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Does Japan hate me?

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Does Japan hate me?

Postby b4d0m3n » Fri 02.24.2006 9:13 am

Or, should that be, will Japan hate me? I do plan on going there at some point, but the horror stories I keep encountering aren't terribly promising. I have heard that it is tough for a gaijin to get apartments, that people show contempt for you because you're not like them and that discrimination is prevalent. What I want to know is how true this perspective is. Is it warped by people reporting the bad things and not the good? Perhaps. Either way, I don't think I'd want to go to a country which doesn't want me.

So, TheJapanesePage, which is it. What are your experiences?
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby keatonatron » Fri 02.24.2006 9:47 am

If you're white, everyone will love you. They will all want to be your friend, and they will all want to talk to you.

Unfortunately, most everyone will also have an inferiority complex that will hinder the way they act towards you. They will WANT to talk to you, but due to their lack of English-speaking abilities, they will completely avoid you so as to not be embarressed in the case that you might try to talk to them. People will be afraid to sit by you on the train, and when you go to a store or restaraunt they will use lots of gestures instead of talking to eliminate the possiblity of you speaking English to them.

Actually... that's a big overstatement :) But it is true with some people. Choosing to come here can definately make it hard for you. You will always be a big, shiny minority.

Then again, it depends a lot on where you go and what you do.
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby GyakuGirePanda » Fri 02.24.2006 10:12 am

keatonatron wrote:
If you're white, everyone will love you. They will all want to be your friend, and they will all want to talk to you.


So..? what does being white have to do with if they will like him or not?
Last edited by GyakuGirePanda on Fri 02.24.2006 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby Mandrake » Fri 02.24.2006 10:44 am

Before I went to Japan I was told many stories about how awful it would be for me. I was told about how racist the Japanese are, and how they will generally look down their noses at anyone they feel is inferior to them. And how those who are not racist would probably bug me to practice their English.

“Bull Honkey” is the best phrase I can give for this kind of talk (well…without swearing). While I imagine some parts of Japan are less used to seeing foreigners as Tokyo is. I can only give you a true perspective on my own visit…

From the very beginning I was being treated with respect, and friendliness.

On the plane I sat with a girl named Hitomi who did nothing but complement me on strange things, such as my use of chopsticks (don’t ask me…I didn’t see it as a big deal.).

When I sat down to drink coffee people would smile and wave as they passed…unless they were a group of Japanese girls. They tended to giggle with each other and wave.

A group of children on an outing with school yelled ‘Hello’, in English, to me for no reason.

When I got lost and kept walking the same street, I was quickly helped by a friendly Japanese woman.

I can honestly say that the Japanese certainly make you feel liked and respected, rather than inferior and hated. As long as you show them the same respect, of course.

...man I wish I was back there…
Last edited by Mandrake on Fri 02.24.2006 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby b4d0m3n » Fri 02.24.2006 6:34 pm

I had hoped it was either an overstatement or simply a build-up of bad experiences. Rationally speaking, I sort of figured racism is either grossly exaggerated and rare. The things that bother me are sites like debito.org, with its Rogues' gallery of establishments which won't serve gaijin and the like.
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby Hatori » Fri 02.24.2006 7:12 pm

my best friend's dad lived in Japan when until she was like 2 or something and he said that they're racist-ish. but, i don't care about that. we still want to go to japan!!! i bet they aren't mean to people on the street anyways ^_^.
我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。我是老师。
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby aKuMu » Fri 02.24.2006 9:06 pm

well, racists are everywhere, sure there are in japan, but not evereyone is. like in germany, there are radicals, but, yes, not evereyone.
sure, the "japanese only" signs on clubs, bars onsen, whatever, are not nice. theyre things that have to be changed. what i heard is that the clubs and bars wich have "japanese only" signs are mostlikely owned by yakuza.
well, i would say if you encounter such racist japanese or whoever, just ignore them, your good impressions will be more :)
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby keatonatron » Fri 02.24.2006 10:09 pm

GyakuGirePanda wrote:
So..? what does being white have to do with if they will like him or not?


People here LOVE Americans. (and British and Australians). If you're white, you'll be seen as being from America (most likely). The only interaction with Americans that most people have is from movies and TV, so they kinda get the feeling that every American is as cool as Bradd Pitt and as sexy as... I dunno, choose some pop idol who's popular now.

:D

And, visiting Japan is much different from living here. Not knowing the language is a BIG thing. Kinda like the whole "Ignorance is bliss" thing.

Once I went to a bank to open an account. I figured one would do that on the second floor, not on the first floor with all the ATMs. So I went to the second floor, and not seeing any signs for new accounts, I went to the desk and asked, in perfectly understandable Japanese, "Where do I go to make a new account?". The lady's eye's got all wide and panicky and she started saying [English] "F-f-f-first floor. First floor! First floor!!", while using one hand to show a #1 and the other to point "down" in kind of a flaily, panicky way. Me, (Japanese) "Oh really? I didn't see it. Whereabout should I go?" But the only answer I got was, in English, "FIRST FLOOR! FIRST FLOOR!"

