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View Poll Results: What do you dislike about Japan or Japanese people ? (choose all that apply)

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  • Concrete buildings and the lack of urban planning

    15 23.81%
  • Lack of respect of nature (concrete all along the coast, hills, few parks in cities, etc.)

    12 19.05%
  • Non-buried electric lines everywhere

    18 28.57%
  • Lack of thermic isolation and central heating in houses

    20 31.75%
  • 5-month-long muggy summers (except Hokkaido and Tohoku)

    21 33.33%
  • Natural disasters (earthquakes, typhoons...)

    13 20.63%
  • Lack of preservation of the historical heritage

    15 23.81%
  • Political corruption (amakudari system, government using postal savings...)

    14 22.22%
  • Police checks on non Japanese (e.g. gaikokujin torokusho)

    14 22.22%
  • People pointing or staring at foreigners, or saying "gaijin, gaijin !" or "Hello America !"

    16 25.40%
  • People telling you that gaijin come to Japan to make money, when salaries are higher in your country

    13 20.63%
  • Assumptions that foreigners in Japan commit much more crimes than the Japanese

    24 38.10%
  • Assumptions that almost all foreigners living in Japan cannot speak Japanese

    14 22.22%
  • Remarks inspired by jingoism (4 seasons, farmer vs hunter, etc.)

    13 20.63%
  • Ignorance about the rest of the world (cultures, geography, history...)

    21 33.33%
  • General denial or downplaying of war atrocities

    13 20.63%
  • Discrimination in general (toward women, young people, foreigners, burakumin...)

    30 47.62%
  • The education system (school + juku + homeworks and they still do not learn anything)

    19 30.16%
  • The exceptional Japanese ability to copy what China or the West did/does

    5 7.94%
  • Other (please specify)

    8 12.70%
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Thread: What do you dislike about Japan ?

  1. #51
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    you always think everyone can speak at least English (at least around Tokyo area)
    At least, you are quite a lucky guy.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obeika View Post
    However if someone chooses to dwell on the negatives that they have experienced here then "they" have the problem and not the Japanese people.
    I have to disagree with that one. If I glance over the dislikes, it is amazing how many foreigners find the same dislikes in common. One I notice that is missing is the pollution. But that might be relative to where you live and where you came from.
    Take discrimination. I no longer notice it on a day to day basis, but I am often the only one on the train with an empty seat beside himself. Even when I take the company bus, jam packed with people often no one will sit beside me. Yes, I shower twice a day, so it isn't a hygene issue.
    Now if I notice and dislike the discrimination I see and feel, that is my problem, rather than being a problem with Japanese culture/people? Sorry, I don't buy that. Just people a culture/people discriminate, doesn't mean you have to accept it.
    There are some good aspects about Japan. My 95 pound wife can walk home at 11 oclock at night from the station through dark alleys and I don't have to worry about her. When I go to the pub, I never feel that I will need to defend myself at any time. And I even enjoy the smoking hot humid summers.
    And some problems people point out (like ID check by police) has never happened to me. For one, often these guys getting the ID checks are riding bikes that either are stolen or look stolen. I make a effort to look like I belong. I have even called the police to my home to deal with some noisy construction workers. It worked, and the police were very helpful.
    Side note: the police here don't crack down on everyday crimes, speeding, noise violations, drunk driving, ect. They can certainly improve their image a bit in my eyes.
    Certainly the dislikes outweigh the likes. Pollution, concrete and wires are easily the biggest dislikes. It is just depressing, no wonder so many people smurf themselves.
    If you don't like it, leave - sounds good to me. When I get back home, I suspect there will plenty of things that annoy me and piss me off. But the big difference is, back home I can do something about the things I dislike, and if you make enough noise and other people agree with your view, then things will change. Here, you can't change anything.

    Kilt.

  3. #53
    Regular Member KirinMan's Avatar
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    But the big difference is, back home I can do something about the things I dislike, and if you make enough noise and other people agree with your view, then things will change. Here, you can't change anything.
    Really, what can you do about people not sitting next to you on a crowded bus back home?

    Really now, if you read my post you would see that I said dwell on the negatives, it is that particular persons problem not the Japanese people's problem.

    I have no idea where you come from so I can not say whether or not you can change circumstances there, but here if one learns to pick and choose the battles that they CAN win you can make a difference here.

    But dwelling on the negatives does no one any good.

