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Author Topic: I Live In Japan  (Read 2303 times)

RuffGruff

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I Live In Japan
« on: 15 May 2016, 08:54 »

Hello.  :mrgreen:

I'm an American living in Japan. I've been here for four years. I devoted an inordinate amount of my life to researching Japanese history and culture.

Got questions? Shoot.

WAIT! NO! DON'T SHOOT!

Ask away...  :-P
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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #1 on: 15 May 2016, 09:24 »

What is your favourite thing about living in Japan? Also assuming you lived in the states before, what is something you miss about the states that you can't get in Japan?
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RuffGruff

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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #2 on: 15 May 2016, 11:19 »

What is your favourite thing about living in Japan?

Public transportation system, awesome food,  postal service, and socialized medicine.

Quote
Also assuming you lived in the states before, what is something you miss about the states that you can't get in Japan?

Peanut butter. I /can/ get it, but not a giant tub of it like I can back in the states. Mostly it'd be just bad junk food -- nothing you really need, but when you taste it, you get that bit of nostalgia going. Like moon pies. I would shank an old lady for a moon pie... >_>...not *really*, but I would consider knocking her over to reach them.
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Kugai

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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #3 on: 15 May 2016, 13:44 »

How hard was it adapting to Japanese Culture when you first got there?
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RuffGruff

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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #4 on: 15 May 2016, 23:40 »

How hard was it adapting to Japanese Culture when you first got there?

Well, having studied Japanese culture and history for so long I knew pretty much what to expect when I got here. There were a few surprises, seeing how they've melded a lot of older cultural concepts to the modern day (not very well, a lot of the time), but otherwise meh.

As for adapting? It's definitely one of those cultures that you will always be appreciated for emulating, but your efforts will never be accepted for doing so. In the United States, we're a melting pot (though some segments of society tend to ignore or hate that fact); we've got a lot of flaws, but accepting in and morphing with new cultures is part of our collective history and culture. In Japan, because the population is so homogeneous (98.5% Japanese), they have a particular outlook towards foreigners and foreign culture. They perceive themselves as being exceptional and without the need for change. Some segments of Japanese society still believe foreigners should be expelled from the country and the policy of isolation re-instituted (alongside with a return of the Emperor to power [*cue rolling of eyes*]) so as to keep Japan and it's culture and society "pure"; disregarding the fact that modern day Japan couldn't survive without international trade and cooperation.

If you're a foreigner in Japan, you get stared at a lot. Either because the person staring at you has never seen a foreigner in person before, because they've never seen a foreigner in the location your visiting or standing at, or because they're simply curious. It feels a lot like being a zoo animal, at times. When children do it, it's cute and innocent -- when old salary men (white collar workers) do it, there's likely a more malign meaning behind it. That's largely because there is an endemic racism to Japanese society and culture. It's not like in America or some other nations where if you're of a different color skin you'll face prejudice or whatnot. In Japan if you are not Japanese then that's it. That's the dividing line. Japan is one of the only nations on Earth that still maintains it's citizenship upon jus sanguinis - "citizen by blood". Half-Japanese children and people have faced tremendous hatreds, bullying, and even ostracism. It's only *now* in the second decade of the 21st century that being half-Japanese is not the same black mark that it use to be. Though the Japanese approach to this change hasn't been quite how you'd expect (or exactly how you'd expect); many women these days desire to have half-babies (as they call them) because half-children usually have attractive features and the ideal of looking Japanese but having blue eyes is a huge draw -- but for them it's more about a status symbol than having a child because you want a child.

Those are just a few of the things about modern Japan that are weird, disturbing, or scary (in some ways). But even for all that, there are positive aspects as well. I enjoy Japan immensely and don't plan to move away any time soon, even for all it's faults.
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Akima

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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #5 on: 16 May 2016, 05:06 »

As for adapting? It's definitely one of those cultures that you will always be appreciated for emulating, but your efforts will never be accepted for doing so.
In my experience this is true everywhere if you are a member of a visibly different ethnic group from the majority. I am an Australian of Chinese descent, and we are certainly not fully accepted as Australian, and from what I have observed this is true of people like me in the USA too. The "melting pot" is always pretty much an assimilationist one-way street of expecting minorities to adopt the ways of the majority, but no matter how hard you try, you'll always have your nationality hyphenated, and never quite be regarded as the "real thing".
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Detachable Felix

