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Old 2008-11-17, 23:19   Link #841
Vexx
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Sorry, I was indeed waving my arms too much .... but, yeah, a lot of the experience depends on what part of the US one lands in. Many immigrants who come here are very motivated but can be stymied by local obstacles.

As I was discussing with someone today, there really isn't a monolithic cultural concept of "America" -- it is kind of like saying "Europe". The cultural and educational experience can vary wildly from region to region or even town to town.

This makes people who have simple stereotypes of America a bit nuts if they come from a homogeneous culture (like Japan or Norway).

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As a side note, if there is indeed anti-intellectualism rooted in American culture, it certainly hasn't seemed to hamper science and technology in the past hundred years.
Its always been very much in spite of, or the fruits of genius are readily taken but they still "don't get invited to parties". I will say in the last 20 years, things are quite improved - but its a bit backhanded (see the series "The Big Bang Theory" or "Freaks and Geeks").

Meh, getting off-target here, thread is about Japanese Culture.
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Old 2008-11-18, 15:26   Link #842
Yukinokesshou
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
but there's still a very large part of the country that is suspicious of people who do well in school. This is in such direct contrast to Japan's study ethic (and other asian countries) as to invite dumbfounded astonishment from exchange students who come to the US and immigrants (like the Hmong and Vietnamese).
It was the other way round at the school I went to in the US... there were so many Asians and such a pervasive, high-pressure study ethic that our school invited "dumbfounded astonishment" from exchange students and immigrants expecting to get a break from the stress they used to experience back at home !!

To quote a Singaporean friend of mine in the US: "This is as kiasu as Singapore" (do look up "kiasu" - it's in the Oxford English Dictionary and a terribly useful word). I have to agree: the academic competition there was a lot more intense than in Hong Kong! True, school in Hong Kong was tough but only at this "Asian American" school did I see people so eager to know whether they got 1% higher or lower than their neighbour on the last exam. In Hong Kong, an "A" was cause for celebration; it was definitely easier to get an "A" in the US, but suddenly, an "A" meant nothing unless it was 100% and top in the class.

You're definitely right about there being a difference in what part of the US you're in, and to some extent, it depends on the number of Chinese and Indian immigrants in the area
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Old 2008-11-18, 16:25   Link #843
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukinokesshou View Post
It was the other way round at the school I went to in the US... there were so many Asians and such a pervasive, high-pressure study ethic that our school invited "dumbfounded astonishment" from exchange students and immigrants expecting to get a break from the stress they used to experience back at home !!
That reminds me of what my "advisor" told me before I left for Japan. "I don't know if you know or not, but college in Japan is easy compared to high school there and college here, so you won't have to worry. You'll get a little break from all the stress of school here. More time for going out and doing stuff. "

PPFFTTTT.

(College in Japan [where I attended, anyways] is not easy for the serious Japanese-learning exchange student, in case anyone missed my "ppfftttt" up there. One of the first "culture shock" experiences new people go through there is finding out how to bust your ass for a much worse grade. I'll never forget my all-nighters spent studying at Makku...)
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Old 2008-11-18, 17:41   Link #844
Vexx
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Originally Posted by Risaa View Post
That reminds me of what my "advisor" told me before I left for Japan. "I don't know if you know or not, but college in Japan is easy compared to high school there and college here, so you won't have to worry. You'll get a little break from all the stress of school here. More time for going out and doing stuff. "

PPFFTTTT.

(College in Japan [where I attended, anyways] is not easy for the serious Japanese-learning exchange student, in case anyone missed my "ppfftttt" up there. One of the first "culture shock" experiences new people go through there is finding out how to bust your ass for a much worse grade. I'll never forget my all-nighters spent studying at Makku...)
If only you'd pursued your dream of being an undine on Aqua ....;P

There is some substance to the rumor that Japanese college is easy compared to Japanese high school (once you pass the red gates it is Honey&Clover all the way) .... however, my sparse data tells me that Japanese college is still more rigorous than the *average* American college (versus the top tier colleges).

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Originally Posted by Yuki...
You're definitely right about there being a difference in what part of the US you're in, and to some extent, it depends on the number of Chinese and Indian immigrants in the area
My personal experience is that I can't disagree with that.
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Old 2008-11-18, 17:49   Link #845
Mystique
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If only you'd pursued your dream of being an undine on Aqua ....;P

There is some substance to the rumor that Japanese college is easy compared to Japanese high school (once you pass the red gates it is Honey&Clover all the way) .... however, my sparse data tells me that Japanese college is still more rigorous than the *average* American college (versus the top tier colleges).
This is true on the uni entry issue.
To get in is murder, to graduate is piss easy.
A lot of students end up sleeping in class cause either they've taken on part time jobs, have travelled hours just to get to class or are just lazy, lol.
Japanese Uni was easy for me as a UK uni student, the grades were 90% = A (but with 40% = attendence, you could imagine how much delirious i was, easiest 40% i've made in my life...ever)
The only classes that gave me a tough time where naturally my language ones since they were new grammar and vocab i had not learnt before, but otherwise it isn't so difficult.
I'm not sure how top uni's like Waseda, Sofia and Tokyo Uni play, but i hear similar stories sometimes.
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Old 2008-11-18, 19:46   Link #846
Yukinokesshou
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Japanese Uni was easy for me as a UK uni student
Uni in the UK isn't too tough either. I'm a medic here and I have a heck of an easier time than my friends studing, erm... linguistics or sociology at Harvard.
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Old 2008-11-18, 19:51   Link #847
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Yeah, but the same thing happens within American colleges, I hear. As in, studying at a "top" university in America will be more difficult than studying at a "lower" university in America.

