The Gaijin Social Order

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senseiman
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The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by senseiman » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:45 pm

Thought this was kind of amusing:

http://www.therisingwasabi.com/gaijin-g ... -teachers/

When I was an Eikaiwa teacher i used to marvel at the fact that there were foreigners who managed to make a living here doing something other than teaching English. I wasn`t resentful, but this sort of accurately parodies the gaijin social hierarchy and the unspoken tension that seems to fester within it (at least with gaijin from English speaking countries).
祇園精舎の鐘の聲、諸行無常の響あり。娑羅雙樹の花の色、盛者必衰のことわりをあらはす。おごれる人も久しからず、唯春の夜の夢のごとし。たけき者も遂にほろびぬ、偏に風の前の塵に同じ。

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by allblacks » Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:16 pm

Funny shit. The JET teachers/CIR crew definitely have superior attitudes. Lol.
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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by RalphWiggum » Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:23 pm

allblacks wrote:Funny shit. The JET teachers/CIR crew definitely have superior attitudes. Lol.
Yeah, met a couple of arsehole JETs with massive superiority complexes. No real reason for that - they're performing monkeys like pretty much all english teachers in Japan.
Shit wank bollocks

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by allblacks » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:53 pm

Kinda annoying bunch of them in tins hall on a Friday night a few years back. My mate and I were doing our regular Friday drinks and were told we had to pay admission despite us turning up before them. The words piss and off came together nicely for that occasion.
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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by Shawn » Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:45 am

The JETs I knew were fine. I think what did it was the fact that all of us--GEOS, NOVA, AEON, and the JETs-- were all new to Japan, so everyone was on the same pecking order. But I remember meeting some lifers and wondering how they made it. Now I guess I'm one of them.

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by steki47 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:42 pm

RalphWiggum wrote:
allblacks wrote:Funny shit. The JET teachers/CIR crew definitely have superior attitudes. Lol.
Yeah, met a couple of arsehole JETs with massive superiority complexes. No real reason for that - they're performing monkeys like pretty much all english teachers in Japan.
Caught that arrogance. Fortunately when I lived in a small town, the JETs drank elsewhere. The eikaiwa drones all hung out together.

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by Privileged » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:38 am

Also amount of time.

I'm guilty of this I guess but it also makes sense.

When I first got there I didn't want to be a guy who moved to Japan to hang out with a bunch of other Westerners who moved to Japan.

After a couple years and extended periods of time functioning only around Japanese people and in the language I realized well ok, I'm not that guy.

Then I made friends with some other longer term foreigners, which was great.

Anyway that's something I couple pick up on in others, going through a phase of 1) not wanting to associate too heavily with other foreigners then 2) when socializing with foreigners, preferring those who have been there awhile.

I guess it kind of works out both ways!

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by senseiman » Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:21 pm

Yeah, I think I went through that phase too. I generally socialize more with fellow foreigners now because they tend to be in a similar situation as I am and we can more easily relate to each other, which is a barrier I have with some Japanese friends. Also I am still way more comfortable speaking in english than Japanese.

Another thing I remember from my first year in Japan is how acutely conscious I used to be of how long my foreign acquaintances had lived in Japan. At that early stage I still viewed time spent in Japan as having some sort of value, with longer term residents having a much higher status than new arrivals. I completely lost that view after the first year in Japan when I realized it didn`t matter at all, but I do remember other Eikaiwa newbies feeling similarily during my first year, conversations going like

"How long you been here?"
"10 months, you?"
"6 months."
"Oh, that is less."
"Yes it is, you are awesome."
"Yes I am."
祇園精舎の鐘の聲、諸行無常の響あり。娑羅雙樹の花の色、盛者必衰のことわりをあらはす。おごれる人も久しからず、唯春の夜の夢のごとし。たけき者も遂にほろびぬ、偏に風の前の塵に同じ。

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Nihongo fluency shame

Unread post by In The Know » Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:53 am

When I first arrived in Japan many years ago I spoke no Japanese. I quickly set out to learn it and spent a LOT of time studying and practicing. Whenever I'd come across a foreigner (i.e., hakujin) whose Japanese was clearly superior I felt frustarated and envious. I was also in awe of them. If they could handle reading a Japanese newspaper I felt like Forrest Fucking Gump in their shadow.