  4. #54
    帰りたくない!! fuma_kamui's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaoru Hino View Post
    Japan is seem to be a modern country which accepts foreign culture (outside Asia) and which is prepare for foreigner issues...
    In my oppinion that is just a lie.
    One of the examples: when you came here, you always think everyone can speak at least English (at least around Tokyo area), but you just have to ask:
    -ちょっと、英語分かりますか。
    ...the japan is doing a lot of effort to be accessible (english?) to the foreigners. but you can't change all a country in 10 years only.
    and, european language are quite ''近い'' from english... you can't compare a japanese who don't succed to speak english and a european.

    to finish, i'm french, if you come in france, you would have some difficulties to be understood in english ... but this country is ''a modern country which accepts foreign culture and which is prepare for foreigner issues...''

    帰りたくない

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obeika View Post
    Really, what can you do about people not sitting next to you on a crowded bus back home?
    I have no idea where you come from so I can not say whether or not you can change circumstances there, but here if one learns to pick and choose the battles that they CAN win you can make a difference here.
    But dwelling on the negatives does no one any good.
    You are grabbing at straws here.
    Off topic, I dont take buses back home if I can avoid them, and as a male I would generally let an elderly person or a woman take a seat instead of myself, so you question isn't applicable.
    I do know that if someone decided to not sit beside me it would be for personal reasons, rather than general cultural ignorance.

    I think one of the very reasons why Japanese people dont try to change things is that they feel they are powerless to do so. I do understand your pick the battles you can win, its very Japanese, but, most people get in a habit of dealing with it, rather than fighting.
    I agree it doesnt do one any good to dwell on negatives. But to sit and watch your country rot into oblivion and pretend everything is peachy does not help either.

    The original post was, " what do you dislike about Japan ". I have met alot of foreigners in Japan. Many of them say they like it here. Some of the reasons I find are stupid, but that is my opinion. Interestingly, when these people leave Japan, I often hear back that they are happy they left and would never want to come back. On the flip side, many who dislike Japan often come back because, although they dislike, when they move away, they find there are many things they miss.
    I know I will miss the food. And the convenience. I also find in the business enviroment, service is generally good and people are very polite, although often quite ignorant. But I will never come back. I used to hope Japan could fix itself. Now I know it is the nature of Japanese people (the culture or something Japanese) that defines Japan and it is precisely why Japan can't fix itself. But, that is another topic.

    Kilt.

  6. #56
    帰りたくない!! fuma_kamui's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC1 View Post
    2. People who continually complain about how Japan is not like their home country. If you wanted to be in your home country, why did you leave and come to Japan?
    wouaouw... i saw it just now... i glad to see someone who think like me lol.
    i agree with you!! their is not any comparision possible between japan and europe, japan and america, etc...
    this cultures are too differents to be compare (bad english...scuse my poor level)!!

  7. #57
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    You are grabbing at straws here.
    Off topic, I dont take buses back home if I can avoid them, and as a male I would generally let an elderly person or a woman take a seat instead of myself, so you question isn't applicable.
    I do know that if someone decided to not sit beside me it would be for personal reasons, rather than general cultural ignorance.
    I dont think so, I think you may have missed the point of that statement. How can you be so positive that the person didn't sit down next to the "gaijin" because they were "gaijin"? Someone is making an assumption, I grant you that it may be a pretty fair assumption but it still is an assumption on your part. The point also was about changing what you can change and not force what you see as an issue upon a people that don't see it quite the same way as you do.

    I think one of the very reasons why Japanese people dont try to change things is that they feel they are powerless to do so. I do understand your pick the battles you can win, its very Japanese, but, most people get in a habit of dealing with it, rather than fighting.
    I agree it doesnt do one any good to dwell on negatives. But to sit and watch your country rot into oblivion and pretend everything is peachy does not help either
    Ok, yet I still am hearing, correct me if I am wrong, you are expanding your values and morals upon a country or people that have a very different view of things as they are.

    Also from what I have seen so far from living here is that this country will not change for you, but you have to change or adapt to this country. You meaning the foreigners that live here. Also as an extension of that, changing the things that you can and starting with the community or area that you live in you can make a positive change in the way people view or treat "gaijin".

    Generally speaking it works easiest with children first because most of them don't have any preconcieved ideas or opinions about "gaijin" and are truly curious about learning about them and their cultures. Most of their ignorance is passed on from their environment.

    The original post was, " what do you dislike about Japan ". I have met alot of foreigners in Japan. Many of them say they like it here. Some of the reasons I find are stupid, but that is my opinion. Interestingly, when these people leave Japan, I often hear back that they are happy they left and would never want to come back. On the flip side, many who dislike Japan often come back because, although they dislike, when they move away, they find there are many things they miss
    I'll agree with you here, as I have heard very much of the same thing as well. To each his or her own I guess.

