I wrote about this a while back when we had people saying all the marines were criminals: something like 0.03% of the population of Marines commit crimes in any given year, a few hundred at worst. Over 99% of them obey the law. No one cares about that.
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Cultural conventions here value traits that equate to shyness almost anywhere else. Therefore to follow social conventions here, one must act in a "shy" manner. Seeing as you have stated that shy is the opposite of outgoing, that proves my point. I should amend my statement to Japanese as a CULTURE is shy.
The Japanese are unique, btw. The problem comes when people equate "unique" with "better or worse than".
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Japanese ARE shy. Take a look at the mating ritual here and you'll see; It's taboo to speak to someone outside of your friend circle, and flirting with a girl/guy is asking for trouble, as "nanpa" is frowned upon. There's the belief that if you respond favorably to a guy flirting with you, that you must be "easy". Therefore even if she/he wanted to give you his/her number, they'd have to say no to save face. Your only chance is to be a co-worker or a friend of a friend and get them to introduce you properly. Why do you think so many people find their mates at work or school?
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