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Post Reply Living in Japan ruined anime for me.
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28 / M / under fire
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Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/19/16
Hey. This could be long, I don't know, I didn't exactly plan out how I'm going to talk about this but I just wanted to reach out to people with a disappointment of mine, people who understand and still passionately partake in the industry that I use to be heavily invested in.

So, backstory. I'm English. I lived in Japan for almost a decade. I got married to a Japanese woman. I've seen pretty much everything there is to see, and after I did that, we had a son. I'm absolutely thankful to the gods of fate that led me to her and the creation of my family, and there's nothing I regret at all. We've since moved to near my home away from Japan in the interest of pursuing new directions and experiencing new things, so for now we're giving my home country a try. It's very likely we'll wind up back there eventually but for now, we're trying this out.

At some point, things became simply normal day-to-day life. I went to work. Came home, spent time with my wife/son, went to bed, wake up and do it all over again.

Before I moved there as a bug-eyed curious young person, I was definitely in to anime. In fact I used to post on this website even while living in Japan, despite the fact that all shows and articles are blocked. The site is basically non-functional, and you get a really irritating popup that tells you that the site is basically a butchered version due to licencing stuff, however the forums remained accessible and so I used it as an outlet for a little while to talk about anime during the dying years of my interest.

Anime and "real" Japan are just too completely different.

This seems like a really silly and captain obvious thing to mention but I'll try to elaborate. One of the things that fascinated me about anime when I was younger was the cultural aspects of Japan bleeding through every single piece of screen in most anime. The politeness, the "cuteness" of things, how characters communicate, how organized and beautiful the landscape can be, the ebb and flow of the language. The sense that you can do anything. The idea that culture and manners are intertwined in to everything, making life seem like an extremely stylized experience unlike anything you can get anywhere else.

Living there just kinda ruined that I guess. I've seen some rude-as-shit people and dealt with some jerks like you'd find anywhere else. Japanese people in general are not often outgoing and in general keep to themselves unless they have business with you (this observation applies to "older" people, mid to late 20s). Anime paints a really vibrant and colorful idea of what living in Japan would be like, and originally I'd be untruthful to not admit that it didn't have some kind of influence on my excitement to move there originally.

Fact of the matter is, it's no different to living where you already do. Their food might be different. There's a few minute cultural differences in terms of what constitutes good and bad manners. Aside from this...it's just a place. There's no magic. A lot of my closest Japanese friends detest living in Japan. They want to go anywhere else. They want to leave because they feel trapped on some kind of factory production line for what constitutes an ideal Japanese citizen, manufactured by the Japanese education system. The government is behind in so many ways socially, to make matters worse. Women are still seen as inferior in many cases. They don't acknowledge important issues affecting the country and it's citizens.

This honestly doesn't just apply to anime, their dramas and soap operas make me wince in the same way. The way they portray themselves on screen in not just voice acting in anime, but even as live-action actors is starkly different to reality. Compared to more western acting approaches where the technique is based on realism and attempting to make you forget that you are even watching a movie, in Japan movies are blatantly fictional in the sense that people are just not like they are in the movies/anime in reality. I've spent a good deal of time wondering about this, I just ask myself, why does Japan feel the need to, in a sense, lie in their portrayal of themselves? On one hand you could simply say it's just what "gets" the viewers here. They long for that cheesy, emotional, romantically charged experience because they are increasingly lacking in a majority of the population's lives, and so people invest in that since it's the only place they can get it. Why can't they have movies or shows where the acting is actually accurate to reality? Do they not find themselves adequate enough as real human beings, to the point that they have to make all their media so overly exaggerated and dramatic?

This may all seem like I'm just jaded, and you could also say I'm overthinking a lot of this, but in fact it's not so complicated. I will eventually move back, it's almost guaranteed, and even now I've begun to miss it, I just don't miss it for any reasons you could find in anime or movies.

As a result of this broad spectrum perspective...anime just doesn't catch me anymore. I can't "believe" it. I know it's sort of an absurd protest, given that so much of anime is full of ridiculous fantasy elements that aren't possible, but I can't buy the base-level themes anymore. The default algorithms behind what composes any given anime character to begin with. My imagination isn't tickled. I can no longer love it anime the same way I did. It's all a creation of the male gaze, in combination with the ideal fantasy of what living in Japan or what being Japanese 'should' be like. It feels like a lie.

This isn't to say I don't occasionally watch an anime and go "hey, that was fun". Some studios still have a penchant for the artistry of it, but it's few and far between, and even in said works that slightly graze the line of being believable, there's always a hefty bit of the opposite to drag me out of it.

