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MikeOa comments

Posted in: A movie date? No thank you See in context

oh, and @yabits,

Okuribito was a wonderful movie! I really enjoyed it. I also like a lot of Takeshi Kitano's earlier films, anything Miyazaki (who doesn't?), as well as a small selection of Beat Takeshi's films. I also liked Caterpillar, but I thought the story was really heavy-handed.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Posted in: A movie date? No thank you See in context

Hello readers!

I meant to drop a message earlier but my primary job kind of got in the way.

As always, thanks for the comments! It's great to read everyone's opinions and it's nice to see that they are generally quite diverse.

I do want to say, as I said once or twice concerning my last article, I'm not trying to generalize my experience in Japan with this column. If I use an anecdote, it's just that: An anecdote. A one-shot example of something I experienced here. I'm not saying I loathe movie dates (although I do avoid them), or loathe Japanese movies. I'm just giving a general opinion on something based on the experience in question in order to spark conversation or debate. It does not necessarily reflect my complete, unflappable opinions on the subject. I agree with one reader who said that the enjoyment you get out of a movie date depends on your partner, the movie, the venue, etc. Generally, I hold that philosophy to be true for all aspects of life.

Also, at least one reader suggested I use my language skills to gather opinions from Japanese and western folks about dating culture, and actually, that's exactly what I intend to do! Unfortunately, though, gathering that kind of data from reliable sources takes a bit of time, so due to time constraints, my first few stories are based on personal experience. I hope to eventually begin relying on (informal) survey results, etc. to drive the topics I present, but for a few weeks at least, bear with me!

A little more on topic, I think wnagler1 touched on something I feel pretty strongly about when they said, "[a movie date] can...be an excuse to not talk." This is actually my main issue with movie dates. I WANT to talk to my partner, not just sit still in a darkened room with explosions roaring and handsome actors/actresses spouting one-liners. A lazy afternoon watching Japanese variety shows or the Japanese news with your partner is one thing, but if you're out and about or actually on a date, a movie seems very impersonal. Am I the only one?


-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Posted in: Was I a date, a friend or just a potential English teacher? See in context

I also just want to say to readers that, as a writer, especially a writer about contentious or personal topics, you are really kind of a guinea pig - you have to lay parts of your life bare in order to act as a medium for whatever issue/concept you are trying to push.

I used a singular, vague anecdote in this instance that seems to have rubbed a lot of readers the wrong way. I don't want people to be under the impression that this is how I feel about Japanese people ALL of the time, or that any issues I put forward necessarily represent my own strict beliefs. As I said before, my main goal for this blog is to incite discussion, and that will require me to act as Devil's Advocate from time to time.

I do think foreigners sometimes face a double standard in Japan when it comes to language and culture. Does that mean I think they ALWAYS face a double standard or that ALL Japanese think that way? Of course not.

Next week's topic is already in the "hopper" and I think it will be a much breezier topic than this one.

I did write Yuko back and apologize, by the way.

Thanks guys!


-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Posted in: Was I a date, a friend or just a potential English teacher? See in context

Hi readers,

I'm a little late to the party, but I just wanted to drop in and say thanks again for the comments. I think it's great that the discussion has remained civilized and balanced.

After reading the comments, I want to point out two little things:

First, as many have surmised, the article does not cover all of the details of the situation. JT gives me a word limit, and no one is going to read an article that runs too long anyway. The main point was to use a personal anecdote to spark discussion, and it seems to have been a great success in that aspect!

Secondly, many have been pointing out that it's hypocritical that I'm using Yuko for language practice and suddenly get offended at her stab at English. I think that's a great point, and anyone who thinks that is 100% correct in doing so.

That said, I spent quite a bit of money and several years of my life studying Japanese intensively at a university here. In fact, I'm still paying off student loans and credit card debt I accumulated from several plane tickets . I am long-time friends with many of the Japanese students from my university and when we meet, I speak to them in whatever langauge they studied. I figure, the English majors that spent the time and money to study abroad like I did deserve it and their proficiency in the langauge makes it easy to switch back and forth.

What strikes me as unfair are the people that are expecting something for free. Sometimes this is the drunken salaryman trying to brush up on his "eikaiwa", sometimes it's the friend with no formal English education that just thinks English is "cool" and wants to hear and use it. What do you think? Is this a fair judgment?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Was I a date, a friend or just a potential English teacher? See in context

Hey guys,

This is Mike, the author. I happened to be checking JT over my morning coffee and noticed the number of responses.

First, thanks for the comments! I don't want to or expect to change anyone's opinion, but I did want to quickly note that the situation was more complicated than the article lets on. For the sake of brevity, I cut some things out, like how Yuko and I had discussed language preferences in the past and we had verbally settled on Japanese as our mode of communication. I suppose that's why the situation felt like a betrayal.

I agree with Godan that there are a variety of situations where language is not a contentious issue. At work, at the gym, in line at the grocery. If I had to peg it at a percentage, I would say I spend 80% of my time speaking with Japanese people in Japanese without issue.

I do note, however, that many people my age (late 20s) do press me to teach them English or at least converse with them in English. I don't mind it. However, I do find that it can make a relationship/friendship very "clunky", as it's almost as if you must verbally agree upon the "language of the day" and inevitably someone breaks the rule at some point. Perhaps it's just me.

And, @Cleo, I'm glad you're here! Obviously, my articles will be from a male perspective and I think your insight will be very balancing.

Anyway, thanks again for the comments and I hope the discussion continues.


-2 ( +4 / -6 )

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