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Can embracing Japanese culture make you forget your own?

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Being transplanted into Japanese society, adhering to Japanese customs and being able to hold your own, thousands of miles away from family and hometown friends is sometimes no small feat. My sincerest kudos to all of those teachers, businessmen, entertainers and other expats who do it everyday.

When I talk about those times that aren’t easy, you know what I mean, right? There are those days when you step on the train, or walk into a room, and feel like the freak show division of the Japanese culture circus ... all eyes are on you. Or maybe there are those days you feel like a mute, because you literally just can’t get the Japanese words out that you want to say. Sometimes that stuff can be a bit frustrating, but it’s all a part of the fun!!

If you’re on your way to Japan, PLEASE DO NOT WORRY. By and large, living in Japan has been pretty rosy, with only the occasional thorn (at least that’s what my experience has been anyway). Of course, the ease with which a person makes the transition to a new society is dependent on a slew of factors ranging from the country that they’ve chosen to live in, to their social prowess, to how they respond to external pressures in general.

I wrote the article “When in Japan, Do as the Japanese Do,” because I really feel like if you’ve you’ve made that ballsy, gutsy move to actually live in Japan long-term, then adapting & embracing what’s around you can greatly ease that living abroad transition. I feel that being open-minded enough to accept another country’s traditions and way of life is the mark of a truly globally-minded person.

But for today, forget all that. Let’s examine the flip side of this, shall we? Can embracing Japanese culture be, in any way, detrimental to foreigners? Can you embrace so much of the Japanese culture and Japanese customs that you lose sight of your own? I say that you absolutely can.

Culture shock and reverse culture shock are some of the terms you hear when people experience discomfort with a foreign way of life (culture shock). After having lived abroad for a while, returning to your hometown and it’s customs (ones that you used to be familiar with) can also shock you (reverse culture shock).

The fact that reverse culture shock even exists, shows that something can happen to your mind after having been abroad for a while. It doesn’t necessarily effect everybody, but it does hit some people pretty hard.

I don’t know whether or not it’s culture shock, but when I went home after two years of being here, I was surprised how much bigger people were in America (weight and height). I was also shocked at how big serving sizes were at restaurants, the differences in customer service at my local grocery store, among other things. But for me, these things make good ole Georgia what it is -- my home.

But what about those people on whom culture shock had a huge effect? The ones who don’t want to go back home. In what ways might a person forget their own culture after having been immersed in a foreign one? There are a number of ways it could happen. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I think mannerisms, tastes in food, tastes in the opposite sex, music, and even language are some of the things that people can forget while they’re here.

Mannerisms

After having been here for a while, I realize that I have started picking up a lot of the Japanese mannerisms. For example, when I went home, had to stop myself from doing the “Unnh, unnh…” nod when people are talking. My sister Erica (who had also lived in Japan) said that she could tell I had been living in Japan by the way I responded to her. I didn’t realize I was doing anything different.

In America, when someone talks, I’m used to just listening, and agreeing when there’s a question or something. In Japan, though, people listen a whole lot more actively, nodding and agreeing far more often during a conversation. It’s cultural difference that I am aware of when I’m in either place.

The other thing I’ve become quite accustomed to is bowing. In Japan, bowing is a sign of respect and I do it often. But in America, if I’m bowing all the time, it can send a different message altogether, maybe one of subservience.

Your Palate

Honestly, for me, I don’t think this one will ever change. I love Japanese food, but nothing on this planet is going to keep me from loving Mom’s home-cooked meals or desserts. The Japanese foods and American foods I like aren’t mutually exclusive ... I will go back to the U.S. and down all the slices of Papa John’s pizza and molasses cookies that I can stomach. Other foreigners I’ve talked to are very similar in this regard. Many don’t forget the hometown foods they love because they’ve been in Japan. If anything, the cravings become stronger. But for some, I guess it’s possible, maybe if your hometown’s food sucks.

Tastes in the Opposite Sex

Whoa ... this one is kind of strange because I have always been pretty open-minded when it comes to dating ... always, before I ever set foot in Japan. I have seen women from just about every race who I’ve found attractive: black, white, Hispanic, Asian, etc. I don’t think my tastes have changed all that much, but I have more of an attraction after having been here a while. But that doesn’t mean if I go home and see a hour-glassy, hot woman with cocoa skin, full lips and a beautiful brown eyes, that I’m not going to notice.

