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View Poll Results: Multiple poll (min. 5 answers, choose any that apply) - Please read carefully !

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  • 1.1 Housing : I have been refused accommodation because I was a foreigner

    25 40.32%
  • 1.2 Housing : My company provides my accommodation (so no problem)

    9 14.52%
  • 1.3 Housing : I have only stayed at gaijin houses, hotels or friends' houses

    9 14.52%
  • 1.4 Housing : I have lived in Japan for many years, rented my housing via a estate agent, and never had any problem

    4 6.45%
  • 1.5 Housing : I have only stayed in Japan for two years or less, rented my housing via a estate agent, but never had any problem

    9 14.52%
  • 2.1 Tourism : I have been refused entry to a hotel, guesthouse or weekly mansion because I was a foreigner

    6 9.68%
  • 2.2 Tourism : I have stayed a few times in hotels, guesthouses and/or weekly mansions and have never been refused entry

    19 30.65%
  • 2.3 Tourism : I have stayed numerous times in hotels, guesthouses and/or weekly mansions and have never been refused entry

    25 40.32%
  • 3.1 Entertainment : I have been refused entry to at least one restaurant, bar, nightclub, onsen or public bath because I was a foreigner

    16 25.81%
  • 3.2 Entertainment : I have been a few times to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, onsen or public baths, and was never refused entry

    15 24.19%
  • 3.3 Entertainment : I have been a hundreds of times to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, onsen or public baths, and was never refused entry

    22 35.48%
  • 4.1 Police : I have been stopped and asked for an ID (passport/alien registration) by the police for no reason

    12 19.35%
  • 4.2 Police : I have been stopped while riding a bicycle and had my bike registration checked during day time for no reason

    3 4.84%
  • 4.3 Police : I have been stopped while riding a bicycle and had my bike registration checked during night time for no reason

    4 6.45%
  • 4.4 Police : I have been mistakenly arrested (taken to the police station)

    1 1.61%
  • 4.5 Police : I have had other discriminatory problems with the police

    4 6.45%
  • 4.6 Police : I have stayed for many years in Japan and have never been checked or annoyed by the police in Japan

    15 24.19%
  • 4.7 Police : I have stayed less than 2 years in Japan and have never been checked or annoyed by the police in Japan

    24 38.71%
  • 5.1 Sexual Discrimination : I have experienced sexual harassment in Japan

    7 11.29%
  • 5.2 Sexual Discrimination : I have experienced sexual discrimination regarding promotion, salary or opportunity

    4 6.45%
  • 5.3 Sexual Discrimination : I am not a woman or have never worked in a Japanese company

    39 62.90%
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Thread: Have you encountered discrimination or prejudices in Japan ?

  1. #26
    Regular Member MeAndroo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirstHousePooka
    I heard that foreigners got banned from a few BLDY's around the Atsugi, Hon Atsugi and MAchida area (Odakyu line) because one group one time drank to much on the cheap ALL YOU CAN DRINK spirits bar.
    Now that would be an outright travesty. BLDY had two outposts at Takadanobaba, the nearest major stop on my way to Waseda, and I definitely used my frequent customer card to the fullest.
    Go Trojans! Fight On!

  2. #27
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeAndroo
    A half white, half black friend of mine had a guy come up to her and say repeatedly "brajiru? brajiru?" I mean, I know there's a fair amount of Japanese in Brazil, but is that really the default?
    In some places up here in Gunma, it's the default. Seriously.

    I used to live in Oizumi (Gunma) before very many showed up. That was quite some time ago and just here and there in a few places you could see a couple of tiny shops operated by South Americans and/or catering to them. You go there now and you'd swear you were in a Brazilian city with here and there a few shops operated by Japanese and catering to them.

    When I answered "Portuguese" because it would be useful in Japan in the thread about what other language I wish I had learned....I wasn't joking.

  3. #28
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    Where I live, too, being Brazilian is basically the default. What with all the Toyota group factories and all.

