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I live in Japan, ask me anything. Watch

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    I have been living in Japan for over 3 years now, so if there is anything you want to ask... go ahead.

    I'm a 25 y/o female however, so I probably do not know that much about the seedier side of things.
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    (Original post by Mimikyu)
    I have been living in Japan for over 3 years now, so if there is anything you want to ask... go ahead.
    what do you most and least enjoy about Japanese society?
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    (Original post by cambio wechsel)
    what do you most and least enjoy about Japanese society?
    Thanks for asking a question! I enjoy being able to walk down the street and feeling safe. No one really catcalls here. I think the worst I get really is random people looking to practice their English, and that is easily avoided with a book and earphones.

    I don't enjoy how two faced Japanese society can be at times. A lot of the time someone will offer to do something for you, because they feel they have to do it. It doesn't mean they want to do it however, and if you accept it can often lead to bitter feelings.
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    (Original post by Mimikyu)
    Thanks for asking a question!
    Where in Japan do you live? Where would be the best place to live in Japan?
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    (Original post by cambio wechsel)
    Where in Japan do you live? Where would be the best place to live in Japan?
    Currently I live in Kyushu, near the city Fukuoka. I have lived in Saitama, just outside of Tokyo for a year as well.

    As for where the best place to live in Japan... it depends on what you want.

    Living outside of Tokyo was amazing! I had access to all the conveniences of Tokyo, for a slightly lower rent. It was great, and I didn't get bored of Tokyo. However, I didn't feel like my Japanese improved all that much while staying in Tokyo.

    Now I live in a very small city, where almost no one speaks Japanese. And that has really helped with my fluency. My comprehension is 95%, in both reading and listening. My spoken Japanese is also a lot better, due to necessity. That wouldn't have happened in Tokyo.

    You also have to consider travel. Tokyo is great if you want to visit the rest of Japan, but if you're wanting to travel to different countries in Asia then Fukuoka might be a better bet! It is an up and coming city with amazing food and a really interesting social and cultural life. It is cheaper than living in Tokyo, and is only a one and a half hour away plane trip away from Tokyo, so weekend trips are 100% feasible. People in Fukuoka are also just a bit more relaxed than people in Tokyo, and the Japanese, at least for me, is a lot easier to understand because they put more emotion behind what they are saying.

    Fukuoka is also where the Softbank Hawks are, one of the strongest baseball teams in Japan. And the Sumo comes to Fukuoka every summer. The exhibitions that happen in Tokyo also eventually happen down in Kyushu so you're not really missing out, if you're in Fukuoka. Fukuoka would also give you easy access to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Kyoto, Oita (which is famous for onsens) and many more great areas of Japan. I think the prefecture also boosts 3 cat islands, if that's your cup of tea.

    The one downside of Fukuoka is access to Hokkaido, which can get pretty expensive during peak season.

    My short answer is Fukuoka city, or in the surrounding area. It is as exciting as Tokyo, friendlier, and it gives you access to a lot of Japan and the rest of Asia.
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    Do you like sushi?
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    Does a place like that lose its charm after living there for 3 years and experiencing the daily routines?

    Where did you live before you moved to Japan and did you experience a culture shock? What were the biggest changes?

    What's your ethnicity? I've heard that being black or white and living in East Asia can come with some discrimination - do you find that true especially since you don't live in a big city like Tokyo where I assume it's more multicultural and tolerant than the rest of Japan?

    Is there a community over there of people like yourself who have moved from majority English speaking countries and do you hang out with those people or do you integrate fully with the Japanese people over there?

    Do you see yourself spending the rest of your life there?

    (Original post by Mimikyu)
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    (Original post by iqra2159)
    Do you like sushi?
    Yes! And it's super cheap here. My favourite type of sushi is grilled cheese salmon nigiri.

    Do you like sushi?
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    How tiny is your apartment?
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    (Original post by z33)
    Does a place like that lose its charm after living there for 3 years and experiencing the daily routines?
    Being brutally honest, yeah. I pretty much just live in this town now, and when I want to go out and do something I will take a train to the nearest city or go on day trips with friends. There is also the fact I work at a local school and don't feel entirely comfortable drinking in the city or going out and about. I am almost always seen by one of the kids or a parent. A lot of teachers in Japan don't live where they work though, so it's not really that odd.

