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Thread: Common Japanese misconceptions regarding foreigners

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Yes, among Westerners it's mostly native-speakers of Germanic languages, and especially English, that have problems with the Japanese pronuciation. All Latin languages, Finnish, Greek, etc speakers have all the Japanese sounds in their language (except the "h" for Latins, but that they can replace by a soft "f").
    I'm quite sure that the Japanese /u/ doesn't exist in Finnish as well as the /r/. I had to pay serious attention to the Japanese /r/ because it's so different - we roll our r's much more And the pronunciation of /u/ in Japanese is much closer to the Swedish /u/, so I don't think it exists in Finnish... But I could be wrong, though!
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  2. #52
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miu
    I'm quite sure that the Japanese /u/ doesn't exist in Finnish as well as the /r/. I had to pay serious attention to the Japanese /r/ because it's so different - we roll our r's much more And the pronunciation of /u/ in Japanese is much closer to the Swedish /u/, so I don't think it exists in Finnish... But I could be wrong, though!
    True, but if you pronounce Japanese r's as l's, they will understand. Just roll you l's a bit and you'll sound like a Japanese. The Japanese 'u' is between the French 'u' and 'ou'. It's true that it's not exactly the same, but the Japanese themselves sometimes pronounce it more like one or the other, depending on the word.

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  3. #53
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    Just something random to add:

    Tonight someone asked me if we have toothpicks in America.
    I've been asked the same thing heh.

    After reading this thread. Well... you know... island nation. Homogeneous population... What can you expect?
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  4. #54
    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey
    I've been asked the same thing heh.

    After reading this thread. Well... you know... island nation. Homogeneous population... What can you expect?
    That's my husband's excuse for everything. Every answer starts, "When you live on island country..."

    i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)

  5. #55
    Go to shopping PopCulturePooka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirei_na_me
    That's my husband's excuse for everything. Every answer starts, "When you live on island country..."

    Which is bollocks...
    Ask him why New Zealanders don' have the same mindset?

  6. #56
    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstHousePooka
    Which is bollocks...
    Exactly.

    Ask him why New Zealanders don' have the same mindset?
    I'm going to the next time he starts up with that...and it won't be long.

  7. #57
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstHousePooka
    Which is bollocks...
    Ask him why New Zealanders don' have the same mindset?
    Why, Austalians are not islanders ? Well Australia doesn't have any land boundaries with other countries.

    We could also add Britain, Malta, Cyprus, etc. None of these countries have the same "island mentality" as Japan (just a bot for Britain whe it comes to joining the euro, riding on the right, or stuff like that).

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Why, Austalians are not islanders ? Well Australia doesn't have any land boundaries with other countries.

    We could also add Britain, Malta, Cyprus, etc. None of these countries have the same "island mentality" as Japan (just a bot for Britain whe it comes to joining the euro, riding on the right, or stuff like that).
    Heh I used NZ for its closer geographical size.

  9. #59
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    Maciamo-san,
    I didn't post in this tread because I was offended nor defensive as a Japanese, but I simply felt that your idea is full of misconceptions. I mainly wanted to let you know it's not like what you assume to make you feel more relieved and comfortable.

    But I have not much things to say since you are so determined to your idea. But Perhaps Isn't it you who actually want to believe the idea that Japanese feel superior to others, but not us Japanese? That's what I felt from your posts.

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    Hi Suleiman58-san,
    I think the explanation in my posts is not enough because of my very limited English. So some(many?) people would misunderstand what I mean...

    Quote Originally Posted by Suleiman58
    we all confident that the life of every one of us is going to an end , is not it ??

    We must search for eternal life with happiness.

    This is a reality..... with real proof ... gloriuos evidence .........
    I'm sorry I'm not sure what you really meant. But I know that everyone judges things based on his/her experience and we are searching for happiness. So I won't deny there are racists or people who feel superiority in Japan nor your/Maciamo-sans experience. But Every country has those type of people. And I also think it's too easy to generalize a whole nation by ones experience or reading books. And it may narrow one's scope. That is my concern.

    I can understand why many non-Japanese people like here have misconceptions about our country. Because our custom/habit/our way of dealing with foreign people/launguage problem... all these things are mixed badly and makes it look like racisum. If I wasn't Japanese, I would probably have felt the same thing. That's why I would like to clear up some misunderstandings.

    Anyway, Here's some examples...

    1)foreigners are forbidden signs...
    We actually do this among Japanese. People who have tattoo are forbidden at public bathhouse, and there are stickers which says "Salespeople are forbidden." or " Hucksters are forbidden." I think this is the way we avoid troubles beforehand, In this case, it's not foreign people but the troubles that we may have(launguage/manner).

    2)Lesidential issue...
    Well, I think it would be the same reason as I mentioned above. I've heard some same stories that Japanese landlords treated foreign people the same way they did to Japanese first, but there were many troubles occurred between them so they become reluctant to lend rooms to foreigners.

    I know it's not acceptable to generalize all the foreign people like this, but knowing these reasons may also be helpful when non-Japanese people deal with us Japanese.

  11. #61
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corocoro
    1)foreigners are forbidden signs...
    We actually do this among Japanese. People who have tattoo are forbidden at public bathhouse, and there are stickers which says "Salespeople are forbidden." or " Hucksters are forbidden." I think this is the way we avoid troubles beforehand, In this case, it's not foreign people but the troubles that we may have(launguage/manner).
    People with tatooes in Japan are usually yakuza. Forbidding foreigners is equal to saying that foreigners are as bad/dangerous as yakuza. I understand perfectly what you mean.

    2)Residential issue...
    Well, I think it would be the same reason as I mentioned above. I've heard some same stories that Japanese landlords treated foreign people the same way they did to Japanese first, but there were many troubles occurred between them so they become reluctant to lend rooms to foreigners.

