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Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Post your trip reports, travel experiences, and updates abroad. Or your expat story if you already live overseas. Note: To post photos and images, insert the image URL between the tags [img]and[/img] after uploading them to a third party site.

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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby starchild5 » Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:30 am

Wow..Now that's really a report and I could very well connect with it...
Just like in Thailand, everything served to you in Japan is absurdly small (think US child sizes), but the huge difference between Thailand and Japan is that the food in Thailand is actually full of flavor and relatively low-priced.


This is the usual complaint I had in Philippines and Thailand in some restaurants and all the videos i saw on Japan, it had the same problem..Ridiculously small proportion of food in relation to what you are paying. Its smart business tactic. I hate this thing, giving people small portions of food and charging more. I thought I'm the only one who thought in these lines.

In Manila, all franchises do this thing...I use to only go to buffet in Manila one time only..I would eat at around 2 PM, pay 700 Pesos and it would cover for the whole day :) with some snacks inbetween. I prefer eating in buffet for this reason...
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby The_Adventurer » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:37 am

Yohan wrote:Hotels in Tokyo, my visitors usually stay in the large Our's Inn next to my home.
http://www.oursinn-hankyu.co.jp/ja/
(in english)
http://www.hankyu-hotel.com/cgi-bin2/cms2/index_en.cgi?hid=09oursinnh

It's about USD 60,- for singles, about USD 110,- for doubles.

Some hotels near my home show up with similar hotel-rates.

That's about you will pay in most major cities in developed countries.


I was just doing a check on Expedia and found quite a few hotels in the $25 to $30 range. It's possible that Expedia has some means by which to get good deals, but I have also heard that it's because of the current state of the Japanese economy and because the yen is very weak against the dollar at present. I also can't be sure the quality of the rooms, as I just did a cursory check.

Still, this is making me contemplate a visit to Japan again in the near future.
“b***y is so strong that there are dudes willing to blow themselves up for the highly unlikely possibility of b***y in another dimension." -- Joe Rogan
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Yohan » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:46 am

starchild5 wrote:This is the usual complaint I had in Philippines and Thailand in some restaurants and all the videos i saw on Japan, it had the same problem..Ridiculously small proportion of food in relation to what you are paying.
.....
I would eat at around 2 PM, pay 700 Pesos and it would cover for the whole day ...


It depends where you go in Philippines, Thailand and Japan.

While I live in Tokyo, Japan, I have my second home in Pattaya, Thailand, and my fosterdaughter is in Cebu, Philippines.

By far not all restaurants in these 3 countries are serving 'ridiculous small food'. But of course you must know where to go and where better not to go.

BTW, php 700 for a lunch-buffet in Philippines is rather pricey - this is about yen 1700,-.

In Cebu the minimum wage for a worker is only php 353,- per working day. this means to work 2 days for eating one time this buffet-lunch.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Everdred » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:44 pm

@Yohan

I think it is a fair comparison to compare Ulaanbaatar with Tokyo. I'm comparing them on the basis that both of them are capital cities in northeast Asia, and I was a tourist in both cities. Hence I'm comparing them from a tourist's perspective, and not a "developed versus developing" perspective. I also compared Tokyo to many other Asian metropolises, such as Singapore and Bangkok, which are of more similar dynamics. Of course I'm aware that developed and developing countries have very different dynamics, as I've lived in two developed (USA and Japan) and two developing (China and Thailand) counties. But for the sake of a trip report written from a tourist's perspective, we have to discard those differences, and just focus on what things are like on the ground in each country/city. We are mostly all men on this forum with a sense of wanderlust - we can't just excuse Tokyo's flaws merely for being a big city in a developed country. Hell, if we followed that logic, America and its big cities could also be forgiven for their many flaws that are discussed ad nauseum on this here forum. From the perspective of a traveler seeking adventure or from that of a young man wanting to live in many countries overseas, all I care about is if somewhere is a good or interesting well-balanced place.

