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Getting on with the neighbours and other challenges In Japan

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

  1. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    Really!? I know nothing about this.

    But I essentially get what you're saying and agree with it. "In my personal experience", in Inaka I've found it much easier to get to know people and make friends. I think it's just down to fewer people and more shared experiences - everyone goes to the same places and knows the same people, so easy to find common subjects to talk about.
    Obviously having hobbies is a good way to bond. May be a luxury you don't have time for if you are just here to run a business though.
    Also if there's a significant language barrier, it will naturally take much more effort on both sides.

    End of the day, friendliness is generally reciprocated.
     
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  2. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    You misunderstood the question. I did not ask why.
     
  3. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Four Japanese cities where I lived, the two inaka ski resort villages where we own ski lodges, etc, all have such international associations. There are both public ones and private ones. 猪苗代町 = Inawashiro village = a ski resort inaka village has about 10,000 population and they have an international association. If the population of the village is very small, they might not have one, but usually, there is a bigger village / city nearby (Japan is a small country with a lot of population, as you know). For example, Aizu Wakamatsu city is only 20 - 30 min drive from Inawashiro village, and it has 120,000 population. Around Aizu Wakamatsu, there are many small villages. Even if the small village doesn't have one, it's only short drive to the village / city where there are those associations / parties.

    Japanese people are teaching those foreigners Japanese language for free. Foreigners are teaching Japanese their languages and cultures. In many cases, they cook together. They do it every week. Local churches are doing the same things. Speaking of a rural village where I was grown up, American university students from Oklahoma are sent to a church in the Japanese very rural village every year. They teach local Japanese people the Bible by use of very simple English at the church for free. Because they are students from a Christian university in Oklahoma, they use the Bible. The local Japanese people can learn English for free. So, it's win-win. The church is hosting a party every week. I've seen those organizations almost in any small villages.
     
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  4. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Eek! I find missionaries a very disturbing thing. I hope the Japanese do not think this is typical of westerners.
     
  5. crackson

    crackson Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    While we're here, has Japan discovered mountain biking yet?

    It must be a beautiful place to ride.
     
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  6. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    It's not free, the cost is your eternal soul!
     
  7. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Actually, mountain biking has been getting bigger here in recent years. Not sure if it's getting popular but at least a lot of ski resorts here have started having MTB courses. Japanese ski resorts are trying hard to attract more guests in green seasons as well and Japanese government & local government have started helping Japanese ski resorts to make MTB courses. Last week, Tazawako ski resort also announced they will make a MTB course and I often hear similar news recently. Minowa, etc also newly made MTB courses this year.
     
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  8. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes it has been there for quite a while. I can only speak about my local resorts but Madarao has undertaken some major works recently for mountain biking. I think Akakura Kanko(it might be one of the other resorts) has had some for quite a while. Suginohara has an on snow race at the end of the season. Togari onsen now has fat bikes in winter.

    Others will know more about this than me.

    Oh there was BMX championships somewhere near the now Lotte Resort at Arai before it closed, so a few years ago. An Australian won it and my translator visited him in Aus.
     
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  9. TACKIE

    TACKIE One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    MTB has become very popular at Hakuba. Quite a few very good riders residing there, both local and expat.
     
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  10. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Good electric mountain bikes have become available in recent years and some ski resorts here have started having e-MTBs as well. I think it will help a lot of people go to ski resort mountains in green season. Personally, I'm not very interested in downhill, but I'm interested in climbing while seeing great nature views. Without motor's assist, climbing a mountain tends to be too difficult for average people. By use of an e-MTB, mountain / hill climb becomes a lot more easy for average people.


    Mt.Bandai region is popular for MTB too.
     
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  11. David-eTO

    David-eTO Early Days

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    Just a personal experience with a similar situation.
    I came to Australia to study English and am blonde with blue eyes.
    Most of my classmates came from Asia: China, Vietnam, Korea and Japan.
    After an initial period of observation they started talking to me and the first question was always: "what are you doing here?" to which I replied "I'm studying English" which left them completely speechless.
    I mean a white person who is not from English-speaking country? Unheard of! :):):):).

    I'm sure you see my point.
     
