Wa-pedia Home > Japan Forum & Europe Forum
Page 2 of 5 FirstFirst 1234 ... LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 116

Thread: For our Japanese readers : Things you should not say to Westerners

  1. #26
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 3, 2004
    Age
    49
    Posts
    198
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Is it ? Not for me. I finish every single grain of rice in my bowl by picking them one by one with my chopsticks. I don't feel like I have to pay more attention than doing it with a fork or spoon. I guess it just depends of used to it you are, and more importantly what kind of food you eat (nobody will eat a beefsteak with chopsticks). Do you normally use chopsticks everyday ? It only took me a few days/weeks to get completely used to it. I don't see why even the slowest Japanese learner would have a problem after 20, 30 or 50 years of daily usage.
    All I was saying is that it takes more manual dexterity to use chopsticks (IMHO). I was able to use chopsticks after my third or forth attempt, and I use them quite regularly now. (I have lived here for 9 years now) There are still many foods that I would prefer to have a fork or spoon to eat with though!

  2. #27
    Regular Member TheKansaiKid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 18, 2005
    Age
    52
    Posts
    17
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I know it feels insistent on me to repeat this, but I really can't understand what this obsession with the gaijin's abilities to do banal things (chopsticks, futon...) is about. From my experience, after being asked these questions maybe between 50 and 100 times, I can say that most of the time it was not to break the ice, not to make small talks, mostly out of the blue, and the questioners' reaction was typically a great surprise when I told them that yes I could use chopsticks like everybody.
    Take this with a grain of salt because I have only spoke to one native about this theory and after thinking about it for a minute said that is possibly true which is often Japanese for you are so full of sh!%.

    I think that because of the flood of images from the west in the form of movies advertising etc. some Japanese have a bit of a national inferiority complex. The fact that a gaijin takes the time to learn Japanese is very validating to these people. It is further validating to know this gaijin has taken to heart things they find innately Japanese like chopsticks, futon, japanese food, etc. It's just a theory but sometimes helping to understand why people do things helps us be more understanding of their foibles.

  3. #28
    Cs’†
    Join Date
    Jan 8, 2004
    Posts
    158
    That's an interesting theory, but how many would "some" comprise? I find it a bit puzzling that they would have an inferiority complex from foreign companies importing things there. They have some of the most successful companies in the world, and Japanese culture has really gotten a foothold in the West from what I understand. It's not like Japan is being invaded by foreign businesses and cultures.

  4. #29
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn
    That's an interesting theory, but how many would "some" comprise? I find it a bit puzzling that they would have an inferiority complex from foreign companies importing things there. They have some of the most successful companies in the world, and Japanese culture has really gotten a foothold in the West from what I understand. It's not like Japan is being invaded by foreign businesses and cultures.
    I think that's a mix of inferiority and superiority complex. Inferiority because the Japanese are in awe of the scientific and artistic achievements of the West (which is why they copied so much from Meiji and buy some many imported brands). Superiority because they feel that their society is safer, people are more polite and respectful, their culture stresses some aspects not found most Western cultures (or so they believe, basing the comparison criteria on the USA, but knowing very little about the diversity of cultures in Europe).

    Also because theories like the nihonjinron made them believe that the Japanese race was intrinsicly superior, which is why Japan rose from a destroyed nation in 1945 to the 2nd world economic power in the 1980's, and Japanese companies were set to dominate the world. Much fewer people believe in nihonjiron after 15 years of economic stagnation, rise in domestic crime rates, serious social and political issues (juvenile crime, hikikomori, perverts, politicians corrupted to the bone, etc.).

    That's the Japanese dilema. Inferior but superior. They want to prove themselves superior (and hundreds of books were written on the subject in the 1980's), but still feel inferor because their movies never equal Hollywood, their artists rarely rival Western ones, their best baseball players move to the US, Japan is not nearly as beautiful as countries like France, Italy, the UK, Australia, or the US, Japan will always be behind the West historically, and as I see it Japan is set to stay a political dwarf subjugated to the US on the international scene.

    Visit Japan for free with Wa-pedia
    See what's new on the forum ?
    Eupedia : Europe Guide & Genetics
    Maciamo & Eupedia on Twitter

    "What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?", Winston Churchill.