    I have encountered much of what has been mentioned here, but I fully expect it, and I have from the beginning. I mean, being a foreigner in Japan makes me a minority from the start. Being a minority ANYWHERE puts you in a disadvantage.

    Being able to speak Japanese to a degree, I find that much more than discrimination, I encounter a certain "differentiation" if that's an acceptable use of the word. For example, just yesterday I was talking with some friends from a local volunteer group. One man was older than I am and the other was younger. The older man is not racist, anti-foreigner, or anything like that. BUT, during serious topics, he almost never looked at nor addressed me, and when I put my 2 cents in, it was quickly brushed aside. However, during non-serious topics, he put me in the center of the conversation.

    At stores, I sometimes find that the clerks won't talk directly to me even if I ask a question, like Maciamo. I hate that.

    I find that if I talk about anything other than English and other countries, I have a hard time being taken seriously unless I really work at it.

    I find that you have to know much more about topics than the locals for your opinion to be heard.

    And once you show any sign of "weakness", it takes a long time to regain your standing.

    But having said this, I have had many many positive experiences here, too.

    I never had a single problem of discrimination or "differentiation" when I was the salary man at the wedding company from my co-workers. Never. (At least not after the first day, when some most people were concerned whether I could really speak Japanese or not.) Like Mike Cash, I, too, was hired in spite of my being a foreigner.

    Nor, might I add at any other job I've had here. Customers are a different story, however...

    Maybe I expect discrimination too much, but I was SHOCKED (in a good way), when I first went to a capsle hotel in Hiroshima and some guy started talking to me out of the blue about his laundry he was doing. I mean, he was talking to me completely naturally. Actually, I had(have) it stuck in my mind that capsle hotels are very anti-foreigners, but I've had better experiences there in general than at regular hotels.

    I could go on. But I'll spare you.

  4. #29
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikawa Ossan
    I have encountered much of what has been mentioned here, but I fully expect it, and I have from the beginning. I mean, being a foreigner in Japan makes me a minority from the start. Being a minority ANYWHERE puts you in a disadvantage.
    I didn't expect it, because I have lived in such countries as Spain or Italy where I was almost as clearly a foreigner as in Japan, and was never treated much differently from the locals (actually yes, in Madrid they tried to cheat me several times on the restaurant bill thinking I was just an unwary tourist - but they have learnt not to mess with me on that).

    I can't really complain about not being taken seriously by the Japanese, as it is usually the reverse that happens. I am fed up of their lack of interest and knowledge for serious subjects, and they usually listen to me as if I was an expert (maybe because most of these discussions happen while I am in the position of teacher ). Difficult to have a level-field conversation in which there is a real exchange of opinions (not just polite nodding and "eeeh !"), except with the rare true intellectuals.

    At stores, I sometimes find that the clerks won't talk directly to me even if I ask a question, like Maciamo. I hate that.
    Still happened to me 10min ago. I was with my wife and paid for her stuff. The guy at the combini hesitated giving the change back to me or to my wife and was looking at her for tips, as if he had no idea that if the banknote came out of the wallet that came out of my pocket, the change had to return to me too ! It's almost always like that in combinis !

    Maybe I expect discrimination too much, but I was SHOCKED (in a good way), when I first went to a capsle hotel in Hiroshima and some guy started talking to me out of the blue about his laundry he was doing. I mean, he was talking to me completely naturally. Actually, I had(have) it stuck in my mind that capsle hotels are very anti-foreigners, but I've had better experiences there in general than at regular hotels.
    This mostly happened to me when the guy could speak English and addressed me in English as if I looked like an English-speaker. Sometimes I just want to talk to them back in French or any other language to make them think a bit, but I usually just reply in Japanese because I know the conversation won't go very far in English.

