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Hokkaido ski resort tackles growing tension between Japanese, foreign residents

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I would say I lived in Okinawa for a solid six years, barely speaking a word of Japanese, and still managed to separate my garbage properly and drive in a professional manner.

(Gold Stripe license). Don’t see what these peoples’ PROBLEMS are....or likely they just don’t CARE to get along.

45 ( +49 / -4 )

When you want that foreign $$ but don't want that foreign face.

Sometimes I feel like... look if you wanna shut yourself up North Korea style then just admit that. Just say that you only want to ever be around Japanese people. Don't literally go around the world with tourism campaigns about how welcoming Japan is to tourists when obviously the locals can't stand it. I mean seriously... 10% of your residents are foreigners over the course of one season. Do these people not have real problems in life? Get a grip.

25 ( +51 / -26 )

Garbage disposal is confusing and illogical in Japan. When I phoned the ward to ask about what do about my old ski boots, made entirely of plastics and and metal, the lady told me to put them in "burnables."

I asked whether unburnable or "plastics" would be more appropriate and she assured me they were "burnable," as they were shoes, ie, footwear, and I guess back in the Taisho Era when the rules were drawn up, all the shoes were made of leather or even wood. LOL.

Furthermore, the instructions sign at my complex shows several plastic objects under "burnables." And then there's a separate day for non-burnables, which shows...plastic objects.

On a related note, on Saturday, a "burnable" day, I just happened to notice that a neighbor had tossed away a styrofoam noodle container . The garbage's owner is Japanese. But gaijin always make the best scapegoats.

32 ( +45 / -13 )

Hell, I give them credit for trying.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I would say I lived in Okinawa for a solid six years, barely speaking a word of Japanese, and still managed to separate my garbage properly and drive in a professional manner.

Yeah well, it's still a huge problem for a lot of people, particularly in the Sunabe area of Chatan. There was even a story on the local news recently discussing this issue. It's mostly about garbage, as down here, even Okinawans have "poor driving etiquette"! lol!

11 ( +14 / -3 )

how foreign residents dispose of their garbage or have poor driving etiquette.

These problems can easily be resolved and Japanese people better get used dealing with them.

When Shinzo Abe and LDP's mass tourism and immigration policy comes in to full effect the problems and tension will only get bigger unfortunately.

21 ( +24 / -3 )

I think I might just go up to Hokkaido and start a new "Garbage Separation" business. For a small monthly fee my company will properly separate your garbage. I'll buy a Garbage Truck, pick up their garbage, bring it to my facility, separate it, and then bring it to wherever the regular garbage companies bring it. But guess what, I'd be willing to bet that would be against the law somehow.... or that the existing Garbage Companies would be against it. They'll figure out some reason for it to be a bad idea.

25 ( +28 / -3 )

I doubt we'll see too much sympathies here for the local population because, well, for obvious reasons.

But knowing how expat communities in other countries work, I can assure you a lot of these 'cultural misunderstandings' is the failure of the foreigners to fully adapt to the local populace. The fact that some of them are whining that local establishments don't have signs and other things in English should explain everything. Another is that many of the foreigners do not seem to care about interacting with the locals and instead stick to their own groups and areas. This kind of balkanization is seen in many parts of the world where foreigners move to another country and establish their own enclaves, caring little about learning the language or adapting.

How can anyone expect to know how things work, such as how to properly dispose of trash, if you make no effort to mingle among the locals and communicate with them and establish proper ties?

I'm not saying the local Japanese population are blameless, but in these types of cases it's most definitely the fault of the foreigners who make little to no effort to learn the local language and culture.

20 ( +34 / -14 )

"When you want that foreign $$ but don't want that foreign face"

Yeah, it's all the Japanese's fault.

However:

""My hometown only separates trash into two types," 39-year-old Jai Tomkinson, an Australian who works for a local outdoors store, said. "Documents at banks and post offices are mostly in Japanese, which makes things challenging."

You're not in Australia!!!

The Japanese have every RIGHT to separate their rubbish in as many parts as the like, and keep Japanese as their only language. It's a foreigner's job to adapt to Japan's custom in Japan, not the opposite. Exactly the same for Japanese, or anyone foreigner, not in his own country!

It's because of idiots like this one there are tensions, and they will only get worse as the gaijin number increases.

22 ( +38 / -16 )

@Peeping_Tom

You can't reasonably expect temporary visitors to learn a language as intense as Japanese if they're only going to be here like 2 months a year. A comprehensive explanation of something as important as waste disposal in several foreign languages isn't a lot to ask for. This is such an easily fixable problem.

No one on the planet is going to learn Japanese just to visit. Or any language. Sorry that you don't like it but that's the real world. If they want temporary visitors to come then they need to make things like this as clear as day.

14 ( +33 / -19 )

You're not in Australia!!!

Wow. Give this man an award.

You do realize that the town would likely collapse if the foreign tourists stopped coming in. The town should be more proactive about making it easier for foreigners to visit and live in their town if they are serious about reducing tension.

7 ( +23 / -16 )

When it comes to a lack of English services, while it can be bothersome, the fact remains that we didn’t do our research and we didn’t learn the “local” language so solving that issue is on us.

In most countries, outside of major cities where tourists frequent, you would be hard pressed to find another language outside of the local language.

When it comes to garbage separation, the laws are the laws. While I’ve never seen English signs until I came to Minoh, the one thing I can say is that there are always pictures. I’ve lived in places in the US that separate trash much more than Japan, but on thing that I never really knew was removing the plastic labels from plastic bottles as they do in Japan.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

There is an old saying: when in Rome do as the Romans do.

More accomodation for the foreigners would be nice but the duty is really up to the visitors.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

"You do realize that the town would likely collapse if the foreign tourists stopped coming in."

Japan would probably go extinct witout the JT community.

Yes, foreigners must adapt to the hosts, anywhere in the world.

You came in, they were already there.

19 ( +24 / -5 )

I think I might just go up to Hokkaido and start a new "Garbage Separation" business. For a small monthly fee my company will properly separate your garbage. I'll buy a Garbage Truck, pick up their garbage, bring it to my facility, separate it, and then bring it to wherever the regular garbage companies bring it. But guess what, I'd be willing to bet that would be against the law somehow.... or that the existing Garbage Companies would be against it. They'll figure out some reason for it to be a bad idea.

Get yourself licensed as a private garbage collector, contract with the foreigners, and NO ONE would say a word! Not all garbage collectors are contracted with the municipality! In fact most areas garbage collection IS contracted out.

What do you think those private collectors do anyway?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Seems to me that both sides need to meet in the middle. The foreigners should learn the language and do their best to abide by the customs. Yes I agree garbage separation in Japan sometimes makes no sense but we are in Japan.

On the other hand the locals should realize that economically they are benefitting (or possibly surviving) because of the foreigners taking up residence so they should reach out further and participate in the activities wherever the coordinator for international relations in Niseko has offices, classes, etc.

It is a two way street in this case.

Foreign residents are not "guests" in Japan; we are residents as guests do not pay taxes. However since we are not guests we also have responsibilities to adapt to the extent possible to the local customs.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

There is an old saying: when in Rome do as the Romans do.

More accomodation for the foreigners would be nice but the duty is really up to the visitors.

There is a duty on both sides. If you invite someone into your house, you have a duty to clearly explain your expectations. If you don't explain them, you have to right to be offended if they are not followed. The guest then has the responsibility to live up to those expectations. It's a two-way street.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I doubt we'll see too much sympathies here for the local population because, well, for obvious reasons.

But knowing how expat communities in other countries work, I can assure you a lot of these 'cultural misunderstandings' is the failure of the foreigners to fully adapt to the local populace.

This is certainly the case for a portion, certainly not all, of the immigrant population in my country but they are not the only ones to blame because the government plays a crucial role in integrating newcomers in to a society and in my country they ignored the problems and were to lax for the rotten apples until it got out of control.

