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Writer hopes Japanese step out of 'comfort zone' as society diversifies

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By Takaki Tominaga

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While on this topic, I find it ironic that quite a few foreigners seem to get so easily triggered and offended when they speak to Japanese people in Japan, and Japanese people attempt to speak to them in English.

Compare that to other countries, where people have almost got into fisticuffs over not speaking the "native" language in public.

-11 ( +12 / -23 )

If you place yourself in such an environment, it will help you understand the feelings of foreigners in Japan.

If you have money, sure, study abroad or join NPO overseas. If you don't (like me), studying English or watching Youtube in English is maybe enough from my experience.

I can speak English relatively well (for a Japanese) but rarely have seen non-Japanese people in my life. But still I understand how non-Japanese people struggle in there life (at least I believe so).

Start from language.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Mitsuyo Okada encourages Japanese to venture out of their comfort zones -- something she has learned to do firsthand while living in the Big Apple since the 1980s.

After around 35 years of living in the States, and NY of all places, you don’t have any choice but to “step out” of your comfort zone. Kinda funny.

One crucial thing I learned from studying overseas ."

Studying? For 35 years?

was the experience of becoming a minority because it is difficult to understand their pain unless you are actually in their position

One of the most successful multicultural cities in the world, their shouldn’t be any pain, struggle yes, pain only if you can’t or don’t want to better yourself. We’re not in the 23rd century Star Trek fantasy yet.

She also suggested Japanese people are too reticent when learning foreign languages, and get hung up on speaking them perfectly. Okada says many Japanese she knows choose to remain quiet rather than make grammatical errors or other mistakes.

Now that’s a big Bingo

"The most important thing is an eagerness to convey what you want to say," Okada said. "Many cab drivers in New York are immigrants, and they often simply say 'where to' when they ask passengers about their destinations."

Not just immigrants. How long have you lived in NY?

Overall, I hope it helps any who read this, and hopefully not take it as gospel.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Sound advice. I haven't read the series, but the way this article reviews it and presents some of the passages it sounds like it's just another "travel" book for Japanese who wish to travel to NY instead of the diversification of Japanese society. Since she's wearing the other shoe now, I'd be interested to hear what her thoughts are on the treatment of foreign workers in Japan, and the current immigration policies of the Japanese government. I'd also like to know what are the suggestions for local communities who need to adjust to the increased number of foreigners living and working amongst them. Japanese society whether people want to admit it or not, is a society ruled and governed by the ossan (old geezers). The integration of foreigners is vital to Japan's future so getting the ossan out of the "comfort zone" is going to be the real task.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

oldman_13 - While on this topic, I find it ironic that quite a few foreigners seem to get so easily triggered and offended when they speak to Japanese people in Japan, and Japanese people attempt to speak to them in English

Oh, boy! How did you come to this ridiculous conclusion. Let me put your absurd conclusion into context. People in Japan do intensive study of English for 10 years through secondary and tertiary education. Many also attend conversation schools. However, despite all this study less than 10% of Japanese people have an intermediate level of English competency. It is actually quite annoying when someone walks up to you in a pub and says, “You from?” Now, to compare this with other countries. People in other countries do not do ten years of intensive study of a second language. Most only do two or three years study of a second language, but are able to communicate in that language. - One should not have empathy for apathy!

Writer hopes Japanese step out of 'comfort zone' as society diversifies

I only have one thing to say to this author, “Dreams are free!” You only have to look at the stipulations put on the immigrant trainees program to understand how much of a pipe-dream this author is on about. They must have a JLPT 2 proficiency level and are expected to have a full understanding of Japanese culture to live as a Japanese person. This is not stepping out of a comfort zone to accept diversity. This is defiant induction and refusal to accept foreign cultures.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

Japanese society whether people want to admit it or not, is a society ruled and governed by the ossan (old geezers)#

Yeah right, and Trump is a baby at 74.

"What does Trump have to do with the people who run Japan?

What a weird comment."

LOL LOL. So much for western education. Ok let me help.

Someone complain that Old people run Japan, But by pointing out Trump's age (74) that old men run the west as well. So you can't complain about Japan.

Get it?

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

It's got nothing to do with comfort zones and the like. It's stubbornness to accept another culture and fear over losing Japan's uniqueness (a phrase which I've always found entertaining)

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Very optimistic view about U.S. She does not know about America very much.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Rather than the Japanese stepping out of the thier comfort zone, the foreign nail sticking out will be hammered in.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

There is a common English phrase, 'Put yourself in their shoes,' which grasps the truth because we, as the majority in this country, lack such an imagination

She does come across as a type very familiar to me - a Japanese person who’s lived abroad and gets a bit sneering about insular, narrow-minded Japanese as opposed to her worldliness. Then again, that’s better than some other types who’ve lived abroad - the bitter types who think everything abroad is crap compared to Japan.

