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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 ?

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  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Question Have you encountered discrimination or prejudices in Japan ?

    I am interested in other people's experience of discrimination or prejudices in Japan, so as to assess how widespead they are, who they affect, where it takes place and which form of discrimination/prejudices are the most common.

    It is evident that the feedback I will get in this thread will depend a lot on each member's individual experiences in Japan. Those who haven;t been to Japan will not be able to reply, while those who have only stayed as visitors will probably not have experienced discrimination at all.

    I personally haven't experienced discrimination in hotels or guesthouses, because I have almost never stayed in any, and when I did it was in very touristical areas and with my Japanese wife or familiy.

    However, I was told by big real estate agencies that they just couldn't serve foreigners, even accompanied by my wife.

    I was stopped and checked by the police 6 times (so far) in 3 and a half years in Japan; everytime in central Tokyo, close to my house, and everytime without reason when I was riding my bicycle to/from work (although I was asked twice for my alien registration card, and they didn't even check my bicycle registration). However, had I only stayed 1.5 years in Japan, I would have insisted that I was never annoyed by the police, as the first time I was checked was about 1.5 years after my arrival. So I guess it is just a matter of luck and how long one stays in Japan, but almost bound to happen to anybody staying for many years, no matter how formal they dress (I was wearing a suit all but one time when I was checked).

    Japanese females are free to reply to the sexual discrimination question. Not being a woman, and not working full-time in a Japanese company, the only feedback I can give regards what I heard from female Japanese friends.

    I am also interested to know if you have experienced similar discrimination in your country, or visiting/living in other countries. Personally, I have lived in 5 European countries (including Italy and Spain, where I clearly look like a foreigner), spend several months in India and Australia, and travelled to many more countries on all 5 continents, but had never been checked by the police or refused accommodation before.

    I have never been to a public bath, and very rarely go to onsen or nightclubs, so I haven't experienced any problem about these in Japan.
    Last edited by Maciamo; Mar 29, 2005 at 16:02.

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  2. #2
    Regular Member goofy2feet's Avatar
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    Been here over 5 years, and never had any police trouble; though I am out in the countryside near Nagoya, so that's probably no surprise.

    Been turned away from nightclubs on several ocassions.

    Never been turned away from a hotel - I usually get a japanese friend to make the booking. Have made bookings myself for restaurants without any problems.

    Was looking for a new appartment recently and got turned away from several places, even though i would have been living with a Japanese. In the end, we decided to buy (not in my name so no problems).

    I hear, foreigners are very often turned away from fuuzoku.

  3. #3
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goofy2feet
    I hear, foreigners are very often turned away from fuuzoku.
    By "fuuzoku" do you mean sex industry ? Never had to try, so don't know. The only thing I heard was that foreigners were usually turned away from hostess bars if they are not accompanied by a Japanese.

  4. #4
    JREF Resident Alien Pachipro's Avatar
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    In the years I lived in Japan (Feb 1973 - Aug 1988), I spent 4 years on base and 12 off base. I resided on or near the base for the first 12 years.

    In the 16 years I actually lived in Japan, I was asked for my gaijin card about 4 times. Once I didn't have it on my person and that made alot of trouble and hassle and I had to go to court. Interesting story.

    I was stopped on my bicycle about three times in the three years I had it.

    I was turned down for an apartment by about three fudosans before I found one that would rent to foreigners. Near the base this was understandable as servicemen usually trashed apartments and played loud music and made alot of noise. This disturbed the "wa" of the Japanese people.

    I was never refused entry to a business establishment although there were signs on some bars around the base that refused entry to foreigners. Away from base I was never refused entry even when I was alone.

    I was allowed to buy my first stereo on credit at a major department store with only my gaijin card while I was a student. I paid in three monthly installments.

    I bought my first new car on credit from Toyota with no money in the bank and a new business. Paid it off in three years.

    I never had a credit card back then ('70's & '80's) as I usually paid cash or bought things on installment from the stores. This was never a problem. If I needed something on installments, I just showed my gaijin card and that was all that was needed. I was never refused. I was single at the time!

    Recently when I bought something in a major store like Yodobashi Camera, I was asked if I wanted a credit card from their store to receive discounts and points! Since I was only visiting, of course I refused.

    Staying in minshuku's or ryokans was never a problem. Even in out of the way places where tourists don't go. I was never turned down even when I went alone. I guess when you pay in advance it doesn't matter.

    In all my years there, and every year since, up to my most recent visit last month, I have not experienced any outward discrimination from the Japanese.
    In fact I have never been asked for my gaijin card since I moved away from the base or in any of the yearly visits there these past 17 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Japanese females are free to reply to the sexual discrimination question. Not being a woman, and not working full-time in a Japanese company, the only feedback I can give regards what I heard from female Japanese friends.
    I can speak for my wife on this one. She will NOT return to Japan until she is ready to retire in a few years because of the discrimination (age & sex) towards women there (she is 43). Although she is an executive here for a Japanese company (hired as a local) and is expert in her field and is paid extremely well, she knows that she will not even be considered for employment by a major Japanese company in Japan in her field. Even for the one she works for now! She claims that the only jobs available to her will be part-time jobs doing menial tasks. Although she does say that she may be able to find employment with an American company or the rare Japanese company that doesn't discriminate.

    In the 17 years we have lived here in the states, my wife has never received any discrimination or prejudice from other Americans, even here in the South. She has been accepted as just "another American citizen." For that she is impressed.

    I have never been refused entry to an onsen, public bath, or nightclub in my 32 years experience with Japan.

    I hope this helps with your research.
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  5. #5
    Anjin Brooker's Avatar
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    Once a drunk businessman in Fuji City stumbled up to me and called me "gaijin".

    A group of us would get turned away at nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) sometimes, but that's understandable since we'd drink ourselves stupid and make a scene.

    Other than that, I didn't have any problems. I never got my foreigner ID checked in the 15 months I was in Japan.
    For information on the pros and cons of teaching at Nova English schools in Japan, check out

  6. #6
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker
    Once a drunk businessman in Fuji City stumbled up to me and called me "gaijin".
    Don't tell me you have only heard once somebody call you "gaijin" ? It has happnened to me hundreds of times. It doesn't even bother me anymore. There is so much more worse than that !

    However that's a good point that you can use drunk people as a way to know what they really think of foreigners. I live in an area with lots of izakayas and restaurants, so every Friday night I get drunk people all around me in the streets (a few hundreds, as there is certainly over 100 restaurants/bars within 15min walk of my house). It has happened to me to be told strange things also related to "gaijin" by drunkards.

  7. #7
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Thanks for this excellent feedback Pachipro.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pachipro
    I was turned down for an apartment by about three fudosans before I found one that would rent to foreigners. Near the base this was understandable as servicemen usually trashed apartments and played loud music and made alot of noise. This disturbed the "wa" of the Japanese people.
    Don't think it's because it was near a military base. It's exactly the same in Tokyo (even Eastern Tokyo, faraway from dubious areas like Roppongi or Shibuya). I personally resent it that they would even consider that I would damage their apartment or play loud music just because I am a gaijin, because I hate loud music (or anything loud), have had very noisy Japanese neighbours, and would think twice before renting my apartment to a Japanese after seeing how disorderly my own wife (who have to scold for it) or her friends can be. I am not really Monica Geller in Friends to say that "if it's not a right angle it's a wrong angle" (well I still insist on books between arranged in the right numeral order and by categories and sizes), but there are limits.

    I was allowed to buy my first stereo on credit at a major department store with only my gaijin card while I was a student. I paid in three monthly installments.
    Never heard of any problem with that, even without gaijin cards. Aren't Westerners richer than the Japanese nowadays (Japan only ranked 17th worldwide in GDP per capita at PPP in 2003). If you were there in the 70's, the difference was even bigger. It's mostly in the 80's Bubble Years that the Japanese thought they'd become master of the world and thought gaijin came to rob them.

    In all my years there, and every year since, up to my most recent visit last month, I have not experienced any outward discrimination from the Japanese.
    In fact I have never been asked for my gaijin card since I moved away from the base or in any of the yearly visits there these past 17 years.
    Maybe that's because you came as a tourist. What may have caught the police attention in my case was that I was always wearing a business suit, so they guess I was a resident and it was their duty to harass me so that I do not consider staying too long in Japan.


    In the 17 years we have lived here in the states, my wife has never received any discrimination or prejudice from other Americans, even here in the South. She has been accepted as just "another American citizen." For that she is impressed.
    Yes, and all that in the country of the KKK and were innocent Muslims get lynched after terrorist attacks and Blacks only got equal rights in 1967 (?). I would not even imagine that a Japanese would be discriminated in most northern European countries.

    I have never been refused entry to an onsen, public bath, or nightclub in my 32 years experience with Japan.
    Me neither in 3.5 years, but I have only been twice to onsen, never to public bath and twice to a nightclub (these are not the kind of places I like going to). However I heard that people in Kyoto especially tended to less hospitable (even toward Japanese) than anywhere else, and that quite a few restaurants (not just the geisha tea houses) will not let foreigners in (even accompanied by a Japanese). But that's ok, as it's not really necessary to go to such places. The annoying thing is when you can't ride your bicycle safely in the streets without fearing being harrassed by the police (no it's not Mexico or Vietnam, but Japan I am talking about!).

    But the most common form of discrimination remains for housing. That's where you really see what people think of foreigners. Many shops and restaurants in Japan are chains, where the staff wouldn't even dare refusing someone (they just don't have the authority), Anyway, most shops, restaurants and hotels need customers to survive, and foreigners are welcome as long as they have money. But when it comes to houses or flats, we are usually dealing with individual owners (it means ordinary people who do not have to follow to corporate rules) and the majority of them will just tell you that they don't take gaijin and that's it, no matter how rich, well mannered, responsible and orderly you are.

    As I said earlier, discrimination in Japan rarely comes from people who want to meet foreigners, i.e. the people most foreigners end up meeting, be it as exchange students, at parties, or in English conversation classes. These people are exception (usually young and international-minded). The majority of the Japanese does not speak English, did not study abroad and does not take Eikaiwa lessons with native speakers. When I notice negative attitudes toward me as a foreigner, it is most often from people that do not want to meet foreigners and that foreigners wouldn't usually come in contact with as short-term visitors (even 1 year). They are the salespeople who ring to my door twice a week and always look so disappointed and embarassed to find just a "gaijin" (in exchange, when it rains I let them explain their stuff while making them wait on the doorstep and thensay I am not interested). They are also the (mostly elderly) neighbours who always greet my wife with a smile and "konnichiwa" but after 3 years still ignore me when I am alone and look at me suspiciously (or tell their grandchildren to be careful of the gaijin). They are people in shops who reply to my wife and ignore me when I ask them some questions (this happens 90% of the time). These people didn't ask to meet a gaijin, but when they have to they do not hide (or very badly) their contempt and prejudices.

    Many foreigners in Japan may be happy and not feel the discrimination because they don't meet such people. Anybody who stays with other foreigners, with Japanese who want to meet foreigners, or do not need to live a life like in their home country (including getting a loan, buying a house, being accepted by the neighbours, asking a question without having the reply addressed to somebody else, etc.) may just not notice the underlying bad feelings shared by a large part of the Japanese population towar foreigners. Remember the cultural differences. Japanese people don't like direct confrontations, are hypocritical and polite. Therefore they will rarely tell you "piss off, bloody gaijin!", but they may think it. Remember also that the Japanese are no more angels than other peoples. After all, they were real butchers during the 1930's and WWII, killed and raped more people in more atrocious conditions than the Nazi ever did. Most of these proudly nationalistic people are still alive nowadays, and those that butchered and raped Koreans Chinese and SE Asians during WWII have shaped the government, media and education system of today's Japan. So that their nationalistic and racist ideas have influenced the younger generation they have educated, in typically Japanese indirect and subtle ways, so as to avoid too much criticism from the US.

    My advice would be, go away from touristical places, meet the people who don't try to meet foreigners. Listen discreetly to their conversation whenever talking about "gaijin". Try to read their mind and emotions when talking to them. See how the kids react to foreigners. Get a Japanese grandmother. Read between the lines of what the media say. Understand why people have come to address all foreigners as "gaijin" and not ‰¢•Äl (obeijin) or ¼—ml(seiyoujin) for Westerners, and ƒAƒWƒAl for other Asians, for instance. Try to understand why most people are so ignorant of the world, or rather why the government would want its people to be ignorant of the world (i.e. so as to breed prejudices and eventually racism). Try to wonder why there is such an attitude in real estate agencies as refusing "all foreigners" before even considering their nationality, status, job and personality - especially since most Western residents in Japan (i.e. those renting a flat for the legal mininimum of 2 years) have a university degree, are better paid than the Japanese average, may be fluent in Japanese, and almost never commit any crime even compared to the Japanese.

    It cannot be a coincidence that all these things are the way they are. So yes, the Japanese can seem very polite and respectful, girls are cute, the country is safe and has plenty of entertainment and great food. It's all good fun... until you realise that this was only one side of Japan. Looking at the other side, you see that those foreigner-friendly and well-travelled people are far to be the norm. How many landowners rent flats/houses in Japan ? 10 million, 20 million ? Would I be far off saying that 80% of these are so prejudiced against foreigners that they won't even consider them as a potential tenants ? This usually means that their spouse (or whole family) is also like-minded. Add to this a few millions elderly people, a few million nationalists (e.g. those in the black vans shouting nationlist comments in loud speakers around Tokyo). Almost none of those people are those that the typical Westerner will come into contact with in Japan, even staying as long as one or two years in Japan. But once you've decided to live somewhere, you can't just ignore that all these people exist and live around you - and are reminded of it by the occasional police checks and grandmotherly nonsense about foreigners.

    In Europe, I would fight against racist, prejucided and ignorant people and denounce their behaviour. Why should I act differently while living in Japan - especially that this time I am directly concerned. One thing with me is that I don't forgive easily (especially to people I am not intimate with) unless the faulty person has made all they could to repair their wrong - and I never forget, in any case (I can't, which is another problem, too vivid memory).

  8. #8
    Heimin
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    Discrimination is rampant in Japan, in many forms you'd need a lot longer list for.

    Many other less known examples, i.e. until a couple of years back non-Japanese students attending International schools were not allowed to enter Japanese universities, and now they are, EXCEPT Koreans.

    Buraku, still exist and still goes on though quietly now.

    Japanese companies refusing to pay foreign workers Medical insurance and Pensions even though required by law to pay.

    How about plain ignorance? We all speak English didn't you know?

    I interviewed a teacher for my school, he was very professional and a good choice, a native English speaker. But in the end rejected by my boss because he was half-Chinese.

    I have a list a mile-long.

  9. #9
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireyRei

    Japanese companies refusing to pay foreign workers Medical insurance and Pensions even though required by law to pay.
    Unfortunately, that can tend to happen quite a lot when foreign workers are hired as foreign workers (specificially to fill jobs Japanese won't do or, more common, to save money). When one of the prime reasons a particular job may be open to a foreigner is as a cost-cutting measure, it is only to be expected that they skimp on everything they can.

    There is always the option of doing what I did: Get hired even though you're a foreigner and not just because you're a foreigner. It's harder to do, but in companies which will do it it probably never even enters their mind to handle the pay/benefits any differently than they do the Japanese employees.

  10. #10
    Heimin
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    P.S. Forgot to mention what happened to me a few years back: Came home one day, go to check my post & find my box out of the 100 or so is the only one vandalised. Later, got home one day to find 'Gaijin kaere' sprayed on my door.

    Lovely.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireyRei View Post
    P.S. Forgot to mention what happened to me a few years back: Came home one day, go to check my post & find my box out of the 100 or so is the only one vandalised. Later, got home one day to find 'Gaijin kaere' sprayed on my door.
    Lovely.
    Well I don't know what 'kaere' means but I wonder what would happened here if someone did the same to a muslim.Hard to belive for me. I am reading a lot of things in this forum and to be honest I had no idea.

  12. #12
    Heimin
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    Mike,

    Not quite sure of your point, but as I said, "Japanese companies refusing to pay foreign workers Medical insurance and Pensions even though required by law to pay." Meaning every single one of us, aside from those hired by international companies like Mitsubishi etc. You mean you aren't a language teacher? Why would a Japanese company hire people for not being foreign, what situation? Even the major corporations hire foreigners because they are that and can help bridge the gap between nationalities.

    We'll always be foreigners here, nothing else. Doesn't matter how a Japanese person thinks they feel or acts, when it comes down to it, we're different to them, period. I've met so many Japanese people who thought they were hip, down with the gaijins but when the sugar hits the fan, they turn out Japanese - different from us after all.

    One of my ex-students, travelled the world, speaks English fluently/accurately, loves foreign things and people, well into being 'different'. Has an operation, doctor fooks up & damages his brain. So what does he do? Nothing, "Japanese people don't make a scene" he says...

    The bottom line, 'We Japanese...' Like you've never heard that line a thousand times.

  13. #13
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    I am a regular seishain at a company, and neither my foreignness nor my English ability play any part whatsoever in my work. They were handicaps to my being employed, if anything. And I don't work for an international/multinational company. I am employed under precisely the same terms and conditions and perform precisely the same tasks that my Japanese coworkers do. And I'm the only non-Japanese person there. So I'll kindly ask to be excluded from "every single one of us" and ask you to consider painting Japan with a little narrower brush.

  14. #14
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    Yes the Japanese are expert in getting around the pension, health insurance for FOREIGNERS thing. Indirect discrimination???
    I have not been checked while on my bicycle. Fortunately. Otherwise I'd go nuclear!!!! Depends on what type of bicycle you have.

  15. #15
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celtician
    Yes the Japanese are expert in getting around the pension, health insurance for FOREIGNERS thing.
    And foreigners have often displayed quite a desire to be exempted from them.

    I guess my posts on this, in this thread, must have escaped your notice.

  16. #16
    “ú–{‚ɏZ‚Ý‚½‚¢!! marcus314's Avatar
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    Question

    With all these posts about foriegners being prejudiced in Japan in this forum, I have a question.....please do not feel offended if this question is slightly discriminative in nature.

    Are these only limited to caucasians? Would Asians be in general less "discriminated" in Japan because they are not "white?"

    Is it possible for a Japanese to look at a Chinese and think that he/she is Japanese?

    Sorry these may be stupid questions......but I am not caucasian and in the near future plans to stay in Japan for an extended period of time. I have been to Japan many times and have not felt any prejudice against me by the locals. I would like to know if this is purely luck or is it more the fact that I "look" Japanese.........

    Thank you

    ^_^

  17. #17
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    Wow I knew it was bad, but man oh man I didn't know it was that bad. I don't have much care to as if they like me or not. I'm not even accepted here in the US that much. Because I like to dress differently I am judged before people even get to know me. So I'm pretty numb to that stuff already. I would love to live in Japan, but lack the interest to struggle in a place when I can do that here and at least be around loved ones.