Let's hope the Japanese government does not make the same mistake and that way a lot of problems and tensions can be avoided.

There is a duty on both sides. If you invite someone into your house, you have a duty to clearly explain your expectations

If we are talking about tourists I somewhat agree with you but when you choose to reside in a certain country it is only normal you learn the country's language and adapt to your host country's society, culture and customs.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"Foreign residents are not "guests" in Japan; we are residents as guests do not pay taxes. "

You pay taxes because you earned them in Japan, drive (?) on Japan's roads, use Japan's public transportation, hospitals, schools, theatres (?), cinemas; probably you go the beach too. If you eat anything in Japan, you will be taxed as well.

That does not mean you don't have to separate your rubbish accordingly or learn Japanese.

3 ( +15 / -12 )

You pay taxes because you earned them in Japan, drive (?) on Japan's roads, use Japan's public transportation, hospitals, schools, theatres (?), cinemas; probably you go the beach too. If you eat anything in Japan, you will be taxed as well.

Exactly - it's not a 'guest' relationship.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@Peeping_Tom; I do not consider myself a guest and I think you have made the case. I also clearly stated (if you read the entire post) that as guests we also have the responsibilities which you identified.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Don't understand this. Why are foreigners being complained about? I have a house, made a nice deck and well cared for plants. A nice comfortable place to kick back and relax? Nope. My neighbors (2 houses) (Japanese) have yet to pull the weeds, now about 1 meter tall, and have trash little by little piling up. They apparently have no respect for their neighbors. BTW the homes are just over a year old but theirs looks like they've been living there for 20 years!! It's not only foreigners!!! I want to say something but I've been told not to because they may get angry at me (not that I care but ....). Just don't get it. Again, It's not only foreigners!!! So why is it always the foreigners fault? Apologies for venting. Just getting tired for hearing Japanese complain about foreigners when they are doing the same thing.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

You have to adjust to the change. They have to adjust to the tourists, not ask the tourists to adjust to them. Build more bins instead of asking tourists to accept and obey by your ridiculous social norms. Tourists come to enjoy themselves, and then leave. They don't care about your 1 million social rules of how to breath and how to walk. If you don't like that, ban tourists, problem solved. It is ridiculous to expect the entire world to adjust to your social norms for a 5 day visit. Adjusting to tourism is part of becoming more international and up to date with international culture.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

Since1981; It seems you have a very legitimate complaint. I think you should say something without mentioning that Japanese are complaining about foreign residents, especially if you can articulate your concerns in Japanese. Your neighbors should show more courtesy to you and other neighbors as well.

IloveCoffee; I think the article is addressing foreign residents. As a resident I try to follow the garbage related rules although I think at times they are a bit crazy.

There is a definite difference in being a tourist or a resident and I think the expectations are different as well.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

They have to adjust to the tourists, not ask the tourists to adjust to them.

This article talks about foreign residents not tourists which is a big difference and even though you are a tourist that doens't mean you don't have to respect Japanese society and it doesn't mean that you can do whatever you see fit.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

"This article talks about foreign residents not tourists which is a big difference and even though you are a tourist that doens't mean you don't have to respect Japanese society and it doesn't mean that you can do whatever you see fit."

"....instead of asking tourists to accept and obey by your ridiculous social norms"

Deep down inside he probably things being a foreigner entitles one to not obey Japanese mores in Japan!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

The same foreign residents who are paying local taxes, national taxes, healthcare and pensions, renting or buying properties which might otherwise be empty. Buying cars and paying to drive on the public roads.

Seems to me the Japanese residents have much to be grateful about.

Just back from taking 20 bags of garden weeds since the house was empty for a long time and the garden was overgrown. Now spotless and pruned the black pine trees in the front. All the neighbors praised my efforts and one lent me a cart to take the rubbish to the collection point.

Others turned up to offer help with the weeding, which I declined. Spent about a week couple of hours each day.

All nicely done, and as today is Marine Day we'll come for a walk and have lunch next to the sea.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Yes in reading again the resident part is a big deal.

Foreign residents must adapt to the general goings on if they want to live outside a bubble but they can't be expected to know how to assimlate "by magic" if they aren't receiving any support, if they are tax paying residents some consideration of how to assist these residents is the job of the local and regional government.

Japan has a vested interest in interacting with and educating likely long term residents, if not, and it won't take long, you will see pockets of particular ethnicities in certain areas. Being who you are and interacting with people from where you come from is entirely natural but I believe if it turns into separate groups that rarely interact its bad for all and will only increase distrust and other issues.

For those of us who have been here for a while these articles remind me to continue being part of my community, allow my fellow Japanese residents to see that there can be a lot of good in diversity.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Complaints about sorting the garbage is common in my area as well, especially about mixing things together in one bag.  If you wait to put out (usually 8:30 am) and "ask" people if the sorting in the bag is correct, they will be more than happy to help show you. I've even done my turn at advising new residents.  

The simple reason for sorting the garbage and not putting everything in a single bag is that different trucks pick up certain types of waste. If you watch the kind of garbage the different vehicles come along, things become clear.  

When I go back to my home country, I need to ask the there too since the rules change yearly!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@Zichi

People like you are not the problem, people who come to live in Japan by their own choice and expect Japan to adapt to them and not the other way around that's the problem.

And that's not a phenomenon that is only occuring in Japan it's happening in many other countries as well.

I repeat it all boils down in how the government will handle that situation because it will become a more and more pressing issue in the years to come.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Most foreigners in Niseko are tourists who are only there for the ski season, then they go home.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

I hope there would not be any serious issues about driving etiquette. You cannot live without driving your own car in Hokkaido. The area like Niseko, you have frequent occasions where foreign residents get together and have drinks together day and night. Of course this is not about only foreign residents but it's true they like get-together and drinking together and drive back home...?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Mister X - You bring up a very good point. This situation (foreigners moving into a country and expecting the country to change for them) is not at all unique to Japan. This happens in Europe, the U.S., and many other countries in the world.

Those of us who chose to live here have a responsibility to adapt to the norms of society in Japan. If there is something we take issue with then it is best to try to constructively address it rather than just complain. Japan is not perfect but it suits me quite well. I know others who lived here and it did not suit them and they left.

On the other hand due to the obvious population issues (age distribution) it is beneficial for Japan to have immigrants come here to live as the tax revenue will be needed to support the social welfare system in the future. In that case Japan should also reach out to the foreign community (it seems Niseko is already doing this by the way).

Peeping Tom - you stated, "It's because of idiots like this one there are tensions, and they will only get worse as the gaijin number increases."

It looks to me that Niseko is actually proactively doing something about that expected "gaijin" number increase. As a gaikokujin (America-jin to be more precise) I think Niseko is doing the right thing and if more outreach occurs then these issues can be prevented.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

When in Rome ....

dont come to Japan to make a living, & expect japan to change to accommodate you.

fit in or go home !

8 ( +12 / -4 )

As someone has pointed out, japanese trash rules can be a big pain in the ass.

I come to Japan for the first time with an advanced knowledge of the language, it wasn't enough to not be puzzled by the so many days and rules to every single item in the house (what a pain to throw a single 1.5L pet bottle away!) but I agree if you are a resident or at least someone coming to Japan every few months you should put some effort to learn the language and local customs.

I can't imagine myself moving to Germany and demanding everything to be in my own language, etc.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I wish the article would list the ages of all the Japanese who are complaining. I would bet a pair of ski boots that they are all collecting pensions. The vast majority of young Japanese do not have any trouble with foreigners. As for complaining about poor etiquette from foreign drivers.....ha,ha,ha! The Japanese are the worst drivers I have ever seen!

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Those of us who chose to live here have a responsibility to adapt to the norms of society in Japan. 

Indeed and I am sure many people like yourself are willing to do that.