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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I didn't expect it, because I have lived in such countries as Spain or Italy where I was almost as clearly a foreigner as in Japan, and was never treated much differently from the locals
    I came from the USA originally, and as you well know, they have many issues with minorities there. I have always thought of it as a cruel but unyielding fact that minorities face many obstacles that a non-minority has a hard time understanding.
    Interestingly enough, I have a Japanese friend who moved to Italy, but finally moved back to Japan because, as she said, "No matter how long I lived there, they never accepted me as one of them." I don't know exactly what she meant, but I assumed it was exactly what this thread is discussing here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I am fed up of their lack of interest and knowledge for serious subjects.
    I know many people who like to talk about serious subjects, but I should clarify. When I talk to co-workers, I never have this problem. When I talk to fellow volunteer members, I do. It really depends on who I'm talking too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    This mostly happened to me when the guy could speak English and addressed me in English as if I looked like an English-speaker.
    But you see, the guy spoke to me in JAPANESE without skipping a beat. That's what was so shocking! I was really flattered, actually. It was like the guy didn't even notice I was a foreigner!

    On a slightly different note, has a Japanese person ever come up to you at say the train station and asked you for help buying the right ticket? It happened to me once by a little old lady. I don't think she could see so well...

  6. #31
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikawa Ossan
    But you see, the guy spoke to me in JAPANESE without skipping a beat. That's what was so shocking! I was really flattered, actually. It was like the guy didn't even notice I was a foreigner!
    I understood. I wanted to point out that it NEVER happened to me. You were "lucky" if I may say so.

    On a slightly different note, has a Japanese person ever come up to you at say the train station and asked you for help buying the right ticket? It happened to me once by a little old lady. I don't think she could see so well...
    I have seen many times someone asking their way in the street to other Japanese. Often the person had to ask quite a few people as they didn't know the area well. I was standing next to them (waiting at the pedestrian crossing) but the lost guy always ignore me and try to walk further away to find another Japanese to ask. Everytime I knew exactly where the place was and could have explained it very clearly in Japanese. But as the lost person didn't care to ask me at all, I thought to myself that I was not going to help such a jerk who probably presume I am lost (never ever assume I don't know exactly where I am anywhere in the world - it's instinctive) or cannot speak Japanese. Too bad for them. Once, a guy was going to ask me, but as I turned and he saw that I was a Westerner, he abruptly stop talking and walked away without a word. Typical Japanese reaction when they see a Westerner. Very lame if you ask me !

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I understood. I wanted to point out that it NEVER happened to me. You were "lucky" if I may say so.
    Sorry. I misunderstood.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Once, a guy was going to ask me, but as I turned and he saw that I was a Westerner, he abruptly stop talking and walked away without a word. me !
    Yeah, when I worked at the hotel, I remember some customer who just wouldn't listen to my directions, even though it was to a place right next to where I live.
    Another time, a different customer just couldn't seem to understand my directions. Then a Japanese staff told the SAME DIRECTIONS in the SAME WORDS and the customer magically understood. Not a happy feeling!

    I should mention that I am not asian, but I am very thin, so maybe I'm somewhat less intimidating(?) than some other foreigners.(?)

  8. #33
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikawa Ossan
    I should mention that I am not asian, but I am very thin, so maybe I'm somewhat less intimidating(?) than some other foreigners.(?)
    I am not very fat either. 75kg for 1m90. But that is not it, why would someone behind me ask me for directions, then suddenly go away without a word or even a "sumimassen" when they see I am not Japanese ? That time there was nobody else immediately around, except the first guy he asked who didn't have a clue. Well, that's his choice (but I don't want to hear some Japanese tell me about the strength of the samurai spirit in every Japanese salaymen - more coward you die !).

