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How did your perception of Japan change after visiting the country? Or, if you haven't been here yet, what's your general image of Japan?


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Been here a while, on balance its positive else I would, though more difficult now which so much invested here, find a way to go somewhere else.

Positives Food is good, most people are nice, relatively clean and safe, mostly good public transport, interesting history, interesting cultural events and art, secular country.

Negatives Work life balance is way off, smoking still allowed in many places, some odd ideas about hierarchy and gender, difficulties based on not being Japanese Citizen (or looking like one).

6 ( +8 / -2 )

My first visit was about 13 years ago, for two weeks. My perception of Japan remained pretty much the same because that's a very short time for a visit and of course the places we went to were places I already knew a lot about because I was interested in them. If anything, I liked it more. After moving here to live I found a few things that really rub me the wrong way because I'm kind of a natural non-conformist/anti-authoritarian person. I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel. I had not realized how militaristic the discipline in the high schools was or how much of the education here is geared strictly towards passing tests and producing one-size-fits-all adults who don't ask too many questions. On the other hand, my respect for people who thrive in this environment has increased. And also my respect and love for the creative, musical, artistic types who originally fired my imagination about Japan. Their accomplishments seem so much greater to me now.

I still think people here work hard and play hard. And I still think in general people here are incredibly kind and generous. Maybe I've been lucky, but the people I've met have almost all-- upwards of 98%, I'd estimate-- have embraced me and encouraged me. I hope I've returned those feelings. I've met a LOT of really amazing, wonderful people. People are the thing for me wherever I go. I love the people I've met here.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I love Japan!

Its one of the most beautiful, peaceful and sophisticated nations in the world. Japanese people are very helpful and trustworthy.

Having stayed here for a long time I could immediately make out a huge difference whenever I travel to any other country outside Japan. Can't stay out of Japan for long time.

Only concern is that sometimes it can get a bit too lonely and depressing if you don't have friends here. Simply because most of the people cannot communicate in English.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Before coming here, I expected everyone spoke English, and that there was a lot more conformity than there turned out to be.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Before coming here, I imagined Japan to be much more technologically advanced than America. So I was surprised that people still use faxes, offices still seem to prefer paper rather than using the computer, people prefer CDs over MP3s (and not for the difference in audio quality), flip-phones are still popular, etc. Sometimes it seems like the country is stuck in the 90s.

The smoking culture here also surprised me. As a non-smoker, it really irritates me that it's so hard to find restaurants with non-smoking sections.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Stepped off the boat (literally - from Taiwan) over two decades ago after having lived in other Asian countries and was bowled over by how quiet the country is. Eliminate the sound trucks and PAs and this country is a library. (Kinda like that aspect, actually.)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Eliminate the sound trucks and PAs

... and amplified mufflers on everything from scooters to trucks; bosozoku; ambulances blaring sirens at 3am, competing BGM in shopping malls, and the 5pm dirge.

Did I say Japan was noisy?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I come from India. Have heard a lot of good things about Japan before coming to here. We even studied at our schools some among them. Like people are very hard working, they never let their country down. During strikes unlike in India employees still work, but the do their strike smartly. Like if its a shoe factory, they make only one shoe of a pair :) (dont know how correct it is, but that's what we hear at India).

Now I have been living in Japan for the past one year, and it never dissapointed me, in fact now I respect this country more. People are so well behaved, the respect others, treat us well, do help us whenever we ask for some, stay in queues, hard workers, dont honk, pedestrians are respected, maybe I can say a 100 more. The country is neat, scenic, so on.

But there are few things I felt not so good about, like people are very addicted to their smart phones, I feel like they like to live in a virtual word more than a real one. Sometimes felt that social life is not good here, at offices I find people having food alone, which we usually don't find too much in our country ,we usually roam around as a group of friends :). Then most important work life balance is terrible, I find many of my colleagues living office late at night, coming early to office. Have wondered whether they have time for anything other than work and smartphones.

Overall I have huge respect for this country.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Although I came here as a great admirer of the Japanese work ethic, one thing that surprised and dismayed me was the sheer laziness and petulance of the womenfolk. They refuse to work, and they refuse to have kids (or if they have them, they want as little to do with them as possible). I've lost a great deal of sympathy for them over the years.

Another thing that surprised me was the extreme emphasis on social status markers, such as name of university, or company. Quite recently I saw a close friendship break up, because one woman's son got into the prestigious college of his choice, and the other boy didn't. This way of thinking would be unimaginable in most "advanced" countries.

And, the absence of any kind of critical thinking ability, even amongst highly educated people. Having a conversation with the average Japanese person is like talking to a not-very-bright 12-year-old. Which is fine if you like hanging out with 12-year-olds, but I don't. I cannot fathom why anybody would marry someone like that.

Overall I have huge respect for this country.

Me too.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

And, the absence of any kind of critical thinking ability, even amongst highly educated people. Having a conversation with the average Japanese person is like talking to a not-very-bright 12-year-old.

The Japanese people tend to adjust themselves so as not to show-off especially to doctors and teachers.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Before I came to Japan, I believed that the expression, “Japanese efficiency” was a thing.

After many years here, I now know just how wrong I was. Dragging out the amount of time it takes to do anything at all, with pointless meetings, ceremonies, ritualistic recitations of objection to even the most obviously-needed change, and sitting in your chair looking earnestly at an excel sheet you don’t understand are actively rewarded here.

I know so many people who are scared of finishing their work on time because they think that will mark them out as “lazy” if they don’t clock up a couple of hours’ unpaid, unnecessary overtime every might at the expense of their relationships and family duties. It’s ludicrous.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I came expecting that there must surely be a vibrant yet overlooked music scene but found that the reason Japanese popular music had had no influence on my life was because there was nothing influential. It was mostly derivative tripe and "kawaii" talentless people seemingly dragged out of karaoke bars to squeal the same song over and over. Almost 30 years later nothing has changed except the UK and US music scenes get to more closely resemble the Japanese one, so the industry of no-risk management and A & R men are winning.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The Japanese people tend to adjust themselves so as not to show-off especially to doctors and teachers.

You obviously don't live in Osaka.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The trains were impressive, but other than that was shocked by the infrastructure. The cheap, dull and boxy buildings, crooked street posts with masses of wires, impossibly narrow roads with no names or numbered addresses, and lack of sidewalks, boulevards and greenery. It seemed like a mess that didn't belong in the first world.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I always thought it was very clean before I got here. Then I came and found that every time I went to a restaurant or a bar I arrived home smelling like a dirty ashtray.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Yeah the smoking has to be the biggest single let down I would say.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I thought I would be tall in Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I cannot stop pointing at my nose and it is driving me crazy.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


Ha ha ha so true, its funny how quickly you pick up on these things.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am tired of this same old question, but there are some good answers here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I always thought Japan was this ultra modern country before I visited. When I finally arrived it wasn't. However, it was amazing like I expected.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As I posted above I thought I'd be tall in Japan, but I wasn't. But what I did discover was that I had a big nose - something I never had been aware of before I crossed the border. But it was apparently a good thing for the purposes of wearing sunglasses.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The economic situation when I arrived was upbeat and positive. Now, people look poorer and there are secondhand bag shops springing up everywhere! Wages are stagnant, temp work and short term contracts are offered to graduates whereas guaranteed work was the norm back when I arrived. Shuttered shops and failing businesses are more normal than before as well. More Asians are doing the jobs that Japanese did in retail - 20 years ago it was very unusual to see a foreign shop assistant. Many changes have I seen....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Interesting opinions, thanks...I learned something from them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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