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Post Reply Why Non-Japanese Otakus should NEVER visit Japan
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20 / M / Northampton, MA
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Posted 4/13/13

cortana wrote:

Here's the best advice for when you travel ANYWHERE, Japan included.


Be friendly and open-minded. People will appreciate this and will treat you with the warmth and respect that you offer them. Outside the cities, Japan can be fairly insular, even to the point of cold to people who are not from the local area. That includes other Japanese, as well. Even in such areas, if you're friendly and understanding to people, it breaks the ice, and you will be accepted; perhaps not immediately, but soon enough.


Yes.
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20 / M / Northampton, MA
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Posted 4/13/13

Mono-no-Aware wrote:


rukialuvr93 wrote:

I've watched videos on YouTube of foreigners who have actually BEEN to Japan and i've deduced from all of these videos a general mapping of what to face as a foreigner in Japan.


Well, who am I going to believe...my friends, both Japanese and non-Japanese, who have lived in Japan for countless years, or a 19 year old from MA who is basing his argument on youtube videos.


1. I don't see how my location has anything to do with my intellect
2. These recollection of experiences I've watched on youtube ARE from people who have been in Japan for years.

Your arguement is invalid. Have a great day.
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Posted 4/14/13 , edited 4/14/13
I've visited Japan on three separate occasions --- once for a home-stay study abroad program when I was in University (I studied Japanese language and culture for three years), and 2 subsequent times just for travel, meeting up with friends, etc. I've been to a number of cities across Japan, including Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Regarding how Japanese people view Americans because of WWII --- that's not really at all the problem your friend has made it out to be. You have to keep in mind that Japan was the one that started the war in the Pacific, a fact that is discomfiting to many Japanese people and is often something they'd rather not focus on. Japan used to be an imperialistic, power/resource-hungry nation, whose politicians seem to have considered other countries in the Pacific to be populated by 'inferior races' that were lucky to become a part of Imperial Japan. Japan also committed a number of atrocities during the war (such as the Rape of Nanking, the Three Alls Policy, the Bataan Death march, etc.), and was the first to attack the United States at Pearl Harbor, effectively starting the war between the United States and Japan. Japanese people are generally aware of these facts (despite attempts by many politicians over the years to distort history through textbook revisionism), and I've met a number of Japanese students who were uncomfortable talking with other Asians because they were aware of the stigma drawing from Japan's role during the war. Japan holds a pacifistic stance on nuclear proliferation because of the bombings, though I have never perceived any lasting grudge towards Americans specifically for using the weapon, so much as regret that circumstances elevated to a point where America felt atomic weaponry needed to be used (for the most part, I think Japanese people would rather focus on preventing future nuclear weapons programs, than to dwell on blaming the United States). Feelings may be harsher in Okinawa, however, since the United States has held military installations there since the end of the war, which has been a long-lasting source of contention (though admittedly, many Japanese consider Okinawa to have almost a separate identify from Japan, as Okinawa has a very strong and distinct cultural heritage).

For the most part, Americans and Europeans are looked on very favorably in Japan. Westerners are seen as at the cutting edge of technology, fashion and entertainment. Young people especially are interested in Western culture, and see it as hip and cool.

As a foreigner, it can be seen as nearly impossible to fit in with Japanese culture, but that's an inherent aspect to Japanese culture to begin with. Japan has a culture known as "uchi/soto", which loosely means "inside/outside", and it refers to various concentric spheres of social relationships a Japanese person will have in their lifetime and how personally they'll treat those circles relative to how 'close' they are to themselves. For example, a Japanese person will be very personal within their own family, a little less personal with friends and acquaintances, even less personal with business relations, and very impersonal with foreigners. As you move further out in the circles, you see less of a Japanese person's true self (known as "honne") and more of their polite, outward appearance (known as "tatemae"). This is the cultural nature of Japan, and it's used as a means of greasing the social gears that drive their culture. With that, Japanese people are very polite and good-natured towards foreigners so as not to mistakenly offend or inconvenience them from misunderstandings, and as such will often keep foreigners from getting "close" to them personally.

