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Thread: Why become Japanese ?

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Question Why become Japanese ?

    There are various kinds of motivation for a person to change nationality. But the most potent of all is without doubt that someone wants to be recognised as a member of the society of the country in which they have elected to live.

    Japanese people are notoriously narrow-minded when it comes to nationality. For the vast majority of them, somebody who does not look Japanese is a "gaijin". In fact, even people of Japanese descent returning to Japan (the Nikkei), are still considered as non-Japanese.

    Just take the examples of Brazilian football players that have immigrated to Japan, obtained Japanese nationality and played for the national team, such as Rui Ramos or Alessandro dos Santos, and are still considered as "gaijin" by the Japanese. They are famous and most people know they have the Japanese nationality. Santos is even partly of Japanese descent. Yet, they were not born in Japan or pure-blood Japanese parents, raised in Japanese with the Japanese education system, so in a normal Japanese's mind, such a person will always be a "gaijin".

    Arudo Debito is another good example of how a non-Japanese looking person taking one Japanese citizenship, will always be treated as a foreigner, and even refused entry to some places reserved to Japanese, even after showing their passport proving that they are Japanese. Paper nationality hardly counts to a Japanese. To be Japanese, you must look Japanese, be born and raised in Japan and speak Japanese like a native.

    Just speaking Japanese like a native, or knowing more about Japanese culture and society than most Japanese will not make you any better accepted. I have seen myself, as a permanent resident married to a Japanese, that anyone that doesn't know me will automatically assume that I do not speak Japanese and cannot do any of the cultural stuff thought of as typically Japanese (even when they are not). Some people will say it is normal, as somebody who doesn't know me cannot possibly know how long I have been in Japan and what is my status. But many of those who know still treat me as if I were a freshly arrived tourist, or could never possibly get used to Japanese food, chopsticsk and sleeping on a futon, just because I am a foreigner.

    With this kind of mindset, it is hard, very hard indeed, to be accepted as part of the group. The Japanese are exclusive. They typically pre-judge people on their appearance, which blow up all hopes to be ever accepted as "one of them". If even a house-hold name like Santos is still considered as an "outsider" after playing at the Japan-Korea World Cup on the Japanese team, then there is no chance for a less illustrious citizen to ever be accepted by more than a few close acquaintances.

    So what is the point of becoming naturalised Japanese ? This should be one of the most disastrous action one could ever take in their citizen's life. As Japan does not accept dual citizenship, it would effectively mean having a paper nationality that most people in the society do not recognise, stay out of the group in the eyes of the group, and be treated as a foreigner in one's birth country (for visas, work, etc.). In other words, such a person would lose all feeling of belonging to a particular society, which could be one of the worst thing a human may have to endure psychologically.

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  2. #2
    Yuyurungul
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    I have no intention of changing my nationality, but I've been curious: how have you, Maciamo, been able to deal with that losing of belongingness and alienation that you've described?

  3. #3
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Believe me, there is nobody left on the planet who doesn't know how long you've been in Japan.

    @lastmagi:

    As for how he has been dealing with it, just read the last three million words he has written on the matter.

  4. #4
    Omnipotence personified Mandylion's Avatar
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    Personally, the only reason I would change would be if having a different colored passport extended legal(voting), financial (loans etc.), or social benefits (by which I mean access to public programs / aid) that I considered worth the trouble having. Knowing I could never be considered "Japanese," the decision is more of a legal question than an emotional issue, but that could be because I view the "traditional" interpretation of nationality and citizenship as outdated and not really relevant to how I approach my surroundings / construct my identity.
    Last edited by Mandylion; Oct 22, 2005 at 05:26.

  5. #5
    Your Goddess is here Ma Cherie's Avatar
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    I guess it's one of those things that no matter what you do, you could never fully belong. I wonder from this thread Maciamo, does Japanese society even want foriegners to become nationalized? Or has Japanese failed to recongnize that there people who want to become a member of society?
    "Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."
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  6. #6
    Yuyurungul
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    @lastmagi:

    As for how he has been dealing with it, just read the last three million words he has written on the matter.
    I guess... But I tend to see some of Maciamo's posts as more about describing the situation he lives in more than how he organizes his framework of thought when dealing. That is, how he actively shapes his own actions and how he mentally orients himself (pun not intended) to the society. Stuff that he keeps in mind to himself to keep sane, if he needs to when confronted with a difficult situation. Ah, I know I'm making it more confusing.

    I don't keep up with everything he writes, though, much as I'd like, so I'm probably mistaken.

  7. #7
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Anything more multi-faceted and not all in the same direction I'd be happy and very interested in reading.

