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Dear Angry Western Guy

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By Melissa Feineman

It’s hard to imagine exactly what could make you so riled up that you would feel the need to flip your wife off and shout profanities across Ebisu Garden Place, but I – and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this – would really appreciate it if you could keep your negativity to yourself. Not only did the verbal abuse of your wife raise concerns about your anger-management skills and potential for violence, it also makes all of us foreigners look bad.

Like a lot of other non-Japanese living here, I try hard to play by the rules and, whenever possible, work to dispel the stereotype that all us gaikokujin, or gaijin if you insist, are just loud, obnoxious barbarians. But in the span of a few seconds, your thoughtless, immature and petty behavior pretty much negated all that.

I can imagine that in rough-and-tumble Springfield, Ohio, or Scunthorpe, UK, or wherever it is you called home before coming here, cursing at your girlfriend/wife/grandmother is simply a way of proving your manliness and gaining street cred. Fair enough (well, not really, but we won’t get into that here), but in case you’ve failed to notice, things are different here.

You appear to be married to a Japanese woman, so this leads me to believe that you haven’t just stepped off the plane. That means you’ve had ample time to observe Japanese society and discover that angry confrontation, voice-raising and expletives are not considered acceptable negotiation techniques. “So what?” you may say, “I’m not from here and I don’t need to follow the rules.” That argument might work if you didn’t already have a kid, but marrying someone and creating a family in this country means that you’ve agreed to abide by societal rules – at least the major ones.

Hey, if you don’t want to hand over your monthly earnings to your wife and receive a weekly allowance, that’s fine. Perhaps you don’t need or want a daily bento to be lovingly made for you – it’s up to you. But the nice thing about those kinds of choices is that they’re made in the privacy of your home and have basically no impact on innocent bystanders. The verbal assault in public, though, is something I’m quite sure your wife did not agree to when she accepted your proposal.

Oh, also, I know the baby you were pushing in the stroller was still pretty young, but do you really want his first English word to be a four-letter one? Just something to think about.

Thanks for refraining from making inappropriate gestures, shouting insulting expletives, and parading your jerky behavior in broad daylight in the future.

Sincerely,

Melissa

Melissa Feineman is a freelance writer based in Tokyo.

This commentary originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).

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257 Comments
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Boy, what a scary control-freak world Ms. Feineman represents. Scream on, Western Guy, I say. I'm my own man and really don't care how you behave. Time to grow a spine, Ms. F.

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......wow.....

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Melissa dear, Do you really have any idea of the implications of what you are saying here? Would you please take a deep breath and read your little inanity once more, carefully, and think it through.

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I agree with Ms. Feineman. Is it me, or has the quality of foreigners coming to Japan seriously declined over the past decade? Maybe the good ones are headed to China. Us long-term residents are always paddling up the stream of s**t left by stupid foreigners.

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ben4short

Why are you getting so upset? Ms Feineman saw a loud-mouthed, obnoxious foreign guy swearing loudly at his wife in public and it upset her. It would upset me, too. In fact, many times I have seen foreign guys acting like louts in public, using the F word and it is embarrassing. It makes me cringe.

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Us long-term residents are always paddling up the stream of s**t left by stupid foreigners.

And always will be. As will every foreigner in every country in the world. So what? Get a life dude. Rediscover your foreigner's autonomy and stop obsessing like Ms. F about what the heck the locals think.

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Dear Angry Western Women,

please mind your own business and get on with your life in future : that's the Japanese way. A negative stereotype about western women is that they are obsessed with their right to express whatever opinion they may have, and are misguided in assuming that other people are actually interested in what they think. That's what Twitter's for, right ?

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See I live in Guam, ya know where Japanese like to vacation. And guess what? They act just loud and obnoxious as we Americans do in Japan. See out side their control freak nation, they really let their hair down so to speak and get drunk, sing in the street, disobey every single traffic law, and jaywalk they they are invincible. All the Politiness, bowing and courtesy they practice in their home country goes out the window when they are outside of Japan. Sure, they generally don't fight with locals, but they are just as oblivious to the local culture as we westerners are accused of when we visit their country. Fact is Japanese don't adjust well to different ideas and ways. So tourist areas have to create a "little Tokyo" for them. Then they feel comfortable, but becuase they know its not Japan and they are spending big money, they can act like most boorish American. So lets stop comparing Japanese and foriegners, becuase the Japanese just check all that cultural upbringing at the ticket counter at Narita....

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I agree with Ms Feineman, too, that being loud and obnoxious is not 'being Japanese' but then I apply her standards of decorum to all. Including the loud and obnoxious Japanese I have observed not just yelling at their wives or husbands but at their kids - 3, 4 and 5 year-olds included. Or not just yelling at them in public but hitting them: a whack on the head and a loud Nanishiterun Baka Omae wa. Oh, wait. If the Japanese verbally and physically abuse relatives in public, it must be okay.

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Wow, this is the dumbest thing I've ever read

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Dear Melissa.

Pls rememember this simple fact: regardless of how many angry western guys are out there disturbing the "wa" you so clearly treasure, we will always and forever remain "gaijin" in the eyes of the locals, labeled with a thousand stereotypes, be they loud louts or insensitive clods. You wanna spend your time here fighting each and every one of them, or do you wanna do something productive?

Moderator: You have already posted four comments, when one would suffice.

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Shame on that barbarian. Us men should all endeavor to do it the Japanese way - put on a poker face in public because we are too spineless to let people know that all is not hunky dory in our lives, then shout and beat our wives/kids in the privacy of our own home where no-one will ever know.

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I wonder what she did. maybe she deserved it

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Hard to judge from the lack of information given in the story, did you witness the precursor events that lead up to Angry Western Guy getting angry? I know there is a want by some Angry Western Women(for lack of better wording) to label all Asian/Japanese girls as submissive, yes-girls but it's far from the truth. It is possible that she started in on him and he decided to yell back. Heated arguments happen, sometimes in public, you may never have seen it but I assure you I have seen more then a few Japanese couples get into it in public places(Perhaps you should observe Japanese society and see that Japan has uncouth people that don't mind airing their dirty in public, just like any other country). I am not condoning arguing in public but sometimes emotions boil over and get the better of a person(which may or may not have been the case), so do everyone a favor, step down off your high horse and stop with the holier than thou four letter expletive.

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What utter rubbish. It's like saying all Japanese men are chikans, or all blondes are gold-diggers. Some are, some aren't. On my flights, I get to see many mixed couples (usually western man, Japanese woman, surprise surprise). On one occasion, I had a jerk with long greasy hair swearing left right and centre, telling his wife to shut their crying baby up. His Japanese wife swore back. Absolute hell having to hear them. In front of me, were a well-behaved couple, a smartly dressed western guy and his Japanese wife. Even their kid was well-behaved. In other words, everyone is different and to lump everyone together is plain ridiculous.

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You wanna hear me scream, try carrying a jumbo latte and start drinking it next to me on a moving bus during rush hour. I'll give you 115 decibels. For people who converse on their keitai in the public library, I swat them with the largest reference book within reach. But quietly.

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papasmurfinjapan

Shame on that barbarian. Us men should all endeavor to do it the Japanese way - put on a poker face in public because we are too spineless to let people know that all is not hunky dory in our lives, then shout and beat our wives/kids in the privacy of our own home where no-one will ever know.

Or even worse bury your head in your work and stay out drinking till you pass out? Never spending any time with your family.

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Why do so many people act like only westerners do this kind of thing? Just the other day my friend saw some man belt his wife in line at a restaurant. I agree it was rude of this guy to be obnoxious, and yeah, there are some pretty rude foreigners. But there are about as half as many rude Japanese people as well, but no one talks about them because Japan is such a polite and perfect society. Ugh. Live here long enough and you'll find they are human just like the rest of us "barbarians" from the West.

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I love this article! Actually I worried she was describing me, but the first paragraph only applies to interactions with my boss. My wife does most of the screaming and flipping off (she's from Osaka you see). Anyways, this story really riled up the flock, so thank you for that.

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Mind your own beezwax Melissa Feineman!

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Getting away from who is worse, "us" or "them", do all Japanese stereotype that all (of) us gaikokujin, or gaijin if you insist, are just loud, obnoxious barbarians?

Isn't that just stereotyping "them" right back? Only idiots sterotype.

Therefore the people worth knowing, in any country, strangely enough don't stereotype. Think about this...

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stick to hula hoops

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When did this happen?? I work there and didn't hear about anything. Oh and it's Yebisu Garden Place, not Ebisu Garden Place.

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Story from a friend: A French eikaiwa teacher she used to know was walking along a street in Kansai one sunny day, eating yogurt while heading to work. A car that was passing by slowed down for a traffic light and this teacher overheard "gaijin" being spoken by the people in the car during their conversation (he couldn't understand the rest because he didn't speak Japanese). For some reason, he decided that it was a grievous affront to him, so he threw his half-eaten container of yogurt on the car..

Western people (lots of barbaric foreign women too, more ways than one) flying off the handle seems to be common everywhere. Doesn't mean you can't express yourself, just handle it like a man (or woman). Acting like children when things don't go your way. There's always gonna be cultural differences, but the scene described in the article is ridiculous in any country.

Rest of the story: The passengers of the car were able to track him down pretty easily (only one eikaiwa in the area) and his bosses weren't happy. He compounded the situation by denying he did it and that was all it took to end his employment. He's back in inaka France, where he belongs.

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Throwing yogurt is not so bad, moisturizes the skin. Throwing dung, however, as caged monkeys are known to do, is a much more serious affront.

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Melissa could you please leave the comfort of the "gaijin zones" and come up here to north Tokyo "shitamachi" and watch my neighbors as they yell, fight and call each other names (not to mention the occasional smack that goes completely ignored by the rest) on the "shotengai" or the "business man" urinating or being sick (drunk) on the side of the road!

God forbid that I talk in a foreign language (even very quietly) on the phone or with my children in public! The looks of disapproval at the loud "gaijin" are deafening.

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well, she has her foor in the door of professional journalism. next stop...who knows, the sky is the limit!

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Man, I recommend Melissa spends some time in Osaka; she could write a "Dear Angry Japanese Guy" column every single day.

Which makes me think that "not expressing anger in public" is not at all a "Japanese trait" at all. Only a limited number of Japanese never express anger in public.

I am sure this "Angry Western Guy" had a better reason to do what he did than many "Angry Japanese Guys" I see around here in Osaka.

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While it's not a nice thing to see someone yelling at their partner in public, I can't really understand why Ms. Feineman felt the need to turn this into an article. I have seen Japanese guys hit their girlfriends/wives in public, which I don't think is really acceptable in Japanese society either, but they grew up here, so don't have the slightest excuse.

If you read the comments at all, what was the point of this article, Ms. Feineman?

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You know you're in Japan too long when you are using shame to whack the nail that is standing out. The events have nothing to do with the author and it is that which is equally ridiculous.

That people learn that there are about 8 types of people on this world, in spite of the thousands of languages human speak, is a good enough lesson. There are idiots in every country. This isn't news.

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Melissa, if you're carrying around a gaijin guilt complex everywhere you go, that's your issue.

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Ok. The authoor of the article is a class A apologist for Japan.

"That means you’ve had ample time to observe Japanese society and discover that angry confrontation, voice-raising and expletives are not considered acceptable negotiation techniques."

So what imaginary Japan have you been living in mate? I have seen guys punch their girlfriends over and over in the station while only a couple foreign guys bothered to do anything about it. I have seen women slapped by men in very nice suits. I have seen plenty shouting. And streams of crying girls who look roughed up following big hair wanna-be-cool J guys.

