A new tumblr site has been getting pretty popular on my Facebook feed called It’s not me Japan, it’s you. Basically, it’s quick list of memes & commentary about the little quirks you run into living and working in Japan. For the most part, it’s kinda funny. Take this post…
This pretty much sums up a LOT of first time introductions you encounter in Japan when talking with the slightest inkling of Japanese. Sure, it’s supposed to be a compliment, but when you speak at the level of a Japanese kindergartner and everyone says it to you, it starts to come across as little demeaning. This just makes it funny when it seems like the shoe is on the other foot.
Now, there is a slight gripe I have about this tumblr collection. If you go through the website, the account holder really highlights a lot of people’s negative emotions in his “Ask me anything” content replies. I know people need an outlet to get over their stress. Also, I’m also counting myself really lucky that I don’t run into nearly as many issues that the people complain about in their questions, such as schools that keep the windows open in winter (maybe to vent out the kerosene heater fumes?) or that some Japanese people consider many small sources of heat superior to something like central heating and insulated walls. One person commented about a Japan speaker that recently returned from America and was talking down about the use of central heat. I’d be pretty offended by that. Maybe my coworkers are talking about America like that and I can’t understand it, who knows. I don’t care. My job is to help introduce more culture to Japan and show others that Japan is a great place to live. I can’t do that if I’m getting angry about everything that is different from what I’m used to. I’m by no means blaming the author of this tumbler page. The author is just trying to give these frustrated people an outlet to vent about their culture shock. However, I’m hoping that this doesn’t lead people into staying trapped in the mind set of “Everything Japanese people do makes no sense”. I think that’s natural at first when you first get here, but it’s also important to develop yourself past that. That’s why I kinda wish the website would highlight more positive things about Japan.
Just remember, you’re not alone out there. At least the website does a good job of highlighting that. Not every situation described is typical. I’ve actually only had one lady tell me about the “Japan has four seasons” thing. I was confused as heck about what she was talking about too. Once you accept that things are different for a reason, it gets a lot easier. P:-D