I live in Japan. Ask me stuff!

FireAza

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wulf3n said:
How did you find out about the JET program? was it easy to apply for? any special requirements?
I'd heard about it from other people. The application process involves a lot of forms. Since I hadn't yet graduated, I wasn't able to give them a copy of my graduation certificate, so they wanted a proof of graduation. And also the usual stuff like a list of my results and an essay. And after everything was all said and done, they wanted my graduation certificate anyway!

Yeah, you need a degree in something from a university.

inu-kun said:
How is the political landscape in Japan, is it more liberal or conservative?
Probably more on the conservative side, but not as bad as the US where politicians try and force their religious beliefs on the populace.

inu-kun said:
How is the education system in Japan overall?
Education is SUPER important in Japan. Students are expected to do well in school and a lot of students actually like school. However, the schools themselves are a bit behind the times. They focus on rote memorization (something less important in today's information age where processing information is more useful than simply knowing how to recall facts) and don't have many practical tests where they can apply what they learned. Just plain old written tests. Oh, and the schools still use blackboards and overhead projectors. I think the last time I saw those before coming to Japan was back in elementary school!
 

WhiteFangofWhoa

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Something I've always wondered, hope it doesn't sound too 'clueless American Canadian weaned on Anime'...

Do people ever actually use status honorifics when talking to other people anymore? I mean, I personally think it's great that you can use such things as polite signs of affection towards a friend, or respect towards someone as opposed to 'brah', or 'dude', but it does sound awkwardly patronizing sometimes. The last thing I'd ever want is to try using that in my first Konichiwa with an Asian person and sound like what I said above.

And if the answer is yes... is 'Oba-San' EVER used in a positive light instead of an insult?
 

verdant monkai

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FireAza said:
verdant monkai said:
I heard the older generations aren't fond of foreigners. Are most of the current generations just as bad?
While I'm sure some of the older generation might not like foreigners, most of them have no problems with us. I actually taught an English class last year that was JUST for retirees. Most of the younger generation are big fans of Western pop-culture, so the only ones who would have issues with foreigners are crazy right-wing nutjobs.

verdant monkai said:
How do you think they would react to someone being European white rather than American?
Japan is probably one of the few places left in the world where the people aren't overly hostile towards Americans, so I would say you would get treated the same either way. Assuming they can even tell the difference, you'd probably just simply be referred to by the generic "gaikokujin" ("person from an overseas country") which is actually a polite terms, despite what it may seem.

What you need to remember is Japan doesn't harbor any ill feelings about World War II. Life in imperial Japan wasn't sunshine and puppies and the fall of the empire put an end to this. And thanks to the reconstruction efforts by the allies after the war, Japan was able to become an economic super-power. If anything, I'd say it's the Americans who are still bitter about the war, judging by all the Pearl Harbor references by Americans on Facebook whenever something like a natural disaster or loss in a sporting match happens to Japan.

verdant monkai said:
What's the drinking scene like over there? Do young people drink to get drunk or do they just go out to sober dance to pop music?
It's very different. Sure, there's clubs and bars, but it's not like in Western countries where people intentionally get blind-drunk then wander around late at night picking fights and smashing shop fronts. Even when drunk, that sort of behavior is NOT tolerated by Japanese society. Instead, we get drunk salarymen falling asleep on your shoulder on the train.

Drinking is still an important part of Japanese culture though, a common event in a business is for all the staff to go out for drinks for a special event. You are EXPECTED to attend and you are EXPECTED to accept all drinks offered to you.
Thank you very much. Interesting Stuff.

So drinking is more associated with business than youth social behaviour? Obviously there will be some early 20's in the bars, but is it more of a work event thing?
 

FireAza

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WhiteFangofWar said:
Do people ever actually use status honorifics when talking to other people anymore? I mean, I personally think it's great that you can use such things as polite signs of affection towards a friend, or respect towards someone as opposed to 'brah', or 'dude', but it does sound awkwardly patronizing sometimes. The last thing I'd ever want is to try using that in my first Konichiwa with an Asian person and sound like what I said above.
Absolutely! Honorifics are an important part of polite Japanese society. You're talking about a culture where it's seen as too affectionate to call someone by their first name after all.