So while I agree with you that this guy going off in Ebisu is wrong, I think you should be writing about anyone going off at anyone in Ebisu and not going on with some tripe about foreign guys being angry.

On another note. You don't know the story of why they were fighting. So to take clear sides is also a bit ill advised.

My take is this. Whatever they were fighting about should have been taken up at home and with rational speech. This applies not only to foreign or mixed couples, but should apply to all people.

Second. Since we don't know why they were fighting it is foolish at best to assure the innocence or wedding agreements that went into this relationship. She could very well have done something that would have you shouting too. Since you don't know the whole story, your position to take sides is irrational.

Finally. While I think public displays of anger are inappropriate, they are far supperior to the murder suicide rampages that fill the headlines here on a regular basis.

I am tired of the apologists ignoring the abusive and often just as agressive behavior of Japanese when condemning the behavior of foreigners. This is a form of racism. What you should focus on is the negative interation between two human beings and not get hung up on what gene pool or country they come from. You should know better.

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One more note. You may also wish to spend some time in a Japanese company. I have seen people hit by their supervisors several times in the course of a day. I have seen people dragged in front of the entire room and dressed down like having a drill sargeant lashing into you. And I have seen people yelled at to the point of tears over very minor things like forgetting to staple something.

I have even had to raise my voice to Japanese colleagues who were ready to attack my staff members for minor things.

So before you apologize for the barbaric behavior of one foreigner, maybe you had better think more about the clearly socially acceptable traditions of people shouting at each other in Japan.

Wake up, this isn't paradise. It is just as broken as every other society on earth and people are people no matter what color or passport they happen to be associated with.

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A number of comments have pointed out that Japanese people can behave just as badly. This is missing the point.

If a Japanese person sees another Japanese person behaving badly, they'd just think that particular person has a lousy personality. If a Japanese person sees a foreigner behaving badly, they're much more likely to generalize that all foreigners are like that. It might not be fair, but foreigners in Japan have to be more careful.

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Mel, you mean to tell me you never heard a Japanese mother ranting and raving at her poor little child? I think a lot of Japanese mothers here are very abusive to their kids in public and probably at home too. I married one of those not knowing, but am finally free. But my poor kids still got to live with it.

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My neighbor, married couple with 2 children often fight even at midnight. I lived in many parts of Japan but I notice only Kansai people like to talk loud and shout. Likewise, not all gaijin come from the same place. So, what's the point of this articlE?

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The point, bisoy, is that there is a "stereotype that all us gaikokujin, or gaijin if you insist, are just loud, obnoxious barbarians" that was reinforced. Most Japanese are not as enlightened as you or I are, that Japanese can be just as bad.

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Recently I saw an Angry Japanese guy verbally abuse his 2-4 year old son in the parking of a supermarket. It was so violent (he was miming to hit the kid in the face as he was screaming at him) I was shellshocked. I've never seen that kind of public violence against a child in any western country I've lived in. People were just walking by and pretending to see nothing.... Let's stop pretending Japan is a perfect country with perfectly behaved people who never scream or abuse their spouses or their children. It's not true! Japan is just as flawed as everywhere else....

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I have another article idea. Let's complain in print about everyone we see who bothers us. And maybe we can also through around some broad stereotypes while we're at it. Even better if we have no clue what exactly the stereotypes we use are - just make them up on the spot.

Maybe I can also submit an article? It's called "Hey man who gave some other man a grumpy look on the train..."

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"If a Japanese person sees a foreigner behaving badly, they're much more likely to generalize that all foreigners are like that."

Airion. I am sorry but nothing you can do will stop this from happening. The Japanese public does not need you or me to behave badly to decide negative things about foreigners. They have the media, misconceptions that are promoted in press and public and misinformed interpretations of other countries to decide that we are less civilized than they are.

I can't tell you how many times people have asked me how dangerous Seattle is. Or asked if I have seen many crimes. And if you ask my South East Asian friends they will tell you about a long list of misconceptions that Japanese have about how dangerous or drug ridden their home countries and people are.

So look, being an apologist here has not traction. You don't win points, you don't become more Japanese or less gaijin. We are outside no matter what we do, how long we live here or how well we integrate. Only people who know you will really see you as who you are and not as "other".

What this really says is more about Japanese thinking. It is irrational to lump all white people into one box based on the behavior of one caucasian. Or all people of African lineage because of the behavior of Nigerian guys in Roppongi. This kind of wide scope racism is a bad point of Japan and the culture here. It isn't something we should be trying to apologize for or offset by trying even more to be pet foreigners here.

We are human beings as flawed as any others. Japanese are human and as flawed as any others. And we are all citizens of the world working to hold up this country and her economy.

So stop apologizing and just live. And when someone condemns all foreigners for the behavior of one, point out to them that such thinking is backwards and constitutes racism. Because people here need to learn that fact as they become more and more a part of a global community where many people from many places coexist.

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Sadly, many posters here have missed her point entirely. If you are a foreigner in Japan, like it or not, you are also a representative of all foreigners. Some foreigners are too stupid or ignorant to realize this (like the moron Feineman describes) and the rest of us pay the price.

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Mellisa,

Here is some more lessons on Japanese behaviour.

You know, in the guide books it says like this: "Japanese people pay attention to the people around them, and try to not disturb them".

How the Western reader interprets it: "Japanese people are quite and well behaved."

What it means in reality: "Japanese people are just as noisy and unmannered as any other country's people. But whereas in most countries people would ask the loud/badly mannered person to behave, many Japanese ignore it and try not to disturb the annoying person".

Most people just ignore the angry customer abusing the shop tenant, most people ignore the loud guys on their bikes late at night, most ignore the annoying piano playing neighbour in the room next door, most people ignore the chikan.

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JT - did any editors review this article? Portions of it won't even pass your posting filter system.

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I cringe when I see other Gaijin making social paux pas. It makes me feel lucky that I (used to) live in the countryside, where people usually never see foreigners.

Unfortunately, some bad apples will ruin it for the rest of us.

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Dear Melissa,

Some day when the world is filled with fine and upstanding people like you folks will never make mistakes or do things they're embarrased by later. Until that day you will just have to endure people's flaws.

I might suggest in the mean time looking up these two words in the dictionary: empathy and vanity. This will help you in your time of need.

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Not sure what I'm "apologizing" for by pointing out that Japanese have stereotypes about foreigners. You say Japanese should be condemned for having such stereotypes about foreigners. Absolutely. But we shouldn't be careful about actions that build up the stereotype? It's unjust, but the reality.

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junnama-

Some day when the world is filled with fine and upstanding people like you folks will never make mistakes or do things they're embarrased by later. Until that day you will just have to endure people's flaws... I might suggest in the mean time looking up these two words in the dictionary: empathy and vanity. This will help you in your time of need.

awesome post. I hope Melissa reads it and gets off her high horse.

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It must be something to live your life based on how other people feel about your "group". That's quite a lot of weight to carry on one's shoulders.

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Maybe the guys wife deserved it. Not all Japanese women are rainbows and pink fluffy bunnies. Some of them will wind a guy up in a park and push him to the limit and watch him blow up with great satisfaction. Point it that she blames the barbarian but the fault may be with a snake.

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bobbafett - She saw a few seconds, and now has concocted a whole theory behind it based on nothing. Hey maybe she can get a job at CNN or MSNBC!

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Some of the comments posted by foreigners here is unbelievable. I have lived in the states for many years and you cannot compare in general the behavior of your average Japanese v.s. low class trash in some Western countries. (yes there is many of them all over...) Of course we have our fair share of "trash" in Japan and as some noted Kansai seems to have greater share than most parts of Japan but really can you really say that it is just as common as in the U.S.? Give me a break. Most Westerners perspective of Japanese in their country is that they are law abiding and respectful of the culture that they are guests at. Unfortuantely, many "bad apples" foreigners here in Japan leave a negative impression unfairly to the rest of the Gaijin population. What Melissa is conveying is that foreigners should be extra mindful as to not label the rest of Gaijin community as being disruptive and bad mannered as there are relatively few foreigners here in Japan and making a bad first impression to Japanese is quite a reality. (Don't make this out to be a racist issue which it clearly is not.)

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NihonRyu- unfortunately, some posters here cant get that thru their heads. They instead have the knee-jerk reaction of a child who's just been disciplined; "Japanese are bad too!" These posters are probably the same ones you see making asses out of themselves in bars, restaurants, parks, Roppongi, etc. and will never get it.

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Most Westerners perspective of Japanese in their country is that they are law abiding and respectful of the culture that they are guests at.

Indeed, most Westerners have never been to Japan, and many think its capital is Beijin. They should not be used as a reference.

Unfortuantely, many "bad apples" foreigners here in Japan leave a negative impression unfairly to the rest of the Gaijin population.

Just like many "bad apples" Japanese are present. Yet they do not seem to give the Japanese a negative impression of themselves.

(Don't make this out to be a racist issue which it clearly is not.)

Yet the title clearly says "Western". It even says "Guy". Why not "Japanese Girl"? I have seen plenty of loud and annoying Japanese girls. Is Melissa going to write a column on them too?

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I have lived in the states for many years and you cannot compare in general the behavior of your average Japanese v.s. low class trash in some Western countries.

so you are a good gaijin?

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thank you, manfromamerica - you illustrate my point wonderfully.

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average Japanese v.s. low class trash in some Western countries.

Surprise! You cannot compare the behavior of the average person with those from "human trash"? How about average vs. average? I bet they are about the same?

And how smart of you to be able to identify people as low-class trash!

Moderator: Back on topic please.

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I have lived in the states for many years and you cannot compare in general the behavior of your average Japanese v.s. low class trash in some Western countries.

Anyway, why is there even a need to compare the AVERAGE Japanese vs LOW CLASS TRASH in Western countries? Why not compare averages with averages and low class trash with low class trash?

Moderator: All readers, please stay on topic. The subject is how a foreign man acted in public and the writer's reaction to it. It is not about how Japanese act in public or how people act in public overseas. Please focus your remarks on what is in the commentary and do not be ill-mannered toward the writer.

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Whilst it is very unpleasant to see somebody's partner lose their temper in public, especially when with a young child. Don't you think it is really none of our business to write about it ? And how do you know what caused the public rage in the first place ? Maybe his 'wife' (this journalist makes a lot of assumptions in her article) did something that justified his anger.

Now for the stereotyping. What you will find is that the big difference between domestic issues in the west and domestic issues in Japan, is that (as witnessed in Ebisu Garden Place) westerners will be very open about their anger or stress. Even if it means embarrassment in public. What you find in Japan is plenty of domestic violence that is hidden away and not spoken about. Your so-called polite society (on the surface) has plenty of violence suffered by partners going on under the well-mannered surface.

As for the accusation that people from 'wherever in Northern England' or 'wherever in the US' are the kind of people who are likely to cause abuse, that statement speaks for itself.

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When you are the minority, little things get magnified and the majority gets forgiven. That is how it is. I agree with this article 100%

It's the "oh no! people look at me strangely" defense. Irrelevant.

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If you live here and are not Japanese, you are a minority. When you are the minority, little things get magnified and the majority gets forgiven.

That is how it is. I agree with this article 100%

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northlondon,

I have to say, awesome post!

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hoserfella - Thank you for proving my point - you don't know anything about the situation, but you choose to trash people about it. It's none of your (or our) business. Read northlondon's excellent post at 11:17.

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Northlondon - What you say is beside the point, and by your reasoning, "being open in public about his anger and stress" means he does not also abuse her in private. I'd like to see the journal where that was written.

