hannari comments

Posted in: Half and haafu See in context

Ah, I was thinking of 'ethnocentric' = "based on the ideas and beliefs of one particular culture and using these to judge other cultures" as was the definition in the dictionary I was looking at.

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Posted in: Half and haafu See in context

jonnyboy: I'm curious as to what "this" in "i think it's basically undeniable that THIS is an intensely ethnocentric society" points to ... the global society, or the Japanese society?

I would agree more strongly to the former interpretation.

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Posted in: Half and haafu See in context

Thenewfront:

Master Judo and teach all the half children the art. Therein lies your solution. Judo is all about taking in the flow of things and turning it around. Understand the workings of that, and maybe you'll get somewhere in saving those around you.

Apathy is what Corey resorted to. Many posters here are trying to tell you that your gungho action may be the bane of your life in Japan, as well as those being bullied around you.

I do not post this to hurt you or Corey, it is because I hope life will change for the better for the half children around you. It is NOT apathy. I hope you understand.

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Posted in: Half and haafu See in context

it does show a measure of ignorance, insensitivity, double standards, and an unhealthy facsination with the ethnic background of someone they hardly know, instead of the person themselves. Why not start with some more apprpriate questions like what do you do for fun, how is your day ..I dont know, anything other than diving into a persons genetic history.

I don't think its a double standard. In a Japanese conversation, I think it would be perfectly acceptable to ask a person where their parents are from, or blood type or whatever, versus a question asking something less factual or genetic, like "what are your parents like? (__ no oya tte donna hito?)" - which could imply that you think the way the person's parent brought them up was inappropriate.

Foolish or not, it's just a different set of rules from in English, and one that is dreadfully difficult to pick up on subtleties when learning. I imagine somewhere in the world - in some culture somewhere - asking someone you don't know very well how their day was, is taboo.

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Posted in: Ryokan: Japan’s Finest Spas and Inns See in context

Ah, sorry, thought it was both :p

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Posted in: Half and haafu See in context

If the world would find a way to recognize that the main stream English language cultures and ways of thinking is not the only 'truth', then maybe some cultures would not have to feel the need to be so defensive... and would reduce racism and discrimination on the whole.

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Posted in: Ryokan: Japan’s Finest Spas and Inns See in context

Some of the 'top ryokan' rooms I know go for anywhere between JPY 30k-100k per person per night (with meals). eg. Kyoto's Hiiragi-ya, Tawara-ya... but those are just some of the places accessible to people without connections. THE ryokan in Kyoto is Ichiriki-tei ... wish I knew how much those rooms cost...

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Posted in: Half and haafu See in context

"When I moved to Japan, I was simply a recent college graduate struggling to fit in."

Jumping into the midst of "backward" and "uncivilized" society is much easier if you remember to SMILE like there's no tomorrow, and make it a point to say good morning, and other greetings, and persist for however long it takes - until you make sure they understand you're harmless.

These are all things that the Japanese require of fellow Japanese. Simple courtesy, and respect for those that have been there longer. You can call them 'racists' or 'backward' or whatever, but just remember that in many Japanese ppls' eyes, any outsider - regardless of race - is an 'uncivilized barbarian' until you show that you can understand & will try to follow the local rules.

Its easy to struggle, and give up and stick to a small group of ppl that have similar backgrounds as you... but that's exactly what the Japanese are doing when they are being 'racist'.

If you find yourself in a country with a culture and values completely different from your own, that is NOT your 'homecountry', and you need to acknowledge that there may be a system in place that you need to explore. Liking tea and azuki does NOT mean you are a cultural insider.

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Posted in: Keep your fridge cool See in context

It stops a blast of cold air hitting you when you open the fridge in the summer... which is sometimes disappointing - but proves it does something.

I take it off in the winters tho :p

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Posted in: Half and haafu See in context

BTW, your 100% Japanese raised by a white couple here doesn't fly. as 100% Japanese they would experience no racial discrimination until someone found out about the parents. They wouldn't have incidents at the conbini or at the koban on thier bike.

Well, here's another perspective to add to the complexity... I'm Japanese-Canadian. I tend to disappoint people when I tell them - sorry, no, I'm not 'half'. I was born and raised in Canada, to a mom that immigrated 35 years ago, and a dad that is 3rd generation. Dad speaks only a few words of Japanese, mom barely speaks English. I speak/read/write both, but both are also far from perfect. I've been in Japan for almost 10 years but depending on what language I was focusing on in the last couple of days, my word order gets scrambled... among a whole bunch of other inconsistencies... Police, station staff, convenience store ppl... everyone has looked at me veerry uneasily at one point or another.