WhiteFangofWar said:
And if the answer is yes... is 'Oba-San' EVER used in a positive light instead of an insult?
Well sure, if maybe the person is your actual grandmother. Though "obaa-chan" seems to be more commonly used for grandmothers.

verdant monkai said:
So drinking is more associated with business than youth social behaviour? Obviously there will be some early 20's in the bars, but is it more of a work event thing?
Yeah, while there is a youth scene, a lot of people who are out drinking are out on "nomikai" ("drinking party") with the other people from their company.
 

Fox12

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Jun 6, 2013
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Japan has always been one of my favorite countries in the world, but I've always had two burning questions.

First of all, what are working conditions like? The way I've heard it, people tend to work themselves to the bone six days a week, and their expected to work overtime as a sign of respect to their bosses. They also tend to get stuck at whichever job they are in. Supposedly this has contributed to the high suicide rates, and the Otaku/hikikimori lifestyles. Ive also heard its led to many people to crace escapism. Stories I've heard about Konami, Capcom, and even my beloved Ghibli have been very negative. Are the working conditions really that bad over there? Do the people seem generally happy?

My other question would be about women in Japan. I've heard that there's a lot of sexual harassment over there, especially on trains. Granted, the same thing can be true in a city, like New York, but apparently it's so bad that they had to gender segregate trains. Is this true, or is it something that was blown out of proportion? Also, I've heard that women are expected to retire after having children. Evidently women are simply putting off marriage and children until their older, which has contributed to their declining birth rates. Do you think women are treated differently in Japan, or is it a pretty equal society?

On a more positive note, is it as awesome as it seems? Seriously, Eva, persona, and Ghibli on every billboard? Manga cafes? That's just not fair.
 

FireAza

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Fox12 said:
First of all, what are working conditions like? The way I've heard it, people tend to work themselves to the bone six days a week, and their expected to work overtime as a sign of respect to their bosses. They also tend to get stuck at whichever job they are in. Supposedly this has contributed to the high suicide rates, and the Otaku/hikikimori lifestyles. Ive also heard its led to many people to crace escapism. Stories I've heard about Konami, Capcom, and even my beloved Ghibli have been very negative. Are the working conditions really that bad over there? Do the people seem generally happy?
As far as I've heard, this is all unfortunately true... The people seem happy enough, but they're more than likely putting on a brave face and "ganbare"-ing their way through.

Fox12 said:
My other question would be about women in Japan. I've heard that there's a lot of sexual harassment over there, especially on trains. Granted, the same thing can be true in a city, like New York, but apparently it's so bad that they had to gender segregate trains. Is this true, or is it something that was blown out of proportion? Also, I've heard that women are expected to retire after having children. Evidently women are simply putting off marriage and children until their older, which has contributed to their declining birth rates. Do you think women are treated differently in Japan, or is it a pretty equal society?
Sexual harassment is a bit of an issue in Japan, but I don't think it's significantly higher than most other developed nations. You're half right on the train gender segregation. What's actually happening is some cars on a train are designated as "woman only" during certain times of the day. Woman don't have to use these cars if they don't want to (men can't use them during these designated times obviously) and like I said, this isn't a 24-7 thing.

I'm not too sure about the forced retirement thing, but I have heard something about employers being less keen to have an employee return to work after a long absence. I don't really know much about it, sorry.

They say Japan is a matriarchal society wearing the disguise of a patriarchal one. The most powerful and respected god in the Japanese Shinto religion is female after all. Woman are treated "differently" but not in a necessarily bad way. Girls in Japan seem to be more... "Admired", and considered "precious". It's kinda hard to explain. I think the "women only car" is an example of this, they're trying to keep women safe by giving them their own car that men aren't allowed to enter. They're also usually the ones who run the household, with the wife usually having control over the money. On the downside, there is pressure on Japanese women to be traditionally feminine and kind, the "Yamato Nadeshiko" ("ideal Japanese woman") type of woman.

