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

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Exclamation PG-rated : 40 reasons to think that the Japanese are superficial

    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.).

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  2. #2
    Tadaima! okaeri_man's Avatar
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    actually theres a lot of truth in all that...

    i like how you started with "their favourite topic of conversation is food". lol. i'll probably reply again tomorrow; this thread is really 40 threads in 1!
    "The people who vote decide nothing. The people who count the vote decide everything." - Stalin

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    JREF Resident Alien Pachipro's Avatar
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    I cannot debate you on any point you have listed. You said it all! It is all true!
    Do What You Love And You'll Never Work Another Day In Your Life!


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    Resident Latina silver angel's Avatar
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    I just learned a lot. It's odd though, sometimes people automatically assume that Japanese are highly into technology, but I guess not...
    if strawberries were people....
    I'd still eat them.

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    もうすぐ卒業するんだ! ragedaddy's Avatar
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    - 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
    Yeah, talk about annoying when going to Uniqlo and you will hear "Irashaimasse" and "Go Yuukuri Douzo", at least 2 times a minute. Sometimes I seriously wanted to say, I heard you the first time so zip it, but to rectify the annoying voices, I put on my head phones. That way I didn't have to listen to the constant greetings, because after a while this can drive a sane person nuts.....!
    ビール。。。Its what's for dinner......

  6. #6
    遠いから行きません GaijinPunch's Avatar
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    I'll throw out my two yen based on 7 years of research.

    - their favourite topic of conversation is food
    well... when that's all that's on TV, can you blame them?

    - when travelling abroad, they care little about the local culture except food
    I'd completely disagree here. When my wife and I go anywhere, even a city where we have friends live, she will spend almost no time with them, and about 90% of her time doing touristy crap... almost none of it food. Also after living in Hawaii, I see hundreds of Japanese monthly getting their pictures taken in front of the statue of the old King, which is miles from Waikiki mind you.

    - when they do not talk about food, they talk about money or sex
    This one is news to me. I think the fact that most Japanese are part of the seniority based system, there's not much mystery as to who makes what, thus not as taboo to talk about. About the sex thing... if you're talking about men... well.. .what do you think American men talk about?

    - The proverbs "money doesn't buy happiness/love" or "don't judge a book by its cover" have no significance in Japan
    I hate to admit it, but I think the money one is kind of misleading. It doesn't buy happiness, but it definitely makes many aspects of life a lot easier.

    - 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.
    This is very true. I was in a wreck w/o a license. The police man called his chief to ask what to do. He said, "I think he's okay. He looks like he makes money!". My jaw dropped.

    - they think an opuent and expensive wedding is necessary for appearances' sake (even if that is way above their means)
    Americans share this obsession I'm afraid.

    - 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
    How do you think English came about? Japanese are just late to the game.

    - 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.
    You should be thankful for this one though --- means it's easier to learn, yeah?

    - they can't debate and dislike serious intellectual discussions (probably due to the language issues mentioned above)
    Believe me, they can -- they just don't... at least not when you're around. I used to share these thoughts, but eventually learned I was wrong. Their langauge is FULLY capable of conveying such meanings... most foreigners learning it, however, are not.

    - 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
    Again... is this unique to Japan? No way! In fact, America is 1000x worse! When I left the states for Japan, the X-Files & Seinfeld were at the top of the ratings. Both fiction, but you still at least had to think to some extent. Now it's American Idol and reality shows about fat people.

    - 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.")
    Do you have Japanese girlfriend? When will you get married?, etc.

    - they tend of lack sexual morals and don't mind cheating "as long as their partner doesn't know"
    Yeah, but in my stint, the 4 worst people I knew about this, two of whom screwed around on their wives were western (1 british, 3 American). Don't get me wrong, the Japanese guys were dogs too, but not on a regular basis.

    - they have a computer but don't know much how to use even quite simple functions, due to a lack of interest for technology
    Same on this side of the pond. How do you think IT get such good jobs all around the world?

