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  • If you knew then what you know now...

    If you knew what you know now about your experiences in Japan, what would you have done differently before going there? I ask because I'd really like to go to Japan, primarily the Tokyo area (As I'm sure most tourists start at), and I'm wondering how best I should prepare myself. I've done a bit of research on my own, and I've checked a lot of the posts here. I gotta say I didn't really expect Japan to be as racist as those signs make it seem, lol, but I'm willing to deal with that. I would like to go there to be a teacher, as I know some of you have, and I think I could be successful. I'm not planning on leaving right away. In fact I'm going to do some college here before I go. You think 21 is a little young to go off and do something like try to start a new life in Japan? I hope not because I'm going to do it anyways, lol. Anyways, I'd really appreciate it if you'd let me tap into your accumulated wisdoms!!! Thanks ^_^!!!

  • #2
    Hi there

    Hi,

    Actually I'm not the person who is willing to go to Japan. I'm Japanese. However, I've been to some other countries outside Japan and guess some of my experiences would be helpful for you.

    First of all, I think the most important thing is "not having one-side prejudice" wherever you go. I mean researching and getting information on line by yourself is worth to do, needless to say. Although I believe that it would be better for people to consider those somebody's thoughts and stuff as just information not "that is Japan" thing. I hope it makes sense.

    Every culture has good and bad even from the point of view of that Nations. Moreover, the way of thinking to culture and community is totally different in each household. To get to know a different culture takes so much time and if you got your mind opened for new things come you are good to go, I think.

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    • #3
      If I knew what I know now.............hmmmmm

      I wouldn't have come to be honest. I left a good job and a great penthouse apartment in the city to explore a country which I held high regard for, having visited here at a young age....but now...I would say that I would have gone somewhere else to feed my itch to travel and work overseas before settling down.

      I don't think it's very (obviously) anti-foreigner in Tokyo as most Tokyoites would think any gaijin they see is a "silly" tourist....thus...simply a person who can be forgiven for not understanding the Japanese culture because they are only here for a short amount of time....but as for those other gaijins...the ones that actually live here........well...they are criminals!

      Lots of people here are obviously anti-foreigner and sometimes that makes it very very hard to be happy here. I have been to a total of seven other Asian countries, some as a tourist, others as a short term visitor (when I was very young) and I have found Japan to be a very anti-foreigner country

      To be honest, I liked Japan for about 3 months, when i learnt to ignore all the staring and spitting and _____ing....but you can only ignore things for a certain time before they really start to push you over the edge.
      Last edited by kuro_kitty; 2005-02-08, 12:31 PM.

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      • #4
        things id done differently...

        i must say, the spitting aspect is really starting to get to me. occurs almost on a daily basis now. i'd have brought at least a 6 months supply of roll on and spray anti perspirant as im fast running out and as yet havent been able to locate anything similar to what i brought.
        i wouldnt have paid the exorbitant airfare as part of the NOVA package deal. In fact, from what i know now, i wouldnt have applied to NOVA! I would have delayed coming for a year and spent the year learnig as much Japanese as humanly as possible. From what Ive learnt recently, I would have most definitely tried to come here on a scholarship rather tha work for peanuts and be on the rice line!

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        • #5
          Thanks for the heads-up!

          Staring, spitting, and _____ing, eh? lol. Where I'm from most of the non-foreigners around here get upset at the Latinos, mostly because some of them don't speak clear english. I can probably make accurate inferrences from how they're treated and expect that from impatient and intolerant people in Japan. And as for the 3-month-gaijin, I think if I'm tough enough (gulp) I'll stay there for a lot longer than that. I've been thinking about this for the longest time, and I'm sure that I want to go, regardless of the punishment I know I'm asking for, lol. Maybe I will end up being a 3-month-gaijin, but I have to give it a shot. And I'm already a criminal, so there's no problem there... just kidding.

