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Thread: What is your image of Japan ?

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Question What is your image of Japan ?

    I'd like to make a little survey to know what spring first to mind when people hear the word "Japan". I am especially interested in how people who haven't been to Japan imagine it. For some it will be the technology (Sony, Panasonic, Casio...), the video games or the cars, while for others it will be the samurai, geisha or mount fuji. I am interested in false images of Japan as well. I often hear that Japanese people wear mask to protect themselves from the air pollution. No Japanese people don't live in capsule hotels, but yes they always remove their shoes before entering a house, eat rice everyday and have few holidays.

    I thought of posting a poll, but 10 choices are too few and it will biase the results. I'd like to hear raw ideas. Please specify if you have been to Japan or not and how you did, what was different of the idea you had before going.

    For myself, I thought Japan was more modern that it actually is. I was shocked by the ugly architecture and the lack of shiny glass skyscrapers like in Hong Kong and in big North American or Australian cities. Of course, I realised later that it was because of the earthquakes. Still, taxis are older than in most developed countries, even older than in Thailand or Korea.

    I hoped for beautiful traditional towns or districts, but most were destroyed, if not by the war, by concrete-loving officials trying hard to "modernise" their country by pulling down everything that is not hard, clean-cut and sterile. I didn't expect too much for Tokyo, but was dismayed by the concrete blocks in Kyoto (that hasn't been bombed during WWII).

    I didn't expect to see so many kimonos in the streets. I thought they'd only be worn on very special occasion, but lots of older women wear them almost everyday (in Ginza at least).

    I don't know why, but I thought they'd be a monorail going all around the city. I may have seen monorail pictures of Tokyo when I was a child and kept it in mind.

    I was surprised to find crumbling wooden houses still inhabited right in the center of Tokyo.

    I thought they'd be video game parlour everywhere, but instead it was pachinko.

    I imagined Tokyo very polluted (and also thought masks were for this), but I found a clean and relatively quiet megapolis instead.

    I thought I'd meet master of martial arts at every corner like in karate kid, but people prefer sumo (judo and karate seem less popular in Japan than in Europe).


    Your turn now...;)
    Last edited by Maciamo; Sep 29, 2002 at 00:24.

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  2. #2
    Regular Member moyashi's Avatar
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    lol ... I thought you'd be able to find Ninja training schools. Also, I was surprised how backwards Japan was compared to what I thought it would be like.

    I studied and met a lot of Study Abroad students so my image was pretty much watered down and normalized before coming.
    crazy gonna crazy

  3. #3
    Regular Member deborah gormley's Avatar
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    I beleived japan to be so high tech, and as mentioned above full of polutions and the modern type great warrior on the corners of streets, I also thought that (in contridiction of myself) japan was full of passive people, takeing orders from westerners, bowing and removeing other peoples shoes as a form of respect ect, serving tea and constantly smileing at each other, respecting everybodies wishes and neglecting their own, this has been an image that I grew up with, maybe due to t.v and never really meeting a Japanese person in flesh and blood terms, The remarks in your post Maciamo, are very true to what I beleived, with the exception of those crumbling wooden houses that are still used for living in the center of tokyo, that shocks me!
    I have never been to Japan, but its a passion of mine to travel there someday, and see Japan, Tokyo for myself, but untill then, its posts such as these that keep me totally hooked on this part of the world, and dream of one day walking down a street in Tokyo watching life pass me by,maybe sit and watch all that I have imagioned and learned about Japan unfold before my eyes,
    Debs

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    lol.. here in uae , here is our image of the "japan" ppl
    Small eyes , & short body , big minds playall the day creat every day new stuff , living in islands (like hawai) , every day wars in japan of the samurai looool , ninja is the police & this stuff .

    we got this images from the philipines here who works servents or in burger shops & from the anime , & the samurai stories .

    i know this is very wrong image , but the problem there is not much relation between the arabianworld & japan

  5. #5
    Decommissioned ex-admin thomas's Avatar
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    I had no clue of Japan before I got "personally involved". I imagined Japan to be an island of workaholics, or better, workamanicas who spend their annual five days of holidays visiting 10 European countries in three days.

    Well, my views have changed since then, lol.

  6. #6
    Banned arnadstephen's Avatar
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    Never Been To Japan

    I AM VERY INTRESTED IN JAPAN BUT HAVE N-E-V-E-R BEEN


    What comes to mind

    --> Tokoyo

    --> Bullet Train

    --> Quality Products

    --> Far Away from Florida

    --> World War II

    --> Teenage Girls, fashion crazy

    --> Polite, Respectfull people

    --> Passive people, too passive

    --> Study and work hard, but politicians very corrupt

    _.

  7. #7
    Banned arnadstephen's Avatar
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    2nd: What Is Your Image

    Other thoughts

    --> Very Modern technology with Old tradtions mixed in

    --> Very clean

    --> Low crime rate, for street crime

    --> Men work long hours

    --> A lot of Girlie/Porno stuff

    --> Houses with very small yards

    --> Everything is expensive

    --> Last but not least, very very beautifull women

    _.