I have actually heard several foreigners say that they had become so enamored with Japanese women that they when they went home, they didn’t feel as attracted to women in their respective hometowns. Is it because Japanese women are more slender on the whole? Is it because the whole submissive rumor true (I don’t think so, but that’s another post altogether)? Hmm ...I wonder. There are definitely quite a few foreigners who find their their Japanese love here, settle down, make families, and decide to make Japan their permanent home.

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51 Comments
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I relate very well to the sentiments of this article. Having been in Japan for a number of years I currently live in my home country and experienced a lot of this when I returned. My first thought when driving back from the airport was 'Where IS everybody?'. I still do the active listening thing as well as a number of other mannerisms. The men and women I know here who did the same and married a Japanese partner sort of live a bi-cultural life, which is quite cool.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Definitely taste. When I went back home for vacation after 6 years here, third day I got sick from all the Mexican food I pizza I ate. I guess I got so used to eating low fat food that when I ate all that, my body couldn't take it so easily. Also, I loved drinking fruit juices, but after drinking beverages in Japan for so long I find any fruit juice back home way to sweet, can't have 'em anymore.Taste on the opposite sex and music has always been the same. Language? Well my sister says I sound very unnatural when I speak my mother tongue, specially among other Latin cultures.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

My sincerest kudos to all of those teachers, businessmen, entertainers and other expats who do it everyday.

With all due respect Donald, millions of "foreigners" live in countries other than their own, often with a lot harsher conditions than zainichi gaijin enjoy. Japan is a resort in comparison.

Reverse culture shock? Yeah, well, I miss good public transport and better shopping. And service. And, shock, horror, the bureaucracy is better in Japan than home, where it's an absolute nightmare.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

True !!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One thing Japan changed for me is I never blow my nose into a cloth handkerchief any more. They Japanese preference for tissue paper that is promptly discarded is much more sanitary. I used to think Japanese had good manners too, until alas, they discovered texting via cell phones. At present I find little to emulate in this nation of self-absorbed keitai zombies.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

But for me, these things make good ole Georgia what it is—my home.

I'm a second generation immigrant, but not in Japan. My parents lived in a country other than that of their birth, now I'm living in a country not of my birth. Someone recently asked me that favourite Japanese question, "When are you going home?", to which I promptly responded, "8pm". It took me a moment to realise that they were actually asking when I was going back to my country of birth.

For me "home" is where I feel comfortable and "at home". At the moment that's Japan. Perhaps it'll change in the future, but perhaps it won't. To my mind the author hasn't really adjusted to the international mindset yet, and isn't truly "at home" in Japan.

As for reverse culture shock, sure I notice that things are different when I change countries, but it doesn't bug me, everywhere is a bit different.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Re mannerisms and my palate, yes I suppose Japan has affected me. Though I substitute the grunts for "uh-huh" and "yeah", I still find myself giving way more "yes, I'm listening" feedback than before I came to Japan. It just comes automatically, and I remember once a friend actually said to me "would you mind not butting in while I'm talking?" hehe.

As for my palate, I am satisfied with smaller amounts and more subtle taste. I used to think Mr Donuts were bland - now they are just right and everything back home is too sweet. I appreciate the different flavours of white rice, or good quality tofu with some fine soy sauce. When I first arrived here everything was just a bland blur...

When it comes to women, I now find myself less attracted to Japanese women. I thank my Japanese wife for that.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

While I agree, I found myself losing my home country and I missed that, I felt Japan wanted me to merge and be Japanese, while that sounds great and I love everything Japan, I don't want to lose my cultural identify. So I just do what I want to do, whether that be the Japanese way or the foreign way and not what anyone or any country things I should do.

I'm more Japanese than I know it as when I goto other countries I really notice the difference.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Not at all, that includes other countries that I lived in.

Yes, I try to fit in and follow local customs, etc but at the core my birthplace and upbringing is just that and no country can change that. Coming from a multi-cultural, multi-national and multi-religion family might make it easier.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Oh reverse culture shock...I just went to Canada for the first time in a long time and realized that Japan has made me a poorly mannered driver. I drive everyday here and have gone through more than a good share of yellow lights. It isn't that I like to but if there is a car behind me I am afraid they are going to crash into me if I stop (happened once already). So, in Vancouver I really had to concentrate on the lights because people do follow the rules much more strickly there. Also, I have never heard of anyone getting a speeding ticket in Japan and everyone speeds. I always go at a responsible speed for my vehical and driving skill and drive as safe as possible. However, that doesn't matter when an RCMP officer pulls you over on the #1 for going 30 over the limit. Well, at least I got a nifty souvenir!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Several things you will probably have forgotten in Japan and have to relearn if returning to America.

