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Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby Oyaji » Sun 09.24.2006 9:36 pm

I think changing the title from "the Japanese" to "some Japanese who are looking for a stereotypical foreigner" might be more accurate.

Unfortunately your experience at the sushi bar is not surprising. Many Japanese seem to think that language ability is a result of DNA, not environment and diligence. In their eyes I will never speak Japanese as well as English (they are right), but with just a little effort you should be able to speak Japanese perfectly - much better than English.

I have several Japanese-American friends here in Japan, and many of their experiences are definitely different from mine. There seem to be advantages and disadvantages to both.
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby Takeshi » Sun 09.24.2006 9:58 pm

i was surpised to catch up to this thread to find that many of you have had the same or similar problems with penpals. oh....and one of you who has 6 PENPALS!!!! GREEDY!~ *lol* just kidding....but please share and tells us your stratagies you used to achieve this firescorpy.

one post that i really did find interesting, because it is not something that i've even thought of trying or ever did was AnyOtherDay's blog idea. it sounds easy enough i guess. but my questions are, how do you get people to find your blog? and what kind of things do you discuss to attract japanese people? i imagine this to be like fishing, and there is a certain bait for specific fishes. i want to catch japanese people who do not care about hooking up, but want to learn and share eachothers cultures and language. can you share your blog site with us so we can see it?

keatonatron, i understand about how people might not want to talk to you because you know more about their culture then they do. i think sometimes i feel the same way, but not that i know more then they, but i desire to know more...even things that may be trivial to them. i suppose that could be a turn off.

and no, i couldn't just walk out of the sushi bar....they make a dang good sushi, and i don't want it be like seinfeld episode, where i have to ask jerry to get chicken for me or melons for me ^_^

the weird thing was, last night when i was talking to this girl that i met from japan, she said she wanted to move to america. everything to her was about america....and i felt exactly the same...expect it was all about japan. i wonder if i just think the brown grass is greener on the other side, or perhaps it truely is greener. either way, i'm having fun trying to find out. ^^

ps. i wonder if thejapanesepage.com could open up a section for japanese people called theenglishpage.com or something, then maybe some how intergrate the 2. that would be flippin sweet.
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby AnyOtherDay » Sun 09.24.2006 11:52 pm

How to get people to find your blog? Well, as I said, start out by finding the blogs of Japanese people. One could go about that numerous ways, but if you want to connect with people studying English, for instance, then Google something like 'site:.jp blog "study english" '. Replace "study english" with any particular phrase you think would help you connect with someone. If you have a particular hobby or interest, that would work too. If you want to limit your search to a particular blog site, you can change the ".jp" in the "site:" operator to whatever site you're interested in. For example, 'site:blog.goo.ne.jp' will restrict you to searching blogs on Goo. And instead of the word "blog", you can also try ブログ. Or "diary", since many Japanese translate ブログ to diary when they write in English. Anyway, you get the idea. Find some interesting people and start participating on their blogs first, and then I'm sure some of them would love to check out your blog too.

As for what to discuss, it could be anything. Pick something from your life or thoughts or the news, and have fun with it. Depending on your Japanese level, you may want to start small and write just a few sentences each time, or if you're really ambitious go ahead and pour your heart into making each entry a long, engaging essay. Invite your guests to make corrections and share their opinions. More important than how much you write is how often you write. Even if people don't comment on everything you post, keep posting. If you're only writing once a month or every two weeks, your visitors aren't going to bother coming back. Commit to at least a couple updates a week, and also be sure to keep visiting other blogs that you find interesting and participating when you can. Don't stalk anybody, though. :D

Considering that the Japanese have been blogging much longer than most of the world, well before there was any good software or sites dedicated to the purpose, I think getting involved on blogs and becoming a blogger is a great way to meet them. Having a penpal can be an immensely rewarding experience, but keeping one can sometimes be tough to pull off even if you're committed. Good blogging, much like getting involved in great public forums like these here :), gives you the chance to meet a number of different people in a relaxed setting, and over time you're bound to develop a closer bond with some of them.
Last edited by AnyOtherDay on Sun 09.24.2006 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby firescorpy » Mon 09.25.2006 12:05 am

Like AnyOtherDay says, keeping a penpal thing going does take effort. Here is what do.

