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Old 2008-04-17, 08:21   Link #601
LiberLibri
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Even in Shinto, at least theoretically, there is no concept of Heaven or Hell.

The world consists of three layers: taka-ama-ga-hara, toyo-ashi-hara, and yom-tsu-hira-saka. Principal gods live in the first layer (highland), lower gods and human beings do in the second layer (earth). Everyone goes down to the third layer (underground. often abbreviated as "Yomi") after his or her death. The greatest mother, Izanami, reigns Yomi. The deeds of individuals in their lives do not affect his/her post-death treatment.

"Buddhist Hell" concept was imported from the Hinduism tradition. Some of the early works of Buddhists (though they were written centuries after Gautama's death) already contained the notion. They used it mainly with the purpose to blame opposite sects, particularly against hina-yanas.

Today the notion of Japanese people about the Heaven and Hell is, undoubtedly, a chaotic chimera of Indo-Japan intercourse.

Last edited by LiberLibri; 2008-04-17 at 08:59.
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Old 2008-04-17, 11:05   Link #602
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Thanks for the historical clarification ... I knew "buddhist hell" was a piece of duct tape but couldn't quite remember its roots.
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Old 2008-04-20, 00:43   Link #603
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I didn't read the whole thread, but thought I'd throw out some tidbits I know from experience.

My wife is second generation JA, and I've found that I learn most of my Japanese norms from effing up at the dinner table. I was given the business for:

Putting my chopsticks in the rice when I got up, instead of laying them across.
Ordering for myself (after being asked to order for myself by some elders, lol).
Skipping my tazukuri (tiny, candied sardines, their silent, salty screams forever frozen in time) while eating osechi-ryori (new years foods).

Ive picked up quite a few other things, but if you end up eating with a Japanese person, keep these in mind: if the other person picked the place to eat or is your elder, let them order. Eat everything in front of you. Don't overdo it with seasonings. Don't stab your chopsticks into the rice when you get up from the table.
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Old 2008-04-20, 01:09   Link #604
Vexx
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One of the more poetic descriptions of tazukuri I've ever heard... My "sansei" wife rofl'd when I read it to her. I actually like the wretched things but we only eat 'em at new years (so it goes...).

One also doesn't sit at the table with one's hashi (chopsticks) hanging out of the mouth like two toothpicks. We were at a sushi conveyor place last week and some moron gaijin is sitting there jabbering on his cellphone with his chopsticks hanging out of his mouth. Every ethnic asian in the place is just gaping at him and most of the rest of us are rolling our eyes in embarrassment.
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Old 2008-04-20, 02:08   Link #605
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Tongue View Post
Putting my chopsticks in the rice when I got up, instead of laying them across.
Yeah, that's considered very rude when you do this. You definitely don't want to do this as a guest at someone's home or at a public restaurant. However, when I'm home by myself, I tend to do this, since I'm just a bit lazy to lay the chopsticks down.
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Old 2008-04-20, 07:34   Link #606
LiberLibri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Tongue View Post
Putting my chopsticks in the rice when I got up, instead of laying them across.
Because it is the manner for a dead person. When you make an offering to an individual who has no physical body now, you should serve the rice with chopsticks sticked in it. But if it is the case for a living human, such behaviour is considered to be impolite.

Tazukuri is also called as Gomame, associated with Mame (diligence). Possilbly your wife hope you get diligent. Every Osechi item has a meaning associated with its pronunciation.
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Old 2008-04-20, 07:37   Link #607
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The reason why it's rude to stick your chopsticks into rice is because of this:


These joss sticks are for honouring/giving respects to the dead. Chopsticks in rice bear a remarkable resemblance. This faux pas also exists in China.
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Old 2008-04-20, 13:04   Link #608
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X10A_Freedom View Post
These joss sticks are for honouring/giving respects to the dead. Chopsticks in rice bear a remarkable resemblance. This faux pas also exists in China.
This is true, but it's important to note that in Japan there are actual food offerings made this way (as LiberLibri said).

