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Getting on with the neighbours and other challenges In Japan

Discussion in 'Japan' started by BobGnarly, Oct 4, 2020.

  1. BobGnarly

    BobGnarly One of Us

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    Let me say that the Japan you see as a tourist is not the Japan you will see as a resident. Once the snow melts the farmers come out and they don't want you, they dont need you and they certainly dont like you.
    Places like Hakuba are different because of the sheer volume of foreigners residing there but step outside that bubble and you will be in the realm of some very small minded country side people who are experts at discrimination and exclusion.
    Only the tradies will be nice because they plan to make a killing off you. Gaijin tax is around 50% and you will pay it every time you hire a tradie lol.
    My little town is racist as fck, places like Nozawa Onsen are even worse, there's not enough space for starters, then you have westerners buying up all the houses so the kids who grew up in the town can't afford to buy a house when they get married.
    Think of how mobs of rich Chinese would be looked upon if they bought up all the property in your favourite lakeside easter holiday location in Australia, that's how the small town Japanese locals see you.
    Bring a thick skin if you wish to live in Japan lol. Get in just before the snow hits, get out before golden week, dont learn a word of Japanese and you can exist in that sweet spot that you used to enjoy as a tourist and make a few bucks off selling beds to frothing westerners.

    Trying to go deeper than that will result in discovering the real Japan.
     
  2. zarik

    zarik Addicted

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    I have lived in Japan 4 and a half years near Matsumoto. Wanted to give kids chance to learn the language. Love mountains, culture and country in general. Being a software engineer I also contracted for Japanese companies in Tokyo and Tohoku.

    I will disagree. I was born in East Europe. Japan is FAR FAR less racist then most places in the world, I had more issues with drunk natives and blacks in Canada being racist to me because I am white then I ever had issue with anyone in Japan. There is no gaijin tax if you speak the language. What the hell was your problem with farmers? Honestly they do their thing.. how do you get even in conflict with them? :o I have bought stuff from them at farmers market, I went to gather apples, peaches, grapes etc with kids.. I never had a single bad experience period. In fact they reminded of farmers back where I was born.. except they drink A LOT less.

    I spent years working from coworking spaces in Japan, never had a single issue.

    Wife managed a to crash a car.. interaction with cops? Best one so far, not bullshit of any sort. In fact cops here don’t speed trap for no reason everywhere.

    I hike a lot in the mountains, never a single bad experience with other climbers, hut staff, rescuers, guides, anyone. I had more arguments with people at a crag in Canada and US then in Japan(in Japan being zero).

    Of course if you want to run business directed at Japanese(I wanted to start a climbing gym at one point, realized it was a horrible idea in time) or want to rise in a Japanese company it is a different story. It is REALLY hard. But if you want to live, mind your own business, join local club, get drunk with shrine people, hangout with your kids friend’s families, just enjoy the place. Japan is one of the easiest places to do it, except language, Japanese beyond basics is very hard, writing is just absolutely different level but basics are doable and very worth learning.
     
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  3. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    Don't want to take the thread off down a "is Japan racist" rabbit hole, but just to say this is much closer to my experience, no real unpleasant incidents spring to mind.

    Everyone's experience is different and I don't intend speak for others, but bigoted locals haven't been an issue for me.

    When living in Tokyo there were occasional annoying situations - e.g. being turned down when apartment hunting. If anything moving to a smaller rural community has made things easier because for better or worse everyone knows everyone else's business, so once your face is known you are kind of vouched for. (caveat - I have in-laws locally, which helped a lot, especially initially)
     
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  4. Jacksong

    Jacksong Addicted

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    I'm sure you know, but it's because many foreigners just get up and leave the country, leaving it full of furniture and with things unpaid. Can't blame the Japanese for wanting to protect their business from potential problems.

    I think the big problem for the small villages in Japan is that the children who leave to study do not want to come back. I don't blame them. Memories of freezing cold houses with kerosene smell and doing chores like clearing snow. Imagine arriving to Tokyo, meeting people, away from small town problems, never need to clear snow again.

    I wish more younger Japanese would return to the villages to take over the family lodge. It's sad to see so many just sitting looking abandoned.
     
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  5. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I don’t live year round in Japan but I do spend a lot of time there. My experience is mixed. Just like when we moved from the city to the country in Aus. There are some really nice people and some are just awful.

    There is racism but less towards us than towards the Chinese. Some of it is systemic.But to be honest sexism in Aus has caused me more problens than racism in Japan. Someone once said to me that everything I do in Japan will be watched. My thought was as a female mech eng that is just normal. And ironically the people who have caused me the biggest problems in Japan are westerners.