First when I introduce myself, I always make sure to say that my name is "Satoshi Endo" and that I lived in Japan before, so that they can either decide to play or drop the ball in the beginning. After that, we would just exchange emails, photos, interesting things we are doing, and just keep it going. People normally would just send an email, and wait for a reply, then reply to that, etc etc. I would reply to the email, and sometimes if I have something off-topic from the email that I sent to share about, I would compose a new one. Once in a while I would send some pictures of my school, my vacations, my neighborhood, etc to show them around, and in return, they usually would send pictures of their school, classroom, local attractions, friends, or themselves. sometimes they would first send pics, then I would respond. The main thing is keep it interesting and always ask some question that is of interest. Sometimes they would take a while to respond because they have tests or exams (you know, the school in Asia is crazy), and try to be understanding about that. Yeah that's about it. Oh, also find penpals that are around your age, interest, etc. Like, I would not go and find a emo Japanese to be my penpal, because I am not emo. Hope that helps.
Last edited by firescorpy on Mon 09.25.2006 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby keatonatron » Mon 09.25.2006 12:28 am

Shibakoen wrote:
umm... I never said I'd only acknowledge foreigners. I'd make eye contact with Japanese, too, and generally they'd at least smile. 99% of the time other gaijin, on the other hand, would glance away quickly and completely ignore me.


The problem is, Japanese people simply don't do this. So, when a foreigner sees you acknowledge them, they think it must be because you're both foreigners. I've never had an un-related Japanese person acknowledge me before (people in the same apartment building sometimes do, so that's what I mean by un-related).

For example, what if you often used the phrase "you people" with every person you met, then finally said it to black person? Don't you think they would get really angry? (The point of this example being, even if you said it to everyone the black person would think you were being racist towards them) It doesn't matter how you treat everyone, it's how everyone treats everyone that defines what is expected.
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby Shibakoen » Mon 09.25.2006 1:19 am

keatonatron wrote:
It doesn't matter how you treat everyone, it's how everyone treats everyone that defines what is expected.


I guess my point is, the way I was raised and treated (whether it's just a southern thing or a common sense/polite thing is debatable), I learned that it's rude to ignore people when they greet you -- whether it's with a nod or a smile or a "hi". I don't think it's a "city" thing, either, because here in DC people return the hello's and the nods and the smiles. The only people who seem to be ignored when they make eye contact with someone are the homeless. Anyway, it just seems that if it's how "everyone" treats "everyone" then I still don't see why the only people who were so rude were other gaijin in Tokyo. When I was there I chalked it up to a haughty class structure among gaijin. There were the tourists, the grunts, the teachers, and the professionals and everyone seemed to be carrying a chip on their shoulder. In case you can't tell, I definitely developed a chip, but I still don't ignore people.

The way it relates to the OP is that I can see why these biases come about. We're trying to learn about or fit in with another culture and this kind of irrational behavior results.
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby Oyaji » Mon 09.25.2006 2:35 am

How I react to other foreigners depends on the location. If I see another foreigner around these parts I go up to them and ask where it is they intended to be, then I point out on a map where they got off course. If it's close to dinner time I'll ask them to have dinner with my family before they go on their way. There have been times when they end up drinking with me and some friends, and stay the night in my house, or the home of one of my friends. :D

When I'm in cities (other than Tokyo and Osaka) in my head I feel the same as Keatonatron: They are no different from the Japanese around, so why should I treat them differently. But in my heart I can remember what it was like being a stranger in a strange land. What I usually do is make eye contact and simply look *pleasant*, and leave it up to them how to react. Sometimes tourists ask for directions. Some people get all happy and say "Hi!" like they are happy to see a *familiar* face. I don't mind - I figure there is no harm in making someone feel a little happy as they work towards finding their place in a new (to them) world. Of course some people do completely ignore me. In some cases their body language seems to say, "I am the only foreigner who understands Japan, and no one else deserves to be here". No sweat off my nose.

Most people just return my noncommittal smile and we go on with our lives.