  8. #8
    Banned arnadstephen's Avatar
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    -> What is your... of JJJJJJJJJJapan

    Just out of curiosity, what are the goals of this survey ?


    | |
    | |
    V V
    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

    I'd like to make a little survey to know what spring
    first to mind when people hear the word "Japan".
    I am especially interested in how people who haven't
    been to Japan imagine it.

    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

    stephen - florida
    _.

  9. #9
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    Before i went to australia, i never met any japanese * yeah in the store where i used to work, she had such a lovely credit card* before that, i almost knew nothing about japan, besides the Samurai , rice, geisha's... but yeah.. if you would say China, or japan to me at that time, i would have said.. uuuh isnt that the same...

    but yeah later on after i get to know more about japan, when i heard the word japan, i thought of Sakura, my wife, sushi, rising sun, and geisha's

    i have been in japan, and yeah my wife is .. well Beautiful haha.. i didnt see a real sunrise, so it really depens where you are of course.. i didnt see a freaking Geisha,,, i walked in GION kyoto,, but didnt see any geisha or maiko... what a disapointment that was ... sushi i saw a lot, but yeah there is a lot of more food that just sushi, i found that out too!!!! and yeah the Sakura i havnt seen that one yet....

    i saw to many pachinko's that suprised me a lot, and all the new cars they drive in... you wont see that in here thats for sure... so yeah my first imagines of japan were soo much differnt then how i think about japan now... i love japan even i have been there just 1 month!!!

  10. #10
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    I must be some kind of freak. Of course I knew about samurai, Toyota, Honda, WWII, etc. However when I first came to Japan I honestly had no preconceived notions in mind. It was the country of the woman I loved (notice I'm still single 9 years later. I really dropped the ball on that one...), and up to that point I had absolutely no interest in Japan one way or the other.

  11. #11
    Angel of Life Kara_Nari's Avatar
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    After being in Korea for 5 months or so, I was so surprised at how clean Japan was, it is much more orderly also. I love that I didnt have to use the subway entrances to cross under the street.
    Everybody throws their garbage into the bins, also I was surprised at the politeness of people bowing (inside their cars) when you stopped to let them drive past. In Korea im just lucky if I dont get run over.
    I was surprised about the ancient taxis also, would have thought there would be something a little bit more modern, but they are comfy, and the doors are cool.
    I wasnt expecting as many hostess bars as there were, and that the handsome guys standing on the street were hosts, or doormen.
    I knew a fair bit on Japan before going, so it wasnt too much of a culture shock. I felt more at home there than I have in Korea.

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

  12. #12
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kara_Nari
    After being in Korea for 5 months or so, I was so surprised at how clean Japan was, it is much more orderly also. I love that I didnt have to use the subway entrances to cross under the street.
    Everybody throws their garbage into the bins, also I was surprised at the politeness of people bowing (inside their cars) when you stopped to let them drive past. In Korea im just lucky if I dont get run over.
    I had the exact reverse surprise going to Seoul.

    I was surprised about the ancient taxis also, would have thought there would be something a little bit more modern, but they are comfy, and the doors are cool.
    I was shocked too. The taxis in Thailand or Turkey are more modern than the Japanese ones (except for the automatic door, and some gadgets like GPS, but that's not the car itself).

    I wasnt expecting as many hostess bars as there were, and that the handsome guys standing on the street were hosts, or doormen.
    Guess you are referring to Nakasu in Fukuoka, the equivalent of Ginza or Kabukicho in Tokyo (more like Kabukicho in fact).

  13. #13
    Angel of Life Kara_Nari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I had the exact reverse surprise going to Seoul.



    I was shocked too. The taxis in Thailand or Turkey are more modern than the Japanese ones (except for the automatic door, and some gadgets like GPS, but that's not the car itself).



    Guess you are referring to Nakasu in Fukuoka, the equivalent of Ginza or Kabukicho in Tokyo (more like Kabukicho in fact).
    Funny that, I was sick for a week after I got to Seoul, even coming back to Busan last week, I was coughing 2 hours after coming off the ferry.

    Hahha when I first got to Bangkok, my impression of the taxis were that young 'cool' guys were driving them, because they looked similar to the ones that the 'cool' guys drove in NZ. Not your typical mainstream taxi. Bright orange, and groovy blue.

    Yeah, I was staying close to Nakasu, great place, eye opening hahaha. Wouldnt want to be a prude wandering through there at night. It amazed me how DEAD it was during the day too!

  14. #14
    ええ・・・ 512kb's Avatar
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    When I first hear the word Japan, I often think of two Japanese girls with peace-signs in a photo ^_^. I also always think of people walking/biking across cross-walks, and tall buildings. And OOOOHH I saw a picture of a whole bunch of trees lit up in blue in December, so now I think of that, also. Shinjuku I think is where it was? Basically, I think of a lot of stuff. Massive <3 to Japan.
    Last edited by 512kb; Sep 24, 2005 at 13:05. Reason: Forgot some words ._.
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    Regular Member Tokis-Phoenix's Avatar
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    When i think of japan i think of cherry blossom trees, old ladys in kimono, slim young japanese girls school girls, sushi, hard working types doing long hours, sake, anime and nightlife.