    I know I will miss the food. And the convenience. I also find in the business enviroment, service is generally good and people are very polite, although often quite ignorant. But I will never come back. I used to hope Japan could fix itself. Now I know it is the nature of Japanese people (the culture or something Japanese) that defines Japan and it is precisely why Japan can't fix itself. But, that is another topic.
    Maybe we don't see eye to eye on this one, because I think it really is also a matter of perception as well. Many Japanese realize that there are problems with their system, but when the issue turns towards the one of foreigners they are blissfully unaware that there are issues that the foreigners living here face on a daily basis, for what ever reason. I also feel that they take offense at hearing their "problems" pointed out to them by foreigners, which is natural as well.

    Heck it isn't just Japan that hates having it's mistakes or problems pointed out to them by people that are not from there or live there as guests or otherwise. I can not blame many Japanese people for thinking that if the foreigners have a problem with it, then why do they stay here, leave if that is how you feel. I am not suggesting that at all, and as sad as that statement may be, I can in a way understand the motivation behind it. However I am not saying that I agree with the mentality.

    If anything is going to change here it is going to have to be a Japanese solution and not one force fed or dictated by foreigners. There are many issues on the table for the Japanese government and people right now and I think the problems are going to get worse in some ways before they get better, because from what I have seen so far in my time here is that the pendulum swings radically from one side to another before finally settling to the middle and a reasonable solution.

  8. #58
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    Obeika
    One last post on this, hopefully.

    My family is Japanese. Most, almost all of my friends are Japanese. You are correct, they realized Japan has problems. I don't need to point these things out to them, although sometimes I am guilty of making quick comments that could be considered insulting (even then, family and friends can't disagree with me, they might dislike what I have said, but it is an honest opinion shared by most). I almost have sympathy for my family, because they worry about their future, the economy, their grandkids and that is all they do. I doubt they will ever do anything about it. It is almost as if they feel there is no solution to the problems.
    Oh, but that is another beauty to Japanese life. Japanese life is easy. I have friends who have worked a company for 5 years, and basically done nothing. Taxes are low, it is easy to save, everything is convenient. So it is not difficult to be content, and I think most people are. But deep down inside, they worry. The other thing I have noticed is people have become content because some things are the norm. Take the excessive noise, or the concrete, people don't even notice it. It is the norm, they cant remember what it was like before everything was plastered with concrete and steel. Or if they do, they try to ignore it.

    I feel there are solutions. Maybe it is a different perspective. What I see wrong with Japan can be fixed, over time. Not gonna happen overnight. But it won't get fixed, because no one ever disrupts the harmony.
    Foreigners have unique problems (like discriminations ect). As others have said this happens anywhere, and generally here it only makes one uncomfortable. People don't get threatened or beat up because they are not Japanese (except in schools). I do agree with the statement if you don't like it, then leave. If you are here because of your family or simply to make money, then sacrifice and deal with it.
    So another difference of opinion, u feel Japan can fix itself. I think of it as the same way I see global warming - basically too late, and at the rate other things get fixed, it just isn't going to happen.

    Kilt.

  9. #59
    Regular Member KirinMan's Avatar
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    Kilt...

    Thank you for sharing that. I guess I am just forever the optimist and think that eventually people can learn to change things for themselves.

  10. #60
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    Yes, passive discrimination is 'better' from the point of being not violent, but it certainly affects one's life. It affects employment opportunties, housing choices, etc.

    To be honest, I haven't encountered a lot of violence in the US, so I don't know what I am missing. Violence does happen here in Japan, but it is rare. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen. One of my mates once got attacked in a club in Shibuya by a group of Japanese. He was drinking with another coworker, a Jpanese-American who had introduced him to the club. The Japanese-American left, and later my friend had people who started hitting him. The bouncers kept trying to stop him from beating off the group (maybe 7 or 8) that were attacking him, but didn't do anything about breaking up the attack. When he finally manged to escape the club (after no one in the club bothering to call the police, even though he asked for help), he found a police station and was asking for help, with some blood coming from a gash in his head. The police started laughing at him until he became angry and complained to them.

    Another incident was related by my wife's student. He went out with some of his Japanese class classmate, and got angry with a Japanese club bouncer because he didn't want to let him in with jeans in (this after allowing in some Japanese similarly dressed). He swore at the bouncer, who called his partner, and they preceded to beat my wife's student up pretty badly. His classmates were afraid to intervene and just helped him leave afterwards.

    kilt posted
    I think of it as the same way I see global warming - basically too late, and at the rate other things get fixed, it just isn't going to happen.
    Well put, and with a common 'shoganai' attitude here, things often don't change or just change very, very slowly.