When I was a young child, my step-mother made sure I knew what not to do with my chopsticks. These are mistakes you only make once.
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Old 2008-04-20, 19:16   Link #609
Kang Seung Jae
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Tongue View Post
Putting my chopsticks in the rice when I got up, instead of laying them across.
It gets even worse if you do that using a spoon, at least in Korea and China.
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Old 2008-04-20, 19:29   Link #610
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As an overseas Chinese (my family's been in Singapore for 3 generations), I feel that ancient Chinese traditions are better preserved in Japan and Korea than in China itself. The Cultural Revolution did too much damage.

Even with local flavours (as can be seen in the Chinese customs of South-east Asia), it offers a window to look back into the past.
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Old 2008-04-20, 19:46   Link #611
Kang Seung Jae
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yezhanquan View Post
As an overseas Chinese (my family's been in Singapore for 3 generations), I feel that ancient Chinese traditions are better preserved in Japan and Korea than in China itself. The Cultural Revolution did too much damage.

Even with local flavours (as can be seen in the Chinese customs of South-east Asia), it offers a window to look back into the past.
Well, given that Koreans have this thing for the "original", I wouldn't be too suprised.
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Old 2008-05-19, 06:58   Link #612
Supah Em
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Question about anime's relevance to Real Life Japanese Culture

i've been watching anime for over ten years now and since then, some questions about japanese cultures have been accumulating on my mind. Note that i dont mean any harm with these questions and if someone is offended by them, i apologize. here they are:



1. Is karaoke really that popular in Japan? Most animes have these events, usually happening after parties or such.


2. Ganguro and Lolita. Do they exist? those playing cosplays in Akihabara are excluded of course.


3. Are girl's uniform skirts really that short(thigh level)? and are bloomers common?


4. Just some clarification, Valentines day in Japan is when girls give chocolates to their loved ones, family, boss, colleagues and such. White day is when guys pay back and treat girls. Am i correct?


5. Which is more likely to confess, boys or girls?


6. Do girls really wiggle their bottoms and shout 'kawaii' when they see something really cute?


7. Black day. i dont think we have one in our country so can someone explain how this goes in Japan?


8. Do Punks ang Gangsters with those weird elvis-type hairs exist(think the dude from Shaman King)? i'd probably laugh a lot if i got clobbered by them


9. Do schools in Japan have clinics w/ beds where students can sleep whenever they like?


10. Is bullying really that bad in Japan as it is in anime? Think Kyouran Kazoku Nikki.


11. Do Japanese people mind that 'indirect kiss' thing?


12. Is it rude if foreigners refer to you by first name? I know for a fact that japanese people only refer to others by the first name if they are in a close relationship (family, friend, etc.) but in most parts of the world first name calling is fine.




Last edited by Supah Em; 2008-05-19 at 07:09.
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Old 2008-05-19, 07:08   Link #613
yezhanquan
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1) There's even karaoke which allows you to be a seiyu, so I think it's pretty hot.

2) I think they do exist, just in lesser numbers than what anime may lead you to believe.

3) I think the length depends on the school. And yes, they do have bloomers.

4) According to Wiki, you're right.

5) I'm not sure. Most probably girls, I think.

6) Some do. Many do not.

7) Black Day is mostly observed in S. Korea.

8) I think they do. And no, you won't laugh if you get clobbered. They can be ruthless if they need to.

9 & 10) Yes and yes.
9) I think you can only sleep at the sick bay if you're really ill.
10) School bullying is serious business in Japan.

12) I think this applies to the older generation. I'm sure the younger ones won't mind you calling them by their first name.

Last edited by yezhanquan; 2008-05-19 at 07:21.
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Old 2008-05-19, 09:02   Link #614
LiberLibri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yezhanquan View Post
3) I think the length depends on the school. And yes, they do have bloomers.
These days there exist quite few schools adopting bloomers, because girls hate them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yezhanquan View Post
4) According to Wiki, you're right.
Correct, though the trend has changed so far. It is terribly annoying for (some) girls to be expected to give chocolates. Big companies and schools often prohibit the ritual from the gender harassment point of view.

As for the first name, I once explained it there.
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Old 2008-05-19, 09:16   Link #615
Vexx
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There's already a couple of existing thread where you can ask these sorts of questions.