I think the biggest thing that bothers me is people's assumption that I CAN'T speak Japanese. I understand why people will assume at first that I don't speak Japanese, but when I'm already speaking it why don't they believe I can do it??

Anyway, I'm really not as down on Japan as my posts may seem. I love it here. I just want to present the seldom seen side of the situation B) And living here really is different than just visiting.
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby natemb » Sat 02.25.2006 12:02 am

I have lived in Japan for almost a year now, and I my experience has been almost exactly as Mandrake described. People here are very friendly and very helpful. I find that if I'm ever treated different, it's usually because I am different, and it's usually in a positive way. The most common example is if I look confused, that people will spontaneously come up to me and ask (usually in English) if I need help.

This often happens at train stations and such (which can be confusing to any outsiders, not just foreigners), but also when I went to the hospital recently and was confused about the procedure for the automatic reception, I had two different people come up and help me, one in English and the other in Japanese (and gestures).

As others have said, the most common reason people sometimes act strangely around foreigners is actually the opposite of xenophobia: people are very self-concious about their English levels, and many are afraid of being put on the spot with English, so they may panic if they have to interact with a foreigner.

From my experience, I have no idea where all the horror stories about prejudice and racism come from. The only thing I can think of is that these are special cases for parts of Japan that have particularly bad relationships with foreigners, such as around military bases. Besides the obvious things, like American soldiers sometimes raping Japanese women and getting away with it (they won't be tried in a Japanese court), it is my perception that Americans that come to Japan for the military are generally (and this is a generalization, not an absolute) less willing to try to fit in to Japanese culture and society than most other foreigners who come here.

To sum up: There is some racism in Japan, but I have lived in Kyoto (granted, a fairly international city) for 1 year, and I have never had any experience where I felt a Japanese was being maliciously racist towards me.
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby AJBryant » Sat 02.25.2006 12:24 am

it is my perception that Americans that come to Japan for the military are generally (and this is a generalization, not an absolute) less willing to try to fit in to Japanese culture and society than most other foreigners who come here.


As some military friends used to tell me when I visited them, trying to get them to go visit some festival or other cool event or location, "Tony, you CAME here. We were SENT here."

Tony
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby Machina Maw » Sat 02.25.2006 4:00 am

Racism is prettymuch everywhere, but I doubt that anyone anywhere would walk up to a foreigner and start blatantly abusing them with derogatory terms and the like.

Like in Australia, along the major cities on the east coast, there are a lot of Asians. A lot of people I've heard proclaim to "hate" them, but no one would ever dare to openly confront an Asian (or any other race, for that matter) with racist abuse. I'm assuming it's the same in Japan, even if there are some places where gaijin can't enter, I really doubt anyone is going to openly hate you for not being Japanese.
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby GyakuGirePanda » Sat 02.25.2006 11:27 am

keatonatron wrote:
GyakuGirePanda wrote:
So..? what does being white have to do with if they will like him or not?


People here LOVE Americans. (and British and Australians). If you're white, you'll be seen as being from America (most likely). The only interaction with Americans that most people have is from movies and TV, so they kinda get the feeling that every American is as cool as Bradd Pitt and as sexy as... I dunno, choose some pop idol who's popular now.



well, all im saying is that I'm black. and the Japanese people I've met in the past weren't racists to me. They really enjoy talking to me and send me authentic things from Japan. Technically, I am American. I was born in America and lived in America all my life, so... yeah. From my experiences, the Japanese aren't racist towards me. maybe its just me and maybe it might change. who knows.
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby keatonatron » Sat 02.25.2006 11:59 am

A lot of people will think American when they see black people too; however, Africans are much more numerous than African Americans in Japan.

And the Africans usually speak Japanese and not English, so you might not get as many people thinking they have to speak English to you ;)
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby robotussin » Sat 02.25.2006 2:56 pm

The funny thing is if your American, be prepared for silly questions/compliments.
prepared answers could be.
.yes, snoopy is from America.
.Thank you for complimenting my( japanese, chopstick use)
.you're english is very good.
The list can just go on and on. My encounters with the japanese in the past is that they are not rascist(not openly, anyway) and for some reason(i don't know why) love Americans. I'm talking a majour two to ten theroy here.
(2 in america a 10 in Japan) in D&D terms it would be a greatsword of popularity +8. Excuse me I went off on a tangent.:D
stay off the grass.
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RE: Does Japan hate me?

Postby Hatori » Sat 02.25.2006 5:38 pm

what i think is really weird is that people from other countries are getting fake braces to try and look like an american teen or w/e. my friends and i are kinda opposite and try to adapt the looks from the countries these people come from! i dont' get why people think america is the ultimate place to be... or even try to look like an american:D. lol
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