Japanophiles - WARNING: Essay on the Real Japan

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Terramax:
snip

Bravo, million internet points, you've said everything some of people wanted to say regarding the misconception about Japan. Only because any time you heard something from Japan, it's all very sensational news that demeans Japan as a whole. It seems to improve the opinion of the country as the technology gets better when the person can find themselves what kind of country it is. And yeah, anime otaku still comes off as annoying and ignorant that I'd wager they think they know and like Japanese history because they watched Hyouge Mono or Sengoku Basara.

One thing I didn't know was AKB48's demographic was teenagers, it makes sense but since the otaku culture was so prevalent, I wouldn't have thought so. One thing I feel sorry about teenagers in Asia is their workload in school is HUGE, their lives are not that carefree as portrayed in anime. Maybe Japanese school life is bit more relaxing but I imagine most Asian countries take such a huge priority in education, teenagers are made to go the extra-curriculum classes and such at night.

At any case, when I went to Tokyo, the only place with the people in crazy outfits were Shibuya, Harajuku and Akihabara. Even the most of other district in Tokyo, the most of them were normal out of the ordinary Japanese. I'd imagine other cities would be much more so like every other. Still I like Japanese culture precisely because paying respect and formality is very important. Unlike Japan, I find Australia bit too unsophisticated at times despite how much of a prude its government is.

I just had to comment to say that was a very interesting and insightful read, well done and kudos on teaching me a thing or two.

Also I couldn't get this out of my head

I agree with all of that, and more. Japanophiles, nihonphiles, weeabos, whatever you want to call them, make it hard for westerners who are genuinely interested in Japan to be taken seriously. I appreciate the culture for example; I am a Buddhist that got a lot of inspiration from Zen teachings, so naturally I'm "drawn" to Japanese thought. I also love the history. Japan is a unique country that has marched to its own drum for as long as its existed, which is ironic given Japan's values of being passive and conformist. In a few centuries it went from a nation caught in civil war between various petty states to a global economic, cultural, and for a time, military powerhouse. There's just so much I find interesting, but I by no means stick all of Japan in a single mold, nor do I want to "be Japanese".

If you don't feel like reading this essay it can be summed up as "Weaboo's have their expectations of Japan set by anime and otaku culture". While I have met a few people like this, including a guy who ran a manga stand at a convention, nearly all self described "otaku" I know very much realize Japan is simply just another place and that the "otaku" side of the culture is, in fact, a very small subset of what the country is. However, you have to realize, it's a very marketable and exportable culture; that's why it's catching on in the rest of the world. In very much the same way American style action movies are synonymous with America and even parroted in other countries.

Terramax, all I can think is that you must have had a very serious number of run-ins with a lot of delusional people to write this because in my experience, even at anime conventions, most people don't hold these misconceptions. Perhaps I've just been lucky.

I spent a month in Tokyo to explore the city and get a feeling of what daily life there was like. I can say with a great deal of certainty that the OP knows what they are talking about. Especially about Akiba. That picture really does sum it up. Think of it as an open air Best Buy for the most part.

Here is what my experience in Japan was like.

The one thing that I took away from my trip was how incredibly wonderful the people were. I don't speak Japanese for squat, but through the power of hand gestures, smiles, and the kindness of the people I was able to find my way around and have a wonderful time doing so.

My first experience with that was when I exited the subway station in the Sumida district and looked at my map. Upon seeing that I looked lost and looked very foreign, a man came up to me and in very good English asked me if I was lost and how he could help. He got me pointed in the right direction.

At one point I couldn't find my hotel because it was hidden and my map had been wrong. I asked a construction worker just across the Sumida river from where I had met the first man where it was and instead of brushing me off or being unhelpful, he drove me around in his personal vehicle until we found it.

Another wonderful event happened to me in the Ueno district of Tokyo. A group of 6 school children about the age of 8 or 9 with impeccable English approached me and asked me where I was from, why I was visiting, and what my favorite Japanese word was. I told them it was "kinzoku", because well... I like metal. The had a laugh at that and went off on their merry way.