    - they throw away a dysfunctuning electronic equipment (e.g. computer) or machine, rather than try to repair it
    My theory on this is that it would actually cost to much money getting it to the repair shop. Not everyone has a car... I never did. If I had to pay 3000-4000 yen each way to take a TV in a taxi to the repair shop... well... I'm 8000 yen into a new TV. Throw in the repair bill, maybe 28,000... for an OLD TV? I'd spend the extra 10,000 and get a new one too.

    - 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)
    Guilty as charged. If you work 60+ hours a week, your time generally becomes extremely expensive. If it were between 20,000 yen or 3-4 (maybe a lot more) hours of me fumbling through a DIY book + the time it takes to buy the parts + the money it takes to buy the parts, I'd take the 20,000 yen any day, and go hang out in the park.

    - manga, porn and fashion magazines account for over 90% of convenience stores' literature.
    What about convenience store literature in other countries? I can't imagine a gas station with nothing but business magazines.

    - there are virtually no magazines that test and rate products such as electronics,
    www.kakaku.com I've never seen an English mag either though -- but why bother when you have the net?

    - politicians are corrupted and inefficient beyond redemption, because they only care about themselves, and not the nation's welfare.
    Uh... no comment (should be obvious).

    Just a hunch, but I think the better your Japanese gets, and the longer you live there (and of course, the more Japanese people you meet) your views will start skewing a bit more to the "Japan isn't as extreme as it comes off". Happened w/ me.

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    Most of these things are exactly the same in America, at least for most of the population. People are only interested in money, sex, clothes, cars, food. People don't care about politics, et cetera. Guys spend lots of money at strip clubs (every guy I know has at least been to one, some have dropped hundreds of dollars at a time). Americans are cheating, lying, shallow people. Or maybe it's just that I live in Los Angeles.

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    I jump to conclusions mad pierrot's Avatar
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    - 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
    I almost spit out the milk I was drinking when I read this.

    Very true, and very funny!


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    焼肉わが家が一番!! Suki-Yaki's Avatar
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    hmmm ... I find it rather sad , that only three months for me here , and I'm already noticing much of what you said ......

    By I still can't understand your point of " They don't like technology" the technological Japan could not have come from nowhere , right ??

    And , is it true that Japanese kids don't study as much as Europeans at schools ?? I heard Japanese exams are one of the most difficult around the world. A difficult exam takes lots of information .... ??

    Just for my information , how do you know Japanese people don't mind cheating on their partner , please , elaborate of how you came to this point ??

  10. #10
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mad pierrot
    I almost spit out the milk I was drinking when I read this.

    Very true, and very funny!

    Hontou ? I feel more bored than humoured, the same point(s) has or have been made and argued so many gazillions of times in so many threads already....But just to recap, looking through any kanji dictionary clarifies that there is no inherant deficiency in vocabularly, the total number of words, particularly compounds and probably all adjectives I would guess is much greater than in English. (うっとり and ややこしい for instance are more advanced but still fairly common, although I may use the latter more regularly than a native speaker).

    The quantity used in daily conversation may be less given the deeply held values of the people which dictate interacting positively with the people around rather than showing how smart you are or playing some sort of intellectual game. Sorry this is such an obvious point....and not that the people should be faulted for any 'deficiencies' in their language.
    Finally, what precisely have you been wanting to say but have been unable to, Maciamo ?

  11. #11
    I jump to conclusions mad pierrot's Avatar
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    The quantity used in daily conversation may be less given the deeply held values of the people which dictate interacting positively with the people around rather than showing how smart you are or playing some sort of intellectual game. Sorry this is such an obvious point....and not that the people should be faulted for any 'deficiencies' in their language.
    Whoah. I'm sorry if in anyway I gave the impression that Japanese people are inferior in some kind of intellectual game...



    Not too long ago I was watching some TV with some Japanese friends and marveling how many times they said "kawaii" in the span of about 5 minutes. My own girlfriend has laughed at the fact of how often she uses that word. Then I logged onto Jref and read Maciamo's post. I thought it was funny. Where's the harm? I guess should be clear on all the details of why I found it funny.