So is it even possible to get on close terms with Japanese people? Certainly. But it's similar to having close relations with anyone in life --- that is, you have to be able to show you can identify with them and their personal life experiences very closely. Anime, surprisingly enough, is a great segue into being able to closely connect with Japanese people. Although the broad majority of Japanese young adults and adults don't watch anime (almost everyone stops watching after they enter college), they almost all watched anime when they were kids and up through the beginning of high school. I found that talking with Japanese people about some of the anime they watched as kids (like Castle in the Sky, Doraemon, Detective Conan, Dragon Ball, Ranma, One Piece, etc.) was a great way to connect on a personal level with Japanese people, since their childhoods are a very personal and distinctly Japanese aspect to their culture, one they don't often expect foreigners to have any understanding or interest in whatsoever. Video games can be another great segue, and in the past I had some close relationships with Japanese friends because we all played Smash Bros. together. And of course, speaking Japanese, practicing their customs, and demonstrating their particular mannerisms all help in showing that you "get" them and the Japanese way of life. Basically, if you can demonstrate that you can understand them on a personal level related to how they identify themselves, then you can enter into a closer concentric social circle than just "the regular gaijin". If you carry strong American mannerisms, don't understand their language, and don't demonstrate an understanding of their cultures, then they'll just assume you won't be able to connect with them on a personal level, and will keep you at an arm's length (which happens to many Americans).

One thing to consider, though, is that coming across as an otaku in Japan can be a double-edge sword. Many otaku are by their very nature insular, and may be even less disposed to interacting with you or anyone in general (esp. hikikkomori). And FWIW, anime otaku are a sub-culture in Japan, and it's generally looked down on to continue watching anime into adulthood. Things are changing in Japan though (esp. with the more rebellious youth culture that's generally shirking the strong traditional molds of their predecessors), but for the most part it still seems to hold true that watching anime into adulthood isn't considered socially acceptable, and is seen as a sign of social awkwardness. They may view it as just a curious eccentric trait if you're a foreigner, but if they see that you take part in otaku culture to the same level as other Japanese otaku, you may be treated with the same arm-length distancing that they might treat real otaku in Japan. However, if you do happen to meet a friendly otaku, it'll be much easier to connect with them on a personal level, from a shared love and understanding of anime.
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20 / F / California
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Posted 4/16/13
I have lived in Osaka Japan, and went to school there, as part of a student exchange, and not ONCE, have I ever felt excluded or made to feel unequal to them. The family I stayed with was as nice as can be, and when I told them I was an otaku, they got excited that I even knew what the term was. However, the family I was staying with were also to an extent otaku as well. Coming home from school one day my host mother surprised me with an Ace pillow she won in a crane machine and a Tony Tony Chopper shirt that everyone in the family had, to make me feel welcome.

Riding on public transportation, of course because of my darker tone and short curly afro, I did get stares, but that was not unexpected as I get even harder stares in my home country of the United States. Heck, I was even asked by someone if I could give them directions . Students in my classes were relatively helpful too, some wanted to be friends, others could live without =/ as it goes at any school with an exchange student. Whenever I was asked something, it was never "So what is America like? Is it true that Americans __________? Why are you here?" type of questions, they always wanted to know what kind of person I was, if I was asked. The only time I was asked to teach English was when my host sister wanted me to tell her what "baka" バカ was in English so she could tease my other sister

If you go to a certain country and expect to be treated a certain way, then please do not complain. The way you have worded your assumption makes it seem like you are assuming that ALL Japanese will stare at you and make you feel different so you will go away. That is simply not true. I am your age, and I can tell you that if you visit Japan, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. You can't get the same experience if you just watch videos. You've noticed yourself that everyone's experiences are different, so please don't just assume that all Japanese people will treat you that way. That in itself is offensive to the vast majority that don't treat foreigners as unwelcome aliens.
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33 / M / The Netherlands
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Posted 4/16/13 , edited 4/16/13
I thought I had posted it before, but I cannot find where I did so I may not have.

I am genuinely interested in the Youtube videos the OP is speaking about. Mind linking them and let us judge for ourselves?
Because I think hardly any of us can find ourselves in anything you are writing down, regardless of how huge a wall of text you are posting.
Many of us have been to Japan ourselves several times or even live there so speak from personal experience, which we take above the word of someone who speaks based on Youtube videos from complete strangers which are not shared with the rest of us.
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16 / M / Australia
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Posted 4/16/13 , edited 4/16/13

rukialuvr93
1. I don't see how my location has anything to do with my intellect
2. These recollection of experiences I've watched on youtube ARE from people who have been in Japan for years.