To get your way, if a simple request does not work, you have to be prepared to threaten to kick ass, and possibly even actually to use violence. This is not an option in Japan, but it is the mode of behaviour on which America is founded.

You have to return to demanding that people pay attention if you speak and answer any question that you may ask, unlike in Japan, where you may have learned to apologise for requiring someone to turn their mind to whatever it is you have on yours.

You will have to remember not to apologise unless it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were in the wrong or committed an offense, while in Japan you may have got into the habit of expressing regrett merely because have somehow been instrumental in disturbing or upsetting someone.
5 ( +8 / -3 )

Once read: "In America, communication is a 'competition' in which the first person to draw a breath is declared the loser..."

However, one trait that I have found "Americans" here in America seem to greatly respect and have adapted, is to not wear shoes inside one's home.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I was once asked by a Japanese, "Is it true that in America it is illegal not to have an opinion?" I had to tell him that it is not, but assured him that nobody would be inhibited from expressing an opinion by anything as trivial as total ignorance of the subject.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Wearing shoes in a home is disgusting in my book.

I keep my own identity, but understand how to move around here with ease.

Unless a relative or friends visits here, do not bother to even mention that you do as they have absolutely no interest in your life, and just care about their own little bubble that will never ever change.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@reformedbasher: My sincerest kudos to all of those teachers, businessmen, entertainers and other expats who do it everyday. With all due respect Donald, millions of "foreigners" live in countries other than their own, often with a lot harsher conditions than zainichi gaijin enjoy. Japan is a resort in comparison. Reverse culture shock? Yeah, well, I miss good public transport and better shopping. And service. And, shock, horror, the bureaucracy is better in Japan than home, where it's an absolute nightmare.

I couldn't have said it better.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sakurala, Good that you have not gotten any speeding tickets in Japan. But truth is that many people get tickets for speeding here (me included.) If you drive on highways you will see (quite often) cars pulled over and police officers writing tickets.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Can embracing Japanese culture make you forget your own?...........................

Absolutely possible when some gaijin want to be " acceped " so badly that they become more Japanese than Japanese.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I remember, when I first came to Japan, laughing at Japanese people bowing on the phone.

I laughed even harder when, six months later, I noticed myself doing the same thing!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I think this is kind of asking the wrong questions. I have not forgotten my culture. I have learned and adapted myself to the point where I accept what is better and reject what is worse whereever I am, something like Lawrence of Arabia refused to shake hands with anyone because it just isn't clean.

More neutral things I might not do reflexively, but that does not mean I have forgotten. I am just not in that particular groove. But for me not much is neutral. Generally something is better and I do it whether it is the local culture or not.

For example, my tastes in food have changed, but it is because of experiencing more variety and having a better understanding of what is actually good. I sure do not fancy cheap American chocolate as I once did. Of course just aging might have an effect as well. Hard to say. I still crave soda even though I am no longer addicted to caffeine. Never drink tea.

The taste in women thing is also hard to tell. But I tend to think its less to do with exposure to culture and more to do with natural changes as you age and also and again, experience.

I used to like the hourglass shape. My dad always liked slender, but he never left America. Never understood him until several years ago. Now I also like slender, but not boney. But I have been in and out of Japan for a very long time. And while I always did like short, I was attracted to meatier women when I first came, rare as they may be in Japan. I dated a few. So maybe now I just want something new. But I don't think the culture has affected me much if any on that score. I still like dark skin, even though I appreciate light skin more than before.