TLDR; living in Japan killed anime for me, and I don't think I can ever turn back, and it makes me sad in a way.
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Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/19/16
I'm sorry you feel that way. I hope you didn't go to Japan thinking it would be some magical place.
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Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/4/16
Not to be rude, but that's kind of how I'd expect it to be.

I know many people who have "learned" about Japan through anime, but in talking to those people, I eventually looked up several of others' experiences with the medium and found that they had a similar disillusionment as you had. I could never give my own take on Japan seeing as I've never been there, but I always relay to people who want to paint this sunshine and rainbows picture of Japan that it has just as many racists, anti-socials, and problems as any other country.

Personally, I want to visit Japan myself; however, it is not because I idolize the place, but it is because it is a haven for many of the activities that I enjoy.
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Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/4/16
Haven't been in Japan myself, but I understand what you're saying; I'd kinda expect it to be like that. But seriously, dramas, why can't they be a liitle more.."real", I just can't watch them.. Anyway, thank you for sharing ; )
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22 / M / Fraxinus
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Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/4/16
This is not exclusive to anime and Japan. Take Hollywood movies, or cartoons or what have you; a foreigner learning another culture through such media isn't ever going to be getting the reality of the place. I get what you're trying to say; that the difference is so great that it's jarring, but even so, I'd say it's pretty naive to expect a country to be just like the shows it produces, and to use them as guides, in any meaningful way.
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It doesn't matter.
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Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/22/16
Hahahaha
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M / Tokyo, Japan
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Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/18/16
Just my two cents. I've actually had a pretty different view since living here but my situation obviously differs from yours. 1. i haven't been here nearly as long as you have, 2. i never expected japan to be alot like anime, i always imagined it as a fantastical view of japan. So everytime i recognize something from an anime i get more of a "wow didn't know that was a real thing" vibe than a "that's the way it should be" vibe.

If anything living here has gotten me even more into anime, i love seeing the figurine collections of some of the people I know here and am now saving up to start my own, which I was never interested in in the states. I like going to akihabara and seeing the shops there. I like when it's festival season and i can go to multiple festivals a week if i have the time, trying out all kinds of new foods (though i STRONGLY prefer western food, STRONGLY) and immersing myself in the culture, I like enjoying the night life here in tokyo. And alot of the times when i go into central Tokyo I will think about how much I actually like it here. Although I do not seeing myself staying here for more than a few years (certainly not a decade as you have).But then again I go out and drink alot so maybe i'm just tricking myself.

But ye, sorry to hear this ruined a pretty enjoyable hobby for you, but glad to hear you where able to start a family! wish you well going forward!

TL;DR- I like it here, but have nor been here nearly as long as OP
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25 / M / This Dying World
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Posted 10/4/16
You...

chrome_mist thing again... Random appearance again.
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25 / M / This Dying World
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Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/4/16
The subtle aspects of what you love creep up as you indulge in it for an infinite (in this manner) amount of time.

This applies to everything, bad luck of the draw for you was anime. I, myself have started to not love anime as much as I used to. To be more relevant, the second time I went back to Japan, it did not have that "WOW" factor as the first. I would still go back to Japan, just not anytime soon myself.

Question: You say anime (I assume all anime), but what about fantasies? I do think there is some Japanese culture sprinkled in fantasies even if they are nothing Japanese related. From what you described and what I comprehended, it seems like it is the day-to-day life of Japanese livelihood that should only of ruined slice-of-life genres.

To say ALL anime is pretty big leap.


I think a good rule to follow. Do not spend a long, continuous period doing what you love/like. I suggest doing in pulses or short periods to keep it fresh.
Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/4/16
That's why you never build an expectation that is good about anything in life because you'll just be disappointed.
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31 / M / Bristol, UK
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Posted 10/4/16

Hail_King_Kakao wrote:

That's why you never build an expectation that is good about anything in life because you'll just be disappointed.


Go Captain Pessimism
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16 / M / Australia
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Posted 10/4/16
I think you expected too much, I know it's not gonna be nearly the same.
Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/4/16

Muishond wrote:

Go Captain Pessimism


If you never have your hopes up good things are 10 times better :^)
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21 / M / California
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Posted 10/4/16 , edited 10/19/16
Gonna go build my harem in japan now brb.
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Posted 10/4/16

Frenzify wrote:

This is not exclusive to anime and Japan. Take Hollywood movies, or cartoons or what have you; a foreigner learning another culture through such media isn't ever going to be getting the reality of the place. I get what you're trying to say; that the difference is so great that it's jarring, but even so, I'd say it's pretty naive to expect a country to be just like the shows it produces, and to use them as guides, in any meaningful way.


^This
I've found that even the most dilapidated grimy neighbourhood can look good animated. I'd never view a place solely on what you get in movies and television, even reality shows are staged.
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