  5. #30
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Feb 4, 2005
    Posts
    189
    Agreed. Whatever you call it inferiority and superiority complex or not. Not like Akutagawa, but I suppose many Japanese share a vague sense of anxiety about thier own identities and/or futures. So some are involved in pepit nationalism like anti-Chinese, some shopaholic, and some yong sama lovers.

    But is that kind of complex/anxiety unique to Japan?
    I don't know why Europe with its diversified society and history has immigrant problems. Is it just because the immigrants have difficulties in assimilating the community?
    I don't know whay 91 percent of Americans believe the illegal immigration problem is very serious or somewhat serious. Or is it just because it was the FOX's surevey?

    Aside from US issue, I am personally curious whether EU really overcome the nation state. I am not sure. Just wait and see the experiment.

    Your friend and wife must be super intelligent kids remembering what they learned ages ago. But I am also wondering why it took so long time to know the four_season_only_in_Japan stuff before they started traveling overseas. Or I suppose they must become travelers soon after they graduated from their elementary schools.
    It is much easier to criticize the educational system than confessing your ignorance. Of course, I am also the one blaiming the system, in my case it is the J teachers' union, though.

  6. #31
    Anjin Brooker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 10, 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington
    Age
    42
    Posts
    93
    I think Japanese people who compliment on chopstick use are genuinely impressed. They figure that, as a Japanese person, they have a lot more practice at using chopsticks than a foreigner (and rightly so) and are amazed that you have developed the ability to use them naturally. They would be similarly amazed to see a gaijin speak perfect Japanese. I think it's justifiably noteworthy when someone can do well at something that isn't native to them. Using chopsticks is a skill and it does need to be learned. I don't think anyone uses chopsticks well the first time they try.
    For information on the pros and cons of teaching at Nova English schools in Japan, check out

  7. #32
    Techno Nudger Rich303's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 31, 2005
    Location
    From Kent,just outside London
    Age
    44
    Posts
    15
    I've met some japanese people who are surprised/impressed at what I can eat and it doesn't offend me.
    There are plenty of people who live up to the stereotype of not being able to eat many Japanese foods - so I think this stereotype is not without an element of truth.

    When I was in Japan in may I was talking to some people one night. One of their (western)friends was marrying a japanese girl and (I think going to live there), and he didn't like most japanese food and was making no effort to get into it.
    I vaguely know someone in my local pub(OK,she's not the most open-minded person in the world),and she lost a lot of weight in Japan,because she wouldn't try the food.

    I guess it can be a little scary if you don't know anything about Japanese food,but sometimes you just have to try things - I did and I've never looked back.

    Also, if I go for Chinese or Thai meal in UK with my family (and many of my friends),it is usually only me who uses chopsticks , and I'm reasonably good - or so I thought.
    My pen pal said I ate like her 4 year old nephew!
    Vinyl rules!

  8. #33
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich303
    I've met some japanese people who are surprised/impressed at what I can eat and it doesn't offend me.
    There are plenty of people who live up to the stereotype of not being able to eat many Japanese foods - so I think this stereotype is not without an element of truth.
    My sister and her boyfriend are in Japan at the moment. They are constantly stared at in the street or aksed strange questions (even my wife asked if we had lightning/thunder in Belgium !). But they just find it funny or strange, as they have only been here for a few days/weeks. I also found it rather funny at the beginning. After a few years of living in Japan with little contact with non Japanese people, when one wishes to have a normal relationship with his/her environment, it can become quite annoying. I am sure no one who hasn't stayed in Japan for at least 2 or 3 years, with minimum contact with non Japanese and maximum contact with as many Japanese as possible*, can really understand how irritating it can be.

    But there is really a pattern in the way questions are asked by the Japanese. For example, "Is there X in your country ?" or "Can you eat Y ?" are typical questions. What is surprising in what they put instead of X or Y. I had to scold my wife for asking my sister if there were lightning/thunder (kaminari) in Belgium. "Just think a bit before asking a question ! Why shouldn't there be lightning or thunder in one particular country". The worst of all is that she has already been to that country several times !

    * in my case, meeting one new Japanese properly introduced (name, hometown, hobbies, job, etc.) every 3 days in average.

  9. #34
    Techno Nudger Rich303's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 31, 2005
    Location
    From Kent,just outside London
    Age
    44
    Posts
    15
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    My sister and her boyfriend are in Japan at the moment. They are constantly stared at in the street or aksed strange questions (even my wife asked if we had lightning/thunder in Belgium !). But they just find it funny or strange, as they have only been here for a few days/weeks. I also found it rather funny at the beginning. After a few years of living in Japan with little contact with non Japanese people, when one wishes to have a normal relationship with his/her environment, it can become quite annoying.
    I suppose it could become a bit annoying after a long time, maybe even insulting. I could probably only find out for myself by living in Japan for an extended period of time.