I think the point I was trying to make is that I can just plop down in Ulaanbaatar, Bangkok, Beijing, or even Phnom Penh with minimal prior research, and find interesting things to do, good photo opportunities, delicious food to eat, people to talk to, hotel values to be had, etc. by just walking around and figuring things out on my own. But that hasn't been the case for me in Tokyo. It seems like I have to do lots of prior research, and/or have a local guide to really find anything that strikes my interest or is of great value. Of course not all cities are going to be easy to crack as a tourist, but when they're not, I think we should point that out here. Tokyo may have many great things to do, places to see, people to meet, and food to eat, but they don't find you like in so many other cities in Asia, rather you have to find them. This alone makes Tokyo a far less attractive city to me.

And yes, Tokyo is freakin' expensive. If I constantly have to eat at mediocre franchises and convenience stores just to be able to afford visiting a city, then that's a city that's too expensive in my book. Food is about as subjective as anything can be, and I've eaten a LOT of food during my nine months here in Japan, but I've yet to have any "damn this is good!" food moments here. And I'm not a fussy eater by any means. Most of my most memorable meals have been at Indian or Korean restaurants. It seems like I almost always leave restaurants here feeling disappointed and overcharged, especially when considering the small amount I ate. This simply does not happen to me in almost any other Asian country. Subpar taste combined witg high prices are a rare combo almost everywhere else I've been. I do like that Japanese food tends to be of higher quality, as they use far less junk ingredients than in say China, but that doesn't mean much when the food is so expensive and mediocre/subpar in taste. And while the food was somewhat expensive in pricey Singapore as well, at least the food there was mostly really good, decently-portioned, and still came out at a lower cost than what's available to me here in Japan. I remember I usually spent around $5 to $8 SGD on my meals at Singapore's many food courts, which is roughly half of what I've been paying in Tokyo, and I also get half as much food in Tokyo. Not good.

Anyways Yohan, thanks for your input. You have a lot of experience, so your input is appreciated. It seems we agree on some things about Japan, but not others. That's normal of course. I also wish ladislav would chime in at some point, as he lived in Japan for a few years way back when. I also remember him not liking it very much, so it'd be interesting to hear what he has to say, as he has tons and tons of experience traveling and living overseas, so I respect his opinion.

@zboy1 and droid

Thanks for the praise, and I welcome any differing opinions to this thread.

Yes, droid, actually I do have plans to go to South Korea this year. In August I'll spend a week in Seoul and then a week in Busan. I've actually already been to South Korea twice, both times were in 2010 shortly after I had first moved to Asia, but it's time to revisit the country. I also have plans to go to Pyongyang in North Korea this December. I'm hoping those plans don't fall through.

@The_Adventurer

How far in advance are you looking at hotel prices? Usually when I search a month or two in advance, I can only find one star hotels starting at around $40 a night, super crammed guesthouses/hostels starting at around $30 a night, capsule hotels starting at around $25 per night, or two- to three-star hotels starting at around $75 per night. Yes, these prices are pretty typical of large cities in developed countries, which is why it often sucks trying to travel in the developed urban world. Tokyo is certainly no exception. Also, Airbnb rarely has much of anything available. Any time I ever searched both Tokyo and Kyoto, less than 5% of listings were actually available. I've also been denied as a guest for countless properties available on Airbnb Japan, which has literally never happened to me in any other country. That's another odd mark in the books for Japan.

And I also addressed the issue you mentioned about reading comments on my website. Thanks for pointing that out.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby The_Adventurer » Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:19 pm

Everdred wrote:@The_Adventurer

How far in advance are you looking at hotel prices? Usually when I search a month or two in advance, I can only find one star hotels starting at around $40 a night, super crammed guesthouses/hostels starting at around $30 a night, capsule hotels starting at around $25 per night, or two- to three-star hotels starting at around $75 per night. Yes, these prices are pretty typical of large cities in developed countries, which is why it often sucks trying to travel in the developed urban world. Tokyo is certainly no exception. Also, Airbnb rarely has much of anything available. Any time I ever searched both Tokyo and Kyoto, less than 5% of listings were actually available. I've also been denied as a guest for countless properties available on Airbnb Japan, which has literally never happened to me in any other country. That's another odd mark in the books for Japan.

And I also addressed the issue you mentioned about reading comments on my website. Thanks for pointing that out.


