Why learning Japanese culture is important

Good morning all,

It has been a while since I posted something. I have been very busy doing an additional degree to help improve my students’ learning abilities and to learn how to be a good listener.

Today, I ran across an article on Facebook which I think it is very important to share. The article is written in traditional Chinese. I have used Google Translate to translate the article.

“Regardless of whether you have visited Japan or not, I believe many people have a good impression of Japanese people, such as “gentleness” and “carefulness”. To put it bluntly, they are “everything wants to go as smoothly as possible.” For example, when communicating with others, there may be conflicts, whether large or small, and in order to avoid such situations, Japanese people like to say “scenes” (which can make the situation or conditions favorable). In other words, it is the nature of the Japanese to think of lying as “a favorable behavior for the present situation” and “want to work hard to maintain interpersonal relationships and avoid conflicts.”

This article will analyze the true appearance of Japanese society from the perspective of the Japanese in Japan from the perspective of the Japanese born in Japan, and the national characteristics of the Japanese through seeing and not telling, and telling everyone the little-known Japanese traits.”

In Japan, groups are more important than individuals. For example, if most people take “some action” on “something”, the public will tend to regard that behavior as “correct action.” The reason is that Japanese education has advocated group behavior since ancient times, which means that people who do not do the same thing as the group or deviate from group behavior are “strange people.”

In other words, even wrong or less reliable information, if there are signs that most people think it is okay, it will become “correct” information. Of course! This kind of information will be proved by time, elimination will become wrong information, but for Japanese people who grow up following the correct idea of ​​collective behavior, many people still hold “the things most people do are the right things, the minority The faction is incorrect.” With the development of globalization in recent years, although this concept has been gradually re-examined, the concept of “everyone is different and everyone is great” has not yet been popularized.

In contrast, this idea of ​​imitating others also cultivates good habits, that is, to follow the rules in public. For Japanese people, when taking the tram, waiting in line and waiting for passengers to get off and then get on the bus are all natural behaviors; when riding the escalator, one side is an ordinary train and the other is a walking train, leaving a space The passage allows people who are in a hurry to walk; in addition, like waiting in line to enter a popular restaurant, or waiting for checkout at a supermarket, the Japanese will also abide by the order and rules to create an environment that makes others and themselves feel comfortable. Therefore, in “group action”, there are coexisting shortcomings and advantages that need to be reviewed.

The Japanese are very concerned about the eyes of others and others on any occasion, and any behavior is based on starting as little as possible. But in order not to cause trouble to other people and make a good impression, the Japanese have a special habit, that is, they will talk about the scene well. “Scenery” means that it is more important than your own real thoughts, the other party’s thoughts; speaking out what is not your own true thoughts, just to make the other party make a good impression.

Japanese people are naturally shy, and it is usually difficult to get acquainted with people they don’t know at once. I don’t like open relationships because I am considerate and caring about others’ opinions about myself. When Japanese people with the above traits chat with other people who meet for the first time on the occasion of a wine gathering, and are said to be “going to have a drink next time”, most people will answer “please contact me And other words, but in fact hardly actually happen. If you really become acquainted with each other, you may of course drink together again for a better understanding, but most of the Japanese conversations have maintained that “in fact, it doesn’t mean that, but it behaves in a very serious way. words”. Why not lie to someone who chats so happily is better to avoid disturbances and acts to make a good impression.

In Japan, over-preparation and seeking the other party’s consent to minimize the chance of errors are common. Think of it as a common Japanese society, with a habit of not allowing mistakes. As mentioned earlier, the reason for this phenomenon is that in the Japanese education system, in the process of learning “the importance of survival in the group”, the concept of fear of doing something different from others has formed, which leads to the promotion of “be careful The idea of ​​”became quite common among Japanese.

So specifically, what does Japan mean by “mistakes”? Let’s take a look at a small example in daily life.

For example, when you take a tram or bus in any country in the world and bump into other people due to the shaking of the car, you usually say “Sorry”, and the other party answers “It doesn’t matter”, can things be resolved smoothly? But when this happens in Japan, even if the person who bumped into them said “sorry”, the person who was hit hardly spoke back, and some people even made an unhappy voice. In other words, no one bumps into others and can ride safely, so people who are slightly out of balance are particularly prone to disgust (out of the group). Although it seems relentless, it is one of the true faces of Japanese cultural classics. Of course, there are also gentle people who will return after the other person apologizes, “It doesn’t matter! Please don’t care”, but customs and folk sentiments such as “wrong people are wrong” are most obvious in such small places, although “hey” People are uncommon, but when people who don’t know apologize to themselves, it’s a common Japanese habit not to say anything.

Regardless of failure, big or small, for Japan, “failure” is equivalent to “incorrect”. Because failure is not pervasive, some people call Japan a “society without a second chance.”

This situation is the same at work, no matter how minor the matter is, the Japanese will thoroughly investigate and hold accountable for the “error”. The Japanese’s thinking is to verify “the past”, that is, to investigate the cause of the error, rather than thinking about how to do this “future” next.

