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What do foreigners find strange about Japan? NTV finds out

125 Comments

Japan has many unique customs which may appear strange at first glance to foreign visitors.

A reporter for the NTV program "Zoom In!! Saturday" went to Omotesando in Tokyo to ask foreigners to give some examples of things they find strange or weird about Japan. The interviews (in Japanese) appear in the program's segment titled "Gaikokujin kara mita Surprise Nippon ~Koko ga hendayo Nippon hen~"

French man (20)

He finds Asahi Beer Company's golden flame-shaped object a little bizarre. When the interviewer asked him what he thought of the object when he saw first it, he answered "I don't think I can say it in public."

Papua New Guinea man (22)

He answers that Japanese girls wear very short skirts. Then a Japanese girl wearing a short skirt comes along and the interviewer tells her what the Papua New Guinea man said about girls wearing short skirts, and asks her what she thinks. She replies that it's perverted, leaving the guy at a loss for words.

New Zealand woman (31)

She answers that "Japanese people try to force their way onto crowded trains, so I was surprised when I saw some station staff pushing people into the train. Japanese people are that desperate to get on a train."

Iranian women, aged 29 and 21

The 21-year-old says "there are so many traffic lights in Japan. I am also surprised that there are so many drunk people in Japan. Many Japanese men are two-faced, aren't they? You (the interviewer) are showing us this face now, but I think that you are different at night."

The interviewer notices that they have jewelry on their teeth and they reply that it is trendy in the Middle East. They say it is very rare to see Japanese people with that kind of fashion, and that many Japanese frown on that sort of fashion.

Norwegian man (25)

He answers that "Japanese staff are polite. After I stayed in Japan for a while and got used to being here, I went back to Norway and felt like I was surrounded by rude people."

American man (26)

He is an elementary school teacher, so the interviewer asks him about some of the differences between Japanese kids and American kids. He replies that Japanese kids love 'kancho' (poking someone's butt like the inset image). In America, there's no such thing as 'kancho,' so that surprised me."

Indian men, aged 53 and 30

The 53-year-old man answers that only Japan does not have TV news in English. "It's most important to know the latest typhoon and earthquake information," he says. "However, emergency news flashing across the top of the screen is always in Japanese, so foreign people cannot read it."

Italian man (29)

He finds fruit extremely expensive, especially melons and pears. The interviewer asks him the price of a melon, and he answers that he saw a melon in a beautiful box for 6,000 yen. Then he says that you can buy the same melon for only 1 euro (about 160 yen) in Europe.

Thai man (37)

He says that the Japanese language is difficult but he loves it. But he's puzzled. He asks why "Matsushita" is written with "Matsu" (松) and "shita" (下) and "Yamashita" is written with "Yama" (山) and "shita" (下), but why does "Kinoshita" have "no" in between "Ki" (木) and "shita" (下).

Brazilian man (38)

The interviewer asks him what news is interesting to him and he answers that Japanese people often talk about the economic recession, but he feels they can be more positive because their life is not that hard. He says he knows times are bad but "there is nothing to be gained by staying home, watching TV and whining about how bad things are. Be positive. If you give up, nothing will get better."

Russian woman (23)

She remarks that there are so many people in a hurry in Japan. "For example, I feel embarrassed when I see people running in the hope of getting a seat when they transfer from one train to another train. In Russia, when people see an empty seat, they make sure that no one else wants it before they take it. In Japan, I've seen older women competing to get a seat and the one who misses out has a sour look on her face. I've also seen the person in the seat, pretending to be asleep, when there are older people standing. It is quite embarrassing and surprised me."

French man (28)

He says that "even though I speak Japanese, Japanese people always respond in English. I understand that they are trying to be nice, however I would like them to respond in Japanese too."

© Japan Today

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125 Comments
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now Japanese will say these foreigners comments are "strange." Nothing so strange in the above comments, may be some posters will offer really strange and genuine comments to this article soon.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

yes, KANCHO is unique and GROSS.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

I hope this doesn't turn into Japan bashing.. I do love the place else I wouldn't stay. There are things I love to.. I love going out for a drink, with no aggressive people harassing me (except other foreigners) I love that people will do almost anything to help you. I love that if someone decides they are your friend here they really mean it.

Strange, Kancho.. totally weird. Japanese quasi-celeb TV picture in picture variety shows and the current obsession with new-halves. The fact that Japanese TV and new papers seem to always be asking what foreigners find strange. The fact that Japanese comedians are always hitting each other. People staying at work and pretending to be "busy" instead of going home.

I could go on and on forever, but in someways what I want to say is, if we were all the same why would we bother ever coming in the first place, I think we can all agree there are things about Japan that could be better, but if it was unique it wouldn't be the Japan we love.

18 ( +21 / -3 )

She replies that its perverted, leaving the guy at a loss for words

I'm pretty sure that he actually has no idea what sukebe means...if you watch the clip some of these responses are peculiarly interpreted.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

yes, KANCHO is unique and GROSS.

And also against the law as well. It is a form of sexual harassment and the fine iirc is something like 300,000 yen.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

The 53-year-old man answers that only Japan does not have TV news in English. “It’s most important to know the latest typhoon and earthquake information,

Kind of surprising this one is......internet and NHK, I wonder if they every heard of either.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Two words. Japanese "tarento". After so many years i still wonder how do the Japanese people laugh when they watch these so called "comedians" and their meaningless shows. But, like NZ2011 said....i also like Japan and its unique culture. Personally, i like the variety of the Japanese restaurants. You can choose anything you want, from yakitori, sushi restaurants, shabu shabu, yakiniku....and the list goes on.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Indeed, each country can be said to have its own idiosyncrasies. It's interesting and fun to compare these little differences.

A couple (strange?) things that get on my nerves are driving habits. I see both of these almost every single day.

Maybe this is just a Hokkaido thing (I haven't driven in any other part of the country) but SO many people just pull over wherever they want to! You want to take a picture? Talk on the phone? Check your map? Don't wait until you get to a place where you can actually pull off the road! Apparently as long as your hazard lights are on it's cool to stop anywhere even if you are taking up half the lane on a curving icy road.

