This is about the title in most possible interpretations. For the years now I’ve been working in Japan, I noticed certain (really annoying) things about shit. This wasn’t much of a problem during university when most I’ve seen my Japanese fellows was when we were getting drunk together, but actually working at a company means I have to endure actual people around me most of the day. And their various smells.
I’ve got a sensitive nose, apparently. I can smell what the family in the next house are having for dinner with my window closed. There is one smell that I could never really pick up, and that is alcohol. Sadly, shit is not one such.
Sometime last year I stumbled upon a clickbait article: 16 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned After Living in Japan For a Year. As the title suggests, the author goes through 16 aspects they find amazing in Japan. The issue is, as apparent in the comments already, is that most of them are superficial or simply not true.
Now it must be stated that Japan is a great place if you are a guest. Most of the article’s statements are true if you are not a part of any social group – or at least not of the social group that you’re interacting with. These are formalities that you are expected to show off towards people you want to impress. These are manners you can use to feel people indebted to you. And mostly, it’s something you only do if you want to be specifically nice.
People often ask me about what working in Japan is like. I always hesitate when answering questions like that, because I can only talk about my own experiences, and the experiences of people I know, which is an awfully tiny slice of the Japanese job market. In the first place, I don’t have any friends who work skyscraper white collar jobs in downtown Tokyo, and for some reason that’s what everyone seems to be interested in.
Every year, the Japanese Self Defense Force (called the roundabout way since the constitution’s chapter 9 doesn’t allow an army) holds a very impressive firepower demonstration at the ground forces’ base near Fuji. That means that if you’re “lucky” to have clear weather (as clear weather means scorching August sun), then you get to see the various tanks thunder and choppers zoom up and down with the backdrop of the famous mountain. And obviously the purpose of the whole show is to charm youngsters into joining the surprisingly unpopular service of the SDF, so the scenery’s extra memorability just adds to the effect.
The popularity of Akihabara, “heaven of nerds” is beyond me. I see people go there without any voiced reason, and after every Comiket, torrents of people rush there to… I don’t even know what.
Sure if you’re out to buy some dojin porn or rare anime goods, it’s a good spot to find those. Tech gadgets? Sure thing. I’ve been to Akiba to buy airsoft gear myself too. But most people aren’t going there for the maid or catgirl cafes with their magically delicious meals, nor are they shopping up on high-end audio gear or tentacle porn.
Is this the same as women “going to the mall shopping”, just walking around the place without any intent or willingness to buy anything? Someone explain to me.
I’m a tolerant person when it comes to Japanese people interacting with foreigners (such as myself). I patiently answer their questions about where I’m from and why I’ve come to Japan (for the 9001st time even), I don’t complain about hello-harassment and I smile at the people who stare at me. I humbly reply to people complimenting my Japanese and help out people struggling to talk to me in English (despite them not knowing any).
Just the other day I had a hearty laugh with a co-worker when we were on our way to a meeting, and while I was waiting for him taking a piss at a park’s public toilet, some little girls happened to start practicing English just next to me (but never talking to me). My co-worker could hear them through the restroom doors and I think that was his first time witnessing what it’s like to be a foreigner outside of a “safe” environment (such as at work).
However, last week I got a text message that crossed the line.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest despise and utmost scorn towards the two beloved guardians of the law who thought I had nothing better to do at 2.30am riding my bike home from work exhausted mentally and physically, than to have a good 20 minutes of “chat” with them. From my heart I wish them a bull’s bulging boner between their buttocks and beyond.
Ebédidő. A gyártáson (ahol én is vagyok) páran az asztaluknál esznek. És közben beszélgetnek. Ez pedig itt azzal jár, hogy harmincas-negyvenes felnőtt emberek telire tömött szájjal, csámcsogva beszélgetnek vagy negyed órán át, én meg csak fogom a fejem.
Nem tudom, hogy ez alapból hiányzik-e a japánok neveléséből, de itt sajnos teljesen hétköznapi, hogy valaki csámcsog és/vagy teli szájjal beszél. Ráadásul nem csak otthon vagy munkahelyen (ami azért még egy ismert közeg), hanem nagy nyilvánosság előtt vendéglátohelyeken (fene tudja, hogy mi számít itt kocsmának, és mi étteremnek), sőt, még gasztro tévéműsorokban is.
Én meg csak borzongok az undortól.
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