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Old 2007-05-02, 01:44   Link #281
iluvnuriko
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I am going to visit Japan for sure. But first I am going to learn japanese. Then I will go there and stop off at Akhibara to spend a whole week at animate (1 day per floor!!).......mwahahaha...mwahaha!
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Old 2007-05-02, 09:39   Link #282
TinyRedLeaf
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Actually, I've been to Japan twice in five years, the second time only recently, in February this year (2007).

It had been a great trip (the Feb one). Very personal in many ways, probably because I travelled solo this time round. I realised that I actually prefer travelling alone than with company.

Don't get me wrong. Company's always good to have. But looking back at my 2002 trip, I remember that more often than not, I was being led around by my friend who obviously knew a lot more about Japan than I knew at the time. In effect, I was following his itinerary rather than mine, lol.

When you're on your own, and 100% responsible for your own holiday, I dunno, the entire holiday becomes much more meaningful, you know?
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Old 2007-05-02, 10:08   Link #283
ShikaShika
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In my experience, it's much easier to feel lonely in Japan than in most other countries. I think it has mainly to do with the language barrier and the natural shyness of the Japanese whenever they spot a gaijin. So there are times when I wish I had a friend with me (of course I have friends here, but not anyone really close).

I get what you mean about following your own itinerary though, I hate being dragged around town looking at things that don't interest me in the slightest. However for out of town excursions I prefer a traveling companion, just my two cents (yen?). I think it's especially nice to plan out the itinerary together, and then seeing it work out as planned, it can be a memorable experiance and it can really tighten a relationship.

I had such an experience in Kyoto, riding bikes from temple to temple with a friend, whom I now consider quite close. Btw, since I guess a lot of Japan visitors to be are looking at this thread, I wholeheartedly recommend biking through Kyoto, it's a great way to see the city (and cheap). Really easy to navigate as well.
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Old 2007-05-02, 10:14   Link #284
TinyRedLeaf
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One reason why I loved my most recent trip to Japan (yes I'm showing off )



Hot bath at dawn with Mt Fuji for scenary.
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Old 2007-05-02, 10:46   Link #285
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I suppose this is the best place for this...

Well, I'm not sure when I'll be going to Japan for missions work, but I'm making plans for education.

This is the school I'm expecting to attend: http://yamasa.org

I'd like to go this year, but I don't want to enroll without having the money saved ahead of time (and also have to balance it with my planned schooling in Guatemala), so I'm tentatively planning on attending in 2008. Of course, if I can go sooner, that'd be fine with me.

If any one has any advice concerning the school or Okazaki City, where it's located, I'd be very appreciative of any information.
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Old 2007-05-02, 12:10   Link #286
Vexx
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
One reason why I loved my most recent trip to Japan (yes I'm showing off )



Hot bath at dawn with Mt Fuji for scenary.
Arrrrrrgh! (channeling Daffy Duck): I... hate... you...
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Old 2007-05-02, 12:50   Link #287
LynnieS
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
One reason why I loved my most recent trip to Japan (yes I'm showing off ) [photo] Hot bath at dawn with Mt Fuji for scenary.
That's a nice view from the rotenburo. Is that at a ryokan or in an onsen building?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShikaShika
In my experience, it's much easier to feel lonely in Japan than in most other countries. I think it has mainly to do with the language barrier and the natural shyness of the Japanese whenever they spot a gaijin. So there are times when I wish I had a friend with me (of course I have friends here, but not anyone really close).
What about expats in, say, China ex Hong Kong, though? Outside of major cities and major Western hotels, English speakers are (or were the last time I visited in 2006) were fairly rare.

Traveling in Japan, I don't really mind being alone since I like to go at my own pace, and it can be hard to find someone with close to the same likes/dislikes. Costs... Hah. It's not like you'll really saving anything extra by sharing a room; most places seem to follow the usual "charge per person" pricing policy...
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Old 2007-05-02, 14:12   Link #288
TinyRedLeaf
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That's the view from the outdoor onsen of Hotel Sunnide, located on the north shore of Kawaguchi-ko, one of the five crater lakes at the foot of Mt Fuji. I highly recommend the place -- I got a single room for only 4,500 yen a night.
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Old 2007-05-03, 11:09   Link #289
ShikaShika
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LynnieS, I can only speak for my own personal experience and opinion, since I have never been to those places you mentioned. Japan is great fun to explore on your own, just gets a little lonely from time to time, that's all.