    The big shock is it being such a mono culture. Makes me realise how multi cultural Aus is.
     
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  6. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    That can still happen when buying / renting real estates in Japan, not as frequently as before, though. It's actually not racism at all. In any countries, real estate owners worry "This person can pay in time?". "How can I communicate with him / her?". Most Japanese people can't speak English well, which makes the owners worry "I can't speak English, then how can I contact and talk with him / her?".
     
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  7. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Mmm but do they worry “ This person can pay in time?” when they are Japanese? If not it is racism. We had a group of multi cultural guests working in Tokyo. The racism re renting was the biggest problem they had.

    It is very typical of the Japanese to be in complete denial of everything in Japan not being perfect. Gteat olace in lots of ways but not perfect. Btw I don’t think Aus is perfect either.
     
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  8. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Speaking of language issues in Japan, I think there are mainly three reasons why Japanese people's English is very poor.

    Reason 1 :
    Japanese economy is the third biggest in the world now (it was the second after the US till 10 years ago), so all major foreign books, movies and anything else are available in Japanese (translated to Japanese), and Japanese people don't need English skills much as long as they live and work inside Japan.

    Reason 2 :
    Japan is an island country, and for most people living near Japan (East Asia and ASEAN), flying to Japan was too expensive. Rich countries are / were far away from Japan (Western Europe, North America and Oceania), which kept globalism away from Japan. So, even for tourism industry, international tourists were not important. However, it has drastically changed in the last 6 - 7 years.

    Reason 3 :
    Japanese pronunciation is too easy / too simple. I mean, it's like if English or Chinese has 100 sounds, Japanese has only 30 sounds. For English speaking people, they can use 100 sounds of English to pronounce 30 Japanese sounds. So, it's easy (Japanese pronunciation might be the easiest of all languages). But for Japanese people, pronouncing foreign languages is quite hard. By use of 30 Japanese sounds, pronouncing 100 sounds of English?. Impossible. For the reason, Japanese people don't have good ears to differentiate foreign words. For example, Japanese people can't differentiate L and R. So, I recently heard Japanese person saying "I'm very interested in the US Presidential erection". Oh, Trump & Biden's ones?. I don't want to see them:p



    Japanese language is a local language spoken only inside Japan. Of course, Japanese people know it and it makes a lot of Japanese people get to like you if you try to speak some basic phrases in Japanese.
     
    #8 Ramenman, Oct 5, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2020
  9. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It seems you really don't understand how many of foreigners are actually leaving Japan without paying. We own real estates inside Tokyo too (apartment rooms). There are a lot of foreign people who are leaving Japan without paying the last 2 month rents. If they leave Japan, they are out of reach for the real estate owners.
     
  10. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    I thought the purpose of 連帯保証 was to protect the landlord from this?
     
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  11. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's still troublesome and time-consuming.
     
  12. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Having said that, I'd say it's just some amount of owners worry too much (I personally don't worry). Nowadays, there are companies that work between landlords and borrowers and they do almost everything on behalf of the landlords including 連帯保証 service, but I guess it was troublesome and time-consuming 20 years ago. Most landlords are older than 50, and many are older than 65. Many of them are still living in 1990s. It has got a lot easier and more simple for landlords, but they still worry (mindset of old people can't change easily). Worrying is a part of racism?. Then, they are racist. I think each person has a bit different definition of racism. If their acts are based on hatred, they are surely racist. Japan is not English speaking international countries such as US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc are, you should not forget it (a lot of people in Japan are not very used to people from abroad, so some landlords are still worried to rent foreigners their properties)
     
  13. Jacksong

    Jacksong Addicted

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    Loaded foreign investors cannot just walk into Japan and do whatever they want like they can in many other countries. It's nice. I always think it's funny hearing foreigners who decide to move to Japan complain about it. As Ramenman mentioned earlier, so many countries are becoming similar and 'westernised' which is boring. Japan is too in many respects but also remains unique. Personally, I think the difficulties make it rewarding. If someone doesn't like me, i'm not going to call them a racist.

    The thought of moving to a small traditional farming village loaded with history, not speaking the language and expecting to be accepted by all the locals is actually quite funny. Not sure where in the world that would happen.

    Back to snow country real estate, Ramenman that place in Kijimadaira looks really nice. I hope that ski resort can survive.
     
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  14. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    I think this is a very fair comment - I feel very uneasy about equating my experiences to those of someone that, y'know, is at a disadvantage from the moment they are born because of the colour of their skin. It's completely different. On the other hand, "I'm worried that foreigners might be a bother, therefore I will refuse to deal with any of them" is pretty much the definition of racial discrimination and I'd like to think it's on the way out.