I always wonder what my tastes would be like in a situation of complete freedom where I could try any woman I see. That would be the only way to know my true tastes unaffected by anything. Unfortunately, I will never know.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

i wouldnt have any qualms about it. There is no actual culture here even if some nationalists stubbornly refuse to see it. The place has been occupied by about everyone else in Europe for the past 2000 years, probably longer. They all took their turn. So genetically the flemish are probably pretty strong because there's a bit of gene of everyone in here as every conqueror had the habit that conquerors have. The culture , what you would call, is more one of submission and doing what you do behind the back of rulers and others. Keeping to yourself. The actual official country, Belgium doesnt even exist for 300 years and was written into existence on a piece of paper by some major European powers. Probably to give the Saxon-Coburghs their own little playground (being the litltle cousin of the house of Windsor, a.k.a. her majesty the queen) and probably also as a buffer zone between some bigger rivals. So there is no actual own culture, how could there be. I'd be happy to embrace , if ever, lol :)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japanese 'culture' really isn't all it's cracked up to to be....

1 ( +5 / -4 )

bilderberg_2015.

Neither is the french, german, etc "culture", just a different take on the same theme. Compare a schnitzel to a katsu alone, or a nabe to an eintopf.

Granted the bread is at it's best in europe(forget french).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

gogogoAug. 29, 2012 - 10:34AM JST

I felt Japan wanted me to merge and be Japanese, while that sounds great and I love everything Japan, I don't want to lose my cultural identify.

Obviously you've never lived in Japan for any long time because that's the last thing Japan wants.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I agree w/Dog.. you're non-japanese, they don't want you to "become Japanese"

At the end of the day.. you're not Japanese, you never will be and will never be treated as such no matter how well you speak the lingo, use chop-sticks or even if you give up your citizenship to get a japanese passport. Your everyday Japanese person cannot fathom the thought of a white Japanese citizen. So why go through the hassle?

Live in Japan like a foreigner, because that is what we all are. Enjoy what aspects of society appeal to you, and dislike the ones that don't. If you embrace it because you think it will make you accepted and "more japanese"... you are in for disappointment

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Easy develop 2 Images:

One public where you carry the shrine, etc. 2nd is the private your true self.

Not that hard as we do it mostly unconscious at work and social Functions.

Many of my co-workers got shocked when they met me in full leathers(Club Colours and customised Bike they never seen before.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Depends on when [what age] you got here, how long you've been here, and how flexible you are. You may or may not forget your own, but you may not or may miss your own.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The only thing I picked up and still use is no shoes in the house. My home in the US has such a nice clean carpet all because of that. While living in Japan the only reason I changed what I ate was due to the prices. love me some Pepsi but not at the price for litter, pass me the tea please. I adapt to the culture I am currently at that time. Once i depart it mostly goes back to normal.

@Virtuso - blowing ones nose into a handkercheif and sticking it back in your pocket? thats pretty nasty. I only seen my Brit friends do that but I guess thats normal for them. Aside from that they are the best drinking/dart buds I have :)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Personally, I feel like a stranger in my home country, I've never fit in and I've never felt comfortable here. After spending a little over 2 years in the USA, I came home wondering if I would feel different, if I would feel like I belong here, turns out that I feel even more alienated than before. I'm planning on going to Japan long-term, the way I see it I wont be giving up my culture, I'll be adopting and accepting a culture, one with a diverse and rich history. I fully understand that it's not going to be an easy transition but it will be worth it if I can finally feel at home somewhere.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Mashi... Why do you think Japan will accept you as one of theirs? Have you lived there before? and come to think of it, what is your home country?

if you want to feel "at home" pick a country that has a bit more of a track record in multi-culturalism. And if multi-culturalism is what you are looking for... come to Toronto

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why do some people always have to make such a big deal about 'culture'?

It's not something we have achieved... it just comes about from where and to whom we are born... the luck of the draw...

I say take a light-hearted approach to 'culture'... there are much much more important things in life.

To be honest, when I meet people going on and on about culture my eyes start to glaze over and I mentally switch off...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

ahh donald is a great guy, I read this article a while back on his site. I actually emailed him with questions and got a reply pretty quick.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think it's a matter of living in a conformist country like Japan that makes people just want to blend in.

All you have to be is polite.

It's no good, if you're from the States and want to be accepted by the Japanese and change your ways just to fit in as to not upset the group mentality.

I know a guy, from Chicago, that when it gets to Autumn, he just goes along with others and says "it's really cold" even though it's 20 degrees outside. He's not being true, and just tries to fit in.

After living here for a while, we see how people don't disagree with each other and go along with everything that's said to avoid any manner of face to face confrontation.

People do things in unison together: get cold at the same time; like eating the same "famous food"; go to the same tourist spots (Sky Tree madness), take holidays at the same time (GW and Obon), and so on.