I had initially only done a cursory price search, something like one month in advance. After digging deeper, most of those very low price options were shared rooms, dormitory style, or had a shared bathroom, or something, or capsules or guest houses. Real single hotel rooms were pretty much starting in the price range Yohan mentioned earlier, with around $50 per night being the lowest (and only one place) and going well into the hundreds.

Yes. I saw the correction on the comments section of your site. I appreciate the update.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Yohan » Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:38 am

Everdred wrote:@Yohan
I think it is a fair comparison to compare Ulaanbaatar with Tokyo. I'm comparing them on the basis that both of them are capital cities in northeast Asia, and I was a tourist in both cities. Hence I'm comparing them from a tourist's perspective.....

.....

And yes, Tokyo is freakin' expensive. If I constantly have to eat at mediocre franchises and convenience stores just to be able to afford visiting a city, then that's a city that's too expensive in my book. Food is about as subjective as anything can be, and I've eaten a LOT of food during my nine months here in Japan

.....

Anyways Yohan, thanks for your input. You have a lot of experience, so your input is appreciated. It seems we agree on some things about Japan, but not others. That's normal of course.


Hi,

Well, I did not consider your report about Japan written from a 'tourist perspective'. As you mentioned you are living in Japan in a small town since about 9 months and are doing a regular job. This is not the life-style of a foreign tourist visiting Japan in general.

Japan has not only a very strong domestic tourism industry, but also remarkably many foreign visitors, almost 20 million visitors per year.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/01/19/national/japan-sets-new-inbound-tourism-record-2015-comes-just-short-20-million-target/#.VwSolvl97cs

http://www.tourism.jp/en/statistics/#inbound

it seems it is not so bad here in Japan, otherwise visitors from neighboring countries, China (incl. Taiwan, Hong Kong) and Korea would not come...

About Tokyo, all hotels - and I know many hotels because of my work - from cheapest (USD 50,- or so) up to expensive (USD 500 +) ones, they are almost fully booked, all year round. A very lucrative business.

Accommodation of any kind was never cheap in Tokyo - not for foreigners, not for Japanese. However many of these Asian travelers are booking package tours, including Japanese on inland trips. The price difference is remarkably. Agents which are sending 1000s of tourists receive often huge discounts from airlines, railways, hotels, restaurants, attraction entrance fees...

I paid recently for me and wife for a 2 nights stay in a resort hotel nearby Kyoto in Otsu-shi next to the Biwa-lake (15 minutes from Kyoto) including train ticket less than the hotel was charging individual guests for 1 night.

About food - here in Japan 80 percent of all food is imported, and the remaining 20 percent domestic production is only because of the strong fishery industry.
You cannot expect anything 'super-cheap' regarding food, Japan is not a country suitable for large-scale farming nor is it a country known for low salaries.
I can however not confirm that restaurants are so expensive and offer so little food. And yes, USD 10,- or so is about what you have to pay for a basic meal, however I cannot call this amount to be 'freakin' expensive'. - If you still want to spend less, you have to buy some food in a supermarket (and not in a convenience store!) and eat at home.

About yourself, I think you are now in the middle of a transition period - to decide to stay and to improve your situation - or to move to another country.
For sure I can say, life for a foreigner in Kamisu-shi/Ibaragi-ken near to Choshi-shi fishing port in Chiba-ken is more than frustrating, nothing there, totally boring, dark in evening with nobody in the street - and the other point is of course your present job and low payment.

For a foreigner to live in a Japanese fishing port/industrial zone as an English teacher is maybe the most boring life-style I can think of.