Your arguement is invalid. Have a great day.

Youtube videos is kind of a weak source to think foreigners are unwelcome in Japan. You only see it from their prospective but never experience it.
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20 / F / ireland
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Posted 4/17/13 , edited 4/17/13
I heard Japan is fine with visitors, they just like to know that you'll eventually leave. You won't fit in of course, but why would you give a shit if your are only there for a holiday?

Your muslim scenario is a bit odd (a muslim wouldn't drink for starters). I'm not from the US but I wouldn't get mad if I saw an English person getting drunk on Guinness, shoving Tayto in their face while dressed as a leprechaun while visiting Dublin. That's just what you do here if you're a tourist.

But otakus by their nature are annoying and the word is very negative in Japan. Just don't act like some annoying dickhead with 'yellow-fever' and you should be fine, as long as your are spending your dough.

Like I said I'm not American, so I guess I don't need to give a shit about the bombs nor do I mind cold receptions, having dealt with Germans and being fairly cold myself.

That said, I have very little desire to actually see Japan, not when I have Europe on my doorstep.
Toyall 
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Posted 4/17/13
So... I'm just going to sum it up.
1. Don't be an asshole
2.Don't be an asshole especially in foreign countries
3. Enjoy yourself

That's pretty much it.
I went to japan, I had fun, made friends, still talk to them, they came over, and I hosted one of them, became even better friends, and I'm staying with him this summer In Japan. Yes I enjoy anime and manga, but I also know when to read/watch and when not to. It's all about how you present yourself in public. If you're nice, they're nice, if you're an asshole, of course they will look down upon you. It's common knowledge, what goes around comes around pretty much.
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Posted 4/18/13
I believe anybody can go anywhere they want...People who have no fear and respect others will be guided to great experiences wherever you go
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Posted 4/19/13
Im 21 years old im playing a trip to japan in the next year or so and was looking to move as well. I live in the same town for years I certainly want to change and get out and explore the world. I do love anime and I always read and watch documentrys on japan and tv shows about it for example Anthony Bordane and Andrew Zimmerman ( I know they most talk about food but who doesnt like food best way to comunicate and same goes to music ) who get to travle and have no such problems being american. I for one live in america but i am origonaly from Guatemala. I have lived here for about 20 years of my life and have not had any problems with making friends. Even my mother and father who bearly know anyone was accepted to american and now we are about to get our american citenzenship application started so we can become citezens instead of so imagrents. I am super shy even though i dont seem like it this trip is my way to overcome the fear that i have go out into the world on my own. I do still have some thing to do here in the states before i go on my tripl. I would like to meet or even become friends with someone who already lives in japan so at least im not totaly lost and even so all i hear is how helpful they are when your a visitor and how nice a place it is. One thing i keep hearing is never expect what you expect it to be which i know a great deal about living in america.
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Posted 4/20/13
I'm also 21 and plan to go to Japan. Though I may wait until I am 23 hmmmmm..... Well anyway, all I need to know is how will Japanese people react to a "Black" man? (Not trying to play the whole ignorant race card game) but let's be honest a lot of black people don't know how to act.... "NOT ALL!" but "A LOT"..... And I don't want to be judged based on ethnicity or what country I am from.
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Posted 4/26/13
In regards to this I will offer a view outside of the original post.

I have been into anime for decades. I figure I fall under what you would call otaku.

However, my reason for going to Japan is not to further live my otaku-ness, or however you want to express it in word form.

No, I go to Japan to see Japan. I go to visit sites, see places, experience its culture, and just simply enjoy Japan as a whole. For me to visit Japan based on an anime is like me basing my visit to Las Vegas on what I see in CSI. Point blank, you're in for a HUGE let down, and in Japan's case: culture shock.

When I go, I want to climb Mt. Fuji, not visit all the sites the tank girls went in Girlz Und Panzer.

The list goes on.

