that will deny him many positive worthwhile experiences and friendships in life. My only gripe with him was he made my girlfriend cry.


    Japan isnt Belgium, it isnt Europe.

    Applying strict European standards to a country that only really opened up to it in any real way a few hundred years ago is hardly fair.

    Changing the mind of an individual is easy, changing an entire heavily in-looking culture within a historically short period of time is more difficult.

    Give Japan time, and even then, dont expect Europe where there isnt any.

  19. #69
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nurizeko View Post
    Japan is a seperate country seperated by geography and the haze of history from the rest of the world for a long time.
    So are each European country.
    It boils down to one simple thing, this one simple thing I mentioned a long time ago on this forum and this is it.
    You either love or hate Japan.
    You hated it, nearly everyone else managed to find part of it they loved.
    False. I don't see things in black or white. I try to weigh the good and the bad in each culture and country. So country just happen to have more good or less bad than others. There are many things that I like about Japan (see this thread).

    I came to Japan with a very postive approach. In fact it was so positive that I embraced Japan completely, learn the language, experience all I could, read a lot about it, met lots of peolpe, and try to be interested in things that I wasn't really interested in before (manga, kabuki, Japanese literature, Shintoism...). The more I learnt and discovered about Japan, the more people I met, the more fluent I became in Japanese, and the more I came to dislike Japan because I felt that my good expectations were going to be fulfilled. The deeper I scratched over the surface and the more dirt I found, despite my attempts to find more positive things.
    Japan simply pushed the limits of what YOU find acceptable, fine, your an individual, free to your own specifics.
    That's true, but my values are deeply influenced by European cultural values. So if I feel the way I do about Japan, chances are high that other Europeans/Westerners will be the same way too, if they experience the same things as me and judge Japanese culture by the same standards.
    While you found many examples of descrimination or ignorance nearly unbearable, Many others could look past it, so it didnt ruin their visit/life there, for others, they simply never suffered any really note-worthy examples of descrimination or ignorance.
    This tells me more about you than about Japanese people...
    Applying strict European standards to a country that only really opened up to it in any real way a few hundred years ago is hardly fair.
    With that kind of argument I could say that Belgium wasn't a country until 175 years ago. It is hardly fair to compare a 175-year old country with the oldest monarchy in the world !

  20. #70
    Sister Earth Goldiegirl's Avatar
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    but that area has been on the European continent and has been settled for thousands of years, so just saying that politically Belgium is an infant country is silly. That's making the "numbers" work for you.
    Last edited by Goldiegirl; Dec 5, 2006 at 01:31. Reason: typo
    I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it. ~Jack Handey

  21. #71
    Five times to Japan. ArmandV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    The longer I stay in Japan, the more people I meet, the deeper I dig into their thoughts, and the more these traits become clear and easy to generalised.
    Do you have video of this? It would be most interesting to see a Belgian in Japan performing Vulcan mind-meldings on the locals.

    Live long and prosper!

    Armand's Rancho del Cielo

  22. #72
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    That's true, but my values are deeply influenced by European cultural values. So if I feel the way I do about Japan, chances are high that other Europeans/Westerners will be the same way too, if they experience the same things as me and judge Japanese culture by the same standards.
    There are Japanese that leave the country for a greater intellectual experience and open debate on global/societal issues. There are Europeans I've known that deeply appreciate the civility and peace of Japan.

    Each of us has to pursue what we think is best for ourselves and our lives personally. I'm sorry it didn't work out there but that is your individual burden. Others of us may uncover what was missing in our primary culture for very inexplicable reasons and feel immediately more at home in Asia than Europe or America.

    And If Japanese society does trend in the direction of intellectualization, which is probably inevitable, it will be in a very particular style and form that the people themselves are trusting of and comfortable in.
    Didn't you say you didn't like repeating yourself at some point ?

  23. #73
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth View Post
    Didn't you say you didn't like repeating yourself at some point ?
    I hate it, and the more people force me to do it, the more it irritates me. But I can't just tell people to re-read all my posts, can I ?

  24. #74
    Regular Member Nicholas0016's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    If you look at English and German, they are frightenly identical to each other.

  25. #75
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    "If you look at English and German, they are frightenly identical to each other. "

    I dare to disagree. Just look at the language. Both are based on latin and are germanic languages. Still they are very different.

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