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    But that is not it, why would someone behind me ask me for directions, then suddenly go away without a word or even a "sumimassen" when they see I am not Japanese ?
    I don't know. I really don't understand it at all. I mean, my ancesters are all from northern Europe, and once I was in Seoul (this is S. Korea mind you) and some guy asked me for directions IN JAPANESE even though I was certainly not speaking Japanese with my American friends I was with at the time. I was flabergasted. I really don't understand how people decide such things.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    But that is not it, why would someone behind me ask me for directions, then suddenly go away without a word or even a "sumimassen" when they see I am not Japanese ? That time there was nobody else immediately around, except the first guy he asked who didn't have a clue. Well, that's his choice (but I don't want to hear some Japanese tell me about the strength of the samurai spirit in every Japanese salaymen - more coward you die !).
    Let him/her lost his/her way, and you don't have to exaggerate things...

    A small yellow card for your exaggeration.
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  11. #36
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikawa Ossan
    I don't know. I really don't understand it at all. I mean, my ancesters are all from northern Europe, and once I was in Seoul (this is S. Korea mind you) and some guy asked me for directions IN JAPANESE even though I was certainly not speaking Japanese with my American friends I was with at the time. I was flabergasted. I really don't understand how people decide such things.
    Now that's interesting ! You are the second person to say that today.
    Kara_Nari explained the same experience in this thread :

    Quote Originally Posted by Kara_Nari
    Well I arrived yesterday morning [in Fukuoka] off the ferry from Busan. The ferry was great, but very long. It was like a mini cruise ship, movie room, restaurant, communal baths. I was the only non asian on the ferry, and for some reason everyone decided they would speak to me in Japanese, even the Koreans.
    Why would Koreans in Korea address Westerners in Japanese ? Were they elderly people who had to learn Japanese during the Japanese occupation ?

  12. #37
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipokun
    Let him/her lost his/her way, and you don't have to exaggerate things...

    A small yellow card for your exaggeration.
        
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    URCOLRSOFF
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Now that's interesting ! You are the second person to say that today.
    Kara_Nari explained the same experience in this thread :
    Why would Koreans in Korea address Westerners in Japanese ? Were they elderly people who had to learn Japanese during the Japanese occupation ?
    Mikawa Ossan's interesting case is intriguing, but not enough information to make any informed guess. How old was the person asking you the question in Japanese ? Did (s)he look like a visitor from Japan ? Did the word Japan or Nippon/Nihon or anything that might lead the person to believe that you (or some people in your company) were/was somehow capable of speaking Japanese ? These things can have an impact on how that person made a decision, but there's just not enough info in MO's post.
    As for Kara Nari's case, the ferry had probably entered Japanese waters. Nihongo practice time, hai ! As many young people love to travel, and Japan is one of the cheapest place for a quickie out of the country, food is familiar, and the people frinedly. Just like the other foreigners who love to practice their hard earned language skills ?

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    URCOLRSOFFMikawa Ossan's interesting case is intriguing, but not enough information to make any informed guess. How old was the person asking you the question in Japanese ? Did (s)he look like a visitor from Japan ? Did the word Japan or Nippon/Nihon or anything that might lead the person to believe that you (or some people in your company) were/was somehow capable of speaking Japanese ? These things can have an impact on how that person made a decision, but there's just not enough info in MO's post.
    Well, let's see how much I remember.... I was with a Jewish American man, and I know this is rude, but he looked like the poster-child for a Western-Jew. (Sorry, Scott, if you're reading this! ) I was also with a woman, also American, but her ethnicity was half Peruvian and half Japanese. But I think she looked much more Peruvian than Japanese. I happen to look very European (not American, for some reason. I've been asked here and in America whether I'm French, Chzech, Swedish, etc..) I think I had a RURUBU tour magazine (which is in Japanese, yes), but I wasn't looking at it at the time or even holding it; it would have been in my bag. It was kind of funny. We were standing in front of 景福宮 (Kyonbokkun ) taking pictures and this middle-aged guy comes out of nowhere and asks me in Japanese, 景福宮はどちらでしょうか(where is Kyonbokkun?) Of course I told him, and he left. It was a surreal moment. Does this help?