Overall, I think woman in Japan are treated pretty equally. At work, you'll see them being spoken to with the same level of respect as their male co-workers and I can't recall any situation where someone isn't allowed to do something because they're female.

Fox12 said:
On a more positive note, is it as awesome as it seems? Seriously, Eva, persona, and Ghibli on every billboard? Manga cafes? That's just not fair.
Well, keep in mind that a lot of anime and games are a fantasy version of Japan. No, you won't see any billboards for Evangelion and Persona unless you're somewhere like Akihabara (though in Akiba the billboard is likely to be for some new porno game). Ghibli if there's a new movie or something out. Having said that, anime-style art is very common in advertising, so you'll probably be able to see some moe artwork on an advertisement in the train. Probably advertising some mobile game you've never heard of. Manga cafes are totally real though!

But yeah, overall it's pretty awesome. In what other country could you go into a 7-11, grab a curry meat bun, a porno mag (with your choice of 3D OR 2D women!) and a 6 pack of booze? And probably fireworks if it's festival season.
 

FireAza

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Probably because they figure men only want to marry young women (Japan does value youth after all). They describe it as being like a Christmas cake, once the 26th has passed, the cake's going to be getting old and no one will want to eat it.
 

Jux

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Do they really cram people into the trains with nerf bats? Is the 'yankee' stereotype with the goofy pompadour hair something you only see in manga? Are hostess clubs basically watered down strip clubs? Magnets, how do they work?
 

FireAza

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Jux said:
Do they really cram people into the trains with nerf bats?
Uh, I've never heard that one before. I thought everyone knew about the men in the white gloves who cram you into the train?

Jux said:
Is the 'yankee' stereotype with the goofy pompadour hair something you only see in manga?
I believe it was more common in the past, but it still happens. One of the other ALTs has one of their elementary students become one in junior high.

Jux said:
Are hostess clubs basically watered down strip clubs?
Sure, if you consider a complete lack of any clothing removal anything like a strip club. Like I said before, there a place for lonely men to go and have attractive woman talk with them and pour their drinks. And laugh at their bad jokes probably.

Jux said:
Magnets, how do they work?
 

Animakuro

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Hi and thank you for putting the time and effort into answering our questions. I have a few of my own.
1.Firstly, I am British. How are us brits generally viewed in Japan?
2.I wish to work in the video games industry and the idea of working for a Japanese company has appealed to me. Any idea on how likely a Gaijin is to be employed in those industries?
3.Specifically, I do want to work in the console games industry, but I have heard many stories console gaming is ?dying? in Japan and everybody plays on mobiles nowadays. Would you say this is true? And what direction do you personally see the industry going in the next few years?
4.I believe this has already been asked before, but how the Japanese see mental illness and learning difficulties / disabilities? How forgiving are there of ?Faux Pas? so to speak? I am autistic and whilst I am highly functioning and believe myself intelligent, I sometimes struggle to communicate properly in my own language and I am imagine this would be worse in Japanese?
5.I?ve heard that the Japanese have a very negative attitude towards tattoos / piercings / body modification. Would you say this is true and if so, to what extent?

My thanks in advance for your responses. This is a fantastic thread:)
 

N7KnightSabre

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What a cool thread! I usually only watch Yahtzee on here, but I created a profile so I could ask you some things I've been curious about.

A lot of the previous questions dealing with relationships were geared toward foreign men and Japanese woman. I was curious how foreign women are viewed in Japan. Do Japanese men like foreign women or do they view them as being too loud, rude, etc. (negative troupes)?

Would being a tall woman in Japan be difficult?

I know in China they have places that hire foreigners to just stand around all day as an exotic attraction to the local populace. Are there places like that there as well?

Thanks for making this thread, btw! I'm loving it. :)
 

Stormcloud23

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Eclipse Dragon said:
FireAza said:
Since most Japanese girls believe you can't get married once you're past 26 years old
Why do they believe this?
I'll let OP address this in greater detail, but suffice to say overall, greater value is placed on youth, so a woman that makes it into her late 20s without being married can be seen as unfit for marriage, or "used goods". There's even a slang term for this kind of woman, which is as devilishly clever as it is dispassionate, "Christmas Cake", as no one wants to buy one after the 25th.