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I bet everyone criticizing the writer would have felt a similar reaction if they had been at Ebisu Garden Place that day and witnessed that guy's behavior. I bet every one of you would have either said to yourself or thought, "What an a**hole." I know I would have.

I'm guessing that the writer simply wanted to express her thoughts about that particular incident, and that's all. I'm sure she could have written about rude Japanese at another time and another place. I understand completely how she felt.

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Why is this junk being printed in magazines? Shes just firing up the whole issue. Fighting in public using profanity and directing it at your wife (or husband) isnt a good thing but did he do it for no reason? Women do know how to fire men up. Women can be very controlling so if they try to control the wrong guy an earful will be headed their way. Unfortunate situation but people already have one boss and don`t need another. Anyway, the true details are not available so hopefully this couple worked it out.

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Not fair to compare average Japanese vs average foreigners. And if this writer was so upset and even wrote an article about it, she should have said something to this angry foreign man and told HIM that his behavior was embarrassing.

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if they had been at Ebisu Garden Place that day and witnessed that guy's behavior. I bet every one of you would have either said to yourself or thought, "What an a**hole." I know I would have.

You are a judgemental guy. Most people would have thought "I wish they would argue in private, but I feel sorry for the both of them".

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manfromamerica - you havent made any point yet other than "Japanese are bad too!" have a good time in Roppongi this weekend.

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Note to all "Western Guy": I don't know what a Western Guy is -but if I did I wouldn't want to be Western Guy. -I don't know why I said that --> Maybe I am obnoxious -or even I am "Western Guy." I am gonna sell Western Guy belt buckles and jeans for people that want to be "Western Guy" just to piss off the anti-Western Guy crowd.

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I bet every one of you would have either said to yourself or thought, "What an a**hole." I know I would have.

I think she's going quite a bit further than just thinking he is an a-hole.

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hoserfella - You haven't even read my posts, but seem to have randomly picked my name to criticise. I made 1 comment about Japanese comedians. The rest of my posts were that Melissa knows nothing about the situation, but has chosen to insult this guy in the media.

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I bet everyone criticizing the writer would have felt a similar reaction if they had been at Ebisu Garden Place that day and witnessed that guy's behavior. I bet every one of you would have either said to yourself or thought, "What an a**hole." I know I would have.

Quite probably, but I wouldn't be thinking how this guy's behaviour by extension reflects badly on me, which is the point here. You can only feel this way if you innclude yourself as part fo the group in the first place, which the author has done. As I stated above she has a gaijin guilt complex which derives from her own insecurity.

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Unfortunately, there is far more Trash percentage in the Western populations than in Japan.

????

I recommend reading posts by junnama, nothlondon, and yokomoc. Excellent posts all.

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To Sarcasm 123: Unfortunately, there is far more Trash percentage in the Western populations than in Japan. I do agree that comparing normal population of the West to Japan is fairly equal in that sense. C'mon: Go to your average mall or movie theatre in the U.S. and compare the experience of that to say going to LaLa Port or Odaiba or the cineplex anywhere in Japan. You will more likely find bad mannered people of all colors black, white, hispanic, asian in the U.S. then you would for the most parts anywhere in Japan. That is my point. When normal Japanese people see bad mannered Japanese we typically think they were not brought up properly or have mental illness of some sorts. However, if foreigner is misbehaving it is unfairly viewed by many Japanese that is is Shoganai they are Gaijin and that is the point of Melissa's article.

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Again, the point being many Japanese may not have personal relationships with foreigners here so do not have a reference point to go by of what a "Normal well behaved Gaijin is like let's say" So when a spectacle is made by a disruptive Gaijin in a public place it could potentially leave a very negative and unfair impression which is what this article is about.

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The real irony of this story, which I'm sure is way over Melissa's pretty little head, is this: the Japanese are actually pleased to see us Westerners "misbehave" (be it shouting in public, taking up too much space on the trains, etc) because this type of behavior serves to reinforce their long-cherished prejudices and sense of superior sensibilities.

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I understand her point of it making foreigners look bad (or worse). I just wish there were more articles about how there are supposedly societal rules, but it seems as though those only apply when someone non-Japanese is breaking them. People are people, no matter where you are in the world. ...And can we not just throw the U.S. in there for being rude? WESTERN guy implies he could have very well been from anywhere.

And I still think the guy she was describing was a jerk, was not disagreeing with that point.

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I find it incredible people here are so quick to pass judgement on this man and who the writer just assumes is his wife.

The bottom line - their situation and argument is none of our business.

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Ben4short: "Rediscover your foreigner's autonomy and stop obsessing like Ms. F about what the heck the locals think."

But if immigrants/foreigners did just that in your country, what would you think? We Westerners expect people who come to live on our shores to abide by our rules, cultural or otherwise, so why are things all of a sudden different when Westerners move to Japan?

Melissa is right in every single word she wrote. If you don't think so, Japan is not the place for you.

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If you don't think so, Japan is not the place for you.

And there we go again: if the foreigner can't behave he has to go home! Yet, what if the Japanese guy can't behave? It is ignored.

If all people who can't behave in public would have to leave Japan, the population would decrease to just a few hundred people.

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Melissa is right in every single word she wrote. If you don't think so, Japan is not the place for you.

Ahh, if you don't agree with me, leave the country. Great attitude!!

These people's situation is none of our business, and certainly doesn't deserve to be mocked and insulted by a "freelance writer" on a news website.

JT should not even have posted this article, it's a disappointment that it passed the editors.

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And there we go again: if the foreigner can't behave he has to go home! Yet, what if the Japanese guy can't behave? It is ignored.

Minority misbeahavior is magnified. Majority misbehavior is forgiven. It is like that everywhere. You are a minority. Any negative behaviour here will be magnified.

Other places are the same.

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Melissa is right in every single word she wrote. If you don't think so, Japan is not the place for you.

I don't think what Melissa wrote is right and Japan seems to be the place for me. That's very strange.

This whole conversation is odd. Wherever the guy she saw in Ebisu came from I'm willing to bet public arguments ae bad manners there.

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"These posters are probably the same ones you see making asses out of themselves in bars, restaurants, parks, Roppongi, etc. and will never get it.'

Welcome to Melissa's club of making asbsurd assumptions about people you don't know.

I have been in Japan a very long time. I was well mannered before coming to Japan and remain so. But I still take issue with this article and the apologists who advocate her position.

In London, Istanbul, NY and many of the world's large cities people tend to see other people as simply that, other people. There are not the immediate assumptions about that person being foreign, or that person being white or black or some other racial or national determination.

If someone is a jerk, he/she is viewed as an individual jerk and not as the sole representative of his or her entire racial, ethnic or national heritage. When in fact the person is simply representing him or herself at that moment in a negative fashion for whatever reason. Jerk or just person having a bad moment.

But in Japan, the apologists will tell you that it is ok for Japanese to lump us all together based on race or nationality because it is "their way" or because we barbarians are disturbing the imaginay perfect society of Japan. Well this may have had vague value in the distant past, but not now.

Japan is an international country as dependent upon trade, foreign labor and interaction as any other nation. Maybe more so because the country is so trade heavy. Japanese have access to the internet, to TV to satellite programming, movies, books and magazines that all demonstrate the existence of civilized society outside this set of islands. And they consume products and services that orignate in these distant and yet equally civil societies.

So the idea that Japanese are somehow immune from what would be treated as racist and xenophobic behavior elsewhere is absurd. Japanese know that one pissed off gaijin in Ebisu is not representative of all gaijin. Anyone who does think so needs a lesson in global sociology and a large helping of common sense.

But for a foreign person to succumb to the same ill informed assumptions says more about our writer Melissa than it does about the reaction of Japanese.

I am here to work, I follow the rules and behave in a civil manner. But I equally am an international minded person that judges people according to their actions and not skin color or nationality and I firmly believe that in our modern world such discriminatory thinking can no longer be tolerated or apologized for in any country with first world access to economics and media. Japan should grow out of this.

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tkoind2 -- Totally, totally agree.

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Hi Melissa, here is a buck saying my own business, please do mind it.

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Northlondon - What you say is beside the point, and by your reasoning, "being open in public about his anger and stress" means he does not also abuse her in private. I'd like to see the journal where that was written.

hosefella, in no way have I condoned this guys behaviour. And there is a very good chance that there may be domestic abuse at home (I did not say that this guy does not abuse his partner at home). But I am ridiculing this very poor piece of 'journalism' (I use the word lightly) as stereotyping westerners, Japanese and the couple that Melissa Feineman thinks she knows so well but actually only ever caught a passing glance of one weekend whilst in Ebisu Garden Place.

I am challenging Melissa Feineman's ludicrous assumption (obviously she has not lived in Japan for too long) that this guys public show of anger is embarrassing amongst the so-called perfect and well mannered society in Japan. Just read the news. There is a huge amount of domestic violence here in Japan that goes on in secret at home and not in public.

Maybe Melissa Feineman would prefer that we all keep our ('western') domestic violence behind closed doors and pretend in public that everything is well. By the way, I find it very insulting that Melissa Feineman assumes that people from certain areas in the UK and the US are likely to be 'wife beaters'. How did Japan Today let that statement pass the editorial ?

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Ha ha, nothing like something negative said about a westerner to get westerners riled up. You know, it's the same both ways. I used to get upset when people dissed America, and then I found myself getting upset when people said bad things about Japan after living here a long time. Now, I just live according to the ways of the land and don't let stuff bother me. Maybe you people should realize this too and grow up.

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Now, I just live according to the ways of the land and don't let stuff bother me. Maybe you people should realize this too and grow up.

Good idea, bicultural (sic). Let's all groove to the "ways of the land" and let our brains turn to mashed potatoes, too.

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Must say, hoserfella has written the best comments thus far.

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bicultural, read my posts again and you will see I addressed both.

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Sure bicultural. Let's just bury our heads and ignore problems and issues. Afterall we don't want to rock the boat.

Come on, I am just as critical of my home country. It is with criticism that we raise problems and with debate that we find ways to solve them. Putting one's head in the sand accomplishes nothing but to defer problems to another day. And as Mom used to say "don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today."

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Sadly, many posters here have missed her point entirely. If you are a foreigner in Japan, like it or not, you are also a representative of all foreigners. Some foreigners are too stupid or ignorant to realize this (like the moron Feineman describes) and the rest of us pay the price.

And sadly hoserfella, some posters are too stupid or ignorant to realise that we are not thrown into some big pot labelled 'foreigners', but we each represent our own nationality. I do not represent 'foreigners'. If you imagined the scenario in this story and labelled the guy as a foreigner then you are looking through very prejudiced eyes indeed.

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Sometimes I love being the "Angry Western Guy"! One thing I have learned in my 30 years here is that you should never think that you represent anyone but yourself. I am not going to let something eat at me, if someone makes me angry, I let them have it in the language of their choice! I also know many Angry Japanese Guys and Gals, who love to let loose with a few choice words when pushed!

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Must say, hoserfella has written the best comments thus far.

And I must say that hosefella has written the most stereotypical, prejudiced nonsense thus far. Automatically labelling non-Japanese posters here with Roppongi. Utter nonsense.

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why should we be so damned concerned about what the Japanese think of us???? I am rather happy since i am not Japanese I do not have to live by their rules.

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airion:

but foreigners in Japan have to be more careful.

you wrote in the comment just before the one above: "there is a 'stereotype that all us gaikokujin, or gaijin if you insist, ...'" Well OK if you "insist" on using the term "foreigners" ... I do too, but would it not be more appropriate to say "foreign nationals" for a bit of equality. Personally I don't care one way or the other and I say "gaijin" all the time

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brotokyo- I was quoting the article there, they're not my words. I didn't insist on anything. I don't have much of a preference, but I usually write "foreigner."