This is completely different to Canada, where all accredited universities offer basically the same undergraduate education, it's just perception and entrance standards which differ. So even though one university may have a lot of prestige, the programs themselves don't really change much, unless you get into specifics, like graduate or business programs.

This seems to be magnified in Japan, though. I'm not sure whether there are really any differences in difficulty between top and bottom tier universities in Japan, but there is certainly a "perceived" difference. When I was watching Maison Ikkoku, the main character is embarrassed to even speak the name of his university because it is a "low tier" one. And parents wouldn't hire him to tutor high school kids for that same reason. This may be sort of a repeating cycle, though. Because of perceived differences, and the emphasis on exams and rote learning, I'm guessing that everyone aims for the top universities, and then whoever fails to get in will go down and try the next "tier" of universities, and so on. Self fulfilling prophecy? But still, the actual difficulty of the education may not change.
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Old 2008-11-18, 20:02   Link #848
Mystique
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Uni in the UK isn't too tough either. I'm a medic here and I have a heck of an easier time than my friends studing, erm... linguistics or sociology at Harvard.
Think it depends on the uni and course but those in Oxford, when i compared their japanese course to my own, were on an insane level of madness for the amount they had to learn in next to zero time :s I felt sorry for the students when they told me, lol
London's top 3, Kings, UCL and Imperial are pretty hardcore too, one of my workmates was studying biomed there and i'd remember his coming into work on 3-4hrs sleep cause of research and essays :s
So i think it really does depend on the uni.
But my own didn't give us an easy time, which in way i'm glad it was fairly tough.
Maybe you're just used to extreme discipline from HK days?
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Old 2008-11-19, 17:10   Link #849
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Q: Why is it so rare to find people (girls and women in particular) wearing sunglasses? I wore my pair one day in Japan (it gets bright in summer especially!!) and never did again because everyone stared.

I was told by one girl that it was very kakkoii, but no one offered explanation as to why nobody else would wear a pair.
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Old 2008-11-19, 18:32   Link #850
Vexx
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Originally Posted by Risaa View Post
Q: Why is it so rare to find people (girls and women in particular) wearing sunglasses? I wore my pair one day in Japan (it gets bright in summer especially!!) and never did again because everyone stared.

I was told by one girl that it was very kakkoii, but no one offered explanation as to why nobody else would wear a pair.
Interesting question for which I have several unrelated and contradictory theories. Lets see what others think first before I blather or do horrible psychoanalysis.
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Old 2008-11-19, 18:58   Link #851
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Just don't ask http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomonobu_Itagaki the infamous ex-Team Ninja game designer. He's never seen without them!
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Old 2008-11-19, 19:40   Link #852
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I've actually heard about this and I asked my friend Mike who studied in Japan last year and he said that someone told him that it may have something to do with sunglasses making someone look suspicious, but he didn't think that was the case. It also seems to be a accustomed to certain areas as well. He said that in Yukaza there were plenty of people wearing sunglasses, but in the Kansai area almost no one was wearing sunglasses.

Now I've actually heard about some theory that suggests that Caucasian people need more eye protection, but I have yet to bother looking up any evidence to support such a theory.
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Old 2008-11-19, 20:45   Link #853
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Risaa View Post
Q: Why is it so rare to find people (girls and women in particular) wearing sunglasses? I wore my pair one day in Japan (it gets bright in summer especially!!) and never did again because everyone stared.

I was told by one girl that it was very kakkoii, but no one offered explanation as to why nobody else would wear a pair.
Because it is regarded as a gadget for those who want to hide their identities and emotions from others. It can be a specific symbol of, say, criminals or celebrities (or silly wanna-bies of them). It may be kakkoii, but showing off others that you want to be thought to be kakkoii is never kakkoii, is it?

After all, I have never felt I really need sunglasses in the life in Japan; I am racially typical Japanese, namely black-eyed, which means I have stronger resistance against the risk of eye-cancer caused by ultraviolet sunlight. My (normal) glasses have the protection against ultraviolet in addition. The humid air in Monsoon Asia does not pass direct sunbeams so much that you have no difficulty in viewing everything even in summer without the help of sunglasses unless under special occasion (e.g. near water).
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Old 2008-11-19, 21:59   Link #854
Mystique
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Because it is regarded as a gadget for those who want to hide their identities and emotions from others. It can be a specific symbol of, say, criminals or celebrities (or silly wanna-bies of them). It may be kakkoii, but showing off others that you want to be thought to be kakkoii is never kakkoii, is it?