The fourth encounter was the funniest of them all and took place in the Asakusa district. I was at a crosswalk behind an elderly couple who were clearly as touristy as I was. I caught enough of their conversation to understand that they were talking about the tall buildings. The lady pointed behind her and remarked that one of the buildings was very tall. Her husband turned to look and saw me. I'm 6'2" and he must have though that she had been referring to me, because he looked shocked and confused. She then turned and looked. I just laughed, as did they. I squatted down so I was closer to their height and we had another laugh at that. We then walked for about a block together, trying to understand what the other may be saying. We parted ways as they went into the subway. We shared a friendly wave and that was that.

Out of all of the beautiful things in that city, I remember the people the most.

Cecilo:
I know, it's amazing how our perception of a society can be skewed so much isn't it?

Americans - Gun Toting, Religious, and Uneducated people.
Canadians - People who do nothing but drink and watch hockey.
English - People who act superior to everyone else.
Russians - ...actually I can't think of a Russian stereotype other than drinking a lot, huh.
Italians - Cowards who make Pizza and/or Pasta all day.
French - Snobs.
Spanish - Love to party, eat a lot, loud.

No society is what it appears to be from the outside, and I believe that anyone who takes a stereotype at face value is a fool. The very idea that Americans, Canadians, Russians, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, English, Italians, French, Spanish or any other culture can be reduced to a few stereotypical examples is just plain stupid, and I wish people would stop doing it.

Add nice to Canadians and I'm pretty sure the French are the cowards

I'm pretty indifferent to Japan. I've never been there, but I know enough about it to know that most of the stereotypes aren't true, and while I'm a big anime fan I don't love everything that comes out of the country. I've seen my fair share of bad anime, I'm not a fan of their live-action stuff, even the stuff that's considered good, I don't think their voice work is all that fantastic or different from English voice work, in fact they both sound like they're putting the same amount of effort, I don't like mainstream J-Pop, Visual Kei, or even a lot of what's considered "popular" artists there, and some of the Japanese anime audience's taste in anime is questionable, also the fact that they seem to have a memory span of only three years before forgetting any anime that came out before that, unless it was a ginormous hit. But with that said, there's a lot of things I like about the country.

IllumInaTIma:
That was an amazing read. Seriously, good job! The fact that it was written by someone who actually lives in Japan makes it just better and interesting. Maybe I should write something like that about Kazakhstan... Also, are there any actual Japanese on Escapist forums?

I know nothing of the country or the culture (isn't ever covered in any Uni courses by me, not even the high level ones) so I'd love some info and insight.
If you decide to write something up I'd enjoy it but if not, iunno, away to google I guess :D

OT: Interesting read definitely. I wasn't aware that people believing those myths and stereotypes was that widespread though. Thought it died a few years back. People really need to learn to do actual research on countries of their fascination.
Also, thanks for the rant! I study Japanese history and culture (okay, I study the history and culture of every nation or people that I am aware of not just Japanese) but many sources are a bit clinical and boring. Good to seee something more personal and modern :D
Do more!

You know what taught me about the normal side of Japan back when I was a little shit in middle school? Slice of life manga. Not all manga and anime is a testament to the otaku stereotype.

Not gonna lie, you kind of lost me around the "pop music is not art" statement. Seriously, wut?

Anyways, all of the stuff I read is pure common sense that can be attributed to EVERY country. Japanese people act insane on TV, as they do on American TV. They're stereotypically stupid and obsessed with the bizarre, as with Americans, Europeans and Aussies. They appear to think androgynous males are hot, much like a lot of American ads that get passed around Europe, European ads that get passed around America, etc. Japanese women actually do have independent desires and are able to achieve them... just like everywhere else.

Nothing new is covered here.

Fantastic essay, mate. It's always good to view a culture from a perspective of a local, instead of those who imagine it all as a magical place full of anime and teenage schoolgirls in short skirts.