In Tokyo and Osaka I'm usually in so much of a rush to get somewhere that I don't even notice other foreigners.
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby keatonatron » Mon 09.25.2006 3:52 am

Just for the record, I don't think there's anything wrong with Shibakoen's ideas. In fact, I think it's great to be friendly to everyone. I was just trying to explain why some people act that way :D I think Oyaji's "I am the only foreigner who understands Japan, and no one else deserves to be here" explanation is very true!!

I think the worst was when I went to Kyoto. There were thousands of foreigners on bicycles, and they would all glare at me like they owned the city.
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby Takeshi » Mon 09.25.2006 6:40 am

i stayed out of it, because i thought both of you had your points. i wonder if in japan, there are some places that are typically friendlier to to foreigners? i would guess that if there are places like that, that more people there would speak english?

i'm not one to nod or tell anyone "hi" either....unless i'm having a really good day i guess. but i think if everyone did that....it would erk the hell out of me.

one thing weird though, where i live, i guess we have our fair amount of japanese tourist. sometimes when i walk in a store the people workers would try and help me and talk to me in japanese (because i'm japanese...so that makes sense.) and i just say, i'm american. and then they walk away.....and i'm like "errrr....hey, but i do need help" :D nuts, i can't win.
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby Shibakoen » Mon 09.25.2006 8:01 pm

I think Oyaji hit the nail on the head (at least as far as the 'professionals' and the 'teachers' are concerned). Just as a side note, I was walking by the Capitol a few minutes ago and I made eye contact with one of the cops standing on guard and despite the fact that he had this serious "bad-ass" expression on his face, he still nodded back to me. And this is a guy who's probably not having a good time on the job, either. Last week some freak with a gun and a vial of crack smashed through one of the barriers and made it to the 3rd sub-basement of the Capitol with 30 cops on his tail before he was tackled -- by the janitor. :D And I know what you mean Takeshi, if everyone was saying hi and nodding then we'd probably all suffer from neck strain. But you don't make eye contact with everyone you see, but when you do I just feel it's rude to ignore them if they acknowledge you (at least 'round here). It doesn't mean you have to stop and have a conversation with them, but I have met several good friends that way.
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby firescorpy » Wed 09.27.2006 10:45 pm

haha.. you live in DC? America's security sucks :-)
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby two_heads_talking » Thu 09.28.2006 9:22 am

firescorpy wrote:
haha.. you live in DC? America's security sucks :-)


I live there too, and the only thing that sucks are ignorant comments such as this..



@ the OP. I was taught as a missionary to never directly confront a person on the street. In other words, it is ok to gain eye contact, but not to walk directly at them. This allows the person you have eye contact with to either stop and talk with you or to move aside and continue on their way. (I was told it is rude to step in front a person walking or to cut them off in such a manner)

This may not be exactly what you are referring to, but it might help while you try to settle in to the nuance of a new area.
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby keatonatron » Thu 09.28.2006 11:40 am

two_heads_talking wrote:
firescorpy wrote:
haha.. you live in DC? America's security sucks :-)


I live there too, and the only thing that sucks are ignorant comments such as this..


???

Someone makes a joke, saying security is bad because some looney was able to run right into the Whitehouse, and you call it an "ignorant comment"?

What lack of information is that "ignorant" refering to?
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby Infidel » Thu 09.28.2006 12:47 pm

two_heads_talking wrote:
firescorpy wrote:
haha.. you live in DC? America's security sucks :-)


I live there too, and the only thing that sucks are ignorant comments such as this..


wow, it just occurs to me you guys are in driving distance. It might be cool to do a hook up thing, like they are in Japan.

I wonder how many people are 3 hours away or less.

DC is one of the coolest cities. I usually park in Springfield and take the subway in.

If we were to do it though, It would be best to arrange some kind of planned activity, like going to King's Dominion. I once attended a get together with some people I met online once, but we didn't have anything to do so we just stood around like a bunch of groupies and it was very boring and not-fun.
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RE: Getting Ignored by the Japanese...

Postby two_heads_talking » Thu 09.28.2006 1:28 pm

springfield is probably the worst place to meet up.. (the mixing bowl is hell, but you know that already) I actually live in Woodbridge, about 30 mins south of DC by I-95.. I think there are about 6-8 of us in this area.. :D
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