  14. #39
    Angel of Life Kara_Nari's Avatar
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    Hey Lexico, I can speak enough Japanese to get by in everyday stuff. The fact that the Japanese staff were speaking to me in Japanese was fine, but the Korean staff? We hadnt actually left the port yet. For some stupid reason they think it would be nice to sit around and do nothing for 3 hours before they go.
    I have no problem being spoken to in the national language of the country I am in. I think its a little rude that some people dont at least make an effort if they are planning to stay for more than a mere holiday. Even in saying that, as I was lining up at customs on the Japanese side, I was impressed to hear many Koreans brushing up on their greetings and such like.
    Now I dont know if its just because I have only been here for a short time, but Japanese still speak to me in Japanese, and if I get a bit lost in the conversation, they apologise and tell me they thought I was japanese. How that is so, I dont actually know.
    Went to a hostess bar the other night, brought along an American guy, and we had no problems, granted possibly because my friend worked there, but still, I was the first gaijin woman to ever enter the place. Novelty? Pass...
    As for the long term stuff, im sure that if I was to return to Japan long term I would encounter problems regardless of my looks and language capability. Even if I was to go to Australia, I would have problems getting a house etc, purely for the fact that I wasnt born in that country. Maybe slightly more lenient, but problems occur everywhere, just in slightly different degrees.
    I had no problems moving into the place that im staying in now in Korea. Im the only woman there,havent felt intimidated, and I havent once been discriminated against, infact I have been given gifts from the manager, and have made friends with some of the guys because they feel sorry for me being by myself in Korea. Still, its not an apartment, its just student accomodation, and im not a student either... but yeah if I was to move into an apartment mabye there would be some anomosity.
    In regards to the being asked for directions, I have had that already in my few days in Japan, many times in Korea. I feel stupid because I dont know my way around enough to help, but I am always given a warm response.
    My boyfriend on the other hand who IS korean, doesnt get such a warm receiving from Koreans.
    So that brings me to the conclusion that is is dependant on the particular person. I dont think it matters on your sex, your looks or your language ability, but on your character at a first glance.
    Discrimination everywhere happens, it sucks, but if you want to make a go of it in another country, you have to be prepared for it.
    Like Mike Cash said, he works the exactly the same as his fellow Japanese co workers, and doesnt get any sh#t for it. You need to adapt to make it the best possible experience for you as an individual.

    Kara-Nari Smarty-Pants Wiz-Girl of the Southern Pacific Queen of Communication and International Arbitration and Diplomatic Solutions to Hairy Territorial Issues Her Majesty the Empress コクネ・ you quite rightly deserve the title for your individuality !

  15. #40
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kari_Nara
    So that brings me to the conclusion that is is dependant on the particular person. I dont think it matters on your sex, your looks or your language ability, but on your character at a first glance.
    Interesting theory. But I guess it varies with the local population. For example, when I was in Germany, I was asked the way "all the time". In Belgium a few times. In Japan, never. If I am with my wife, they address my wife and completely ignore me. So she has to ask me, but when I explain some people faint not to hear or understand, so my wife has to repeat the exact same words to them. This does not just happen for directions, but anything ! today again at the restaurant, when I asked the waitress to be moved to a non-smoking area, she looked at my wife, who had to repeat what I said to be sure. Yet, if I explain something in Japanese to some students, they understand immediately, because they know I speak Japanese and are not taken aback when I start speaking it.

    I find this strange, because whenever a foreigner asks me something in my home country (or anywhere else), whatever their looks and the language they use, I have never been particularily surprised, and never to freeze like the Japanese do. I wonder if they have this disposition to freeze in the genes, like some animal freeze and feign to be dead when they see a predator.