You've devoted a lot of time to saying literally nothing the vast majority of people did not already know. Not to say you don't cover a lot of ground but as a whole there is close to nothing said that will come as a stunning revelation or require you to warn people going in

I want to point out to all concerned that I was in Japan for 3 months from Feb-April and Terramax was a huge help with all his advice and good wishes. I would have had a much harder time of it without him.

Bravo for this thread and that assistance.

On topic: I had the opportunity to briefly work for a Japanese company while I was there and I have to say that while the bosses are strict they are also fair. They only ever come down on a worker who is slacking off majorly.

Kumagawa Misogi:
I can walk 1 1/2 miles in 15 minutes and i'd call a road that long with additional side roads to consist of nothing but niche stuff to be massive when there probably aren't that many game/entertainment stores in the whole UK.

Well, you'll have to trust me when I say that it's not that big. Like I said, even other cities in Japan have more variety in some respects than what Akiba has.

Daystar Clarion:
Holy wall of text, Batman!

I studied a little of Japanese culture during my Criminology course at university and came across something rather interesting.

Because Japanese society is focused so much on conformity, crime as very low. That's because if a Japanese person commits a crime. it's not just their family and friends that are ashamed, nearly everyone they're associated with on a day to day basis will be ashamed of knowing that person.

This leads to a lot of the quirkiness we see in the West, since the Japanese are so homogeneous in their day to day lives.

This mentality is actually very true.

My boss' parents were victims in a car accident. They had to claim the insurance, and sue the person at fault (who was driving without a license) in absolute secret, because if people found out they were claiming, they would be branded as opportunists and greedy. Even though they were the undisputed motherfudging victims!

Jack the Potato:

Terramax:

Jack the Potato:

However, I also must disagree that the Japanese people are AMAZING solely by virtue of being Japanese. They're just different.

I didn't say they were amazing, as in, other countries, societies, cultures were not.

No, but you did say "The Japanese are AMAZING" which isn't really true. They're normal. Average. Describing them as amazing would be like describing the entire human race as amazing, which we are in comparison to any other animal, but as the human race we can only be as we are, ie not amazing. The Japanese people are what they are.

No, I wasn't even implying that. No trolling please. I didn't go through the trouble of writing that whole post to make such ridiculous arguments. Please, either add something to the topic, or don't bother at all. Thank you.

The other word you're looking for is weeaboo, and despite everything you just said weeaboos are so fucking insane they will ignore everything you typed and just yell DESU DESU DESU until your ears bleed.

It doesn't even need to be said OP, leave the underage weeaboo losers to their pathetic fantasies.

I find it strange that anyone would think any of that about the Japanese. The people I have met from Japan have been nothing like any of that. When I think of Japan, I think of the really cool tech, gadgets, cutting edge design and interesting ideas for household storage. I have always been interested in Japanese design. I have found that those from Japan that I have had the opportunity to know have been intelligent and had a really great sense of humor. I found them to be really laid back, fun and had good conversation.

Izanagi009:

Daystar Clarion:
Holy wall of text, Batman!

I studied a little of Japanese culture during my Criminology course at university and came across something rather interesting.

Because Japanese society is focused so much on conformity, crime as very low. That's because if a Japanese person commits a crime. it's not just their family and friends that are ashamed, nearly everyone they're associated with on a day to day basis will be ashamed of knowing that person.

This leads to a lot of the quirkiness we see in the West, since the Japanese are so homogeneous in their day to day lives.

This unfortunately has made life horrible for rape victims. If the victim reports a crime, she gets abandoned by her friends and the like because she caused a disruption of order. Note that this is only anecdote but it seems to be confirmed by a few sources

This is very true, but not confined to Japan. Victim blaming seems to be the norm, not the exception. Look at the Steubenville case, for example, reporters telling us all how terrible it was, the town had been torn apart because the guilty were punished. Same with the 11 year old gang rape victim in Texas, and that cheerleader, people upset that the victim had reported it and the town had to face up to it.