I suppose being fed on a diet of Japan’s uniqueness, showcasing foreigners telling Japan how great it is and the dangers of ‘foreign’ countries ( don’t bother too much with distinctions here ) will have effects. My approach is to basically ignore these types although I’m sure most are perfectly decent people. It’s a bit cruel and dismissive, but life’s too short to waste time.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Being firmly within the confort zone of Japan and Japaneseness defines the Japanese. Even the most radical of the Red Army factions decided that the hierarchy of their organization would be based on the name of the university attended, and then by department within those universities. Gotta tell you something about how strongly socialized people are that even "radicals" can't think outside the box.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Pluralism is the engagement that creates a common society from all that diversity.  America is working toward this and has a huge head start. Diversity in Japan, LOL.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

oldman_13Today  07:13 am JST

While on this topic, I find it ironic that quite a few foreigners seem to get so easily triggered and offended when they speak to Japanese people in Japan, and Japanese people attempt to speak to them in English.

Well, in some cases maybe the foreigners don't speak English. I work with an Italian guy who does not speak English. We converse in Japanese and he has related to me his frustrations about people always assuming he speaks English because he's a foreigner. He's even told me about speaking Japanese to someone only to have that person reply in English. One thing many people here seem to not understand is the whole world outside if Japan is not (just) an English-speaking one. Also, people need to learn how to approach someone and start a conversation. I can't tell you how many times I have been on the street, in a bar, etc and someone (Japanese) has just walked up and out of the blue asked, "Where from?" That is not a good way to start a conversation!! I am thinking "Who the hell are you and why are you bothering me without even saying hello or excuse me?" All you are going to get is ignored. I wish they could think about a foreigner just walking up to them and asking the same thing to them out of the blue and how they would feel. Women would probably scream and run away. Lastly, a lot of people here need to stop believing all the bs they see and hear on Japanese TV about the collective 'gaijin' and realize that we are all individuals from many different backgrounds and cultures.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

vanityofvanities

Very optimistic view about U.S. She does not know about America very much.

No. She has a very optimistic view of NYC, of which she seems to know quite a lot.

And, she is 100% correct about its diversity and multicultural society.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

We are all human, but not all people and cultures are compatible.

Most are, though. It's only extremists who seek to divide people and tend to thrive on division.

Diversity should be the choice of the local population. Forced diversity is dysgenic.

An off-shoot of eugenics. Very sinister, indeed.

Japan will become more diverse, there's no stopping it. I wouldn't be here if diversity was limited by bigotry.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Now, to compare this with other countries. People in other countries do not do ten years of intensive study of a second language. Most only do two or three years study of a second language, but are able to communicate in that language. - One should not have empathy for apathy!

Embellishing & over-generalising/simplifying things just a tad perhaps (many euro kids/teens study eng/spa/ger/fre/ita for at least 5-8 years). Imo it - i mean 2nd language proficiency- varies from country to country, even region to region, ppl (as in 'group of ppl', i.e cultural background etc) to ppl etc.

Whether you speak a 'dominant' language/not, live close to a border/not, in a landlocked country or on an island, in a multicultural country/not are also massive factors. Ppl in zurich, milan, strasbourg or freiburg are more likely to speak german, italian or french as a 2nd/3rd language than others who live in south italy, hamburg or bordeaux.

For different reasons, Japanese ppl (insular/monocultural country who 'think' J is still a dominant language), Anglos (speak the world's dominant language, live on islands and/or vast, isolated lands) and a few other nations are at a geographical &/or cultural 'disadvantage'. Let's be honest, very few americans, brits, aussies (i mean of anglo origin) speak a 2nd language (am not talking about expats who've spent 20y in J, Thai, married locals etc) simply because they don't 'have to' & can afford to be lazy.

Intellectual curiosity -or lack thereof- also a factor.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan is as a whole far less used to having immigrants and foreigners live here.

Since outward behavior and conforming is really important here, I think that most people don’t know how to react to seeing another lifestyle.

Not to mention that media, literature, movies, music, it’s all in Japanese here, so actually I’d say that less people than other countries have exposure to a wide source of info.

The general trend towards some Asian nations is negative (besides the pop world) and if what you know of the world is via NHK shows...man Japan really is a safe and sane little haven, and the big foreign world is a crazy place (sometimes lol)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

After around 35 years of living in the States, and NY of all places, you don’t have any choice but to “step out” of your comfort zone. Kinda funny.

@FizzBit

its clear you know nothing about New York. What makes New York a horrible place to study English and a horrible place to diversify yourself is that there is too much temptation to do everything exactly as you do in your own country.