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    Your Goddess is here Ma Cherie's Avatar
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    This reminds me of a word I heard that some Japanese tend to say, it's Kokusaika, it means internationlization, but Japan is still a closed society. So what does this mean to the Japanese?

  9. #9
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie
    it's Kokusaika, it means internationlization, but Japan is still a closed society. So what does this mean to the Japanese?
    It means westernization on the surface in several aspects such as business, culture, politics, technology, etc.

    Japan has a very little experience with immigration compared to other countries even though there are many non-Japanese who were born in Japan. I'm not sure how many naturalized Japanese there are in Japan, but it must not be so many.


    I'm also curious why they would want to become a Japanese while there are possibilities that they might have easier life in their home country.

  10. #10
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lastmagi
    I have no intention of changing my nationality, but I've been curious: how have you, Maciamo, been able to deal with that losing of belongingness and alienation that you've described?
    I am a permanent resident in Japan, but I have not taken the Japanese nationality. I wouldn't because of what I have explained above. Permanent residency is, IMHO, better, as it gives the same legal rights (except voting, but I just tell my wife what to vote, as she wouldn't vote at all otherwise), and allows me to retain my nationality (EU nationality is especially useful, as it allows me to live, work and vote in the 25 EU countries). As naturalisation wouldn't make most people recognise me as Japanese anyway, there is little point in having it.

    Mandylion, permanent residency gives me the same rights for loans as for Japanese citizens.

  11. #11
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie
    I wonder from this thread Maciamo, does Japanese society even want foriegners to become nationalized?
    Probably not. But as Japan is supposedly a modern and democratic country, it must allow people to obtain its nationality based on some criteria. Japan would be ostracised by the international community (esp. Western countries) if it refused to grant citizenship to someone married to a Japanese national, speaking Japanese, having a stable job, no criminal record, and having lived in Japan for many years. Other countries could retaliate by not granting nationality to Japanese citizens (that would be a serious problem for hundreds of thousands of emigrants to the US, Brazil, etc.).

    But for ordinary Japanese, paper nationality does not mean that one is really Japanese. Japanese people are still reluctant to adopt children from other (poorer) countries, because they do not want a "gaijin" in their family. Nationality, and being raised since infancy in a Japanese family with a Japanese name and legal Japanese relatives, still does make the person Japanese. They lack the genes, and therefore will never be accepted as a true and rightful member of Japanese society.

  12. #12
    Banned McTojo's Avatar
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    No reason

    There is no reason to become a Japanese national at all. The very social foundations of this country was architecturally designed to be homogeneous as far back as Yamoto aska jidai. For centuries Japan has striven to find that ideal face; that ideal image of nippon. And yes, influences & culture has come from a variety of cultures such as Spain, China, Korea,....the list is exhaustive. But, as always, Japan takes only the best from every culture and perfects it even more then labels it as Japanese. So, to want to assimilate into this society is like inviting regression because you can't grow here as a non-Japanese.

    Now, America on the other hand, was founded on the prinicipal of "bring your tired and weary" and " e pluribus unam--among many we are one" idea.
    In Japan, its" Don't bring your tired and weary unless he or she has a higher education and/or some ideas so that they can be fleeced." Read the source at the bottom. I can provide many more but I'm sure this one will be entertaining:

    http://www.slackersguild.com/comment...id=455&cid=971

    Finally, I like the idea that Japan is for the Japanese. Though, I love this country immensely I would rather take a back seat to social issues here. I would like to see Japan remain for the Japanese only because its beautiful that way. Arudo Debito actually knows me. We have exchanged e-mails on numerous occassions and I let him know that I don't like what he's been doing. I've been to the onsens where he's been rejected entry. I have never been rejected by any onsen and I've been to over 1500 since living here. I think for the most part is that he speaks in English to the counter lady and not in Japanese of which he is fluent ! He tries to do things his way and not the Japanese way or at least trying to for that matter.

    Be a token gaijin ! That's the best way.

  13. #13
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misa.j
    Japan has a very little experience with immigration compared to other countries even though there are many non-Japanese who were born in Japan.
    I am not sure what the "other countries" are. Do you mean the world's few immgration countries like the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand ? We could also add the UK, France and Germany, but like Japan, they had little experience of big scale immigartion until the 1950's. Many European countries (esp. in Easten and Northern Europe) still have no experience of mass immigration. Middle-Eastern countries, India, etc. have very few foreigners too (whatever they genetic make-up, as no country is really "ethnically pure"). Japan is actually the norm rather than the exception. The USA is the world's biggest exception in term of immigration.