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Posted 4/27/13
*sigh* i love comics/manga and anime/animations in general. i went to japan to live/work for 3 years. i married a japanese national who had no interest whatsoever in comics/anime at all (course it's a little changed now, we read one piece together and watch HxH as a family since we now have small children (or soon to be two).

i made all kinds of friends in japan. i did experience some treatment as an "outsider" but nothing bad enough that i didn't experience in america in one way or another (i am asian american). i also brought my fellow foreign friends into the circles, they were always welcomed with open arms, nerd or not.

i think the key to connecting to people is to always have a variety of interests to talk about. despite not being interested in the same things i am, my husband is still my soulmate, and we talk endless hours about anything and everything. and although he didn't understand my interest, he even helped enroll me into a manga school when i talked about missing drawing.

nerd or not, i think you just need to find the right group of people for yourself. if you're looking for a more like-minded group, that wasn't so difficult in my opinion because they had monthly doujin meet ups which were like mini (but still HUGE) otaku meet ups, cosplayers and artists alike. i went with a friend who was white, but fluent in japanese (where i was not as fluent at the time). she and i were welcomed with open arms. people were friendly.

i am in no way trying to demean the negative experiences that i or other people have went through. i am sure they were all terrible (i had a salary man try and drag me to a hotel thinking i was a junior high school kid cause i looked young, and people crowded around and only watched him do it. until i cried 20 minutes later. second day in japan. and someone stopped my wash in a coin laundry to steal all my underwear. WOO!) but humanity is not as bad as it always seems, and you will find the people who will call you apart of the group. just takes a bit of finding when you wander in without knowing much.

i was age 22-25 in japan. i am STILL friends with everyone we spent time with over there, foreign or japanese. we talk over skype, our families visit each other from time to time, and we're all still best friends. sorry, i know this sounds all rainbows and unicorns on my part but it's luckily my truth. i think going to ANY other country has its positive points, and i wish my kids grow up wanting to do the same if not japan. i encourage anyone to do it. DO IT!
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24 / M / Yuki-shi Japan
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Posted 4/28/13

shotanime wrote:

*sigh* i love comics/manga and anime/animations in general. i went to japan to live/work for 3 years. i married a japanese national who had no interest whatsoever in comics/anime at all (course it's a little changed now, we read one piece together and watch HxH as a family since we now have small children (or soon to be two).

i made all kinds of friends in japan. i did experience some treatment as an "outsider" but nothing bad enough that i didn't experience in america in one way or another (i am asian american). i also brought my fellow foreign friends into the circles, they were always welcomed with open arms, nerd or not.

i think the key to connecting to people is to always have a variety of interests to talk about. despite not being interested in the same things i am, my husband is still my soulmate, and we talk endless hours about anything and everything. and although he didn't understand my interest, he even helped enroll me into a manga school when i talked about missing drawing.

nerd or not, i think you just need to find the right group of people for yourself. if you're looking for a more like-minded group, that wasn't so difficult in my opinion because they had monthly doujin meet ups which were like mini (but still HUGE) otaku meet ups, cosplayers and artists alike. i went with a friend who was white, but fluent in japanese (where i was not as fluent at the time). she and i were welcomed with open arms. people were friendly.

i am in no way trying to demean the negative experiences that i or other people have went through. i am sure they were all terrible (i had a salary man try and drag me to a hotel thinking i was a junior high school kid cause i looked young, and people crowded around and only watched him do it. until i cried 20 minutes later. second day in japan. and someone stopped my wash in a coin laundry to steal all my underwear. WOO!) but humanity is not as bad as it always seems, and you will find the people who will call you apart of the group. just takes a bit of finding when you wander in without knowing much.

i was age 22-25 in japan. i am STILL friends with everyone we spent time with over there, foreign or japanese. we talk over skype, our families visit each other from time to time, and we're all still best friends. sorry, i know this sounds all rainbows and unicorns on my part but it's luckily my truth. i think going to ANY other country has its positive points, and i wish my kids grow up wanting to do the same if not japan. i encourage anyone to do it. DO IT!


well said. I moved to Japan a few months ago and its a blast! Just sucks that Crunchyroll wont let me stream the vids
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26 / M / Mexicali, MX.
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Posted 5/3/13
I have a couple of friends who went to Japan in the past few years and personally I want to go next year; from their words, they were treated extremely well and even though locals are not to keen about foreigners it never actually became an issue with their experiences.
Actually one of them (the one who has been there most times) was invited to a wedding by one of the friends he made there.

I have loved Japanese culture even before I knew anime existed (really, I wanted to be a samurai and actually that was my first dog's name at age 4) and when I finally step into that beautiful land, I hope to make friends. Who knows? Maybe I will stay and live there. MAYBE.
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