After all, I have never felt I really need sunglasses in the life in Japan; I am racially typical Japanese, namely black-eyed, which means I have stronger resistance against the risk of eye-cancer caused by ultraviolet sunlight. My (normal) glasses have the protection against ultraviolet in addition. The humid air in Monsoon Asia does not pass direct sunbeams so much that you have no difficulty in viewing everything even in summer without the help of sunglasses unless under special occasion (e.g. near water).
*looks at her own pair of shades*
...

Can't say I've ever noticed, nor realised there is an actual perception to shades in Japan.
The days have been gloriously bright and sunny in the last 3 weeks, I was kicking myself for not taking my shades cause it was bright.
Not to mention, I've seen quite a few girls in Shibuya or Shinjuku area wearing big fat types lately, just figured it part of their outfit (which imo is usually kinda crazy, lol)
Still, if i'm to go out on a lovely bright day without my hat to screen my eyes, i'll most likely wear them as i would back home, since that pair has the UV protection in it rather than my normal pair.
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Old 2008-11-19, 22:11   Link #855
Vexx
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"Because it is regarded as a gadget for those who want to hide their identities and emotions from others. It can be a specific symbol of, say, criminals or celebrities (or silly wanna-bies of them)."
That was my first thought --- some vague relationship to "being different" (gangsters/celebs). I hadn't thought about the simple reality of sun-capable dark eyes though. That might not hold up in the long term if the solar radiation on the ground keeps creeping up with the UV ratio though.

I browsed a few websites that have galleries of "candid street scenes in Tokyo" as well as street fashion. For women, wearing them on the top of the head as a fashion trinket seems trendy --- but much more often what I see in candid street scenes are hats or umbrellas in sunny weather.

Well.... with my yellow/grey/green/brown/hazel orbs, its sunglasses ... which I suppose will just put an extra "!!" on the "Look, its a gaijin" if I wander the streets.

Last edited by Vexx; 2008-11-20 at 00:59.
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Old 2008-11-19, 22:33   Link #856
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
I hadn't thought about the simple reality of sun-capable dark eyes though.
My first thought to this was, oh please, you live with someone with a pair!!

My [Korean] mom has dark brown but I've got hazel, so they do appear green sometimes. ("Does this mean I can be a Lydia and have an Edgar!?" "...No.")

Thanks for the explanation. I'll be leaving my shades at home next time I'm off to Japan (actually it's not like I've been using them here, damned too-far-north stealing my sunlight!!!).
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Old 2008-11-19, 22:58   Link #857
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Are there Otaku Surrogates? (as addict as male otakus and can get stuck as much as male otakus are in their houses and the like etc etc like Konata )

AFAIK, female otakus are more in touch with real life than male otakus
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Old 2008-11-19, 23:26   Link #858
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Well, before coming to Japan, I was in Singapore half my life, so in a country with all-year-round-summers, you get used to the sun. I have a pair of shades but I never use them.

Sunglasses are a sure-fire way to get known as a gaijin most times.
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Old 2008-11-20, 00:57   Link #859
Vexx
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My first thought to this was, oh please, you live with someone with a pair!!

My [Korean] mom has dark brown but I've got hazel, so they do appear green sometimes. ("Does this mean I can be a Lydia and have an Edgar!?" "...No.")

Thanks for the explanation. I'll be leaving my shades at home next time I'm off to Japan (actually it's not like I've been using them here, damned too-far-north stealing my sunlight!!!).
Heh, yes but my sig.other is "all american japanese" and wears sunglasses anyway (though lately she's taken to hats instead o.O).

Oh, just wait another month and you'll be dancing outside Amaterasu's cave luring her out to return the sun...
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Old 2008-11-20, 04:28   Link #860
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Are there Otaku Surrogates? (as addict as male otakus and can get stuck as much as male otakus are in their houses and the like etc etc like Konata )

AFAIK, female otakus are more in touch with real life than male otakus
There's a group of female otaku at the school where I teach, and they seem to be much more open about their interests than the boys. (Either that, or the boys are more embarrassed about confiding in me, while the girls don't care). They seem to be very into things like Lucky Star, Suzumiya Haruhi, and a sizable amount of shonen series with prettyboy characters. I'm also beginning to suspect that they're closet fujoshi as well, which at 14 is a little too young in my book, but I'm sure there are American yaoi fangirls that age, too.

For my part, I tell them I watched various anime that aired on TV in the US, while feigning only a passing familiarity with other things. ("Lucky Star? That's about dancing cheerleaders, right?") They're curious about all the English editions of Japanese series, and I think they're pressuring me to show some of it. I probably shouldn't break copyright law at the school, though, right?
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