  14. #14
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma Cherie
    This reminds me of a word I heard that some Japanese tend to say, it's Kokusaika, it means internationlization, but Japan is still a closed society. So what does this mean to the Japanese?
    It was a very popular term about 15 years ago. Nobody ever did really figure out just what the hell it meant.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    So what is the point of becoming naturalised Japanese ? This should be one of the most disastrous action one could ever take in their citizen's life. As Japan does not accept dual citizenship, it would effectively mean having a paper nationality that most people in the society do not recognise, stay out of the group in the eyes of the group, and be treated as a foreigner in one's birth country (for visas, work, etc.). In other words, such a person would lose all feeling of belonging to a particular society, which could be one of the worst thing a human may have to endure psychologically.
    The longer I live in Japan, the more I realize that thanks to the choices I have made and am currently making, becoming naturalized is the only viable choice for me. It has to do with the American government, which I found out recently will not renew passports for people who work as civil servants for foreign countries. I am currently studying to obtain my teacher's license in Japan, and if and when I am hired as a full time regular teacher for the public school system, I will fall under the aforementioned category.

    I don't mind giving up my American citizenship per se, because I don't feel like an "American" or that I belong to that society. I have felt like a foreigner in America for quite some time, as for some reason a lot of people there seem to think I'm not American, even though that's where I was born and raised.

    In Japan, on the other hand, I actually find it easier to fit in than in my home country. I think it has to do with the fact that in Japan, I am a minority and therefore expected to be different. I merely have to look in the mirror to be reminded that I am indeed different. This is in opposition to America, where I am in the so-called majority, but for some unexplicable reason, I am different.

    I think about what it must be like to be a minority in America. I have had a number of minority friends in the US, and I tend to like them better than white people. I don't know why, but I do know that they have now and historically have had problems, even in this "land of immigrants".

    I think about slavery, the lynchings, discrimination, poverty, and other things minorities in America have been subjected to over the years, and I compare my situation here in Japan.

    The only conclusion I can make is that although being a minority in Japan isn't perfect, there are worse alternatives. Perhaps the US is better today, but who's to say? I need only remember an ex-coworker from my eikaiwa days who got married to a Pakistani. When she visited her old home in Ohio, she got a very cold reception. She told me that on one occasion, someone said to her that Middle-Easterners are not human!

    The minor inconveniences we face day to day are insignificant in comparision to what numerous people have had to face in similar circumstances. I get annoyed sometimes, but I rarely complain. This is the life I chose, and it is my obligation to deal with the consequences.

    So to me the fact that it is difficult to be accepted in Japan is a non-issue when deciding whether to apply for Japanese citizenship.

  16. #16
    ‘Š•Ï‚í‚炸•s‘©ŽÒ‚Å‚· epigene's Avatar
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    I understand how Mikawa-san feels very well, because I've had friends who said the same thing, although decision to take Japanese citizenship differed by person, depending on background and career. Having a Japanese or American passport does not matter much, in terms of traveling around the world--though you may be seriously inconvenienced if you should decide to retire somewhere in the US...

    I don't know if I should be posting this in public, but I had an Amerasian friend born as natural American citizen who finally decided to take Japanese citizenship because she no longer has relatives in the US and her entire life and career are in Japan. When her Japanese citizenship was approved, she had to submit a pledge that she will revoke her American citizenship, which she did. But she never revoked her US citizenship and still carries an American passport...

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    Junior Member magoichisaika's Avatar
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    why would you want to become Japanese?

    I don't understand why a non-Japanese who is fully caucasian would want to become Japanese in the first place. The very thought of this is very weird in my mind. It upsets me very much to see Japanese-Americans officers and soldiers who wear US Solder's uniform occupying and controlling the country of their own ancestors. This is really a shame. I can see Caucaian GI coming over but someone of our own blood, it is very shameful. I feel this is very disrespectful to ancestors. I think it should be made treason to do such a thing. When I see Japanese-American US Marine with a Class A uniform, wearing Globe, and Anchor, it was very disheartening for me.

