Japan is NOT 98.5% ethnically Japanese! I get so tired of seeing this particular piece of misinformation being spread again, and again, and again... 98.5% of people in Japan are naturalized citizens, which is a completely different thing and says nothing whatsoever about ethnicity. In fact, there is no official statistic over the ethnic make-up of Japan.
0 ( +4 / -4 )
I am currently living in Denmark, but I tutor a quite a few Japanese exchange students. These are generally kids who want jobs abroad or at the very least a job where they have to interact with foreigners. Still they all seem to have a lot of insecurity when it comes to living abroad. One guy completely refused to drink water from the tap here and bought expensive bottled water for the entire duration of his stay, a girl was very surprised when, upon visiting Paris, she discovered that it wasn't dangerous, as she had been told by some of her friends, and I have often had people express concern whether this or that place in Copenhagen is safe.
I have experienced feeling unsafe in Tokyo as well as in Copenhagen (more times so in Copenhagen, but I have lived here a lot longer). Crime happens in Japan, too, in fact there is not an enormous difference in crime statistics between Denmark and Japan, and as far as the general standard of living goes it's about the same (clean water, clean streets, technology, general hygiene, etc.), so I don't think that is at the root of the problem. Rather, I think the problem lies in the perception. The story of Japan is that it is safer and cleaner and more orderly than any other place, and so by extension any other place must be unsafe, dirty and chaotic. If this is something that you grow up hearing, naturally it is also what you are going to expect when you go abroad, which automatically puts your guard up.
Part of the reason for this is probably lack of any real experience with foreign cultures. In Europe we can hardly drive for more than a few hours before finding ourselves in a foreign country, and most of what's on TV is in a foreign language, so the differences become undramatized. We learn growing up that things probably aren't that different on the other side of the border.
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