    I know it's not acceptable to generalize all the foreign people like this, but knowing these reasons may also be helpful when non-Japanese people deal with us Japanese.
    I am sure most landlords don't have more problems with (Japanese-speaking) Westerners than with Japanese. I went to some big real etate agencies with my wife, and they said frankly that most landlords didn't want to rent apartments to foreigners, even Westerners with a stable job and married to a Japanese, and even with as several Japanese guarantors. However, most Japanese landlords have never rent anything to foreigners (or at least Westerners). In English, this s called prejudice (=unjust behaviour formed on a preconceived opinion not based on actual facts or experience).

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    People with tatooes in Japan are usually yakuza. Forbidding foreigners is equal to saying that foreigners are as bad/dangerous as yakuza. I understand perfectly what you mean.
    Is this my English? or Are you just trying to ignore my point? I think You totally don't understand what I mean... You don't even try to understand which makes me feel a little sorry.


    I am sure most landlords don't have more problems with (Japanese-speaking) Westerners than with Japanese. I went to some big real etate agencies with my wife, and they said frankly that most landlords didn't want to rent apartments to foreigners, even Westerners with a stable job and married to a Japanese, and even with as several Japanese guarantors. However, most Japanese landlords have never rent anything to foreigners (or at least Westerners). In English, this s called prejudice (=unjust behaviour formed on a preconceived opinion not based on actual facts or experience).
    That's terrible situation you had to face with. I'm so sorry to hear these things actually happen to many foreign people in my country. I sincerely hope things like this will improve better way and non-Japanese people would be able to spend more pleasant time here.

    Gee, I am acting like Maciamo-san's stalker here! Sorry Maciamo-san.

    Have a good night!

  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by corocoro
    Gee, I am acting like Maciamo-san's stalker here!
    If you were Maciamo-san's stalker-san, Corocoro-san, I'd be his devil-san !
    Last edited by lexico; Mar 19, 2005 at 00:04.
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    H: How do you know ? You're not fish.
    Z: How do you know I don't ? You're not me.
    H: True I am not you, and I cannot know. Likewise, I know you're not, therefore I know you don't.
    Z: You asked me how I knew implying you knew I knew. In fact I saw some fish, strolling down by the Hao River, all jolly and gay.

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  14. #64
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    This report was on the radio last night. It's been said many times on this forum, and I hate to be redundant, but I thought it will clear your views a little more. I really hope they make new laws, and some drastic changes will be done against how foreigners are treated in Japan, or I don't want to go back there again.

    den4 had posted the direct link.
    Last edited by misa.j; Mar 19, 2005 at 08:06.

  15. #65
    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corocoro
    Is this my English? or Are you just trying to ignore my point? I think You totally don't understand what I mean... You don't even try to understand which makes me feel a little sorry.
    I think he, and everyone else, understands what you're saying. I believe the point he's trying to make is that it's just not fair.

    Sounds like my husband. Just because he can explain something, it doesn't mean he's right.

    I also think that everyone understands that you can't change it. Things like this won't change overnight.

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by misa.j
    This report was on the radio last night. It's been said many times on this forum, and I hate to be redundant, but I thought it will clear your views a little more. I really hope they make new laws, and some drastic changes will be done against how foreigners are treated in Japan, or I don't want to go back there again.

    http://theworld.org/
    Click on the title:It's not easy being foreign in Japan.

    I just put the same story on another thread... LOL
    but here is the direct download link:
    http://www.theworld.org/content/03174.wma
    the dailies keep getting changed, and people may have a hard time finding it again....
    I know nothing...except the answer is 42. You know more than I do.

  17. #67
    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    It won't play for me?

  18. #68
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link, den4. Yeah, I kind of had a feeling the site would have totally different reports everyday, and that particular one would get lost.

    I got the error message when I tried to attach the direct link, that said it was too big.

    kirei, I hope it works for you because it's an interesting report.

  19. #69
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    I listened to the very interesting broadcast (alarming, to be honest!). I also downloaded it, so if you want one, I can mail it to you. But somebody needs to tell me how I can attach it to my PM's, or where the directions are.

  20. #70
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    I have added an important misconception to the list : Japanese used to be farmers, while Europeans used to be hunters

  21. #71
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    "Chinese and English are similar" that's the strangest thing I've ever heard. But then, most Westerns believe that Chinese and Japanese are very similar. When in fact, coming from someone who's studied both Chinese and Japanese, they're very different languages. However, it would probably make more sense for Chinese and Japanese to sound more similar than English and Chinese.
    "Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."
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  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie
    "Chinese and English are similar" that's the strangest thing I've ever heard.
    I may not have been the first to say it, but I do believe that Chinese & English share many interesting features. Please see this thread Write English in Kanji, post #13.

  23. #73
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    Chinese and Japanese are probably about as similar as English and French or something. But I don't know any Chinese or French, so what do I know?
    For information on the pros and cons of teaching at Nova English schools in Japan, check out

  24. #74
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    What are some common Japanese misconceptions of people who look Indian (from India)? Just curious, since most of the talk seems to be how Japanese view white people.

  25. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo

    I am sure most landlords don't have more problems with (Japanese-speaking) Westerners than with Japanese. I went to some big real etate agencies with my wife, and they said frankly that most landlords didn't want to rent apartments to foreigners, even Westerners with a stable job and married to a Japanese, and even with as several Japanese guarantors. However, most Japanese landlords have never rent anything to foreigners (or at least Westerners). In English, this s called prejudice (=unjust behaviour formed on a preconceived opinion not based on actual facts or experience).

    You're right! It is unfair. Maybe it is about time that Japan passes fair housing laws like we have in the U.S.

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