  12. #12
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaijinPunch
    I'd completely disagree here. When my wife and I go anywhere, even a city where we have friends live, she will spend almost no time with them, and about 90% of her time doing touristy crap... almost none of it food. Also after living in Hawaii, I see hundreds of Japanese monthly getting their pictures taken in front of the statue of the old King, which is miles from Waikiki mind you.
    I think we just have very different ideas of what the word "culture" means. What I meant is that they don't learn about the country's history, mentality, society, arts, religion, customs, or any other interesting you'd find on a site like JREF about Japan or a Lonely PLanet guidebook or even better a 'Blue Guide'. I know they don't because I checked all the popular guidebooks my wife bought when we were travelling (chikyu no arukikata, etc.), and double-checked my local Maruzen and BookFirst bookshops and Japanese guidebooks have like 30 pages about food in introduction (+ pictures of food in the actual travel section) and almost nothing about the 'culture' I mentioned above. That is why I wrote to Lonely Planet to explain the situation and urge them to translate their books into Japanese. About one year later, the first LP in Japanese was published. Don't know if I influenced that or not, but anyway there was a lack on the market.

    About the sex thing... if you're talking about men... well.. .what do you think American men talk about?
    To tell you frankly, I don't know. But I never talk sex with any other men. What's the point ? And what can you actually want to say about it ?

    I hate to admit it, but I think the money one is kind of misleading. It doesn't buy happiness, but it definitely makes many aspects of life a lot easier.
    Yes, but that is not the point. Many Japanese think that money is happiness. It's a purpose in itself for them, not a means. When I ask them about their dream, it's always about being rich. When I asked dozens of them what happiness meant for them, the answer was always "having a lot of money" (or things that could be bought with money). No a single one mentioned love, raise one's children, self-improvement, learning, artistic accomplishment, being able to do something very well (eg playing an instrument or speaking a foreign language). With all the Japanese I have met, it was always limited to money and material possessions.

    How do you think English came about? Japanese are just late to the game.
    Good point actually. But the grammar and pronuciation of English also improved considerably with time.

    Believe me, they can -- they just don't... at least not when you're around. I used to share these thoughts, but eventually learned I was wrong. Their langauge is FULLY capable of conveying such meanings... most foreigners learning it, however, are not.
    I think they are not good at it because they don't like disagreeing. Avoiding conflicts (and therefore arguments) is deeply rooted in the culture. I didn't say they were better at debating in English, even those with very advanced English skills.

    Again... is this unique to Japan? No way! In fact, America is 1000x worse! When I left the states for Japan, the X-Files & Seinfeld were at the top of the ratings. Both fiction, but you still at least had to think to some extent. Now it's American Idol and reality shows about fat people.
    Sorry, I failed to mention that superficiality is partly shared by a sizeable portion of the American population. But again my point is not that such programmes exist (as they do everywhere), but that they make up a much bigger percentage of the total broadcasting time than on European channels. What is more, the US has hundreds of TV channels, so it's always possible to find some more intellectual stuff on History Channel, Discovery Channel, etc. In Japan, such channels do exist, but only because they are those American channels (and nothing else that I know of, without satelite).

    I think it is easier to compare Japan with some European countries, because the number of channels available is more similar, and because of tax-financed channels like NHK, BBC, or their equivalent in other countries. The worst TV programmes in Europe, at the same level as Japanese TV, are the Italian ones. At the extreme opposite, once again, is the UK, with more documentaries, political debate, social analysis, etc. than one could wish for.

    Same on this side of the pond. How do you think IT get such good jobs all around the world?
    That's unusual where I come from. What I meant is that there are people who can't even use the control panel of Windows or don't know how to use MS Word. There is no need to take any lesson for that. If you don't know everything is explained in the help (although I never use it as I am pretty intuitive, but I understand that no everybody is good with computers). I was shocked to see the number of "Pasokon school" that tought how to use Excel or Word, the how popular it was. I browsed job ads on Japanese sites that had options for being able to use Windows (and they even specified the version) or Word in the "qualification" section. But who can't ? Are they going to ask whether they can read and write too, or if they are able to use an alarm clock to get up the morning, or if they know how to take the train to the office ?