There is no future in such a place from any point of view for a Western foreigner, might it be private life, employment, salary... About teaching in Japan, either you have a high qualification and some connection so you can enter any foreign school (American schools, British school, German school, French school etc.) with good employment conditions - but otherwise such jobs are underpaid, especially English teachers, Chinese teachers too of course. -

Your income might be enough for a local Japanese who is not really very bright and is spending most time in front of a computer, in a pachinko hall, baseball... etc. but surely your salary is not enough of a foreigner to enjoy your stay in Japan.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Everdred » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:31 pm

Japan vs. Thailand vs. China (Part One)

1. Speaking English: The average person in Japan speaks pretty much no English. The only upside is that Japanese has many loan words borrowed from English (though spoken with a strong Japanese accent), so by firing off a few English nouns, there's a slim chance you might be understood. The average Thai, particularly those in Bangkok or any other major tourist destination in Thailand, can speak "pidgin" English. Thai also has quite a few loan words from English, particularly nouns, though they're also usually spoken in a heavy Thai accent. Thai English is usually riddled with grammatical errors but is still intelligible. Just like in Japan, the average Chinese speaks pretty much zero English. Mandarin has almost no loans words borrowed from English, so firing off a few English words will generally get you nowhere in China. However, it's become somewhat "hip" among Chinese youngsters to pepper their Mandarin with English words. On the upside, there are quite a few people, particularly youngsters, who do speak decent English, but you won't normally run into them on the streets of China, unless you know where to look. All three countries have pitiful English overall, but I think you're the most likely to run into a decent English speaker in urban China, and you're most likely able to get by with extremely simple English in Thailand. I would rank Japan at rock bottom. If you can't speak any Mandarin or Japanese, you might want to consider having a translator in both China and Japan, but I don't think this is ever really necessary in Thailand.

2. Learning English (or other foreign languages): Japanese people don't seem to be very driven to learn English or any foreign language for that matter. It's normal to meet people who claim they want to learn English, but very very few of them are willing to put in the proper work of acquiring a new language. It's very normal to be asked right from the get go, even when speaking to someone who speaks OK English, if you can speak Japanese. Thai people seem to get to a certain level of English (usually quite low), and then they plateau from there, and never seem to improve for the rest of their lives. Thais are generally a very unmotivated bunch when it comes to hard work of any kind, and this extends to learning foreign languages. Of the three groups, I'd say Chinese are generally the most motivated and the most realistic when trying to learn English. There is a true desire for many people to learn English in China. The demand for English is insane in China. "Languages leeches" are also extremely common in China, but less so in Japan and Thailand. I personally enjoyed teaching Chinese students English the most, Thais second, and Japanese the least.

The Japanese almost never take on a foreign name when learning English. I've taught nearly 150 students English in this country, and I've yet to meet one with a foreign/English nickname. Thais also generally do not take on foreign nicknames, at least not because they are learning a foreign language. However, because traditional Thai names are extremely long with many syllables, almost every Thai person, particularly females, has a one syllable nickname that they use in most everyday situations. Often these nicknames are similar to English words - Mint, Oil, Beer, Maam, Bim, etc. - so most Thais are content using these names in their foreign language classrooms as well. I guess they figure one nickname is enough in their life. The Chinese on the other hand pretty much ALWAYS take on foreign names when learning foreign languages. Usually the very first thing a Chinese student learning English will request from their teacher is for their teacher to give them an English name. It's very normal to meet a Chinese guy who prefers you to call him Brian, or a Chinese girl who prefers you call her Summer, etc. I'm not trying to say who is right or who is wrong in this situation, but as an English teacher, I appreciate the devotion from my Chinese students the most. I feel the Japanese refusal to take on an English name reflects their lack of dedication in truly learning English.

Image

3. Complexes: The Japanese have a superiority complex - i.e. in their hearts they truly believe they're better than many other nationalities. However, the Japanese are the best at hiding their true feelings. In everyday social interactions, Japanese are the most polite and considerate, so it can be easy to be fooled here. But the longer you're here, the more you realize how exclusive and not so open Japanese people can be. The Thais also have a strong superiority complex. They pretty much think they're better than the entire rest of the world, except for maybe Japan, England, and Switzerland. Thai people love these three countries, especially Japan. However, the Thais are not very skilled or considerate at masking their superiority complex. Spend enough time in Bangkok, and if you're observational enough, you'll likely notice situation after situation where Thai people are looking down at you for seemingly no reason at all. You usually won't even know where their animosity towards you is coming from. It's the most noticeable in the Thai workplace. But the further you get away from popular Thailand tourist destinations, generally the less you will experience this phenomenon. On the other hand, the Chinese have an inferiority complex, at least towards foreigners from developed Western nations - i.e. in their hearts they are ashamed of their country's current state, so as a result they constantly need to prove to Western foreigners and themselves about why their country is so great. This is the same as South Korea. Chinese nationalism just seems so fake and exaggerated, and I find it very obnoxious. The Chinese are also the most sensitive of criticism towards their country, and they often misinterpret negative things you say as a jab at their country, even if that was not your intention at all. Doesn't this sound just like a person with no confidence? As a foreigner, you'll be reminded again and again by Chinese locals about why their country is so awesome - China's "5,000" years of history, its "world-class" culinary cuisine, it's "magnificent size," etc. On the other hand, Chinese people pretty much look down on the entire non-Western, non-developed world. Just like Americans, they think everywhere else is "dangerous."