However it is absolutely crucial that the rotten apples need be adressed in a firm manner and then I think we can go a long way in making Japan a nice place for everybody to live together.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Actually I knew this will become a problem sooner or later. I had a chance to work in Hirafu, Niseko for one of the resorts few years ago. A lot of businesses are owned by gaikokujins and they hire mostly gaikokujin staff that comes to Japan on working holiday visa. They don't have any respect for our culture whatsoever, it's not only garbages but the way they behave. Hirafu during the winter season becomes a town where gaikokujins are up to 90% of the population. So I suppose they feel like at home and forget they are guests in Japan, any gaikokujin should remeber that no matter how long she or he is here they are ONLY guests.

This article is not only about garbages but actually there are many more problems related to high number of gaikokujin.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

"Documents at banks and post offices are mostly in Japanese, which makes things challenging."

What language did you think they would be in when you decided to move to Japan?

10 ( +12 / -2 )

He said he felt uneasy after last year's Hokkaido earthquake. "The only information available after the (quake) in September was in Japanese."

Might want to learn the language before moving here...

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Some of these foreigners are asking for too much. If you want to reside in Japan for an extended period, learn some Japanese, or at least try to be a good guest. Trash disposal can be confusing, but if you, at a bare minimum, separate plastics, cans and bottles from burnable trash, the locals wouldn't be so fussy. As for expecting banks, city hall to have documents in anything other than Japanese and emergency broadcast announcements to be in English is ridiculous. How are these in your home country? Are they multi-lingual? Doubt it. In the US, everything is basically in English and Spanish, that's it.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

When I go to Japan I don't want to see any Aussies.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Probably when your foreign population of English speakers (or any language) exceeds 5 percent or so, it should be rather obvious you now have a duty to provide all services and information in English.

Also, if you buy a house, long term rent an apartment or run a business in a foreign country, even if you are not a citizen, you are not a "guest" either. You are a tax paying resident and you have a fair expectation of some of your demands being met.

At the same time, to be a resident of Japan and not speak or read the language is pretty daft, and as my reading level is garbage, I openly admonish myself.

And I know for a fact that lots of Japanese are also confused about trash issues to yeah, scapegoating foreigners is rife. I never wrote my real name on garbage partly for this reason, and anything with my real name on it gets burned rather than tossed in there.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

@Satedaya; Your post is very interesting and thanks for putting your perspective here. It would be interesting to hear more of what happens in Niseko (I was only there once for a very short time).

I agree with all of your post with the exception of the issue of being called a "guest". There are many of us here that are Permanent Residents and have been in Japan for decades. I know many of us who own businesses, hire Japanese employees, and pay numerous taxes. Because of this I do not consider myself to be a guest. On the other hand I strongly believe I should follow all laws, conform to the customs in Japan, and if I find myself to be constantly complaining I should leave (I won't because I like it here).

As an American I do not consider those who immigrate to the U.S. LEGALLY, pay taxes, follow laws, etc. to be guests. I consider them to be immigrants fully participating in society. My opinion is that a guest is a tourist or visitor who does not pay taxes and is not expected to live up to the responsibilities of a resident or immigrant. I believe there is a difference between a guest and a resident. If Japan wishes to attract more skilled immigrants due to the declining birth rate then the immigrants should be referred to as residents (of course - not citizens).

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Probably when your foreign population of English speakers (or any language) exceeds 5 percent or so, it should be rather obvious you now have a duty to provide all services and information in English.

In the globalist world we live today, that would mean that almost every country in the world would be required to have services and information available in a multitude of different languages.

This is not feasible and would seriously hamper integration of newcomers which is crucial in order to avoid problems and tension.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

dango bong

"Documents at banks and post offices are mostly in Japanese, which makes things challenging."

What language did you think they would be in when you decided to move to Japan?

I agree to a certain extent, but in NZ even when I left over a decade ago, a country of less than 5 million people government services, banks and hospitals provide information, and many even have forms translated, in multiple languages. Its not just a case of "ignorant gaijin" many do want to learn and assimilate to varying degrees but its difficult if you aren't embraced by the country you now live in.

I want Japan to be successful, and part of that is inevitably going to be immigration as the local population decreases but instead of just saying "learn the language" we, the country, Japanese citizens support these people. Even if only selfishly, groups of people supported and eased into Japan are far more likely to be better residents and work more cohesively with everyone else.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I have dealt with lunatic village council people before. The village was separated by the clear majority old guard and the new minority residents in a newly developed area. The new residents were treated as "outsiders" as well. I went to the council with one of the same complaints they had. I quickly learned the old guard council members were just a pack of trolls having a joyous old time giving new comers grief...on the sly of course...making excuses about tradition and whatnot. So yeah, I can imagine that happening in Niseko as well and foreigners being rather easy targets. At the same time I am sure there are plenty of foreigners who would get up my nose as well.

And foreigners generally do have bad driving "manners"....but its hardly their fault. Japanese are pretty irrational about driving in several ways, particularly for approaching it as a "manners" thing in the first place. But you do have to learn to cope somewhat.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Some people posting comments don't live here in Japan?

Probably when your foreign population of English speakers (or any language) exceeds 5 percent or so, it should be rather obvious you now have a duty to provide all services and information in English

No they should not. Maybe yes then it exceeds 20%. If you don't speak Japanese then ask at your ward office if there's someone who speaks English and put all your questions to them about garbage etc.

When we moved to our new current area, there are not many foreigners, and I'm probably the only one in our ward area, we visited the nearest public library. After sometime, the chief librarian approached me and spoke to me in English and then proudly handed me a leaflet about the library, in English. This is in a very isolated spot and it was like she had been waiting her entire working life to be able to hand that leaflet to an English speaking person. She spoke English I responded in Japanese, she was so happy, one of her life missions was done.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Don't think it's a Hokkaido/ Japan vs gaijins thing tbh. Truth is, ski resorts all around the world attract hipsters & entitled dic*heads. They have the same pbm in north am, the Alps etc with 'locals' i.e city slickers from california, paris, london, berlin, rome etc.

Many/most ppl just don't give a toss about following local rules when on vacation (or as temp residents). fact!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

@Smith; some of those people have probably been there for their entire life. What you say sounds way over the top to me and very extreme. If you are in Japan I often wonder what is keeping you here. Based on what I have seen I think you will find all of the issues you mention in most other countries in the world.

People who reside in Japan have a responsibility to abide by the laws and customs. I personally do not agree with all of them but I do so as I live in Japan.

I think goldorak is correct; this is common in "resort" type areas around the world. However I believe residents have a responsibility to not only follow the laws but do their best to integrate into society and follow the local customs, etc.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I am not a guest of this country. For 25 years I am a permanent resident which gives me independent rights like the right to stay here if my wife should divorce me, or die.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Fascinating to read such a largely well balanced collection of opinions on a matter that ought to be resoluble. I'm wondering if one of the long term gaijin residents who speaks good Japanese could offer their services to the local council (I'm presuming being elected on to it would currently be out of the question! ).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So, who's forcing you to stay?

Isn't that a tad arrogant to say to people who probably have been living there for several generations ?

accept their money

You should realize that not every Japanese person has asked for them to come to their village

As long as they are not breaking the laws it is YOU with the problem.

You don't have to break the law in order to make life unpleasant for someone

5 ( +9 / -4 )

@Tony; What you propose may not be out of the question. It has happened elsewhere in Japan. It seems Niseko has taken proactive measures to resolve the issue which probably shows there are people there that would be more open to your idea than you might think. My experience as a long term resident here is that the majority of people are decent and just want to get along.

Have a look at the Niseko Promotion Board and the list of Directors and Advisors. It seems pretty balanced and I would imagine this group would have great interest in finding a middle ground.

http://www.nisekotourism.com/about

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You can't reasonably expect temporary visitors to learn a language as intense as Japanese if they're only going to be here like 2 months a year. 

I would still require that they do if they are managing touristic businesses. It's not the tourists that complain about the bank, garbage, paperwork, but the people catering to them, those that should do the communication for the tourists.