          Funny you should mention NOVA, Lucifer! I had been looking at that company and I was wondering if they paid or if you paid to get to Japan. Now I know! I'm just getting started in taking Japanese 1, so I guess I'm on the right track as far as learning before I go. And scholarship? I didn't know that they had scholarships that go across seas. If that's the case then I'll ask my bank about getting a loan for college over there. From what I've heard education in Japan has higher standards than America.

          I'm currently researching on how to get a Visa, and I'm trying to decide what kind I need. Can you have more than one kind of Visa? I guess what I need is something that covers being a student and an instructor. But since I probably won't be able to get a job as a teacher without a BA or BS degree, I might want to get something that covers student and skilled labor. I'll write my embassy and they'll probably send me a pamphlet or something.

          Thanks a lot for the info guys! I really appreciate it!

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          • #6
            Study japanese

            I definitely would have tried to learn more japanese, especially kanji. It's just damn frustrating to find yourself suddenly illiterate when you move here. Having said that, so far everyone's been quite patient with this bumbling gaijin's attempts at communication.

            I haven't (yet) experienced any of the racism others have talked about. Perhaps it's because I've only been here 4 months, perhaps because I can't understand most of what people are saying, perhaps because I go out much of the time with my Japanese wife and children, perhaps I'm just too dense to notice it. There's racism everywhere, even in tolerant multicultural Canada you will get jerks who blame all their social problems on immigrants. I won't let the ignorant few spoil things for me.

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            • #7
              College courses and part time employment... and coffee

              Yeah, I'll definitely be sure to learn as much Japanese as I can. The only problem is finding a school close by that actually has Japanese classes. At the moment the best I can do is use the Pimsleur learning cd's, which essentially teaches you different ways to say, "I don't know Japanese very well," "Where is [insert name] station," "I'm American," and, "It's nice/bad weather, isn't it?" lol. Just yesterday I had an idea, and searched around the close school districts for high schools that had Japanese classes. I actually found a high school, Phoenix High, that has a Japanese teacher named Atsuko Murakami. Maybe she'll teach me, woot! The most I can do until then is keep saving up with my part time job, continue my freshman studies with the local community college, and listen to my Pimsleur cds while I drink my coffee, lol.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Xephon
                Staring, spitting, and _____ing, eh? lol. Where I'm from most of the non-foreigners around here get upset at the Latinos, mostly because some of them don't speak clear english. I can probably make accurate inferrences from how they're treated and expect that from impatient and intolerant people in Japan. And as for the 3-month-gaijin, I think if I'm tough enough (gulp) I'll stay there for a lot longer than that. I've been thinking about this for the longest time, and I'm sure that I want to go, regardless of the punishment I know I'm asking for, lol. Maybe I will end up being a 3-month-gaijin, but I have to give it a shot. And I'm already a criminal, so there's no problem there... just kidding.

                Funny you should mention NOVA, Lucifer! I had been looking at that company and I was wondering if they paid or if you paid to get to Japan. Now I know! I'm just getting started in taking Japanese 1, so I guess I'm on the right track as far as learning before I go. And scholarship? I didn't know that they had scholarships that go across seas. If that's the case then I'll ask my bank about getting a loan for college over there. From what I've heard education in Japan has higher standards than America.

                I'm currently researching on how to get a Visa, and I'm trying to decide what kind I need. Can you have more than one kind of Visa? I guess what I need is something that covers being a student and an instructor. But since I probably won't be able to get a job as a teacher without a BA or BS degree, I might want to get something that covers student and skilled labor. I'll write my embassy and they'll probably send me a pamphlet or something.

                Thanks a lot for the info guys! I really appreciate it!
                I didn't say my first 3 months were the best...in fact far from it.... my first 3 months were terrible, then I started to ignore the racism and relax about all the unwanted attention I received.....plodded along for a bit longer, found some stuff I really enjoyed, got comfortable in the job, then took a long vacation. Came back here and the racism and spitting and sh@t has been magnified. Not sure if it was the tsunami that had effected my attitude or whether it was the fact that I experienced a ____load less racism in SE Asia, but something has changed my thoughts on Japan this last week or so and I'm not a happy camper anymore.