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Hey, I think the guy should be applauded for actually being there in Ebisu park with his family. The stereotypical Japanese dude would either be logging unpaid overtime or in the pachinko parlor.

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I do not represent 'foreigners'

Like it or not, northlondon, you do every time you step outside in this country. Im not saying its fair, but its a reality. The average Japanese is going to judge all of us by the actions of one. Again, whether we like it or not. That too, is a reality. I'm not an apologist, and hate self-loathing Japanophiles as much as I hate the clueless, tactless foreigner who is here for a year or two to puke on the streets of Roppongi and leave the rest of us with the fallout. I could care less what made this idiot mad at his wife. He should have had more sense and said what he had to say in private.

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It struck me as odd that Ms Feineman is not sure whether the AWG came from Ohio or northern England. I assume, perhaps wrongly, that she is a native English speaker, and I would think that nearly all English speakers would be able to tell the difference quite easily. Perhaps the AWG was speaking quietly and other than the occasional expletive, could not be heard? Or maybe the whole scene was really short-lived?

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Some foreigners are too stupid or ignorant to realize this (like the moron Feineman describes) and the rest of us pay the price.

This has got to be my favorite JT article in some time. The pure vanity of the article brings a smile to my face and really brightened my day...

Let me propose a third alternative to our choices of "stupid" and "ignorant":

"don't care"

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tkoind2- You seem to misunderstand what those of us who agree with Melissa are saying. You seem to think we condone Japanese having stereotypes, while we're merely recognizing they exist. That doesn't make us "apologists."

Do you really think Japanese people don't stereotype about foreigners? Of course a good portion of Japanese are smart enough to know that the misbehavior of one person doesn't reflect on an entire group (especially when that group is as giant as all non-Japanese). Nonetheless, a good portion would still chalk up the misbehavior as, at least partially, due to cultural differences. I'd be really surprised if you don't think many (not all) Japanese would think that way.

Because such stereotypes are unacceptable, we should do what we can to turn them around. Defending behavior which reinforces the stereotypes is, if anything, the apologist's position.

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I could care less what made this idiot mad at his wife.

Finally something logical! Their argument is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. :-)

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his article is about the actions of a man who doesn't know how to treat his wife right.

bicultural, you know nothing about what happened. The article is just a hit piece against someone who the "writer" feels is inferior to her.

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This article is about the actions of a man who doesn't know how to treat his wife right. Let's not make it into a "who behaves worse" contest, as the moderators have already pointed out. And accepting / adapting is not "burying your head in the sand." It's proactive. I didn't say I copy anything and everything the Japanese do.

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If only dear Melissa had written the guys' name, she could enjoy a very nice libel suit.

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If I saw a guy give his own wife the finger and get angry in public, I would laugh and laugh. To those who feel, life is a tragedy. To those who think, it is the greatest comedy.

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Apart from a shouting brawl in a bar in Yokohama China Town, in the early 80's, I have since not once seen a foreigner shouting, but then I am not frequenting bars anymore. I do have since seen many Japanese, men and women alike, shouting and otherwise misbehaving in public. Which would be statistically correct, since there are proportionally more Japanese than foreigners in Japan. I do trust that the actions of one person does not stigmatize the average foreigner here. Write an article when it's a common occurrence.

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Wow, this may be one of the worst, most senseless articles I've read here EVER. It even goes so far as to make it's own stereotypes "(can't even post it without being filtered)". Very classy I might add. Even the title itself says something about the person writing it. It actually puts you a step down from the people you speak of.

None of your business.

You have no idea as to what this was concerning.

There is nothing more foreigners can do to make their image any worse in Japan.

It is not "OKAY" for people to point fingers at foreigners or anyone regardless of some bad behavior. If you do not realize that there all types of people in this world with their own situations, then you're still sitting at the bottom of the stairs with the rest of the fools.

In addition to #4, there is indeed a lack of looking inwards before looking outwards. It's staring us all in the face.
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"Do you really think Japanese people don't stereotype about foreigners?" No if you read my posts again I think I make it very clear that I think some Japanese do make these generalizations. Where we part company is that I feel the need to point out how wrong and xenophobic these generalizations are. I do so in the same manner I would ask a person in the US making racial generalizations not to do so, by pointing out that it is a. racist, b. xenophobic and c. morally reprehensible to lump everyone together in one big "gaijin" vat over the behavior of one person.

The behavior of this man is a problem. But the generalization is equally an issue. We cannot hope to control the behavior of every single foreigner in Japan or anywhere else for that matter. To think you can shame people into some compliant nature is absurd.

Let me illustrate this for you a little better. If you were in London and an African male was yelling at his caucasian wife in public how would you react? Now what if the crowd standing next to you responded to this situation by saying "All African men are barbaric monsters to their wives. I don't like all African men." How would you respond to that?

In London or New York we would respond by pointing out how racist such thinking is. We would condemn the man for behaving badly but would be more insistent still in correcting the racist thinking of the crowd.

Yet in Japan we cowtow to the racism that exists here out of some fear that the bad image will wash off on us. This is wrong.

I am not in Japan to make racists here happy. I am here to work and contribute to the economy and support my family. I pay taxes, obey the law and comply with social norms. But I do not have to tolerate racism or xenophobia and I don't. I point it out to people when I hear it, I don't hide from it in fear that my pure gaijin status will be tarnished.

This kind of lump sum thinking that piles individuals into stereotypical misinterpretations is wrong. Period. And when we foreigners contribute to that thinking we are no better. So grow a spine and say clearly,

Yes this guy should better restrain his behavior. Don't judge the rest of us by the behavior of one, that would be racist and xenophobic.

Got it now?

Moderator: Readers, please leave racism out of this discussion. It is irrelevant.

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Wow, a domestic spat in public in a city of over 12,000,000 people. Oh, the horror! How dare this man ruin the harmony of the peaceful and quiet Japanese!

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Glad Ms. Feineman didn't see me and my wife shouting at each other on the streets of Kichijoji a couple of weeks back, otherwise I might be reading about what an obnoxious foreign jerk I am too. Although in my case the "angry confrontation, voice-raising and expletives" were initiated by my wife. She should really try to remember she is Japanese so as not to offend any foreigners I guess.

And yes, the town in question is famous for getting blocked by search engines etc.

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Ms Feinemen, in my opinion, makes too many assumptions about the couple. Unless she is directly involved with the couple and their history, she has no authority to accurately assess their situation or background.

While the public outburst is regrettable and would make most people feel uncomfortable, I feel that the letter is too sanctimonious. I'm sure if we all look back at our time in Japan, we can all find situations where we have behaved poorly and caused negative feelings for those around us regardless of their nationality.

This is just my opinion.

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This is the best article ever, eliciting over a 100 comments in a matter of hours. However, I would like to clarify that said gentleman is not from England, but Cleveland, Ohio where "flipping your wife off" is a shameful yet common practice. Other practices in Cleveland include "slamming the 40" (i.e., chugging a 40 ounce of malt liquor in 15 seconds), and "sucking the wing" (i.e., putting an entire buffalo style spicy chicken wing in one's mouth and sucking all meat, fat, skin, etc. and pulling out the bare wing bones in under 5 seconds).

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tkoind2- So we agree the guy should restrain his behavior. We agree we should challenge people who hold stereotypes. I would add though that not everyone reveals their own stereotypes and racism, so it's not always easy to challenge them head on. Therefore, I think it's also important to be careful not to reinforce stereotypes.

I'm not saying watch our behavior or challenge racism. I'm saying both.

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So we agree the guy should restrain his behavior.

Does anybody think the man's behavior was appropriate? I think even the guy himself probably would say it wasn't appropriate and he's embarrased by it. He clearly lost his temper and did something stupid. Has anybody not done something like that? I mean and not risen on the 3rd day...

The great part of the article is how the author takes the incident and somehow manages to tie it in to her own self-worth and position in Japan vis-a-vis other foreigners. It's just a brilliant vanity piece...

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Melissa - are you artificially over-blowing a non-issue to make some headlines?

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manfromamerica- I agree the premise of the article is silly: she saw a bit of bad behavior and decided to rant about it in a magazine.

I'm thinking about foreigners behaving badly in general. But for what it's worth, I'd say yelling four letter words in public is at least as bad as foreigners littering, if that's the bar to pass to be relevant.

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Airion. I see your point. But still not fully on the same page.

I am mixed race but grew up in a very polarized community. If I behaved in what was considered too white, then I got hastled by the local children of color. If I ever danced or listened to music that was considered minority, then I was instantly cast as the minority.

Both sides had stereotypes that I had no control over. If they wanted to see my behavior as indicative of some definition of other, then my behavior had little to do with that outcome. Their stereotypes, like those amongst the Japanese who hold them were self-reinforcing independent of any individual's behavior. People took in only what they wanted to reinforce their standing thinking.

So my point is really this. No matter how many of us behave in perfect manner it will not cure the racist or xenophobe who does not want to see us other than in stereotype. For them any reinforcing input will sustain their thinking. Since you cannot shame everyone into compliance, you may as well just live naturally and try to lead by your own personal example.

Don't condemn this guy for being "gaijin" and making us all look bad. In fact without more information don't condemn him at all. Instead write it off as a minor domestic squabble that could take place anywhere and be done by any nationality. Because in the end, his behavior had nothing to do with nationality or race. It had everything to do with his own personal reality. Period.

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airon, I can see your point.

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Melissa, don't listen to them! You are a good writer.

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I think we can live naturally and try to lead by our own personal example and also register disapproval when we see something reinforces negative stereotypes. Maybe this is just a personality difference.

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I enjoyed reading GJDailleult's comment at 1:59 PM.

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If, as a writer, it's "hard to imagine" then do us all a favor and give up the chase. Sad instances of lost control occur every second of every day, who are you to wash their linen?

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Among the many possible reasons for the incident, here’s one: Wife did something that she feels will anger husband. For some reason, wife feels she should tell husband. If she tells him at home, a very unpleasant event may occur. So she decides to tell him at a nice open place with him in control of stroller (wife free to run just in case; just joking I hope). So he rants; unpleasant, but he has time to walk and think while pushing their child in a stroller. (Plan successful! Could have been worse at home.) Who knows what really happened? I would be thinking; What caused such an outburst?, Why here in an open place?, etc. However, Melissa seems to be focusing too much on “how it affects Melissa.” A boss yelling at a worker may be angry about something at home. Look deeply at the individual. “Everyone” has a button that when pushed will bring about an unpleasant reaction in public.

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airion. Agreed. But still strongly think we should not raise the race/stereotype issue in this case. This guy and his wife having it out in Ebisu has nothing to do with "gaijin". It has everything to do with their own personal thing at that moment. It is none of our business unless the behavior becomes violent. Which it wasn't.

Would we be talking about negative stereotypes and Japanese if the couple were both Japanese? Or even if the wife were white and the husband Japanese? I doubt it.

But since it is a clearly foreign guy, Melissa is all over the stereotype question which would be termed racist thinking if using my example of an African male/white English female situation in London.

That is really what I have issue with Melissa's argument. Adapting to the profiling and stereotyping by imposing this concern on an otherwise non-remarkable public display of a couple having a bad afternoon.

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tkoind, sorry, but you cannot compare the way Japanese respond to foreigners with the way Londoners or New Yorkers respond to people of African origin. Tokyo is becoming more and more of an international city, but the truth is that a lot of Japanese people are scared of foreigners. This incident will only help further the false perception they have towards foreigners.

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wow! where does she hang out that she does not see Japanese men screaming at their wives? But worse than that is a Japanese "fishwife" going for it.