I can't speak English. Do you think I can go to Australia and run my business in Japanese or in Dutch and the local politicians will provide me all the translations ? That's roughly what the guys in the article are demanding.

They have to adjust to the tourists, not ask the tourists to adjust to them.

I bet you have never lived in a touristic spot. In the over-popular spots, crowds of tourists do more damage than herds of elephants or even typhoons. Check what happened in  Fjaðrárgljúfu or in Lake Elsinore. How do you suggest that locals "adjust" to the modern Barbarian invasions ?

Most foreigners in Niseko are tourists who are only there for the ski season, then they go home.

That was my impression. So it's not the locals' job to deal with them. The tourist industry that brings them has to manage that totally (translate, set rules and enforce them, clean, repair).

5 ( +6 / -1 )

More foreigners coming here and refusing to observe the local culture beyond anime, kimono, samurai, and oooh exotic Japan. Japan is not your theme park, even in a theme park you have to abide to rules and customs.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

@kibousha

Yep. But that’ll continue to be the case as long as Japan insists on pushing the ‘anime, kimono, samurai and oooh exotic Japan’ angle...

A change of perspective is needed on both sides.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Typical. Japan wants foreign business but wants as little interaction with foreigners as possible.

an ingrained disability to even desire to understand foreign cultures on the part of the Japanese locals is the main problem

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

an ingrained disability to even desire to understand foreign cultures on the part of the Japanese locals

Why on earth would Japanese locals need to understand foreign cultures ?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I can easily understand many of the problems the tourists and foreign residents face. My local city hall has very little information in any other language. They have an English translator there for four hours a day, three days a week. Garbage separation and collection is very complicated in my ward. They provide an A3 sized sheet explaining all the different kinds of garbage and it’s collection days/dates. However, it is only in Japanese and even my Japanese Mrs has difficulty understanding it. All Japanese people study English for at least ten years and it is intensive study of up to 8-10 lessons per week, but they don’t learn a flipping thing. Instead, they expect foreign tourists and short-term residents to be masters in both spoken and written Japanese. They love the tourists money, but are not prepared to do any work to get it. Yes, there is the argument of assimilation, but why do Japanese spend so much time and money learning a second language if they have no intention of ever using it?

I cant believe they are complaining about foreigners’ driving etiquette though. Japanese driving etiquette is one of the worst I’ve seen in the twenty odd countries I’ve visited.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Come to Okinawa and see how a large number of foreign residents can coexist with the local population. Forget all the hoopla about the base issue that's politics. The people get along great. Okinawa has an outreach program that pretty much covers the world and has built great relationships with people all over the world. Both foreign residents and Japanese need to make efforts to connect to each other to make it work.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mister X: "Why on earth would Japanese locals need to understand foreign cultures ?"

Who says they need to "understand" them? The thing is to be open to exchange of cultures, especially when you've opened the door after throwing the welcome mat outside and asked them to come. Again, aside from obeying laws, you cannot ask someone to come and then DEMAND they be like you -- especially when you'll never accept them like you anyway. It's a two way street, amigo. The people who come should also make efforts to abide by local customs and yes, if possible, to gain an understanding of the culture somewhat. You seem to think it is below Japanese' dignity to do vice-versa. Did these people welcome a ski resort in their area or not? I bet you these same people that whine about the foreigners brag about their town's name being thrown about internationally -- they probably even have three or four mascots about it.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

they expect foreign tourists and short-term residents to be masters in both spoken and written Japanese

You don't need to be a "master" in a certain language in order to get by and as stated eralier there is a big difference between foreign tourists and foreign residents

They love the tourists money, but are not prepared to do any work to get it.

False

There is the argument of assimilation, but why do Japanese spend so much time and money learning a second language if they have no intention of ever using it?

Because if you go down that path many other people will demand to have everything in their native language and some of them will not make an effort to learn Japanese anymore creating all sorts of problems in society.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@joe blow you nailed it...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The influx of foreigners is bound to grow, and its slapping everyone in the face (just an expression, that’s all). Yesterday, my wife and I spent two hours in a meeting addressing this exact issue to a group of Japanese and foreigners, about 30 people. Tension has come up, and we were asked to hold a question/answer session since we speak Japanese, have lived here over 30 years, raised our daughter here rather successfully, and me wife is an expert professional child educational specialists with doctoral degree, many years as teacher, professor, etc. So there (just teasing). The Japanese group we’re struggling with the foreigners’ expectations, and foreign group wanted more understanding from Japanese. We were able to really help smooth things over, and hopefully, both sides will try to grow in patience, understanding, and love. Yes, love. Anyway, this foreign growth in Japan will definitely continue and increase. It’s going to take real effort on both sides to make it be a Good Thing©, but it certainly can be. If the work is done to educate foreigners coming here, and Japanese about how closed and difficult it can be for foreigners to adjust. And, if you plan to stay in Japan, making learning Japanese must be a top priority! A foreigner coming here is deaf, dumb (cannae talk), and illiterate. We foreigners really need to work very hard to learn Japanese. Hey, Japanese, foreigners, we're all in this together; I’m pulling for us all.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Hmmm. I've been hearing about this for a number of years now from my skiing friends who have long standing relationships with Japan (i.e. lived here year round and are not just here for the snow). They started going up to Niseko and Kutchan etc in the late 1990's and early 2000's when they were indeed well known 'local' (ie primarily Japanese market) resorts. They just refuse to go there now as they have changed, in a negative sense, from what they originally were. The food and services on offer have gone downhill and the prices have gone up.

I have to hand it to the enterprising Australians, as they do have a knack for setting themselves up in popular tourist destinations and taking over the food and accommodation businesses (Think Bali as well). Most obviously try and get along with the locals, but as they increasingly convert their businesses to cater to international visitors, there will be friction.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who says they need to "understand" them? 

The person I quoted obviously.

You seem to think it is below Japanese' dignity to do vice-versa.

No I don't think so but I hope you agree that seeing as you are the one choosing to come to live in Japan the majority of the effort needs to come from your part.

Did these people welcome a ski resort in their area or not?

Not all Japanese people have asked for this mass influx of foreign tourists and residents but I agree that we will have to make it work somehow and I am sure we can.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Are the socially advanced foreign residents in Niseko/Kutchan (not to mention the author of this article) incapable of doing a simple google search? Both towns have official homepages that have links to living guides for foreign residents in English. Which unsurprisingly contain a wealth of information about official procedures, as well as complete information about trash separation etc (homepage/PDF versions).

https://www.town.niseko.lg.jp/kurashi/foreign_residents/living/waste/

https://www.town.kutchan.hokkaido.jp/kutchan_living_guide/

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A broader observation is 2% is tolerable but somewhere near 10% foreigners becomes intolerable. At least there is no anti-gaijin violence "yet".

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I volunteer for a Facebook site, Kumamoto International, which provides information to non-Japanese. We were quite busy during the quakes. An interesting thing I noticed, though, is that a large percentage of our readership is comprised of Japanese - I suppose that they enjoy reading local news in English. Every community here should have a similar site.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Educator; thanks for posting the links and you are 100% right. The local towns/municipalities seem to be reaching out and responsibly trying to help the foreign residents.

On the other hand I think this is one of the most interesting articles of interest to foreign residents of Japan I have seen on this web site in a long time. This is an issue that is going to become more prevalent as more people immigrate to Japan. Seeing how these small towns handle this (even if on a very small level) could provide some good insights/lessons on how to move forward.

I think Minato-ku in Tokyo goes way out of their way to accommodate foreign residents (even in numerous languages).

This is a really important issue (and topic) for Japan moving forward. I am sure there are some in Japan who would rather close the country off and not have to live with foreigners and there are others in Japan who welcome foreigners with open arms. My experience as a foreigner living here in Japan is that most Japanese fall into the middle (call it a silent majority) and take a pragmatic view understanding there are cultural differences but it is not a huge deal and can be overcome (as long as there is mutual respect).