    I will say this though, I bet I would find it less insulting than being spat at or having my sexuality questioned because I wouldn't give a girl I didn't know a cigarette, both of which have happened to me quite recently in the UK.

  10. #35
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Oct 27, 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13
    Very interesting read. These seem like the main werid oddities of things that japanese people say to westerners when they are in Japan from what i've read... i have also been asked about half of these by Japanese, and I haven't been outside of North America yet... -_-

    One other thing... not sure if its really to be noted to the list, but I hate being called and reffered to as a "gaijin" by the japanese here in Colorado. I was born here and I'm caucasian for crying out loud... i guess all japanese call non-japanese "gaijin" regardless of where they are.


    I would like to see a list of "Things you should not say to Japanese" list for western people in their own countries. Since the things on this list seem so obvious to us, there surely must be some bad things that we westerners say or do without noticing to japanese or foreigners in general who visit western countries.

  11. #36
    Regular Member godppgo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Age
    40
    Posts
    68
    Quote Originally Posted by zeroyon
    I hate being called and reffered to as a "gaijin" by the japanese here in Colorado. I was born here and I'm caucasian for crying out loud... i guess all japanese call non-japanese "gaijin" regardless of where they are.
    When Japanese say gaijin they don't really mean the word "foreigner" in English. There's a subtle difference there. Gaijin might be better interpreted as "not my race people". Sorry I can't really find a suitable English word for it but in most asian countries, the term gaijin doesn't necessary mean foreign country people.

  12. #37
    Junior Member dameko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 19, 2005
    Posts
    1
    Yes, it happened to me that I went to a karaoke place, sang songs in English, of course, because you don't have much choice. One of them was especially fast in one part, so I messed it up a bit, and the comment I received from a person who knew me was 'Oh, it's in English, how come you can't sing it right!', knowing English is not my native tounge.
    Sometimes they just assume, even if they know you and where you are from, that you have to be absolutely flawless in English.
    Oh, and once also I was told that I was not a lady because of the way I ate my soup, I just came to Japan and I did what anyone from a foreign country would do, keep your bowl on the table, I was given a really bad time by that a**hole, until his girlfriend jumped in and said that's how they do it...
    Anyway, I really find annoying some of the things that you can experiece, like hearing you are fat if you are a little bloated that day, or some 'comliments' I heard people get, like you have such a big nose.
    Oh, not to mention big boobs, which I kinda found funny, because I got that one quite often, and sadly, it's soooo far from being true, in my case I mean...

  13. #38
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by godppgo
    When Japanese say gaijin they don't really mean the word "foreigner" in English. There's a subtle difference there. Gaijin might be better interpreted as "not my race people". Sorry I can't really find a suitable English word for it but in most asian countries, the term gaijin doesn't necessary mean foreign country people.
    That's a good point. I think you are correct. But I still don't understand why they feel the need to use this word so often when they see some "not my race people". In such an international city as Tokyo, it's at best puerile when you hear salarymen saying "ah gaijin da" when they stumble into you in a lift or public toilet. It's not even embarassement (for supposingly not speaking the same language), as they don't have to talk to the "gaijin" in these situations.

  14. #39
    puzzled gaijin
    Join Date
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    140
    Thanks Maciamo, I could have used you in another thread on another forum. I probably argued some of these same points too strongly, but my main points were similar to some of the same conclusions here, that this superiority/inferiority condition exists (and I added that this attitude drives a lot of the xenophobia in Japan out came the sticks!) .

    In addition, this persistent 'we vs. them', which you find to some extent in all countries of course, adds to this 'problem'. But what I also find interesting is the 'perpetual guest ' (no matter that I have lived here for 8 years, my wife is Japanese, and I have permanent residency) and VIP theories (favored treatment for foreigners, definately overated and may include this topic's title), which some of the foreigners have been brainwashed into believing !