Risingblade:
Add nice to Canadians and I'm pretty sure the French are the cowards

That was started by the US because the French would support them on something in the...80s?

The Italians, OTOH...well, when the French were being utterly defeated by the Third Reich, they were still winning against the Italians. Having said that, I think that might have been because of morale issues, the Italian troops might not have wanted to conquer France the same way the Germans did.

Wait does this mean that all American's aren't fat, war-mongering, illiterate assholes?

INTERNET WHY DO YOU LIE TO ME SO BADLY?!?!?!

WaitWHAT:
Wow! That was all really interesting and insightful; it's nice to be able to hear about a foreign country from someone that actually lives there rather than just through stereotypes for once. Also, what you were saying about conformity is quite interesting. I remember once being told by my sensei that there is a Japanese saying that "the protruding nail is knocked down flat". Is that why they have such problems with mental health issues? Because people have trouble handling abnormality.

Yes, that saying is very famous here, and it's very true.

I've been told by some Japanese men (of older generations) that if husbands are under severe emotional stress, they will, more often than not, not tell a single person. They won't tell their parents. They won't even tell their wives. The Japanese are very proud people, and to admit to failure or stress is almost unthinkable to some. And this undoubtedly leads to suicides.

A Swedish student who went to the same class as mine told me on 2 occasions over 3 months, his train had to be put to a complete halt because someone had commit suicide on the tracks. It's a severe problem over here.

Speaking of trains, I've heard by some Japanese that, when women are being groped on the train by perverted men, they will not speak up about it. They will let the man continue. Because they are afraid that by making a commotion, they will be the ones considered the unthoughtful person.

In fact, I've even heard stories of people seeing others being groped on the trains, but haven't done anything about it in fear of being convicted of causing too much of a commotion on the train.

However, I will emphasis these are things I have been told, not seen myself. I've been on trains a number of times and have not experienced any of this behavior myself.

Actually I think you're being the prejudiced one here. Not all weeaboos/Japanophiles/whatever believe in the ridiculous hyperboles you assert. My list would go more like this, noting that I consider Japanophile an apt term to describe myself:

Terramax:

- They think that J-pop like Hatsune Miku, AKB48 are popular in Japan amongst young people
- Assume cosplay is a sizable hobby, and that some people literally walk around the normal streets every day in strange clothing
- Think there is nothing wrong with maid cafes, and they're considered socially acceptable in Japan
- They like EVERY anime under the sun, despite not being able to give a valid reason as to why they're any good (ok, this one doesn't apply to me but I know people like this. I am more discerning.)
- think that all the Japanese are perverts. That every man is a Chikan (a type of person that gropes women on trains) What crap. No-one at all believes that every Japanese man is a pervert.
- That prominent on Japanese television are weird game shows, some of which are all about 'wtf' moments, and all their adverts are wacky.
- Constantly try their hand at writing Japanese sentences in romanji, and incorporating Japanese words awkwardly into their speech (again, true, but doesn't apply to me).

And from my admittedly less, but still not negligible experience of living in Japan, I would respond:

1. True.
2. True in Akihabara and some other places.
3. True. There is nothing wrong with them except the prices.
4. As I've said, some people actually do like every anime regardless of merit, which I find silly. No-one worth associating with thinks it's racist to be discerning in which anime you like.
5. See list.
6. True. I've seen Japanese television. A lot of the programming incorporates comedic sound effects and text superimposed on the screen at appropriate times, and a lot of the ads are ridiculous and involve unnecessary power rangers or other mascots. Some ads are even perverted, but not more than Western ads if you think about it.
7. True. It gets annoying.

Basically, yes, they misrepresent Japan a bit. But Japanese media partially contributes to that, and Japan actually is a strange and wonderful place.

I agree with you, but I don't really think this problem is exclusive to Japan: I've met Americans in the past who hold some really, really weird ideas about Scottish people, and it worries me that this might be the general consensus in their country; but overall, as long as what they think is just daft and not hateful, I don't see it as a huge problem, more just a mild embarrassment on their part.

