Japanophiles - WARNING: Essay on the Real Japan

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Usually when I think of Japan, I think of suit and tie and very reserved. It would be a good fit for some personalities, but there is a reason why they have karaoke bars and other after hour places to unwind at. They also tend to be very high on implication when communicating.

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I do have a few more questions though. I enjoy some Anime, although I like Manga more. I am not obsessed with either Anime or Manga, nor am I a huge fan of J-Pop. Sure I listen to one or two songs, mainly that of Hikaru Utada, however I much prefer my Progressive Rock/Metal and Orchestra. However, the one thing I could be considered "obessessed" with is Video Games and general Computer Security.

That sounds a lot like me actually.

I here that Japan really isn't all that with Technology...Are Japanese really that far behind in the computer sectors as people say they are? I hear how they still use Fax machines and beepers and very few have smart phones or personal computers outside of a single one for the whole family.

The former is true. It's not a hugely technically advanced country. If you go to a major city like Tokyo, it may seem like it, but go to any city that isn't a major one, and it's about as technically advanced as any other country in the world. It's no less than others either. Just the same. Regarding fax machines, I'm sure some still use. Then again, we still use them in the UK too. Never seen anyone with a beeper. I doubt it. They're just as obsessed with mobile phones as everyone else is.

Is gaming looked down upon? As a fan, I don't want to offend or be offended just for liking Video Games in general. I got enough of that in Elementary school and by the damnable morons that tend to listen to everything Fox tells them.

Eh.... yes. Yes, I'd say it's true. But it's a bit complicated.

Basically, next to no-one plays video games after finishing high school, or maybe uni. It's not so much that it's looked down upon, but that the Japanese are expected to 'act grown up', and spend the majority of their time working their arses off until they almost drop.

I've spoken to a fair few Japanese people from all walks of life, and many have said that they don't play games because they 'don't have the time', however, comically, this is a something of a lie.

One person summed it up when they said that the Japanese were all 'closet-otakus'. That many secretly wish to play more games, and watch more anime, but are afraid to, in fear they'll be stigmatised in some way.

Funnily enough, there have been a few times when I've been in game stores, where I've seen men and women in business suits, browsing the game isles. The kinds of people you'd think would never play games. I wonder if they are the 'closet-otakus' my friend was talking about.

However, I say that the real evidence is on how prevalent handheld gaming is over here. Go on any train in Japan and I can almost guarantee you that you'll see at least one person playing either a 3DS or PSP, if not 4 or 5. I'm not just talking kids either. I'm talking men and women between the age of 20-40. I think this explains why handheld games are so popular here.

Think about it, all the Japanese say they have no time for video games. But if you take a 45 minute train to work, you have the time to play games AND do so without people you know seeing and consequently judging you.

How difficult is it to live in Japan during the heat waves? I here that it can get to around 120 in places like Tokyo during August with most buildings not having AC.

It's killing me. It's... bloody.... killing me. Most buildings I've been in have got ACs though. Quality ones too.

Does it get easier to understand Japanese? Currently I am studying Hiragana/Katakana and know nothing of general Kanji yet. I know some Japanese Phrases and how to pronounce words for the most part. However, trying to here someone fluent in Japanese speak becomes incredibly difficult. Even more so when I try to listen to the Japanese Audio for the few Anime that I do watch.

If you understand Katakana, that's a BIG help when getting around and shopping. A lot of signs and menus are in katakana, and because katakana is for foreign words, it's very easy to understand what the item is. Whenever people tell me they plan on spending some time living in Japan, the first thing I recommend they do is learn Katakana.

Yes, IMO opinion, understanding what the Japanese are saying is very difficult, because of the speed that they speak at. Unlike, say, the UK, where if we know someone is a foreigner, we will often speak slowly to help them, they do no such thing in Japan. You might be able to pinpoint the odd word, but understanding everything they say takes a lot of time, and it's something I've not yet mastered. Don't be afraid though, because you'd be amazed how much you can achieve by pointing at things and using body language. It's not difficult to get by every day life i.e. travel, shopping, without knowing the language.

How often do people generally bow? Like meeting random people or saying hello? Or is it mainly used for offices and business type dealings?

Not that often. This is another stereotype maybe I should hit on the head. It's usually only on very formal occasions i.e. business type dealings as you mentioned. People may very well bow the first time they meet one another, but it's nothing like the stereotypes you see in things like films.

thanks for the read, i found it informative

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