                Regarding NOVA.....whether or not you have to pay a fee for an interview will depend where you live. For example, people from Melbourne Australia had to pay $250 (I think) for an interview, but people from Sydney didn't have to pay sh@t (hehehe)...but we all had to pay for our airfares.
                Last edited by kuro_kitty; 2005-01-31, 02:46 PM.

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                • #9
                  In my experience here the racism had been minimal, now that may be because Im living in Tomakomai (a small town in hokkaido). The people are very friendly but the city lacks the excitement that i suppose any small city does. Regardless it has its pluses, ice hockey for example, its Japans most famous ice hockey city, pretty convenient for a Canadian I suppose. In short every different area is going to have different pros and cons. For me the biggest plus is moderate temperature in summers, perfect for outdoor activities (about 25C) such as mountain climbing or soccer, golf etc

                  As for Nova, if you want easy, mind numbing, assembly line type work everyday then its the place for you. In the past we had the benefit of some freedom in the way we taught (for example we could use newspaper articles or supplementary books) but recently Nova has squeezed these materials out of the system and made every lesson basically the same regardless of who teaches it. Very structured, very conversation book-like, very boring for teachers especially and eventually students too.
                  In all honesty i think theyve screwed up big time with their new textbook and teaching style but who knows maybe the usagi and overwhelming marketing can outweigh any logistic or internal business mistake.

                  My advice would be to stay away from Nova, theyre tricky as you know if youve read a lot of the posts here and in my opinion theyre going in the wrong direction.

                  Good luck with the research and japanese study.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    what is your "why"

                    Hi there,
                    It sounds like you have been thinking about this for a while. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. It may sound a little trite (spelling?) but your attitude and expectations will have a big impact on your experience. I think there is a parable or some kind of story about a guy who asks about a town he comes to and he is told that it is exactly like the one he left... (sorry, I am not much of a story teller. ha ha... I hope you know the story...)

                    If you have a reason for coming, then find a way to fulfill that reason. And try to get out and experience as much as you can.

                    About the discrimination and such... many people from places like Canada and the US are not familiar with discrimination on an intimate level. Yeah, we know it happens in some places, but we have never been the recipient of such... But then we come to Japan and it happens to us. It can be a huge shock. This does not mean Japan is this huge discriminatory place... it just means that suddenly it is personal. And it will happen to you. But again, your attitude will decide how much it will affect you.

                    For those of you that have only been here a short while, may I suggest you take a few moments and try and count how many people you pass in a day (okay, if you are in Tokyo, that would be next to impossible... try just the inside of the trains..). Now, take a good estimate on how many people you see before you meet a bad, rude, or downright offensive person. Admittedly, this won't be an accurate measure but it will give you a little more appreciation for the fact that the rude and offensive people are the MINORITY! A very small minority!

                    Non-asian foreigners are a fraction of one percent of the population. And even in Tokyo, despite being an "international" city, there are a lot of people who have no clue about life outside this tiny little island. The Japanese people who have more experience (living and traveling abroad) are often embarrased by their ignorant countrymen. Again, they (the ignorant people) do not mean to be rude, they simply do not know any better. (That does not excuse the behaviour, we just need to educate these people better.)

                    I always recommend people to come here. If they have a good time, great! If they have a bad time, hopefully it is a learning experience for them. If you have wanted to come here for a while, then please do so!
                    As for the number of negative posts... I liken it to the numbers/explanations often given in business courses (about marketing and service, etc)... The negative people tend to talk a lot more about their negative experience than the positive or neutral people. Keep that in mind. For many of us, Japan is a wonderful place (warts and all)!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      big, big, BIG error

                      Originally posted by Xephon
                      If that's the case then I'll ask my bank about getting a loan for college over there. From what I've heard education in Japan has higher standards than America.