I "mastered" katakana and hiragana :roll: (BFD, I know) but was hopeless with kanji. My hat is off to any foreigner who can master kanji, such as translators. :thumbsup:

Then there is being around another gaijin out and about who has told you "My Japanese is pretty good." and then you see him in action in a bar, restaurant or somewhere, and you want to say to him, "Pal, no, no. It isn't 'pretty good.' You suck like I do. I just admit it." :wink:

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by allblacks » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:21 pm

People like that are annoying. I remember one lecture at university where a student was trying to tell a professor that his linguistics course was teaching an incorrect phrase that he had never heard of in his whole three months in Japan! The student got told to STFU by at least twenty fellow students. Lol

Naturally I've been drunk and bragged about my Japanese before. Got put in my place by a dude that passed JPLT level 1. There's ALWAYS someone better than you.

Another tangent: The ones that feel like it's their duty to translate for you. Lol. You can always one up them and use a more difficult answer though.
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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by senseiman » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:37 pm

Yeah, language competency is one thing that always gets me. I arrived for the first time in Japan at age 23 not knowing a word of it. I spent years of intense study to get to where I am now, which is not impressive at all. I am now reasonably competent in everyday conversation and I can read pretty well but my listening/reading skills are way higher than my speaking/writing skills are. When I speak I cannot really express complex thoughts and when I have to write an email I spend about an hour working on something that would take me 2 minutes in English. In my current job I am required to do adminsitrative tasks in Japanese and to participate in committee meetings and other things conducted entirely in Japanese. I do an adequate job of getting by, but I would be way more competent in performing those functions in English. Its frustrating and at 40 years old I have come to accept that I am not likely to improve much on the skills I have now.

What really gets me is that my kid is being raised in a fully bilingual environment and already (at 2) understands both pretty easily. By the time he is about 5 or 6 years old he will probably have achieved a level of bilingual fluency that I have failed to achieve after almost 20 years of gruelling study as an adult. It makes me proud, but also kind of makes me realize what a fool's errand I have been pursuing my entire adult life - I'll never be as good as a five year old! Puts things in perspective.
祇園精舎の鐘の聲、諸行無常の響あり。娑羅雙樹の花の色、盛者必衰のことわりをあらはす。おごれる人も久しからず、唯春の夜の夢のごとし。たけき者も遂にほろびぬ、偏に風の前の塵に同じ。

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by allblacks » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:41 pm

My daughter is 15 going on 16. Amplify the above by the age difference and maturity and you get her. Understands basically all English spoken by native speakers and equally competent in Japanese due to her schooling.
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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by senseiman » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:56 pm

allblacks wrote:My daughter is 15 going on 16. Amplify the above by the age difference and maturity and you get her. Understands basically all English spoken by native speakers and equally competent in Japanese due to her schooling.
Yeah, that is pretty awesome that your teenager is fluently bilingual like that. My neighbor (also an international couple) has a 7 year old who switches back and forth like it was nothing.

Kind of wish I had that advantage, glad that my kid is getting it!
祇園精舎の鐘の聲、諸行無常の響あり。娑羅雙樹の花の色、盛者必衰のことわりをあらはす。おごれる人も久しからず、唯春の夜の夢のごとし。たけき者も遂にほろびぬ、偏に風の前の塵に同じ。

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by Shawn » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:42 pm

senseiman wrote:In my current job I am required to do adminsitrative tasks in Japanese and to participate in committee meetings and other things conducted entirely in Japanese. I do an adequate job of getting by, but I would be way more competent in performing those functions in English. Its frustrating and at 40 years old I have come to accept that I am not likely to improve much on the skills I have now.
Don't worry about this. Consider it Japanese immersion. You'll learn quickly because you're forced to speak, read and write Japanese all day. You have to make an effort to improve, too, though. :D
senseiman wrote:What really gets me is that my kid is being raised in a fully bilingual environment and already (at 2) understands both pretty easily. By the time he is about 5 or 6 years old he will probably have achieved a level of bilingual fluency that I have failed to achieve after almost 20 years of gruelling study as an adult. It makes me proud, but also kind of makes me realize what a fool's errand I have been pursuing my entire adult life - I'll never be as good as a five year old! Puts things in perspective.
My daughter is 7 and I have made an effort to speak to her only in English. I won't say she is bilingual, but she definitely has an advantage over her classmates. She won't speak English to me unless she has to, but she does have a very large passive vocabulary. She understands pretty much everything I say. I tested her once and asked her to repeat back in Japanese what I said in English. It was nearly flawless. :omfg: She likes the English classes at school but finds them too easy for her.

