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    (Original post by SkyRees)
    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"?
    I would encourage you to do it if you want, particularly since you seem to be aware that there might be a downside - the worst thing is to embark on it naively assuming you understand more than you do.

    Because of the Japanese custom of presenting s syrupy version of things, Westerners often build an image in their minds that is largely false - look at the experience of Lafcadio Hearn. It is a fascinating journey to try to understand Japanese society, but once you really get it, you may be a lot less interested in spending a career on it.

    As it was so long ago that I lived there, I do not have any recent books to recommend. A good old one is The Enigma of Japanese Power. Amelie Nothomb wrote a novel (in French) about working in Japan, Fear and Trembling
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    If you had to sum it up in a few sentances, what's it like living in Japan?

    What would you recommend to someone looking to go to Japan (not necessarily to live there)? How would you prepare?

    In terms of learning Japanese, do you have any tips or material you'd recommend? I've just finished learning Hiragana and Katakana, moving onto Kanji, grammar and actual texts. How did you get over the daunting number of Kanji?

    How expensive is Japan, compared to the UK? Both to live there semi permanently and to holiday?
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    (Original post by Stoke123)
    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.
    Studying intensive Japanese at a Japanese University is a lot like being in highschool. A percentage of your grade is dependent upon attendance, and then you also get marks for answering a question at least once in class. I was in classes from 9 to 12 and consisted of daily Kanji tests and weekly grammar tests. We also handed in written assignments each week and did presentations about once a semester. I then had to take other electives to fill out my credits, so I took modern Japanese society and philosophy 101 ... the latter of which was the biggest mistake of my university career. I still shudder thinking about it.

    I cannot describe the curriculum in specifics, as I teach at a Japanese Primary school. I can tell you however that the children scoring at the top of their classes are probably up until 12 o'clock at night, and wake up at 6. And this pattern can start from as early as 11 years old. They attend a lot of extra classes in the evening.

    I would recommend reading this as it will be much more precise than me concerning the curriculum for Junior high school and up.

    The national exams are seen as a necessary evil in Japan. And up until you do them, your life is pretty hellish. You're studying, as I mentioned in the post above, until late night/early morning. Once you have passed these entrance exams however, you are pretty much guaranteed to graduate from the university you entered. The university kids spend more time on club activities, drinking, travelling and part time jobs than they do university. A lot of Japanese people see it as a chance to relax before they enter the work force and have to become a part of society.

    If they fail university entrance exams then the kids often go to a University exam prep school for the year, and take it again. These schools can cost the family a ton of money, and some kids are in these schools for years.

    As for applying to a Japanese University as a foreigner, I am going to guide you to this link as I have no idea. I do have friends who are doing postgraduate degrees, and they seem easy enough to apply for. I also know that Sophia University in Tokyo has a special department for foreign students!
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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.

    I'm a 25 y/o female however, so I probably do not know that much about the seedier side of things.
    what is the skiing like and how high are the resorts also hows the food.
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    (Original post by SkyRees)
    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?
    I don't think Japan is everyone's cup of tea! I know of people who love the history of the country and are often disappointed when they get here and realise that Japan is just as modern as the west, and that a lot of people are not that interested in the history. I have also seen people who are obsessed with video games and manga/anime come to Japan and get disappointed when they find out that while a lot of people read manga weekly, it's not the Mecca they were expecting. There are also a lot of people who come for those reasons and absolutely love it.

    Then there are the people who only come here to teach English for a year, with no expectations whatsoever, and they fall in love with the country and spend the rest of their lives here. These tend to be guys who are excited by the attention they are getting from Japanese girls. Please check out Charisma Man for a small insight into what I'm talking about.

    Personally.... I have grown so much as a person and made so many amazing friends. I will not say that the country is perfect, and I do struggle with many parts of the culture. I would never change my experience though. I am a different person than I was 3 years ago. I have lived and thrived in a foreign country.

    I would say however not to base your degree partly on the language. You can come teach English in Japan without a degree in the language, and study it while you are here. There are plenty of volunteer classes for foreigners who want to learn Japanese. Get your degree in another language and then come to Japan. You will then have three languages under your belt

    (Original post by SkyRees)
    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?
    This is going to sound silly.... but the weather. IT'S SO HUMID IN JAPAN IN THE SUMMER. AND HOT. And, especially if you're working in a school, you're expecting to wear full sleeved, up to the neck tops and trousers/skirts and tights to work. It's brutal. If you don't deal with the heat well, then you're gonna struggle.