4. Cuisine: Japanese people seem to like food with subtle taste, but complemented by "fragrant" sauces such as wasabi, soy sauce, vinegar, etc. Decking everything out in salt is also normal here. It's shocking how much salt goes into Japanese food. Just like the Filipinos, it seems like Japanese people have very little tolerance for spicy food. I almost never see spices of any kind (beyond salt and pepper) used in Japanese food. Also, rarely is Japanese food "rich" like you'd find in so many Western nations. It really takes a lot to fill you up here. Japanese people also prefer high quality ingredients in their food, which I can respect. All in all, most of the food in Japan is very bland to my tastes, but even I can appreciate more subtle flavors from time to time. Food portions are also pitifully small, especially when considering how much food costs in this country. Thai food is also served in very small portions, seeing as many Thai people eat like six or more "mini meals" throughout the day. But on the plus side, Thai food is relatively cheap on a global scale, whereas Japanese food is not. Thai cuisine has clearly been heavily influenced by both Chinese and Indian cuisine. Thai food is usually bursting with flavor (not bland at all) - spicy and sweet seem to be the Thais' favorite flavors. Thais loves using citrus juices, fish sauces, and chili sauces on their food. They also love using sugar, chili pepper flakes, and ground peanuts as condiments. Garnishing dishes with fragrant leaves and vegetables is also common. Overall, Thai food is usually very tasty and a pretty good value, but not that diverse in my opinion. Both Thai and Japanese food have a lot of emphasis on making their food look nice and presentable. This is a good thing, as satisfying your eyes is almost as important as satisfying your palette and stomach.

Image

Chinese food is usually served in gigantic portions, which is the same as Mongolia and the United States, and baby-sized portions are almost considered an insult in China. Chinese food is usually a pretty decent value as well, all things considered. Chinese cuisine as a whole is naturally the most diverse of these three countries, seeing as China is the largest country geographically. It should be understood, however, that most Han Chinese people only really like to eat ethnic Han cuisine, which isn't all that diverse. Han Chinese food is mostly salty and sweet, but it can be more spicy and "ma (麻)" (mouth-numbing) as you get closer to central China, especially Sichuan province. Just like Japanese food, rarely does Chinese food incorporate much spices. However, Chinese people usually love cumin and dried chili pepper flakes, especially with their meats. Chinese also love their sauces - soy sauce, vinegar, peanut sauce, etc. China also has lots of great food from its ethnic minority regions, particularly Uyghur cuisine, which I believe far outshines Han cuisine. Tibetan and Hui cuisine are also notable. The downside to Chinese food is that very little priority is given to using high quality ingredients, and modern Chinese cooking methods revolve around dousing everything in low quality cooking oils, MSG, and salt and sugar. As a result, Chinese food has a tendency to be quite unhealthy and unappealing. But at its core, Chinese cuisine is pretty good, but if only they would cook their food taking less cheap shortcuts. Also, very little emphasis is put on presentation with Chinese food, so as a result lots of Chinese food looks ugly and sloppy. Disgusting "famine foods" are generally the most common in China. All three countries mentioned have very carb-heavy cuisine, so cutting out excess carbs can be very hard to do when dining out in each country, but this is par for the course in Asia. All three countries are also home to very picky and fussy eaters, with Chinese being the most close-minded towards any foreign food. Among Japanese, Thai, and Chinese cuisine, I'd say Thai cuisine is my personal favorite, Chinese second, and Japanese last.