The internet being the internet, things often seem worse than they are because if you go looking for stuff to prove how weird people get over a specific subject you will find it. (Case in point: I once found an idol website for Philip Schofield, detailing absolutely everything he's ever done, with photos from the beginning of his career right up to present day and, if you know who he is, you'll understand just how fucking insane it is that anyone would care that much about Philip Schofield.)

I'm not saying that we should ignore or continue to perpetuate these stereotypes, at all, I just like to think these Japanophiles --despite being a particularly vocal crowd-- actually number in the minority, while most of us know that Japanese people aren't all perverts; just like Germans aren't all Nazis, Americans aren't all trigger-happy lunatics with a hard-on for war and, contrary to what the aforementioned American thought, Scottish people do, in fact, have electricity.

SadakoMoose:
Great Essay!
Honestly, if I had known what I know now back when I was 15, I would have made much better progress by now. Still, I hope some younger people that are just getting into Japanese studies read this post and do their own research, because frankly this is better than some of the academic books on the country that I've read.

Just a few questions and comments though on my end:
1: On TV: I really wish the Fine Brothers would take that into account when they show Japanese (or even Korean) media to young, impressionable, Americans in order to get their reactions. What good is showing people Hard Gay if you don't explain the context? As you said, it only further very negative stereotypes and perceptions. Just like showing people Kyary videos without showing them more mainstream J-pop.
(Side note: I usually go for Early 90's girl groups and dance pop like CoCo or Oginome, but I also love Miyuki Nakajima.)
Speaking of which.

2: I try to follow the Oricon charts, and in doing so I've discovered a cultural curiosity. From my perspective, as a foreigner, when I see acts like AKB 48 and other such similar idol groups and Johnny bands (kat-tun, SMAP) I make the assumption that they are very popular and that they can be used as a significant representation of what modern Japanese music is. But then, wouldn't that be like if a Japanese person assumed that most Americans listen to Justin Bieber? Acts like Shugo Tokumaru get sadly overlooked by a lot of American and European Japanophiles.

You guess completely right. AKB48, and Johnny's Boys are all heavily plugged, with adverts for them everywhere. Seriously, it's impossible to walk into a convenience store without seeing member of Kat-tun or AKB48 advertising at least 5 different, random products.

But they aren't all people listen too. Not at all. Admittedly, I haven't enquired too much about people tastes over here, but I've yet to meet a Japanese woman admit to liking Johnny' bands. In fact, when I mentioned that I'd heard of them, and named a few to one woman, she actually laughed at me. I think it was 'Hey! Say! Jump! I mentioned. She explained these are groups specifically targeted at high schoolers, and women are expected to grow out of listening to such music as soon as they go into the real world.

3: On English speaking ability:
My bias is a problem here, namely because you're one of the few English teachers I've heard give a positive report about the English learning abilities of the Japanese youth. Unfortunately, a lot of the people I hear talking about that sort of thing ended up working through less than reputable programs. On that note, from your perspective, how is Japan's educational system doing. Is the emphasis on cramming and entrance exams really as bad as it's reported to be, or is that outdated/exaggerated like most information on Japan that we get over here?

Yes, I've heard the horror stories too. They DO exist. Thankfully, I am extremely lucky with my job (even luckier as, today, I received my Visa! Hurrah! I can stay in Japan for another year :)

I work at a private school. I didn't go through an agency. But if you do go through an agency, it can be 50/50. You an either have a blast, or things can go really, really wrong.

As for their education system, it's not exaggerated at all. I think things have become less strict than what they were decades ago, but they are still very strict when compared to many Western countries, I think. They put many hours into studying and lessons. Honestly, if I was born in Japan, I don't think I would've coped with it. Because of that, I have absolute respect for them.

rob_simple:
The internet being the internet, things often seem worse than they are because if you go looking for stuff to prove how weird people get over a specific subject you will find it. (Case in point: I once found an idol website for Philip Schofield, detailing absolutely everything he's ever done, with photos from the beginning of his career right up to present day and, if you know who he is, you'll understand just how fucking insane it is that anyone would care that much about Philip Schofield.)