She really should try getting out of Ginza and Omotesando and discovering the real Japan

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Of course, it his behavior had nothing to do with him being a foreigner. She knew this, and all of us reading this know this. But I think the problem Melissa had, and what I'm agreeing with, is with how the behavior was perceived by the Japanese people who saw it. Some Japanese people surely thought it was partly due to cultural differences, reinforcing their stereotype. Simply recognizing it's existence is not a bad thing. It's being practical. Saying we shouldn't raise the issue, I think, advocating ignorance of the problem.

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I am pretty tired of foreigners behaving badly. but why not. do what you want. You do the same in your own country, why not do it here too. Its not really giving a bad name to us. its giving a realistic view. Most of us are rude as hell. it seems most of you live in japan and hate it... I base this on the fact that so many posters have nothing nice to say about japan.

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She knew this, and all of us reading this know this.

I think you're computer is displaying a different article than the one I am reading. The one on my computer directly states that the reason he did it was because he was a foreigner. See this bit:

I can imagine that in rough-and-tumble **, Ohio, or *, UK, or wherever it is you called home before coming here, cursing at your girlfriend/wife/grandmother is simply a way of proving your manliness and gaining street cred.

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This isn't really an issue of what the guy's motivations were, what his gender was, or what country he hails from. Spewing a very public tirade of profanities, capped off with a one-fingered salute to your spouse -- with an infant child in tow -- is about as "Jerry Springer" trashy as one can get without wearing the obligatory "wife-beater" tank top and following up the floor show with a demonstration of how quickly he can shotgun a six-pack of lukewarm Schlitz Malt Liquor.

Paradoxically, what we see playing out these days on Reality TV isn’t all that entertaining in real life. It would seem that 10 years of watching people act like obnoxious jackasses on television still hasn’t magically made crude behavior cool or acceptable, and thankfully hasn’t convinced the vast majority of society that life would better if we could only cast off the oppressive yoke of -- gasp! -- civilized behavior. Being able to regulate when, where, and how we throw our little tantrums is one of the benchmarks of adulthood.

This anonymous Angry Western Guy is a jackass of the highest order and deserves to be publicly ridiculed for it. If only there were a name to go with the crude behavior . . .

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Junnama- got a point there. She also says she works to "dispel the stereotype that all us gaikokujin, or gaijin if you insist, are just loud, obnoxious barbarians." She's either contradicting herself, or maybe she thinks it's a true stereotype.

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"Dear Angry White Guy" = DAWG. I can just see Randy from American Idol talking to this poor dude in Ebisu. "Yo DAWG, OK here's your problem dude, and don't get me wrong, I really like you dude, but DAWG... You got to stop yelling at your wife in public. Your voice was all pitchy, and all over the place. It just didn't work for me this week, Dawg."

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Maybe the father was on a packed train and tried to protect his child from getting crushed? Maybe he had trouble getting on the train because everyone shoved their way in. Maybe it was crowded and it was difficult to move. Maybe he complained to his wife who was just tired of hearing it. Maybe she yelled at him. Who knows what actually happened. Anyway, public spats always look bad. Hope the two made up and little johnny was conceived. Happy endings.

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What a riot thread from start to whenever it finishes. I myself have seen plenty or outbursts, girlfriend hitting and yelling from the Japanese in public. And all this cuz a white dude lost face pushing a stroller in a mega-city. Did the guy actually break a law? I often yell at cars who nearly kill me running red lights.

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There is no law about screaming at your wife in public, nor obscenities, is there? I have seen a lot of Japanese men and women screaming at each other in public, even beating each other. I have also heard many Japanese swearing at each other too. No-one cares. Who knows what happened or was said? Unless you know you shouldn't comment, it is also rude. You should be more Japanese and ignore them.

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Melissa's fear that all foreign nationals will be judged negatively by the behavior of one person demonstrates a strong fear of stereotypes. But we should not be trying to offset stereotypes. Instead we need to be working to offset the kind of thinking that leads to the dehumanizing nature of stereotyping. This is the real issue against this article. We should not apologize for the few in Japan who may judge all foreign nationals by the actions of one. We should be pointing out that such behavior is wrong and xenophobic.

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To be 100% honest I personally don't care what one Japanese person in the entire world thinks of me or my behavior and I never will till the day I die. Why would you? I mean seriously everyone.

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Good point tkoind2!! Never thought of it that way

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OK JT, I totally understand why a got edited a bit, no worries. Let me take another crack--- Many things in Japan are accepted and tolerated (public urination-intoxication-sleeping-loud vehicles-or just screaming down the street wasted with the guys you work/live with on a Friday night). Then in my own culture many things can be perceived as taboo depending where you live but I feel the law sets the bar here. Honestly if I saw this incident in Boston I would probably chuckle if there was nothing physical. None of us were there. However profanity is pretty bad in front of your kid or strangers but in Boston everyone swears. TOP... time, occasion, place....

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Why is the writer in any position to judge this man without all the facts and by proxy judging "western guys"

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Dear Melissa, from my own experience, people who work too hard to please the Japaneses are usually becoming the most bitter Japanophobes.

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tkoind2- Why tie one arm behind our backs? We can BOTH aim high and address the wrongness of stereotyping, while also discouraging behavior like in the article which ends up fueling stereotypes. I can appreciate the righteousness of what you're saying, but we also have to be practical about it.

Given the situation in the article, was Melissa to hold a seminar right then and there in Yebisu Garden Palace, explaining to all who witnessed the guy's outburst that it should not be taken as representative of all non-Japanese? Or would it have been better if the guy was just more mindful and toned it down? Which would be better for the cause? Of course, Melissa's seminar would have been the best; very relevant and enlightening. Very high-minded, but it's not realistic. To be practical, there's room for both approaches.

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Maybe the wife made him watch 'my darling is a foreigner' and he hated it ^^, anyway I don't think that any country or culture has the monopoly over violent or polite behavior and it must be pretty stressful to worry about what others may think of you and even more if you're supposed to represent your whole country, race or the whole gaijin community in Japan.

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Ok. If we are practicle then there is absolutely no point in expressing outrage over this guy at Ebisu when there are dozens of toursists who will do our "gaijin" reputations far more damage.

If we assume that some people will lump us all together with the actions of any foreign person present in public in Japan, then we are already lost and should give up on any hope of maintaining a good reputation.

But a truly practical approach is to just live your life and be the natural human being you are. If you crack once in a great while it will not tumble the pillar or Gaijin image in Japan. I don't think most Japanese really care what we are doing. And to the few who harbor xenophobic stereotypes, you can't win them over anyway so why bother worrying about them?

As for the angry guy in Ebisu. Rough day, unknown circumstances, not our business. It is equally possible that he is under a lot of stress raising a family in a mixed nationality family as his being an anger management problem. We just don't know and Melissa certainly does not know. So have a little humility and forgive the family for their public display and mind your own behavior. The xenophobes will see you as other no matter what you do.

And GeneveMan is probably well on target with his comment.

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This article is ridiculous and offensive on so many levels. 1) The implication that this type of behavior is acceptable outside of Japan is patently ridiculous. That there are people who act this way in Springfield or some other small city doesn't mean it is acceptable. It simply means that there are rude people everywhere, including in Japan. 2) I find the notion that Japanese can't distinguish between a rude foreigner and a plain, old rude person to be bordering on racist. What kind of ignorant Japanese is the writer hanging out with that she thinks they can't understand the difference? I suggest she start hanging out with a different class if people. I personally choose to surround myself with people who judge me as an individual. 3) No one represents me but the politicians I vote for and me. That some may judge you based on the behaviour of others is their problem not yours. That goes for nationalities, colors, genders, etc. If it bothers you so much that "foreigners" may be judged by the bad actions of a few, I tend to think that says more about you than the judges. Get thicker skin or you'll never make it in this world. 4) The sheer hypocricy of singling out one man's behaviour while not knowing the reasons for it or referring to equally or worse behaviour by Japanese has already been covered by some good posts.

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bad behavior is bad behavior, whether in Ebisu or Springfield. By a Japanese person or a gaijin......... Melissa, he is not making you look bad as a gaijin, he is making you look bad as a human.

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Who knows what she said to him? What if she'd said she'd been cheating on him for the past year? How would you expect someone to react? You have NO idea what was going on.

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Be yourself, whoever you are, but it's even better when you try to improve every day of your life. ;-)

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So Scunthorpe men are ok with yelling at their wives and making jerks of themselves in public? And Japanese people never scream at each other?

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Mexicanish - are you claiming to know whatever she said warranted the response? Your post is hypocritical.

So Scun-thorpe men are ok with yelling at their wives and making jerks of themselves in public? And Japanese people never scream at each other?

taiko666 - where in the article does the writer claim that? I've read it twice now and cant see where anyone in a right mind would draw that conclusion. Just very sensitive souls. Foreigners of Japan! You are held to a higher standard here. Get over it.

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I'm struck by how Melissa saw only one part of their confrontation -- the man swearing at the woman -- and then extrapolated all kinds of things from it.

There are still many people who see a woman loudly berating her husband in public and wonder what the man did wrong to deserve it, yet if they see a man shouting at his wife in public, they think he's a violent boor.

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taiko666 - where in the article does the writer claim that? I've read it twice now and cant see where anyone in a right mind would draw that conclusion.

I drew that conclusion, because you see...she says so...

Right here:

*I can imagine that in rough-and-tumble Springfield, Ohio, or Sunthorpe, UK, or wherever it is you called home before coming here, cursing at your girlfriend/wife/grandmother is simply a way of proving your manliness and gaining street cred. Fair enough (well, not really, but we won’t get into that here), but in case you’ve failed to notice, things are different here.**

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thats called sarcasm, Junnama. If you don't get it, theres no point in explaining.

There are still many people who see a woman loudly berating her husband in public and wonder what the man did wrong to deserve it, yet if they see a man shouting at his wife in public, they think he's a violent boor.

correct, Thontaddeo. Its called being a gentleman and acting with class. When was the last time you saw a man cower from a woman out of physical intimidation?

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My husband does the same to me and he is Japanese

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thats called sarcasm, Junnama. If you don't get it, theres no point in explaining.

If so it's completely out of tone with the rest of the article.

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There is alot of preaching in the comments but I have to wonder how many people here practice it. People are labelling each other left and right, ascribing titles and pegging everyone else down into some caricature of personality and life. The guy was called out in an article for his boorish behaviour. If the writer felt so strongly about it, why wouldn't she say something? It doesn't need to be confrontational, or aggressive -- a quiet word or two, maybe even a sympathetic and conciliatory tone for two people obviously dealing with the burdens and stress of everyday life. Coming from a woman, perhaps some 'positive' stereotyping would come into play and might soften the angry guy's demeanour, seeing a woman's lighter, softer touch?

Instead, she wrote an article about it, patronizing this guy about his behaviour and citing the need to dispel the scary foreigner 'archetype' while simultaneously perpetuating that same stereotyping mindset when referring to Japanese and Japanese society. The irony on display here would be amusing, if it weren't so sad. Live and let live, and let's all try to be a little less judgemental of each other. Can I get an amen?

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Why don`t people mind their own business?!

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Well, we do have to say that this article and thread really touched a raw nerve.

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As someone said before: This couple took their issues to a park and discussed it there instead of at their cramped apartment where it would have been far worse and upset their neighbors more.

-probably money issues. -At the time it seems very important, but in life it is just fiat paper.

Young kids see this (especially foreigners) and get upset, but in reality it is just married life and people working out issues. =happens everyday with some people being louder than others.

I would rather see people work out their problems than do nothing, or wait until it is a problem that cannot be contained.