The other thing is turn signals. See, I used to think that these are for signalling that you are planning on turning in the immediate future but around here they are mostly used to indicate, "I am now, currently in the process of turning at this very moment." So you're driving along and the person in front of you starts slowing down, slowing way down and all you see is brake lights. There seems to be nothing ahead of them. Naturally, you start to wonder, "What might be the cause of this? Are they having a heart attack? Is there a baby on the asphalt? Did the speed limit suddenly change to 10km/h?" And then just before they come to a complete stop... wink wink wink. They turn on their "winker" and the jokes on you, they are turning right.

Wink.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Having just returned from Australia (I'm a Canadian), I was reminded that all cultures have their peculiarities and particular ways of looking at and doing things. Of course we all know that Japan's homogeneity & "Japan is an island" mentality tend to limit people's exposure to other cultures & other ways of thinking, but in general there are strange customs & individuals no matter what foreign culture you choose to live in. At least here I don't feel threatened or have to worry about walking the streets at night, so there are a lot of positives about Japan - regardless of how local people here view others.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Tentacle porn

10 ( +13 / -3 )

And the purpose of this program is? Yes, Japan has some unique social patterns that surprise non-Japanese. The problem I have with this kind of program is that it reinforces a view of culture that is categorizable, static, and inextricably tied to ethnicity/race. I'm sure there are Japanese individuals who are surprised by behavioral trends among some of their fellow Japanese, and I'm sure there are plenty of non-Japanese who feel more at home in this country than where they're from. Framing culture in the way this program does just perpetuates an us-vs-them mentality that limits how individuals connect with a wider world of possibilities.

18 ( +20 / -3 )

I find it strange that, in this day in age, a first world country has segments on TV asking foreigners what they think about said country.

20 ( +22 / -3 )

The NHK television money collectors. Never signed a contract, don't own a TV, yet they keep on coming demanding money.

Worse than the mafia shaking people down.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

yes, KANCHO is unique

Kancho in English is goose. According to Merriam-Webster: goose transitive verb 1: to poke between the buttocks with an upward thrust

It is not unique.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

the_sheriff,

I find it strange that, in this day in age, a first world country has segments on TV asking foreigners what they think about said country.

Why strange, I think its a good question, why is it so strange to ask questions these days:) For sure, some of the answers are not great, but if everything in life was perfect, we would all be dreaming:)

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Kancho is mostly done by kids. Don't remember too many adults doing it unless as a joke to someone they know.

It's a funny thing but I was under the impression that every country I've been to is differernt to everywhere else.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Typical japanese tv on the real cutting edge. Expecting answers related to sitting on the floor, using chopsticks and eating live octopus so the parade of giggling imbeciles on the panel can say "Eeeeeh!?" a lot. The foreigners interviewed should have answered 'child porn on sale', 'short fat old policemen', 'useless prime ministers', 'being sexually assaulted on the train' . Probably wouldn't have facilitated much thigh slapping good humour about crazy foreigners and the uniqueness of Japan though.

18 ( +20 / -3 )

Great. Another TV segment on how these dumb foreign barbarians don't understand civilized Japanese culture. Well, it will give Japanese people a little more self-esteem to know that "we Japanese" are the only ones advanced and polite enough to do things like:

-remove shoes before walking inside a house or (or school)

-stand to the left on an escalator (or to the right in Osaka)

-experience 4 seasons

The comments in this segment were obviously chosen by a Japanese segment producer.

I'm sure someone must have mentioned the horribly inconvenient business hours kept by the post office and most banks in Japan.

I also think it's strange that Japanese people can throw away so much time studying English and run the other way when a "gaijin" approaches. I've had English students tell me that they are too frightened by foreigners to actually make friends or find a language exchange partner. Why even study English in this case?

Ahh, Japan. I can't wait 'til my next visit.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

To avoid frustration from misunderstandings and make good relationships, Japanese should understand another culture and learn other communication methods. This is important for Japanese to achieve their goals in the world. Lately, the number of foreigners visiting Japan has been increasing and the number of Japanese obliged to live abroad for business or personal reasons is growing. This internationalization increases the opportunities for Japanese to interact with foreigners and Japanese need to understand the gaijin ideas. What frustrates foreigners is that Japanese use vagueness is used to avoid conflicts with each other. Since Japanese dislike conflicts, they keep an attitude of courtesy to other people. However, their courtesy is just on the surface and they hide their real feelings and opinions in many situations. Japanese try to be good to other people, even if they have anger inside. Even if they want to say "no", giving a flat refusal to any proposition is difficult for Japanese. Such vagueness creates misunderstanding on the part of foreigners. They do not understand the real meaning of Japanese artificial behavior.

The Japanese find it difficult to communicate with foreigners who state their opinions clearly and logically and cannot understand subtle meanings. Such direct communication is used to debate and persuasion, but it might hurt Japanese. On the other hand, the Japanese vague and indirect communication often result in frustration for foreigners. Despite Japanese instinctive efforts, some regard Japanese as two-faced and opportunistic.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

6wings - Wish I could give a multitude of thumbs up for the indicator comment; and no, it's not just Hokkaido... Of course, what makes these habits even stranger is that they are taught how to drive in much the same way we are (I've taken tests both here and in my native land), but something seems to change when they get handed their license.

One thing I find strange is the opposing etiquette for trains & buses; both are mass public transit vehicles, and yet whilst boarding a train is an ordered, civilized affair (outside of rush hour anyway), where those who arrived first and have waited longest are allowed to board first, buses are a bit if a scrum, with that guy who turned up 10 seconds before the bus arrived maneuvering to get on first, and no one says anything.

Also how everyone seemingly loathes all the unpaid O/T they have to do, but they can't seem to get it together to make a better work/life balance for themselves; with a country that has such a "group" mentality, that seems strange.

6 ( +6 / -1 )

Some strange things that are shocking for a modern society to tolerate.

Sexism: The degree of this in Japan makes the sexism in "Mad Men" look quaint. Women getting pressure to marry or quit their jobs if they do marry. The society wide objectification of women and young girls. And the disparity of pay between men and women. All shameful archaic habits.

