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All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

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All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby ohemgee » Tue 05.10.2005 1:24 am

I'm not sure how well I can comment on this topic, and this is purely through my observations and articles, revelations, etc I have read.

Japan seems overly concerned about how they appear to other people. In a way, it's a good thing, because I know some citizens of other countries who don't mind looking like total slobs in public or otherwise. However, when it interferes with being able to do the right thing, it's a little unsettling.

For example: Japan boasts about how safe its country is, and how their crime rates are so low. However, consider this; police districts have incentives to make sure the amount of crimes reported for the statistics at the end of the year are relatively low, and this leads to lax documentation, and improper reporting and responding to crimes. A good deal of crimes go ignored by police, and unreported by the victims because the police are so ineffective. The police also fail to take into account during statistics time the yakuza-related activities. Will we ever see the Ministry of Justice take care of this? See below.

Example 2: The educational system. It needs some reform, particularly in the way kids are taught and disciplined.. Will we ever see it? To attempt reform is to admit that the Board of Educations have failed in their jobs in some aspect, and that would hurt their pride. It all comes down to pride and honor.

It shouldn't be so surprising, considering that a good deal of their social culture hinges on pride and honor. Appearances are everything. It's why Japanese salarymen work so hard to look like they're working hard, even when it's a relatively easy job, and they're exhausted every day.

What do you think? Do the Japanese come off as being a little too superficial in certain aspects of society? Comments and corrections are greatly appreciated.
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RE: All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby Smooth » Tue 05.10.2005 3:11 am

I can't really comment towards the education aspect of your post, but I can definitly talk about the crime issue. I also can only speak about what I know about the JP's (Japanese Police) in Okinawa. I've noticed that in Okinawa there is a very large double standard when it comes to the enforcement of the laws.

It seems that any minor and/or major incident involving a foreigner and a national, no matter who started it, the foreigner will be the one arrested. A few months ago this taxi cab killed a Marine, accidently, because the Marine was coming out of his car and the taxi was speeding. The taxi took the Marine and the door of the car. During the trial, it was proved that the Marine was in the wrong for coming out of the car on the wrong side.

A slap on the wrist for the taxi driver for speeding.

One of many incidents where Gaijin get treated like trash at every possible oppurtunity. I say that Japan is very safe though. The Yakuza that I know are all bark and sharp bite, but they really don't bite a lot. They aren't prone to random violence.
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RE: All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby Spaztick » Tue 05.10.2005 4:52 pm

I can speak a bit for the education part. The Japanese do have a sorry education system, considering they copied the American's, which is ranked 13th in the world. That's pretty sorry seeing as how we're one of the top world powers. But, of course it isn't just copying us that did it.

The Japanese learn everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) by rote memorization, which as we all know doesn't stick in your head for too long unless you do it over and over and over, and over again. They learn everything like this (as already emphasized), including college and what they need to know when they get a job somewhere. For most people this might be ok, but for higher-up college students they get burnt out after years of studying and just want to go to sleep, but thier jobs demand a lot from them as well.

This does tie to the economy and business side, but I'll touch briefly on this.

Since Japanese are overworked after the baby boomers (more people were born after WWII, just like here) there are fewer people to work and so workers stay later. I read more of this on an article, if I hunt it down I'll repost it.

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RE: All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby Matsumoto_hideto » Tue 05.10.2005 7:09 pm

Spaztick wrote:
I can speak a bit for the education part. The Japanese do have a sorry education system, considering they copied the American's, which is ranked 13th in the world. That's pretty sorry seeing as how we're one of the top world powers. But, of course it isn't just copying us that did it.

The Japanese learn everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) by rote memorization, which as we all know doesn't stick in your head for too long unless you do it over and over and over, and over again. They learn everything like this (as already emphasized), including college and what they need to know when they get a job somewhere. For most people this might be ok, but for higher-up college students they get burnt out after years of studying and just want to go to sleep, but thier jobs demand a lot from them as well.

This does tie to the economy and business side, but I'll touch briefly on this.