Holy cow, really?

I didn't even know Phiip Schofield had any fans. I recently saw footage of him 'confronting' the PM with a list of Pedophiles, completely disrespecting the law. What a moron!

Usually I do not read posts with that amount of reading involved. However, the way you organized it and laid it out- was simply perfect. Also very interesting, so I do not at all regret reading that beast. Thank you for putting the time in to let viewers understand Japan better. I've certainly learned a bit from this.

OT: Without a doubt, I already knew the Japanese were among the smartest people in the world. Whoever thinks they're dumb or below average should look again. On most sites, it's ranked among the top five (usually landing in 3rd place) for being the best at technological and scientific innovations. Crap, 44% of the people (127.9 million) have a higher education then almost a dozen countries put together. USA isn't really even on the top ten list anymore... let alone the best place to live at *feels bad man*.

Also I had no idea about how the women in Japan felt. Really interesting how in the USA, men are best when they're seen as polite, putting others before him, opening doors for women, basically being a gentlemen. But in Japan, if a woman does all of this then it's seen as being exactly that, and she gets to be the 'man' of her house. Crazy, but I like it for I love learning about cultures.

Must thank you for standing up on what you believed in. A majority of people (especially on the internet) are misinformed or do not have an understanding of the 'true' nature in things. I must admit, I was also misinformed for I thought a huge load of people in Japan were crazy about anime and cosplayed a lot. My bad, and they have my apology for I was proved wrong.

I disagree that using Romaji makes you bad at pronouncing Japanese words. If you heard me (or even some of my friends) reading off a piece of paper with Romaji written on it you would practically not know the difference between me and a real Japanese person talking (albeit I'll be going a lot slower).

No, the main reason Romaji is discouraged is because it completely fails to comprehend the CONTEXT of the words and/or sounds. In written Japanese there are so many homonyms (words that sound the same but have different meanings) that you can have practically 10 different meanings to a word that sounds exactly the same based purely on the context being used or the characters you use to write it in. If people think "two", "too" and "to" (or there/their/they're) was bad then Japanese will blow your mind, homonyms everywhere!

Romaji addresses none of the true expression or context behind sounds or words, it boils down the language into pure syllables and that's why some people feel it "disrespects" Japanese in a certain light. While it's one way to get hang of the pronunciation of the words, for someone who really wants to learn the language Romaji is the worst possible way to start, start off with Hiragana/Katakana and then Kanji! Then you will appreciate the true beauty of Japanese.

And that's the real reason :)

Agreed with everything else, good post.

Personally, I've come to theorize that the reason the niche of what we see from Japan is so off the wall and crazy is because it represents the escapism of an extremely workaholic and asexual culture.

but yes, if people are basing their opinion of the country on what we get in anime and video games, they're wrong. I enjoyed my time in Japan, but going in as a naive 19 year old boy I can honestly say I was probably a little unrealistic in what I first expected. I was a little disappointed to find that there weren't tentacle monsters roaming about, or girls with eyes largely disproportional to their heads. Not that it mattered, I spent most of my time on liberty in Go/mahjong parlors, or spending money on electronics. (I've always been such an old man. >.<)

that said, there are some pretty wacky aspects to japan, they're just very, very limited. Japan's a crowded place, after all, so the popular hubs of the bigger cities, particularly places like Shinjuku or Kabukicho, can look a bit like how anime fans often picture japan.

Terramax:

But, my god, why is it that there are people out there that obsess over it so much?

You don't really need to understand it, why do you care if people obsesses over something? Or just because you don't really like it (MOE and other "bubble" anime) people that are obsess over it wrong?
Yes i that very person who OBSESSES over moe anime and i collect figures plus mostly (about 70%-30% split) listening to anime-pop, why? BECAUSE I LIKE IT.

You don't have to like it just don't go around board rolling eyes "But, my god, why is it that there are people out there that obsess over it so much? " it's really condescending.

