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I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

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I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby Sairana » Wed 08.27.2008 8:18 am

... where cake grows on trees and you can have waffles for dinner every day!

OK, so I trust that the title of this thread has garnered the attention of the appropriate people in a position to give me some advice.

I have this friend. He claims he's sick of America, and wants to live in a "pure culture". He plans to be a translator.

I've been around these boards long enough to have read many of these kinds of threads in various circumstances, so I should be loaded with ammunition to throw at him and shatter his illusion. However, most of those threads involved very young people who are still in the "I know everything there is to know" stage, and the answers given to them are of the "When you grow up, you'll understand" type. The person in question here is TWENTY-EIGHT years old, and MARRIED.

I love Japan as much as anyone on these boards, but I do think I have a realistic perception of it, as well. I feel like I should prevent him from the inevitable culture shock and life-shattering bubble burst. Is there anything I can say to him, you think, that might help? Or should I just let him live in his fantasy world and chase his dreams? I have such a hard time with passive nod-and-smile.....
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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby richvh » Wed 08.27.2008 8:55 am

Sounds like the kind of guy who would start lecturing the Japanese on how they are losing their language from all the gairaigo they are adopting.

Pure cultures live only in petri dishes. Japan has never been a petri dish - even during the Closing of Japan, there was limited outside contact - and while the culture is, indeed, quite different from what your friend is used to, it is profoundly influenced by other cultures.
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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby swanie » Wed 08.27.2008 9:21 am

Isn't he helping destroy Japan's 'purity' by moving there?
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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 08.27.2008 9:41 am

The one thing a person can't outrun, no matter how hard they try, is themselves. No matter where they go, they will bring their emotional baggage. If he wants to move to a more pure culture, he'd be better off going to Mars or the Moon. Otherwise, his illusion will be shattered as soon as the 'newness' wears off.
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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby becki_kanou » Wed 08.27.2008 9:48 am

Sairana wrote:... where cake grows on trees and you can have waffles for dinner every day!

OK, so I trust that the title of this thread has garnered the attention of the appropriate people in a position to give me some advice.

It worked. I looked at the title, groaned to myself and thought "not another one of those", then I noticed you were the OP and did a double-take.

Anyway, I have 2 questions:

I have this friend. He claims he's sick of America, and wants to live in a "pure culture". He plans to be a translator.


Does he actually have any Japanese skills? I find it hard to believe that anyone who knew Japanese well enough to be a translator would still harbor such an exoticized view of the country. If he doesn't speak Japanese all that well yet, he'll be stuck doing eikaiwa or whatever and not working as a translator.

I've been around these boards long enough to have read many of these kinds of threads in various circumstances, so I should be loaded with ammunition to throw at him and shatter his illusion. However, most of those threads involved very young people who are still in the "I know everything there is to know" stage, and the answers given to them are of the "When you grow up, you'll understand" type. The person in question here is TWENTY-EIGHT years old, and MARRIED.


What does his wife have to say about all of this?
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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby vkladchik » Wed 08.27.2008 10:48 am

richvh wrote:Pure cultures live only in petri dishes.

Very well put!
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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby Mike Cash » Wed 08.27.2008 11:16 am

So what was it that did the trick for him? Was it reading Shogun or watching The Last Samurai?
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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby vkladchik » Wed 08.27.2008 2:28 pm

Mike Cash wrote:So what was it that did the trick for him? Was it reading Shogun or watching The Last Samurai?

Hey, the guy could be cultured. It could've been, you know, old episodes of スーパージョッキー he saw on Youtube.
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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby AJBryant » Wed 08.27.2008 3:04 pm

If he's not watching 笑っていいとも! he's missing out. ;)


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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby Mike Cash » Wed 08.27.2008 3:48 pm

AJBryant wrote:If he's not watching 笑っていいとも! he's missing out. ;)


Tony


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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby vkladchik » Wed 08.27.2008 4:31 pm

Mike Cash wrote:One of the few things I despise with a genuine passion.

笑っていいとも? Seems too innocuous to be worth despising. I save my negative passions for デヴィ婦人 and チャンネル桜.
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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 08.27.2008 5:05 pm

vkladchik wrote:
Mike Cash wrote:One of the few things I despise with a genuine passion.

笑っていいとも? Seems too innocuous to be worth despising. I save my negative passions for デヴィ婦人 and チャンネル桜.


I think the saying goes, to each his own. Your passions lay in a different location than Mike's.. :wink:
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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby Sairana » Wed 08.27.2008 5:45 pm

becki_kanou wrote:Does he actually have any Japanese skills?


I'd say his Japanese is about on par with mine. That is to say, very stunted.

I find it hard to believe that anyone who knew Japanese well enough to be a translator would still harbor such an exoticized view of the country.


I agree with this, and maybe for that very reason, he'll snap himself out of it along the way? He plans to be ready to move over there in 2 years. Maybe when/if that doesn't happen, he'll have had some sense knocked into him.

What does his wife have to say about all of this?


I don't know his wife. I would assume she's OK with it...

.........

The biggest problem I have talking to him about it is he doesn't give me any specifics. What is it about Japan that'd be so much better than the US? I tried asking him that, and now he's of the opinion that I clearly hate Japan. Meh.
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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby chikara » Wed 08.27.2008 8:29 pm

Wouldn't he be better off going and living with that tribe that was recently discovered in the Amazon jungle?

richvh wrote:.... Pure cultures live only in petri dishes. .....

Very true.

swanie wrote:Isn't he helping destroy Japan's 'purity' by moving there?

I agree. In order to be in a position to observe something the observer compromises that which they have come to observe.

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Re: I wanna live in a more pure culture, like JAPANs

Postby furrykef » Thu 08.28.2008 9:49 am

I'd ask what a "pure" culture is in the first place. Japanese culture is at least as mixed as any European culture, having borrowed various things from countries all over the world (but especially China). Presumably that's not really what is meant by "pure", though.
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