Emotions can range from being ready to take on the world to “Man, I sure wish I was drunk right now.”
life in japan
Weeaboos often get a bad rap for being out of touch with reality and over-idealising Japan. But what do ordinary Japanese people think of them?
Check out these drowsy drivers catching 40 winks during a typical day in Japan’s busiest city.
Beyond silly mistakes like wearing toilet slippers on tatami or forgetting to add “san” to someone’s name, what other things do foreigners unknowingly do to reduce their chances of living happily in Japan?
‘Tis the season for grumbling about cultural differences, but does it have to be?
Living abroad is fun and exciting; hardly a day goes by when something doesn’t surprise, humor, or baffle you. Living in another country also gives you a chance to understand your own native nation and evaluate the good and the bad from an outsider’s perspective.
So today we want to share with you some things that we miss from our own countries—that is to say mainly the US and UK—that we never realized we’d miss! Because, you know, they just seemed so normal, we thought Japan would have them too.
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!
As we’ve seen, Japan is really psyched about Halloween. The holiday has been steadily growing in popularity for the last decade, and with October 31 falling on a Saturday in 2015, this year’s celebration is likely to be Japan’s liveliest Halloween ever.
But how did Halloween become Japan’s second favorite foreign holiday, right after Christmas? And also, is Japan staying true to the spirit of the holiday, or is forcefully pressing it into its own domestic mold, as the country is wont to do with cultural imports?
It’s no secret that Japan may be headed for a bit of a labor crunch, as the population ages and many older workers reach retirement age with fewer young up-and-comers to replace them. And, while the Japanese government seems reluctant to take measures to replenish the shrinking workforce with foreign laborers, non-Japanese workers are nevertheless entering Japanese corporations and workplaces in record numbers.
But Japanese offices are also notorious for their long hours, slow pace of advancement, and frequent, long meetings. Traditional Japanese companies seem stuck in an old-school work culture even as companies in the rest of the world offer increasingly progressive work-life balance programs, workplace perks, and office hours.
With this stark contrast in mind, our Japanese sister site tracked down seven non-Japanese workers to get their for-realsies impressions of what it’s actually like to work at a Japanese company.
According to statistic, anywhere from one to two million people visit Japan per month, and more foreigners are working and living here than ever before. That’s a lot of people hopping a plane over, and especially if yours is a one-way flight, preparing yourself mentally before you arrive in Japan is just as important as the physical things you pack with you in your suitcase.
Think you’ve done all your research when it comes to the Land of the Rising Sun? Check out this video on five things you should know before making the big move.
When visiting or moving to another country, usually eating local food and going sightseeing is par for the course, but sometimes just doing everyday things the local way can be rewarding. After all, if you’re already taking the plunge to change your surroundings, it’s the perfect time to re-invent yourself, too.
This is exactly how one Australian felt after a trip to a Japanese hair salon with friends, which he learned was a surprisingly different experience than getting a shampoo and cut back home.
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.
Visiting Japan is one thing, but living there can be something completely different. When many people first visit the country, they get the oohs and aahs of the bright lights in Tokyo and the cultural experience of Kyoto, with plenty of temples, shrines and good food along the way, and by no means is that a bad way to do it! However, you there are some things about Japan that might not sink in during just a brief visit. Living in the country is a unique experience in both awesome and frustrating ways; there may be times when you never want to leave, yet times you feel far from home.
A recently released video gets into some of these complex feelings of foreigners living in Japan in the aptly titled video: Japan Feelings.
Back when I was still living in the UK, I would have never dreamed of spending an entire afternoon working on my laptop in a cafe. Places like Starbucks or homegrown coffee chain Costa are places to go, pay slightly too much for caffeinated beverages, leaf through a book or newspaper, then be on your way. They’re not for doing your homework or earning a living.
Thanks to the birth of WiFi and ultra-light laptop computers, however, the sight of people commandeering tables for hours on end is no longer such a rarity, and I, it has to be said, am one of them. Which is where I witnessed an unusual little episode involving a grumpy old man with a comb-over, his quiet, sweater vest-wearing friend, and a young woman who may or may not have been a matcha-drinking guardian angel.
After living here for the best part of eight years (five in the country, the rest in the capital) I’ve come to realise that for all the talk of Japan being kind of an oddball nation, it’s no weirder than anywhere else, and perhaps the only reason people here sometimes come across as so quirky is because the rest of the time they mind their own business and just get on with things quietly.
One thing that never fails to astound me when I go out at night in Tokyo, though, is the almost superhuman way in which some businessmen – despite looking like they’ve consumed more alcohol than I ever could without ending up in hospital or featured in the local news – still manage to remain upright and even have the wherewithal to navigate the city’s labyrinthine stations, board a train and get themselves home.
Here are some words about this. Read them if you want to.
One of the most frustrating parts about living in Japan was when I would go out to dinner with my husband. No, it wasn’t because I wasn’t able to read the menu or because I don’t like Japanese food – it was because more often than not, the server wouldn’t speak to me.
Since my Vietnamese-American husband cannot speak or read Japanese, I would always do the ordering. What the servers saw was a woman with a caucasian face speaking Japanese and what appeared to be a Japanese man not ordering for himself. After placing my order in Japanese, the server would turn to my husband (who couldn’t understand anything she was saying) and ask follow up questions about our drink order or any add ons. I would in turn, translate for my husband in English, and then answer our server in Japanese, but any remaining questions would be directed once again to my husband. This language triangle would continue until all the ordering was completed.
Of course, this didn’t happen every time, but enough for both my husband and I to take notice. When relating the story to my friends, many would confirm that they have encountered a similar situation. Some would posit that the server thought my husband was letting me practice my Japanese and was looking to him to confirm that’s actually what I wanted. But no matter the reason, I was always left a little frustrated.
A recent video on YouTube titled, “But we’re speaking Japanese!” confronts this exact situation, bringing light to a lingering stereotype in Japan.
If you are a mayonnaise hater, stay out of Japan. You wouldn’t think it, but the good ole American companion to Wonder Bread is a staple of down home Japanese cooking. From potato salad to lotus root smothered in mayonnaise, at least in Chibu where I live, you can’t sit down to a meal without some mayonnaise-based dish on the table. Aside from being a main dressing for side dishes, mayonnaise is squeezed atop traditional Japanese dishes such as okonomiyaki (Japanese “pizza”), takoyaki (fried balls of dough with squid in the middle), yakisoba (a noodle dish), and many kinds of katsu (fried meat).
Not a day goes by here at RocketNews24 without a member of the team expressing their love for the country or uttering the phrase “only in Japan!” in a tone not dissimilar to that of a parent telling friends how their child tried to glue a toilet roll to the dog’s head to make a unicorn.
But even the cutest child gets on their parents’ nerves from time to time, and we all have to let off a little steam.
Over at My Navi News, reporters took to the streets of Tokyo to interview foreigners living in Japan to find out what irks them about the country that, usually, they love so much…