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Question Xenophobic Japan? - 01-10-2008, 10:29 PM

I was talking to a friend today, but I've also read around and I've heard that when it comes to 'gaijin' Japanese people are quite contemptful and xenophobic. So to what extent is this the case? I mean obviously if it's involving the law or something then I can see, but I mean just generally how bad are the Japanese for being impolite or contemptful towards foreigners?

I have to ask because I am planning to hopefully go on holiday to Japan in the near future and (hopefully) immigrate there after I own my degree.

Matt


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01-10-2008, 10:34 PM

Most of these threads get closed down because it becomes a flame war.

The Japanse feel about the same about foreigners in their country as anyone else. Some embrace it, a few hate it. Most are used to it. It's no big deal.
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01-10-2008, 10:41 PM

I worry, because as I said I've heard many things about Japanese people being quite as I say xenophobic and unpleasent, and to be honest I am quite arsey when it comes to people being polite and pleasent, so if someone was to offend me I'd probably end up losing my temper. Which is obviously a bad idea.

But I just read in a thread that you live in Japan, so I guess I can trust what you say. Have you ever had any experiences of some 'giajin' hating or has it all being a pleasent experience for you?


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01-10-2008, 10:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattleninja View Post
I worry, because as I said I've heard many things about Japanese people being quite as I say xenophobic and unpleasent, and to be honest I am quite arsey when it comes to people being polite and pleasent, so if someone was to offend me I'd probably end up losing my temper. Which is obviously a bad idea.

But I just read in a thread that you live in Japan, so I guess I can trust what you say. Have you ever had any experiences of some 'giajin' hating or has it all being a pleasent experience for you?
Most I know loved it, a few I know didn't, a couple I know went crazy. The most overt racism I ever experienced was being handed a fork at a ramen shop...but the old lady thought she was doing me a favor, so I shouldn't even call that racism.

Most gaijin's frustrations come from when you have to deal with a beauracracy, like City Hall, but if you are just going on vacation, then no problem.
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01-10-2008, 10:51 PM

Thanks for sharing that, and both of your helpful replies.


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01-10-2008, 11:00 PM

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Originally Posted by Mattleninja View Post
Thanks for sharing that, and both of your helpful replies.
I am glad you got what you needed before the flame war erupted and the thread was closed.
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01-11-2008, 03:27 AM

I've stated this before in another thread on the same topic. I had encountered a little xenophobia/racism in my 2 years there, most importantly when I was trying to find a new apartment. Even with my school supervisor with me, no one would rent to a foreigner even when they've got a 10' long sign on the wall proclaiming "apartment for rent!"

Another time was when I walked into Dogo Onsen... all the heads turned and the talking stopped... all eyes were on me intently, wondering if I knew the proper onsen etiquette. I did, and followed it, and soon the talking began again and the guys relaxed, and one even talked to me for quite a while about how I was enjoying Japan, etc.

But the VAST number of times I was greeted warmly, with kindness and generosity FAR outnumbered those few instances. The list is endless, from 6 homestays, to spending holidays and festivals with Japanese friends, a local woman teaching me Japanese once a week, a tour guide group showing me around, the local restaurant trading my Japanese pickles (which I never ate) for pieces of fruit like apples or even watermelon (which probably cost more than the rest of the meal), to a guy giving me a ride to the bike shop when I had a flat tire on my bike and haggling with the bike shop owner to lower his price to fix my tire, to innumerable gifts, help, advice, dinners, etc.


So don't stress over a few jerks or some fear of foreigners... every country has some of that. Focus on the many other kind-hearted people there.


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01-11-2008, 04:03 AM

This is very similar to my experience. I tried to by clothes hangers my first day in Japan, and the store just gave me a huge bag of hangers for free.
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01-11-2008, 05:05 AM

I am one of those apparently rare people who honestly has never experienced any negative racism in Japan. Ignorance, yes, positive discrimination, yes - but nothing negative. At least not from Japanese. And I have been here 10 years.

Although I suppose I should put a disclaimer - I speak Japanese fluently. It seems to me that most of the time (not always, mind you), what people interpret as racism is something more like language discrimination. They`re afraid to commit to anything with someone that cannot sufficiently speak the language. I`ve never had a problem with finding an apartment. As soon as it was made clear that I understood the forms, requirements, etc without support, everything was fine. Japan doesn`t really have a lot of faith in translators, they like the person in question to actually understand. Way too many foreigners here try to weasel their way out of agreements and payments by playing the language card. "I didn`t fully understand" "That was never translated to me" etc.

Language discrimination is something you can find just as strongly in the US. It isn`t something limited to Japan.


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01-11-2008, 05:58 AM

well i can understand why japanese people hate foreigners sometimes. the only foreigners ive seen here are the loud, obnoxious types in the bar or club trying to pick up every single girl they see. of course this isn't true for every foreigner living in japan, but as a japanese person, seeing this kind of stuff over and over on the weekends makes me feel a little annoyed. there are the types who come to work here with genuine feelings while others just want to sleep with as many girls as they can...and those are the ones that ruin for the rest of the gaijin here...unfortunately.


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