5. Social Etiquette: As we all know, the Japanese are well known for their good manners. They're polite, considerate, selfless, and patient. This is mostly a good thing, but there is a downside to all this. These manners are kind of taken too far in my opinion, and many people here seem like personality-less robots as a result. The Japanese expect social interactions to be done in a very specific and rigid way, and as a result no one is used to deviating from their norm. This makes the Japanese seem awkward to outsiders like me. Japanese expect social interactions to flow smoothly as if they were from a script, but when you don't follow that script, it's obvious that they don't know how to react and can sometimes freeze up or panic as a result. Also, because there are so many rules and everyone is expected to be behaving their best at all times, there's a pervasive "walking on eggshells" feeling in this country. You always feel like you might be breaking some obscure rule, and chances are you are indeed breaking some rule. I've also found from my own anecdotal experiences that the Japanese are not shy to tell you when you have done something wrong, and they "politely" correct you to show you how you "should" be behaving. I think this all goes back to their superiority complex, and how they truly believe the way they do things is the best in the world. Nonetheless, it's nice not having to deal with rude and obnoxious people here, and I also appreciate the Japanese respect for peace and quiet. However, the social atmosphere also feels very uptight, rigid, and downright awkward, so there's a trade off. I believe this social uptightness plays a major role in Japan's high suicide rate.

In Thailand it's normal to see people all around you who are seemingly content with their lives. The Thais lack a major work ethnic, and they rarely take their work seriously. This leads to a very "just chill out and enjoy your life" vibe, which can be addicting when in Thailand. However, the Thais do take social etiquette pretty seriously, just not as seriously as the Japanese. They expect everyone to talk softly, respect the unofficial social hierarchy, and to stay calm and patient at all times. Losing one's cool is a severe no-no in both Thailand and Japan, but an everyday sight in China. There are also countless other small rules, but it would take forever to mention them all here. Thai people believe their culture is the pinnacle of "high culture," and this helps result in their superiority complex I mentioned earlier. I suppose on the plus side, the Thais are far less willing to confront foreigners when they have broken these petty social rules. They might say nasty things behind your back because of your "bad" behavior, but rarely will they say anything or correct you to your face, though they will from time to time. Overall, I'd say Thailand's social etiquette and social atmosphere is the most balanced of the three countries.

Image

China's social etiquette is pretty much the polar opposite of that of Japan. Almost anything normal in China wouldn't vibe well in Japan or Thailand. The average Zhou on the street in China is a selfish prick who cares about nothing other than his or her own personal comfort and gain. Chinese society is the very definition of a "dog eat dog" society - it's every man for himself. The average mainlander has very little class - they spit every five minutes, talk loudly, push and elbow their peers, cut in line, have poor hygiene, walk aggressively, stare and rubberneck, and so on. Whereas the social environment in Japan feels very uptight and depressing, the social environment in China feels stressful to the max. I'm exhausted interacting in Japan because I have to follow so many rules, but I'm exhausted interacting in China because there are no rules, or at least no rules that most people follow. On the plus side, the Chinese completely and totally give most foreigners a pass for their cultural faux pas - after all, the average Westerner in China is light-years more polite and cultured than the average mainland Chinese. This might sound mean and racist, but 99% of the time it's very true. The Chinese are also the most relaxed about social etiquette, so there's almost never a "walking on eggshells" feeling. Chinese social etiquette seems to revolve around who sits where at the table, who gets to eat the juiciest piece of meat from the duck, who speaks first at the meeting, who should "gan bei" who when out drinking, etc. But the everyday social environment generally feels extremely lax in China - too lax as a matter of fact. For example, I could wear whatever the hell I wanted to work at my corporate office, including jeans, shorts, and T-shirts, so long as it was reasonable. But in both Japan and Thailand, I had to wear slacks, a button-up shirt, nice shoes, and a necktie to my English teaching job every day. It can be fun having so much personal freedom in China, but the trade off is that everyone around you is a selfish and rude bastard as a result. Get prepared for every public situation in China to be a battle. It's a war out there.