Ageism: Why do people tolerate the kind of age discrimination that is so common here. Everything from women being looked down upon for being over 30, to the inability of older workers to find new jobs because they are considered too old.

Racism: Everywhere has racism, but Japan has a lot of institutionalized racism. As a western foreigner we notice it but it is largely bizzare behavior and a little exclusion. But talk to Asian or East Asian foreigners and they will tell you many more horror stories ranging from police harrassment to more significant exclusion. Again shameful archaic habits that harm Japan's prosepects as well.
7 ( +13 / -6 )

"She replies that it’s perverted, leaving the guy at a loss for words."

I wonder if she told the interviewer the it was perverted or he was perverted.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

yes, KANCHO is unique and GROSS.

Silly rabbit, kancho is for kids.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Nope kancho is also for adults too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

People,

Instead of concentrating on what you perceive to be the negative aspects of Japan, why not mention the good things. Every country has their good and bad points.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

One thing I find strange about Japan.

The vast majority of foreigners living in Japan are Chinese, the majority of visitors to Japan are Chinese-speaking and to a lesser extend Koreans. Why aren't there any Chinese-speaking or Korean visitors interviewed? Perhaps that would not make good television?
7 ( +7 / -0 )

This is often one of the first questions I get asked when I meet someone new in Japan. What surprised you after coming here? There is such a focus on Japan being unique or special, but each country has weird things!

@CanadianJapan, I also wondered about this! When I asked my friend who works for TBS, he said other east asians are not "foreign-looking enough."

On a similar note, I feel bad for many foreigners here who always are assumed to be American (there are other foreign countries?!)

5 ( +6 / -1 )

CanadianJapan,

I think your assumption is right. people are interested in what the fawning westerner thinks. we definitely don't want our light and cheerful TV show to bring up difficult issues. such issues should be ignored.

. “However, emergency news flashing across the top of the screen is always in Japanese, so foreign people cannot read it.”

this guy needs to learn the language. "foreign people cannot read it"?!?!? I have some foreign co workers who can read it just fine!

-10 ( +4 / -13 )

1 euro is not 160 yen

4 ( +7 / -3 )

French man (28)

He says that “even though I speak Japanese, Japanese people always respond in English. I understand that they are trying to be nice, however I would like them to respond in Japanese too.”

I commend this Frenchman for not expecting the Japanese to respond in either Japanese or French.

Indian men, aged 53 and 30

The 53-year-old man answers that only Japan does not have TV news in English. “It’s most important to know the latest typhoon and earthquake information,” he says. “However, emergency news flashing across the top of the screen is always in Japanese, so foreign people cannot read it.”

You foreigners don't even understand the Japanese Shindo intensity scale to begin with, what's the point if it's in English?

-14 ( +1 / -14 )

I can quickly make a long list of things I find strange in Japan. And I can as quickly make a list of things I found strange in US, or in my home country in Europe. Guess what, every place has its good things and bad things and on top of that strange things. It's up to you to decide which environment suits you and your family the best and live there. Instead of complaining on forums how crappy your life is, "obviously" because of the place you chose to live

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Visual novels & JAV ----> Japan is the best country in the world, Period.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

CanadianJapan

These interviews were conducted with foreigners they stopped on the street right? I'm assuming the interview picked them out because they look foreign. How would you pick out the Chinese and Koreans unless you happened to hear them speaking their respective languages?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

On a similar note, I feel bad for many foreigners here who always are assumed to be American (there are other foreign countries?!)

So true. I'm from New Zealand and not that I expect everybody to know where it is, at least understand that there are more countries out there in the world then good ol' America.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@USNinJapan2 Where I live(Asakusa),you can spot the Chinese coming from a mile away, go to Akihabara and you'll have no problem spotting herds of Chinese shopping around. I believe j4p4nFTW's point is accurate when he says that japanese TV doesn't reflect reality. How can they pick up 2 Frenchmen when there's probably 20 times more Chinese coming to Japan?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The things that I found strange: random running - my instincts says I'm in danger and should run too, face masks - there must be a supervirus around somewhere, friendly service- what is this person's real intention nobody is this happy about selling a soda

2 ( +3 / -1 )

this guy needs to learn the language. "foreign people cannot read it"?!?!? I have some foreign co workers who can read it just fine!

So until they do learn the language they don't matter, right?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

How can they pick up 2 Frenchmen when there's probably 20 times more Chinese coming to Japan?

Um..yeah difficult.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@sfjp330

To avoid frustration from misunderstandings and make good relationships, Japanese should understand another culture and learn other communication methods.

No offence but why should they do anything?

To placate a small minority of foreigners - the ones that need placating being a minority within a minority? Where's next? Should Mongolian people need to know more about foreigners and how they live, or perhaps the people living in Bolivia?

If the Japanese are "strange" for considering themselves unique, so are the foreigners who support this view by offering "solutions" to a country full of people who mostly don't care one way or the other. I think a lot of Japanese avoid foreigners because they are bored to death hearing about them. The only ones who make a real fuss are the fruitcakes best to avoid.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The vast majority of foreigners living in Japan are Chinese, the majority of visitors to Japan are Chinese-speaking and to a lesser extend Koreans. Why aren't there any Chinese-speaking or Korean visitors interviewed? Perhaps that would not make good television?

Unlike white societies, Japan likes to give people of other color to take their shot a mainstream television.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

@CanadianJapan

Most "foreigners" in Japan are Korean, unless you are referring to tourists.

My Hong Kong Chinese friends have to explain they don't speak Japanese constantly to the locals who cannot tell they are foreigners when they visit Japan.

Yes, some people may look like a particular nationality but this is just guessing. I've seen people from different countries who could be twins they look that much the same.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Compared to tv in the west its a lot better in Japan, the west does have good movies etc but its becoming a business model of franchised re-made titles of originals, sequels 1,2,2

That is not to say good movies are still coming out of Hollywood.

Japanese movies, drama, anime etc has its own cool appeal and most stories are original.

The news is also less negative and depressing compared to the west.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Also highly predictable story formulas in the west, good wins over bad, guy wins the girl blah blah the end..

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

You foreigners don't even understand the Japanese Shindo intensity scale to begin with, what's the point if it's in English?