It has also been one of the most interesting discussions I have seen here in a long time.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Japanese proficient in English"

" Hello. Please have a chair. Nice to meet me. Sorry no crejito cardo for gakukujin-san. Thank you very much"

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I passed through Kutchan in 1979 when I lived in Sapporo. I didn’t go farther than the “ekimae” streets but it seemed to be in an advanced state of decline.

I returned on a cross-country bicycle trip in 2017 and saw more of the town. I was surprised at its apparent recovery. How did that happen?

There must have been a high degree of cooperation between locals and new foreign-born residents. These complaints really are minor and it’s obvious from the article that natives and newcomers are willing to work together towards solutions.

More power to them all!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A comprehensive explanation of something as important as waste disposal in several foreign languages isn't a lot to ask for. This is such an easily fixable problem.

Exactly....how hard would it be for the CIR in the story ( with the help of his Japanese supervisor ) to make an English flyer explaining the mysteries of local garbage separation and distribute it to all the businesses in the area with Aussie / NZ staff? Its a one days job fgs and the " problem" is no longer a problem. Voila. This is precisely why CIR,s are employed by the local boards....The boards koomuin could be a little proactive for once.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@marcelito; The English pamphlet is very comprehensive and is available on the internet. The garbage issue is discussed on pages 48-50. Alot of other good information in there and the development of the pamphlet looks like it could have taken a great deal of effort.

https://www.town.kutchan.hokkaido.jp/file/contents/1334/9731/Living_guide_edition11_all.pdf

Granted this pamphlet is only in English and Japanese (now) but it does seem to me they have made a pretty good effort in this regard. I do not understand why they should have to go deliver this to everyone.

It should be the responsibility of those living there (or in Japan) to go access this or get this information. We are adults after all and I do not expect the municipality where I live to hand delivery this to me.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I have to hand it to the enterprising Australians, as they do have a knack for setting themselves up in popular tourist destinations and taking over the food and accommodation businesses (Think Bali as well). Most obviously try and get along with the locals, but as they increasingly convert their businesses to cater to international visitors, there will be friction.

I think you're underestimating the Japanese pride laced with envy. If it 'can' be done well, it should be done by a Japanese is the psyche, after all, it's Japan. There are people I know who devoted their entire life to making good filtered coffee, so who's the newbie trying to move-in with espresso and vegemite toast?

This is all before all the nationalists grievance about diluting Japanese culture with mattresses and dining tables.

Personally, respect is what's needed here. Yes you can have diversity, but there's a fine line between diversity and diminishing respect for the culture. Niseko, Kiroro etc. illustrates this most abundantly.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The pinch lies with the local residents creating and building local businesses, probably to capitalise on the wonderfuly famous ski resorts to find you that the cost to the local community is customer delinquency.

Short of engaging the use of a foreigner/tourist enabled cattle pod, an alternative is serious bows and early morning teams of clean up specialists.

Learn the basic language, invest in local engagement.

It is not difficult.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A few points but, firstly the local foreign population there will only be 10% because they are measuring it on January 1st, slap bang in the middle of the ski season. At least half those people will be seasonal workers on working holiday or skill-based (experienced ski instructor etc.) visas. The local gaijin population on June 1st will likely be under 5%. The seasonal workers (have to) register as residents so they can use Japanese health insurance.

Secondly, Niseko is home to the highest real estate appreciation in Japan. There has been a huge construction boom, meaning good offseason jobs, and loads of part time jobs there for local people, drivers, snow clearing, room cleaning, etc. during the season will pay way much higher rates than other parts of Hokkaido. Any (Japanese) local who knows a bit of English will get much better pay in Niseko for bookkeeping, e-mail correspondence, etc. than in any regular Hokkaido company. Probably at least 20% higher pay. It should be remembered here that Hokkaido is one of Japan's poorest regions.

For "when in Rome" reasons, I will ignore the foreigners' complaints. Banks are private businesses, they are not the local community's fault. What I'd like to say is that any complaints about bad driving or gomi separation have to be placed in the context of my second paragraph. There are all these economic benefits, a huge increase in local taxes and opportunities for Japanese people, but "what about the gomi separation?" and "what about the guy I saw driving too fast". We need to be careful of placing all complaints in context, some will just be people ranting like on Twitter where he who shouts loudest wins. Some will be people who are envious of others for making money on "their territory". There will be three types of people at Niseko, local Japanese, newcomer Japanese who went there during the 1970s and 1980s ski boom (probably "yosomono" or whatever the Hokkaido-ben word is) and now foreigners. I can guarantee that along with the foreigners, there will have been a huge fault line between the old-timers and newcomer Japanese too. Everyone in inaka knows that this is how it works.

Yes, it is important to separate gomi, but it is only one of many environmental issues, many of which Japan fails on. CO2 emissions are going up for Christ's sake. Some foreigners not separating gomi is not a national headline story.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@MIster X

Exactly....how hard would it be for the CIR in the story ( with the help of his Japanese supervisor ) to make an English flyer explaining the mysteries of local garbage separation and distribute it to all the businesses in the area with Aussie / NZ staff? Its a one days job fgs and the " problem" is no longer a problem. Voila. This is precisely why CIR,s are employed by the local boards....The boards koomuin could be a little proactive for once.

Like others have shown above, a lot of these issues are easily fixable, and the demands of the foreign residents are reasonable. The complaints by Japanese are not being invalidated, but quite often a lot of these "problems" and resistance come from Japanese xenophobia and their inability to deal with change.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@Silvafan;

The terms resident and tourist are fluid. The only real difference is documents required and the label given by the hosting country. The experiences of residents and tourists overlap.

Sorry I have to disagree with you on this issue. Tourists do not pay national income tax, inhabitance tax, are not required to join the social welfare systems, are not afforded many of the benefits of living in Japan. I think it is an apples and oranges type comparison. I would love to live and work here and declare myself a tourist. It would save me a lot in taxes.

You are right that some of the experiences overlap but I think the overlap on the significant issues is very small or non existent.

You are 100% correct that learning the language does take time and opportunity. I fully agree with you and I know people who have lived here for decades and cannot speak Japanese well or read but they do contribute to society, follow the laws, etc. but everyone should at least make an effort. In the case of the municipalities above it seems they have also made quite a good effort to provide the translated living guides.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The town has a website, like all places these days, which can be translated into English and provides all the information needed by residents.

https://www.town.kutchan.hokkaido.jp/Living_Information/

There's even a live camera

https://www.town.kutchan.hokkaido.jp/webcam/

There are also Japanese language classes available in the town.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I want Japan to be successful, and part of that is inevitably going to be immigration as the local population decreases but instead of just saying "learn the language" we, the country, Japanese citizens support these people. 

I totally disagree. If you live somewhere you should speak the language or at least make an effort instead of feeling privileged.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@Tokyo-Engr

Sorry I have to disagree with you on this issue. Tourists do not pay national income tax, inhabitance tax, are not required to join the social welfare systems, are not afforded many of the benefits of living in Japan. I think it is an apples and oranges type comparison. I would love to live and work here and declare myself a tourist. It would save me a lot in taxes.

"Fluid"

I agree with your points about the differences. That is why the government needs those labels. Let me clarify, to the average Japanese person, whether you are here for 3 months or 50 years, you are still considered a visitor. It doesn't matter how much you contribute to the society as a whole. This is the feedback I was told direct from the mouth of Japanese people. It doesn't matter who you marry or what your children call themselves.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The terms resident and tourist are fluid.

Maybe in opposite world, but here where words have meaning, these are not at all interchangable, and have clear delineations between them.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The experiences of residents and tourists overlap.

So do the experiences of tourists and citizens. Are these also "fluid"?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I agree with your points about the differences. That is why the government needs those labels. Let me clarify, to the average Japanese person, whether you are here for 3 months or 50 years, you are still considered a visitor. It doesn't matter how much you contribute to the society as a whole. This is the feedback I was told direct from the mouth of Japanese people. It doesn't matter who you marry or what your children call themselves.