That's it for now. More country comparisons to come later.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Falcon » Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:02 pm

Great insights Everdred!

I feel the Japanese refusal to take on an English name reflects their lack of dedication in truly learning English.


Actually, I really think this has more to do with their desire to strongly stick to their culture and avoid foreign influences. Indians are actually the same way in that they usually don't take English names, even though they are generally highly fluent in English.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Yohan » Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:13 pm

Everdred wrote:[
1. Speaking English: The average person in Japan speaks pretty much no English.


This is true, in Japan 96 percent of the population are Japanese native speakers. Many foreigners in Japan are Asians, from China, Korea, or 3rd generation Japanese from Latin America. They speak in general Japanese too, as a second language, same with my son-in-law (Canadian-Japanese).

The question is more here in Japan, who cannot speak and read Japanese, it is a small minority. Some diplomats, US-military, some tourists....

2. Learning English (or other foreign languages): Japanese people don't seem to be very driven to learn English or any foreign language for that matter.
-----
The Japanese almost never take on a foreign name when learning English. I've taught nearly 150 students English in this country, and I've yet to meet one with a foreign/English nickname.

I feel the Japanese refusal to take on an English name reflects their lack of dedication in truly learning English.


If Japanese are not traveling to overseas as businessmen or do not have any personal relationship with foreigners, they are not much interested in learning any foreign language. In general Japanese are not good in studying foreign languages. About English, in Japan they don't need English. - I also noticed, many Japanese are more interested in Chinese, Korean, Portuguese than in English language.

English remains the most important internet language however. I use never English (my language no. 4) in my daily life at home and for my work - except for internet forums like this one, but otherwise? Most simple Japanese people are using their i-pad etc. for Japanese webpages etc. for what or why should they use English?

-----

A Japanese using a Western nickname might be considered to be one of these few Japanese Christians - the majority of them are living in Southern Japan.
I think it has nothing to do with learning foreign languages.

3. Complexes: The Japanese have a superiority complex - i.e. in their hearts they truly believe they're better than many other nationalities.


Who has not a superiority complex? The worst superiority complex I found is coming from USA, teaching other people living outside of USA so-called 'international laws' 'Western pro-feminist moral values' 'Christianity of any kind including Jehovahs, LDS...' despite the country is a legal mess with a huge prison population.

Also a significant number of Muslims have a superiority complex trying to force others into their Islamic values.

I don't think Japan is anything special in this regard.

4. Cuisine: Japanese people seem to like food with subtle taste, but complemented by "fragrant" sauces such as wasabi, soy sauce, vinegar, etc.


I found most Asian food causing me allergies and otherwise very serious food intolerance problems, the worst experience I have with Thai food, Chinese food, Japanese food because of the use of seafood and food enhancers. The best for me is Indian food, Korean food, and also food in Philippines - rarely a problem. I go only to a few restaurants here in Japan and Thailand where I know they do not use something like aji-no-moto, moyashi, oyster oil.

All in all I find any Western food much better in quality and taste, in Japan Western food is also much cheaper than Japanese food.

5. Social Etiquette: As we all know, the Japanese are well known for their good manners. They're polite, considerate, selfless, and patient. This is mostly a good thing, but there is a downside to all this. These manners are kind of taken too far in my opinion, and many people here seem like personality-less robots as a result.


Japanese are only good in performance when working in a group. That's their life-style. There are actually very few Japanese who are able to work alone, who prefer to be independent without other Japanese next to them. They cannot decide anything out of themselves without consulting other Japanese next to them.

However Japanese people show up only with good manners and are polite, considerate selfless, patient etc. against outsiders - only when they are facing people they don't know.

Within their own family, within their workplace, golf-places, Japanese hotels while traveling in a group etc. many of them will show up with a surprisingly rather different behavior pattern.

We have also the 'low-life Japanese', who is lazy, rude, a liar, a thief, there are entire families who are into alcohol and gambling and deeply into debts... etc.
In many Japanese homes rooms look like a garbage dump etc.