Anyways, on topic: I want to travel after I finish school, I've looked at the JET program as a possible option. What did they have you write an essay on? Can you tell me more about the application process, what kinds of questions they asked/particular attributes they were looking for?

Second question, the size of the average person in Japan is relatively small, yeah? I'm pretty big, even for where I live (6 foot 4, 193.04cm, and ~240.) Am I gonna be hitting my head on door frames or getting nicknamed "gojira"?
 

FireAza

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Animakuro said:
Hi and thank you for putting the time and effort into answering our questions. I have a few of my own.
1.Firstly, I am British. How are us brits generally viewed in Japan?
2.I wish to work in the video games industry and the idea of working for a Japanese company has appealed to me. Any idea on how likely a Gaijin is to be employed in those industries?
3.Specifically, I do want to work in the console games industry, but I have heard many stories console gaming is ?dying? in Japan and everybody plays on mobiles nowadays. Would you say this is true? And what direction do you personally see the industry going in the next few years?
4.I believe this has already been asked before, but how the Japanese see mental illness and learning difficulties / disabilities? How forgiving are there of ?Faux Pas? so to speak? I am autistic and whilst I am highly functioning and believe myself intelligent, I sometimes struggle to communicate properly in my own language and I am imagine this would be worse in Japanese?
5.I?ve heard that the Japanese have a very negative attitude towards tattoos / piercings / body modification. Would you say this is true and if so, to what extent?

My thanks in advance for your responses. This is a fantastic thread:)
No problem!

1) Britain is probably second to America is terms of fame in Japan. Plus, a lot of Japanese are fans of The Beetles, so expect to talk about them if they find out you're British!

2) I don't see why not, but you're going to have an uphill battle to prove you being foreign won't interfere with communication or company culture...

3) Yes, mobile gaming is big in Japan, but consoles are still pretty big too. Handhelds in particular are massive, for my elementary students, a video game IS a handheld console. There's still lots of game stores and they basically only sell console games. As to the future, it's hard to say. Mobile and handhelds will probably continue to rise in popularity and home consoles might wain a little. I'll tell you one thing though, the Xbox One probably won't be setting any sales records. Unless that record is "sold worse than the original Xbox" ;)

4) Hard to say. I've been in special schools and while many of the students had physical disabilities some of them seemed pretty normal. Maybe these kids are autistic? Japan doesn't like to address uncomfortable issues, so it's possible they're including kids with learning disabilities with the one who have physical disabilities, I'm not too sure, sorry. You might be able to get away with any problems by playing the gaijin card, but people might start to wonder why you don't seem to be catching on. But to be fair, if you're getting into programming or something, they might just assume that it's because you're a programmer :p At the same time, professional life in Japan is somewhat structured and emotionless, so maybe it would suit you just fine?

5) Yes, this is true. These sort of things are associated with the Yakuza, who most people would rather not be around. Places where your tattoos will be clearly visible like hot springs and beaches will basically refuse entry to you.

N7KnightSabre said:
What a cool thread! I usually only watch Yahtzee on here, but I created a profile so I could ask you some things I've been curious about.
Thanks!

N7KnightSabre said:
A lot of the previous questions dealing with relationships were geared toward foreign men and Japanese woman. I was curious how foreign women are viewed in Japan. Do Japanese men like foreign women or do they view them as being too loud, rude, etc. (negative troupes)?
I'm not entirely sure, but many Japanese men have a thing for foreign women, provided you're white (I've heard black women have difficulty finding love with Japanese men). They especially seem to like exotic features like blonde hair. I'm not sure what negative tropes there might be, maybe they might see Western women are being more aggressive? I'm not too sure...