    (Original post by z33)
    Where did you live before you moved to Japan and did you experience a culture shock? What were the biggest changes?
    I lived in Scotland before coming to Japan, but no I didn't experience cultural shock. I had studied the language and culture for two years before arriving the first time and was pretty immune to anything weird or out there. Also being from the UK, where we are almost as polite, if not more so in some respects, I didn't find myself struggling too much with that aspect.

    Due to personal circumstances I was pretty good at reading the atmosphere before coming to Japan, and that helped a lot. One of the teachers I don't really get along well with said I was too "Japanese," although not quite in those exact words and I think she meant I'm not quite as loud or outgoing as some of the Americans she meets.

    The biggest change was the language. Listening to a foreign language all day makes you incredibly sleepy, even if you don't understand it! So at least for the first year I was sleeping a lot more than I would have in Scotland.

    (Original post by z33)
    What's your ethnicity? I've heard that being black or white and living in East Asia can come with some discrimination - do you find that true especially since you don't live in a big city like Tokyo where I assume it's more multicultural and tolerant than the rest of Japan?
    I am very white, as in super pale. Think Euan McGregor in trainspotting pale. I have not personally experienced the discrimination you have mentioned, but I have friends who have.

    They have been followed by the police, are asked to show their registration cards a lot more often than I have, often have their hair touched and don't seem as popular with Japanese girls. I would say however that it is less of an issue in the countryside than it is in big cities. Especially in clubbing districts, where black men are often be hired to cover the doors, the police will go on nightly checks.

    These observations are only second-hand however, and I would hate to generalise the whole of Japan in this aspect.

    (Original post by z33)
    Is there a community over there of people like yourself who have moved from majority English speaking countries and do you hang out with those people or do you integrate fully with the Japanese people over there?
    I have three main types of groups of people I hang out with. One is mainly foreigners, with Japanese people who are fluent in English as well. I would say this is the group I am closest with, as I can relate with them more... they're also more willing to go on day trips and explore Japan, something I value a lot in friends. There is also the benefit of being able to relax and speak my mother tongue, which may make me more affectionate towards them.

    The second type of group tends to be foreigners who have married a Japanese person, and I will hang out with their group of friends. I am not as close with these groups and tend to feel a little out of place when I do hang out with them! They always go out of their way to make me feel welcome however and I really appreciate that.

    The last group will be a Japanese family who is often looking to improve their English. I will hang out with the family and do typical Japanese things, such as new years and visits to the temple. A lot of the time these outings can feel like work however, and I'm nackered at the end of the day.

    I would say it is very difficult to integrate fully into society. I have one friend, who has been here for 25 years, and even to this say he struggles to fully integrate. He has groups of Japanese people he hangs out with, and is completely comfortable with, but... from conversations with him, there seems to be something lacking.

    (Original post by z33)
    Do you see yourself spending the rest of your life there?
    No. Not in a million years. A lot of guys do it, and I know of a girl who is here because of necessity (married with a kid) , but it's not something a lot of western girls would do. There are a ton of blogs that explain why, and I would suggest you have a look at them.

    I will be returning to Scotland in April, and hope to start a career as a primary school teacher.
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    (Original post by Nerry)
    How tiny is your apartment?
    My apartment is 32 meters squared. 8D' So comfortable for a single person... but I wouldn't want to live with someone else in such a small apartment, especially since the living room, kitchen and bedroom are all one room.
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    How has your opinion of the society evolved? What did you expect? What was our image of it? How has it played out?

    Sure, it is safe, but after a few months of living there I found it to be a stultifying place full of bitter and unhappy people who felt stuck in a web of meaningless obligation, with roles imposed on them and rules they hated.

    I worked in Tokyo as a reporter in 1990-91, learned to speak the language enough to get around, and really go into workplaces and bars to listen to the Japanese. What I got was an ugly picture, which the inconveniences of daily living did not help. In many ways, it was a great experience - I met my wife (a Brit) there, made a pile of money, and met some great people. But I did not come to love the place, as I have every other country I lived in.
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    (Original post by Mimikyu)
    Yes! And it's super cheap here. My favourite type of sushi is grilled cheese salmon nigiri.

