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Post Reply Why Non-Japanese Otakus should NEVER visit Japan
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28 / M / San Francisco, CA
Posted 6/14/14
I have been to Japan a few times and it's fun but I must say it is ridiculously expensive out there.
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20 / F / inside Schrödinge...
Posted 6/19/14 , edited 6/19/14
I have been learning Japanese in an immersion setting for a long time, which gives me a fair base of reference about Japan and its culture. Additionally, I have been to Japan several times, and my latest visit was a six-week homestay, which meant living in a real Japanese household (with an older couple, by the way) and going to a real Japanese high school. (albeit as a guest student. I wasn't getting grades or anything.)
There has not been a single time I felt discriminated against because I was an American while I was in Japan. If anything, it's kind of the opposite. Of course, I stand out quite a bit, yes, but that's to be expected. If a person with bright blue skin (or some other really non-typical skin color) was walking down the street, you'd stare too. My host family was amazing, and all of my classmates were super-friendly. In regards to anime and so on, it actually served as a conversation starter with some students I met from other classes. Also, I would watch Space Battleship Yamato on TV with my host father, as well as several samurai dramas and detective shows.
It is definitely worth going to Japan if you're interested in it, and is not disrespectful to Japan at all, assuming that you are following the normal sorts of courtesy you would when visiting another country. So, yes, as rukialuvr93 said (2nd post) "Don't be loud. Don't be obnoxious. Don't be rude. Don't be pushy of your beliefs, likes, and customs on people. You are in THEIR country." (And actually, a tip for manga fans who are going to Japan: there's a chain of used bookstores called Book-Off, and they have amazing selections of like-new mangas, for a great price! That is, if you don't mind that they're in Japanese...)

One caveat to my previous position, though. It's true: being an "otaku" is not a cool thing in Japan. It has nothing to do with what nationality you are, it's just that proudly announcing you're an otaku is a bit like proudly announcing that you shut yourself into your room for days at a time in the dark, are unable to interact normally with people, and only leave to get food and other necessary supplies. (For examples of otakus, Sora and Shiro from No Game No Life are great examples, at least in the first episode. Shintaro from Mekakucity Actors is another one.) In Japan, the word otaku describes someone who has an unhealthy obsession with something. So, yeah, not a positive connotation. However, just saying that you like anime and manga is not going to make anyone in Japan upset. Also, I'm just going to say that I've noticed that some people have misguided impressions of Japan and Japanese culture based off of anime and so on (weaboos...), and a.) that's like somebody basing all of their knowledge of America off of action movies and Westerns, which would be ridiculous and b.) those people will in all likelihood be disappointed if they go to Japan.

In regards to the example scenario: "It has been 1 year after the WTC attacks, and it is still fresh in Americans minds. Then, out in public, you spot a Muslim guy dressed in an American flag suit talking to some other Muslims how much he loves The Simpsons, Nicole Kidman and Budweiser. Wouldn't that upset you a little bit?" Pfff, no. It'd be great! I think that would show that they are losing their hostility towards us, and that would be a step towards reconciling. Even if the interest in a culture is somewhat superficial (the Simpsons and an American flag suit?), it is a first step.
(By the way, rukialuvr93, just pointing out a non sequitur here, but if Japanese people find Americans embracing anime and Japanese culture so disrespectful, and you and your friend are such big fans of Japan, wouldn't it be better to respect their wishes outside of Japan as well and stop watching anime and reading manga? Also, the word "ravish" is used somewhat incorrectly. Americans did not "fill (someone) with intense delight; enrapture" in the 1940s, and I don't think "seize and carry off (someone) by force" is what you meant either, although that did happen in the US, with the internment camps. Were you looking for a word more like "razed" or "destroyed" or "invaded"?)

Also, about the statement, "My friend and I love and respect Japan so much that we refuse to disgrace their native land by stepping foot onto it." If you are an American, that is hypocritical. Although I really don't know as much about this as about Japanese culture and I'd like to avoid acting like I'm an expert on areas that I honestly don't know all that much about but... What about the Native Americans?
I mean, in regards to the war with Japan, that was instigated. I'm not going to make a judgement on whether the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified, but we did have a fairly valid reason to be at war with them. Japan was beginning to invade other countries and was allied with Germany, and I'm not going to go into what Germany was doing at the time, because a.) it would take too long and b.) I assume most people would know that already if they're participating in this conversation. European settlers had no such cause to start killing off and persecuting the native inhabitants of America. If anything, taking over land that is already inhabited is basically what the Japanese were doing, so we're in no position to judge. (I feel like my argument is going in circles... ^-^; )
"The United States killed over 800,000 Japanese citizens with the atomic bombs they dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II." Well, a brief search on Google seems to indicate that at least around 20 million Native Americans were killed by settlers over the course of American history. (Which does include Native Americans killed in wars, I believe.) For those of you out there who, like me, have problems understanding numbers: 20,000,000 > 800,000.
So, yeah. A bit hypocritical for someone to say that want to respect a country that Americans had a war with by not going there, when Americans live in a land that they killed millions of people to take possession of.