    My theory on this is that it would actually cost to much money getting it to the repair shop. Not everyone has a car... I never did. If I had to pay 3000-4000 yen each way to take a TV in a taxi to the repair shop... well... I'm 8000 yen into a new TV. Throw in the repair bill, maybe 28,000... for an OLD TV? I'd spend the extra 10,000 and get a new one too.
    I didn't say that they should take it back to the shop. I know many Japanese that buy a new computer because theirs is "too slow" or because their HD is full. When I asked whether they had tried to uninstall some programmes, defrag the disk, install a RAM booster or even buy more RAM or a new CPU, they had no idea of what any of these things were. And I am not even talking about the old grandma that don't know what a PC is, but (young) business people who use computer everyday at work. Rather than even wonder at how to solve the problem, or make a quick internet search, they just throw it away and buy a new one (and it should be a brand like NEC, Sony or Fujitsu, because brand is status - but only when not combined with stupidity).

    Guilty as charged. If you work 60+ hours a week, your time generally becomes extremely expensive. If it were between 20,000 yen or 3-4 (maybe a lot more) hours of me fumbling through a DIY book + the time it takes to buy the parts + the money it takes to buy the parts, I'd take the 20,000 yen any day, and go hang out in the park.
    I know very few people who work 60h/week. 9 to 5 (or 6 or 7) jobs are still the most common in Japan. That is true for 90% of the people I know, and they are almost all salarymen and OL working in central Tokyo (Nihombashi, Otemachi or Marunouchi for most).

    What about convenience store literature in other countries? I can't imagine a gas station with nothing but business magazines.
    I went back home the 2 first weeks of January, I was surprised to see that any newsagent (even in train stations or at the airport) had such a variety of magazines (you know like the Japanese magazines you find at Maruzen or other bookshops), with all kinds of things like cars, history, travel, sports, cooking, gardenning, classical music, pop music, cinema, fashion, health, beauty, electronics, investment, real estate, archeology, celebrities, games, comics, porn, computers, TV programmes, news, economy, and always foreign magazines too. I have never seen a Japanese combini having even a third of this variety. But again, I am not sure about the US.

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    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mad pierrot
    Whoah. I'm sorry if in anyway I gave the impression that Japanese people are inferior in some kind of intellectual game...



    Not too long ago I was watching some TV with some Japanese friends and marveling how many times they said "kawaii" in the span of about 5 minutes. My own girlfriend has laughed at the fact of how often she uses that word. Then I logged onto Jref and read Maciamo's post. I thought it was funny. Where's the harm? I guess should be clear on all the details of why I found it funny.

    Ashikarazu.... I've been in similar predicaments talking with Japanese men embarrassed in front of a foreigner by how many times their wives friends revert to "kawaii" or "sugoii." I think the people as a whole value intellectual competence and personal dignity much more than Americans....it's just a much more complicated situation than Maciamo made out in his original post....I honestly didn't intend to lash out at anyone in particular.

  14. #14
    I jump to conclusions mad pierrot's Avatar
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    No worries! I do in fact agree with you.

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    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cryptnotic
    Most of these things are exactly the same in America, at least for most of the population. People are only interested in money, sex, clothes, cars, food. People don't care about politics, et cetera.
    I don't think so. The US is so diverse, so big, and with such a variety of people from all backgrounds, ethnicities, beliefs and interests, that what you mention is certainly more based on your personal experience (I am sure that other Amereican members have a completely different story). There is already such a big difference in life style depending on the social class (not everyone is a millionaire or a Hollywood star), and whether people live in big coastal cities or the deep country. But Japan is easy as it is very homogenous (especially the education, mindset and values), and people even ask foreigners the exact same questions whether they come from Fukuoka, Wakayama, Tokyo or Akita. So the US is never a good benchmark for any cultural comparison.