Even though my wife is Japanese and speaks English, all her clients in New York are Japanese and Japanese companies. The neighborhood she lived in when we met was filled with almost all Japanese people. All the stores and restaurants she frequented were owned by Japanese people. She needed absolutely no English for her daily life. There are many communities just like that all over New York.

>

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Even though my wife is Japanese and speaks English, all her clients in New York are Japanese and Japanese companies. The neighborhood she lived in when we met was filled with almost all Japanese people. All the stores and restaurants she frequented were owned by Japanese people. She needed absolutely no English for her daily life. 

So she never embraced American culture.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I have lived in Tokyo and Osaka and both have become much more diverse and easier to live for non-Japanese.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

 Also, people need to learn how to approach someone and start a conversation. I can't tell you how many times I have been on the street, in a bar, etc and someone (Japanese) has just walked up and out of the blue asked, "Where from?" That is not a good way to start a conversation!! I am thinking "Who the hell are you and why are you bothering me without even saying hello or excuse me?" All you are going to get is ignored.

I’ve had this quite a few times and usually ask them to leave me alone, sometimes irritably, which might be uncalled for. The ‘where from?’ does come across as rude, but I get the sense most Japanese people are not good at starting conversations with anyone, including other Japanese people, and this is one of the few English questions they can muster.

As for assuming every foreigner speaks English, one gem I had was at work when a boss asked our grumpy Japanese translator to translate something from German. When she told him she didn’t have any knowledge of German and is only capable in Japanese and English, he replied that German and English are pretty much the same thing and surely she could muddle through.

Her reaction was priceless and he quickly learned that German and English are not pretty much the same thing.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@Serrano

you could say that. She only went to New York because she was a fan of “Sex and the City.”

While she was there, she started her own company and found success with her Japanese clientele. She literally only needed English for her online banking.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@Serrano

Actually, I would say she embraced New York culture. New York night have many races and cultures. However, people typically only work together. At the end of the day, most people tend to stick to their own and retreat back to their neighborhoods with similar individuals. By their own, this could mean race or different mores.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

its clear you know nothing about New York. 

You’re right, I don’t. But someone living in NY, or any other city in the US for 35 years should. Sounds like your wife went to the States as a professional and had her mind set as to how much she would mix with the locals. A twenty year old or a college student with limited English would not go if they never intended to at least attempt to “step out” right?

Furthermore, that’s one beauty of our experiment, that people can and choose to live together according to their nationality, race, interests, etc. It works. A lesson for Western Europe I guess.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

San Francisco has a China Town where if you don't speak Cantonese then you're out of luck in a lot of shops. Also, Spanish is the dominate language in a lot of places: Many cities in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, etc. What about Puerto Rico?

I'm from San Francisco and our city government creates instructions in English, Spanish, Chinese as a baseline and many forms are also available in Russian and Vietnamese because we have a significant community there.

This does not make Japan bad. America has it's own history and because if it, it's a very diverse place. I'm a mix of seven nationalities and that's not a lot.

America seems to be our best human hope of seeing eachother as 'fellow humans' but with that said, America is less than 300 years old and still struggles with it's colonial past.

I suspect most Americans want pluralistic society, where the people in it believe all kinds of different things and tolerate each other's beliefs even when they don't match their own. This of course is the very opposite of many other societies.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Furthermore, that’s one beauty of our experiment, that people can and choose to live together according to their nationality, race, interests, etc. It works. A lesson for Western Europe I guess.

No FizzBitt,

I think you might be taking an 'old world' view on this. American's mix, we fall in love with eachother, marry have children. Been happening for generations. My two daughters are:

French, German, Scottish, English, Croix Indian, Dutch, Spanish, African, Indonesian, Chinese and Taino Indian.

This does not make America better, my country was robbed, raped, enslaved, etc. by numerous Colonial powers. Today, we are trying to figure it out. It's ugly but we are not shy or ashamed about making progress.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@JJ Jetplane

Something similar is possible even in a monocultural environment. I work in Japanese company but English is used in my department. My partner is British. I’m not a very social type and like being at home. My Japanese is more than functional but not actually necessary.

I’ll be leaving soon and I actually regret the time and money I invested in learning Japanese. I might be able to entertain people for 5 minutes in the future or look sophisticated in a sushi shop, but that’s about it.

For some gaijin in Japan, integration isn’t even a goal worth pursuing.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

the experience of becoming a minority because it is difficult to understand their pain unless you are actually in their position

Can't say I've ever experienced any pain from being a minority in Japan.

Japan will become more diverse, there's no stopping it. I wouldn't be here if diversity was limited by bigotry.

Me too

So she never embraced American culture.