Any sort of information is better than none. When I lived in Japan, it took a couple of months to figure out how to get the English audio on NHK, and even then, I only had the chance of watching the 10pm news to hear anything in English. I was given no information about what to do in an emergency, or an earthquake, or a tsunami. At the time, I couldn't get a mobile phone either, nor an internet connection. I hope things have improved since then, even in country towns like the one I lived in. All of this was a problem, but it wasn't strange.

Things I found strange in Japan worth mentioning were unnecessary challenges to getting around, for example - at the entrance of a Tokyo subway station I needed to buy a ticket to Shinjuku. Above me were two maps - one with the names in Kanji and Romaji, and the other with the price and Kanji. The layouts of the lines on the maps were NOT the same. So I had to find the name in romaji, then memorise the kanji and find the kanji on the second map to get the price to put into the ticket vending machine. Another challenge to the foreigner is that mudmaps are usually drawn in relation to the nearest JR station not magnetic north (some people actually prefer this however). Many official maps in public places have north pointing down - a hangover from traditional maps two hundred years ago.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There's a typhoon coming and people would never EVER get ready, even if they know it's coming straight at them. I ask what should I do and people tells me "just go to work on your bicycle like a regular day". What!? Coming from a place with hurricanes every year and all the preparation we do even if it's a class 3 hurricane, the reaction to typhoons in Japan leaves me in shock.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There are lots of things a person will find strange about things outside their own immediate, controlled environment, be it domestic or foreign.

As such, there are of course things people will find odd, and some will be based on cultural differences while others will be personal. I won't bother to list what I think as 'odd' in Japan, but I will say one of the things that BOTHERS me the most is this type of question. What I mean is, I think every single foreigner who has been here for any length of time has heard the question NTV is asking, in one form or another (if not "What do you find strange" it's, "What surprised you most", etc.). I wish the Japanese in general were more concerned about what they do and how they appear for THEIR OWN sake, and for the nation, rather than for feedback from outside (especially since, when it's negative, they just ignore it altogether or claim their culture is being attacked). It smacks of a complete lack of confidence.

Granted, this is meant to be a kind of fluff show, probably taking an angle of amusement to point out some cultural differences, but a lot of people watching will say, "eeeeEEEEEHHHH???" and take it as gospel.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Wow anglootaku, you really think Japanese tv is better than western tv? I don't know what you are watching but I have never seen so many transexuals, tranvestites etc in a variety show in my life. My wife, who is Japanese just loves this stuff but it disgusts me. Tell me why 'Mattress Deluxe' is so popular? Yes I am aware I am playing with his/her name. And if I never see another food tasting/rating show again I will be extremely happy. A show such as Before and After that runs Sunday evening is worth watching but most of the rest? I don't think so. I don't think every western show is great either but I don't have to watch the same people in a different show every night either. Thank God I have a man cave to retreat to watch DVD's, hockey or listen to my stereo. It is my oasis in the desert. Oh, and by the way, the news here may be less depressing but that is only due to falling in line with what the government wants them to say. Stray outside the line and say something that irks the politicians and you (reporter, news station etc) will not be a privileged member of the press club with its perks anymore. Heaven forbid if a reporter offends anyone. I prefer a 'tell it as it is' journalism.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The media constantly asking questions like this one!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@Captcanuck

Download American stuff off bit torrent, ie movies, drama etc :P

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What a totally lame set of answers. Must have been plenty more punchy ones that didn't make it thru the final edit. Clearly no-one answered chopsticks or sushi or 4 seasons or work too hard or sleep on trains or all the etc etc that we always hear about.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Smoking indoors. You knew I was going to say that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Most Japanese shows like this don't want to find out or show what people REALLY think. All those comments probably get thrown away during editing. They only want some lighthearted things to give the studio audience and the people at home with their heads in the sand something to laugh at. This may be Japan-bashing on my part but so be it. I call it like I see it.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Mocheake. You are most likely right. They do not really want to know anything negative. Just things that will make people laugh. Like the monkey that is on tv every Saturday evening dressed in overalls. Anyway. I think the guys practicing their golf or baseball swing in the supermarket check out line are pretty weird.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The poor driving and lack of common sense at least down here on Okinawa.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

1) The cops have guns. That's so scary for us poor Brits.

2) You have to pay for hospital treatment. So heartless ;)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

why should japanese tv be obliged to show earthquake info in eng? Kinda a strange thing to complain about in another country...they dont have announcements in my language......eh?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

lucabrasi Take a trip over to Northern Ireland, most of the cops still have guns.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@y3chrome

True. Should have said "... we English."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

That they allow their own people to live in places highly contaminated by nuclear fallout...

7 ( +7 / -0 )

What I find strange? The obsession this country has with trying to be strange and different from every other country on earth. The need to be unique. Japan isn't that different from other countries. Thing is, other countries don't obsess over and have an identity crisis because of it.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Strange things abound here but perhaps the most perplexing of all is the obsession of posting photos of food online. Yes, an exotic dish is one thing, but I have several Facebook friends who post photos of the most mundane things: their lunch salad, a bowl of soup, maybe the dish of curry rice they ordered for dinner. This to me is absolutely bizarre behavior.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

combinibento ; agree Endless pics of pretty normal food, or starbucks coffee, we do not need.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The lack of knowledge and understanding most people have about the nuclear disaster and still relying on what they are told by the government or parrot media.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yawn, this old chestnut... wasn't there a show a few years ago called something like "Kore wa hen daiyou, Nippon!" ? Bunch of foreigners, always including one African in tribal gear, moaning away & making it look like we're laughing at, not with, Japan. I was in one in the early 90s -god help me if there's still a copy floating around- but at least they asked us what we liked, too. They've probably been making these shows since those pesky gaijin invented TV.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I have interacted with foreigners who have appeared on Japanese TV. The one complaint I received was that some of them felt that their comments were censored. As the programs were preprogramed, some said, their comments belittling Japan were edited out while comments they made about their home countries were set up to look like they were showing them in a bad light. So I don't take such taped shows seriously. They tend to show what the directors and film editors want them to show ...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

those who say "to goose someone" is the same as KANCHO - you are sadly mistaken. a goose in a pinch on the buttocks - there is no effort to put hands together, stick the two forefingers together and plunge them into someone`s buttocks. i repeat KANCHO is GROSS.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This sounds to me very artificial. First of all, every Tokyoite knows the nickname of the Asahi Bldg. Japanese girls wear short skirts-yeah, most Japanese oyaji think the same (and are happy with that) Station staff pushing people into the train was one of the most popular images of Tokyo well, some 20 years ago.