    It's a tricky one for sure. I have friends in Tokyo who having hit middle age have become nostalgic for their hometowns in the provinces, especially as their parents get older. The problem is they are now tied to jobs and partners in the city and can't easily move back.
    With the rise of work-from-home as a result of covid it would be good if one positive to come out of this would be more opportunity for people to bring their city jobs back to the provinces. More white collar workers with diverse skills returning to small towns and cities can surely only be a positive thing. One of the big problems with the drift to the cities is the most capable and ambitious people are the most likely to leave and never come back, resulting in a provincial brain drain...
     
  15. Jacksong

    Jacksong Addicted

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    Half of Australia think Japanese and Chinese people are the same (especially older generation). referring to all as 'Asians'. My favourite is hearing the Australians who visit Niseko tell me it was full of Japanese people (during Chinese New Year).
     
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  16. Jacksong

    Jacksong Addicted

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    You are much more experienced in Japan than me so know first hand. Could it also be that, "No foreigners ever came here to my village in the 6 generations my family has been here, things have been running smoothly all my life, now I am 80 years old and am scared of change, outside people are coming here and not following the rules".
     
  17. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    I suspect it's more urban landlords hear horror stories about foreigners disappearing in the night and decide it isn't worth the hassle.

    Just personal experience and of course not representative of an entire population, but I've found old people to be surprisingly open minded most of the time. The oldest in society have seen war, lived under occupation, seen poverty, seen boom and then bust - in other words they've lived through a lot of change already and are far less insular than you might expect. I get on great with my grumpy 80-year old neighbour. If anything I'd say the generation that grew up in relative affluence and are now seeing slow decline are more conservative leaning.

    All this is anecdotal, obviously.

    Really interesting discussion (to me at least), I wonder if there is a more appropriate thread for it though.
     
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  18. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Different countries have different rules and those rules are basically designed mainly for the nationals, which makes some services less assessible / available for foreigners. Personally, I don't want to call it a racism. I think some people tend to say "It's a racism" too easily without respecting the culture of the different countries.

    Speaking of buying real estates in Australia, it seems it's more difficult for foreigners to buy real estates in Australia than for foreigners to buy real estates in Japan. Australia has more difficult rules for foreigners to own properties. Do I call Australia racist?. No, I never.
    https://ja.sekaiproperty.com/article/2747/buy-australia-property
     
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  19. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sounds like the garbage situation at Madarao. 40 years no problems. Last season ..... because of a few who refuse to do things as required by the local government they nearly banned everyone, including the Japanese, from having weekly rubbish collection.

    The not following the rules is in part not through not knowing or not understanding. However the rubbish thing, even Japanese who live in Tokyo are shocked by what we need to do. But I don't actually find it that dissimilar to what we do in rural Aus. So sometimes the issues are not quite what we think.
     
  20. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    @Sandy can you start a new thread and move the some stuff please?

    I find it interesting as well. And I agree about that the experience enhanced can be far more open minded than younger people. I sometimes wonder if personality, life experience etc are a bigger influence than age on open mindedness.
     
  21. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    mmm what Australia does has nothing to do with whether or not Japan is racist.

    Sometimes it is hard to accept unsavory things about ones own country. Australians can be very racist. I struggle with that because we are such a multi cultural country that it makes no sense to me. But I cannot control what other people think and how they behave.
     
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  22. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Before I left in 1995 for my first sojourn in Japan the best piece of advice I was offered was ESID. And truly, every situation is different for every person. Some people find it easy and some don't depending on your situation, your location, those around you. It's all luck of the draw.

    The Japanese saying that is particularly relevant is, "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down". Keep your head down, make no waves, conform as much as is possible, agree to everything, forgive all insults and you should be okay. Disturb the wa at all and things might not go well from there.
     
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  23. Jacksong

    Jacksong Addicted

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    Great advice.

    I would like to add while keeping your head down, also putting your hand up to help in the community, like snow clearing / cleaning common areas, showing up to community meetings early, washed and well dressed.

    How many foreigners who buy properties personally gift Soba to their new neighbours? Or ask permission / Advise neighbours before renovating? Respect goes both ways.