No more than the first settlers embraced the native American culture they found when they arrived, presumably because (they thought) the culture they already had was perfectly adequate, if not superior.

Then again, if you think not speaking American represents a rejection of American culture, I would say you have a very limited view of what 'culture' is.

America seems to be our best human hope of seeing eachother as 'fellow humans'

When anyone who isn't a WASP gets hyphenated?  

*I suspect most Americans want pluralistic society, where the people in it believe all kinds of different things and tolerate each other's beliefs even when they don't match their own.*

So long as they don't upset folk by speaking a language that isn't American?

Invalid CSRF

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I have lived in Japan for more than 20 yrs. Recently returned from the U.S. to Japan after a 7 yr stay there. My friends would say "why are you always talking about how good Japan is?" "You're in the U.S. now." I would respond, "your horizons need to be broadened, the world doesn't end in NY and LA." "It would do the U.S. some good if they could emulate the Japanese." Most Americans have never been out of country and if the have only for 1-2 week vacation. Japanese society is unique and thats the charm. A more diversified Japan= loss of culture, loss of morality, etc. One small example is Kyoto. They have restricted foreigners as to what shops they can own. (diluting the culture, fake products, etc). Or the Japanese business that says "no foreigners" because its driving away Japanese customers. Ask your average French or Belgium citizen on what they truly think of a diversified culture. I say keep Japan, Japan for as long as you can. Once its gone, you won't get it back.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Ideal society is comfort zone. How come writer hopes Japan to step out of it.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Ideal society is comfort zone.

No society is ideal.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

you could say that. She only went to New York because she was a fan of “Sex and the City.”

While she was there, she started her own company and found success with her Japanese clientele. She literally only needed English for her online banking.

She missed out on a lot speaking only Japanese to Japanese people while in the U.S.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@cleo

When anyone who isn't a WASP gets hyphenated?  

I assume you prefer acronyms? LOL

You need to update your knowledge. No one identifies as a WASP. It's, 'white', 'black', 'latino', 'asian' or 'native american'. No worries though, you don't have to pick, everyone will decide what you are based on skin color. That's what the colonial powers created and we're working through it...

Multicultural societies are messy and beautiful.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan is just fine. there is no need to try to force Japanese people to accept other cultures. Other cultures can stay at home and be just as they wish. So please respect Japan and the desire to just be Japanese ...this silly ideal of multiculturalism is born from socialist attempts to water down everyone to a single global mass easy to manipulate and harvest for power.

Japan is just fine as it is. There is no need to change....

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

this silly ideal of multiculturalism is born from socialist attempts to water down everyone to a single global mass easy to manipulate and harvest for power.

The argument I heard from many socialists was that immigration is used by the elites, particularly oligarchs, to drive down wages and destroy any worker bargaining power.

To be honest, the Japanese populace is very obedient, very easy to manipulate and very passive. Immigration has nothing to do with this.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

No one identifies as a WASP. It's, 'white', 'black', 'latino', 'asian' or 'native american'.

Last I heard it was Irish-American, Italian-American, African-American, Mexican-American, Japanese-American, Native-American and another bunch of hyphens, plus in Trump-speech, American (=white).

No worries though, you don't have to pick, everyone will decide what you are based on skin color.

Everyone don't need to bother, I'll just continue being a member of the human race.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@cleo

Nope. You'll have to accept that you're wrong. I know... TV, the media, it distorsts stuff. Some of my family identifies as Creole, some as Californio's, but we are white.

I have one brown daughter (latina) one white daughter (white). Same parents but again, skin color is everthing in my country. You know, the British Empire BS.

Also, celebration of diversity is not a sign of division. Again, old world thinking...

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@CrisGerSan

This is one of the greatest challenges that humanity faces: removing the barriers between who we see as “us” and who we see as “other.”

ー The Dahli Lama

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Everyone don't need to bother, I'll just continue being a member of the human race.

Yes! I'm also part of that MeToo human race movement!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

London is much more diverse than NYC and far more livable.

"Diversity" in the US is superficial. Census data shows neighborhoods to be very homogenous and very segregated.

Alleged American respect for cultural diversity is quite recent. The US was built on ethnic cleansing and genocide. In graduate school I shared a house with a guy who was a social worker handling "native American" cases. As I result I had a chance to speak to "native Americans" from a number of different tribes. As one might imagine their take on immigration and diversity is quite different from what one usually hears and reads.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Nope. You'll have to accept that you're wrong.

That I'm not a member of the human race?

Now that's an identity crisis. :-)

I have one brown daughter (latina) one white daughter (white). Same parents but again, skin color is everthing in my country.

And with skin colour being everything, do you find your two daughters get treated differently in your country? If they are, what do you do about it? If they aren't, what do you mean about skin colour being everything?