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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
One reason why I loved my most recent trip to Japan (yes I'm showing off )



Hot bath at dawn with Mt Fuji for scenary.
That's an awsome pic, I so wanna go to Fuji-san, but I'll wait till climbing season comes around.
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Old 2007-05-05, 03:31   Link #290
LynnieS
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LynnieS, I can only speak for my own personal experience and opinion, since I have never been to those places you mentioned. Japan is great fun to explore on your own, just gets a little lonely from time to time, that's all.
No worries. I wasn't picking fault or anything. If it came across that way, I apologize.

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Originally Posted by ShikaShika
That's an awsome pic, I so wanna go to Fuji-san, but I'll wait till climbing season comes around.
You have another 2 months to go. Better start climbing stairs. BTW, if you think that you might get altitude sickness - and I have been with people who suffered from it, and it's not a pretty picture (and they probably wished they were watching someone else having the "fun") - you might want to start the climb during the day, rest for a bit in a hut to get used to the air, and then finish the climb.
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Old 2007-05-06, 01:31   Link #291
ShikaShika
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Originally Posted by LynnieS View Post
You have another 2 months to go. Better start climbing stairs.
Believe me, it's well marked out in my calender.

Altitude sickness sounds a little scary, but as long as I keep a controlled pace, I hope I'll be fine.
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Old 2007-05-07, 19:23   Link #292
Sidicas
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Originally Posted by Darek Khort View Post
Plus, as a Chinese I want to see just how different Japan is from China (the country that literally taught Japan how to speak...if my history lessons are correct...).
First, my apologies for getting a bit off topic...
That's not true.. The linguistics of Japanese are totally different from Chinese.. I think what you're referring to is the Chinese Hanzi writing system.. The Chinese use something like 20,000 or so characters, and the Japanese only use about 2,000 or so. There are in fact countless Chinese influences on not only Japan but every country surrounding China.. China for the entire Tang dynasty was the most developed country in the world, as I know a lot of the Chinese imported stuff in Japan seems to come from the Tang dynasty. The 2,000 or so Kanji the Japanese use are in fact imported from Chinese and maintain the same meanings.. But usually with very different pronunciations.

Back on topic...
I'd love to travel to China, Japan and Korea.. I've got an invitation to go to the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. Also I'd like to point out those who are trying to learn about Japanese culture might want to look into Kateigaho Magzine which is available here in the states in English with a subscription.

Back off topic...
There is a reference in the Spring 2006 magazine about a massive Japanese art exhibit in Washington DC which will be showing one of the largest collections of ancient Japanese art in the world. The exhibit I believe is currently in Japan, but will make it to the states in November 2007 -> April 2008. I believe the collection is owned by a guy in California who spent a lifetime collecting it (like many people in this thread who are so interested in Japan, his wife is Japanese).. After Washington D.C. it's going to Europe.. Or perhaps it's already been to Europe.. Not sure.. If you need more info, I can post it.. But I think after he's done exhibiting it around the world, I think there is a risk that it's going to be locked away for a long time so now is a good chance to go check it out if you're interested..
Edit:
The Price Collection (Ancient Japanese art / Edo art.. Not sure how much Anime is inspired by old Japanese artwork)
April 6 -> May 13 2007 - Aichi Prefectural Museum
Nov 10 2007 -> April 13 2008 Smithsonian Instituion's Freer Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Sorry, doesn't say anything about it traveling to Europe

Back on topic...
I strongly suggest you do everything possible to learn about the culture before visiting. I've never been outside the U.S. but am sooo wanting to visit other countries. I just graduated from college a little while ago, in the process of finding a job.. There are so many things that are just really weird or unexpected about Japanese culture that I've learned recently. Which makes it all the more interesting and fun!

Last edited by Sidicas; 2007-05-07 at 19:41.
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Old 2007-05-07, 22:53   Link #293
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Quote:
But usually with very different pronunciations.
Umm, you do know there's a "Chinese" (on-yomi) pronunciation for every kanji (that is, a Japanization of the Chinese former pronunciation), right? In fact, there are a lot of kanji which don't have a native Japanese pronunciation (kun-yomi) to them (opposedly, almost every kanji has an on-yomi, if not all of them).

And there are 5000 accepted kanji in Japanese--1945 are the most commonly used.