    In Japan, I believe you should always ask first when in doubt. A good example is car parking. In Australia there is 'no parking' signs everywhere, 'tow away area'. Because this isn't common in rural Japan, foreign people often park wherever they feel is convenient for them, sometimes it is the private carpark to somebodies house, just because it is not directly in front of the house, a foreigner may think it is ok to park there and plead innocence because there is no sign. So foreigner expects Japanese to put signs everywhere for them instead of just taking the time to ask, or follow the 'P' signs in town, or research on google maps/tourist info where they can park. This is just one example I saw in a Japanese youtube video "what do foreigners do that annoy you".
     
  24. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I think this a little unfair. It is not easy to visually differentiate between all of the asian nationalities just like I doubt if you can visually pick the difference between lots of nationalities. e.g. without hearing them speak, can you tell the difference between people from Australia, NZ, USA, Britain and Canada? Can you tell which European country someone comes from?
     
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  25. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ahhh nahhh
    It pretty fair comment wrt Niseko.
    Spending a lot of time there and talking to a lot of first time visitors - many do lump all Asian faces into “Japanese”. After a bit of time it becomes easier to know who is Japanese and who isn’t. Mostly by behaviour - especially when helmets, goggles and buffs make us ALL look the same.
     
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  26. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Along with the “Every situation is different” idea Ive also come to trying to understand that people aren’t generally racist because they are horrid people, there are underlying reasons and if my behaviour can influence them to question their beliefs then that is good enough.

    My MIL was raised by her grandparents, outback battlers who had an ingrained hatred for the Japanese as a result of WW2. They had been personally effected and the scars ran deep. They were not well educated, not well travelled and their ways were their ways. Meat potato and 3 veg every meal, don’t you try dishing up any of that pasta stuff either!

    When we first started going to Japan MIL could barely hide her disgust and fear. But after travelling overseas for the first time with her daughters family to Malaysia she became more open to the idea of exploring new places. We organised for her to come visit us in Hokkaido and then we journeyed with them (my folks too) to Hiroshima and Tokyo before heading home. Her experiences in Japan have completely changed how she feels about the Japanese. She found the country beautiful and peaceful and the people welcoming and sweet natured.

    I have to believe that people on both sides of racism are mostly similar. They’ve either personally had bad experiences or been raised with a certain belief instilled in them by family or Government and exposure to reality will usually change their mind if they’re open enough and don’t come across the kind of behaviour they have feared. It’s only the minority (true often a vocal Minority) who are truly racist and horrid.
     
  27. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    why am i having visions of the push back in the 90s when the japanese were 'buying up everything', before their economy went all seppuku

    culture clashes. us & them.

    hell, the swedes get ansty when norwegians buy just over the border and they couldn't be more similar, culturally.
     
  28. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Perhaps I should have just quoted this bit:
    The point I was trying to make is that it is unfair to criticise people for failing to visually tell the difference. Do we criticies people for failing to visually distinguish between westerners?

    I have a friend of Chinese descent who runs a lodge and the Japanese initially think she is Japanese. So if they cannot visually tell the difference how are we meant to? Once they realise she is Chinese they are incredibly racist to her.

    And I know people, my age, of chinese descent who are 5th generation Australian. They are Australians. But visually how would you know?

    And then I have a Japanese friend who talks about being descendant from the indigenous Japanese. ....

    Sure we may be able to tell where someone is from by their accent or bahviour.
     
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  29. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Buy Australia first before Joe sells it?
     
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  30. Goski

    Goski One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Humans are tribal beasts. Some have evolved to be able to view other tribes as interesting instead of threatening. Others haven't.
    A current pushback in Oz is against Chinese investment in residential and commercial and farmland in Australia. That ramped up big-time over 10 years ago along with a big increase in migration from China and it is a driver of very high house prices in Melbourne and Sydney. Some resentment or unease from some of the Japanese in Nozawa Onsen, Kutchan et al when the town is being bought up by foreigners must be expected, especially if the foreigners are mostly from one tribe.
     
  31. Goski

    Goski One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Ah those sneaky Norwegians. Probably practically indistinct from the native Swedes genetically too but tribalism is a strong delineator.
     
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  32. Goski

    Goski One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    An experience of what could be seen as racism in Japan was me not being allowed into a Pachinko parlour in Tokyo. I wanted a closer look and to have a go if possible but it wasn't westerner friendly. Aside from that I've felt welcomed and/or tolerated. I try to be a good visitor. That gives along way and I'm not there to buy Grandma's house in the village. On the other side, some foreign investment into the inaka (rural) villages would save some of them from disappearing. I'm confident some Japanese would recognise that. It's usually when too much happens in a short time or when locals are priced out that resentment rises. Or from what I've read about life in Japan, when the garbage isn't sorted correctly!
     