Since Japanese are overworked after the baby boomers (more people were born after WWII, just like here) there are fewer people to work and so workers stay later. I read more of this on an article, if I hunt it down I'll repost it.

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i find that to be a very uneducated answer. I can see that you have crealy not researched this topic in depth. Plus it seems very biased.

Calling the japanese educational system a mirror of america is not only false but can be interpreted as a joke. Their school systems and those in Asia are at least ten fold of America. I have first and third hand accounts of this.

though you maybe wrong with your cultrual connection you are correct with your comment on memorization. which is why their system is flawed in that sense.

But i dont think its write to call a countrys educational system "sorry" when they have a literacy rate exceeding 99%
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RE: All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby battousai » Tue 05.10.2005 7:37 pm

I have to agree with Matsumoto and say that Spaztick your answer seems extremely misinformed if not very uneducated. I obviously cannot comment on middle to high school education, however I personally have experienced the Japanese school system on the university level and I can attest to it being extremely well organized and far above what my U.S. counterpart was. It was anything but "constant memorization" and is literally the most intelligent environment I've ever experienced. I'm not saying the Japanese education system is the holy grail of education in the world, but is in NO WAY a copy of the U.S. system. I would really like to see the source you cite this information from because I think they missed something.
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RE: All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby Mukade » Tue 05.10.2005 10:43 pm

The Japanese education system is a matter of:

Students sitting in a classroom listening to the master (i.e., the teacher) telling them what is correct (i.e., the material to be studied), whereupon the student goes home and is expected to memorize said material until they can prove they know it (i.e., regurgitating said material onto a test).

There is never any real dialogue about the material, and even worse (in my opinion), the students are never asked to show that they can use the material they've memorized.

I mean, great, you've memorized dates, names and formulas...now what can you do with it?

This is all a throwback, not to a model of the American education system, but instead a style of Chinese education dating back several thousand years. At that time, it was assumed that a person simply needed to memorize Confucian dialogues and the Chinese histories to be considered educated.

------

Because the be-all and end-all of Japanese education is passing the entrance exam to a university, most Japanese students don't learn useful life-enhancing knowledge, but instead learn how to take tests. Once they've passed the entrance exam and are a college student, most students stop studying and party until graduation. This is exacerbated by the fact that Japanese universities are very, very easy to graduate from.

------

So, is the Japanese education system in need of an update?

YES!

As was stated previously, memorized material is easily forgotten. A recent poll in Japan showed that some 80% of current college students in Japan could not locate the United States on an unmarked map of the world. Some 60% of those same students couldn't find South Korea, a country visible with the naked eye from parts of Japan on a clear day!

Japan is still relying on a system of education developed 2,000 years ago. The rest of the developed world, in that time, has come a long way. No, we may not be perfect, and no, the entire Japanese system does not need to be trashed. But something needs to be done.

When a Japanese student is being taught kanji and the difference between a temple and a shrine by their foreign English teacher (i.e., me), you know something is sorely wrong with the system.....
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RE: All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby ohemgee » Tue 05.10.2005 11:59 pm

All good observations, but my question is, will the Japanese government do anything about it? I think they're too proud to admit that there are crappy aspects about the system, and would rather ignore it and save face instead of swallowing that pride and at least admitting that something is wrong. Nothing ever gets done until a tragedy happens.
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RE: All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby Mukade » Wed 05.11.2005 12:48 am

I agree that the Japanese are often slow to enact change. There is the whole concept of saving face, and coupled with the adherence to tradition that is very strong here, can lead to a certain social rigidity.

As far as education specifically, I can say that I've been seeing more and more articles in newspapers and newsletters lately that compare Japan's education system to other countries. All these articles, of course, are finding Japan lacking in one way or another, and urge for some progressive change.

Of course, while this is all very refreshing, the actual powers that be (the monbushou) are meanwhile approving textbooks that deny Japan's wartime atrocities.

Nanking? Never happened.
Comfort Women? Never happened.
Man Chu Kuo? Never happened.

They are also starting to force teachers to sing the national anthem before class, and the proposed changes to the constitution include 1) allowing Japan to once again maintain a military and 2) reduce the rights of women and foreigners.

