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Old 2007-07-11, 22:19   Link #129
Joka
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
First of all, I'd like to point out something here that bugged me when I read it:

[b]In fact, the meaning of "foreigner" is exactly that.[b] If you look down the Latin meaning of the word (in Spanish, it's "foraneo", so I suppose it has a Latin origin; and it doesn't mean exactly foreigner, but more like stranger, out of the ordinary, in the margins), it probably means the same. In Japanese it's more evident since there's the kanji system to the formation of words, but in truth, this works like this in a western society such as the American or the English one. Add in terms like "alien" (which is often applied to immigrants) and the association becomes much more blatant.

That small detail aside, I'd like to point out that views such as these, from a completely western point of view, usually fail to deliver the whole picture. I certainly can't comment on this matter because I haven't been to Japan myself, but my best friend is of Japanese descent (of direct Japanese descent) and they don't close themselves up that much. Granted, the society they live in is different.

And once again, even when in a single society you'll find a common trend, there will always be a gazillion of deviations from the norm. So I don't believe that the Japanese society can be completely summarized in a few paragraphs. Even less when it comes from a website named "Japanese Culture for Newcomers". I'd trust much more a serious, extensive paper on the matter.

And besides, I'd like to hear the opinion of some of the Japanese members of AS.
EDIT: This refers to to the bold part. I think you might be missing the point or I might be missing what you are saying, but I believe the author is referring to the following. I think when he says "literal meaning" he refers to the actual meaning and the meaning the society has weighted in on it. I think he also means that you are exactly an outsider in Japan and looked at one as such and treated as different, etc.

Of course the society/culture can not be summarized in such a short way. However I am sure there is some merit to what the author of the website was talking about.

I have spoken to Japanese and they do seem very "shy". They are extremely soft spoken and do not input a lot of personal opinion into a matter unless they have their friends around.

Now I am not sure if that is in direct correlation with the "need the group" to make a decision and the "shy" the author mentioned, but I can believe very well that what he said in his website is mostly true. However I of course never want to state with full certainty.

Asian culture is different than ours, so that is why I can accept anything when talking about this subject.

I have read in many other places and even watched documentaries on T.V how foreigners are seen as these mysterious outsiders, how it is EXTREMELY hard to fit in, how it is hell finding a place to live, getting a car, etc, and how there is a very "group" related mentality.
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