Let me say, what is outside of a Japanese and what is inside, are often 2 very different sides of their life, almost like 2 personalities.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby cdnFA » Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:55 pm

I wonder where Taiwan and Hong Kong would be on the Thai/Chinese/Japanese range of complexes and social etiquette.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby chanta76 » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:01 am

Yohan,

I have to agree.. I think American people think they are the best. Any times American travel abroad they complain why can't everyone be more like America. America tries to force feed it's decadent views on other countries. American thinks they are best at everything. When I meet Americans in Asia they complain how come the native Asians don't speak English as if English is suppose to be the language there. It just shows the arrogance that American people have and the small mindedness. There are ESL teachers in Asia that lived there for years but never bother to learn the language .

Everdred,

You write about Japanese nationalism and how Japanese don't go crazy about learning English but how is that so different with the average American not learning a second language or how American think they are the best. I find that when I meet white people in Asia and when native locals don't give special treatment to white people some of these white people complain. It's like they expected to be treated as Mr. Charisma man .
Imagine a Japanese person visiting the USA. There is no sign in Japanese . Almost all American can't speak Japanese nor would they want to learn. A Japanese guy would be look down upon by the local girls . Hmm...makes me wonder who is the most stuck up people on earth.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby zboy1 » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:55 am

Chanta, I'm Korean American and I've met Everdred before. He is not that type of expat that you speak of. Yeah, some expats are as you say, but I can say most of the HA'ers I've met, White or Black, were not the typical arrogant 'Ugly American' or arrogant White person you are complaining about.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby The_Adventurer » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:58 am

How are Chinese tourists perceived/handled in Japan? They say that the Chinese always bring China with them when they travel to other countries, rather than adopting a "when in Rome.." policy. I've heard it said that they continue to be loud, spit, and do other things normal in everyday Chinese life. How does this go over in Japan?
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Yohan » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:03 am

chanta76 wrote:Yohan,
I have to agree.. I think American people think they are the best. Any times American travel abroad they complain why can't everyone be more like America...

Everdred,
You write about Japanese nationalism and how Japanese don't go crazy about learning English but how is that so different with the average American not learning a second language or how American think they are the best.


I think, Everdred was writing this comment with the correct idea in mind, that English is indeed the communication language no. 1. - Regardless where I am, if I meet foreigners and I have no idea who they are but have to talk to them nevertheless, the first language I would try is English.

In general, I think to study any foreign language cannot be wrong, but many people in USA and in Japan do not need anything else but their native language, as they have no contact with foreigners who cannot speak English or vice versa Japanese.

This does not mean that I am using English in my daily life, as I am from Central Europe living in Japan, I am using mainly Japanese and German and sometimes French.

About being the best, claiming superiority, this has not much to do with language studying. You find everywhere religious bigots and do-gooders who want to force others to believe in something or to change them to a certain life-style they don't want. And true, some visitors from USA are especially good with that.
Last edited by Yohan on Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Everdred's "All About Japan" Living Report

Postby Yohan » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:16 am

The_Adventurer wrote:How are Chinese tourists perceived/handled in Japan? They say that the Chinese always bring China with them when they travel to other countries, rather than adopting a "when in Rome.." policy. I've heard it said that they continue to be loud, spit, and do other things normal in everyday Chinese life. How does this go over in Japan?


Yes, they do -but to handle them is not so difficult as you might expect it to be. It's not about individuals, it's about large groups.

Most Chinese visitors from China mainland are arriving in Japan with a package tour and Chinese travel agents are booking entire hotels and have contracts with bus companies working exclusively for them. In most cases these Chinese visitors have little direct contact with Japanese ordinary people.

These Chinese visitors are well-known to look out for some special shops where they buy certain goods in Japan, which have high duty tariffs in China - of course also these shops and their employees know how to handle them - often with Chinese speaking staff.

Many other Chinese people - not from mainland China - for example from Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong are very good educated. they often have enough money and book fairly good hotels,up to the 4 to 5 star category. Never any problem with them. Excellent behavior.

Chinese, even if they never have been in Japan before and never studied about the Japanese language before, are still able to read about 70 percent of all Japanese information - as the way of writing Japanese/Chinese is very similar. I think this is another reason why Japan can handle Chinese groups much easier than other countries.
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