If you talk to the average Japanese, they seem to be in favor of progressive, forward-looking change. But the politicians have never been in touch with their constituancy here. So not only is Japan not progressing, it seems as if they are about to take a giant step backwards!

It is all very distressing.
Last edited by Mukade on Wed 05.11.2005 12:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby Matsumoto_hideto » Wed 05.11.2005 7:47 pm

battousai wrote:
I have to agree with Matsumoto and say that Spaztick your answer seems extremely misinformed if not very uneducated. I obviously cannot comment on middle to high school education, however I personally have experienced the Japanese school system on the university level and I can attest to it being extremely well organized and far above what my U.S. counterpart was. It was anything but "constant memorization" and is literally the most intelligent environment I've ever experienced. I'm not saying the Japanese education system is the holy grail of education in the world, but is in NO WAY a copy of the U.S. system. I would really like to see the source you cite this information from because I think they missed something.


me site info???



bah


its way too long but i can give u the names of the books that i have read



there are some REALLY good authors on japan


if u want some info on books mail me
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RE: All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby battousai » Wed 05.11.2005 8:39 pm

Er? My response was to the poster above you, I was just commenting on agreeing with you.
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RE: All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby Matsumoto_hideto » Wed 05.11.2005 11:10 pm

The only thing you need to know about the japanese government


is that its corrupt...


i wasnt suprised when they became upset over the textbooks



in a book i read a teacher did a survey of 200 highschool seniors.

only 2 of them knew about Pearl Harbor, and one of them that did know didnt know the proper date.


All of this because the governments Nationalist ways
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RE: Education

Postby maikeru » Thu 05.12.2005 12:44 am

ohemgee wrote:
Example 2: The educational system. It needs some reform, particularly in the way kids are taught and disciplined.. Will we ever see it? To attempt reform is to admit that the Board of Educations have failed in their jobs in some aspect, and that would hurt their pride. It all comes down to pride and honor.



I spent a while in a Japanese senior High School and I certainly agree that the Japanese education system is in need of a change. For example, science class seemed to consist primarily of copying out of a textbook that the student already had. No discussion. No explaining or making sure people understand. The just seem to learn facts. English consisted of translating stuff from paper. Boring and difficult to learn!

In New Zealand, the senior exam system is in its third year of a new system. While the previous system had internal assesment (work assessed by our teacher in class that counts towards our National Certificate in Education Achievement - NCEA) this one has more. 3/8 of my Japanese work is internally assessed. This means I am assessed in speaking (conversational, and a formal speech) listening, writing (with and without resources) and reading. From what I have heard, doubt very much that Japanese schools have internal assesment and can not assess for practical stuff - which is often the stuff we will find more useful in later life.

Also, I heard that Japanese are not taught very well at expressing their opinions. Here, English class is all about comunicating ideas. But I heard that when some Japanese students were asked to write an essay expressing their opinion, most of them had not a clue....
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RE: All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby muxec » Fri 05.13.2005 5:14 am

At least in Japanese schools students respect their teachers, not like here, where in some schools students say "Go f. your a. motherf.s" to their teachers.

Any English or "English" schools in Japan?
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RE: All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby Mukade » Fri 05.13.2005 8:10 am

muxec wrote:
At least in Japanese schools students respect their teachers, not like here, where in some schools students say "Go f. your a. motherf.s" to their teachers.


The notion of Japanese respect towards one's elders and teachers is a myth. It may have been true in a bygone age, but not in modern Japan.

I currently teach in a Japanese middle/high-school academy (学園) and I get disrespected just as often as when I taught middle- and high-school in the U.S. In fact, since there is no system of consequences in place to help enforce the rules, there's nothing that can be done if a student does tell their teacher to take the lesson plan and shove it.
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RE: All About Appearances? An Outsider's Observation.

Postby muxec » Fri 05.13.2005 9:45 am

Japan tries hard to maintain an image of place where all students respect their teachers.


What about famous Japanese people? I do not remember any except for Koshi. And not sure that his name is spelled right and he is Japanese. The external Japanese face is blank at that point.
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