For example, when a company wants to establish a business model that has never been seen before, it is easy to be attacked. Even if it is successful, it will not be as eye-catching as it is when it is scolded for developing a new business. Only after several years of achievements will this type of enterprise with a more avant-garde business get a better evaluation in Japan. The social structure of Japan is so “difficult to accept new things”.

Humans are inherently “learning from failure” animals. Borrowing the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s famous quote “If you don’t make mistakes, you aren’t really trying.” (If you make no mistakes, it means you haven’t really tried.) Without failure, you will not grow However, Japanese people often have the idea of ​​”most opinions are correct” and “what should I do if I make a mistake…”, so I am afraid of failure, and I have derived “it is better to express myself rather than actively express myself” as much as possible. Don’t try new things, choose a cautious national character that you are accustomed to so far and not easy to fail.

Japan, which imitates most people’s actions like this, regards failure as incorrect, and does not speak the truth in order to make things go smoothly, has spawned a way of thinking that is difficult to accept “other countries” and “exclusion and conservatism.” A further explanation is that although it can accept all kinds of things from “foreign countries”, it is very repulsive to the social structure of foreigners.

The most obvious example of “foreign things” is “diet”. It is a common thing that the foods of all countries in the world are integrated into the cuisine of their own country. Just like ramen and sushi that can be eaten overseas, it should be available in Mexico, Italy, France, Taiwan, Vietnam, China, South Korea, etc. Go to other countries’ cuisine, right? But when it comes to differences in Japan, it is the originality of adding exotic cuisine to the Japanese style. For example, a tortilla from Mexico turns into taco rice, French omelette turns into omelette rice, Italian pizza with corn and mayonnaise, transforms into a Japanese pizza, and adds onions, green pepper and ham and other ingredients to Napoli-style spaghetti seasoned with tomato sauce, Japanese-style spaghetti made with cod roe or prince, and baked rice topped with fried rice and white sauce and cheese like baked rice It is very common for popular dishes to incorporate Japanese style, and Japan is willing to tolerate and create “foreign things.” In addition, there are a lot of foreign languages ​​such as English in Katakana in Japanese, and there are many opportunities for daily contact with foreign things in daily life.

However, if the target is a foreigner, Japan has obvious xenophobia. Specifically, the easiest example to understand is that when foreigners want to live in Japan, the rent inspection is very strict. To put it simply, no matter who the other party is, what job they do, or their personality, many houses will stipulate the “no foreigners” rule. Of course, Japanese rental housing has many unique regulations than other countries, so there should have been many examples of evictions in the past because of non-compliance with Japan’s unique mechanisms, but many apartments originally did not accept foreigners, even when it came to the review stage, It was also rejected because “you are a foreigner” is still common today.

Speaking of which, you may think: these phenomena have nothing to do with tourists visiting Japan. In fact, this is not the case. Even in restaurants that serve civilian Japanese cuisine or Chinese cuisine restaurants, there are still many shop assistants who say in Japanese that “I can’t speak a foreign language” and other reasons: “Don’t come, it won’t be here Speak the language of your country.” Although Japanese-speaking restaurants are gradually increasing, there are still many such old-fashioned stores. In addition to “not speaking foreign languages”, the reasons for the store’s refusal may also include “no time to deal with such passers-by”, “Japanese regulars are enough to patronize store revenue” and other factors. There are many etiquettes and rules that must be observed in Japan, such as how to use chopsticks during meals, and how to take the tram. Many Japanese do not like these foreigners who do not follow the rules. Even if they didn’t know Japanese rules and manners, they were not tolerant.

In a sense, the increase in foreigners is a good external pressure. Even if the Japanese-specific “approval pressure” and “fixed ideas” are broken, it is a good phenomenon. But in Japan, instead of thinking that the company has foreigners is a threat, and advocates “Don’t change the Japanese’s way of doing things” and “People who break the rules that every Japanese is following are incorrect”, forcing the other party to agree with their own ideas.”
My personal thoughts:
I think that learning Japanese requires a lot of effort and determination. Apart from learning the language, we should also learn about the culture of Japanese people (for e.g. the reasons that they act like this). Learning the culture helps us to “click” more with them. I did not regret when I had to learn culture from 3 of my Japanese teachers. They taught me what it is to understand them. When you understand them deep down, you might empathize with them. For example, the vigorous “training” that they go through since young, like walking 4-8km from home to school, being told to keep quiet even they are not happy so that it does not affect the atmosphere, being forced by the environment to “conform”, even if something is not right, showing 1 side of their faked front to others and the real self to their family/own company, etc.

Want to find out more about our Japanese courses that integrates language, travel, culture, food, etc.? Drop us a message now.

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Source: https://wow-j.com/tw/Allguides/other/tips_manners/001_40287_tw/?fbclid=IwAR3Stpve72ZgxpzUcv_3rGAuPAehGydTn5GY2D6sHphU3z0rJzi_n1YDWRQ

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