Terramax:

rob_simple:
The internet being the internet, things often seem worse than they are because if you go looking for stuff to prove how weird people get over a specific subject you will find it. (Case in point: I once found an idol website for Philip Schofield, detailing absolutely everything he's ever done, with photos from the beginning of his career right up to present day and, if you know who he is, you'll understand just how fucking insane it is that anyone would care that much about Philip Schofield.)

Holy cow, really?

I didn't even know Phiip Schofield had any fans. I recently saw footage of him 'confronting' the PM with a list of Pedophiles, completely disrespecting the law. What a moron!

I swear to god, it was one of the weirdest things I ever saw on the internet; second only, perhaps, to some badly photoshopped Clare Balding porn. I don't know who that was for.

Although, the same newsletter that sent me to the Schofield shrine, also sent me to this fabulous remix of him talking about heroin and crack, so it wasn't an entirely wasted day:

Konnichi-wa! ^_^ v,,

This is sooo not kawaii! =_=''' Baka!

Now excuse me, I need to spend time with my waifu! *hugs pillow*

Arina Love:

You don't really need to understand it, why do you care if people obsesses over something? Or just because you don't really like it (MOE and other "bubble" anime) people that are obsess over it wrong?
Yes i that very person who OBSESSES over moe anime and i collect figures plus mostly (about 70%-30% split) listening to aime-pop, why? BECAUSE I LIKE IT.

You don't have to like it just don't go around board rolling eyes "But, my god, why is it that there are people out there that obsess over it so much? " it's really condescending.

It becomes a problem when these people completely flood youtube and certain forum threads with really cumbersome and stupid posts, that drown away anyone wishing, or having contributed something interesting. Simply put, these people annoy others. They literally force their obsessions in the faces of others.

The reason for writing this thread is because of people from another forum site constantly pestering me with their obsessions with anime and stereotypical Japanese culture.

Because they know I live in Japan, they insist in writing Japanese in Romanji to me, and others, and flood the forums and chatbox with terrible anime-gifs, and links to anime sites, assuming that, because I like a some anime and I live in the country, I'm obviously as crazy about that stuff as they are.

I apologise if the post came off as condescending to you. That really wasn't the intention. But these people really are bothersome. Nothing wrong with you going nuts on such culture, as long as you keep to yourself.

Yuuki:
I disagree that using Romaji makes you bad at pronouncing Japanese words. If you heard me (or even some of my friends) reading off a piece of paper with Romaji written on it you would practically not know the difference between me and a real Japanese person talking (albeit I'll be going a lot slower).

No, the main reason Romaji is discouraged is because it completely fails to comprehend the CONTEXT of the words and/or sounds. In written Japanese there are so many homonyms (words that sound the same but have different meanings) that you can have practically 10 different meanings to a word that sounds exactly the same based purely on the context being used or the characters you use to write it in. If people think "two", "too" and "to" (or there/their/they're) was bad then Japanese will blow your mind, homonyms everywhere!

Romaji addresses none of the true expression or context behind sounds or words, it boils down the language into pure syllables and that's why some people feel it "disrespects" Japanese in a certain light. While it's one way to get hang of the pronunciation of the words, for someone who really wants to learn the language Romaji is the worst possible way to start, start off with Hiragana/Katakana and then Kanji! Then you will appreciate the true beauty of Japanese.

And that's the real reason :)

Agreed with everything else, good post.

Yes, this is very true. You nailed it much better than I did.

Id say you've exaggerated a little in the opposite direction in places, but largely agree. My favourite response to anyone who mentions Hard Gay is to start speaking entirely in quotes from American pop culture from the early 2000s until they get the point.

The difference between good and bad pronunciation in Japanese is less to do with "Did you learn to read?" and much more to do with "Can you distinguish between stress-time and syllable-time languages?", "Are you willing to pronounce loanwords from your native language as they are said in Japanese, by the Japanese?" and "Did you bother to learn pitch tone distinctions?"

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