    Also, veganism, while slowly growing in popularity is still pretty much unheard of in a lot of Japanese restaurants. I have heard of vegans and vegetarians being brought chicken after saying in Japanese that they don't eat meat... fussy eaters don't last very long here.

    This could be a very long list so I'm just going to finish by saying.... you're going to have to accept that nothing is done efficiently in Japan. You will be in meetings that go nowhere, fill out paperwork for the smallest of things and do things because that's the way they're always done. As a very practical person, this is what I have struggled with most. And it's what has caused the most ruckus between myself and co-workers. If you're stubborn and like to dig in your heels when you know you're in the right, or the other person is in the wrong, then you're going to have to be willing to take the consequences. It is something I have learned to do, and I have also slowly picked up other ways to change things in a more "Japanese" manner... but it's a headache and a half.

    (Original post by SkyRees)
    Have you ever encountered the "gaijin complex"?
    I have kind of experienced it. I am so fed up of being told that my face is small and people complimenting me on how white my skin is? I also don't like when they touch my hair and comment on how soft it is?

    I also hated when Japanese people used to tell me that my Japanese was great, and now take pride in the fact that they don't anymore (it means it actually is good.) I do notice that people will not sit beside me sometimes when I'm on the train, even if it's the last seat, but I don't take it to heart.

    Just be thick skinned and accept that not everyone will immediately love you.
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    (Original post by jonathanemptage)
    what is the skiing like and how high are the resorts also hows the food.
    I can't ski, but I do know that Australians absolutely love the Japanese resorts! There are a lot of deals online from Australian websites for stays at Japanese skiing resorts Try and find them on google!

    The food in Japan, day to day, is as bland as a British diet of meat, veg and potatoes. It often consists of salted fish/meat, a bowl of rice and a soup of some sort. Sushi is a treat families go out for, as are hotpots and everything else we love in the U.K.

    It is a lot healthier than a British diet when it comes to portion sizes?

    I will miss miso soup when I'm back in Scotland though!
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    (Original post by Mimikyu)
    I can't ski, but I do know that Australians absolutely love the Japanese resorts! There are a lot of deals online from Australian websites for stays at Japanese skiing resorts Try and find them on google!

    The food in Japan, day to day, is as bland as a British diet of meat, veg and potatoes. It often consists of salted fish/meat, a bowl of rice and a soup of some sort. Sushi is a treat families go out for, as are hotpots and everything else we love in the U.K.

    It is a lot healthier than a British diet when it comes to portion sizes?

    I will miss miso soup when I'm back in Scotland though!
    whats miso soup? and do you know how high places like Nagano are?
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    Is it true you all eat fish ALL THE TIME???

    I hate fish...
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    (Original post by Mimikyu)
    Studying intensive Japanese at a Japanese University is a lot like being in highschool. A percentage of your grade is dependent upon attendance, and then you also get marks for answering a question at least once in class. I was in classes from 9 to 12 and consisted of daily Kanji tests and weekly grammar tests. We also handed in written assignments each week and did presentations about once a semester. I then had to take other electives to fill out my credits, so I took modern Japanese society and philosophy 101 ... the latter of which was the biggest mistake of my university career. I still shudder thinking about it.

    I cannot describe the curriculum in specifics, as I teach at a Japanese Primary school. I can tell you however that the children scoring at the top of their classes are probably up until 12 o'clock at night, and wake up at 6. And this pattern can start from as early as 11 years old. They attend a lot of extra classes in the evening.

    I would recommend reading this as it will be much more precise than me concerning the curriculum for Junior high school and up.

    The national exams are seen as a necessary evil in Japan. And up until you do them, your life is pretty hellish. You're studying, as I mentioned in the post above, until late night/early morning. Once you have passed these entrance exams however, you are pretty much guaranteed to graduate from the university you entered. The university kids spend more time on club activities, drinking, travelling and part time jobs than they do university. A lot of Japanese people see it as a chance to relax before they enter the work force and have to become a part of society.

    If they fail university entrance exams then the kids often go to a University exam prep school for the year, and take it again. These schools can cost the family a ton of money, and some kids are in these schools for years.