So, in conclusion to my unexpectedly long rant-ish: It is absolutely fine for Americans to go to Japan, even if they are not of Japanese descent, and even if they really like anime. It is not disrespectful for Americans to like anime, as long as they do not try to force mistaken beliefs about Japan onto people they meet. (Which is just common courtesy in general.)
If anyone sees any serious inaccuracies in my post, let me know (politely, please), and I'll see about fixing it.
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25 / M / Brooklyn, NY
Posted 6/19/14
I have no words for OP.

There's no use in reiterating when so many awesome people have taken the words out of my mouth already.

Oh used Fast and the Furious as a reference.

My lawlz were made.
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25 / M / Pennsylvania
Posted 6/22/14
This might be the dumbest thing I've read today. OP you are so far off from the truth that it's actually kind of sad.
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27 / F / New Jersey, USA
Posted 6/23/14
OP got problems.
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Posted 6/27/14

rukialuvr93 wrote:

..and although its been almost 50 years since we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

You might want to think that one over again.
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25 / M
Posted 6/30/14 , edited 6/30/14
I've learned so much...
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24 / M / Disboard
Posted 6/30/14
Tl;dr I still want to visit Japan! I am really interested in their culture and lifestyle! ^-^
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22 / F / Virginia
Posted 7/13/14 , edited 7/13/14
It is true that pretty much 99% of the people in Japan are Japanese. You will inevitably stand out as a foreigner, and if you cannot deal with that, then perhaps you should not travel there.

I also think that if you over glorify Japanese culture in your mind, and what once was a passionate curiosity becomes a burning obsession, you may want to re-evaluate what you think you're going to find if you go there.

Still, not everybody interested in Japanese culture is overly obsessed. Not every non-Japanese person who wants to travel to Japan will go there with unreal expectations. I think for most of us who wish to go to Japan, we want to travel there to broaden our horizons. Cultures like Japan, Korea, or China are completely foreign to us. We could probably travel to France or Italy or any county in the west and we would find familiar things there.

But I want to travel east. And first and foremost, I want to go to Japan. That's the country that first sparked my love for eastern culture.

Because it's so very different. Because when I go to Japan, it's 99% Japanese. Because it is unfamiliar. Because from there, I can see the world from an entirely new perspective.

Therefore, instead of warning those who are curious about Japanese culture not to go, let's encourage them and teach them what to expect when they do finally decide to travel.
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21 / F / Las Vegas, Nevada
Posted 7/14/14 , edited 7/14/14
Hahaha I'm laughing too hard at OP to even respond seriously. I can't believe someone actually wrote this.

I'm glad there are many people responding intelligently.

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27 / M / on your lap, purring
Posted 7/20/14
I just got back from my 11 day vacation there. Couldn't be more satisfied.
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22 / M / Toronto
Posted 7/25/14 , edited 1/3/15
I'll say this. Japan does not house the nicest people in the world. Especially the newer generation. Doesn't help that I'm half-Chinese.
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M / Colorado
Posted 8/8/14
Wow, first day going through the forums and this is what makes me make my first post...

I lived in Japan for 3 years when I was in high school. That was before I was even into Anime that much. I loved it over there. Everyone was so nice and great that I would pick fights with stupid Americans that would go over there and complain on the train that they though Japan was backwards... Throw one out of a subway car once.

If you base you opinions on something like that, then please go coward into a hole somewhere and never leave. The only time I had any reason to feel any where close to that was when I visited the ground zero museum in Nagasaki. As we were leaving, I could feel the glares from people eating into my back but in 3 years that was the only time. There were people that I knew that it would come up in conversion and we both agreed that it was the only option to end the war and basically said no hard feelings.

They are a lot more forgiving than I believe you are, sir.
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26 / F / Tx
Posted 8/12/14
Different people will have different experiences when traveling abroad or visiting a country different from their own. I see no issue with people experiencing something new (and that they like/love) for themselves.
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24 / M / Canada
Posted 8/18/14
What about Canadians? As much as they don't like outsiders, who can be mad at Canadians?
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