Pretty accurate. Sometimes I think the people Tokyo-Engr referred to ( those who don’t bother learning the language and live like tourists after decades here ) may be the most practical and even wisest of the lot.

Still, separate your rubbish.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

These type of "debates" never get us anywhere. You can always say "in general" or "most", but in our day to day lives, it's going to be those random individuals who don't drive well, don't separate their trash properly or don't _____ (add your gripe here) that makes us frown or have a headache.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Pretty accurate. Sometimes I think the people Tokyo-Engr referred to ( those who don’t bother learning the language and live like tourists after decades here ) may be the most practical and even wisest of the lot.

As someone who speaks Japanese nearly as well as my first language, I have to disagree.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Silvafan - thank you for your explanation and clarification. I understand your sentiment but I am not sure if I fully agree. The only reason is that my experience has not been 100% the same of yours. I have come across people who say I am a visitor or guest but (at least recently) it has not been the majority. I am not at all discounting your point.

What you point out is one thing people need to consider when moving to a different country and yes it does exist in Japan (probably to different extents for different people).

On the other hand the tangible differences between a resident and tourist are very clearly defined and are quite significant.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Marcelito, Zichi,

There is no need to make an English version nor to do an English translation of garbage rules etc for the simple reason that these already exist in both Niseko and Kutchan (not to mention cities and towns all over the country, my smallish city has the living guide in multiple languages). As pointed out by my previous post and those of others.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Dog's breakfast of an article from Kyodo with a clickbait headline (I clicked). A bit of whining from a disaffected local, some more ridiculous whining from an Australian and the usual nonsense about garbage separation.

@Kokahuebisu has it right, I think. Long-established Japanese, incoming Japanese and now incoming non-Japanese; some are happy with the changes and some aren't. The garbage thing is just an excuse for complaining about the changes in recent years.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

If you live somewhere you should speak the language or at least make an effort instead of feeling privileged.

well Id say most gaijin in Japan could be classified as privileged. when Japan becomes too heavily taxed or unbearable to live in the future they can always pack up and leave. To not be treated as a local because im gaijin is fine with me I can play the tourist card or the permanent resident card whenever it suits me. LOL

As someone who speaks Japanese nearly as well as my first language, I have to disagree.

actually some of the most succuessful gaijin ive met in Japan dont have excellent Japanese, passable yes.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Rather than blame people or say they must or need to or should this, that, or whatever, how about just take personal responsibility for your own life. If you want to move to Japan, never learn or speak Japanese, it doesn't bother me, nor should it bother you. That person will need to deal with the repercussions of choosing not to learn the language here. That's on them. Yes, you should separate your trash based on the rules of the country/area you are staying at - be it as a visitor or resident. But if you don't, that's on you to either be frowned upon by someone who notices you not doing it, fined if caught, etc. There are plenty of Japanese who don't care as there are foreigners who equally don't.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@WA4TKG Okinawa is easy for foreign residents. Some rural areas of Japan are not so easy. People tend to be very reluctant to change or accept new ideas. 73

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Rena - Actually you have probably made the most logical statements of all here.

In the end we are all responsible and need to take responsibility of our actions and decisions....the good and the bad (and Lord knows I have had my share of both).

Cheers

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Thanks Tokyo-Engr. I know people are opinionated by nature, but most of still going to do what they want to do regardless. The man/woman who refuses to fully comply with recycling rules at home most likely are not going to abide by those laws in a foreign country, either. Scolding them will usually only make the person doing the scolding feel better (or perhaps even worse mood). But on the flip side, there are a lot of people regardless of status in a country, color, race, etc who will fully comply and do their part.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The fact of the matter is both sides need to try to integrate a little harder. This article reveals quite a bit of rigidity by both Japanese and foreign residents, each wanting the other to be ‘more like us’. I would encourage foreigners to commit to learning the local language. Not everyone speaks English nor should they be expected to. And Japanese must come to terms with the fact that Japan will undergo changes more and more as foreigners support the population shortfall to support the economy. They may not realize it, but these two groups need each other. Be flexible and evolve Japan together.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's on them. Yes, you should separate your trash based on the rules of the country/area you are staying at - be it as a visitor or resident.

As the article states the town in question has a population of about 10% gaijin during the winter months which would suggest the majority of this 10% are temporary tourist. If Japan want tourist to abide by local rules about garbage etc theyll need to provide services to help them do just that. Remember these tourist are spending proportionally more money/taxes in the time their in these towns compared to the local population. If the local governments wont provide the support to these mostly non Japanese speaking visitors to fit in while they're here then maybe they should go to towns that will. People have to understand that sorting your own rubbish is a "free labour issue" local trash companies dont have to hire workers to do it for them, they get ot done for free.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Even when I lived in Oita in the early 90's NHK broadcast had English simulcast. It is hard for me to believe NHK does not broadcast in English in Niseko. Is this fake news?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you live somewhere you should speak the language or at least make an effort instead of feeling privileged. 

That statement applies to every single country on the planet, everyone of them, no excuses.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The language complaint is exactly why I encourage every person to learn at least three languages. The world is too globalized not to.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Educator60

Marcelito, Zichi,

There is no need to make an English version nor to do an English translation of garbage rules etc for the simple reason that these already exist in both Niseko and Kutchan (not to mention cities and towns all over the country, my smallish city has the living guide in multiple languages). As pointed out by my previous post and those of others.

Yes I noticed your English links after I posted. Thanks.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wtfjapan, “ If Japan want tourist to abide by local rules about garbage etc theyll need to provide services to help them do just that.”

Aside from whether this article is about residents or about tourists, what services would you think necessary beyond the English (and in some locales other languages) versions of the rules, which some of us have been pointing out, already exist.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Foreign residents have a difficult time learning the Japanese system because there is so little organized information. Moving into a neighborhood can be a lonely experience. People don't move often in Japan so the "welcome wagon" probably won't stop to welcome you like it does in many other countries. In many ways people here live behind the walls of their property. It's often up to the new resident to reach out. Of course there is the problem of language. But, even for a Japanese citizen who lived outside Japan for 40+ years coming back and reintegrating can be very hard. There is a lot to learn and just asking Japanese locals won't often get you a good answer because they don't really understand how it works either. Then there are some things that don't make sense (to anyone?). Like how Japanese banks operate. (Bank passbooks? Are you kidding me?). This will change, banks in Japan are starting to struggle. Or, the use of the Era Date System which by the way is not required in law. You may simply write the calendar date. Cities in Japan would be wise to be proactive about integrating foreign residents. Make information available as people arrive. Have an ombudsman to lead people through the process and help teach people how things work. It's not necessary for each city to do it all alone, they can share and cooperate in setting this up and running it. The number of foreign residents will continue to increase based on Japan's economic needs. Growing pains are inevitable. If cities try to operate the same as they always have it will be painful for everyone.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Growing pains are inevitable. And it keeps returning back to this and the locals. If cities try to operate the same as they always have it will be painful for everyone.

No matter how hard people try to defend them. It keeps coming back to the Japanese locals.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yamato-shi in Kanagawa has no info in English at all for anything, but they have cute little pamphlets with cute little Yamaton green potato looking mascots to show you what to do. Of course, gaijin with bad eyes cannot follow it.

"poor driving etiquette" My opinion on this is that they have a tendency to follow the rules and stop at stop signs rather than drive straight through them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When I first arrived in '99 I experienced the same old BS regarding the garbage disposal. But if you want to live here you should adapt. It doesn't take much effort to learn local regulations about garbage.

If the region around Niseko are unhappy then shut down the (only) form of industry revenue. If they need the business, then they should chill out a bit.

It's a great country to live in but you should realise one thing, many people do not want foreigners living here and many landlords would not rent to us. Apart from that it's nice...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

30 years ago, garbage separation was sometimes a contentious issue.