You know, the British Empire BS

You haven't been our BS for nearly two and a half centuries. Time you started taking responsibility for yourselves?

Also, celebration of diversity is not a sign of division

Depends how you do it, I suppose.

'This is my culture, would you like to try it? I want to learn about your culture, too!' is celebration.

'This is my culture, butt out, quit the cultural appropriation, go back to your own' is divisive.

Invalid CSRF

2 ( +5 / -3 )

No FizzBitt, 

I think you might be taking an 'old world' view on this. American's mix, we fall in love with eachother, marry have children. Been happening for generations. My two daughters are: 

French, German, Scottish, English, Croix Indian, Dutch, Spanish, African, Indonesian, Chinese and Taino Indian.

JustMyThoughts

I guess you weren’t following the thread. I was responding to another poster about their story of their partner never mixing with others and staying with their own language/culture, if they choose to.

This does not make America better, my country was robbed, raped, enslaved, etc. by numerous Colonial powers. Today, we are trying to figure it out. It's ugly but we are not shy or ashamed about making progress.

Yeah, whose wasn’t at any time in our past history. Some are trying to figure it out, some are trying to make it worse.

Invalid CSRF

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japan is just fine as it is. There is no need to change...

The Japanese people I talk to seem to agree that the demographic problem is grave and that increased immigration is unavoidable. It’s funny how they sometimes add the “I don’t mean you” caveat. I think that may mean a middle-aged white man on an above average salary who is going home anyway.

In my experience, most agree with you that increased immigration isn’t desirable in Japan but they reluctantly accept a need to change.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This has got nothing to do with English. The Japanese can't even interact with one another. In all the years I've lived at my current location, nobody says anything to anyone else, not even hello. I've tried myself, and on several occasions, said hello several times continuously in case they didn't hear me. Very aloof. This is more so in apartment blocks with no children. I miss the neighbours I had in the old days back in my country. Whether you were close to them or not, you still greeted each other and even smiled, and, god forbid, have a chit-chat.

Please stop using the 'scared of foreigners' or 'not good at languages' excuse.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@Henny Penny

I'm not certain that a lot of the world is ready to accept that the British Empire is the place where racial tolerance is the model to follow. The atrocities you put on America's doorsteps are policies and institutional racism we are trying to heal from that are lingering from our exposure to European colonization.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

A fragile and unique homogeneous society as Japan will not benefit from mass immigration unless it is based on profound integration by the newcomers meaning they will have to learn to speak the language and respect Japan's culture and traditions without wanting to impose their own.

If they don't want to that that's perfectly fine but then they shouldn't come to Japan.

If these requirements are not met it will create very serious problems and tension in Japanese society which will be the perfect breeding ground for extreme right nationalist groups to seize power.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This does not make America better, my country was robbed, raped, enslaved, etc. by numerous Colonial powers.

 America is less than 300 years old and still struggles with it's colonial past.

You know, the British Empire BS.

The atrocities you put on America's doorsteps are policies and institutional racism we are trying to heal from that are lingering from our exposure to European colonization.

The epitome of old world thinking--aka, indoctrinated victimhood.

Your basic argument is full of contradictions. Mainly, there wouldn't even be an America with a "messy but beautiful society" if it wasn't for the British Empire and colonialism. Stop using modern ethics from a 21st century point of view to chastise people who lived a hundred years ago.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Hundreds of years ago

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't know about the term "socialists" because there really are no such major parties but it does appear that the center left parties all over the world have adopted a mantra of "diversity is good" primarily as an election strategy, in an effort to bundle everyone up for no other reason than for them to get elected.

I tend to agree the main driver of immigration is for capitalist exploitation of cheap workers without a thought to the interests of native workers, their greater costs and the long term effects.

What's wrong with liking Japan Japanese, France French, China Chinese and so on?

Why make everywhere the same?

America is a pefect example of a nation overrun by immigrants, primarily White immigrants, and look how violent and conflcited it is.

Why would Japan want to give up what it has to become like that?

My experience of the US, including NYC, is that I was suprised how racially segregated it was.

I would not want Tokyo or Kyoto etc to become only 44% Japanese.

@Do the hustle

It is actually quite annoying when someone walks up to you in a pub and says, “You from?

What kind of "pub" are we talking about? Are you sure they aren't Filippino or Thai bar girls?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

From my experience abroad and helping young people learn a foreign language, rather than them speaking a language fluently and passing an exam, I think the most important thing is the right motivation and heart. I would think having a good heart and at least an ounce of God in it to be important. I don't think a people should think of themselves and their race as being superior or more pure than others. And if they do find themselves to be more blessed, I would consider it a duty to help those who are less fortunate. Thinking of your race as being more worthy and the other less is very dangerous and wrong. But cultures are so important to some people, and if you don't fit with theirs, you are out of luck and they will bully. That is why I personally think there should be some slack in letting races, people, and cultures to be free to flow and mix. Doesn't have to be forced, but free to do so. Problem is, you have so many drones and lemmings that all do the same thing in unity. It is like feast or famine with some.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you yourself are white British, your daughters would be half British.