The main caveat I'll add to what the others have posted is that much of anime is written from the various writer's *nostalgic* point of view. Its more perhaps the way the high school experience should-have-been or ought-to-be in a wish-fantasy, but most of what yezhanquan replies is right.
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Old 2008-05-19, 09:31   Link #616
Mystique
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supah Em View Post
i've been watching anime for over ten years now and since then, some questions about japanese cultures have been accumulating on my mind. Note that i dont mean any harm with these questions and if someone is offended by them, i apologize.
No problem, i don't know which country you come from, but me being a brit and growing up on hollywood, nickelodian and disney, i'm sure i had a many false image of America as does the rest of the world via cable and satellite before I actually went over there to see for myself what it was really like and how the people were.
The same can be said for anime; there's only so much you can learn about japan or can apply to real life there now unless you go there and see it for yourself. (especially with language)
Anyways, to answer your questions:

Quote:
1. Is karaoke really that popular in Japan? Most animes have these events, usually happening after parties or such.
Yep, karaoke is cheap and has it's own chain stores around Tokyo in many many towns (karaoke kan, being one of the most famous)
Consider it a pastime alike bowling, going to the movies or going shopping. Of course not everyone likes to sing, but then the japanese are good at being entertaining people when drunk...

Quote:
2. Ganguro and Lolita. Do they exist? those playing cosplays in Akihabara are excluded of course.
I've only seen them in Shibuya, Akihabara and the most reknown 'Harajuku' on the bridge area. They exist. I doubt the girls (and guys too) actually live their lives like that, most do it as a hobby, they design stuff and model it on weekends, then go home to 'normal' lives.

Quote:
3. Are girl's uniform skirts really that short(thigh level)? and are bloomers common?
bloomers.. you mean the 1980's knee length socks? yes unfortunately they are used a fair bit and as for short skirts, some are.
By default they're knee length but it doesn't stop girls raising them up or buying shorter lengths, similar to what try to do over here too...

Quote:
4. Just some clarification, Valentines day in Japan is when girls give chocolates to their loved ones, family, boss, colleagues and such. White day is when guys pay back and treat girls. Am i correct?
Yep. Valentines day over there, doesn't have the absolute 'love' connection as it does in the West, if you have time, google or wiki 'giri choco' and check that out.
It's seen more as a 'duty' a girl must do for her male work colleagues and of course tons of money are spent on how to make the best homemade one, etc etc...

Quote:
5. Which is more likely to confess, boys or girls?
Depends on the individual. If you mean 'love' that is.

Quote:
6. Do girls really wiggle their bottoms and shout 'kawaii' when they see something really cute?
wiggle their bottoms? What kinda anime you watching there I wonder...
as for 'kawaii' (the most overused word over there ever) ><;;;;
yes, if something is cute, pretty, beautiful, chic, lovely = kawaii

Quote:
7. Black day. i dont think we have one in our country so can someone explain how this goes in Japan?
Is that the American day after their Thanksgiving one, where people go crazy for sales, so shops end up being 'in the black'?
I don't think japan has one, (well there is sales after New Years...) but neither do we, so I pass on that question.

Quote:
8. Do Punks and Gangsters with those weird elvis-type hairs exist(think the dude from Shaman King)? i'd probably laugh a lot if i got clobbered by them
umm, lol.
Well in Tokyo, if you hang around the youth districts, you'll definitely see some crazy-ass hairstyles, that's all i can say.

Quote:
9. Do schools in Japan have clinics w/ beds where students can sleep whenever they like?
Good question xD
Umm... I can't remember from my own university over there, but I had to visit my uni clinic a few times to sort something out. I think they'd have a place to rest, because at least during primary school there definitely was a small bed for us kids, if we were feeling sick.

Quote:
10. Is bullying really that bad in Japan as it is in anime? Think Kyouran Kazoku Nikki.
Never seen that anime, but it is bad enough. Suicides stemming from it hit the news in japan all of last autumn (2007) too many were happening to the point that the government really started pushing for national awareness and encouraging kids to come forward and talk (about bloody time)
So they are aware of the problem, haven't heard of any lately, but haven't been keeping tabs on the news either as of late.