    #32 Goski, Oct 6, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2020
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  33. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    There is sovereign risk with the extensive chinese purchases
     
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  34. Jacksong

    Jacksong Addicted

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    At no point did I mention appearance.

    One example is the stereotype in Australia 'Asians are bad drivers". I wouldn't like it if let's just say Ukrainians (random example) caused a few issues while driving in Japan and the Japanese started saying 'White people are bad drivers'.
     
  35. Jacksong

    Jacksong Addicted

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    I have been denied from my home town casino for dress code, a Chinese guy in his pijamas walked straight in past me and security.
     
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  36. Goski

    Goski One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Silk pajamas? Maybe he was a high roller. Lots of disposable cash opens doors.
     
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  37. Goski

    Goski One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Very much so. Particularly for food security.
     
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  38. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend Ski Pass: Gold

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    Peter Alexander?
     
  39. crackson

    crackson Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    We'd still be mad if we lost the war too.
     
  40. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer Moderator

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    We did. In Vietnam. I think we've got over it.
     
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  41. crackson

    crackson Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Vietnam didn't nuke us. Twice.
     
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  42. Tanuki

    Tanuki Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    And Vietnam didn't invade us.
     
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  43. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer Moderator

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    Yes they did. After the war. We mostly welcomed them. We have been much better off for it.
     
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  44. Jacksong

    Jacksong Addicted

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    Made in China!

    Interestingly, I used to work in a ski shop and Chinese tourists would usually check the tags and would not buy if made in China.

    Many Japanese people do the same, but seem to turn a blind eye when it comes to Apple and other big brands. If the company itself is not from China and has good reputation, no worries where it's made.
     
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  45. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    We regularly hear about gaijin not being allowed into restaurants. And we hear about others who are welcomed in to really small places and shown amazing hospitality.

    My places are in 2 different communities. One realised that having Aussies, and others, buy in the would help them if they managed the situation. They already had a relationship with a resort in Aus. Spanner was thrown in the works when the resort was sold to a chinese company. So far so good but some people have concerns.

    The other one... the people in my street when I arrived were glad to see one less abandoned lodge. Beyond that I get mixed messages. There is the full range from being welcomed and trusted, through not caring or having any relationship, to it being clear we are not wanted or welcome. We being non locals. The people in my street did not grow up in the area and are aware of how hard it can be to fit in.

    Some appalling behaviour by Aussie tourists last season has not helped the situation.

    As a visitor Japan is great. It is safe. The people are friendly and helpful. There is lots to see and exoerience. Public transport is amazing. The snow has to be experienced to be believed.

    But if you are not Japanese it is very difficult to live there.
     
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  46. Tanuki

    Tanuki Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ok then.
     
  47. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    My bad. I made an assumption. If I am wrong perhaps you could tell me on what basis the older Australians are failing to be able to distinguish between Chinese and Japanese,
     
  48. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Getting one or a few local friends can make things a lot easier. Each city / village has at least one international exchange association and they are holding events and parties every week. Due to my father's job, I was grown up in 7 cities both abroad and in Japan (My father has been in charge of building new factories for a "giant" Japanese company, so we kept moving to a new city / new country every 2 - 3 years). Then, I noticed one thing. Inaka village can be easier for you to have good friends. I mean, if you join such parties in Tokyo, 30 foreigners and 30 Japanese, so the ratio is 1:1. In Inaka village, it can be 2 foreigners and 20 Japanese, so the ratio is 1:10. The Japanese people who are coming to those parties / events are very interested in communicating and making friends with people from abroad and I'd say you can make the most of them. Basically, factories are constructed where the lands are cheap, so I was grown up in some rural places too.
     
  49. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Are they though?

    whilst I don’t approve of Japan being nuked I understand why it was done.

    So putting that aside losing the war changed the hierarchy in Japan. Till I spent 2 weeks working with a Japanese handyman who openly discussed this I was very ignorant about this. He talked about his father who had a great fear of authority. During Ww2 anyone who said anything anti the war and the establishment just disappeared. So in the same way that the German population were victims of the Nazis the Japanese were victims of the traditional Japanese feudal system.

    This not a criticism. It is an observation. We are not that far from the same situation where peasants were effectively seen as property. And Vietnam, we sent our young men to fight in someone else’s war.
     
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  50. Jacksong

    Jacksong Addicted

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    I do not know why. Perhaps it's because Chinese represent the largest Asian population in Australia, there is perhaps an assumption if someone is of Asian descent, they must be Chinese? Like some Australians in Niseko figure that since they are in Japan, every other person of asian descent must also be Japanese. It's Just a guess though.