  11. #61
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    There are a lot of awful things about Japan - just like every country in the world... it's all been said, though. So I'll just say that the one thing I can't stand about Japan is the amount of seafood they have all the time, because I'm allergic to seafood and that doesn't always leave me with a lot of options.

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by macadamia_cocoa View Post
    There are a lot of awful things about Japan - just like every country in the world... it's all been said, though. So I'll just say that the one thing I can't stand about Japan is the amount of seafood they have all the time, because I'm allergic to seafood and that doesn't always leave me with a lot of options.
    Well it is an "island" country. I kind of feel sorry for you that you have an allergy to seafod here, that is one of the reasons I like it here.

    I hope you find what you like to eat that doesnt aggrivate you allergies.

  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obeika View Post
    Well it is an "island" country. I kind of feel sorry for you that you have an allergy to seafod here, that is one of the reasons I like it here.
    I hope you find what you like to eat that doesnt aggrivate you allergies.
    Yeah, I sort of took an unhealthy habit to just dropping by at Mister Donuts and McDonald's. x_x

  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by macadamia_cocoa View Post
    Yeah, I sort of took an unhealthy habit to just dropping by at Mister Donuts and McDonald's. x_x

    haha.
    that reminds me.

    What I don't like about Japan: there are too many ミスタードナツ (i hope i spelled that right) (Mr Donuts)

    Here's why, a MrDonuts story if you will,
    An American friend and I went seperate ways for a while leaving Nagasaki seperately and were to meet up in Kyoto a couple days later at the station. Neither one of us had a phone so we had to call our Japanese friend on her cell phone as a go between. We decided to meet at the Mr Donuts. After many hours we figured out there were 3 Mr Donuts at or near the station. I ate 3 chocolate donuts over the hours waiting there. The employees may have gotten a strange impression about American-looking person and donuts.
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  15. #65
    帰りたくない!! fuma_kamui's Avatar
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    Thumbs down ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilt View Post
    If you don't like it, leave - sounds good to me.


    (excuse my poor english)

    i agree with this sentence. Really, i don't understand how several people can live in a country that they really dislike.
    The most part of the answer on this forum 'what do you dislike...' are complains.
    Ok, it was the goal of this forum, but in fact, it looks like a meeting for home-sick persons.
    me too, i have never had any problem with the police, and i can come back home after the midnight without a lacrymogene bomb (i don't find any traduction for this word in english) with me.

    please, i would like an answer about why are you in japan if you can't live here?

    and for them who are complaining about the japaneses who don't speak english... aren't you complaining if a foreigner in your country isn't able to speak your language?
    Of course, i don't say it for those who are here since a short time, but after a half year, or one year, i quite don't understant why you feel obliged to ask it.

    maybe if you were living or trying to enter in the system of this country, you could be more able to understand and accept this customs, etc.

    i don't pretend this thread to be a kind of lesson, but just a kind of point of view.

  16. #66
    Regular Member KirinMan's Avatar
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    I can understand the need for people to rant and rave about the things that they dislike or have problems with in living here in Japan, or for that matter any foreign country. Adjusting to living somewhere else takes time and quite a bit of energy.

    Yet the "problem" I have sometimes is the people that continually post their rants over the course of a period of time, somthing which tells me that they are having a really hard time adjusting or are just unrealistic in what they expect from living here.

  17. #67
    Regular Member Mr Man's Avatar
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    I hate the national obsession with consuming brands and accumulating status symbols, which just goes to further strengthen the idea that appearances are everything here. Although, not entirely unique to Japan only, it is a problem in that it creates an indifference to nature and preservation of resources, a tendency to feel entitled to unfettered self indulgence, which leads to obscene amounts of wastage!!! Most Japanese grow up in a highly urbanized environment. Their macro-focus on the environment is ultimately destructive, as they become accustomed to appreciating tiny nuggets of natural beauty within the ever expanding urban sprawl. Japanese kids lack even basic respect for the environment, i.e putting the garbage in a bin!! Couple this with the fact that municipal governments don't supply public trash bins and it results in the huge amounts of garbage you see everywhere.

  18. #68
    Regular Member KirinMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Man View Post
    it results in the huge amounts of garbage you see everywhere.
    Wow you know that's the first time I ever heard anyone complain about Japan being dirty. Interesting observation.