Japanese who have lived abroad act differently: they don't need guiding and don't need rules and guidelines to conform to. It doesnt mean they're rule-breakers, it means that can use their own initiative.

Stay true to yourself, because as non-Japanese, we are different. The Japanese know it, and so do we...except the ones that try too hard to be accepted.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It short of depends on what you enjoy most. I was into Japanese Buddhism and lived in Little Tokyo downtown Los Angeles. For five years I was immersed in Japanese and Japanese-American custom. I enjoyed it immensely. If I lived in Japan, I would problably do the same.

I spent five months in England, and immersed myself in English Culture the same way. If I go to a country and then hide out in the Hilton Hotel and Mc Donalds, it sort of begsthe question why leave the United States if you are not doing to sample the difference.

As for Americans become more Jaanese while living in Japan why not! After all we seem to expect people to become more American while they live in the United States. So turn about is fair play.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have lived in Japan for two years and now in Taiwan for 12. Things I love about the urban environment are the public transportation systems, which are amazing, and the convenience of life. Purchasing goods, paying bills, everything can be done a stones throw away from your home. I can purchase high speed train tickets on my phone or at my neighborhood 7-11. I can pay my car registration at a convenience store. Japan and Taiwan are a zillion years ahead of any country in terms of service provided to citizens. Taipei right now is the only city in the entire world that has a completely free wireless network. I have had many customers come here thinking they are going to be in a "chinese" environment, and are blown away by the modernity of it all. Japan is the same. I don't know that it's "reverse culture shock" we suffer when we go back, it's more than likely dismay and disappointment at what the western world doesn't have, but thinks it does have.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

i love the japanese culture. i am a SGI member. i have been to japan a long, long time ago when, i was in the navy at Yokosuka. i was happy then. i had a japanese girlfriend. i am trying to come back to japan to live and work.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

After 18 years in situ in Nihon I don't obsess about Japanese culture,one way or the other.

What I do appreciate, very much, is that J culture does not permit honking horns, dogs don't bark (plus they are so small and ugly-with a preponderance of hot dog dogs- that it really doesn't matter) and no one cold calls. To me that's culture in the bark.

Other things I like include the fact that Japanese female etiquette discourages Japanese women from wearing over the top jewelry or spray oceans of perfume. Mascara is another story.

And it's great to be able to grab an onigiri or a plastic box of somen from 7-11, day or night.

When it comes to culture pain, I feel it most in the business world. To me, Japanese business people are either operating at the Canon level i.e. global best practice or the traditional level, which is a nightmare, replete with emotional blackmail and endless face-to-face meetings (which could easily be handled via Skype) in declasse coffee shops.

Most of all there's still way too much form over function built into the J business/bureaucratic cultural dna.

As you would expect, someone like me abominates "cute" culture, pachinko parlors, host/snack clubs and cell phone games. So, I leave it to the next generation to finish Mad Maxing Tokyo.

For a long time I dreamed of remaking Atami, into Japan's Monte Carlo first with fresh paint and then with gambling. Its close enough to Tokyo. You know fashion a place where the Euro gomi and the Uniqlo Js could meet but I guess class, savoir faire went out with Audrey.

And while I see Japan pretty much as a nation of koi swimming slowly until you clap your hands I do appreciate the one great gift which Japan can bestow which is .....serenity.

I'm even learning to become a bit more meticulous as the years roll by. Just yesterday I caught a misprint from the copier with just one or two letters left off.

Lovely, just lovely, and best wishes to all,

PV

P.S. I'm sure I'll be roasted for this.... one of the many reasons J women are primus inter pares has to do with their "in born" antenna for anticipating partner needs leavened with a willingness to compromise in certain ways at certain times depending on the "centrality" of the issue at hand.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For long-term Expats in Japan there is a more serious risk. In Japan if you are "Gaijin" you are not expected to become a part of the culture or live up to normal cultural standards. Board a train without a ticket? Oh, he is a foreigner better just leave him alone. Come to work late and leave early? Haha, that silly gaijin must not know how to read a train schedule in Japanese even after 2 years. Not able to speak the language after 10 years? Will Japanese is too difficult for Gaijin to learn anyway!

