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Cultural Differences Real and percieved

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  • Cultural Differences Real and percieved

    Hey,

    I thought I would start a new more general thread in relation to my older thread about sleeping before my wife etc.... Assumptions you make about japan vs the reality of it... Or contradictory things in Japanese culture.

    Mine is

    Have you noticed how dirty and dusty it can be inside japanese homes? There is this whole preconcieved notion that Japanese are super clean. I mean you have to take your shoes off here and there etc, but you go into the house and it is disgusting.... I was in a number of houses and there was at least half an inch of dust on the wires. I've been in a house where the dog goes for a walk, not to go to the bathroom, but just walk. Once inside the dog gets it's feet wiped with some water.... You know to keep the house clean, but it deficates inside the house! In the living room! Like it is supposed to!?! Somethings not right...there in my mind. I guess in America nothing is more unclean or dirty than unchi. It seems that outside dirt is the dirtiest thing in japan and unchi falls somewhere below that.

    Comments?



    Post Edited (03-11-04 03:32)

  • #2
    Re: More Fake Japanese Culture

    just leave then. really good title...

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Japanese Culture Real and percieved

      1. I don't live there anymore. I did, but it was under my in laws roof and I guess I'm too stubborn to bend to their ways of doing things. I left with my wife and son when okasan started hitting my wife in the face. We were there two weeks when that happened, we were planning on staying years. I studied sociology in college, and I used to be a relativist as far as cultural differences go. After that I'm more and more an absolutist. Some things are just wrong. A Mother smacking her grown daughter in the face in front of the husband is wrong, even in Japan I bet. But her family would have me believe other wise..... I always seem to get these made up rules thrown at me for the other (japanese) persons benefit.

      Does it bother people that it is rather easy to offend a japanese person (at least my in laws) yet they can say offensive things all the time, but we should just take it because "they are japanese" and don't know they are being offensive?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Cultural Differences Real and percieved

        Dirty homes vary with the individual family and perception. My in-laws and other J family members keep their homes spotless, even with pets. Same with other J people's homes I have visited.

        Same thing goes for being "offensive". It's all case by case.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Cultural Differences Real and percieved

          Glenski wrote:

          > Dirty homes vary with the individual family and perception. My
          > in-laws and other J family members keep their homes spotless,
          > even with pets. Same with other J people's homes I have
          > visited.
          >
          > Same thing goes for being "offensive". It's all case by case.

          Yeah, I would have to agree with you. I guess that all goes back to my real vs percieved thing abuot Japan. When I first visited Japan I was quite ignorant and had a positive prejudice about japan. But they are like everyone else in the world.... There are good and bad

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Cultural Differences Real and percieved

            OK I'll add to this.....

            The above post sounds more like personal differences in habit(s) as opposed to cultural differences. As Glenski wrote: "case by case." Our house and my wife's relatives' houses are all very clean but I understand my daughter's husband's in-laws place is a real fur ball - one huge dog and two cats.....so case by case, no?
            R.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Cultural Differences Real and percieved

              3 Big Myths about Japan / the Japanese people:

              1) They are obsessive about being clean
              2) Japan is a safe country (ie, no guns, drugs, whores, mafia, crime or other nastiness)
              3) Japanese people are so very polite and mannerly

              It's amazing how many of my family/friends living outside Japan believe in these 3 myths...it's part of the popular image that Japan (naturally enough) wants to perpetuate. I love telling people stories about the Yakuza, homeless people, glue-sniffing teens and prostitution districts in Japan, just to see their stunned reactions...

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Cultural Differences Real and percieved

                Too many coffee-table books; glossy travel guides and glitzy documentaries, photographed and written by overpaid hacks who parachute into a Tokyo Hotel for a week, travel around in taxis and communicate with the natives through interpreters and translators.