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Actually - I appreciate all the neanderthal cretins perpetuating the uncivilized barbaric image of foreigners. Makes me look really good when people meet me and discover I'm not a cro-mag mindless animal - but am actually also quite polite, cultured, and civilized - Roppongi aside.

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Why don`t people mind their own business?!

because it affects others... welcome to japan and thinking about others... say goodbye to an individually self minded society.

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Shouting and swearing at people (even your wife or husband) is NOT OK.In public or otherwise.Done in front of kids it gets worse.In this observation Melissa is 100% correct and her article has hopefully had the positive effect of making us think about that

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Can't you come up with anything better than that, michaelqtodd? What do you think all those "manner posters" are for?

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michaelgtodd - I second that. I think its clearly made a few posters here think about how they actually behave in public, and they dont like what they see.

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Unfortunately, I agree. I've slapped three people in public out of anger. They were all my boyfriends. I feel very ashamed about it now. By the way, nothing I've ever read on this particular site about marriage has ever tempted me to want to try it, especially not in this country.

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As a matter of fact, I have seen western men losing it in public in Japan, aiming verbal insults at their Japanese girlfriends or lashing out at other people. The writer is clearly being considerate by stating that she didn't know whether the offender hailed from this country or that. Also, it's possible that he was yelling abuse in the Japanese language, meaning that she couldn't tell where he came from by his accent. We don't know the whole story.

However I would be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. At least he wasn't smacking his wife up, the way I've seen several Japanese males doing in broad daylight, in front of other people (who did absolutely nothing to intervene). I've never seen a gaijin man do that here. In fact, I've never even seen in it my own country.

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welcome to japan and thinking about others

Biggest laugh of the day there.

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Why do I feel like if the article writer had been a man, the responses would be along the lines of, "Yeah, if I'd been there I'd have showed that guy a thing or two!" But you really do get a feel for the stock who post here with all the, "Maybe she deserved it!" sentiments.

After several years in Japan, I've never seen a Japanese man scream at his wife in public (I've heard it through walls and open windows, but not in public). I've seen one foreign man screaming at his Japanese wife, though. Going on about how he wanted to kill her, amidst a lot of expletives. It made me extremely uncomfortable, because I could understand everything he was saying. A few people were watching them, but a lot were ignoring them (or so it seemed). I wondered if those watching were more shocked at the volume or if they understood any of what was going on.

I realize that the average Japanese man is far more sexist than the average western man--even a bit more than the type who relocate to Japan--but the fact still stands that you do yourself no favors by verbally abusing your spouse in public. The public view of foreigners, especially men, is already fairly negative and there's already a view that Japanese women are being "stolen" by westerners and that they are always innocent victims (especially in the issue of child-snatching) in every spousal altercation. Do you really want to give them more fuel by blowing up in public?

Beyond that, it doesn't matter what someone does. You don't scream at them in public. You're an adult. Don't justify it. Don't say "she started it" or "Japanese do it too!" Just suck it up, be an adult, and if you have a problem, talk about it like an adult. If that's too difficult, find yourself a therapist, stat.

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Michaelqtodd: Yes she's correct that shouting at one's spouse in public is bad form. I don't think most posters are disagreeing with that. The objection is in pointing out the hypocricy and idiocy of suggesting it's okay to do that in other places but not in Japan. As has been stated numerous times, many Japanese have done the same and should be judged by the same standards. The action is bad because it's not socially acceptable (in any of the five countries I've lived in or the many I've visited), not because of nationality of the person who shouted.

88naff: I agree that people should be mindful if how their actions effect others, now if you could somehow convey that message to my noisy neighbors, the ladies whose bags poke me in the ribs while we're on trains, the man who spat in the middle of the sidewalk today, etc., etc., etc. Every country has its share of inconsiderate people, Japan included. I guess though that if you're into perpetuating stereotypes then this article does have a certain appeal.

Horsefella: I've never yelled at my spouse in public nor he at me. In fact we just don't yell at each other full stop. That's not to say we don't get angry but rather that neither of us sees yelling as necessary or productive. So, no it's not a matter of not liking my own behavior in public. It's a matter of not liking people judging others based on where their from or some misguided assumption that a complete stranger represents you. I have to say that only someone who judges others that way assumes that everyone else does too. How sad for such people and their pathetic little lives. Act properly in public because it's generally the right thing to do not because people might otherwise judge you as being a bad representation of your country, gender, race, etc.

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Well I for one in nearly 20 years have rarely seen if ever the sort of behavior mentioned it this article outside the Roppongi area (thus why I rarely go there.

But on the other hand what I have seen a lot of is western women going off on tangents at Japanese women for not being "more independent" and at western guys for being "solely interested in "kawai" Japanese women" even when they have no idea of who these people are or what they think.

This article is a perfect example of this, the author (and I use the term author in the broadest way) has no idea of what preceded this man's outburst but came to the conclusion that it must have been his fault and that under no circumstance should he have been yelling.

I wonder how she would have reacted several years back had she caught just the final part of an altercation with my ex-wife as she tried to remove the children from school in the middle of the day "just for a day out" as she put it.

Would she have known that this woman was mentally ill (diagnosed severely bipolar and refusing treatment) and that she had on 2 occasions stabbed me with a knife and threatened to harm the children, of course she wouldn't.

But she would have thought there we go again a loud western guy yelling in front of the children.

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You're an adult. Don't justify it. Don't say "she started it" or "Japanese do it too!"

When part of article claims "observe Japanese society and discover that angry confrontation, voice-raising and expletives are not considered acceptable negotiation techniques" Then saying Japanese do it too, is a valid point to argue.

I don't think most people are condoning the actions of the guy, I think a lot of people take point with be told watch ones behavior and conform to a non-existent convention. Had her argument been Angry Western Guy shouldn't have been yelling at wife because it's not nice to yell at people, the argument would have been OK. But her argument was you shouldn't yell at wife because you don't live the US or the UK but Japan, is not OK but bad example of moral relativism.

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I like to record this sort of crap on my iPhone video. It is very popular right now and you can make big $$$ selling this stuff to websites. =But just pulling out your camera gets most people to stop.

Hold on! Let me get my camera. -Alright, continue with your argument. Then I always thank them in the end.

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You could remove being in Japan and all this Japanese society stuff and you'd be left with a man who behaved like an a$$ in public. He be acting like one whether in Tokyo, London or New York. It should have been confined to his private life and not shared with people around him. But because it took plasce in Japan it embarssed the writer because as a Gaijin herself she knows this reflects on her and all foreigners as well. This isn't a good thing and she has a point. Uncivilized people probably can't understand that.

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I think western people in Japan should shout at Japanese more often in public and then they might stop treating us so disrespectfully. Do it more everyone. Social experiment.

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I live in China now after living in Japan for 15 years. From my viewpoint abroad, Japanese people are damn nice, respectful people. I regret being an ass now and then. I guess it's part of growing up. Women and men have to do it. Not fun to do. Not fun to look at. But in the end, you end up further down the track than you expected. I respect Japanese society.

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marrying someone and creating a family in this country means that you’ve agreed to abide by societal rules – at least the major ones.

Oh, also, I know the baby you were pushing in the stroller was still pretty young, but do you really want his first English word to be a four-letter one? Just something to think about.

I agree with that. Also, it would be much better to provide several examples of rude behavior by some Japanese and contrast them with western counterparts.

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I hardly wanted to read after word three: Western. Without fail this is not surprisingly an article about foreigners because that's "Western" right? It's a tired cliche, but most foreigners in Japan are not western, they're Asian. So why not just say angry foreigner? Oh wait, because this article's main point is prejudiced - only Western foreigners are like this right? Although you may have made some deserved observations about this guy, there's quite a lot of assumptions and this article simply reinforces overblown stereotypes.

I've seen my fair share of rude foreigners - mainly for the same reason Japanese tourists are less reserved when they travel abroad (anonymity). But angry husbands? Hell 10 out of 10 I've seen in Japan were other Japanese.

I totally know the stereotype you're talking about, and it would certainly piss me off to see any guy berate his wife especially if it also had the effect of reinforcing stereotypes. But going on about how he's violating the "Japanese" way and should know better being married to a "Japanese" wife is pretty narrow minded considering plenty of Japanese husbands have no problem berating their wife in public. Not withstanding all the assumptions made there.

You also seem to hold everyone in Japan - especially foreigners who marry Japanese - to follow some pretty backwards concepts of what it means to be Japanese. This isn't the 1980s.

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BTW the ironic thing is this stereotype is also true for Japanese men who marry Russian or Chinese mail order wives. Just goes to show you Japan is pretty much the same as all the other 'Western' countries in this department.

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I think this author, Mellisa Fieneman, has done a wonderful job of writing a provocative piece of writing because look at all the responses!!! She must be very naive about Japanese culture though! I have seen 2 separate occasions where Japanese men have dragged their women by the hair (once in Tokyo and once in Kumamoto), once at a large festival in front of about 100 or more people (Kumamoto)and the other time in a busy pub area in Kichijoji.

I think Melissa must be fresh off the plane, or one of those people who has not seen the "real" Japan. There are 2 Japans in my view, the orderly and "friendly" Japan, and then the Japan that actually has an overwhelming amount of social problems that keep getting swept under the rug every day, only to resurface when you least expect it.

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Dear Angry Western Guy...ignore him and go to bed Meilissa Feineman or listen to FM !

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I wonder if Melissa is ready to call out inappropriate behavior when committed by Js? Why does this have to be "angry Western guy?" Why not just "angry guy?"

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the point of the article is for us of non japanese decent to dutifully bow our heads in public so as not to inflame any stereotypes or prejudice that j-folk may have. I will do my best to not stand out today

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the point of the article is for us of non japanese decent to dutifully bow our heads in public so as not to inflame any stereotypes or prejudice that j-folk may have. I will do my best to not stand out today

Good luck!

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If the "writer" just made the point that the bad behavior of a foreigner made her feel bad and reflected on gaijin, I could understand and concur.

But she went off on a crazy attack on western men in Japan, based on lots of very stretched assumptions. As she said herself, "its hard to imagine..". Well, maybe she has a bad imagination. Unfortunately, most people at one time in their lives have behaved in a way in public that may not always reflect on their normal lives. Some people have bad days, and other people have terrible days that are an accumulation of lots of things that nobody knows about. And yes, no matter what has happened it's never right to lose it in public.

Maybe the writer could have told him directly to quieten down. On several occasion I have done that - not beaten anyone up, or threatened violence but just asked if they were okay and explained that people could hear or were watching.

But it is indeed a fact that behavior of an individual is taken to be representative of a group, and that's unfortunate because the rest of the group may not be like that at all.

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yasakuni, nice post and i agree with your points. Post slightly taintd by sayong "g****n". The writee also uses this term which shows she identifies with Japanese too much rather than her own background,.

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What, my keyboard is screwed and wrong letters coming up, hence last post.

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Don't make sweeping assumptions about Scunny. Thank you.

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I'm all for adapting to the customs of the country I'm living in, but not when these customs are not always respected by the people living in this country. I've seen Japanese people screaming in public! When I'm riding my bicycle and a guy almost runs me over by running a red light or a stop sign, should I refrain from screaming at him (in my native language) because I'm in Japan and I should be polite in all circumstances? No! Because the Old Angry Japanese Guy doesn't refrain from yelling "@&"!§ Gaijin" at me when I pass him by with my bicycle! Should foreigners be "better Japanese" than the Japanese themselves? It's an ongoing debate at my children's intl school, where the Japanese children from the neighboring school can run and play in the street but not those from the intl school...

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Well, 24hrs later and it seems Melissa has been roundly dressed down for this article. And rightly so.