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  12. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    check out Dan Carlin's podcast on the japanese political situation in the leadup to WW2, from the late 19th century. He tells a great tale but it's quite a long listen. Very interesting.

    https://www.dancarlin.com/product/hardcore-history-62-supernova-in-the-east-i/
     
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  13. Goski

    Goski One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    My least favourite memory of being in Japan is my interaction with two arrogant Mormon missionaries in Yoyogi Park. I was sitting having a rest and a snack when they sidled in and engaged me in conversation. When I asked them what preparation they had done to come to Japan they replied they hadn't learnt any Japanese or done anything specific for Japan and they seemed to know nothing about Japan. Then they started questioning me about my beliefs and trying to convert me. I'm an atheist and increasingly an anti-theist so the interaction quickly degraded. I left them with some forceful parting words. They had come to Japan to convert the Japanese but I think they'd resorted to approaching westerners because they had no chance with Japanese people. Their cultural arrogance was "enlightening" for me. I hope all Mormon missionaries are as inept as those two
     
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  14. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    missions are cultural genocide
     
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  15. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    Cultural imperialism, at least.

    Found the following at https://www.abwe.org/serve/countries/japan - basically "Japan's great and has a rich culture but unfortunately they are all wrong and are going to hell and we must change them"

     
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  16. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    So, ski villages like Kutchan (Niseko) are like Tokyo, where there are a lot of English speaking services and a lot of English speaking people (both foreigners and Japanese). However, everything is a lot more pricey and you are just one of many foreigners, so local people might not be very motivated to choose you to talk with. Plus, a lot of English speaking business owners in the ski village might mean the business targeting visitors from abroad is already oversupply.

    For the reasons above, being in Inaka can be easier (not always, though). Speaking of Fukushima Prefecture, there are some ski regions. Aizu Wakamatsu city is located in the center of the ski regions. Cities like Aizu Wakamatsu city have international cultural exchange organizations. Trying to find new friends there can help you start the business there.
    https://www.facebook.com/awiajp/
     
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  17. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    tell that to the culturally decimated tribes of new guinea and the pacific islands.
    sorry I was being more broad than just referring to Japan.
     
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  18. crackson

    crackson Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'm detecting a pattern.

    Extroverts struggle in Japan.
     
  19. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    By the way, the number of tourists from abroad to Japan has become 3 times in 5 years between 2013 and 2018 (from 10 millions to 30 millions). The number of foreigners working in Japan with proper visas are also increasing rapidly since 2013. 718 (thousands) in 2013 became 1,460 in 2018, so twice in 5 years and the number is very likely to keep increasing further. The increase will make the whole society of Japan "more ready" to accept foreigners, IMO. I feel a big change both in Tokyo and inaka villages where we go for skiing and fishing. Northern Ibaraki = inaka. Very small local stations, where there were not foreigners around 2012, now we saw some amount of foreign workers there.
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Funnily enough we had new neighbours directly opposite move in a few weeks ago - only spotted them a handful of times, polite wave a hi to date, but haven’t really had much more than that with all the other neighbours either given the new normal of coronavirus...
    BUT I overheard her calling out to her husband this morning - they’re Japanese! Time to step up the neighbour game.
     
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  21. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Haha, actually, being extroverted is better to find friends in Japan too. If you are introverted, being Inaka can be easier to get friends for the reasons I wrote above. In big cities, there are a lot of foreigners and you are just one of many foreigners for Japanese people. If you are in a inaka village, even if you are very introverted, local Japanese people will talk to you because there aren't many foreigners in inaka villages and you are a rare person (it's matter of supply and demand)
     
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  22. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Reminds me of a funny story I had almost completely forgot about. A few years back I was in a Japanese food court in a mall having lunch. A couple of guys came in, in suits with badges. Obviously Mormons. They saw me and asked if they could sit with me at the table, even as I was just finishing up my bento. One of the guys was a bleached surfer looking dude who I never would've picked for a Mormon. We exchanged pleasantries and then they asked did I live in Joetsu? I told them yes, and then they wondered what I did. "I'm a priest at the local Catholic church", I said. This shocked them a bit and the conversation stopped. So I enquired in return, "How are doing here? Winning many converts?". They seemed heartened by this and started to talk about some meaningful conversations they'd had. I said, "Well, I hope you're not trying to convert any of my flock.". They laughed nervously and started talking about God's will and hearts being open before I held up my hand and stopped them. I then curtly fired off, "Because, if you are, I know some people and they will find you and break your legs." I smiled, got up from the table and cheerily exclaimed, "Have a nice day" before turning on my heel and leaving. I would so love to see what went into their mission report that day! LOL:eek::whistle:
     
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  23. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    They can't be real Japanese. They would've knocked on your door with a gift for you and to introduce themselves. ;)
     
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  24. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    LOL Covid times MG
    I would’ve done the same when I moved in but thought better of it being a dirty overseas returnee.
     
