Nicknamed the “Devil’s Tongue” by Jesuit missionaries, Japanese is one of the most difficult languages to learn. So, how many Westerners in Japan can really speak it fluently?
foreigners in Japan
Kyoto, which was the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years, is one of those cities that looks beautiful no matter what time of the year it is. But out of all the seasons, autumn is by far the most popular time to visit, and now that the leaves are beginning to change people are also starting to plan trips to catch a glimpse of Kyoto’s gorgeous fall scenery.
If you happen to be one of those tourists, we have just the book for you, a unique insight into city by foreigners who now call Kyoto their home, called Amazing Kyoto.
A while back, we had some fun talking about five of the more noteworthy types of foreigners you’ll meet in Japan, based upon observations drawn from our time spent working and living here in the Land of the Rising Sun. Whether you’re a Plastic Sensei, Hateimus Japanicus, Secret Ninja, Bubble Dweller or Kid in a Candy Store (or indeed, all of these at different times), we reckon there’s probably quite a lot foreign residents can find to nod their heads at when considering each of those five extreme types.
But what about the flip side of the coin? Spend enough time as a foreigner in a country like Japan—a place that’s 98.5% ethnically Japanese—and you’ll be sure to notice that Japanese people will approach you, the foreigner, in a number of different ways. Today we’d like to share our thoughts on six kinds of Japanese people foreigners might meet during their time in Japan. See how many of them you’ve come across during your time traveling or living in the country!
Seeing as how the entire English-language RocketNews24 team is composed of people who at some point moved to Japan, we’re pretty big proponents of living here. One unpleasant part of the package, though, it that since you can’t claim the whole country as your residence, living in Japan means finding an apartment in Japan, which is generally agreed upon as one of the least enjoyable parts of the expat experience.
Why? For the following four reasons.
At some point in life, someone is going to ask you a question that makes you feel uncomfortable. How much money do you make? How many people have you slept with? Just what did happen to all of your political rivals from the junior high student body president election?
Quite often, though, you can get out of answering by asking in return “Why do you want to know?” As a matter of fact, the question “Why?” is so disarming it can even prevent armed robbery, as one foreigner working in Tokyo just found out.
Some people in Japan have no more than a passing interest in the country’s long and fascinating history, which is at least partly the fault of how the subject is taught in schools. Many history classes place a heavy emphasis on memorization of the exact dates and years of important events, leaving less time for studying the people and motivations behind them.
There’s been a recent surge in history buffs, though, especially in regards to the Sengoku, or Warring States, period which lasted from the mid 15th century until the very start of the 17th century. But it’s not crusty old historians leading this charge, as a recent samurai battle reenactment had women making up some 40 percent of the volunteers, whose ranks were also bolstered by video gamers and foreign residents of Japan.
Living in a foreign country has its trials and tribulations. There are all new customs and sometimes a new language you have to learn, creating a situation that can be really frustrating and depressing. Then one day you wake up, turn on the TV and suddenly, “Huh, I kinda get what’s going on here,” and you know you’re finally ready. It’s time to speak to the locals…with confidence!
In Japan, a very interesting thing happens though. You may speak close to native level and yet the Japanese person will respond back in ENGLISH. Has this happened to you?
“How do you feel when you speak fluent or reasonably good Japanese to a Japanese person and they insist on answering you in English?” Foreigners were asked this question on Japan Today and it was shared by Madame Riri, a Japanese blogger. What do both parties have to say about this? More after the jump!
Ten years ago, I used to read a lot of books. Now, I read a lot of content, which is to say, blogs and online articles. But when I read something that sticks with me, even for a fleeting moment, I still want to reach for a highlighter and shade the words fluorescent yellow, so I can find that part again later. And I’m not alone in my instinctive response to treat the digital word in the same way I do printed material. There’s a reason browsers still call it a “bookmark” when we save a webpage.
There are all kinds of great English-language blogs about Japan out there. But there are also a number of stand-alone articles that, over the years, I’ve read again and again – and they still make me want to grab my highlighter and start collecting quotes. I’ve put them together into this short list, which we may think of as a small (highly subjective) foreigners-living-in-Japan canon: seminal pieces of writing from around the internet.
Some of these are very long. Some are controversial. All of them have stayed with me for some reason or another, and maybe they’ll stick with you too.
You have probably noticed that we here at RocketNews24 are huge fans of Japanese convenience stores. And if you have ever lived in or visited Japan, odds are you too came to love these amazing places. But what exactly makes Japanese convenience stores so different and special compared to those overseas? Click below to see five reasons why we think these “conbini” totally live up to the hype!
Of course, we at RocketNews24 know that Japan is a great place, but have you ever wondered what drives others to leave home and live in the land of the rising sun? It is a question that those of us who spent time working, studying or living in Japan can find a little repetitious and annoying and may cause us to forget why we chose to come to Japan.
That’s why we wanted to share some answers to that ubiquitous question that we found on the Internet messaging board Reddit, where netizens there gave some brutally honest responses. Click below to find out some of the funny, strange and heart-warming reasons people decide to spend their life (or at least part of it) in Japan!
Gangnam Style, performed by South Korean singer, Psy, is an undisputed worldwide hit. It currently has over 1.25 billion views on YouTube and was able to surpass Justin Bieber’s “Baby” to claim its spot as the world’s most watched YouTube video. Following the song’s success, there have been a number of Gangnam Style parodies. Now here’s another one to add to the bunch.
“Gaijin Style” details the lifestyle of foreigners living in Japan and features a gaijin Psy lookalike horse dancing across the screen.
Japanese website Netallica recently conducted a survey of foreigners, asking them to name services and jobs in Japan that leave them in a state of bewilderment.
Take a look at the top seven services that make foreigners in Japan pause and exclaim, “What the heck?!”