If I remember correctly, Wikipedia listed the reason as a need of Japanese scholars to apparent a higher state of cultivation, and thus they used Chinese for certain, more technical, words.
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Old 2007-05-08, 05:02   Link #294
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by Darek Khort
Plus, as a Chinese I want to see just how different Japan is from China (the country that literally taught Japan how to speak...if my history lessons are correct...).

Then again, I also want to visit China again, especially where I was born, Shanghai, due to the recent boom. Hopefully inner-city Shanghai won't have any of those pot-holes for public park-and-school toilets. ^^;;
Japan & China - Schoolchildren's views

My personal experience of Japan, as a traveller, is of a country of extremely high levels of hospitality and service excellence. But people who live, work or study there probably have a much more nuanced experience. Certainly, overt displays of racism are rare -- if you're a traveller, that is.

Regardless of the differences in language, the writing systems are similar enough that, if you know Chinese, you will probably be able to read almost every road sign. Some kanji do differ in meaning, but for most practical purposes, someone who reads and writes Chinese will rarely get lost in Japan.

As for the popular impression of Japanese denying unpleasant history....my personal impression is that young Japanese are either oblivious to it, or are otherwise more concerned about the latest fashion trend than what had happened in the past. In that respect at least, they're no different from young people in any other developed country.

However, regardless of your views, it'll be the height of insensitivity to berate any Japanese you come across for their lack of remorse, etc etc. You're a guest in the country after all, so be sensible about what criticisms you want to bring up. (In other words, get drunk first. When you're high, all sins are forgiven )

Shanghai - Creating a global city

Haven't been to Shanghai, but many friends have. It'd probably be a hugely energising experience. I visited my father's hometown in Guangdong province a couple of years ago to attend a cousin's wedding, and was literally left winded by the breakneck (almost reckless) pace of enterprise that has gripped the people of what was once a sleepy town surrounded by paddy fields (all gone now, replaced by ugly concrete jungle). The coastal regions of China have been swept by a tsunami of capitalism, and Shanghai is at the epicentre of that tidal wave. So, yup, you'll probably find a lot of dazzling, adrenalin pumping modernity. But apparently, you will also bump into Shanghai's "rough" edge quite frequently -- you won't forget that it's still part of what is essentially a developing country.
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Old 2007-05-08, 06:29   Link #295
WanderingKnight
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Quote:
Japan & China - Schoolchildren's views
In every country there exists an important ignorance on the historical development of the country itself. I'd make an uber huge long post about it, but it's better to play it safe and say that, most of times, governments are better off keeping people stupid. But once again, a couple of high school kids aren't representative, and not everyone in any country whatsoever thinks the same way.

There's also the thing about it being a newspaper article--the kids were selectively chosen among a higher number of candidates, just because the BBC wanted to show a certain scope on the matter. A real empiric investigation isn't their concern.
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Old 2007-05-08, 07:21   Link #296
TinyRedLeaf
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Hmm....who said anything about that article being representative? The ol' Beeb certainly didn't make any such claim, let alone me.

I do appreciate it, however, for opening a window on a sample of possible views. Can't speak for Japanese kids, but certainly the Chinese kids were voicing views that I've frequently heard from other Chinese kids (from China) who are studying in Singapore.
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Old 2007-05-08, 08:38   Link #297
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Hmm....who said anything about that article being representative? The ol' Beeb certainly didn't make any such claim, let alone me.
No one, rest assured. I just thought I'd clear that out, since most of times newspaper articles tend to present information as definitely representative (even when they're not actually saying it's representative, people tend to think that... it's kinda like they don't need to do it, but people will do it anyways. It's part of the power of press).
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Old 2007-05-08, 13:49   Link #298
Sidicas
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Umm, you do know there's a "Chinese" (on-yomi) pronunciation for every kanji (that is, a Japanization of the Chinese former pronunciation), right? In fact, there are a lot of kanji which don't have a native Japanese pronunciation (kun-yomi) to them (opposedly, almost every kanji has an on-yomi, if not all of them).
Hmm, I don't see how that's possible.. There are over 20 different vocal dialects of Chinese that are totally incomprehensible to each other vocally.. For a while I was learning Mandarin and Fuzhouese Chinese, but haven't studied Fuzhouese in a while.. The 5 chinese tones and such are totally different from any Japanese pronunciation and no native Chinese speakers can understand a spoken word of Japanese without studying it first.. In fact they can't understand a word of spoken Chinese in another dialect without studying it first. A lot of Chinese people know at least 2 dialects of Chinese, a local dialect (Such as Fuzhouese) and the larger regional dialect (such as Mandarin or Cantonese). I have heard about "on" and "kun" but from what I've seen they just don't match up at all with the Chinese equivalents in any way except under extremly exception circumstances such as the similar Japanese and Chinese pronunciation for the number "three". But the tone difference in Chinese makes the Japanese pronunciation of the number three incorrect anyway! Even if they both sound similar to "san". Be interesting to know where those connections are actually drawn.