    Do you like sushi?
    I've never tried sushi before
    I don't think I like the idea of eating raw fish
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    Regarding Tokyo and being able to improve one's level of Japanese, I'd say it depends on the individual. Myself and a few others did our year abroad in Tokyo and our level of Japanese is on par with if not better than those who lived outside of Tokyo such as Hokkaido or Okayama.
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    (Original post by alcibiade)
    How has your opinion of the society evolved? What did you expect? What was our image of it? How has it played out?

    Sure, it is safe, but after a few months of living there I found it to be a stultifying place full of bitter and unhappy people who felt stuck in a web of meaningless obligation, with roles imposed on them and rules they hated.

    I worked in Tokyo as a reporter in 1990-91, learned to speak the language enough to get around, and really go into workplaces and bars to listen to the Japanese. What I got was an ugly picture, which the inconveniences of daily living did not help. In many ways, it was a great experience - I met my wife (a Brit) there, made a pile of money, and met some great people. But I did not come to love the place, as I have every other country I lived in.
    I agree that the society is very stultifying. It is one of the reasons I am leaving Japan and looking to pursue a degree in a different country.

    My opinion/image has always been fairly balanced because I studied the culture before coming to Japan. The difference between studying and living in it is pretty brutal however. I wouldn't want to work in a Japanese work place for the rest of my life, and have already stressed myself into having to take heartburn medicine.

    I would never say I romanticised Japan in the past, but I have perhaps become more jaded in the past few years.

    I am curious about what inconveniences you're talking about though?
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    (Original post by iqra2159)
    I've never tried sushi before
    I don't think I like the idea of eating raw fish
    If you're interested, I would suggest trying Tuna rolls and seeing what you think of them?
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    (Original post by Quick-use)
    Regarding Tokyo and being able to improve one's level of Japanese, I'd say it depends on the individual. Myself and a few others did our year abroad in Tokyo and our level of Japanese is on par with if not better than those who lived outside of Tokyo such as Hokkaido or Okayama.
    I would agree with that. It does depend on the person. While I was in Tokyo my textbook Japanese was amazing, as I was doing an intensive Japanese course on my study year abroad. My practical Japanese... not so much.

    I think it could also be the lifestyle I lived in the two different cities. Now I'm working in a Japanese primary school with teachers who don't speak English, and I'm listening to Japanese more than I am English so of course my Japanese would improve dramatically. I also write lesson plans in Japanese and have to regularly read letters and curriculum guidelines in the language, so I'm just finding myself more immersed in the language than I did while living and studying in the Kanto region.

    Thanks for your comment!
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    (Original post by Mimikyu)
    I agree that the society is very stultifying. It is one of the reasons I am leaving Japan and looking to pursue a degree in a different country.

    My opinion/image has always been fairly balanced because I studied the culture before coming to Japan. The difference between studying and living in it is pretty brutal however. I wouldn't want to work in a Japanese work place for the rest of my life, and have already stressed myself into having to take heartburn medicine.

    I would never say I romanticised Japan in the past, but I have perhaps become more jaded in the past few years.

    I am curious about what inconveniences you're talking about though?
    Your experience sounds very similar to ours. One can respect many aspects of the society, but see the underside. I had studied Japan in grad school, so came with quite a lot of notions that I later made a good living debunking. We both arrived literally the week that the stock market began its long decline, the crest of the bubble economy.

    Regarding inconveniences, beyond the over-crowding and the lower living standards that come with it, we felt that the attitudes of the Japanese to foreigners were very difficult, complicating everyday interactions due to fear, anxiety, bewilderment, and hostility of the Japanese - that is sometimes, perhaps often, what is below the surface politeness and tatemae.

    Of course there were many moments of grace and generosity. In spite of all our criticisms, our son is very interested in visiting Japan. I contacted one of my old friends, and she immediately found a host family for him near Tokyo, with boys who want to practice their English. I am sure he will have a fantastic experience.
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    I had considered a History and Japanese degree, but got put off a lot by the people saying it was horrible. I'm not entirely sure what drives them to say that, but...would you agree it's generally horrible for foreigners or is it worth it?

    What are the biggest differences a person would need to know between the UK and Japan if one intended to stay for your length of time or more?

    Have you ever encountered the "gaijin complex"?
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    What is studying the language at a Japanese intensive institution for a year like, and how does it correlate with the daily schedule?

    Can you please describe the education curriculum from junior High to College, how people feel about the national exams and also applying to university in Japan as a foreigner.
 
 
 
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