    As for applying to a Japanese University as a foreigner, I am going to guide you to this link as I have no idea. I do have friends who are doing postgraduate degrees, and they seem easy enough to apply for. I also know that Sophia University in Tokyo has a special department for foreign students!
    Honestly you are the Japanese Guru, thank you so much for clarifying this.
    I wish I could rep you more
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    (Original post by alcibiade)
    I would encourage you to do it if you want, particularly since you seem to be aware that there might be a downside - the worst thing is to embark on it naively assuming you understand more than you do.

    Because of the Japanese custom of presenting s syrupy version of things, Westerners often build an image in their minds that is largely false - look at the experience of Lafcadio Hearn. It is a fascinating journey to try to understand Japanese society, but once you really get it, you may be a lot less interested in spending a career on it.

    As it was so long ago that I lived there, I do not have any recent books to recommend. A good old one is The Enigma of Japanese Power. Amelie Nothomb wrote a novel (in French) about working in Japan, Fear and Trembling
    .
    Indeed, I'd tried to avoid that because a lot of people just go there for the anime/video game reality they perceive, go there and look like a tool - I believe the term is weeaboo/otaku? - and have a miserable time.

    Perhaps being interested in history I was kind of aware things haven't always been peachy there and I doubt the massive changes to traditional life since WW2 have done much in favour for that.

    Those are some lovely recommendations though, thank you kindly for them!
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    (Original post by Acsel)
    If you had to sum it up in a few sentances, what's it like living in Japan?
    Japan is polite inefficiency, wrapped up in a sense of tradition and an unwillingness to change. If you want to be happy living in the country, you have to accept this.

    (Original post by Acsel)
    What would you recommend to someone looking to go to Japan (not necessarily to live there)? How would you prepare?
    A Japan Rail Pass for getting around. Otherwise travelling can get quite pricey! And learning a few basic phrases. A lot of signs are bilingual now so you don't really have to bother with learning how to read Japanese if you're only visiting. It might help if you have allergies though!

    (Original post by Acsel)
    In terms of learning Japanese, do you have any tips or material you'd recommend? I've just finished learning Hiragana and Katakana, moving onto Kanji, grammar and actual texts. How did you get over the daunting number of Kanji?
    Kanji is something you pick up as you encounter them everyday. There are a lot of Kanji that I wouldn't have learned in a textbook that I used everyday for work. On the other hand, a lot of the Kanji I did learn from textbooks I don't use everyday. As long as you recognise and can read them... that should be enough.

    For self study, I would recommend Genki and the TRY! series of books, if you're interested in taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I also play a lot of video games in Japanese, read news, manga, novels in Japanese and watch Japanese TV. I think immersing yourself in a language is the best way to learn it. A lot of manga also has furigana (Hiragana to help you with the reading of the Kanji) so that's a good way to pick up Japanese. Just be aware that a lot of Japanese people don't talk like they do in Mangas....

    (Original post by Acsel)
    How expensive is Japan, compared to the UK? Both to live there semi permanently and to holiday?
    Fruit and veg is very expensive, as are second hand stores, electronics, mobile phone and wifi contracts.... Accommodation is about the same, and eating out is a lot cheaper if you pick the right restaurants (Places like McDonald's and KFC are pretty expensive.) Travel within a city is fairly cheap, but gets more expensive as you travel further afield. I would recommend a Japan Rail Pass if you're planning on a short break in Japan.

    I would save up a lot of money before considering to come to Japan, and you will find starting costs for semi-permanent visits stack up pretty quickly. Try googling about Key money and renting in Japan and you'll see what I mean!

    Best of luck on your travels in Japan.
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    Have you ever been to the Pokemon centre? If so, what's it like? I've only seen photos but it looks amazing!
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    (Original post by Mimikyu)
    I don't think Japan is everyone's cup of tea! I know of people who love the history of the country and are often disappointed when they get here and realise that Japan is just as modern as the west, and that a lot of people are not that interested in the history. I have also seen people who are obsessed with video games and manga/anime come to Japan and get disappointed when they find out that while a lot of people read manga weekly, it's not the Mecca they were expecting. There are also a lot of people who come for those reasons and absolutely love it.

    Then there are the people who only come here to teach English for a year, with no expectations whatsoever, and they fall in love with the country and spend the rest of their lives here. These tend to be guys who are excited by the attention they are getting from Japanese girls. Please check out Charisma Man for a small insight into what I'm talking about.