  16. #41
    Angel of Life Kara_Nari's Avatar
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    Right, I understand your meaning for that exactly. I have encountered that in New Zealand too, when with my boyfriend who is Korean, and I will offer to help a lost looking Japanese person, they will look to him for help, and he will have to explain that I am the one who is speaking to them and he has no idea what they are saying. That happened on more than one occasion.
    In Korea I have spoken in Korean, but they assume that I am still speaking english because they SEE me as a foreigner and its not until I speak english that they realise I was indeed speaking Korean. AARRRGGHH so frustrating.
    I think the worst place I have been for foreigner extortion is Thailand. The mark up is phenomenal.
    I thought it was happening the other night at one of the all you can drink bars. My mistake, it was actually cheaper for me coz I was a woman. heh, yeah I felt pretty stupid. NOT because I was a foreigner.
    I can imagine your frustration is stronger because you have had to deal with it for a lot longer, and you have residency. Im sure if I had been here for as long as you, it would bother me to a much higher degree.
    One other thing I had heard about was that foreigners with tattoos are sometimes not allowed admission to places. Is this true? I went to the public baths today, and didnt seem to have any problem. I am always a little uncomfortable because one of my tattoos is in Kanji, which can be read in Korea and China too. Luckily I havent as yet been denied entry.

  17. #42
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kara_Nari
    I think the worst place I have been for foreigner extortion is Thailand. The mark up is phenomenal.
    I remember how I heard Thai people refer to Westerners all the time as "farang" (the equivalent of "gaijin", except that it originally means "French", as they were the first Westerners to interact with them). At least in Japan, it is mostly children that exclaim "gaijin ! gaijin !" when seeing a foreigner in the street (although adults use the word all the time in conversations between themselves), but in Thailand, whereever you go, you can't enter a place without hearing people around you muttering "farang" and giggling.

    One other thing I had heard about was that foreigners with tattoos are sometimes not allowed admission to places. Is this true? I went to the public baths today, and didnt seem to have any problem. I am always a little uncomfortable because one of my tattoos is in Kanji, which can be read in Korea and China too. Luckily I havent as yet been denied entry.
    I heard about that too. It not only for foreigners though. It is mostly to prevent yakuza or other dubious people (recognised by having a tatoo, as in Japan almost only yakuza do). My sister has a small one (also a kanji) on the shoulder but didn't have any problem anywhere in Japan. I guess that women are less suspicious too, and a "spiritual kanji" as hers won't raise an eyebrow.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kara_Nari
    One other thing I had heard about was that foreigners with tattoos are sometimes not allowed admission to places. Is this true? I went to the public baths today, and didnt seem to have any problem. I am always a little uncomfortable because one of my tattoos is in Kanji, which can be read in Korea and China too. Luckily I havent as yet been denied entry.
    Yes, this is true, but being a foreigner and having a tattoo here are two different issues. Many baths/onsen/hotsprings, etc. try to refuse people with tattooes regardless of nationality. Tatooes are associated with the yakuza, and therefore frowned upon.

  19. #44
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    Yeah, I had heard that, but even nowadays more and more japanese are getting tattoos. I have a japanese friend who has a HUGE tattoo on his back, and of course people automatically assume he is associated with Yakuza... until they look closer, but of course people wont, because they dont want him to think they're staring. Why he got it, im not sure...
    Well I sure would have been a stinky dinner guest hadnt I gone to the public baths haha, thanks for your views on that too, much appreciated.
    Yeah the whole FARANG thing was a bit tedious, which I spoke enough Thai... they were probably thinking OOOHH farang, more money.
    When I travelled around with Thai friends, I got a better idea though. Even some tourist places will have Farang price and Thai price. The cost was significantly different. Havent come across such extortion anywhere else as yet.
    I guess they were too busy here in Japan looking at my tan line, to care about a couple of tattoos hehe..

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kara_Nari
    Even some tourist places will have Farang price and Thai price. The cost was significantly different. Havent come across such extortion anywhere else as yet.
    I guess they were too busy here in Japan looking at my tan line, to care about a couple of tattoos hehe..
    Sri Lanka has the double rate thing, too. Even at (especially at?) government owned (I think) historical and religious sights. But I'll be honest. I didn't really mind. I know that I have much more money than the average Sri Lankan living in Sri Lanka does. I think of it as a kind of progressive tax.