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by senseiman » Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:50 pm

Shawn wrote: Don't worry about this. Consider it Japanese immersion. You'll learn quickly because you're forced to speak, read and write Japanese all day. You have to make an effort to improve, too, though. :D
Thanks. Yeah it actually is useful since it forces me to speak. My problem is largely an extreme aversion to saying the wrong thing ( or the right thing in the wrong way)- in social situations I am more relaxed but when in a situation where I might accidentally contradict or insult a senior (who has great power over my career) my instinct is to always say the safest thing possible (which is to say the least possible).
Shawn wrote: My daughter is 7 and I have made an effort to speak to her only in English. I won't say she is bilingual, but she definitely has an advantage over her classmates. She won't speak English to me unless she has to, but she does have a very large passive vocabulary. She understands pretty much everything I say. I tested her once and asked her to repeat back in Japanese what I said in English. It was nearly flawless. :omfg: She likes the English classes at school but finds them too easy for her.
Cool. My kid's English is actually better than his Japanese so far, my wife and I mainly communicate in English in the home (she is fluent) so he gets more of it. I am assuming that once he starts kindergarten and is surrounded by Japanese all the time this will change radically as his main social environment changes, so we're trying to build up his English as much as possible before that happens. One thing I am thankful for is that we have some other international friends in the nieghborhood with kids in the same age range, so in addition to us he also has a peer group that speaks English.
祇園精舎の鐘の聲、諸行無常の響あり。娑羅雙樹の花の色、盛者必衰のことわりをあらはす。おごれる人も久しからず、唯春の夜の夢のごとし。たけき者も遂にほろびぬ、偏に風の前の塵に同じ。

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by Shawn » Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:29 pm

senseiman wrote:Thanks. Yeah it actually is useful since it forces me to speak. My problem is largely an extreme aversion to saying the wrong thing ( or the right thing in the wrong way)- in social situations I am more relaxed but when in a situation where I might accidentally contradict or insult a senior (who has great power over my career) my instinct is to always say the safest thing possible (which is to say the least possible).
Know how I know you've been in a Japan for a long time? You sound like an eikaiwa student. Must. Not. Make. Mistakes. :lol: What goes on in your meetings where you could say something that could destroy your career? ふさけらな! :omfg: I think your coworkers realize that you're working in your second language, so they are willing to cut you some slack if you slip up.
senseiman wrote:Cool. My kid's English is actually better than his Japanese so far, my wife and I mainly communicate in English in the home (she is fluent) so he gets more of it. I am assuming that once he starts kindergarten and is surrounded by Japanese all the time this will change radically as his main social environment changes, so we're trying to build up his English as much as possible before that happens. One thing I am thankful for is that we have some other international friends in the nieghborhood with kids in the same age range, so in addition to us he also has a peer group that speaks English.
I'm in a slightly different situation since my wife is not so fluent. They are in a Japanese environment at home and at school, so their first language is Japanese. I've hidden my skills from my kids well enough that I don't think they fully realize that dad knows all. I'll talk to them in Japanese when I have to make something really clear or am angry at them.

I might have mentioned here before, but I took the family back to Canada 3 years ago for a visit. I wondered how my kids would adjust to having to speak English and it doesn't appear to have been a problem. They quickly figured out that "everyone talks like dad" and under that kind of productive pressure, they made the switch from Japanese to English, no problem. Pretty amazing to see!

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by senseiman » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:14 pm

Shawn wrote: Know how I know you've been in a Japan for a long time? You sound like an eikaiwa student. Must. Not. Make. Mistakes. :lol: What goes on in your meetings where you could say something that could destroy your career? ふさけらな! :omfg: I think your coworkers realize that you're working in your second language, so they are willing to cut you some slack if you slip up.
Yeah I probably am a bit like an Eikaiwa student!

There is a political element to my situation too though. A lot of the things being discussed in meetings I attend are highly factionalized and one needs to really be able to read the air before expressing an opinion. I always want to be on the right side of certain people, but sometimes I am left unsure what their position is since I have had trouble following the nuance of the conversation and figuring out where everyone lies (the Japanese people in the room all seem to know this). So unless it is something really obvious, my strategy is always to keep my mouth shut unless forced to open it, and when I am forced to open it to keep it open for as short a time as possible.