In the end the issues are clear.

Public Displays of Anger: Hardly limited to foreigners, frequently observed behavior by Japanese.

Stereotypes: Anyone willing to lump the entirety of the world's non-Japanese human beings into a single generalized category is exhibiting xenophobia if not racism and should be dismissed or re-educated for doing so.

Setting an Example: I think most of us live good and productive lives because we wish to and not for the benefit of Japanese observers. The burden for rational thinking about other races and nationalities rests with the Japanese observer and not with us.

Apologists: Japan has as many failings as any other nation or society, we should not apologize for those failings any more than we do for our own societies.

Public Anger: To quote our Christian friends "ye without sin, grab a stone." Most people will have a moment of weakness sometime in this life. An angry road rage moment, a curse at the guy who just about ran you over, a fight with a partner on a bad day. This is called life and it is far from perfect. Cut the family some slack Melissa. You don't have a clue what caused the fight and you never will. One day you may be the one shouting and having some nosey reporter getting the entirely wrong idea.

Foreign women in Japan: I am sorry to agree with posts here about angry western women in Japan. It is no wonder given the conflict that most must endure while trying to be the independent women they are at home in a society that discourages such behavior. Meanwhile the foreign guys seem to get preferential treatment. But sad to tell you Melissa, that other than the Tom Cruise look alike guys and the few with high money jobs, most foreign guys are living a pretty ordinary life here. The Roppongi super gaijin is more myth than reality.

Real Japan: Melissa you really must leave your PC and the toursist sites more. You need to see normal neighborhoods, meet other normal non-roppongi foreign guys and observe couples in normal cities. Tokyo is as messy culturally as NY or London or any other big city. You just have to notice it beyond all the fluff. Do get out more.

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Newsflash, Melissa: you can go along quietly blending in for years and years, with no gaijin in the world so much as making a peep...and you will still be viewed by locals as lower on the totem pole than a Japanese person. When you realize that, you will feel much more comfortable and, hopefully, will lose the pointless urges to rush home and write letters chiding strangers for briefly losing their cool in public for reasons you never understood in the first place.

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Likewise, not all gaijin come from the same place. So, what's the point of this articlE?

This is patently untrue.

Gaijin, by definition, all come from the same place: Gaikoku.

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Melissa should have been at my place last night as the couple living up stairs were at it again and this time they dragged their conflict out into the hallway and then into the street, her throwing things and him calling her (rough translation) " A child of a unknown horse's bone" (this is not made up or a coincidence it's a regular occurrence with these two).

Maybe I should write an article titled " Angry Japanese couple please keep it down my children are trying to sleep!"

Oh yeah by the time the cops arrived they had gone or returned to their apartment so naturally the cops rang my door to see if the commotion came from my place (of course loud yelling in Japanese must have been the angry western guy, I was sorry to disappoint them no wife no live in girlfriend just me and 2 sleeping children)

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lol, good one mate. True... starting to question myself.

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Dear ungry guy sounds more appropiatte to me. The problem with japanese is that when a foreigner commits a crime, then all foreigners are potential criminals, when a japanese commits a crime is just another crazy japanese guy. Wrong thinking, tired of people associating crime with gaijin, there are criminals and jerks on both sides in a similar proportion.

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Maybe she deserved the tongue lashing.

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she identifies with Japanese too much rather than her own background

You make it sound like it's a bad thing. Yes, I disgree with her assumptions in the article, but this "us vs them" mentality is what causes friction.

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taiko666 - where in the article does the writer claim that? I've read it twice now and cant see where anyone in a right mind would draw that conclusion.

Either your reading ability or your powers of cognition must be at fault, because the following paragraph strongly implies that this guy's behaviour is acceptable, or understandable, in Scun-thorpe, but not in Japan.

I can imagine that in rough-and-tumble Springfield, Ohio, or Scun-thorpe, UK, or wherever it is you called home before coming here, cursing at your girlfriend/wife/grandmother is simply a way of proving your manliness and gaining street cred. ... things are different here.

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taiko666 - it took 24 hrs for this rebuttal which is a re-hash of your 1st one; "It doesnt seem like sarcasm". Again, if you still don't get it...

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taiko,

"the following paragraph strongly implies that this guy's behaviour is acceptable"

I think we can assume the writer was being sarcastic.

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my2sense; If your asking or wondering if what I wrote was true well:

YES! They moved in in February with a baby (shotgun Wedding???) and started fighting about 2 weeks later. More often then not just around the time you would get home if you arrived on the last train.

And this is not the first time the couple living in the same apartment up until 2 years ago did the same, cops in the building at least once a week.

Now you would expect this if this was perhaps a low income rent place but this is a famous brand name "mansion" thus why I previously wrote that Melissa should leave the comfort of the "gaijin: zone and come up here in north Tokyo and watch what really goes on.

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Sick of being tainted by society here. Hasn`t the author got anything better to do, than criticise fellow foreigners she obviously considers a "lower class" than herself.

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hoserfella and mikesbo; If the author (again using author in the broadest of ways) had intended her remarks concerning this man's behavior being acceptable or at least viewed as acceptable by a certain portion of those who live or are from the places mentioned or plces similar to those mentioned, then she did a poor job of it and is thus a poor writer.

In any case her follow up to this supposed "sarcasm" could be viewed as I did and it would seem many others did, that the "Fair enough" remark meant that she believes that this is what those places are like, the "(well, not really, but we won’t get into that here)" only shows that she does not agree with the fact that it should acceptable in those places and the final point "but in case you’ve failed to notice, things are different here." clearly point to the fact that she feels that Japan is different and that this foreign behavior is unacceptable.

Thus concluding that I highly doubt that any sarcasm was intended and that the "author" clearly believes that these places and others like them, that this sort of behavior is acceptable or at least tolerated.

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limboinjapan - Even though you've spiced up your thesis with the airy "thus" in an attempt to sound the detached academic,... you're wrong. It was sarcasm. And loud, boorish, rude foreigners are still an embarrassment to the foreign community here in Japan.

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I wonder how she would have reacted several years back had she caught just the final part of an altercation with my ex-wife as she tried to remove the children from school in the middle of the day "just for a day out" as she put it.

@limboinjapan Did you give it to her good?

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@limboinjapan- michaelqtodd brings up an interesting point. Just where do you stand on violence and intimidation against women? are you saying it's not frowned upon wherever you come from?

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hoserfella; OK fine you don't like my writing style then I will put it bluntly and plainly:

So you please explain the following quote: "but in case you’ve failed to notice, things are different here."

If the "author" was being sarcastic and that she knows or doesn't believe that this man's behavior would not have been acceptable where he is possibly from, then the quote about things being "different in Japan" as well as the entire article would be a waste of time and effort because this man was already clueless that it was unacceptable back home so why would he suddenly understand the fact that it is unacceptable here!

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michaelqtodd and hoserfella; seeing you both decided to ignore the part about "unmediated sever bipolar", the 2 stabbings and the threats to harm the children.

I will tell you even after my ex stabbed me, I never laid a finger on her and it was the school that called me and the police for the safety of the children, even her own parents wouldn't leave her alone with the children.

And where I come from the ex would have had a court ordered restraining order against her until she got proper medical treatment and was judged not to be a danger to the children and herself.

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so no punches were thrown? Good. But you havent commented on the whole "boorish foreigner as an embarrassment to foreign community" thing. Leave the battle of the sexes out of it. Whats your thought?

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Sorry that should read "un-medicated" or more precisely "untreated" sever bipolar.

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After 19 years here and raising 2 mixed race Japanese children it would make no difference if every "foreigner" in Japan were the Dali-lama himself.

The Japanese will and have always found a way to view or perceive the "outside people" differently and will continue to do so.

The the foreigner in Japan:

No mater how lightly you tread you will always be viewed as a lumbering giant disturbing the gentle ways of the Japanese.

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Whether we talk on the subway 1 decible or 100 decibles over the accepted norm, we will always be labeled "loud." In a winless situation like this, why fight it or give a rat's ass how loud we speak or what the hell they think? If we speak in a whisper they will only look for and find something else about us to complain about and in the process make themselves feel superior to us barbarians.

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This article is full of clichés. Honestly I have never seen Western person ( man // woman) expressing their feelings in a very angry way. Agreed: once japanese are abroad, their mask fell down and you can see their real face, very often- not necessary attractive

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I have never ever felt that some other foreigner's behavior reflected on me at all. What a waste of energy.

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thats called sarcasm, Junnama. If you don't get it, theres no point in explaining.

taiko666 - it took 24 hrs for this rebuttal which is a re-hash of your 1st one; "It doesnt seem like sarcasm".

Again, if you still don't get it...

That is not my post. But I'd go further than "it doesn't seem like sarcasm." It plainly IS NOT sarcasm, it's overt snobbery. She's implying strongly that Scun-thorpe and Ohio men think it's ok to act like thugs in those places. There is not one hint of sarcasm.

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thats called sarcasm, Junnama. If you don't get it, theres no point in explaining.

On the contrary, I think it would be extremely worthwhile if you were to explain what your understanding of sarcasm is.

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I find it rather ironic that the point of this article seems to be anger at making all us 'foreigners' look bad in Japan but by writing about it, Westerners have actually been shown in a bad light since it is implied that Westerns would act like this in their own country.

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I imagine that Melissa is reading everything on this list. I wonder if she has any reaction to what she sees. No matter what, as I said above, she has touched a raw nerve.

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While we are all trying to improve ourselves as members of the human society, the guy finds himself in a stressful situation in a stressful society, and lost it (temporarily?). Lets not cast the first stones, no one knows the dynamics of the couple. Besides, the make-up definitely will be blissful.

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dolphingirl; I have read most of the post and the vast majority are not condoning or accepting what this man may have or may not have done or said.

What most here have taken issue with is the fact that the so-called "author" has implied that "western guys" act like this in public here and that it is acceptable were they come from and from the tone of her writing this type of behavior is common with "western guys".

The fact that she has without knowing all the facts placed herself in the position of judge, jury and executioner of this man and by proxy of innuendos, that of all "western guys" in Japan

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Was waiting for a cab to take me back to Casa Romeo last night and saw an Angry Western Gal in Shibuya swearing and beating on the roof of a taxi demanding that the cabbie unlock the right hand door so she could get in. Problem being this dolt didn't know that in Japan taxi doors on the left hand side open automatically by the driver.

So, Ms. Feineman, kindly hop up on your soapbox again and educate all your Western sisters to refrain from shouting expletives, parading their violent behavior in public and learn the customs of this country in the future?

Sincerely,

RR

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The Twitterati have spoken.

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if any of these americans remember what its like in America, then maybe you wouldnt be so shocked with their behavior. yes it is true americans are loud annoying etc. but we are a mix of so many different cultures, and in every culture someone is loud. i deal with foreigners evry day.they disrespect us and we sometimes do the same. we gotta deal with bad looks and whispers of how awful we are in our own country. so you know what japan can deal with it, we deal with it the end. if it really comes down to it, japan can close there boarders again for another 200 sum years :p

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Americans are taught to speak up in a clear voice when speaking. This apparently comes across as being loud. So be it. It's the way we are raised and will be almost impossible to alter.

The "ugly Americans", however, are a different breed altogether... not only loud, but ignorant of the culture they are in and making no attempt to acclimatize themselves with that culture. Instead, they endeavor to change where they are into a form of "mini-America" so that they can be comfortable - regardless of how it may inconvienience those around them.

My six years in the navy allowed me to view both the best and the worst of how Americans act in foreign lands. We are certainly not blameless in how we're perceived outside the United States, but by the same token we do not deserve to be all painted with the same "brush" as the worst examples.