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  25. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    They could just leave the gift with a note and do ピンポンダッシュ LOL

    [​IMG]
     
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  26. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    That’s actually hilarious.

    One of our group of school friends was a Mormon - in fact her Dad was Bishop of the local Mormon Church. She got whisked off to SLC when she showed an interest in a young man outside the church. Married in months to a SLC fellow, still married, and her two boys have now grown and done their mission and national service. Thankfully they chose to serve their mission in Canada. It’s always struck me as a bizarre thing - sure go as a missionary to work in schools, or hospitals, or immunisation programmes, health programmes in third world locations etc. You want to convert people? Open a church, become part of the community and do it that way. Door knocking? To me it’s lazy evangelism.
     
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  27. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    So her dad flew her overseas to marry someone? Wtf
     
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  28. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    In my experience this isn’t really a thing anymore. I gave gifts to my neighbours in Japan when I moved in. None of the new Japanese neighbours have given me gifts. And when we had Japanese neighbours here in Aus they did not give us gifts when they moved in.
     
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  29. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Missionaries and the whole concept are pretty disrespectful of other cultures. Imo even worse when they go to 3rd world countries. How would we feel if someone came here and said we were ignorant primitives and our whole culture was irrelevant and wrong?
     
  30. Jacksong

    Jacksong Addicted

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    Have always found Japanese especially interested in asking where I am from before making assumptions. Just my experience though.

    Australians on the other hand.. "Where in Australia are you from?" Maybe it's because I have blonde hair and blue eyes?

    You sound like a real minority at your school, kind of like an alien or Yeti. Must have been fun :)
     
  31. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Unfortunately common in some cultures. Makes me forever greatful for my amazing parents.
     
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  32. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Theres loads of anti bride trafficking ads in aeroports these days.

    Disgusting.
     
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  33. Jacksong

    Jacksong Addicted

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    In some areas of rural Japan, it actually seems just as difficult for Japanese outsiders to move in than foreigners. Would be interested to hear Ramenman's thoughts on this. Not the actual act of buying property etc, but being accepted.
     
  34. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    None of my neighbours at Chalet Myoko grew up in the area. Whilst they have been there for a relatively long time they are not "locals" even though they are now completely immersed in the community. In my first year they were incredibly helpful, in part because they were worried about me, and in part because they know how hard it was for them. And whilst most of them are happy to help when asked or if they see me struggling, now they know me they know I try not to impose and I am quite capable.

    We have one member of our neighbourhood association who is on the boundary. Because we are, mmm, more tolerant, less involved in the local politics, etc, he chooses to be in our neighbourhood association.
     
  35. Jacksong

    Jacksong Addicted

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    That's nice to hear you had a positive experience. The only time I have heard of neighbours in Japan being very unfriendly is due to incorrect snow clearance or incorrect garbage disposal. Basically, doing something wrong.

    A friend owns a lodge in Japan. Each year at the start of winter, the neighbour comes over for a chat to ensure he can still use the pond to push his snow (the pond is on my friends land). He doesn't need to ask, but he does every year as common courtesy.

    I see a lot of talk about racism in countryside Japan, but because the same thing happens to 'outsider' Japanese as foreigners, I wonder if it's more xenophobia, fear of a stranger/outsider.
     
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  36. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Pretty much.
    The friend group were horrified at the time, but 30 years on she is still in love with the guy and he treats her very well. You never can tell, eh?


    Oh I’m sure.
    The Book of Mormon packaged that up in a comical way - I am sure absolutely atrocious things have gone on.

    What I meant was if service was the goal why not volunteer in these areas. One of my kids did a service trip into Nepal where they worked their butts off in vulnerable communities building garden beds and planting veggies in an orphanage for example. They went under a religious banner - but the majority weren’t religious kids - just wanted to do good. The Mormon Missionary thing kinda bypasses this and just sends young men off for 2 years to knock on doors and be constantly rejected and have the sprinkler turned on them. They’d get better conversion results, you know, running free immunisation clinics in Arusha while wearing a t-shirt saying “I’m a Mormon, ask me how you can be one too”.
     