Stereotypes, plus answers edited to look as if foreigners are bashing Japan. I so much don't watch such "the world vs Japan" types of shows anymore.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know what you are watching but I have never seen so many transexuals, tranvestites etc in a variety show in my life. My wife, who is Japanese just loves this stuff but it disgusts me.

Why is that a problem? Transexuals and transvestites are people too.

3 ( +6 / -4 )

I like that Japan as a nation does not suffer from the Overshadowed complex. Unlike Canada vis-a-vis America or New Zealand vis-a-vis Australia (Wales/Scotland/Ireland vs. England, etc.) you don't see Japanese making fools of themselves carrying that huge chip on the shoulder when mixing with other nationalities in this region of the world. I find that unique and still worthwhile pointing out after all these years.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

I like that Japan as a nation does not suffer from the Overshadowed complex. Unlike Canada vis-a-vis America or New Zealand vis-a-vis Australia (Wales/Scotland/Ireland vs. England, etc.) you don't see Japanese making fools of themselves carrying that huge chip on the shoulder when mixing with other nationalities in this region of the world. I find that unique and still worthwhile pointing out after all these years.

The 'Overshadowed Complex' - that's funny. No one I know from any of these countries has a 'chip on their shoulder' because they live next to a larger country. Or is this 'complex' something you created yourself to desperately try and explain the widespread antipathy held by others in the world towards imperialistic America? Good one.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It is a form of sexual harassment and the fine iirc is something like 300,000 yen.

I have never been fined.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What I found was most strange about Japan was how much stuff in English there was. I'm from the U.S. Our road signs are in English and that's it. I thought Japan was a lot more accomodating to strangers than my country.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Our road signs are in English and that's it.

Been to California? Arizona? Texas? New York?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For "The Truth Matters" & "DentShop" ... have you ever traveled in northern Hokkaido? The signs up there are also in Russian. As a matter of fact, in Wakkanai I think I saw more signs in Russian than in English, although both exist side by side in many places. And in southern California I have seen signs in Mexican (Spanish). Probably this is also true in Texas and other border states. Question to "DentShop": do the signs in New York contain another language? Perhaps Spanish?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

DentShop,

I have to admit, I've only been to Northern California and I make it a point to avoid Arizona and Texas when I can. Too radically conservative for my liking. I'm assuming they have road signs there in Spanish and that's cool. That's a good thing. But places like Mt. Rushmore, and Teddy Roosevelt National Park (almost everwhere in the North) are only in English, if my memory serves. Also, I haven't been to either in the last 12 years either so it could have changed. But, as someone who has traveled the North and East Coast and Northwest, I've never seen signs in any language other than English. That is why I made the wrongful assumption.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I find it horrific that child abduction is common, accepted and used by the Japanese courts to decide sole-custody of children

That parents in Japan have no actual rights to maintain a relationship with their children

That someone else can adopt one's child without one's consent

That the Japanese culture doesn't seem to understand the concept of human rights

That there are zero laws to prevent racist actions - and government entities often are guilty themselves

That concepts such as: uso mo hōben— "lying is also a means to an end” are considered highly acceptable

That the legal system is a facade

That anything inconvenient is ignored

That logic doesn't seem to exist

etc.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

I was embarrassed at first for my European and Canadian and antipodean friends and acquaintances by how pro-American the Japanese can be and by their sometimes unaccountable enthusiasm for even the really vapid aspects and products of our popular culture but I got over it.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I find masks in winter and umbrellas/parasols in spring/summer too strange.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Not a bad looking Russian lass in the photo though!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Japanese girls wear very short skirts"

That's not strange, that's awesome!

Iranian men who come to Japan for the first time must just be all bug-eyed on the first day or so, ha ha!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Natto. Now that is a strange food. Smells and tastes awful, slimy...

"Why does Kinoshita have "no" between Ki and shita?"

Some questions are better left unasked.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The answers some of these people gave wasn't bad. Sometimes foreigners are lost for words with the culture and I just think that surely you must of looked into what Japanese culture is like before coming.. My 2 favourite ones from that bunch though was the second man's response about short skirts and also the ignorance of that Iranian woman. Just because they don't drink in her culture she is shocked to see people drunk in other cultures...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A lot of the "odds" are stereotypes and are based on only a small part of Japan. Not everyone does these things just as all of the population is not Shinto or Buddhist. I am a Christian and come from a long line of Christians. My point is a Japanese person could go to a single city San Francisco or Tulsa and think all of the Americans are like them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

ReformedBasherFeb. 17, 2012 - 11:38AM JST @sfjp330 To avoid frustration from misunderstandings and make good relationships, Japanese should understand another culture and learn other communication methods.

No offence but why should they do anything? To placate a small minority of foreigners - the ones that need placating being a minority within a minority? Where's next? If the Japanese are "strange" for considering themselves unique, so are the foreigners who support this view by offering "solutions" to a country full of people who mostly don't care one way or the other. I think a lot of Japanese avoid foreigners because they are bored to death hearing about them. The only ones who make a real fuss are the fruitcakes best to avoid.

ReformedBasher: Japan is going through transition. In a short future, fewer and fewer manufacturing job will stay in Japan. For young career orientated person, most likely, the Japanese companies that they are working for will eventually send them to work overseas for few years or longer in China, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, U.S, or other destinations. Of all the aspects of dealing with the Japanese, the ones which probably cause the biggest dilemmas concern communication difficulties. Communication difficulties are further compounded by the fact that few foreigners speak good Japanese and that levels of English in Japan are at best very patchy. Much of what is said by English speaking businessmen in cross-national meetings is simply not understood or more worryingly misunderstood. The need for the clear and precise use of language is never greater than in such situations. The combination of Japanese vagueness and lack of comprehension leads to enormous problems which make problem-solving and decision-making very tortuous. Japanese need to adapt better in communication skills to compete in the international business.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I was embarrassed at first for my European and Canadian and antipodean friends and acquaintances by how pro-American the Japanese can be and by their sometimes unaccountable enthusiasm for even the really vapid aspects and products of our popular culture but I got over it.

