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#790892 - 11/03/12 10:07 AM Problems Caused By Japanese Politeness
Tas - Japanese Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jellyfish

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 158
Loc: Japan
Politeness is not necessarily a good thing, and Japanese politeness, as famous as it is, can cause headaches for non-Japanese who don�t truly understand it.

Problems Caused By Japanese Politeness
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Ching Kin Min
Japanese Culture

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#790919 - 11/03/12 05:11 PM Re: Problems Caused By Japanese Politeness [Re: Tas - Japanese Culture]
Lori-Dreams Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 1963
Oy, do I know about this problem! I dated boys of different races, including Japanese, but ended up marrying a Caucasian. He would get so frustrated and even annoyed when I tried to explain how some of his actions were rude to my family.

We're not even from Japan. I am yon-sei. But there are some cultural habits we retained and this is one of them. We're not extreme though. We do speak our minds as we are Americanized. But we were raised by parents and grandparents who were overly concerned about being offensive or causing inconvenience. They worry about upsetting the neighbors with loudness, etc.

I went to two craft fairs last year. One was a typical American one; the other primarily Japanese. The crowds were bustling at both. At the American fair, people just bumped into you and pushed to see all the goods; at the Japanese fair, everyone was polite and stepped aside if you wanted to see something. "I'm sorry. Please go ahead."

Now, they MIGHT have been thinking, "Wow, what a rude girl. I was here first." LOL.
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#790920 - 11/03/12 05:16 PM Re: Problems Caused By Japanese Politeness [Re: Tas - Japanese Culture]
Lori-Dreams Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 1963
But going back to the original question in your article, I feel that it is best, however you choose to react, to be sincere.

I am sincerely concerned about other people's feelings. But I do not say one thing and think another. Well, unless it would hurt the other person's feelings to a serious degree. I am polite but not overly, insincerely polite.

In some cases, I am blunt. I can say no and I don't do things that I really do not want to do. That is the American in me. Or is it that I am old? hehe.
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#790928 - 11/03/12 05:52 PM Re: Problems Caused By Japanese Politeness [Re: Lori-Dreams]
Elleise - Clairvoyance Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Zebra

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3944
Loc: IL
My husband and I, though not Japanese, have that same "overly-concern" of noise or disturbing family/neighbors.

Infact we've joked (sort of) that we've had some type of Oriental past-life together. It's a repetitive dream, where I am not to speak, serving or laying out plates with my fingers tucked in so I was using my knuckles basically and it was almost a ritual of art as I did this. Each plate had to be turned so many times in a certain direction. I remember it had to be perfect and I was trained.

I also agree, SO much about politeness and cultures! The Japanese have such a very lovely clulture, both my husband and I enjoy many aspects of it.

We went to a fair, and you're right, people just bump right into you and can even look for that "bump" to start a fight frown

My father taught in Thailand for 3 yrs. He too said the culture was very different from American. They were overly attentive to your comfort and needs, very polite, etc. whereas here, it's more about the "I."

I am in love with the aspect of the younger generation respecting and caring for their elders, whereas here, in America, I find they are disrespectful. I just don't feel that's the proper way to go about all of those years and wisdom our parents and grandparents carry within them!
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#790931 - 11/03/12 06:19 PM Re: Problems Caused By Japanese Politeness [Re: Tas - Japanese Culture]
Lori-Dreams Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 1963
The views toward the elderly are another topic entirely, Elleise! And yes, we do revere our elders!

However, we can ask Tas how that is changing in Japan today. I read somewhere that more and more nursing homes are popping up in Japan. In the past, it was unheard of to put your elder anywhere else but a relative's home!

We just placed our elderly childless aunt into an assisted living, and while it was the best situation for her, we still get tacit disapproval from the extended family members. Hers was a different case, however, as she always lived quite alone even her husband was frequently gone from the house so she just didn't like to live with a bunch of other people. She is in a resort-like setting in her own apartment nearby and I visit her weekly or more often.

As for my parents, they lived with my sister. My mother is still alive and she will need increasing care but I will go to their house and stay with her all day until someone comes home. We do have a different relationship with her versus my aunt though. My mother does not want to go into an assisted living condo so we gladly will keep her at home with family.

As for respect, yes absolutely. We do treat our elders with respect. They've earned it. smile


Edited by Lori-Dreams (11/03/12 06:23 PM)
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#790984 - 11/04/12 03:41 AM Re: Problems Caused By Japanese Politeness [Re: Lori-Dreams]
Tas - Japanese Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jellyfish

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 158
Loc: Japan
Filial piety is still pretty big in Japan and indeed in many Asian cultures. I've not heard of the rise in the elderly being put in homes, but I wouldn't be surprised, coz of the 少子化 "Shoshika" phenomenon.

Japan is facing a serious population decline problem. It's been in the news every year. People are not getting married, and if they do, they do not want to have children. If they DO have children, they want just 1 or 2. The number of old people in Japan far surpasses that of young adults and children. In Oyama, the city I live in, the average age of the people here is around 45 years (I forgot the exact age).

The government has been inapt in solving this problem, and I don't see the situation improving. So it's not too far-fetched to say that Japan may cease to exist in the near future.
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Ching Kin Min
Japanese Culture

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#790988 - 11/04/12 03:51 AM Re: Problems Caused By Japanese Politeness [Re: Lori-Dreams]
Tas - Japanese Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jellyfish

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 158
Loc: Japan
Ah yes, the loudness thingy. Japanese people are so fond of silence. It's everywhere, but the most obvious is inside trains. Regular train announcements remind commuters not to talk on the phone. Talking loudly is frowned upon. Some high school students don't seem to care about this unspoken 2nd rule though, and they have no qualms about talking loudly.

Based on my own experiences, I'm willing to bet that you're absolutely right about what the people at the Japanese fair were thinking. LOL
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Ching Kin Min
Japanese Culture

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#790992 - 11/04/12 04:16 AM Re: Problems Caused By Japanese Politeness [Re: Lori-Dreams]
Tas - Japanese Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jellyfish

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 158
Loc: Japan
Yes, you're right, Lori. Being sincere is the best. But me, working in a Japanese working environment, I gotta be political most of the time. frown

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Ching Kin Min
Japanese Culture

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