  15. #40
    Regular Member godppgo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Age
    40
    Posts
    68
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    That's a good point. I think you are correct. But I still don't understand why they feel the need to use this word so often when they see some "not my race people". In such an international city as Tokyo, it's at best puerile when you hear salarymen saying "ah gaijin da" when they stumble into you in a lift or public toilet.
    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways
    But what I also find interesting is the 'perpetual guest ' (no matter that I have lived here for 8 years, my wife is Japanese, and I have permanent residency) and VIP theories (favored treatment for foreigners, definately overated and may include this topic's title), which some of the foreigners have been brainwashed into believing !
    Asians are generally very "territorial" people. By territorial I mean they defind themselves largely by where they come from. This territorial trait is not based on the geographic area under a given jurisdiction type of territory. It has more to do with the particular place's people, food, and tradition. Asians (or Japanese) have very strong correlation with the place they were born or raised. One example is the use of koseki (ŒËÐ). Koseki it is a document issued by Japanese government which states the person's place of birth. As long as you are not from the same "territory", they'll always view you as an outsider. This trait is further exaggerated when encountering a gaijin. Not only are gaijin come from a different territory then you are, they are of a different race from a different country. The territorial trait plus lack of experience with foreigner only make Japanese want to more distinguish themselves from gaijin. As for the causes of the territorial trait? I don't know how to answer that. Maybe someone on this forum can shed some light on this matter.

  16. #41
    Old Japan hand Zenigata's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 3, 2006
    Location
    Kansai
    Posts
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Many Westerners in Japan complain that when they ask something in Japanese to a Japanese person, they will almost always reply to an accompanying Japanese person if there is one. For example, if I am with my wife or another Japanese person and I ask some information to a shop attendant, real estate agent, metro staff, government official, etc., they will ignore me and reply to the Japanese person with me. This is not just annoying, it's plain rude and disrespectful. This situation even happened to me when I was with a Korean friend who didn't speak much Japanese, juts because she looked Japanese.
    This brings to my memory a thing that happened to me when I came to Japan for the first time, back in 1982. I was then attending a summer Japanese language course at an University in the outskirts of Tokyo, and among the students there were quite a few Americans of Japanese descent that were probably sent there by their parents with the hope of getting more acquainted with the language and culture of the old country.

    One Saturday morning I was at the bus stop outside the University gate, waiting to get on the bus to the nearest station together with a tall young fellow named Wada who was in the "beginner" class (I was in the "intermediate" class because I had already studied Japanese for two years in my home country). A middle aged man comes towards us and asks Wada if the bus had already passed (it was already two or three minutes past its due time). Wada couldn't understand a word of what he said, and asked me in English: "What does he want?", so I replied in his stead and said something like: "I'm sorry, he can't speak Japanese. The bus hadn't come yet, we are waiting for it too".

    I will never forget for the rest of my life the puzzled look of this guy looking in amazement at the "gaijin" who not only answered him in nearly flawless Japanese, but also alleged that his buddy, who looked so much Japanese, couldn't understand his "native" language.

  17. #42
    Curently lurking! *Bendetta*'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 19, 2006
    Location
    Santiago
    Age
    31
    Posts
    2
    Nice thread. And I see the point, althought I have never been to Japan, I've heard about these ways of them to approach people, and gotta agree with all this.

  18. #43
    Regular Member Sukotto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 9, 2003
    Location
    not Africa's great lakes region
    Age
    44
    Posts
    68
    I don't know about that 1st question.
    Asking someone whether or not they can eat something.
    Shouldn't we be able to eat just about anything?
    Unless we are allergic.
    Is perhaps refusing to eat something because we do not 'like it'
    seem a little stuck up?
    What if there was a food shortage?
    Wouldn't it be natural to eat foods that we don't necessarily like
    but need to eat in order to survive?
    And then perhaps the "right thing to do" would be only refuse to eat foods
    that we really "cannot eat".
    But, I know. There is not a food shortage. (it is only a food distribution problem)


    Take for example:
    lactose intolerance.
    Maybe it is a stereo type? that many Asians are lactose intolerant.

    Would it be even more rude to ask person from say Japan,
    why they don't like milk when they just can't consume it?

    Or is it more rude to assume that most Japanese are lactose intolerant
    and ask "can you drink milk?" ?
    I do not know. Maybe Japanese on average are not lactose intolerant?
    check out this awesome shirt.
    If You're Really a Goth, Where Were You When We Sacked Rome?
    no, i got nothing against goths. just think the shirt is neat.