Someone's never heard of honne and tatemae. Of course Japanese are going to tell you they love America when they meet you (or rather they'll tell your American friends since you're not American). They know more about America than other countries, because America is in the media more. But get the Japanese drunk and you'll finally hear their true views. Japanese are glad their country is nothing like that crime ridden hell hole. They'll tell you what they want to hear when they meet you, because they have a culture of politeness - something which Yanks find hard to get their heads around. You've been here for as long as you say and you haven't picked up on that yet?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Japanese are always drunk specially girl like mother in the pressschool everyday always drunk.why?<>

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The linked video at the heart of this story is dated September 2011, and it's interesting that they seemed to only find foreign "tourists" who were fluent speakers of Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anyway, what this foreigner finds most "strange" about Japan is the Japanese appear to me to be more British in their behaviour, mannerisms and world-view than even the British are.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Free " toll roads paid for by ----- everyone's taxes...........

Some toll-road company must have made out in a gross way, but hardly anybody questioned this?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd rather see a remake of that sometimes annoying sometimes interesting 90s/early 2000 gabfest ""Koko ga hen dayo Nihonjin"". Track down some of the more opinionated token gaijin they had on that show and interview em about the intervening years and their opinions of the place and the people.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I understand the last one. Before I had gone to Japan, I had been studying the languagefor 10 years, dialect and all. On the plane to Osaka, a girl from Kyoto said I had the dialect of someone from Osaka. We laughed at how convenient it was. When I was getting myself and my mother around the country (my mother does not know any Japanese), it was easier for me to communicate with others in Japanese. I understood them and they understood me, though they said I spoke extremely formal for a foreigner.

There were a few people that wanted to speak English - the police officers more than anyone, I noticed. Unfortunately, when we switched to English, my formality went out the window. I said "okay" five times in less than a minute when they were showing us directions and, as we were walking away, I heard them mocking me saying "okay". I forgot how informal that word is over there and it would not have happened if they would have just spoken in their native tongue. Instead, I wound up feeling rather embarrassed.

Anyway. Point of story: please speak Japanese to us foreigners! Chances are, we've studied Japanese much more than they've studied English - to prepare to be respectful in the country.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

oginome

Of course Japanese are going to tell you they love America when they meet you (or rather they'll tell your American friends since you're not American).

Right. They take up baseball, American football, volleyball, basketball, learn or appreciate jazz, rock, blues, rap, hip-hop, etc, etc, etc, so's they can make a good,polite impression on the foreigner.

You funny.

They know more about America than other countries, because America is in the media more.

Oh noes! It da Kultural Imperializm , again !

But get the Japanese drunk and you'll finally hear their true views. Japanese are glad their country is nothing like that crime ridden hell hole

I've drunk with em and served em drinks. That was rarely my experience.

.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Right. They take up baseball, American football, volleyball, basketball, learn or appreciate jazz, rock, blues, rap, hip-hop, etc, etc, etc, so's they can make a good,polite impression on the foreigner.

You funny.

You're confused. Apart from baseball, all of the above you lised hold niche, not mainstream popularity in Japan. And way to go to discount things like European football, which is nearly as popular in Japan as baseball is. Japan is famous for incorporating and assimilating different cultural practices and ideas from all around the world throughout its history, the popularity of baseball today does not indicate any deep love for America or pro-American leanings, just as soccer's popularity doesn't mean Japanese people yearn for England.

You not funny.

Oh noes! It da Kultural Imperializm , again !

You said it, not me. Try harder.

I've drunk with em and served em drinks. That was rarely my experience.

Well if you're serving them drinks, they'll try even harder to withhold their feelings from you. They're polite remember? Certainly politer than Americans. Japanese are gracious hosts and guests to (Western) foreigners, don't get that confused and mistake it for adulation or adoration like many dense Charisma Men do - as they find out later in their Japanese marriages, LOL.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Of course Japanese are going to tell you they love America when they meet you

They tend to assume that all Westerners are American; not surprising, I suppose, given the history. And, thinking you're American, they'll be very nice and hospitable and tell you how much they love America. Then you mention where you're actually from, and they become really nice and hospitable. Like switching on a light.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I forgot how informal that word is over there and it would not have happened if they would have just spoken in their native tongue. Instead, I wound up feeling rather embarrassed.

O.K., but I will bet you that their "mocking" wasn't what you thought it was and you were reading way too much into something that was probably minor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

couple interesting things;

some ATMs not open 24/7 or on public holidays Speed limit not being enforced on the roads NO ONE wears seat belts in the back seat of a car Reliance on Inkan (perhaps not necessarily a bad thing?)
1 ( +1 / -0 )

More interesting things:

Most Japanese drivers don't stop for pedestrians at pedestrian crossings. (I really would like to know why they bother having crossings). And most who are turning don't even want to stop for pedestrians when the pedestrian lights are green.

They have public holidays on Saturdays (like this month). Who the h*ll does that benefit?

There are (or are there) no laws against noise pollution. Result - hot rodders and hells angels after midnight. Do people here sleep with ear plugs?

I many restaurants, they put smoking and non-smoking seats next to each other. Is that partition just invisible?

This isn't Japan-bashing. Tackling these problems will help everyone. 'Gaman' was never something I considered to be proud of.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@tmarie

What I find strange? The obsession this country has with trying to be strange and different from every other country on earth. The need to be unique. Japan isn't that different from other countries. Thing is, other countries don't obsess over and have an identity crisis because of it.