    This is off topic, but what bothered me about Sri Lanka were the "Foreigner Only" bars in Columbo. An establishment where citizens born and raised in the country of operation are not allowed to enter?!? Turning back the hands of time to unfair treaties and colonialism...just outrageous!!!!

  21. #46
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    Hmm, yeah good point.
    Hhaha I guess I was just miffed that I didnt have more money than most of the Thais haha.
    For the tourist sights, especially the temples etc, I had no problem to pay extra, but for those stupid tuk tuks... I could get to the other end of the country for what they wanted me to pay at times. Perseverance and patience is the key.
    Thats scary about the foreigner only bars! Lots of the guesthouses I stayed at wouldnt allow Thais to enter, unless they left their card at the front desk. Others just outright said no.

  22. #47
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikawa Ossan
    Well, let's see how much I remember.... I was with a Jewish American man, and I know this is rude, but he looked like the poster-child for a Western-Jew. (Sorry, Scott, if you're reading this! )
    The Japanese have been quite friendly to the Jewish people ever since the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905. I know, I'm stretching it !
    Japanese Views towards European Jews
    The Japanese Schindler
    Sugihara Chiune
    Wiki on Sugihara Chiune 杉原千畝 (1900-1986)
    Nevertheless there have been some signs of anti-semitism for similar reasons of the initial friendliness--money matters and control; Anti-Semitism in Japan ?
    I was also with a woman, also American, but her ethnicity was half Peruvian and half Japanese. But I think she looked much more Peruvian than Japanese.
    The lost historical connection of the crossing of the Bering land bridge ?
    I happen to look very European (not American, for some reason. I've been asked here and in America whether I'm French, Chzech, Swedish, etc..)
    But Japan is a western country by some standards...
    I think I had a RURUBU tour magazine (which is in Japanese, yes), but I wasn't looking at it at the time or even holding it; it would have been in my bag. It was kind of funny.
    Or perhaps the person was clairvoyant or even psychic ?
    We were standing in front of 景福宮 (Kyongbokkung ) taking pictures and this middle-aged guy comes out of nowhere and asks me in Japanese, 景福宮はどちらでしょうか(where is Kyongbokkung ?) Of course I told him, and he left.
    Now I get it ! I am often asked for directions in a strange city when I am a stranger myself. My hesitation and unusually long pauses seem to attract people with a similar problem with dierections. If at all possible, I try to stay composed, not to instill fear of asking or discuragement from a snappy answer, "I don't know either !" I try to behave like a local, and give whatever "accurate" directions that I am able to give. The satisfaction is beyond words !

    I think the guy found all the other people just too busy and intimidating to ask, while your international company taking leisurely photos in front of the palace comforting. Isn't there some kind of tacit agreement among hard-core travelers to help each other in their perilous adventures abroad ?
    It was a surreal moment. Does this help?
    Nevertheless, it is both surreal and wonderful when language does not matter; it is people that are talking to people. I think yours was a wonderful story to remind me of that oft forgotten truth. We all came out of Africa not earlier than 40,000 yrs ago.
    Last edited by lexico; Sep 20, 2005 at 18:27.

  23. #48
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kara Nari
    The fact that the Japanese staff were speaking to me in Japanese was fine, but the Korean staff ? We hadn't actually left the port yet.
    Why not ? If the ferryboat cruise was headed for Japan, it would be considered an added feature to be given as much Japanese as they can get. That's because touruism is for many people for the exotic experience. Would the mostly Korean/Japanese passengers on board not appreciate the language service by the Korean staff as well as that of the Japanese staff ? They are professionals catering to the needs of their clientel; there must have been a reason.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kara Nari
    In regards to the being asked for directions, I have had that already in my few days in Japan, many times in Korea. I feel stupid because I dont know my way around enough to help, but I am always given a warm response.
    My boyfriend on the other hand who IS korean, doesnt get such a warm receiving from Koreans.
    I believe that in any country exists the ancient code of conduct regarding foreigners (how would they know ? looks !). "Be nice to strangers for you were also strangers in a strange land." Some cultures practice this only to personal guests, but many also practiced this indiscriminately to any foreigner, for example the anicient Hebrews.

    I know he could be just as lost as you in Korea, or Japan, but his looks sends the message, "My looks are such that can let me pass as a local, so you don't have to patronise me." Misleading message ? Definitely. reverse discrimination ? That would be overgeneralising. They are being just as cold and indifferent as to any other countrymen from out of town.

  24. #49
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Little summary of the votes so far :

    Among those who have looked for long-stay housing by themselves in Japan, 9 were refused accommodation at least once because they were foreigners. 2 didn't.
    => 82% discriminated for apartments

    Out of 14 people who have lookked for short-stay accommodation (hotel, guesthouse...) only 2 were refused entry because they were foreigners.
    => 14% discriminated for hotels

    Out of 16 people who have been to nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, onsen, etc. 4 were refused entry because they were foreigners.
    => 25% discriminated for entertainment places

    Among 16 people who voted, 9 have had discrimination problems with the police.
    => 56% discriminated by police

    Among those who voted, so far all (only 2 !) the females who have worked for a Japanese company have experienced sexual discrimination for salary or promotion.
    => 100% sexual discrimination

    From the current results (although very succint), we can say that foreigners in Japan are very likely to encounter discrimination for long-term accommodation or sexual discrimination at work. They are fairly likely to be annoyed bu the police, but only partially likely to have problems with entertainment places, and even less with short-term accommodation, although it will happen to some people.

  25. #50
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    Well, since this is a thread about our experiences, let's share!
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Among those who have looked for long-stay housing by themselves in Japan, 9 were refused accommodation at least once because they were foreigners. 2 didn't.
    => 82% discriminated for apartments
    I am one of these nine. The fudosan was very nice and apologetic, and the guy found there then found me my current apartment quite speedily. That was 3 years ago. This is unrelated, but what I find more difficult is finding someone to co-sign the lease.

    Out of 16 people who have been to nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, onsen, etc. 4 were refused entry because they were foreigners.
    => 25% discriminated for entertainment places
    I am one of these 4 as well. I was refused entry to every fuzoku in Takamatsu City. (I had to try, if only once.) In retrospect, I'm glad I was refused service.

    Among 16 people who voted, 9 have had discrimination problems with the police.
    => 56% discriminated by police
    Once again, I am one of the nine. I was in Shinjuku outside a Royal Host waiting for a friend to get out of work. It was like 10:30 at night, I believe, and I had been waiting in the same spot for at least 30 minutes. The police officer came and asked me for my gaijin card, which I promptly handed over to him. He studied it for a moment and then confirmed that I was student (I was at the time.) Then he started talking to me very friendly about college and explaining why he had asked for my card. He was a nice guy, but he was a little suspicious he said, because he had passed by about 30 minutes earlier and he saw me in the same place doing basically nothing. I thought this was perfectly understandable.

    Another time, I was in Shinjuku Station outside the JR ticket gate, and I was tired, so I decided to sit down. Shortly thereafter a station police officer came and told me that I couldn't sit there. I could stand all I want, but I couldn't sit. Apparently they were trying to keep the homeless from setting up shop, so to speak, in the station.
    From the current results (although very succint), we can say that foreigners in Japan are very likely to encounter discrimination for long-term accommodation or sexual discrimination at work. They are fairly likely to be annoyed bu the police, but only partially likely to have problems with entertainment places, and even less with short-term accommodation, although it will happen to some people.
    Yes, we run into into problems, but we are the minority in this country. I know you have a different outlook, but I just expect this from time to time. I find that the more accepting you are, the more other people accept you.

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