The State can decree many things, it can grant rights and passports. However, this doesn't make a person ethinically British if the person doesn't have a parent who is.

Are you a pure Celt?

Not that I am aware of. Never looked into it. There is a specifc genetic marker for British people though, which is why French people aren't British and British aren't French.

You obviously didn't read the header in the link. All of the information for that report was compiled from the 2011 census.

All people who by law are British are so regardless of skin color

They have British nationality, but are not ethnically British. I am not sure if you are crossing wires, zichi.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@Fizzbit

You questioned the authors authenticity when she stated that she had been studying English as a L2 for over 35 years. As a bilingual speaker and EFL teacher I would like to clarify for you that it is indeed possible to study a language for over 35 years. Language is one of the only ever-evolving pedagogical subjects. As society modernizes, and the world becomes more interconnected via the internet, new lexical terms, slang, and interlanguage grammatical usage occurs. It is not just foreign speakers of a language, but native speakers as well that will never have a true, complete knowledge of it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is that Author a Democrat? Liberals force their opinion on others. Not nice.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Good post @pacific (given the late hour!).

"you come, you work, you go"

Someone once said of post-war European immigration, “We wanted workers, but we got people instead.” I suppose this might apply to a lot of us living in Japan for any length of time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Clearly what is being written here is the expression of a concerted strategy to redefine nationality from its cultural or ethnic roots, to a legalistic or conceptual foundation.

Or, in simple language, having dug themselves a hole as the consequent of uncontrolled and unconsidered mass immigration (they never thought they'd stay never mind import more or breed like rabbits), the British intelligensia is having to contrive a way of making it all work by moving the goal posts that defines identity.

That being British is no longer a shared cultural identity, never mind a gradually evolved genetic one, but merely a legal one within which there are many cultures. One in which no one know precisely what the culture, the rules and instructions by which society operates, is.

As I write this, I am referring back to Japan, the Japanese and Japanese culture.

So, Zichi, is Bobby Ologun as Japanese as the new Tenno?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Flute

Race and ethnicity aren't the same thing.

A white British person and a white Swiss person are the same race (white). However they aren't the same ethnicity.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Would a Tokyo or Kyoto that is only 44% native Japanese be Tokyo or Kyoto?

Of course not but that will never happen if you let newcomers know beforehand they have to integrate into society by speaking the Japanese language, respect the Japanese culture and traditions and most importantly hold down a job.

By giving a clear message that leaches and criminals are not welcome you will have immigration numbers that are sustainable and because these newcomers that are prepared to make an effort will effectively contribute to society they will be positively received by the Japanese people as well.

A true win-win situation for everybody involved.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Tangerine200

Race and ethnicity aren't the same thing.

It is not to me that need to be said but to yourself.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Diversity is not strength. Unity is strength. That's why the Japanese are a united people.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If a French person tried to say they were ethnically British, even though they are the same race, they would still be wrong

Depends on how you define 'a French person'.

If a British couple moved to France, settled and raised a family there, the kids would surely be officially French with French passports, a French education, etc., from their surroundings and ethnically British from their parents.

A white British person and a white Swiss person are the same race (white).

Race is meaningless, unless it's the human race. Algerian, British, Canadian, Danish, Ethiopian, French, German, Honduran, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Mexican, and the rest of the alphabet are all the same race.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If a British couple moved to France, settled and raised a family there, the kids would surely be officially French with French passports, a French education, etc., from their surroundings and ethnically British from their parents.

Bang on correct.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Back on topic please. Posts that do not refer to the story will be removed.

Countries like America and Britain, other European countries are all melting pots of race and ethnicity and all are better for it. There is no loss of culture, it's improved and broaden.

Japan will never become a melting pot any time soon because it does not allow large number of immigrants to enter the country. It's maintains the mono culture.

I have never felt any pain of being in the minority living here in Japan.

Japan has adopted many aspects of western culture such as the clothes. I see more Japanese wearing western style clothes than traditional Japanese.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Japanese people, on the other hand, often become overly critical of themselves and feel embarrassed by their levels of English," she said. "So, taking it easy a bit and offering help for someone who looks lost, or just saying 'hi' with a smile, would be a good start," she said.