So true. Could it come from a superiority complex? I believe that the Japanese are afraid to loose the superiority status they think they had for a long time in the asian world. I think that when they opened up to the western culture, there was a fascination mixed with fear and at some point resent. If they were so confident about their own identity, why do so many people dye their hair, and get double eyelids... Yet, on many instances, I've heard japanese people say "Japan, really, is the N°1 country", and despise the way foreigners can be. Obviously, Japan should be the best country for a Japanese to live in, like France for the French, America for the Americans, etc. We are all attached to our culture. But in my opinion, their obsession is strong and deep settled.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It is hard to judge an entire nation from a small amount of contacts. Yes, I have done the same thing before. Japanese are no better or worse than other people. Not really all that different. Anyhow, please stop the Japanese bashing.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Someone's never heard of honne and tatemae. Of course Japanese are going to tell you they love America when they meet you (or rather they'll tell your American friends since you're not American). They know more about America than other countries, because America is in the media more. But get the Japanese drunk and you'll finally hear their true views. Japanese are glad their country is nothing like that crime ridden hell hole. They'll tell you what they want to hear when they meet you, because they have a culture of politeness - something which Yanks find hard to get their heads around. You've been here for as long as you say and you haven't picked up on that yet?

Sounds like sour grapes or likely you are assuming too much. It's entirely possible for Americans to not understand why many Japanese until just recently actually, did tend to think highly of the US on average. In this Americans opinion, it was out of ignorance, or not knowing, so I didnt get it either. Then I read a historical book about the end of WWII written by a Yale History Professor called "Embracing Defeat," highly recommended. It's complicated but Japan was broke, gutted, and spiritually broken after the war. The Emporer, who you could not look at or had never been heard addressed the population directly to explain the surrender. When the monster like barbarians came they didnt rape and eat children. They rewrote the laws, and brought food, where Japan's own military leadership absconded with anything they could put their hand to. Remember that for years previous, people were begging, stealing, and over paying on the black market for almost anything to eat. It took a decade after the war in areas for protein to affect average heights of Japanese. Thus the myth that foreigners are tall because they eat meat all the time. America is far from a perfect place, but they did do the right thing at the end of WWII. (anytime after that is debatable) when they were expected to be monsters, they were more human in some cases than the Japanese leadership, and put an end to the suffering in the spirit of the Japanese war effort they'd endured for years. It's a long time since then of course, but the older generation (think 70+) still remember. But of course you should be wary of tatemae in Japan no matter the subject.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

O.K., but I will bet you that their "mocking" wasn't what you thought it was and you were reading way too much into something that was probably minor.

No, it was. When I met up with my friend in Osaka and told her about it, she laughed said they were probably laughing at how many times I had said it, because it is such an informal term. I was laughing about it after it had happened and the initial embarrassment wore off. It taught me a lesson in customs, though. So, I can't really complain.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Over the years there's been a reoccuring theme whenever I come in for a report. Everybody is so eager to please that they sometimes forget the limitations of their office. Even after two of our branch offices were destroyed in the earthquake they assured the main office that they would be back up to full capacity within a month. I had to file an ammended report indicating that it may take longer.

Its gotten better though. I like to think that my bluntness has rubbed off on my immediate co-workers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They tend to assume that all Westerners are American; not surprising, I suppose, given the history. And, thinking you're American, they'll be very nice and hospitable and tell you how much they love America. Then you mention where you're actually from, and they become really nice and hospitable. Like switching on a light.

I've noticed this too. It really is quite a transformation when they find out you're not American, lol.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I've noticed this too. It really is quite a transformation when they find out you're not American, lol.

An even bigger transformation if they find out you're not Chinese though, lol.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sounds like sour grapes or likely you are assuming too much. It's entirely possible for Americans to not understand why many Japanese until just recently actually, did tend to think highly of the US on average. In this Americans opinion, it was out of ignorance, or not knowing, so I didnt get it either. Then I read a historical book about the end of WWII written by a Yale History Professor called "Embracing Defeat," highly recommended. It's complicated but Japan was broke, gutted, and spiritually broken after the war. The Emporer, who you could not look at or had never been heard addressed the population directly to explain the surrender. When the monster like barbarians came they didnt rape and eat children. They rewrote the laws, and brought food, where Japan's own military leadership absconded with anything they could put their hand to. Remember that for years previous, people were begging, stealing, and over paying on the black market for almost anything to eat. It took a decade after the war in areas for protein to affect average heights of Japanese. Thus the myth that foreigners are tall because they eat meat all the time. America is far from a perfect place, but they did do the right thing at the end of WWII. (anytime after that is debatable) when they were expected to be monsters, they were more human in some cases than the Japanese leadership, and put an end to the suffering in the spirit of the Japanese war effort they'd endured for years. It's a long time since then of course, but the older generation (think 70+) still remember. But of course you should be wary of tatemae in Japan no matter the subject.

Why would I have sour grapes? I'm not American or Japanese. The culture of tatemae was there before Japan lost the war, Japan acquiesed and accepted the terms of defeat, which they had to. America's occupation in the 1940s doesn't mean the Japanese love America. Many of the old mandarins and bureaucrats were restored to power in this 'reconstruction'. The old power structures largely remained in place. The Zaibatsu were dismantled but were restored as the more efficient keiretsu. Militarism was replaced by economics. You're right, people should be more aware of tatemae. The ignorance of certain (mostly American) posters on this site, many of whom have lived in Japan for years, is astonishing.

An even bigger transformation if they find out you're not Chinese though, lol.

Japan and China are far from allies, so that shouldn't come as a surprise.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is hard to judge an entire nation from a small amount of contacts. Yes, I have done the same thing before. Japanese are no better or worse than other people. Not really all that different. Anyhow, please stop the Japanese bashing.

Yuri people stating their opinions about what they have experienced is not Japan bashing.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Chances are, we've studied Japanese much more than they've studied English

Not many foreigners coming to Japan study Japanese at school for upwards of six years beforehand.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"The culture of tatemae was there before Japan lost the war, "

you can always tell a newbie, forever going on about "honne" and "tatemae".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

you can always tell a newbie, forever going on about "honne" and "tatemae".

No, not a newbie actually, honne and tatemae are still relevant even if you've been in Japan for twenty years. Obviously, you're still in the dark since you seem to believe the Japanese really do hero-worship and adore Americans, hence the desperate need for you to go and re-learn.these concepts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They tend to assume that all Westerners are American; not surprising, I suppose, given the history. And, thinking you're American, they'll be very nice and hospitable and tell you how much they love America.