    I am tolerant of Kokokushijos becoming treated as Japanese and Issei born. I am also willing to see Nissei born who are pure Japanese blood or mixed Japanese, if with other asian. But the question of treating full 100% Englishmen a Japanese is out of the question!! Even worse is Englishmen who is not even married to a Japanese woman, but their own Caucasian woman and still wants Japanese citizenship. Very crazy. YOU PEOPLE ARE ONLY GUESTS, VERY RUDE FOR GUEST TO FORCE THEIR STAY AS FAMILY MEMBERS. I also feel it is not necessary for Caucasians to endure learning Kanji when learning Japanese, while expectations for Koreans and Chinese to master it, I have.
    When I see white guy in Japan, I expect only hiragana, and I am happy to practice my poor English. But with Kikokushijos, (sorry, I don't know English word for this) while I treat as Japanese, I am harder on them as I feel they have an obligation to learn all the customs and mannerisms of Japanese culture, learn 2000 Kanji, and integrate into society. This can be painful to Kikokushijos. On the other hand, a foreigner, especially a hakujin, I will treat as foreigner, but I will also be more forgiving in applying honne and tatemae. I expect them to learn none of our social customs, and if they only learn hiragana after 8 years, this is okay by me. I will continue to talk in English for you white people.
    So while Kikokushijos are eventually accepted as normal Japanese, they have to endure hardship of integration. I give a double standard of expectations. They can reclaim normal status, but they must pay the heaviest of price compared to Gaijin, who have to endure nothing in learning our ways. So for Caucaisan ladies, no point marrying Japanese men okay, unless he wants to become just US or something. For Kikokushijos, it is like going through a metaphorically speaking a social footbinding. They must learn it is haji, or shame in being different, and they must learn Japanese 10 times faster than foreigner, even if they left Japan at 5 years old.
    So I think jealous feelings for gaijin is not warranted here. Stay American or English, and remain just tourist.

  18. #18
    tsuyaku o tsukete kudasai nurizeko's Avatar
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    I don't understand why a non-Japanese who is fully caucasian would want to become Japanese in the first place. The very thought of this is very weird in my mind. It upsets me very much to see Japanese-Americans officers and soldiers who wear US Solder's uniform occupying and controlling the country of their own ancestors. This is really a shame. I can see Caucaian GI coming over but someone of our own blood, it is very shameful. I feel this is very disrespectful to ancestors. I think it should be made treason to do such a thing. When I see Japanese-American US Marine with a Class A uniform, wearing Globe, and Anchor, it was very disheartening for me.
    They arent occupying anyone, the bases are leased to the US or something, if you want an occupation, google it, you will be suprised how utterly miserable a real occupation is.

    As for the bases being there, well, assuming you can find a fair textbook which doesnt ommit major parts of Japanese history, theres the whole world war 2 thing Japan was involved in.

    I'll tell you how it ends: Japan lost.

    Live with it.

    I am tolerant of Kokokushijos becoming treated as Japanese and Issei born. I am also willing to see Nissei born who are pure Japanese blood or mixed Japanese, if with other asian. But the question of treating full 100% Englishmen a Japanese is out of the question!! Even worse is Englishmen who is not even married to a Japanese woman, but their own Caucasian woman and still wants Japanese citizenship. Very crazy. YOU PEOPLE ARE ONLY GUESTS, VERY RUDE FOR GUEST TO FORCE THEIR STAY AS FAMILY MEMBERS.
    If the world still felt the way you do the western powers would this momment still be fighting over the world, and your country really would be a mere colony of the US.

    Its not your decision where someone wants to live and make a life, if they get the governments legal blessing, theres **** all you can do about it, and your only making yourself look rude and a bit primitive by getting annoyed by it.

    "OH NOEZ TEH FOREIGNORS OFFEND ME JUST BY LIVING HERE!"

    Tough luck, get used to it, because with your country's abbismal birth-death rate you'll be seeing alot more of us and you will just have to deal with it.

    So while Kikokushijos are eventually accepted as normal Japanese, they have to endure hardship of integration.
    The Buraku cant even get treated like Japanese, so whats the excuse there? "we cant accept foreigners because they look different", you cant even accept your own flesh and blood, then you complain about american japanese soldiers (who are actually considored americans in every way) comming to Japan under a foreign flag, yet...that is their flag...they are americans....hmmmm...

    What many Japanese suffer here is the same reason white folk used to think blacks were different, its called racism, the western world grew past this (though it lingers in a few) decades ago, were still waiting to see the "noble" Japanese come join us.

    Luckily people like you are getting fewer and fewer with every year, with every foreigner that makes friends and family and a life for himself in japan, thats fewer Japanese living in self-imposed ignorance.

    If Japanese were so different from everyone else then you would be a seperate species, and foreigners couldnt marry and have a family with a Japanese person.

    Sorry but your dinosaur attitude amazes me, I only feel sorry for the Japanese people who were nothing but genuinly polite to me and accepted me as a fellow human being, having to even remotely be related to you.