This is the typical victim mentality you will hear from allot of Japanese. Get up and ran away from you when you was just sitting in the train, while being Gaijin, (apparently a crime), then, when confronted about it, its... "I cant speak Engrish" excuse or Im too critical of myself load. We all know it has nothing to do with that, instead its a deeply ingrained sense of superiority and us vs them mentality.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

We all know it has nothing to do with that, instead its a deeply ingrained sense of superiority and us vs them mentality.

What? No, we don't all "know" that. And I'm of the opinion they are a risk adverse people, which results in a paralyzing fear of trying to speak English, and making a mistake.

Which isn't even particularly Japanese - how many foreigners in Japan don't speak Japanese, and how man of them don't because they couldn't get past feeling uncomfortable due to their lack of ability?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I'm in Japan the 'where from?' thing rarely raises its head, probably because I wear things that identify me as British and Scottish, so it's obvious where I'm from. I started doing that because I was fed up with Japanese people assuming that because I'm a Caucasian and overweight I must be an American. It's also a good starting point for conversations - Japanese like Scotland, they like the Queen and stuff like that... they talk quite happily about that with me. Yes, the English isn't perfect, far from it, but they do tend to open up a bit.

So I have managed to avoid for the most part, the 'where from?' question.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i understand when people say let Japan be Japan, i agree that the reason why Japan is so attractive is because of its uniqueness. but let,s think about something: we are in 2019, the world keeps getting smaller and smaller, a big reason is technology of course, so i ask: how was Japan a few hundred years ago? (no foreigners) how was Japan a few decades ago? (some foreigners) how is Japan today? (many more foreigners) how will it be in (let,s say) 2040 or 2080? proof of this is the fact that a relatively big number of foreigners (most of them living in Japan) are giving their thoughts here in this website, this wouldn,t happen a few years ago. so how can one decide about the future of Japan or the way it should be? imo change is inevitable, but of course we hope it won't be out of control.

in another aspect, i would be happy if at least Japanese people, as a society, stop being small minded or even ignorant about the outside world/foreigners. this can lead to many questions like for example: is it really THAT difficult for Japanese to speak english? or, does Japanese TV really needs to have EVERYTHING in Japanese? (japanese dub together with japanese subtitles?!)

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

She does come across as a type very familiar to me - a Japanese person who’s lived abroad and gets a bit sneering about insular, narrow-minded Japanese as opposed to her worldliness. Then again, that’s better than some other types who’ve lived abroad - the bitter types who think everything abroad is crap compared to Japan.

Once Japanese live abroad for an extended period, they realise that society does not need to be organised in the way it is in Japan and that there are other and better ways of doing things. Many Japanese who have lived abroad would not want to return to the suffocating society in which they were brought up in.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

 is it really THAT difficult for Japanese to speak english? or, does Japanese TV really needs to have EVERYTHING in Japanese? (japanese dub together with japanese subtitles?!)

If you choose to reside in Japan, or any other country for that matter, you adapt to the country and learn the language not the other way around.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Many Japanese who have lived abroad would not want to return to the suffocating society in which they were brought up in.

Any proof for this statement ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I met and married my Japanese wife in London. After some years she wanted to return so we came here.

She never once made a comparison between life in London and life in Japan. She just deals with the life.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@zichi

Countries like America and Britain, other European countries are all melting pots of race and ethnicity and all are better for it. There is no loss of culture, it's improved and broaden.

I have to strongly disagree with that last statement, and I think Native Americans would do so as well.

Look how mass immigration worked out for them, and that's a pattern that pretty much works out the world over, from the Jomon to the Sami to the Australia aboriginals, to the original Britons in your own homelands.

There are aspects of foreign cultures that can and do destroy native cultures.

Every culture has its own "color", certain colors work better and are compatible with other colors but if you throw them all in together without any thought, all you end up with is a universal, indistinct mud brown. There's a tendency to sink to the lowest level not rise.

On balance, it would be better if Japan encourage people to travel abroad as part of their education or employment to bring back positive elements of foreign culture filtered through their Japaneseness rather than through the doors open to unfiltered negative elements.

Order, efficiency and civility are more valuable than diversity. Diversity has both positive and negative values.

Personally, I think they had the best idea when they quarantined all foreigners to an island just of Japan, at least until they checked out!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Countries like America and Britain, other European countries are all melting pots of race and ethnicity and all are better for it. There is no loss of culture, it's improved and broaden.

I don't think that statement is entirely accurate, a multi-culture society has it's up and downs and doesn't necessarily improve a society as a whole.

Japan will never become a melting pot any time soon because it does not allow large number of immigrants to enter the country. It's maintains the mono culture.

We can only hope it stays that way but only time will tell.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If you choose to reside in Japan, or any other country for that matter, you adapt to the country and learn the language not the other way around.