I have some people looking out for me without whom I would be screwed and if I accidentally contradict them in a consequential setting it could really do me in.
Shawn wrote:I'm in a slightly different situation since my wife is not so fluent. They are in a Japanese environment at home and at school, so their first language is Japanese. I've hidden my skills from my kids well enough that I don't think they fully realize that dad knows all. I'll talk to them in Japanese when I have to make something really clear or am angry at them.

I might have mentioned here before, but I took the family back to Canada 3 years ago for a visit. I wondered how my kids would adjust to having to speak English and it doesn't appear to have been a problem. They quickly figured out that "everyone talks like dad" and under that kind of productive pressure, they made the switch from Japanese to English, no problem. Pretty amazing to see!
Ah yes, our situations are a bit different. We actually are dreading the opposite - my father in law will be visisting soon. The last time he saw my son he was just 10 months old, so this will be his first time seeing him after he started speaking. His Japanese isn't as developed as his English and our FIL can be highly critical so we are just waiting for the criticisms to begin.....what are you teaching this kid? etc etc...
祇園精舎の鐘の聲、諸行無常の響あり。娑羅雙樹の花の色、盛者必衰のことわりをあらはす。おごれる人も久しからず、唯春の夜の夢のごとし。たけき者も遂にほろびぬ、偏に風の前の塵に同じ。

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Trump and The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by In The Know » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:49 am

Call it the Trump ripple effect. I suppose JAL is doing this as a courtesy to fliers from the 7 banned countries Trump has named. Still, it's sad this even has to happen. In their February 10 meeting I hope Abe tells Trump, "Thanks, asshole. More lines, more anxiety, more waiting for people who thought-- stupidly-- that they could get on plane and fly anywhere in the world. Since, you know, they aren't known terrorists, not on the no-fly list, nor wanted by Interpol."

https://www.japantoday.com/category/nat ... -entry-ban

It's the Gaijin Social Order: Trump Edition!

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by Shawn » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:26 am

Senseiman,
Ah, OK, factions. Got it. Meetings tend not to be very constructive or productive, so why not keep quiet?
I'm not worried about the in-laws. We live close to my wife's parents, so the kids see them all the time, which is a good thing, IMHO. The "problem" is with my parents in Canada. They've only met my kids a handful of times over the years and it's sad to think that they barely know their grandchildren.

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by senseiman » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:01 pm

Shawn wrote:Senseiman,
Ah, OK, factions. Got it. Meetings tend not to be very constructive or productive, so why not keep quiet?
I'm not worried about the in-laws. We live close to my wife's parents, so the kids see them all the time, which is a good thing, IMHO. The "problem" is with my parents in Canada. They've only met my kids a handful of times over the years and it's sad to think that they barely know their grandchildren.
Ah, that sucks about your parents not being able to see your kids much. Oddly enough despite living in Japan my kid has seen my parents back in Canada more than he has his Japanese grandparents (who live pretty far from us and have commitments that prevent them from travelling much).

Within a few years though I think our situation will likely reverse and we'll be facing the same one you are. My parents are in their 70s and their ability to make the long trip is decreasing year by year, while my ability to take trips back home is also pretty limited. We are aiming at taking him to Canada at least once a year, but not sure if we'll be able to keep that up once he starts school, etc.
祇園精舎の鐘の聲、諸行無常の響あり。娑羅雙樹の花の色、盛者必衰のことわりをあらはす。おごれる人も久しからず、唯春の夜の夢のごとし。たけき者も遂にほろびぬ、偏に風の前の塵に同じ。

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Re: The Gaijin Social Order

Unread post by Shawn » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:31 pm

senseiman wrote:Ah, that sucks about your parents not being able to see your kids much. Oddly enough despite living in Japan my kid has seen my parents back in Canada more than he has his Japanese grandparents (who live pretty far from us and have commitments that prevent them from travelling much).
How did that happen? Do you have some special international travel budget set aside?
senseiman wrote:Within a few years though I think our situation will likely reverse and we'll be facing the same one you are. My parents are in their 70s and their ability to make the long trip is decreasing year by year, while my ability to take trips back home is also pretty limited. We are aiming at taking him to Canada at least once a year, but not sure if we'll be able to keep that up once he starts school, etc.
Yes, the focus is slowly shifting from the kids to the parents, isn't it? My parents and in-laws are getting old and slowing down. It will affect travel for sure, and may even affect where we live in the future.

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