But it was often easly solved, A local resident would explain the system to a foriegn resident, and then this was passed on to other foriegn residents.

Problem quickly solved.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japanese for the most part just want to be segregated from foreigners and do things "their" way. It is just so deeply ingrained in the culture its not even funny. I remember the first week I arrived in 2002 a kid asked me how I got to Japan (made swimming stroke gesture) and he was dead serious. I worked many seasons on a ski resort in Hyogo prefecture teaching skiing to JHS and HS students in mid - late nineties before moving there in 2002. During dinner time / lunch and breakfast for that matter there was always a Japanese table and NZ table which at that time seemed incredibly strange to me before I became much more familiar with the culture.

You often get asked "'when did you come to Japan" "Why did you come to Japan" and invariably "when are you leaving" and it becomes a depressing place to live when you understand just how deeply this is rooted.

Probably a lot of animosity is jealously due to ease of making money in places like Niseko for foreigners. Remember that in Japan you are basically expected to belong to a company unless you are a famous sushi chef or artist/musician of some kind are two exceptions that come to mind. They see the Kiwis and Aussies come in buy a block of their land on sell it for profit within a year and they are just wondering how the hell they can find buyers when in Japan real estate is simply considered a terrible investment. In my opinion it is akin to an "invasion" of sorts and this is indeed how many Japanese refer to this kind of scenario. So there is friction regardless of whether you throw an old ski boot in the burnables or unburnables. Shame, it is what it is.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Gotta say one thing, in all the years I have been living here, I have yet to see one foreigner owned dwelling be featured on any news or variety program because the people living there have so much garbage that it is next to impossible to even get in the front door! The houses are literally floor to ceiling garbage.

These folks complaining about the recycling should get together and educate the people in their communities! Foreigner and JAPANESE alike!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

After living in Japan several years I have noticed that Chinese residents here could care less about Japanese criticism of them like water off a duck's back, however Westerners seem quite slighted and introspective at Japanese criticism. Interesting.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think Japanese can ‘coexist’ with foreigners.

I got into a disagreement with my Japanese coworker ( a well-travelled snob ) who said their is no excuse for Japanese insularity and fear of foreigners while I argued it is understandable given what Japan is. I know I’m not addressing the problem head-on here, but I think some foreigners can exacerbate the problem by becoming annoyed about the locals whose reactions and insecurities are in many ways natural. I’ve been called condescending for saying this, but I don’t think it is.

Japan isn’t the best at dealing with foreigners which is sad, but all cultures have unfortunate aspects. There are countries which do the foreigner thing better, and for those who like it easier, there are other choices out there.

By the way, I’m a weary middle-aged man heading out for good soon after 20 years here and studying Japanese to a pretty good level. I like this place and I lost sympathy for the gaijin complaining about Japan in most cases a long time ago. You chose a tough one. If you can’t handle it, tough luck.

The ‘make your bed an lie in it’ expression makes more and more sense to me these days.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Tokyo-Eng: "@Smith; some of those people have probably been there for their entire life. What you say sounds way over the top to me and very extreme. If you are in Japan I often wonder what is keeping you here. Based on what I have seen I think you will find all of the issues you mention in most other countries in the world."

And yet again, you guys miss the point. We are talking about predominantly tourists!! They should not at all be expected, let alone demanded, as some posters (who have been given a holiday) to learn the language and culture before they come here -- invited -- to enjoy a vacation. For those who have been there their entire lives, I would hope they have adapted to and adopted local culture, but are you saying they should 100% assimilate or be shown the door? You said that it's a problem in countries the world over, so it is up to the countries who invite people or up to the people to change, since it's so black and white in your world? And no, given this example of a small town with a ski resort, it is not a microcosm of the world at all, though no doubt it happens elsewhere where ski resorts have invited people and found an influx of problems that come with it; you can't compare that with other problems immigrants or tourists face. As has been commented on by plenty of posters, other towns have found ways to accommodate foreign populations just fine, and in fact, thrive by them without complaining a few minutes later.

If you like, though, we can pick apart the ridiculous complaints by the locals as they, once again, no doubt enjoy the fact that the name of their town is mentioned internationally as a great place to stay and ski.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is just an excuse not to co-exist and is also a manifestation of the dislike of foreigners in Japan. If it wasn't the garbage or the driving they would find something else, they always did. They ONLY want the foreigner's money but their Heart's are far removed from acceptance ( of the "other").

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There are literally hundreds of town falling apart in Japan due to the declining and ageing population. These people have short memories... had nobody showed up to help revive the town, they'd all be lamenting their bad luck. Typical woe is me selfishness....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"If you live somewhere you should speak the language or at least make an effort instead of feeling privileged."

Wrong. It is excellent if they do, and they can learn a lot, and locals appreciate, regardless of the nation, but EXPECTING tourists you invite to do it 100% wrong, and the burden is on the locals. I have seen Japanese tour buses in other nations where they speak nothing, engage in nothing, and do nothing that is not led in Japanese, and Japanese only. I think personally they, or anyone that comes here and does not try to engage in a little Japanese language and culture, to be sorely losing out on the experience, but since they are the tourists, so long as they are not breaking laws, it is them who dictate their vacation and said experience. I can give you thousands of examples of people who went on package tours and did nothing outside the bubble they were in. No one here should be offended if similar things happen at their resorts.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

"My hometown only separates trash into two types," 39-year-old Jai Tomkinson, an Australian who works for a local outdoors store, said. "Documents at banks and post offices are mostly in Japanese, which makes things challenging."

Not sure what that has to do with his situation of being in Japan. Was Jai Tomkinson kidnapped from Australia by a covert team of JSDF operators and renditioned in Hokkaido? He must realize each day he wakes up in Hokkaido that he's no longer in his home town, no?

As for blaming banks in a foreign country for not offering paperwork in multiple languages, of course it's an inconvenience for the foreigners who choose to come to Japan. But again, why would anyone coming to a foreign country assume said foreign country caters to their wants/needs? I don't have to visit Russia to assume if I pop into a local bank they may not have any English forms available for me to open an account.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

As for blaming banks in a foreign country for not offering paperwork in multiple languages, of course it's an inconvenience for the foreigners who choose to come to Japan. But again, why would anyone coming to a foreign country assume said foreign country caters to their wants/needs? I don't have to visit Russia to assume if I pop into a local bank they may not have any English forms available for me to open an account.

True, but having forms in English or other commonly used languages is useful for those just arriving in Japan or even for those living here for quite a long time. Some, like myself, were transferred here and didn’t have time to study seriously before arriving.

It’s just helpful. How long does it take Japanese people to learn to read the three scripts to the level of understanding a form in a bank?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

“Japanese for the most part just want to be segregated from foreigners and do things "their" way. It is just so deeply ingrained in the culture its not even funny. “

Agreed. Nevertheless, if I lived anywhere not as a native , I would follow the “ when in Rome” rule.

This also really goes to show that’s every “ Special home town” is expanding and gaining global popularity. We are becoming a global community. Please get use to it. Especially the non natives..;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some Australians seem to prefer the company of their own countrymen----even in England, a country with the same language.many congregated in Earls Court -otherwise known as "Kangaroo Valley" where they would pass their time drinking and complaining about "the poms" and all things English. Could be the same in Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There is an old saying: when in Rome do as the Romans do.

More accomodation for the foreigners would be nice but the duty is really up to the visitors.

Not exactly..when in Rome for a long term, than do as the Romans do, for short term do as the visitor does.

If the Romans can't accommodate short term than cancel that short term accommodation, soon only, and only the Romans will be in Rome.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, since we are constantly told how multiculturalism is, prima facie, a Good Thing™, shouldn’t the host culture be making way for the newcomers?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Rena Matsui

Rather than blame people or say they must or need to or should this, that, or whatever, how about just take personal responsibility for your own life. If you want to move to Japan, never learn or speak Japanese, it doesn't bother me, nor should it bother you.