Kansai Japanese never tell me they 'love' America or try to be polite about their opinion of the place. Most Japanese I meet proceed to ask where it is in the US I am from. They immediately recognize the city when I tell em, though it is not anywhere near the size of LA or NY. Then the talk usually turns to a visit they made to the States, or a relative or co-worker who lived there. I am usually pleasantly surprised by how much they know of my country. The last eleven months though have been slightly different - talk often included gratitude for the efforts our fine armed forces made in helping the survivors of the Tohoku tsunami, and the generosity of my compatriots.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Kansai Japanese never tell me they 'love' America or try to be polite about their opinion of the place. Most Japanese I meet proceed to ask where it is in the US I am from. They immediately recognize the city when I tell em, though it is not anywhere near the size of LA or NY. Then the talk usually turns to a visit they made to the States, or a relative or co-worker who lived there. I am usually pleasantly surprised by how much they know of my country. The last eleven months though have been slightly different - talk often included gratitude for the efforts our fine armed forces made in helping the survivors of the Tohoku tsunami, and the generosity of my compatriots.

That's all called politeness.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

unreconstructed: "I was embarrassed at first for my European and Canadian and antipodean friends and acquaintances by how pro-American the Japanese can be and by their sometimes unaccountable enthusiasm for even the really vapid aspects and products of our popular culture but I got over it."

The people that will most emphatically believe in, follow, and love US products and/or culture are usually the ones most uneducated about reality. That you find that to be a plus is not really a surprise. People in nations world-wide suffer the same sort of ignorance, particularly in small towns relatively shielded from multi-culturalism -- people in small town USA will see an Asian and think 'Chinese' same as many Japanese will see a 'noticeable' foreigner and think 'American'. If they knew anything about the world they would not make such silly assumptions.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Police & bicycle theft - I've never seen that before police can pull anybody check there bicycle serial number and able to detect if the bicycle is stolen or not. But motor scooters, automobiles and motorcycles take a bit longer.

Japanese salaryman vs. Pregnant woman /Old woman on the train - Usually Japanese salaryman wins the fight to sit down. This behavior is passed from parent to child Men are worshipped at an young age women get the backseat

Boss invites everybody to office party - But everybody pays 3000 - 13000yen usually if the boss invites everybody to eat, the company and/or boss should pick up the check

Restaurant quickness - In Japan restaurants food comes out fast and very hot. In America food is cold or the waitress doesn't give a sh*t

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@sfjp330

I have no disagreement with what you say regarding international business. But the entire country is not going to be involved, only those who deal with foreigners as part of business. The vast majority of Japanese do not deal with foreigners in a business sense now and I cannot see this changing that much. Yes, online business perhaps is an exception. For the manufacturing sector, they are between a rock and a hard place. My own experience with those Japanese businessmen dealing with foreigners is that they were not that bad as some would have us believe. There are some people who excel and those who don't, same as anywhere.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Naval gazing... one of the favourite Japanese pasttimes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

smithinjapan tries, but fails

The people that will most emphatically believe in, follow, and love US products and/or culture are usually the ones most uneducated about reality

Your effusive approval of Obama English textbooks - remember ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I just think if you are going to be visiting any country you should do a little research on their etiquette and policies. Kind of a polite thing to do, no? As far as Japanese individuals not considering foreigners living there to be "Japanese" even if they have their papers...I can understand that. I'm a US citizen, born in Belarus. Been here for 14+ years. Some people still call me foreigner. People still look at me oddly when I start speaking Russian or any other Slavic language. I still get that “communist” comment…even tho Belarus isn’t part of Russian… (it’s like calling a Chinese person Japanese…never call a Belarusian individual Russian)

You don't need to fully adapt...just compromise. I also hear a lot of American’s talking about the middle eastern women's clothing. "Those Muslims. This is America...if they wanted to keep dressing like that...they should have just stayed in Iran" (yes...I know that Muslim is a religion...this is a quote...)

Eveybody has double standards. Just sayin'.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People aren't thinking this out all the way. The show demonstrates how foreigners have strange beliefs and reactions to normal Japanese going on in society. To Japanese people watching the show, they can't understand why foreigners react the way they do or think the way they do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How about Japanese people cutting in front of you while walking? I mean so close that they cause friction your clothes. It causes me to misstep my pace and even stop in order to prevent any static. But, you watch them among themselves, they rarely cut in, instead they rather run ahead or face pace themselves to give each other their personal space respect. Don't they know we westerners have a more profound personal space. If they intrude, they will get it - period!

Or Japanese with their cell phones stuffed in their faces walking straight at you until they bump and then some.

Care to comment...anyone??

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Don't they know we westerners have a more profound personal space. If they intrude, they will get it - period!

Lovely attitude. I can't imagine why some locals don't get too happy about having to deal with certain foreigners.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Funny is that a Japanese TV channel can find all those foreigners from very different nations, all fluent in Japanese. Hey, probably again that typical case: Choose people from model agencies and pay 15.000 for a fake interview, where you have to say exactly what they want.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I find it strange that, in this day in age, a first world country has segments on TV asking foreigners what they think about said country.

Why strange, I think its a good question, why is it so strange to ask questions these days:) For sure, some of the answers are not great, but if everything in life was perfect, we would all be dreaming:)

I think the comment about questions here was made because this truly incredibly stupid question is asked everywhere, every day, constantly, and is considered polite by the Japanese. This sort of interrogation of foreigners has a typical japanese undertone of aggression and resentment, yet the question itself is completely inane, and there is virtually nothing to say in response to it that is not equally devoid of interest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I find it strange that Japanese people constantly feel the need to know what foreigners think of them. When they get past that... then maybe they can truely be themselves.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And then just before they come to a complete stop... wink wink wink. They turn on their "winker" and the jokes on you, they are turning right.

Well at least they finally DO use it! My son says in France "winkers must be optional since it appears nobody seems to have one..."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A great new book that explains these cultural differences - "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understanding crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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