    Gaijin, who have to endure nothing in learning our ways.
    Learning a new language, customs, and trying to make a life for yourself in a country arguably less welcoming of foreign immigrants then many other country's, counts as an effort in my books. If we really didnt want to or couldnt adopt "your ways" (read: culture) you would know about it, the western world is more then familiar with people who dont care less about the culture they have moved into.

    So I think jealous feelings for gaijin is not warranted here. Stay American or English, and remain just tourist.
    I will draw absolute pleasure and satisfaction from this so bear with me as I say this with a un-restrained tone of joy but....

    It is absolutely, utterly, entirely, beyond you, not your decision whatsoever in the slightest what we "Gaijin" do in japan, when we do it, and how we do it.

    Aslong as we get that magical government thumbs-up and abide by the Laws of the land, we can come and live in your country as and when we feel like it, we can work in your bussiness', we can shop at your super-markets, we can marry a Japanese man or women if we wish, we can raise children in japan, we can send them to your schools, your clubs, make friends with other Japanese children, WE can make Japanese friends, we can come and go in the land as we please as Japanese citizens, and you can do NOTHING about it.

    Get used to us "Just tourists" because us "just tourists" will be becomming "Just CITIZENS" in just ever increasing numbers.

    Not only is it morrally objectionable in this modern day and age to descriminate based on race, but aslong as Japans ever decreasing workforce needs workers, foreigners will be able to fill much needed roles in Japanese society.

    If Japan wants to maintain that nice pretty place in the world economy, it will have to get used to being globalised and home to citizens of foreign origin.


    I am so glad your kind are dying out, as slow as it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by magoichisaika View Post
    YOU PEOPLE ARE ONLY GUESTS, VERY RUDE FOR GUEST TO FORCE THEIR STAY AS FAMILY MEMBERS.
    My only response to this is that no one is forcing anything. One can not become a citizen of Japan without the consent and permission of the Japanese government. There is nothing I or any other foreigner can do force our stay here if the government says no.

    If you have a problem with caucasians becoming Japanese citizens, take it up with the Ministry of Justice within the Japanese government, as they are the only ones with authority in this matter. Taking it out on naturalized citizens helps no one.

  20. #20
    The Hairy Wookie Mycernius's Avatar
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    @magoichisaika: Read the below, as it seems to apply to you
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Japanese people are notoriously narrow-minded when it comes to nationality. For the vast majority of them, somebody who does not look Japanese is a "gaijin". In fact, even people of Japanese descent returning to Japan (the Nikkei), are still considered as non-Japanese.
    Can I be just as patronising when saying that I don't expect you poor little Japanese to master the English language, after all it can be hard for non-English speakers.
    As for marrying people of other nationalities, ever heard of something called love?
    I've seen things you people wouldn't believe...
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycernius View Post
    @magoichisaika: Read the below, as it seems to apply to you
    Can I be just as patronising when saying that I don't expect you poor little Japanese to master the English language, after all it can be hard for non-English speakers.
    As for marrying people of other nationalities, ever heard of something called love?
    You assume our new friend is actually of Japanese descent. I am not so conviced.

  22. #22
    Hullu RockLee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikawa Ossan View Post
    You assume our new friend is actually of Japanese descent. I am not so conviced.
    His IP shows he's from Canada. He should be the one to talk, while he (if he is Japanese at all) doesn't live in Japan. Some people...
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  23. #23
    Regular Member godppgo's Avatar
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    You see, many people have this double standard when it comes to issues relating to what he just discussed. They expect gaijin to be just gaijin and they just couldn't bear hearing gaijin speaking their mother languages(or just not used to) at a degrading level. At the same time, they use English at a level which many would consider inadequate.

    I also doubt if he is Japanese descent. Although many Asian in general(especially Japanese) think the same way as he does, most will try to avoid confrontation and would rather silence their inner thoughts.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by godppgo View Post

    I also doubt if he is Japanese descent.Although many Asian in general(especially Japanese) think the same way as he does,most will try to avoid confrontation and would rather silence their inner thoughts.


    LOL ... why is that,are you him or have you him in person


    Oh,someone Japanese or J-descent can't possibly be a Japanese because he has dislikes and discomfort toward Wapanese gaijins.


    Nope,only Japanese ( not most other Asians ) are narrow-minded as this poster presented himself from a Japanese perspective.Read some threads on Japan and WW 2,tell us how were Japanese avoid confrontation and silence inner thoughts.

  25. #25
    tsuyaku o tsukete kudasai nurizeko's Avatar
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    Wapanese gaijins.
    I always assumed the overriding give-away of a "Wapanese" was a near sexual fetish for anime or Japan in general.

    Most foreigners living in Japan from my understanding find anime so-so at best, and have plenty of criticism of japan.

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