Quote:
11. Do Japanese people mind that 'indirect kiss' thing?
Dunno what you mean, so 'pass' :P

Quote:
12. Is it rude if foreigners refer to you by first name? I know for a fact that japanese people only refer to others by the first name if they are in a close relationship (family, friend, etc.) but in most parts of the world first name calling is fine.
Doesn't matter if the person is a foriegner or native of my country, if I don't know them personally, don't use my first name. (well they'd not know it anyways.)
And when you say 'Japanese' you need to define. If its friends/family, naturally they'll use your first name.
If its a shop assitant or a stranger or someone official, then 'surname'-san, just like we do in our own countries, but we use Mr/Miss/Ms etc

Interesting questions though, I kinda forget sometimes some of the stuff people would think about Japan as I must have done many years ago
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Last edited by Mystique; 2008-05-19 at 09:44.
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Old 2008-05-19, 10:09   Link #617
Circular Logic
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1) Yes, for example, Kobe Sannomiya has millions upon millions of karaoke joints in a rather small area.

2. I've seen Gothic Lolita occasionally, but apparently Ganguro went out of fashion a good few years ago.

3. Can't say the skirts are THAT short (knee, or slightly higher) mostly, and I've never seen bloomers - then again I doubt people wear them out normally.

4. Yes.

5. From gut instinct, boys, but I don't really know too well.

6. Kawaii, maybe. The whole wriggling bottoms things, no.

7. Never heard of it.

8. Haven't actually seen them around at all.

9. They have beds. But not really to sleep in. :x

10. Bullying occurs, but that anime is probably exaggerating it. Not that I've watched it. But yeah, it happens, like most countries. Or so I hear.

11. No idea again.

12. No, I do it all the time. But only with people around your own age.
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Old 2008-05-19, 10:23   Link #618
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This thread belongs in the General Anime sub-forum, or in the Japanese Culture thread or the Silly Questions thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystique
bloomers.. you mean the 1980's knee length socks?
These are bloomers. Yes, they still exist, but as LiberLibri says, they are apparently in decline. Good. If I were a Japanese father, I'd feel uncomfortable for my daughter, let alone how she would feel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supah Em
11. Do Japanese people mind that 'indirect kiss' thing?
I presume you're asking about "getting kissed" by sharing bottles, chopsticks, cups and other cutlery between a boy or a girl. I have no clue how Japanese actually feel about this.

But the "idea" is not limited to Japan alone - it's common here in Singapore too. Er, it's generally fodder for childish teasing. Meaning to say, most people don't care. In the first place, it's generally considered unhygenic to share cutlery with other people (unless it's between close friends or family members). Even when sharing soft drinks between friends, it's considered polite (and hygenic) not to touch your lips on the can or bottle. I imagine the Japanese would feel the same way.
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Old 2008-05-20, 03:34   Link #619
LiberLibri
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Usually each individual in Japan has his/her own chopsticks, forks and spoons. We hate to share them with others. That is why restraunts provide the guests with disposable chopsticks (waribashi). It's not for a sanitary reason; even when they are neatly washed and dried up, nonetheless we hesitate to use second-mouth instruments. It is because of the religious tradition, though subconsciously.

In Shinto, a mouth is an entrance to the soul. Every breath, every drop of saliva contains a part of soul. To touch other's soul infringes a very strict tabu. Today nobody believes or even knows the ancient practice, but the tradition rules people's behaviour. Thus we care much about "indirect kiss" things.

I think it's analogous to German people yelling "gesundheit!" at a sneezing person. Even after the arrival of Christian belief, they do not abandon the notion that the soul may go away through the mouth when sneezing.
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Old 2008-05-20, 04:48   Link #620
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Originally Posted by LiberLibri View Post
I think it's analogous to German people yelling "gesundheit!" at a sneezing person. Even after the arrival of Christian belief, they do not abandon the notion that the soul may go away through the mouth when sneezing.
Umm ... what? Never heard of that explanation. "Gesundheit" means "health" as in "I wish you good health." because that's an appropriate wish for somebody who's not 100 percent healthy. Just like "bon appetite" is an appropriate wish for somebody sitting in front of a plate full of food. That's all I think.

Googling the all-knowing trash heap tells me that the idea that the soul leaves the body through the nose(!) is an ancient Greek notion. So if this was ever believed here then this belief probably arrived with Christianity. Occam's Razor speaks against this theory though.
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