  19. #69
    Regular Member Mr Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obeika View Post
    Wow you know that's the first time I ever heard anyone complain about Japan being dirty. Interesting observation.
    Admittedly, this is NOT the dirtiest country on the planet, (India makes this place look positively sterile) but it's definitely not what I'd classify as a clean country either, probably because I come from one of the cleanest. (Mind you, if NZ had the population of Japan, I would probably have to eat my words) I could go on about all the postitive aspects of life here too, but those are things I don't want to see changed. There is always room for improvement, and to complain (constructively) is a healthy way to perhaps get a ball or two rolling.
    Last edited by Mr Man; Apr 2, 2007 at 21:33.

  20. #70
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    I've looked around here for awhile and I've seen a lot of good comments made by people regarding the stuff that can really get annoying for foreigners in Japan. But really, the way I see it, everyone in the world is annoying. It just manifests itself in different ways depending on where you're living.

    I've traveled quite a bit throughout Asia and it has given me a little perspective on what is the most annoying about the people of each country.

    One thing I like about Japan, contrary to many Asian countries, is the respect for lines. Nearly everyone respects the integrity of a line. Have you ever been to places like China? You'll always feel like you're second in the line, no matter how long you wait. You know what I mean?

    The one thing I hate is that every foreigner living in Japan is an English teacher. Whether you get paid for it or not is a different matter. What I mean is every foreigner speaks English (at least Japanese think so) and we're all expected to put out.

    I don't mind helping my friends out sometimes if they're interested in English, but I really hate it when I meet new people and they want to speak to my in English even though I speak their language at a much higher level. Sometimes I just want to fit in, or at least delude myself.

    There are other things too, but that's the most annoying for me. Later I can teach everyone what's most annoying about places like Uzbekistan or Yemen.

  21. #71
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    I don't get it much but it pisses me off when people casually assuming that you don't speak Japanese talk loudly about you within earshot. But then I love the look of horror & social embarrassment when I tell them that I understand & have found what they are saying about me to be very rude.

    The number of people who smoke also bothers me a little bit, especially in the station, right under a no smoking sign!

  22. #72
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    I have to say that the only thing I truly can not stand in Japan is that there is no sense of order in the video store. You could literally walk around for hours and never find what you are looking for! With the exception of some of the stores that seperate the movies by the leading man/woman.

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuma_kamui View Post

    Really, i don't understand how several people can live in a country that they really dislike.
    The word is gaman. I know it well. I know several families who continue to live in Japan despite everything they dislike about living here. For some, this is because of investments they can't leave; for others it's family, kids, divorce; I've met some veteran expats who are afraid they'd not find a job "back home", and so put up with it here for years.

    For me, it's because I came here expecting to show my kids something wonderful about their heritage, but before I was competent enough in the language and culture, I got us stuck with a bad investment in an area with a limited job market. Five years passed. Now that we have chosen to go home, we're facing an immigration process that could take a year.

    These things happen. Our problems are not the fault of the Japanese, they're mistakes we made years ago. But the result is that my family and I have to put up with discrimination every day on the streets, on the trains, at work and at school, no matter how good my Japanese gets, or how native-sounding my kids are.

    Try raising kids here in an ugly, working class neighborhood and see how "cool" Tokyo is. Forget seats on the train: my toddlers have been indiscriminately pushed, squeezed, and knocked down, elevator doors closed in their faces on purpose, just so someone could get to work on time. Try inviting families over... kids here play in parks, at school, and at the youth centers, but birthday parties? Play dates? Sleepovers? Trips together? "Best friends?" Hasn't happened for us, not once, not with Japanese families.

    I envy those of you who would criticize the negativity of this post, you with your bright, cheery feelings about how hip everything is here, or how you found yourself in Japan, or how Japan's problems are no worse than anywhere else's. But this is not a political view: it's a personal view, of a Dad who wants more for his kids.

    Earlier quote: "Go home!"
    I wish! I never liked it here, and I'm taking my family home as soon as I can. But in the meantime, our mere presence here does not justify the ostracism that we face every day.

  24. #74
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    Lately it has been people who make unfounded/unsourced comments (both positive or negative) based on hearsay or a single experience, also people who take any negative comments about Japan as some sort of personal affront and refuse to see the reality right infront of them.

    (On a different forum I made a light comment that the government must be using some sort of revolving door policy when it comes to top ministers, pointing out that 7 full and vice ministers have retired this year, and someone argued that it has no effect, then got annoyed when I asked if he was suggesting that he meant that he was suggesting the government does nothing... riiiight)
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  25. #75
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    i hate the fact that the japanese youth are forgetting their own culture and traditions due to westrenization!!

    the culture i loved and embraced is fading away

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