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Drunk = boorish. Loud drunks are never OK regardless of nationality, gender, wealth, nor culture.

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tkoind summed it up very well. Nothing wrong with foreigners trying to set a good example, but this article is really about bashing an entire group of people for what one person did on a pile of bad assumptions. All indications are Melissa would have no interest correcting a Japanese who did the same in public because if it happened by definition it's "the Japanese way".

taiko you'll have to forgive Junnama as he's not a native speaker and may be confusing sarcasm with other concepts. Overt snobbery is right on mark. Sarcasm would invalidate the entire point of the article if she didn't actually believe what she wrote.

Lastly, there's no reason to believe this person even lives in Japan. I speak from experience and lots of people I know, and I'm puzzled why you think a couple arguing in English with a baby in Ebisu would be Japanese residents.

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Stereotype much? She picks a small city in the American Midwest, and a blue-collar industrial town in the UK to illustrate her point. I can play that game, too. Way to feed into her own stereotype of a liberal, or "progressive" or whatever they like to be called these days. I can just see her nose up in the air.

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DamoSuzuki - Har!

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taiko you'll have to forgive Junnama as he's not a native speaker and may be confusing sarcasm with other concepts.

I'm not?? Cr*p, all those years of school have been wasted :(

Just kidding, I think you mean "hoserfella".

My chosen word for this article is "vanity", as in "Having an excessively high opinion of one's own attainments and qualities."

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It's sad and shocking that poor Mellisa was subjected to this tirade. My apologies.

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tkoind summed it up very well. Nothing wrong with foreigners trying to set a good example, but this article is really about bashing an entire group of people for what one person did on a pile of bad assumptions. All indications are Melissa would have no interest correcting a Japanese who did the same in public because if it happened by definition it's "the Japanese way".

The author seems a little on edge herself, but I think the point she's trying to make is that a foreign guy yelling and swearing at his wife in public will have a much larger impact in Japan than a foreigner walking by himself quietly down the street, and that no matter how many polite foreigners there are in Japan, all it takes is one person (gender doesn't matter) to screw it up for everybody.

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screw it up for everybody

Screw what up?? Who cares what anybody else on planet Earth does? Live YOUR life.

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Maybe he just found out the baby wan't his? His own "Jerry Springer" style moment?

Judging by the number of reponses - this story seems to be one of the most popular ever written on JT - and I congratulate the author on that.

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Screw what up?? Who cares what anybody else on planet Earth does? Live YOUR life.

Two of my American friends and I went to a restaurant in Shinjuku. We saw two or three tables open in the back, but no one was up front so my friend yelled out a hearty "sumimasen" and a waiter, while wiping his hands, responded "hai, kochira he dozo (this way please)". When he finally looked up, he face changed and he said " sumimasen, ima wa ippai desu. (sorry, but we're full now."

About 6 months later, in an English conversation class, we were talking about discrimination (in my discussion English conversation class) and the whole class (of Japanese students) agreed that what I experienced wasn't discrimination because the waiter was just protecting the restaurant's best interests by not letting three foreigners eat there, because God knows what kind of people we may have been.

Yes, you may say "who on Earth cares what everyone else does?", until you've been unfairly judged based on the color of your skin.

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My dearest Melissa, we all feel your "pain", no likes to see abusive behavior, whether verbal or physical. I can imagine that in haughty-taughty, holier-than-thou Western Country or wherever it is you called home before coming here, assuming that you are above all others of your same foreigness & being so ignorant as to think all horrible things happen back home and not here in utopia is simply a way of proving your hooti-tootiness and gaining street cred. Fair enough (well, not really, but I won’t get into that here), but in case you’ve failed to notice, things are different here, including you.

Quote: "...but work to dispel the stereotype that all us gaikokujin, or gaijin if you insist, are just loud, obnoxious barbarians." EXCUSE me??? Since when were ALL "us" Koreans, Chinese, Thais, Indonesians, Peruvians, Turks, Mexicans and all the rest singularly considered loud, obnoxious barbarians? Wow are you ever en elitist.

Continued: "But in the span of a few seconds, your thoughtless, immature and petty behavior pretty much negated all that." Negated "all that"? ALL that? I mean seriously Ms. Feineman, you are all over the place here. One moment you're essentially stereotyping Japanese as a group of stereotyping all foreigners in Japan as barbaric, thus stereotyping "all" foreigners yourself; but in the next moment you then proceed to stereotype some obnoxious idiot himself of being from either Ohio, USA or the UK, and then go a step further by suggesting that this particular indivual's behavior is representative of people from Ohio, the UK and just about anywhere else ( "or wherever it is you called home before coming here"), and that said behavior is acceptable in these places.

You obviously suffer from some sort of "good gaijin/bad gaijin" complex. Get over it and get over yourself. i can't even tell you how many times I've witnessed absolutely deplorable behavior by Japanese men towards women, some of them clearly yakuza, others just jerks, and on occasion men I actually know/knew. And yes, I'm honest enough to admit that during my early days in Japan, I actually got into the bad habit of stereotyping Japanese males as mostly barbaric and/or perverted, but I eventually checked myself and got over that.

I would suggest you take a long time to think about what you're actually trying to say next time you decide to write something. And take a look around at current Japanese society, there are far more 'gaikokujin' here than you will ever know, even right in front of your face. So take some time and get to know this land you'tr living in.

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Stupid article really. Maybe the woman was really trying to wind the guy up with various insults and he really lost it? Unlikely, but possible. Anyway, there could have been any number of reasons why he got angry at her in public and I've also seen both Japanese men and women do it in public. I still remember one night on the Narita Express having to listen to some Japanese girl in her best American accent really give it to her boyfriend. And she knew every foul word under the sun. But being Japan no one asked her to quiet down. And he just sat there and took it.

Melissa sounds like some who has been brainwashed into thinking the Japanese are paragons of virtue or something, which they never have been.

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I would have to disagree with Melissa, the author of the article. By telling Western guys to act like Japanese men is wrong. If that was to happen then where are the real men??? At least the the angry Western guy is getting it off his chest rather then holding it inside of him. Suppressing negative feelings are not very healthy for a person.

The problem is that Japanese society group people together and that is the their problem. Western people believe it is just the individual with an attitude. Western people have the most positive influence on Japanese people even if they yell loud here or there.

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Should i act like many Jpanaese men and expect dinner at a certain time and slap her about whn i have been drinking?

To mention 2 working place areas and look down on the behaviour is total snobbery and an atritude that i have seem becoming common place in my business. Some even teens act in this manner to poorer and less advantaged because they are spoilt and in fact their snobbery makes them lower class than those they mock.

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If I let the opinions of others over how I look, behave, think and believe, I would not be the person I am today. My political and social views are not mainstream. My behavior is driven by my own moral expectations and not that of society. My beliefs are my own. And my appears is my business alone.

I have the wonderful luck of having lived in an artistic and alternative thinking community most of my adult life before Japan. Friends with PHDs and pink hair. Wine experts with nose piercings. Dentists with near full body tattoos. All wonderful people living life according to their rules and thinking "to hell with what the mainstream thinks."

I have been in Japan ten years and I still hold the attitude that no one has the right to define what is normal for me. I live as I please within the law and following my own values. So if someone wants to put me into a stereotype that is his or her problem not mine. My life is mine and I won't let some elitist people with narrow definitions dictate to me about how to live. If normal is so great, why is the world such a mess? And if Japanese normal is so great, why do 32,000 people go off the edge to suicide here every year.

Melissa, while I don't condone this angry guy's behavior, I and you are not in a position to judge him. You don't know the details and your fears of being harmed as a foreigner in Japan are frankly sad.

Spend some time with alternative people and you may learn a few things. They live with and ignore the negativity of others. They are most often creative and intelligent people who are the ones making the future. Those too afraid of what others may think are destined to remain within the lines and to live in obscurity. Shake off your fears and be yourself. Most of all live and let live.

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Whoever that guy was, he's an absolute jerk whether in Japan or anywhere else for that matter. If spouses have a disagreement, do it behind closed doors. All of this talk about cultural differences and individuality about behavior has nothing to do with this incident.

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kp123 - It's great that you get it, but it's too little, too late. The only ones left on this thread are those that never understood it in the first place.

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Thank you for your article! It's so true that the majority of men in this country who date Japanese women tend to be ineffective at many social skills. I applaud your work & look forward to reading more insights into life in this crazy country.

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Should be "Don't know why everyone thinks the author is clever just because the article generated so many responses".

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Not why everyone thinks the author is so clever because the article generated so many responses.

Someone could have written basically the same article about western women not fitting in with the title "Dear angry, overweight gaijin girl", and talked about western women who don't wear make-up, don't do their hair, eat themselves silly while fuming about Japanese girl's obsession with slimness and cuteness, and wonder why they don't get dates, and feel the need to sermonize about feminism etc etc. Probably get some posts about that too - esp if they were more western women on here.

Just sayin...

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Thank you for your article! It's so true that the majority of men in this country who date Japanese women tend to be ineffective at many social skills

That really depends on your social sect. It has nothing to do with many of the foreign men in this country who love their wives and girl friends so much. It is only your reality because of whom you work with and where you spend your time.

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quote:Thank you for your article! It's so true that the majority of men in this country who date Japanese women tend to be ineffective at many social skills. unquote Why then j.ladies are dating western guys if they are so badly mannered? :)

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this is a rant, not an article.

While we are at the whole lets generalize everything.

Most men in japan, not just westerners who date Japanese women tend to be ineffective at socail skills. Though most western women that look at western guys dating japanese women say they have no social skills, in reality are jealous and have nobody to talk too so they lose the social skills they think they have...generalizations are fun. Lets play the racial generalization game next...?

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I know many men through my work as a freelance floor manager in a well-reputed part of 東京 or Tokyo if you foolish ones cannot read the Sino-Japanese graphemes I have just utilised so smartly. They all look like actors in a poor revenge tragedy. This is the problem. Wise women have the answer to all the major puzzles of the day. Accept that & just be free.

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Wise women have the answer to all the major puzzles of the day.

and what do you do? make the tea?

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I know many men through my work as a freelance floor manager in a well-reputed part of 東京 or Tokyo if you foolish ones cannot read the Sino-Japanese graphemes I have just utilised so smartly. They all look like actors in a poor revenge tragedy. This is the problem. Wise women have the answer to all the major puzzles of the day. Accept that & just be free.

Gold sticker and smiley face for the fridge on mastering the kanji for Tokyo, learn a few more and you can use the subway.

Im still on the generalization game so show me a wise woman, and Ill accept that!...get it!

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Is it something in the air or are there more& more bad western men around this crowded town? We were just after our weekly shopping excursion in Tokyo & got the train. Not one man had the courtesy to bow, stand up & offer either of us freelancer floor walkers his seat. How annoying and how yes, true to think and witness that most men in Tokyo are selfish losers. I hope you are all ashamed of yourselves. Okay?

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you seem a bit confused dearie. on your way home from the pub was it? bad western men won't bow on the train and offer you their seat? most men in tokyo are selfish losers? just the bad western ones? what are you babbling about?

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I do NOT want to generalize but I was invited to dinner at a sports bar recently & all they talked about ( "they" is the pronoun I use to relate to the men, mostly Northern American & some from Bradford, England) was the football cup in Africa. They seemed racist & dirty with their chanting & indifference to the bar staff. Are men necessary to the eco-system? I have thought over the current situation & came to this conclusion. Thank you for the useful idea interchange.

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Are men necessary to the eco-system?

errr think about it for more than a second you ninny

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women know nothing about sports is a generalization. women know nothing is a....

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