    Guys spend lots of money at strip clubs (every guy I know has at least been to one, some have dropped hundreds of dollars at a time). Americans are cheating, lying, shallow people.
    Wow. In Europe, I'd say (I am a specialist on the matter) that stripclubs are mostly limited to Soho in London and Pigalle in Paris. I don't know what people find so fun there (except if they can't find a real girlfriend), and I also don't know anybody who has been to one (or admitted it). But while watching the esxellent American series "Friends" (all 10 seasons), I realised that going to stripclubs was much more normal in the States (and not just for Joey) than in Europe.

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    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth
    Ashikarazu.... I've been in similar predicaments talking with Japanese men embarrassed in front of a foreigner by how many times their wives friends revert to "kawaii" or "sugoii." I think the people as a whole value intellectual competence and personal dignity much more than Americans....it's just a much more complicated situation than Maciamo made out in his original post....I honestly didn't intend to lash out at anyone in particular.
    I couldn't count the number of times my husband has walked away from a conversation, shaking his head and mumbling "stupid", after the Japanese people he was talking to had shrieked those expressions time and time again. Of course, he's been known to be just as superficial.

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    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cryptnotic
    Americans are cheating, lying, shallow people. Or maybe it's just that I live in Los Angeles.
    Well, there are those kinds of people everywhere, but yeah, I would say living in LA has a lot to do with that opinion.

  18. #18
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suki-Yaki
    By I still can't understand your point of " They don't like technology" the technological Japan could not have come from nowhere , right ??
    I remember Elizabeth telling me something in the same lines, but on a much less friendly tone. The point is that Japan is first and foremost a commercial and practical country (two of its strongest characteristic), and electronics sell well, especially in Japan where there is a high demand for everything that helps make your life more practical or convenient. So the technology (esp. electronics) market is born out of necessity, and out of a liking for practical things. Of course I don't deny that some Japanese who invented or developed such products may be very interested in and talented at technology, but they are just a minority.

    And , is it true that Japanese kids don't study as much as Europeans at schools ?? I heard Japanese exams are one of the most difficult around the world. A difficult exam takes lots of information .... ??
    Ooh yes. I will never repeat that enough. I have studied in 5 EU countries in total, from primary school to university, and I can tell you that there is a world of difference compared to what I have seen taught (and tested) in Japan.

    Just for my information , how do you know Japanese people don't mind cheating on their partner , please , elaborate of how you came to this point ??
    For men it's just common knowledge. The sex industry in Japan is one of the most developed in the world, and soaplands, massage parlours, voluntary teenage prositution (known as 'enjo kosai'), etc. are mostly frequented by (middle aged or old) married men.

    As for women, well, just have a look at all the women working for the above men, and count how many have a boyfriend or are married.

    But I have also read many studies and surveys about it (in addition to stories heard from Japanese I met). This thread says a lot

  19. #19
    もうすぐ卒業するんだ! ragedaddy's Avatar
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    - when travelling abroad, they care little about the local culture except food
    At least the Japanese have an interest in the foods of these places, not only does the typical American not care about the culture, you can see a bunch of them trying to find the nearest Mc Donalds. They also expect everyone they come in contact with to be able to speak English.


    - they have casual sex with several partners without protection and don't worry about STD's
    Is this not a worldwide phenomenon, turn on the TV in the US, and you can see "Hi, I'm pregnant at 13 yrs old," as a theme.

    - when they do not talk about food, they talk about money or sex
    If you are talking about Americans the ranking of subjects for conversation goes Sex, money, TV/ Movies, Alcohol/drugs A.K.A. partying....



    - they tend of lack sexual morals and don't mind cheating "as long as their partner doesn't know"
    There's many Westerners who really don't have any remorse for cheating even when their partner knows about it and confronts them.

  20. #20
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragedaddy
    At least the Japanese have an interest in the foods of these places, not only does the typical American not care about the culture, you can see a bunch of them trying to find the nearest Mc Donalds. They also expect everyone they come in contact with to be able to speak English.
    Americans are rarely praised as the respectful, culturally motivated traveller.

    Is this not a worldwide phenomenon, turn on the TV in the US, and you can see "Hi, I'm pregnant at 13 yrs old," as a theme.
    Err, no sorry, but where I come from this is extremely rare, like one person out of 10,000. I'd call them extreme cases...

    If you are talking about Americans the ranking of subjects for conversation goes Sex, money, TV/ Movies, Alcohol/drugs A.K.A. partying....
    Money apart, does that count for Harvard graduates too ? Is it what comes up before Bible talk at the White House ? Is it the general idea most scientists would have of a "interesting conversation", would that motivate Wall Street business people to burn themselves out ? I mean, there is still a part of the American population that are not rednecks or LA surfers right ? And they have more to discuss than food, sex and money. But what do Japanese businessmen and politicians do after work ? They mostly go drinking in hostess bars to talk about sex, food or money. What do they do when they have free time ? Porn, soaplands, eat, talk about food or watch people on TV talk about food or money (or marriage and infidelity sometimes).

    There's many Westerners who really don't have any remorse for cheating even when their partner knows about it and confronts them.
    For many I think so, because remorse is part of the Judeo-Christian mentality, even for those who do not follow these religions. The Japanese just don't have in mind the conept of "evil" as something that you could be judged for by an omniscient power (that some call god). I don't believe in god, but I still feel a strong sense of morality. I wouldn't mind too much promiscuity if there weren't any STD's. But Japanese are too naive on this regard. This is one sense is immoral (as they could kill people with their naive recklessness).

  21. #21
    天才じゃん! blade_bltz's Avatar
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    Ragedaddy - I'm sorry you feel that way about America, but in my experience (all my life in Boston), this country has the diversity and thus the potential to be anything you want it to be.

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    もうすぐ卒業するんだ! ragedaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blade_bltz
    Ragedaddy - I'm sorry you feel that way about America, but in my experience (all my life in Boston), this country has the diversity and thus the potential to be anything you want it to be.

    Hmm, don't get it twisted; I think maybe I should elaborate more on this topic, because I have nothing but love for the US. The whole point of my arguments is that you could make these generalizations about many different places in the world, like it or not.

    For the American conversation topics, I was getting more at when the boys are out with the boys; I mean of course there are intellectual conversations that take place. However, when you guys are at a bar full of hotties, I think the last thing on your mind is discussing how the economy is holding up. Don't get me wrong, man you can have an intellectual conversation anywhere in the world even without having a college degree. Man, we have enough intellectual conversations in school, when it's the weekend all that's on my mind is party.....

    As for the teenage pregnancy here in the US, it has been quite an epidemic. However, it is gradually improving, so there is hope for the youth.

    Blade, I have lived here for the majority of my life as well, and I think that diversity is a wonderful thing. There isn't another place I rather be living, so yeah I hope this clears all this stuff up.

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    I think the domination of different languages in different times has been quite connected to economic domination. The esperanto movement never could buy any guns.

  24. #24
    Tadaima! okaeri_man's Avatar
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    i found myself nodding to most of the things mentioned, but here's my 2 cents on a few of them:

    - when travelling abroad, they care little about the local culture except food
    perhaps not, but BEFORE they travel abroad they talk about the food (see point 1!).

    - 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.")
    lol, this is very true. isn't it common knowledge that their are 4 seasons (in all places on earth)? or do they just think the seasons in japan are more clear-cut than any other country, and therefore foreigners haven't really "experienced" the changing of the seasons?

    - manga, porn and fashion magazines account for over 90% of convenience stores' literature.
    nothing wrong with that! who wants "other" magazines when you rightly stated:

    - 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 !)
    this did tick me off a bit. the japanese makers/sellers are criticised overseas (in say a gaming mag) all the time. i remember the doraemon games for N64 got given less than 2 out of 10 by australian reviewers!

    - politicians are corrupted and inefficient beyond redemption, because they only care about themselves, and not the nation's welfare.
    umm, isn't this the same everywhere???

    - 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.).
    yeah... not that theres anything wrong with this... but it gives many the idea that racism/discrimination is ok.

  25. #25
    天才じゃん! blade_bltz's Avatar
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    Ragedaddy - thanks for clearing that up! I was too quick to overreact...

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