Classic subterfuge..these people are tourist..they are not "moving" to Japan..don't you know the difference.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The cost of many items are much higher in ski resorts.It could be argued that some people are making a lot of money.

Therefore, instead of griping about the same old ‘garbage separation’ and driving etiquette ( rule breaking?) it is time to take action.

Hire proficient local government workers to start a webpage giving info and advice 24/7 in the winter.

Take the cost from the money making local population!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Shonanbb, “Yamato-shi in Kanagawa has no info in English at all for anything, but they have cute little pamphlets with cute little Yamaton green potato looking mascots to show you what to do.”

Actually, if you go to the city homepage you will see a button at the top for selecting a language. Your selection will take you to a page that will translate the contents (clearly labeled as machine translation and with a warning that the translation might not be accurate). Note that there are separate cell phone and computer versions. I didn’t notice that at first and couldn’t get it to download a translation of the garbage separation info on my iPhone until I switched to the cell phone one (which has fewer languages available).

it may not be perfect, but it is far from “no info in Ebglish”.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

On the subject of garbage collection, if one has to consult a flow chart to sort the trash and prepare it for collection (as in Japan), then just maybe the whole process is unduly complicated?

Instead of placing the responsibility for sorting the trash on households, why not do it in the garbage collection centres?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Its funny how the foreigners especially Aussies complain so much about immigrants not speaking English in their own countries now complaining about other countries not helping them by speaking English.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Its funny how the foreigners especially Aussies complain so much about immigrants not speaking English in their own countries now complaining about other countries not helping them by speaking English.

I'd be pretty surprised if there was much overlap, if any at all, between those two groups.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There are literally hundreds of town falling apart in Japan due to the declining and ageing population. These people have short memories... had nobody showed up to help revive the town, they'd all be lamenting their bad luck. Typical woe is me selfishness....

This is mostly true, but they wouldn't be lamenting their bad luck. They would be petitioning the national government for more grants to help stop depopulation, like every other town in that situation in the countryside. So when you see "town in inaka gives you free money for moving there", remember that its the national taxpayer who is paying through some stop depopulation scheme.

I remember seeing an article about 15 years ago about real estate taxes, the kotei-shisan-zei. There was a list of towns with the highest degrees of nonpayment. All of them were ski resorts. Niseko, Hakuba, Yuzawa, Yamanouchi (Shiga Kogen), etc. Huge hotels had been built during the Japanese ski boom and basically everyone stopped paying taxes on them when the ski bubble burst in 1992/93. Thanks to foreign demand, Niseko is now full of hotels and apartments run successfully and paying taxes. Some of those new posh apartment blocks will be paying koteishisanzei at what Japanese would think is a very high rate. Since all of this money is flowing into the local coffers, perhaps some of it could be used for separating gomi, or more multilingual folks in the town hall. That's assuming they are actual problems anyway.

Aside from the big name ski resorts, Japan also has many other resorts that have not been revived by inbound tourism. I won't name any, but some of them were overdeveloped during the domestic travel boom and are now seriously run down. Due to hollowing out, the destruction of the middle class, its mostly just rich Japanese who can still travel to do things like skiing. Young families simply don't have the money. The problem with rich people is that they won't stay in the half-run down onsen hotels, pensions, and minshuku you find in many destinations. They'll go somewhere else with a posh ryokan, a Hoshino resort, or glamping.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A survey conducted in Kutchan among 2,000 residents in 2017 raised several issues, with many people expressing dissatisfaction about how foreign residents dispose of their garbage

Look, foreigners are not gonna learn the intricacies of separating garbage into more than a few categories (non-recyclable and recyclable: paper, plastic, glass) if they're not gonna stay more than a few weeks just to go skiing. It'd be just a hassle for them. If they're not willing, they're not willing - just think of other ways

For example: just have the foreigners separate the garbage into those few categories, then hire workers to separate those garbage further, then pay those workers by applying a garbage-collection fee to the foreign residents that use the service

2 ( +3 / -1 )

For example: just have the foreigners separate the garbage into those few categories

Let's say we do that and for the sake of debate let's say we force Japanese banks to provide their documents in English or any other language of a significant foreign population in Japan.

The problem with that kind of reasoning is although it starts out innocent if we start meeting those demands the sky is the limit.

As the foreign population grows further in the coming years more and more demands will come and some residents will become complacent and expect them to be done no matter how outrageous they are.

And when at a certain point some demands can not be met anymore for whatever reason it is at that moment the real problems start because sone foreign residents are not willing to accept no for an answer.

As a host country you have to be very careful in going along with the wishes of your newcomers because while you think you are doing the right thing it can completely backfire on you as we have seen in many other countries.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

As a host country you have to be very careful in going along with the wishes of your newcomers because while you think you are doing the right thing it can completely backfire on you as we have seen in many other countries.

We have? Where have we seen this? Got some examples?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It does not matter which country a person visits or moves to, human nature remains the same. If one group has been living in an area for a long time, and a new group comes in with different practices unwilling to adapt to the larger groups norms, then problems/resentment will arise. Eventually they will come to some sort of understanding (in a civilized country) or bloodshed (in 3rd world).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

We have? Where have we seen this? Got some examples?

I can give you many examples from all over the world but I will give you one specifically of my home country.

At a certain point we had the best social security system in the world and news travelled fast so a lot of immigrants came to my country and we decided to open up our system to them as well even tailoring to their specific needs.

And while many did work and contributed to the system many unfortunately didn't and at a certain point the system got abused to such a degree Bloomberg said the system would go bankrupt in 2030.

My government was then forced to scale back some of the benefits for immigrants and needless to say it did not go over well.

Furthermore the immigrant population in my country is so big that they are an important electoral group so sole political parties would to continue giving them everything for their vote

Japan must be fair but very strict and consistent in the way it handles their immigration and then many future problems can be avoided I an sure.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Sounds pretty general. I doubt most of your people see any problem.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sounds pretty general

I thought I gave a pretty specific example I suppose I could go in to the technical details of the system but I don't see the point.

I doubt most of your people see any problem.

When you have worked and paid taxes all your life to sustain a system that has to pay your welfare and pension and due to the abuse of a portion of the newcomers that system is collapsing you don't see a problem ?

Like I said that I can give you many more examples and that is the reason extreme right is unfortunately on the rise everywhere and if Japan's fails to handle immigration the right way a populist party is sure to sweep in and pick up the pieces and that is something we must avoid at all costs don't you agree?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

"On the subject of garbage collection, if one has to consult a flow chart to sort the trash and prepare it for collection (as in Japan), then just maybe the whole process is unduly complicated?"

Bungle has posted an excellent point; for example, my town had published a booklet of some 40-odd pages in excruciating detail, illustrating every possible item that one might ever dispose of. The town had a garbage inspector whom, every week would reject my burnable garbage for whatever reason. The reason was scribbled in illegible kanji on a red tag which I was never able to decipher. Through trial and error eventually I figured out that garbage could NOT be placed inside a 'reji bukuro' before being put into the town-prescribed bags purchased at the supermarket for 550 yen. And no doubt the garbage inspector was on a salary double that of my miserable compensation, with a fat bonus paid twice a year and on lifetime guaranteed employment at Shiyakusho (while I could be let go at any time for any reason, and was, ultimately).

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I do get the impression that the majority of Japanese people would prefer living in a place with no foreigners. The reluctance of so many landowners to rent to foreigners is part of this. That said, I know many Japanese people who are disgusted to find out about this or don’t believe it’s true.

There are some gems out there. Don’t let the rest get you down.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Also, these are not immigrants - they're tourists

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It seems a long time since there was a Hokkaido development agency ( kaihatsu kyoku) to prop up a poorer island.

Now isn’t it more worrysome to see foreigners buying up land and building universities in eastern parts of Eso than bikkering about western outdoor boomers?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

poor driving etiquette.

Oh that's hilarious coming from a Japanese driver!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

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