@Mister X

I respect that and I agree. But you gotta understand the context in which i made those questions. regarding this article in particular: diversity and Japan. i wonder how Japan can be more diverse or at least be more open to the world if the majority of Japanese people can't even do a basic thing (something that even kids in Europe can do) which is to simply be able to have a simple and basic conversation in English. so i was just pointing out that Japanese TV might play a role in this.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

if the majority of Japanese people can't even do a basic thing (something that even kids in Europe can do) which is to simply be able to have a simple and basic conversation in English.

In understand where you are coming from but that's beside the point.

They are in their own country why on earth should Japanese people need to learn and speak English or any other foreign language for that matter and adapt Japanese TV accordingly just because it is convenient for newcomers who choose to come to and reside in Japan out of their own free will ?

I think it's even a bit arrogant to demand such things from your host country, if you choose to settle somewhere you need to do your utmost best to integrate and learning the language is one of the key components in doing so.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@rcch

i was just pointing out that Japanese TV might play a role in this.

I'd put it down to corporate work hours, and the futility of learning a foreign language when you might only get 5 days a year holidays abroad. If you're lucky.

I think there is a slight problem with the long term survival of Japanese as a language though. Languages come and go and Japan is squeezed in between English and Mandarin as the major and, likely, dominant ones. No one else in Asia is going to learn Japanese. Some other nations will refuse Mandarin. China is pushing hard on English language skills, therefore an Asian-English will probably become the neutral meeting ground, with Japanese destined to become an Asian-Gaelic.

Japan really wants nothing more than a homeopathic dose of foreigners.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Mister X

again, you are misunderstanding my point. i thought i was very clear. in case you forgot, i agree with the things you said. but one thing does not stop the other. whether we can speak Japanese or not, whether we adapt to the country or not, it would still be a positive thing for Japanese if they were able to speak (just a little (yes that,s where we are)) English. since the article talks about getting out of their comfort zone, i think i made a good point. i'm not "demanding" for anything btw. and we were not even talking about german, spanish or any other language, we were talking about the universal language. the way you say things looks like it,s coming from some "ossan", it,s weird to say the least. foreigners in Japan are supposed to help Japan moving forward, not backwards. take a look at the article again.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

again, you are misunderstanding my point. i thought i was very clear. in case you forgot, i agree with the things you said.

it would still be a positive thing for Japanese if they were able to speak (just a little (yes that,s where we are))

You are contradicting yourself because you are still demanding Japanese people to speak another language in their own country doesn't matter how thinly you try to veil it.

i'm not "demanding" for anything btw.

Oh really this is you just a few post back

if the majority of Japanese people can't even do a basic thing

This comes across pretty demanding to me and even a bit arrogant, see how you are contradicting yourself again.

we were talking about the universal language.

There is no such thing as a universal language.

the way you say things looks like it,s coming from some "ossan"

Nope I said and I will keep repeating it when you move to another country you adapt to the host country not the other way around that's just common sense, the fact you need to resort to petty name calling shows how poor your arguments really are.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have no idea why foreigners in Japan get so annoyed and irritated by Japanese trying to start a conversation with incorrect grammar.

What nasty people.

There was a time when people appreciated someone trying to talk to them. Especially when they tried in a foreign language.

As for peoole in other countries being so great after 2 or 3 years - Yeah , that’s why Americans can all converse in Spanish.

hardly anyone ever speaks to me in English in Japan, but when they do I think they’re great for having a go.

Too many angry white guys in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

again: not demanding, and no contradiction.

there,s still some misunderstanding, i am not saying that foreigners don,t need to adapt to Japan or learn the language. i completely agree with what was said before.

but all around the world, many local people are used to other languages and foreigners without loosing their identity and that,s a positive thing for their society as they can be more open, less ignorant, etc. (and guess what: that country is still that country). actually, it,s one of the reasons why we,re in 2019 and Japan still has an extremely closed society with many issues. for instance we all already saw those awkward moments between Japanese and foreigners, they can,t communicate, sometimes act even weird because they,re outside of their Japanese bubble. kind of embarassing tbh. i mean, all i did was suggesting a little more openness in Japanese TV, perhaps it would help that Japanese bubble to break.

but oh well, yeah sure, in Japan - everything Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

but oh well, yeah sure, in Japan - everything Japanese.

I am glad we finally agree.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@hiragino4410

I can speak English relatively well (for a Japanese) but rarely have seen non-Japanese people in my life. 

Where are you, may be some members can come and visit you?

@gaijinpapa

I have no idea why foreigners in Japan get so annoyed and irritated by Japanese trying to start a conversation with incorrect grammar.

A high proportion of OCD English teachers somewhere on the Autistic scale, perhaps?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The only foreigner I've seen so far this year is when I look in my morning mirror.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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