I had dual nationality until university, when I wanted to come to Japan to study. Because the Japan doesn't recognize dual citizenship, to receive a Japanese govn't funded scholarship, I had to become 'un-Japanese', and pure 'gaikokujin'. ie., become just Canadian.

I am Canadian, yes, but no simple words (kikokushijo, gaikokujin, half, double, mixed, yon-sei, ni-sei) exist to simplify the explaining... or excusing - when stared at like I was being weighed (is her brain half there? or half missing). Identity crisis is a life-long theme for me.

Seriously, acknowledging categories that describe you nicely is not always a bad thing. You just have to prove to the person in front of you, that that category doesn't mean something bad.

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Posted in: Half and haafu See in context

I started feeling pangs of indignation when the locals seemed eager to point out how much I didn’t belong here

That tends to happen when you expect THEM to change, while you yourself have decided you cannot/will not.

likeitis: very very interesting information!

shugotokumaru: "99% of Japanese people are just being friendly when they ask about being haafu and all the other mundane questions." Exactly.

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Posted in: Finance minister under fire for sloppy behavior at G-7 meeting See in context

Incidentally,

I find it highly err ... "regrettable" that Japanese companies can let go of thousands of workers but the country can finance its ministers as well as the prime minister's drinking habits.

If that word was used in the Japanese sense, it would read that you're apologizing on behalf of the Japanese companies and maybe the Japanese government as well... depending on how you interpret the grammar...

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Posted in: Finance minister under fire for sloppy behavior at G-7 meeting See in context

I'm not in anyway saying this man's actions should be excused.

However, for the sake of the Japanese language... some words just don't translate well. Translations aside, culturally, moushiwakenai meaning "I have no excuse" and ikan meaning "I regret" induce very different impressions in Japanese and English. I would almost go as far as say their meanings are reversed. "I have no excuse" can be seen in Japanese as someone saying "Its unfortunate, but I have nothing more to say", while "I regret" is very personal and as it is from a subjective perspective, is seen as more closer to the heart.

Ofcourse, as in any apology, words are only words, and judging just how sincere they are is an incredibly difficult thing... but the Japanese language has an issue here that's rarely recognized and causes a lot of problems in the international arena.

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Posted in: 'Homeless' hone their rough-living skills See in context

Having a couple dim "talento" guys to show their experiences as a homeless person does not help anything.

Assuming the Japanese have the same sensibilities as the English speaking world is absurd.

Different people in different cultures sympathize in different ways. Some like you feel that seeing "reality", ie. documentaries and news is an eye opener, and others feel that having a bimbo "like you and me" on screen brings it closer to home.

It really doesn't matter HOW it's done, it's just significant that it IS done. Until very recently, I knew of very respectable people in Japan who found it legitimate to think of the homeless as lazy good-for-nothings who should never be trusted with anything, let alone a job. Even if it's less "authentic" to have these people experience "homelessness", they act as eyes through which 'normal-Japanese-viewers-with-jobs' can see things from a new perspective.

The documentaries and news programs ARE out there. I've seen some of them, and they were good. But my opinion was not shared by fellow viewers. The documentaries were seen as "hypocritical self-righteous crap". Attempting to live as the homeless do, even if it's just a token gesture makes it much more legitimate in some peoples' eyes.

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Posted in: Junior high school boy admits knife attack in Tokyo was fabrication See in context

Then again, I guess if the motive was just to get out of school, that would be considered malingering...

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Posted in: Junior high school boy admits knife attack in Tokyo was fabrication See in context

I'm no expert, but think this sounds more like Münchausen syndrome - recently made notorious with the mother with the 'proxy' version injecting things into her children's intravenous.

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Posted in: Berry Angel of Spring See in context

I hope they open up a store in Kyoto before then... I would personally see to it that they don't regret it!

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Posted in: Man gets 7 years for forcing stepdaughter into prostitution to pay cell phone bill See in context

This story needs more details.... if I lost my job in the recent haken head chopping crisis, and had a daughter that brought me a cell phone bill of, say, a million yen... I might just say the same thing.

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Posted in: Japan rejects IWC proposal to halt research whaling See in context

yes, sorry... 'consumption', not the other. 0_o;

On the other level, it is not an elected government's place to tell people what they should want to eat.