    Personally.... I have grown so much as a person and made so many amazing friends. I will not say that the country is perfect, and I do struggle with many parts of the culture. I would never change my experience though. I am a different person than I was 3 years ago. I have lived and thrived in a foreign country.

    I would say however not to base your degree partly on the language. You can come teach English in Japan without a degree in the language, and study it while you are here. There are plenty of volunteer classes for foreigners who want to learn Japanese. Get your degree in another language and then come to Japan. You will then have three languages under your belt
    Good to know considering I was certainly more interested in the mythological/religious/historical aspects (think Kojiki) ^^;
    I do admit I love me some video games, although some of them I have heard are a massive deal in Japan (Final Fantasy, for one), I wouldn't really go to Japan just for that.

    I already know three! :lol: Was thinking Japanese would be more useful going into Law conversion after History personally, but I've heard the same of Chinese as well. Point's still the same though, thank you


    (Original post by Mimikyu)
    This is going to sound silly.... but the weather. IT'S SO HUMID IN JAPAN IN THE SUMMER. AND HOT. And, especially if you're working in a school, you're expecting to wear full sleeved, up to the neck tops and trousers/skirts and tights to work. It's brutal. If you don't deal with the heat well, then you're gonna struggle.

    Also, veganism, while slowly growing in popularity is still pretty much unheard of in a lot of Japanese restaurants. I have heard of vegans and vegetarians being brought chicken after saying in Japanese that they don't eat meat... fussy eaters don't last very long here.

    This could be a very long list so I'm just going to finish by saying.... you're going to have to accept that nothing is done efficiently in Japan. You will be in meetings that go nowhere, fill out paperwork for the smallest of things and do things because that's the way they're always done. As a very practical person, this is what I have struggled with most. And it's what has caused the most ruckus between myself and co-workers. If you're stubborn and like to dig in your heels when you know you're in the right, or the other person is in the wrong, then you're going to have to be willing to take the consequences. It is something I have learned to do, and I have also slowly picked up other ways to change things in a more "Japanese" manner... but it's a headache and a half.
    I am literally a penguin reincarnated. Arctic weather? Fine by me, I'll go out in a shirt. Boiling heat? Dead. I knew Japan is very humid and all, haven't exactly figured out how I'd deal with that just yet.

    I think lasagne is the only food in the world I refuse to eat, and this coming from a half-Italian. I think I should be fine on that front if nothing else, haha. I did get the impression meat (fish) was kind of a staple food there.

    I see, I hadn't been aware of that. All I knew was the Japanese are workaholics to the point of stress; paperwork for the smallest of things does sound irritating. I can get used to it, but...yeah, I'm practical as well. That could suck.

    (Original post by Mimikyu)
    I have kind of experienced it. I am so fed up of being told that my face is small and people complimenting me on how white my skin is? I also don't like when they touch my hair and comment on how soft it is?

    I also hated when Japanese people used to tell me that my Japanese was great, and now take pride in the fact that they don't anymore (it means it actually is good.) I do notice that people will not sit beside me sometimes when I'm on the train, even if it's the last seat, but I don't take it to heart.

    Just be thick skinned and accept that not everyone will immediately love you.
    Sounds just like my experience in England to be fair, I could get used to that. I do understand your frustration though.

    One last question - I take it being Scottish you do have an accent; has that impeded your Japanese at all? For reference I'm a first-language Welshman, and I literally can't stop my r's from rolling too hard.
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    (Original post by jonathanemptage)
    what is the skiing like and how high are the resorts also hows the food.
    Since I have no clue I have linked you here.

    Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup that is eaten pretty much every other day!
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    (Original post by Mimikyu)
    A Japan Rail Pass for getting around. Otherwise travelling can get quite pricey! And learning a few basic phrases. A lot of signs are bilingual now so you don't really have to bother with learning how to read Japanese if you're only visiting. It might help if you have allergies though!
    Huge thanks for the reply, I've heard that public transport is expensive and everyone recommends rail passes. As for learning the language, I'd learn out of interest more than a necessity to know it

    (Original post by Mimikyu)
    Kanji is something you pick up as you encounter them everyday. There are a lot of Kanji that I wouldn't have learned in a textbook that I used everyday for work. On the other hand, a lot of the Kanji I did learn from textbooks I don't use everyday. As long as you recognise and can read them... that should be enough.