                      This is probably the least important thing you wrote, but, once I read it, it was very difficult for me to continue on reading. If you think Japan has higher standards than America...particularly at the college/university level, you are sadly mistaken. One of the biggest hurdles many of us who teach at universities (even very GOOD universities) is that education/learning is viewed entirely differently than "back home". For many, going to university is just 4 years of going through the motions...a "rest period" between high school and work. You can fault America for many things (any country for that matter), but - particularly at the post-secondary level - our colleges/universities are some of the finest in the world. And even at those not ranked as one of the finest, the whole philosophy of learning/education is markedly different here. Ask me how shocked I was when I found out grade point averages don't exist for many (most?) students. Actual grades don't matter. That would be fine if someone were interested in "true" learning then; however, such is not usually the case. College/university life is about spending time with friends, working part-time, etc.

                      This is too long and somewhat off topic. However, whatever gave you the idea that Japan has higher standards at the post-secondary level is...just plain wrong.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Xephon
                        I'm currently researching on how to get a Visa, and I'm trying to decide what kind I need. Can you have more than one kind of Visa? I guess what I need is something that covers being a student and an instructor. But since I probably won't be able to get a job as a teacher without a BA or BS degree, I might want to get something that covers student and skilled labor. I'll write my embassy and they'll probably send me a pamphlet or something.
                        D
                        Dont waste your breath and energy, You can only have one visa at a time and if you want to change you have to go into immigration and get the stamp changed in your passport. Either you are a student or you are a full time language teacher, or working part time, under 20 hours a week.

                        Students can work part time in Japan but must be attending school full time.

                        Teaching at a conversation school is not what I call skilled labor. Ite people with degrees paid to chat to Japanese students for 8 hours a day.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by person

                          This is too long and somewhat off topic. However, whatever gave you the idea that Japan has higher standards at the post-secondary level is...just plain wrong.
                          I will second the above post. Japanese universities are nurseries for 20 year olds, where we wipe their bottoms till they graduate.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Xephon
                            If you knew what you know now about your experiences in Japan, what would you have done differently before going there?
                            *I could not drive when I came to Japan, and ended up going to a Japanese driving school for 30man yen. If I got my licence in NZ, it would only cost 3,500 yen. One company I worked for would not hire me without a licence. So I wasted a lot of money learning to drive.

                            *When I was leaving NZ, I thought we would only spend 3 years in Japan. So we put everything into the storage (new washing machine, etc. etc.). I wish I sold everything then making money, as later we ended giving most things away from the storage, including the washing machine, stereos, furniture, etc. The storage is empty now, and we're still in Japan 8 years later, with no plans of moving back to NZ, only go there on business trips.

                            *If I knew I would start a company in Japan, I would not bother with so many Japanese literature courses. I think I would focus my studies more on business, and should've taken at least one accounting paper.

                            Hope this answers your question.

                            Natalia Roschina
                            Director
                            For ALL Co., Ltd.
                            Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kuro_kitty
                              Lots of people here are obviously anti-foreigner and sometimes that makes it very very hard to be happy here.
                              Kitty

                              You are obviously here for wrong reasons. And it is up to you to create anti-foreign behaviour. I have been here for 9 years total, I am as foreign as one can be (blond, outspoken- you name it), and I do not find Japan anti-foreign. Of course, there are anti-foreign idiots, but they are not in the majority. And I have learnt to make the best out of being foreign (my journalism work for example).

                              If you tell the world you are in Japan for money, and that you do not like Japan, you will find not only anti-foreign behaviour from Japanese, you would find anti-you attitudes from many gaijin here, who are here because their heart is here. If you learn more about money, you can learn to make money no matter where you are, and you would not need to be stuck in the country you hate. I know I am lucky, but I felt extra lucky after reading your post, as I live in Hokkaido which I absolutely love.

                              I can send you "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" for 1,000 yen including postage (special price to you), and you read it if you want to learn more about money. If you want it, send me your postal address in the private message.

                              Hope you find your way out of Japan soon. Or find a way to be happy here and stop bleating about it.

                              Natalia @ For ALL

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