  16. #16
    Regular Member Gaijinian's Avatar
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    I was very unpleasantly surprised by the way they drive! I felt so vulnerable, but when I went to put on my seatbelt, they replied, "No, no, no," and said only the people in the front seat buckle up.

    I was also surprised at how few spoke English (to any understandable degree)...

    And, by how cool, and dynamic the vending machines were (I think it is funny that Jon Stewart’s 'America' book has a vending machine of human organs in Japan!)...

    Hmm, what else... How people ALL had a keitai in Tokyo; and used it at ANY chance they got, even if for a few seconds!

    How funny and open the kids were.

    How bluntly the old guys stared...

    The food was better that I thought...

    I was also very surprised to see SO many Chinese restaurants in Tokyo.
    これからも絶対頑張る〜

  17. #17
    Regular Member Tokis-Phoenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaijinian
    Hmm, what else... How people ALL had a keitai in Tokyo; and used it at ANY chance they got, even if for a few seconds!
    Tokyo.
    Stupid question: whats keitai?

  18. #18
    Hullu RockLee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tokis-Phoenix
    Stupid question: whats keitai?
    cellphone
    ~ Parempi hullu kuin tyls&auml; - Better crazy than boring ~
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  19. #19
    Your Goddess is here Ma Cherie's Avatar
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    My image of Japan.

    Very hardworking

    Technologically advanced (then again, I still don't understand Hello Kitty)

    Perverted (not all Japanese folks of course)

    Difficult educational system

    Very crapped subways ( in large cities such Tyokyo, Kyoto, etc).

    Very creative game developers

    These are just some of my images of Japan from what I've studied. I've never been there.
    "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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  20. #20
    tsuyaku o tsukete kudasai nurizeko's Avatar
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    The first thing i think f when i hear "Japan" is a bustling urban jungle, with a few older buildings and shrines sticking out, with wooded hills in the distance if not more urban jungle.

    I also think "hey thats the country that spawned the greatest curse and the greatest blessing on my life".

    If you can understand it, japan to me now is part of my girlfriend (japanese) it doesnt feel like, she is part of japan, to me now it just seems part of her, part of what makes her unique and special, then the fact she is japanese so yeah, Japan to me also reprisents a unique aspect of my S/O, just as much as i identify myself as scottish and makes part of me who i am.

  21. #21
    Koyaniskatsi yukio_michael's Avatar
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    A lot of what I thought I might find in Japan I had an idea about most probably from reading Maciamo's posts! Seeing people walking about in yukata and kimonos has a nice charm to me, and especially at summer matsuri, seeing a throng of yukata and people shouting and parading through the street was one experience that was completely new to me.

    I'm surprised at times how difficult it is to find certain electronics, you need to drive all over just to find certain computer parts and if you want to really have a hassle-free search wind up just going to Akihabara...

    I was surprised by the number of tourists in Ueno/Akihabara as well...

    I'm surprised by the lack of diversity in food, korean and chinese and japanese are represented, but beyond that, you really have to hunt down alternatives... and don't get me started on pizza.
    Last edited by yukio_michael; Sep 25, 2005 at 13:42.
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  22. #22
    Regular Member Gaijinian's Avatar
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    I will say this--going to Japan is a real confidence booster. I felt like a comedian... just for replying "Hi" when the word HELLO was shouted at me.
    Two girls nearly fell off their bikes laughing because of merely that... Maybe they were mocking me...

  23. #23
    Angel of Life Kara_Nari's Avatar
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    About the lack of diversity on food.... dont bother coming to Korea then!
    I was actually happy that I could eat some of my favourite things in Japan, I could buy certain products which are nearly impossible to find in Korea. Sour cream was one thing, which it took me 4 months to find ONE place in my city (second largest in Korea) that sells it. Doesnt matter anymore because im lactose intolerant, but sometimes I just get a craving for it.

    I thought the vending machines here were cool, but NO Japans are the best ever!!!! The fact that you can use your cellphone to pay for things in the vending machine!!! They're everywhere too!!!! I would spend about 40minutes checking out the vending machines just around the block where I was staying, trying to decide what I wanted to drink!

    100 yen shop is VERY cool, sadly they closed down the HUGE one in Tenjin, maybe 3 weeks ago, or less, so had to go to another one just down the road, which was still cool, but not as big.

  24. #24
    天才じゃん! blade_bltz's Avatar
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    I guess the thing that really surprised me was the low level of English spoken by your average Japanese person.

  25. #25
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    whenenver i hear the word "Japan" the first thing comes to my mind is Ninja and other things like kimonos, sushi, samurai, workoholic people, anime and manga, sakura trees, matsuri and ......

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