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  37. TACKIE

    TACKIE One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Seems to be plenty of JW door knockers in Japan. Always local women.
     
  38. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just don’t get the door knocking aspect of any religion - or fund raising for that matter. Make yourself visible and easy to access and if people want your services or to donate or whatever they’ll find YOU.

    (Can you tell home is my sanctuary?)
     
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  39. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Religion is, somewhat ironically, a product of evolution. Ones that don't spread (by force, coersion, evangelism, breed/indoctrinate) perish leaving us with annoying door knockers.
     
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  40. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Are there?
    It certainly does seem to be regional. Perhaps centered around certain churches.

    Last house I would get JWs once a year, this place so far so good. Haven’t noticed any in Japan. But my boys live near a Mormon Tabernacle (maybe 3 blocks but a main street in between.) and they’ve had quite a few visits in the year they’ve been there.

    The big question - what’s the Japanese equivalent of putting the sprinklers on? :eek:
     
  41. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    You can get these stickers that supposedly ward off the NHK man... maybe there's an equivalent for evangelists.
    [​IMG]
     
  42. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ha! Never realised it was such a big problem.
    https://easylifejapan.com/nhk-fee/
    (probably because we pay the fees lol)

    You’d think fees for a national broadcaster would be sorted in a levy via local government or through allocations from taxation, not relying on door knocking and harassment for financing the service.

    Just more “only in Japan” I guess.
     
  43. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I have not heard about the JWs in Japan before. In my street we have a Catholic church. There are missionaries somewhere near Lake Nojiri that I have heard disparaging comments about.

    I met a western woman at the local 7/11 who was effectively a missionary. She was staying in a place near the station. I was with a Japanese person and I felt obliged to explain that she was a missionary. Their response was that they knew, and would just be agreeable face to face but then ignore it all. In the middle of winter this woman contacted me and asked me to help her because something had failed. I visited and the instantaneous water heater had failed because she had not had enough ventilation. Everything else still worked. She had more resources than I had my first winter in Japan. But she expected me to move guests out and put her up indefinitely. Yeah, not happening.

    Originally she had a car. But she got rid of it because then she had a reason to ask her neighbours for help.

    I had a guest ( a friend) with me when I visited her. They were amazed at her expectations of me and her neighbours.

    Thing is I am yet to meet a Japanese person who has tried to convert me to their beliefs. And generally they do not discuss their beliefs. There was a shrine at Chalet Madarao. We had a ceremony for the shrine, lodge etc. Some sort of blessing which made the guys working there happy. Afterwards I asked what I should do with the shrine and if they would like to remove it. My concern was me or someone else inadvertently being disrespectful. They took it away. But never have they expected me to take on their beliefs.

    I feel so embarrassed and uncomfortable about the behaviour of westerners going to another country and trying to convert people. It shows a complete lack of respect. I cannot comprehend how anyone would ever think it was ok.
     
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  44. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    No UK had TV licenses. Not sure if they still do.

    We get visited every year. There is no TV at Chalet Madarao so they are invited to check.
     
  45. crackson

    crackson Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's really nice to hear Australians denounce imperial disrespect towards native populations.

    How do you all reconcile that position with what we did and still do to Aboriginals?

    Jw in Japan is bad yet our white supremacist police force jailing every aboriginal they can is ok. And we haven't even mentioned the f'n obscene number of back deaths in custody at the hands of national party cops.

    JW in japan. It's not like they are aussie cops murdering aboriginals.
     
  46. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    Still do.

    Japanese Jehovah's Witnesses do come knocking occasionally, I've always succeeded in getting rid of them without resorting to tears...
     
  47. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    I have another funny story about JW's knocking on my door when I lived on the Japan Sea coast in the mid-90s. No time to type it up today but will try later. Shameless plug - you can find it in my book.
     
    cold wombat likes this.
  48. Asama

    Asama Addicted

    Joined:
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    Location:
    NW Gunma, Japan 1100m asl
    $800 for the paperback!?!? Must be good!
     
  49. TACKIE

    TACKIE One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2002
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    Location:
    warmer climes
    Just say Nihongo with the crossed arms. They just give you a brochure and leave. Unless....they answer with some english, then it gets tricky.
     
    Asama likes this.
  50. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
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    Location:
    上越妙高
    Yeah, LOL. I'll do you one for half that. Even throw in postage.