After awhile you get used to not having to live up to cultural norms. When you come back to your own culture and people expect you to act responsibly, that is when real reverse culture shock sets in.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I still find myself bowing and doing the nod on a daily basis! I had some serious culture shock after returning to Canada.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The cool thing about japan is that they protect their own culture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@JapanGal

Wearing shoes in a home is disgusting in my book.

We must have the same book, I can't stand wearing shoes inside either. Slippers are okay though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Timothy Folkins

I agree what you say is true to an extent.

My own experience is this - my Japanese bosses were much more inclined to listen to me (and other Japanese staff). In fact, they would often confer with me on things before they acted. Also, when I thought something was happening or going to happen that would have a bad effect on the company, I was very straight in letting people know, no matter who they were. Foreigner in Japan?

Well, back home, the management is incredibly weak. They will listen to me but do nothing. It's too hard or too confrontational. In fact, they act the way that I also hear Japanese management are supposed to be (from the usual J-bashers) but never actually saw. In business, at least, the Japanese get things done and they do it pretty quick. They are generally a very practical people and I've found them to be more adaptable than Westerners who claim the opposite. As far as I'm concerned, you can get a lot more done if you are a serious worker in Japan than back home. Don't whine though, just get your job done and go home at 5. If they don't like it, move on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Pepper Valston

Sounds like you work for a large organisation? I've found you're are much more valued in small companies because everybody has to perform or things go bad real quick. In that kind of envioronment, you will be much appreciated than at a larger company. It works this way overseas too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The life in Japan might be especially lonely for you if you’re a very outgoing and friendly sort of person who likes to spend a lot of time with other people. I suppose it has a lot to do with the tendency for Japanese people to be so dedicated to their jobs. Because a lot of people put almost all their time into their work, they don’t really socialize with anyone other than their coworkers. So if you’re not part of a company, you may find yourself feeling isolated. Work is life for a lot of Japanese people, and if you can’t identify with that they may find it hard to relate to you on more than a superficial level. Once in a while you might get lucky and have a really great conversation with someone at a party or something like that, but even when this happens Japanese people tend not to be very proactive about exchanging phone numbers and arranging to meet again soon. And usually you have to meet with someone several times before they’ll really start to consider you their “friend”. But then again, once you do manage to befriend them, Japanese people tend to be really great friends who will be there whenever you need them and do anything to help you out.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Every time I return back to the States, I get hit with reverse culture shock really bad. Towards the end of one of my recent trips, I said, without even realizing it, "this has been a good vacation, but I'm looking forward to returning home."

And although it has been difficult (I knew no Japanese when I came but through self-study I've learned quite a bit, yet not enough to be considered fluent), I really don't have any desire to live in the States again.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@sfjp330

People from some regions or the countryside can be quite friendly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No matter how much you try to embrace the local culture, just remember you will never be accepted, only tolerated. At best, you can expect to be treated like a stray dog...

Sure I like many things about Japan, but I certainly miss and respect many aspects of my own culture.

Things that annoy me are:

Being avoided on the trains (people reluctantly sit next to you).

You speak in Japanese only to be replied to in English...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Never had those problems in 15yrs here.

Usually squashed by Japanese on the seats and they all talk japanese with me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nearly all foreign men like Japanese women not because they expect them to be submissive, but because they have a feminine appeal. Japanese women for the most part are not submissive anyway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There's a poem called 'Search For My Mother Tongue' that is basically this article in poem format. I'd recommend you take a look at it, author, it's rather good, and I know from the article you'll relate to it as much as I did.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

malfupete

I'm unfortunately from South Africa, this place is nice for tourists but that's it.

Can't say I've been to Japan, haven't been that lucky. It may seem like I have , for want of a better word, a weeaboo's view of Japan. I don't expect to ever be accepted fully, I understand that it's not easy for foreigners to be integrated into Japanese life. I'm perfectly happy to be がいじん.

I'd give my kidney to live anywhere in Canada. I know a few Canadian folk and they have to be the nicest people I've ever met.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I like Japan very much, from food to art, and I admire Japanese people's serious attitude towards work, their persistence when face with disasters. One of the reasons I like Japanese culture is because it's very close to the one I was born in and they "preserve" some traditions better. So no, I wouldn't forget my own: ) My Japanese shujin said when he first kissed me: why are we talking in a third language ( meaning English ), you are so bright, learn Japanese:) But when I'm submissive, he said " be yourself". I'm a lucky girl, thank god :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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