  19. #44
    Junior Member kappa37's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 13, 2006
    Posts
    1
    Just stumbled onto this thread (guess it's been out here for some time). But just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents on this one.
    Check this out.
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=MqRFBv57cjw&search=hanetobi
    Kinda hits the "foreigner's can't use chopsticks" sterotype on the head.
    Enjoy.

  20. #45
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Thanks, Kappa. This video speaks for itself.

  21. #46
    Seeing is believing Minty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 26, 2006
    Location
    Paris
    Age
    34
    Posts
    116
    Actually some Chinese restaurants in Australia give fork and knives to non Asian people. They get the waitress to go around asking their clients whether they prefer fork or knife.

  22. #47
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location
    Pasadena
    Posts
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    It very rarely happens to me not to be able to find a topic of conversation. Remember that there are two aspects about the chopsticks issue :
    1) questions about one's ability to use chopsticks
    2) compliment on one's ability to use chopsticks
    The second one is never out of curiosity and usually not because of a lack of topic for discussion.
    In any case, when I was asked the questioned or complimented, it was when we were already discussing other issues and it came as something like "by the way, talking about food, can you use chopsticks". So it was often already part of small talks, and often in an already 'lively' conversation (not an awkward situation where one doesn't know what to talk about).
    I know it feels insistent on me to repeat this, but I really can't understand what this obsession with the gaijin's abilities to do banal things (chopsticks, futon...) is about. From my experience, after being asked these questions maybe between 50 and 100 times, I can say that most of the time it was not to break the ice, not to make small talks, mostly out of the blue, and the questioners' reaction was typically a great surprise when I told them that yes I could use chopsticks like everybody.
    This surprise at the fact that I could use chopsticks (after answering the question, or when they see me using chopsticks) has made me wondered over the years why they attach so much importance to so such an ordinary thing - while they are not surprised that I can use a bicycle, open a window, switch on a TV, etc. Unfortunately, this was combined with the same disproportionate surprise at the fact that, in spite of being a gaijin, I can eat sushi (yes, even unagi, ikura and kai), sleep on a futon, that my country has 4 seasons, etc.
    From the sushi and natto questions, I have understood that often they ask these questions because many Japanese do not like them. I could understand that some people may not feel comfortable sleeping on a futon or sitting in seiza. I don't mind these questions so much.
    I have recently inquried toward a few Japanese friends, and some of my wife's friends, about the four season issue. I explained to my wife why I feel irritated at this question, and she also knows that most Western countries have four seasons. So we discussed, me, her, and two friends about it a few days ago, and the three of them admitted that they were taught at school that only Japan had four seasons. A few people have contested this on this forum, saying that children are taught that most countries around the world do not have as distinct seasons as Japan. However, my wife and our two friends were sure that, in their case, they were not told that Japan has more distinct seasons, but that only Japan had four season and that's it. I asked whether they were taught that in geography class, but the three of them said it was in "kokugo" (Japanese language) class sometime in the early years of primary/elementary school (they also said "chichai koro kara iwareteiru" => "we were told this since we were little"). All three went to different schools, by the way.
    This has helped me confirmed what I had already asked dozens of people with whom I was less intimate. Japanese people (at least those I have asked) are taught at school that only Japan has four seasons. I admit that the people I questioned were almost only in their 20's and 30's, so it might have been different for older or younger generations.
    The same can be said about blood groups. From my inquiries, the Japanese are taught that they are mostly "A", why Westerners are mostly "O" (partially true, but a gross overgeneralisation as there are as many "O" as "A" in Western European countries). What is more annoying is that they are also taught (from my personal surveys) that these differences exist because the Japanese were farmers in "old times", while Europeans were hunters. As I explained here[/url], it is a blatant lie and completely wrong historically. I was shocked to see that even well-read, intelligent people having studied abroad believe in this, because they have never questioned it since the school days.
    Knowing this, we could wonder why they are taught such blatant lies as part of the national education system - not in one school, but apparently most if not all of them.
    That is where it dawned on me that it could be some sort of nationalistic propaganda known as "nihonjinron". I have explained this
    I may be one of the few foreigners sensitive enough to feel that Japanese were indoctrinated to believe that foreigners can't do this and that, that only Japan has for seasons, etc. I may be one of the rare persons to take this seriously, but I believe that I am right to think that we are dealing with nation-wide indoctrination based on the "nihonjinron". Japanese people of course do not realise that, and few foreigners have the necessary knowledge of Japanese culture, world history/geography, and psychology of education. I happen to be extremely interested in all these fields, and have the adequate experience of living in Japan for a few years, meeting lots of people. Other people in the same situation as me (as rare as they may be), may lack the sharp critical sense and questioning of the causes and reasons why things are the way they are. People who have spent some time on this forum will know that I am sometimes (often?) overcritical and analytic of things I take at heart.
    I may sound absurd to argue about "chopsticks". But people need to see the big picture. I know it's difficult for someone who hasn't experienced all these weird questions, or hasn't given it a second thought. Maybe it is time for all of you to pay attention to the people who ask you the chopsticks, blood group, 4 seasons or sushi questions. Try to feel how they feel. Try to see through their mind, guess their thoughts, and even better, ask them why they ask these questions, see their reaction and hope they explain their preconceptions. If they don't, ask them whether they think that your country has four season or not. Ask them what they were taught at school. Ask them why it is surprising that a Westerner living in Japan can use chopsticks. Ask them about their blood group and hope they tell you about the "farmer" vs "hunter" theory they were taught. Do it with as many people as you can, then give me your feedbacks here and let's compare the results.
    Please understand that I do not blame the Japanese who ask these questions or hold these beliefs. I blame the people who taught them, and ultimately the Ministry of Education that ordered/advised the teachers to tell those lies or inculcate those misconceptions.
    I think you should lighten up a little macomo and not try to impose your values on the japanese.