    Plus I think its sad that people have to act that way to make themselves feel better. We all live and die just the same, difference is when you come to America they welcome you with open arms and other places really don't care if you visit/live there or not. I guess you have to consider that in all places some welcome others and some don't. It just depends on how you were raised and the experiences that settle your judgement towards something.

  18. #18
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    marcus314
    Hope that you will come to Japan with a lot of negative images.
    I suppose, at least, no maple leaf flag would be needed even with your north american English accent.

    As to the Europen matters, it would be interesting for an asian tourist to go to, say, a small museum in northern europe at not busy time, for the staffs would kindly watch what you are interested in. But I am too stupid to be eloquent and I don't have to play certain roll here.

  19. #19
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Talking Hi, Marcus314,

    I think a lot has also to do with the person.
    I'm not saying that everyone who complained was looking for trouble or had a negative attitude desrving such, but it would be unfortunate if the idea of 'negativity' would make anyone more keen to little things that can go either way. If you've had a postive experience, what can be better than that ?

    Wherever you go, there will be a**holes to ruin your day. They'll be angels to save you from trouble. Some of the things deserve serious study, reflection, and improvement, but it shoudln't become a reason to put the whole 'foreigner thing' in a dark light. There are advantages and disadvantages, and little social skills that smoothes the interaction. The same should go for 'non-Caucasian foreigners.' Just a little different in every case.

    My European experience wasn't all jolly, but doesn't make me anit-European. It is hard, though, to discern the whining and insights. I can't distinguish those in myself, either. ^___^ I hope you enjoy your positive Japanese experience next time, every time.
    Z: The fish in the water are happy.
    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.

    --Zhuangzi

  20. #20
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipokun
    As to the Europen matters, it would be interesting for an asian tourist to go to, say, a small museum in northern europe at not busy time, for the staffs would kindly watch what you are interested in. But I am too stupid to be eloquent and I don't have to play certain roll here.
    I'm a German & been to small German museums, & the staff kindly watched what I was interested in. So what?

  21. #21
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    I'm a German & been to small German museums, & the staff kindly watched what I was interested in. So what?
    No utopia in the world. Got it?

  22. #22
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipokun
    No utopia in the world. Got it?
    Not really. Why then would it be "interesting for an asian tourist to go to, say, a small museum in northern europe at not busy time"?

  23. #23
    Regular Member MeAndroo's Avatar
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    The only thing I heard was that foreigners were usually turned away from hostess bars if they are not accompanied by a Japanese.
    Having walked through Kabuki-cho with just one white buddy (me being of Asian descent, but definitely American), we were openly "recruited" to go into a variety of hostess bars, both in Japanese and English. I've only been to one, it being a mainly gaijin establishment, with women of European, southeast Asian, and even South American descent. Good times.
    We also ventured into a couple of places on our own, just to see how people would react, and I'd say it was 50/50.

    A group of us would get turned away at nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) sometimes, but that's understandable since we'd drink ourselves stupid and make a scene.
    I can't imagine how much worse the scene would have been if our groups had ever been turned away. We never once got turned away from a nomihoudai, even with a heavy majority of foreigners, and I'm sorry to hear that you did. And if drinking yourself stupid and making a scene were any cause for concern, Japanese people wouldn't be allowed in those places either.

    Are these only limited to caucasians? Would Asians be in general less "discriminated" in Japan because they are not "white?"
    No, they do it to every other race too. 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? I definitely felt like I blended in with everybody else, but that may be due to the fact that I spoke mainly Japanese and spent a lot of time with my host family. Having a Japanese surname doesn't hurt either. This may sound odd to some, but I definitely did NOT want to be seeen as a Japanese national. I did my best to fit in, follow local customs, and whatnot, but never let it be thought for long that I was a local.
    Go Trojans! Fight On!

  24. #24
    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.

  25. #25
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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.

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