    For self study, I would recommend Genki and the TRY! series of books, if you're interested in taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I also play a lot of video games in Japanese, read news, manga, novels in Japanese and watch Japanese TV. I think immersing yourself in a language is the best way to learn it. A lot of manga also has furigana (Hiragana to help you with the reading of the Kanji) so that's a good way to pick up Japanese. Just be aware that a lot of Japanese people don't talk like they do in Mangas....
    Where possible I try to stick to listening, watching and reading in Japanese. I listen to a lot of music and am looking to pick up novels where possible. Immersing definitely seems like the best way to learn

    (Original post by Mimikyu)
    Fruit and veg is very expensive, as are second hand stores, electronics, mobile phone and wifi contracts.... Accommodation is about the same, and eating out is a lot cheaper if you pick the right restaurants (Places like McDonald's and KFC are pretty expensive.) Travel within a city is fairly cheap, but gets more expensive as you travel further afield. I would recommend a Japan Rail Pass if you're planning on a short break in Japan.

    I would save up a lot of money before considering to come to Japan, and you will find starting costs for semi-permanent visits stack up pretty quickly. Try googling about Key money and renting in Japan and you'll see what I mean!

    Best of luck on your travels in Japan.
    I actually wouldn't have thought about fruit and veg being expensive, nor that fast food would be expensive Definitely something I'm not considering until after university though so I've got a few years to get saving
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    (Original post by SkyRees)
    One last question - I take it being Scottish you do have an accent; has that impeded your Japanese at all? For reference I'm a first-language Welshman, and I literally can't stop my r's from rolling too hard.
    My accent isn't really that strong - my Dad is English and I lived in a small Scottish town where aour accent isn't really all that strong either - so I'm not sure how a strong accent would impede you exactly...

    If you have a tendency to mumble however, that may be an issue. I have seen a lot of people who mumble in English struggle with Japanese. You need to be clear on your consonants in Japanese. And your rolling r, I have one too, will have to be calmed down because the Japanese r is something more between and l and an r sound, and if you're too harsh on your r sounds, Japanese people for some reason take it as a d?

    Also, welsh is quite a sing song accent, so you would have to tone that down as Japanese is rather flat.

    Don't let your accent put you off learning though! Once you're in the country and talking to people from all different kinds of countries it will soften out of necessity. I sound pretty American now, out of a need to be understood.
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    (Original post by Mimikyu)
    .
    Do you do Judo?

    Also do you like Takoyaki?
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    (Original post by Rhi_w)
    Have you ever been to the Pokemon centre? If so, what's it like? I've only seen photos but it looks amazing!
    I have been to the Pokemon centre more times than I can count. I love it~! And yeah, it does look as amazing as the pictures. However, I know a lot of older fans are disappointed that the Pokemon centres focus on the new generation pokemon however.

    Recently because of Pokemon Go however, a lot of goods for the older generations have been popping up!

    As for atmosphere, it's a huge shop with a few pay for play games tucked away in the corner. The staff are lovely, the store is bright and clean and it's a pleasant shopping experience. They usually have a lottery at the weekend and sometimes they have an event where you can "fish" for Magikarp (They're magnetic fish and a rod with a magnet on the end.) If you have a 3DS they're usually giving away a Pokemon for the latest game, and a lot of the time they have an exclusive move-set or are shiny. They will also have a poor worker come out in a Pikachu suit at the weekend for the little kids to say Hi too, and very occasionally there will be an amazing cosplayer who goes through the store and makes comments about the goods. (Recently they had all the team rocket/plasma etc leaders visit stores which was pretty cool.) Each Pokemon centre also has region exclusive goods which makes you just want to visit them all!

    Definitely worth a visit if you come to Japan.
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    (Original post by trapking)
    Do you do Judo?

    Also do you like Takoyaki?
    I love Takoyaki, but I don't do Judo. No interest in it, unfortunately!

    Do you do Judo?
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    (Original post by loooopppyyy)
    Is it true you all eat fish ALL THE TIME???

    I hate fish...
    I have a friend who hates fish and he has survived in Japan for 25 years. I think you'll be okay, if you ever visit

    I do eat fish A LOT THOUGH. It's really good!
 
 
 
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