                Echoes of "Lost in Translation?"

                th

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Cultural Differences Real and percieved

                  actually, dr drew, i think most homeless people in japan measure up to your three myths pretty well. clean, safe, polite..... that describes most of the tarp-dwellers ive encountered.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Cultural Differences Real and percieved

                    I have to agree. I've seen and heard from others surprise encounters with exceedingly dirty/cluttered houses that run against the Japanese are "clean people" myth. (Not to say they're dirty, just not uniformly clean...)

                    My first experience in Japan was a homestay with a family that runs a ryokan in Tohoku. I had a great experience but did encounter lots of situations that ran contrary to the perceptions I had developed while studying Japanese and about Japan in the U.S.

                    When I helped clean the dining hall after meals I was to mop the floor with a disgustingly filthy mop and cold water. No soap, no disinfectant. The most important thing was that everything 'look' clean. It didn't really matter if the kitchen floor was crawling with bacteria as long as it seemed clean.

                    I had also been given the impression that "Japanese people do not say 'no' very often." I quickly found out the error of this statement when, while wiping a plastic-coated table top against the 'grain' of the wood my host-father shouted not the textbook taught 'chotto...' or even 'iie' but 'NO! (in English), DAME!'.

                    These experiences led, of course, to greater understandings of Japanese culture (for example, the importance of the father figure - also the shacho in this case - in the Japanese family). Still, when you come with various preconceptions that have been reinforced by media, previous visitors to Japan, Japanese people, and even books that purport to educate one about Japan the first encounter with behavior to the contrary is quite surprising...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Cultural Differences Real and percieved

                      Hey, you might have stumbled across something with the `wood grain` experience.

                      I don`t know why, but I think it`s possible some Japanese people don`t see the difference between real and simulated wood.

                      Exhibit A) Your example of Papa getting angry about wiping a fake-wood table against the `grain`.

                      Ex.B) My husband polishes our 70`s, fake wood cofee tables with lemon oil. (I`ve stopped arguing about it). He pays careful attention to the top...

                      Ex.C) The same person as ex. B calls our kitchen floor `wood`. It`s not. It`s not even vaguely wood-like...unlike the coffee tables... It`s not a matter of vocabulary; Japanese has `bi-ni-ru`.


                      The big shocker for me, though, was seeing Japanese kitchens. They are dark and cold and generally filthy... and I`ve been house-hunting for a year and have seen a lot! When I do buy, the kitchen is going to have to have a complete re-model. It`s no wonder that the kitchen is NOT the heart of family life here.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Cultural Differences Real and I BEFORE E EXCEPT AFTER C.

                        Implausible, here in the "Cultural Differences Real and perceived" thread, to assume morning wood has any hope of gaining and maintaining purchase.... after all, "Japanese people don`t see the difference between real and simulated wood".....

                        Arithmetic is real and colours can be trusted.

                        Carry on.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Cultural Differences Real and percieved

                          Wow, Kent.... can I share whatever you`re smoking?

                          After that, we can place plastic PET bottles full of water around my yard to ward off cats.

                          Then, maybe, we can polish some melamine....together, if you know what I mean...

                          I like polishing melamine with hi-grit sandpaper.





                          OK, the thread is interesting! Let`s get back to it! Please!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Cultural Differences Real and percieved

                            > After that, we can place plastic PET bottles full of water around my yard to ward off cats.

                            Don't be mocking the water bottle trick. It works!
                            I'm the most stubborn skeptic in the world so it totally kills me to admit it. But it's true. When I first moved into our current apartment our tiny garden was little more than a litter box for the neighborhood strays. Out of desperation (the orange peel/garlic/hot pepper mixture that wards off Canadian cats don't seem to have any effect on these little sh*ts) I put out a few plastic bottles filled with water, and the they stopped coming around.
                            I have no idea why it works, but I swear to god it does.
                            The only problem is that now my garden is filled with these ugly plastic bottles...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Cultural Differences Real and percieved

                              Here in the "Cultural Differences Real and perceived" thread, to idly label
                              the plastic bottles as "ugly" reeks of ethnocentrism. THEY ARE YOUR GARDEN GNOMES.

                              RACIST, RACIST.

                              Comment

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