So, I started typing this, I didn’t get very far, the teacher sitting across from my desk dropped a bottle of blue pen ink between our desks. He wasn’t able to reach it so I grabbed it for him. Little did I know, it had opened and me grabbing it, completely covered my fingers in blue ink. We spent the next 20 minutes trying to scrub the ink off our hands, all the while he was profusely apologizing for having dyed my fingers blue. My thumb nail is outlines in a beautiful blue now lol. He felt soo bad. I told him not to worry about it because I like blue anyway and this was an accident. Plus, I was thinking about painting my nails after work anyway so now I have an excuse to do so. Hopefully that covers up the blue. Unfortunately, everything is basically blue now, the carpet, the desk, 5 white rags that will never be white again, the chair, his lunch bag, and a few papers. I don’t think it got on any of our clothes because we are wearing black suits so we should be fine there. Anyway, it was just a funny story I figured I could share with you. Now to the actual reason for typing this post.
After being in Japan for 6 months, I have been able to debunk quite a few stereotypes Americans hold about Japanese. These listed are all the ones we could come up with on the spot. After being here a while, you start to forget what some of them are. So if you think of any other ones, please comment and tell me so I can add them later to another post. Let me know if you agree or disagree with any of these.
1. Can’t Drive
I don’t know why Asian people drive so terribly and slowly in America, because I have yet to hear of a car accident. I read/watch the news frequently, and they don’t mention any accidents. In Arizona, there was an accident every couple of hours it seemed like. Here? Not so much. Actually, I did here of one accident. However, it involved gaijin hitting gaijin, or gaijin causing the accident by stupidity. Conclusion? Gaijin suck at driving and Japanese people are excellent drivers.
2. Really Smart
I know that a lot of people expect Asians to be good at math and other subjects, but to be honest, they really are no different than American students. They virtually act the same. The only difference is what the cultures put up with. For example, here, they let students scream and run around in the hallways, even playfully beat one another up. In America, that would never happen. There would be so many detentions issued. Speaking of detentions, that is not a thing here.
Many students fail their classes. When I say many, I mean most. In all my classes, there was always one or two people who just always failed and never really did well, in Japan about 50% of the class fails and never does well. They seem to not care about it either. They are still going to graduate, the only thing that matters is if they can pass the entrance exams to their college of choice. So that means, if a student is wanting to go to college for PR or be a lawyer, they would care less about math or science classes because they don’t need them in their future. There is no such thing as required core classes here. All that matters, is that they get into college. Failing high school makes no difference in that decision.
Also, they don’t have homework. Students also don’t get tested until junior high. Not sure what school is for then if you don’t get tested on anything. Sometimes high school students have homework, but only if it is their personal choice or they were too lazy to finish their classwork. They mostly consider studying for tests as their form of homework.
3. Only Eat Rice and Fish
This statement is just ignorant and I am not sure why it is a stereotype. That would be like saying all Americans only eat French fries and burgers. While Japanese people do have a lot of rice and fish, it is not the only thing they eat. In fact, there are several beef dishes and pastries they eat too. I honestly think that everyone eats pastries from bakeries here because during lunch, each person has some form of pastry along with their meal.
Anyway, during the summer they eat a lot of rice because it is really hot out, and they usually just pack it in their bentos and mix it with stuff for lunch. In the winter, they have a lot of soup because soup is hot and outside is cold. I am down for this. It makes sense to me.
As a final note, there is a lot of fish here because Japan is surrounded by water. So fish is actually the cheapest “meat.” Americans have a lot of chicken for the same reason, there are a lot of chickens, and they are the cheapest.
4. Japanese are Shy
While this one might appear true when you first arrive, they are not actually shy at all. You might not be able to just walk up to someone and make instant friends with them like you can to Americans, but if you approach them, they will go above and beyond to help you. They won’t directly approach you unless they speak English or need something (you as in gaijin) but I see them talking to other Japanese people with no problems all the time. They get really excited when I talk to them in Japanese. They expect all Americans to be jerks and only use English. It is interesting to see their reaction. In conclusion, I think what we really mean to say is that Japanese people are just more quiet than Americans. They are by no means shy, just more quiet and have a higher respect for others in their non-insulated homes.