I agree with you there in terms of the issue of forcing students to eat kyu-shoku, but I think that's a whole different can of worms really...

I think it IS an elected government's role to encourage areas that are not immediately profitable, but is for the greater good of the society. "Greater good" obviously is defined in many ways by different governments and hence the need for honest and civilized discussion that addresses reality.

yes, sorry... 'consumption', not the other. 0_o;

On the other level, it is not an elected government's place to tell people what they should want to eat.

I agree with you there in terms of the issue of forcing students to eat kyu-shoku, but I think that's a whole different can of worms really...

I think it IS an elected government's role to encourage areas that are not immediately profitable, but is for the greater good of the society. "Greater good" obviously is defined in many ways by different governments and hence the need for honest and civilized discussion that addresses reality.

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Posted in: Japan rejects IWC proposal to halt research whaling See in context

This is getting ridiculous...

I believe cleo is saying presently the people don't prefer to eat it (ie. no demand by the consumers, so no need to hunt - research or otherwise - and distribute it), while davidattokyo is saying the government is trying to encourage its consummation because the government sees a need to provide food for its ppl in a way more independent of other countries' trade interests (ie. there is a demand for it as a nation, and the research is to find out if it's a realistic option - both whale population and contamination -wise). You're talking about "Demand" on two completely different levels.

So if the above views are both true, Japan is NOT whaling commercially and IS whaling for research.

I'm sure this has been posted before somewhere, but the details are out there, for those who care to really look and see...

http://www.icrwhale.org/JARPAResults.htm

as kwatt says; it includes discussion on collecting data for contaminants.

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Posted in: Japan rejects IWC proposal to halt research whaling See in context

Sorry, davidattokyo already wrote what I was trying to say... in much better English :p

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Posted in: Japan rejects IWC proposal to halt research whaling See in context

A large part of the whaling implications is about Japan wanting/needing to feed itself. Japan has traditionally fed itself fish and grains - the land not being suited to livestock. Traditionally, the Japanese new much more about sustainable fishing and living way before the concept came to light in the west.

As Japan tries to get back on its feet, whaling is insurance. I assure you, whale meat is not a major part of anyone's diet in Japan. It's actually quite difficult to find (unless maybe you live in fishing villages or something - I wont speak for them). Living in the city I have had whale meat twice, and to me it tasted like cow liver and tuna put together. Not particularly appetizing.

Sorry, I've lost my train of thought... but I think one thing that I wanted to say, is that "opinion" tends to be very sharp and simplistic. Protesting against trade policies in your home country might be a more effective route to saving more 'whales'.

Btw, I can't see how an argument can be made for or against these things with an extremely vague noun like "whale". (the IUCN conservation status of the Antarctic Minke Whale is currently at "Data Deficient".)

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Posted in: Electric bike recharges itself as it goes See in context

The 3 gears that the electric bicycles I know of have, are enough for normal riding. Riding around on my Panasonic one as a regular bicycle after forgetting to recharge it is no problem - even while lugging the heavy battery around. Downhill is so smooth, I usually overtake other bicycles without pedaling. With the battery charged, I can ride my bike twice as fast (ok, slight exaggeration) minus the sweat. It's perfect for my 40 minute extremely rushed hilly commute. (Hills feel flattened)

That said, as I tend to be one of the many dangerous bikers whizzing around in the city at top speeds - a recharge function on the breaks is an EXCELLENT incentive to start using it.

I just hope the price will come down soon... (my pana was 6-man)

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Posted in: In Japan, you are what your blood type is See in context

I think the ambiguity... the 'not proven and set in stone as fact'-ness of it all is what makes it so acceptable as a question that can be asked by anyone, to anyone - older or younger or whatever. People realize that as well you might NOT be what a typical blood type is like... that's why it doesn't reach the 'too personal for comfort zone'.

Also, the Japanese conversation is about kyo-kan - ie. identifying with each other. The four blood types are an easy start line. The conversation usually continues on to explain just how "A-ish" you actually are or aren't. How I tend to be a perfectionist at work, but at home; "Oh no! I'm not an A at all!" (ie. you can say my room's a mess! without really saying so). Then, you see the other person's reaction to that, and continue elaborating as appropriate.

I say it's just a conversation/get to know ppl tool. Foreigners need not be so exasperated or alarmed...

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