N7KnightSabre said:
Would being a tall woman in Japan be difficult?
You're going to stand A LOT. People will want to gawk at you. Japanese men seem to favor petite girls, so they might see a really tall woman as intimidating. Which might result in guys with a masochistic fetish finding you appealing unfortunately :p

N7KnightSabre said:
I know in China they have places that hire foreigners to just stand around all day as an exotic attraction to the local populace. Are there places like that there as well?
I've heard of that, but I'm not aware of anything like that in Japan. Save for handing out flyers if you work in a hostess club.
 

N7KnightSabre

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N7KnightSabre said:
Would being a tall woman in Japan be difficult?
"You're going to stand A LOT. People will want to gawk at you. Japanese men seem to favor petite girls, so they might see a really tall woman as intimidating. Which might result in guys with a masochistic fetish finding you appealing unfortunately :p "

Thanks for the reply! This info is a bit... ugh.

It certainly seems to be not a favorable outcome for me if I was going there for romance. I think I'd stick out too much. :p

I was also curious how they found western games. Particularly Bioware games or something like Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. Western RPGs were you are given a lot of choice. I've heard they don't really care for them. They prefer games with a set protagonist and story?
 

Cowabungaa

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inu-kun said:
How is the political landscape in Japan, is it more liberal or conservative?
Despite not living in Japan, I can somewhat answer that because I like following the news a lot.

Currently, the government is pretty conservative, or rather; it's right wing. For instance, prime minister Shinzo Abe's recent apology for Japanese war crimes during WW2 was coupled with a visit to a shrine in which some of the perpetrators of said war crimes are enshrined as heroes. Next to that, Abe is trying to push a plan that'll give the Japanese military more extraterritorial powers to engage. Something that's meeting a lot of resistance. He's also trying to get Japanese war crimes played down in history textbooks.

Economically he's implementing some (so not 100%) typical, right wing solutions as well; raising consumption tax rates, cutting taxes for the rich and so trying to invoke (incredibly out-dated and proven-not-to-work) Reagan-esque trickle down economics.

In short, Japan's current course is questionable. I spoke with my Japanese History professor (elective class I took) about it a bit, and he's pretty worried.
N7KnightSabre said:
Thanks for the reply! This info is a bit... ugh.

It certainly seems to be not a favorable outcome for me if I was going there for romance. I think I'd stick out too much. :p


Yeah for us guys it's probably somewhat of an advantage, for girls not so much. It's actually why a wee small part of why I'd like to walk around in Tokyo; I'm 1.96m, so ho boy I'd be noticeable. Luckily for me, here in the Low Countries us tall folk fit right in.
 

sageoftruth

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How has the general attitude towards China been recently, particularly regarding their new ruler, Xi Jinping?
 

tm96

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1) How is the weather?

2)What has been your favourite food so far?

3) Hows the public transport?

4) How do the Japanese view Africa?
 
Sep 13, 2009
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1) I've been told that in Japan a lot of things we'd consider superstitions are almost unanimously regarded as true in Japan. Notably a lot of traditions regarding luck. I've also heard that a lot of spiritual or religious beliefs are also like this. Is this at all true?

2) Do you have any idea what feminism like in Japan? I've heard the same that Fox12 did about career women avoiding marriage because they're expected to settle down afterwards, as well when one of my professors visited Japan he was doing the dishes when company was around and everyone was absolutely shocked and assumed that he must have done something to anger his wife. Namely I'm curious about what the general opinion is of it, and if there's any sort of actions being done in it.

FireAza said:
Sorry to disappoint you, but the vast majority of vending machines in Japan sell drinks. Plus a few things like disposable umbrellas, batteries and hot food. Wacky things like used panties were more than likely only available in a tiny number of machines for a limited period before someone was arrested.

Ah, but the drinks themselves can be pretty odd! I've had everything from jelly soda (does what it says on the tin, it's soda with chunks of jelly), avocado flavor and corn soup. The machines are also capable of selling both hot and cold drinks, depending on the season, which is pretty cool I think.
On this note, I'd heard recently from a co-worker that visited Japan that they have vending machines selling alcoholic beverages there. There's no sort of ID or anything required to use them, and he was told that they pretty much rely on the honor system for underage people not to buy them.