The only thing that was helpful from my Japanese studies into my Chinese studies were that the Kanji/Hanzi often retain the same meaning far more often than the same pronunciation. I think I ran into maybe... a few words during my first semester of Chinese that were even remotely similar to the Japanese equivalent pronunciation, and I didn't even notice it at first because it was pronounced by the teacher so differently than in Japanese...

Maybe I'm just totally missing something obvious? Like a sound that is a universally recognized property in the written language of the Han characters? Please correct me if I'm totally messed up.. lol
Sorry for bringing this whole thread off topic ><

Last edited by Sidicas; 2007-05-08 at 14:14.
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Old 2007-05-08, 14:39   Link #299
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Quote:
I have heard about "on" and "kun" but from what I've seen they just don't match up at all with the Chinese equivalents in any way except under extremly exception circumstances such as the similar Japanese and Chinese pronunciation for the number "three". But the tone difference in Chinese makes the Japanese pronunciation of the number three incorrect anyway! Even if they both sound similar to "san". Be interesting to know where those connections are actually drawn.
That's why I said "Japanization" (that is, Japanese approximation)... You've gotta have in mind that the Japanese is quite limited as to sounds...

But, for further enlightenment, here's the wikipedia entry about on-yomi .
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Old 2007-05-08, 21:21   Link #300
TinyRedLeaf
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Touching a little bit more about language (I'll bring it back to topic soon), it's not so much a case of China teaching Japan "how to speak". That would be a grossly inaccurate impression (also perhaps a reflection of typical Chinese arrogance). It's more a case of Japan importing China's writing system, and adapting it to suit their native language. It's a very familiar Japanese trait -- the borrowing of foreign technologies, and adapting it to the point where it becomes completely different (and sometimes better) than the original.

Bringing this back to topic, you can easily build a trip around studying Chinese influences on Japanese culture. For a start, there is Kyoto and Nara, both of which are filled with temples (Buddhist) and shrines (Shinto). Most historians seem to agree that the Chinese writing system was introduced along with Buddhism, at around the time of China's Tang Dynasty (618 to 917 AD). If you study the way the temples are designed and built, for example, you can detect some early Chinese influences. Especially the inclusion of pagodas for example -- that's very Chinese. Japanese feudal architecture, in general, tended towards low buildings -- possibly because of frequent earthquakes? The taller the building, the more prone to collapse?

Modern Nara is very different from how it used to be, but apparently, it was modelled after the grid-layout of Chang'an (the Tang capital, present-day Xi'an). All I remember about Nara are the very tame deers then wander around one of its parks, haha, so I can't recall if that grid-layout is still visible. Why not go visit and find out for yourself?

Also, here is something my friends and I have often wondered about. While it's true that spoken Chinese and spoken Japanese are vastly different, there are many Japanese words that sound remarkably similar to Cantonese or Teochew. Not just a few words, but quite a number in fact. Best example I can think of is 了解 ("understood/roger"). It is read as riu kai in Japanese on-yomi pronunciation, vs liu gai in Cantonese.

If you're a student of Chinese/Japanese cross-cultural relations, it's perhaps worth wondering what was the predominant dialect spoken by Tang Chinese. Could it have been an early variant of Cantonese? Bear in mind that the pu tong hua of modern China (ie, Mandarin) is actually a fairly recent "official" dialect, as far as Chinese history is concerned. It became the court dialect probably around the time of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), or maybe during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). We might be able to read 2,000-year-old Chinese texts (because the scripts have stayed largely the same throughout these many years), but we don't really have any idea what dialect the Imperial courts used. Food for thought, no?

And finally, you might also want to visit Kobe, which is home to the largest Chinatown in Japan. It's a good city to see how modern Chinese live, and perhaps influence, modern Japanese.
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