    Japan is not multicultural new york - thank goodness. They have a culture that goes back 1000's of years. And yes, it is a very insular culture in many ways.

    I find that with good humor, self respect and respect for others values most problems of being a foreigner can be overcome. But we will always be foreigners, to some extent. If you haven't found many japanese friends while you are living in japan then the problem may consist with you more than with the japanese. The japanese will accept foreigners as friends, but only some foreigners.

    The kind of nitpicking criticisms that you have or your role as a "social reformer" and know it all westerner wont go over very well. Why not try to accept the japanese people for what they are and learn about them ... they are a facinating and subtle people. I do sympathize with you though, it can be hard to be a foreigner in japan. Some people are not cut out for it and I don't mean this in a demeaning way... It does require skill, self confidence and sometimes a thick skin.

    But in my opinion, you are letting petty and small things upset you too much and you are influenced by too many 20 and 21st century western value judgements which may be ruining your time in japan.

    I'd take living in japan as a foreigner any day, over a place like new york. But that is me. I have come to appreciate the japanese people and way of life, including some of their foibles and predjudices...there is a wisdom to the japanese which goes deeper than the americans which could only have come from a unified people and centuries of traditions and culture. I don't feel it is my place to judge them especially considering the horrendous condition of my own culture and country in america, in the 21st century.
    Last edited by kellymich; Oct 24, 2006 at 17:10.

  23. #48
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location
    Pasadena
    Posts
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by godppgo View Post
    As for the causes of the territorial trait? I don't know how to answer that. Maybe someone on this forum can shed some light on this matter.
    It's a natural human trait.

  24. #49
    Regular Member Petenshber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 11, 2005
    Location
    Tampa, Florida
    Posts
    9
    I do agree that most of those questions can be offensive, but for me,
    i don't take offense to many things.

    Like the Chopstick question, i went to a korean restaurant once,
    this was the first time i had ever been to any kind of "Asian"
    restaurant and i had never used Chopsticks, i had seen them used.
    The waitress asked if i wanted a fork, but i told her i would try the
    Chopsticks, i think i was as surprised as she was that i handled
    them so effortlessly, she had a big grin the rest of that time.

    If i ever move to Japan i think i would enjoy the Japanese
    people's questions as much as i enjoyed that Korean lady's,
    even if they do sound offensive. But maybe that's just because
    no one in my own country seems to want to carry on any
    kind of conversation with me, not even a meaningless one.

  25. #50
    Banned
    Join Date
    Dec 18, 2007
    Location
    Cairns, Tropical Queensland
    Age
    51
    Posts
    20
    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker View Post
    When I got the chopstick question I was usually proud to show them how well I could use them. I never got tired of people complimenting me on that. I was even told my technique is better than many Japanese people.
    They were just being polite as to avoid embarassement.
    http://www.robsworld.org/chopsticks.html

Page 2 of 5 FirstFirst 1234 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Chinese & Japanese share same attitude towards Westerners
    By Maciamo in forum Immigration & Foreigners
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: Sep 29, 2010, 21:15

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •