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MMM (Offline)
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07-29-2010, 11:51 PM

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Originally Posted by Crownedinterror View Post
Alright so, as ironic as it can be I just received a PM saying "F*cking Hater, stay home".

I guess it's impossible to have an intelligent conversation on Internet with people reading a tenth of what you say, so I will make everyone happy.

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Japan is the best place to live in the world

Japanese people are very kind and they will do whatever it takes to help you if you need it. Japan has a great culture and history. It is also avant-gardist in many fields such as robotics, electronics, fashion etc.

Long live Japan!

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Let me know who sent that PM and I will take care of it.
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07-30-2010, 06:40 AM

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Originally Posted by Crownedinterror View Post
I understand what you are saying and it's probably true. But even if my vocabulary is still poor in Japanese but I can speak. I know enough Japanese to live in Japan right now. I have been studying Japanese for 3 years now. And when I didn't understand one particular word they would use their cellphone to search for the English equivalent.
Knowing enough to get by in life, and knowing enough to be treated as a Japanese speaker by others are completely different things. I am guessing that most likely everyone spoke to you as simply as they could - which is an incredibly stressful endeavor.

Quote:
But while laughing? You don't laugh in English? And she studied in US. I don't think she wasn't confident about her English skill level.
Yes, you DO laugh in English. If she was in English speaking mode, with her "English voice" - switching out of that just for laughing would be pretty hard. It really has little to do with actual English ability. But even if she studied in the US, that doesn`t mean that she was confident. In fact, it could have made her LESS confident as there would be more pressure for her to be a good speaker. But really, English ability itself has nothing to do with the weird "English voice" phenomenon.

Quote:
And I'm not the western-type guy, I live in Canada but I was born in Nicaragua. People fail at guessing where I'm from usually.
That really matters a lot less than you may think. The "western-type guy" doesn`t have to be white. You just have to not be Asian and be from an English speaking country. In your case, if you answered a question about where you`re from with "Canada" - you fit.


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steven (Offline)
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07-30-2010, 07:41 AM

Yea a lot of people do that talk with me. (about being the "perfect foreigner"). In a sense I fit right into it... but there are some spots where I don't match that picture perfect image and it can be hard to try to meet people's expectations all the time. In a sense, really knowing Japanese (which includes cultural things) you can dissapoint people straight away. Like you're a foreigner, but you've been tainted with the "japanese" way of thinking. But I digress haha.

Another thing, Nyororin is spot on with what she's saying. I find myself agreeing with pretty much all of her posts on the topic of language acquisition/communication. It's sometimes embarassing to admit it, but I have basically two selfs-- my Japanese self and my English self. They're two very different things... my voice changes my mannerisms change. I think that's important though. Communication, down to the mannerisms and gestures, is really VERY different in Japan and America. So much so that Japanese people are weird seen from Americans' perspective (or the "western world's). Then again, there are a lot of things that Japanese people find weird about us. The point is to at the very least understand those differences. If you want to learn the language (and be decent at it) then you have to accept those differences as truths (at least for your L2 self). I think seeing those differences as negative things after a period of being "immersed" is actually quite normal... but I think you'll find it more worthwhile and a LOT more respectful to come to an understanding rather than talking about those differences in a negative light.

Again though, I tend to go on and on with this kind of stuff. Nyororin put it straight and simple for you, but I hope that what I've typed has helped a little as well.

And as a reminder, I did say that it's quite natural to look at these kinds of differences in a negative light for people. So while anyone doing that is certainly in the wrong, it helps to educate them about it. Immediately picking out the faults in this and dwelling on them and being too blunt might not get anywhere. It's better to just educate people about this in a nice manner. You might learn something yourself by doing so... what's the worst that could happen? I mean if the person isn't receptive then there's nothing forcing you to keep talking to them. But approaching these things means approaching these things as a representative of whatever country you're from, so getting angry or overly straightforward might put more of a dark light on your country to the person you're trying to shed some good light to.
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08-03-2010, 03:06 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crownedinterror View Post
I just spent 5 weeks in Japan, backpacking around Tokyo and southern cities.
Now I'm back home, and happy to be.

Before going to Japan, I didn't expect anything. But now... damn how do I put this.

I learned to hate and love Japan.

Tokyo is the most depressing city I've ever been to. People are either overworking and spending all their money in shopping centers or pachinko. Or they have stupid part-time jobs and aspiring to be like the other ones.

Tokyo is the most exciting city. Neon lights, crowds, this city is alive energetic. People move back and forth like fish in big metallic streams they call "Metro". At dinner or supper, restaurants are full. Even on week days, there would be people everywhere.

This is but only one of the paradoxical emotions I felt about the two-faced giant.

Of course I wasn't there to criticize Japan, only to see. But I couldn't just stand there and not think about right and wrong. Anyway, I'm still pretty confused about this travel experience as I just got back. But what I'm sure of is that there is something not very sane about the Japanese people, something I didn't appreciate at all. Cultural shock you might say? Maybe, but that would be too simple.

So this is a small message to all of you who see pink or even gray. There are other things in Japan than Mt. Fuji and Amine. And the dark side of Japan is even darken than you can imagine.

I'm not even sure of what I'm saying. Things seem so unclear. But I have this feeling that could be translated by the sentence : "What the hell was that country full of crazy people".

Peace
Sounded like quite the experience.

There is definitely a darker side to Japan - as there is with almost every other place - and it's not something I expect a lot of "die-hard" Japanese enthusiast would be willing to genuinely accept.

To most outsiders, Japan is the land with the exotic culture. It's the kingdom of sugar pop, fantastic fashion, and extraordinary technology. But what of the actual natives of all of it? To the natives, generally, it's their home; it's still amazing but familiar to an extent that they may view it all differently. The way I see it, there is a commercial super power occupying a certain part of Japan's mentality. It's aimed at the outside world, but the natives get caught in the middle at some point also. They develope a belief in it. That, to me, can create what a lot of visitors may define as, in this case, partial insanity?

I'm probably sounding really ridiculous...

Underneath the laminated image presented to visitors, real human issues exist: murder, suicide, robberies, scams, etc. All that is not presented to us, the foreigners.

It's such a cliché point, and I'm not saying anything profound... but some people really do need to let go of their illusions about Japan. It may even make things a lot more pleasant.

Culture shock being "too simple"? I'm not sure I agree with that. Anything can be too simple if you give it the chance. In my opinion, culture shock is significantly complex, and it is probably most (but not entirely) relevant to your case.

Last edited by Jaydelart : 08-03-2010 at 03:09 AM.
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Crownedinterror (Offline)
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08-03-2010, 03:49 AM

Phew, I'm happy to see that people could discuss something out of it.

Sorry Nyororin, everything is still not crystal clear for me. I'm kind of sad because from you point of view I might be the generic foreigner that doesn't understand anything about Japanese. Maybe I'm not that stupid, maybe I can understand some things out of Japanese (like why a Japanese would keep wearing a hot sweater even if summer came earlier). Doubt on my person is something that would be appreciated.

One thing that I think you are right about is that a lot of this has to do with me. With my mental health maybe, I don't know.

I guess my fear was to not be able to make Japanese friends in the future and therefore, not to be able to live in Japan. Can you imagine yourself studying a foreign language and culture for 3 years, finally going to the country, and realizing that the road is a hundred times more difficult than expected or even impossible? It's horrifying.

From what you've explained to me, I also fear that stress-less communication with Japanese is impossible without full understanding of the language (including body language). I find it a bit hard to believe.
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08-03-2010, 08:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crownedinterror View Post
But while laughing? You don't laugh in English? And she studied in US. I don't think she wasn't confident about her English skill level.
From the flip side, I did Japanese and psychology in university and had to spend a week observing social behavior, I really noticed that people have a different 'voice' for Japanese than they do for English. They even alter their body language. Some of the blokey geezers softened their tone and evened it out, they don't square up with their shoulders as much, especially if talking to girls. A couple of guys who were normally flat-toned and dead-pan would start exaggerating stresses in sentences and use their eyes a lot more. Perhaps not direct eye-contact, but when asking answering a question they would do overt 'thinking eyes', when asking questions, they would do overt 'i'm puzzled' eyes. I don't see why these little changes couldn't also apply to laughing, although I have to say, it does sound like in your particular scenario she might have been forcing it a little. But you never know, it might have been to try and smooth the conversation; false laughter is pretty common in conversation, perhaps you just noticed it more because you were already ticked off and suspicious about her sincerity.

And finally some people deliberately change their voice. I do; I speak slightly higher pitched in Japanese; I don't think its forced, I think for girls Japanese always does generally sound slightly higher than English and if I use my rounded, deeper-pitched 'english voice' in Japanese (I have a certain accent that exacerbates the trait), well *ahem* I've been told it's kind of sexy. Amusing in the right situation, maybe, but highly embarrassing if people can't hear your words, only the tone and you're talking to the 7-11 cashier. Or someone else's man.
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09-01-2010, 06:02 PM

I say I love Tokyo and Japan without really knowing either one. Though I was stationed there and have returned as a tourist, unless you live there, one can't really see what it all entails. I'm going back there in 33 days and am ecstatic about it. But I'm going there as a tourist. I will only see the very surface. Yes, there are dark spots-darker than many can imagine. Perhaps it's the way of life there that makes people the way they are. Being subject to having to adhere to the norm would make many explode after some time. Yes, that's one of the darker sides of that society. But some of the good things are the cleanliness of the streets, and the polite courtesy towards tourists. I know it's a depressing city and many people commit suicide in Japan, but Tokyo is a great place to go see a megalopolis in action. Just a small opinion on my part.
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09-01-2010, 07:06 PM

i have an idea about disliking a place....i think it depends on what have you experianced before the visit. more you have the less you will be effected by the new surroundings in a negative way.
ive been to some 13 countries. and only 2 times ive had culture shock.
first one was in egypt. having guards with ak-47 around was new..also since in my home country we maybe have some 10 black people, then seeing so many at once all trying to sell you stuff was rather new and actually annoying after a while.
second one was in russia, mosscow were stuff is simply big. i was like 14 walking around the streets at night. that was unpleasant and i really thought i was gonna get killed. but then the next winter morning everything was again so beautiful that you forgot about the dark side.

and so. after those 2 radical experiances ive never had any culture shock problems. went to the uk this summer and i allready was used to the huge cities and mixed races with different cultures.

so all thats left is japan. throw at me what you can! MUAHAHAHA
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