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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #6 on: 16 May 2016, 06:09 »

Honestly Akima you're far more a 'real' Aussie than the sort of people who would tell you you weren't.
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RuffGruff

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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #7 on: 16 May 2016, 06:50 »

As for adapting? It's definitely one of those cultures that you will always be appreciated for emulating, but your efforts will never be accepted for doing so.
In my experience this is true everywhere if you are a member of a visibly different ethnic group from the majority. I am an Australian of Chinese descent, and we are certainly not fully accepted as Australian, and from what I have observed this is true of people like me in the USA too. The "melting pot" is always pretty much an assimilationist one-way street of expecting minorities to adopt the ways of the majority, but no matter how hard you try, you'll always have your nationality hyphenated, and never quite be regarded as the "real thing".

At least you get hyphenated. You don't get that in Japan.
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mustang6172

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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #8 on: 16 May 2016, 18:36 »

Honestly Akima you're far more a 'real' Aussie than the sort of people who would tell you you weren't.

As Australians go, Akima seems pretty real, but I've yet to hear her pontificate about the virtues of Vegemite.
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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #9 on: 16 May 2016, 18:38 »

We don't all wrestle crocodiles and eat Vegemite, mustang. Although it is high in Vitamin B and highly nutritional!  :mrgreen:
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RuffGruff

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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #10 on: 17 May 2016, 07:48 »

Any more questions about Japan? :claireface:
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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #11 on: 17 May 2016, 17:08 »

I'm a Kiwi, and I consider both Vegemite and Marmite as creations of the Devil along with Nutella.

We often hear some horror stories about the rush hour traffic, both on the roads and the public transport crushes, are they as bad as the stories say?
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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #12 on: 17 May 2016, 21:18 »

is there one specific thing that irritates you, even after all this time?
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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #13 on: 17 May 2016, 21:42 »

No questions, just wanted to day hello from Kanazawa where we're staying for a couple of nights in the middle of our trip :) I have fallen in love with this city
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Welu

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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #14 on: 18 May 2016, 12:57 »

What brought you to Japan? :)
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RuffGruff

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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #15 on: 18 May 2016, 13:09 »

I'm a Kiwi, and I consider both Vegemite and Marmite as creations of the Devil along with Nutella.

We often hear some horror stories about the rush hour traffic, both on the roads and the public transport crushes, are they as bad as the stories say?

I don't know about car traffic, but I have to say that all the horrors of rush hour train traffic are under-reported. The old saying of "packed like sardines" doesn't even really come to the half of it. During peak hours if you don't need to be on the train getting somewhere, then don't. Simple as that.

is there one specific thing that irritates you, even after all this time?

People that smoke and walk at the same time. Bad enough I have to deal with smog from cars, but to deal with smoke from a cigarette from some arse walking in front of me? I'd be willing to punch them in the throat.

What else...well, put it this way: I get road rage walking behind people.

What brought you to Japan? :)

It was always my dream to live in Japan. I'd studied it's history for so long that it just felt natural to go there after university. It was also interesting that just about everything that needed to happen for me to travel to Japan, did. Selling my car, getting a job offer, finding a place to live, etc -- everything came together like ducks in a row. I was almost stunned by how fortuitous it all came together.
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hedgie

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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #16 on: 18 May 2016, 22:54 »

You're lucky.  My cousin still can't get a permanent visa to Japan even after getting married to a local and being fluent in the language.
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RuffGruff

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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #17 on: 20 May 2016, 06:53 »

You're lucky.  My cousin still can't get a permanent visa to Japan even after getting married to a local and being fluent in the language.

Well, to be fair I don't have a permanent visa either. I've got a 5-year work visa. Does your cousin have a college diploma? After or before getting married how long did he or she stay in Japan?
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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #18 on: 22 May 2016, 15:45 »

Chindogu. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chind%C5%8Dgu


Is that really a thing, and if so, is it a big deal?
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RuffGruff

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Re: I Live In Japan
« Reply #19 on: 23 May 2016, 10:10 »

Chindogu. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chind%C5%8Dgu


Is that really a thing, and if so, is it a big deal?

It's a real thing, but no, it is not a big deal. It was one of those gimmick items that they created and tried to sell. At most, if they're lucky, they might have sold a few thousand. Most women are smart enough to put their hair up in a pony-tail.
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