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    Us and them

    Simon World’s Asia By Blog feature is up for this round. One (among many) of the interesting links is to this discussion by Riding Sun of an Australian professor who appears to do that horrid the-only-reason-Japanese-customs-seem-unethical-to-us-is-that-we-can’t-understand-their-nuanced-underpinnings thing:

    In general, Japan is very welcoming to foreigners. Nevertheless, people who are not ethnically Japanese are regularly shut out of certain bars and restaurants here. Some are shady nightclubs connected to the Yakuza

    8 Responses to “Us and them”

    1. John says:

      Yago, I agree 100%. I never encounterd the “no gaijin” thing the whole time I was there, but then, I didn’t go to many bars either. And I’ve never been to Roppongi after sundown.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      I’m pretty sure some of the cabdrivers that have slowed down, looked me dead in the eye, and then sped past me didn’t want to pick up a foreigner. It doesn’t happen often, though. And bars have never given me a problem. (Yago, I can understand why Roppongi would make you think people in general are hopeless.)

    3. John says:

      I hope you go on the younger-oriented trips. The ones for older people or all ages are glorified shopping trips. The cry of the wild Japanese Tour Guide (given in less than 20 seconds):
      Sugoooi. Shyashin! Shyashin! Ikimashyou.

    4. Sean Kinsell says:

      Dude, we’re not masochists. We don’t actually do the ones where your schedule is predetermined the whole time you’re there and you have to obey the edicts of a bus. I would kill myself. So would Atsushi.
      Usually what happens is there’s a guide assigned to your party and you schedule stuff with him or tell him you don’t need him for the day. Of course, on the way to the airport, the bus tends to stop at some duty-free joint the size of a supertanker. But that only lasts an hour or so.

    5. Yago says:

      After going out in Roppongi a couple of times I kinda understand people wanting to keep gaijings out.
      Have you experienced that, Sean? I mean, most Japanese lose most prejudices against you if you speak them in their language. My experience is that is not a racial bigotry but just a “I don’t know how to treat this guy so better not to treat him at all” thing.

    6. Sean Kinsell says:

      Yeah, definitely. A lot of foreigners who do speak Japanese have picked it up informally, so they talk to waiters as if they were telling their wives to bring them a beer and make sure it’s cold this time. If you use keigo and show that you’re trying, most people are very accommodating.

    7. Yago says:

      Roppongi was always a great experience… I mean, you HAVE to be there, once in a while.
      Speaking japanese in shops and places has taught that they usually make no difference. I mean, they don’t even make the difference that you expect them to make. Hell, I wen’t to a library to buy the Kojiki and the damn guy wouldn’t even look surprised.

    8. Sean Kinsell says:

      If Roppongi is someone’s thing, I don’t look down on him. I’ve found I can live a satisfying life without it, though.

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