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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Or as some people call it, the sound of one hand clapping. Just a thread to throw out random thoughts so I don't have to make new threads.

Scotch in hand so here we go.....


Cram Schools


If that's not enough proof your education system is whack, there's something seriously wrong. Of course we all know there is something seriously wrong but still...


My kids are spending every day of their spring break at the cram school, poor things.


You got to wonder if it's by design though because that is such a huge business. Must families sent their kids, I pay something like 20,000 a month for them. Don't mind paying the money, just wish the poor ******s could skip school and have some fun since it's not doing much for them anyway.
 

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Yeah... mine both go to Kumon but not every day.

I've always thought it somewhat upside-down that you have to take your exams before you can get into the school of your choice and then, once you're in, you coast until you graduate. What's the sense in even going if everything you're ever going to learn you learn up-front in cram school? (Speaking mostly of college in this case, of course, but the pattern is pervasive, even for elementary school kids hoping to get into a decent middle school.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Did you catch the news that something like 30% of college students never study, and the rest something like less than an hour a day? It's no wonder industry complains to the government that graduates are useless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Some thoughts on this image of Japan being a polite country.

Japan does certainly seem polite on the surface especially to people who can only see the surface and I guess if someone wants to have a limited opinion of a country that's a good one to have. But I love Japan and for me, when you love a person or a place you love them for their faults just as much as their attributes.

The other day I was at the market and the lady in front of me was clearly handicapped and could barely move. She was having problems closing her hand into a cup to receive her change, taking too long to do it so the register lady just threw the change at her.

This is the kind of stuff I see daily.

Any drivers out there? There is a great observation-generalization one can make about the generations here. When you're trying to turn where there is a cross walk, young people who are about to cross tend to speed up just enough to get in front of you....then slow right down and take their time once you're blocked. Most old people; who no one would expect to go fast, actually speed up to get out of your way.

Japan is people pissing in the streets, litter bugs dropping their trash down as they walk, and early morning clean up to cover up the thoughtlessness of people the night before.

Sure Japan is polite, but it's also rude as any country I've been.

lol, just thought of the grass mediums of the larger streets here and their mountains of coke bottles filled with piss.
 

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Did you catch the news that something like 30% of college students never study, and the rest something like less than an hour a day?
I didn't see that but I'm not surprised. Students study like crazy to get into a decent University but, once in, they're almost guaranteed to graduate. That's what I mean. The whole system seems upside-down. And now that my oldest is entering 5th grade, he's going to be getting onto the same treadmill this year.
 

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Are you describing Japanese schools or American schools LOL- sounds like education sucks all over. One of the main reasons I'm not sure about having kids!

But it's true people are people everywhere. Polite Asian cultures like Japan and Thailand have a lot going on under the surface.

About the handicapped lady in the supermarket - most Asians have a major stigma about handicapped people. They are often afraid it is contagious. I used to work with handicapped children and saw it quite a bit. My Chinese ex was actually worried about having kids with me because she thought the brain injured kids I work with could somehow hurt our kids... Crazy and most Asians I know have similar fear of handicapped people. Ever wonder why you don't see many handicapped in Asia? Because they are hidden away by the families most of the time.
 

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Been shoved out of the train by an old lady recently? Or had some OL run in front of you just to be in front and then, once there, slow down so she could go back to reading her email?

My theory, such as it is, is that the Japanese are expected to be civil in so many situations where there might be a chance of an actual connection with the other person that they take advantage of anonymous situations by dropping all the pretense and just ignoring anyone around them. It's built into the culture because you're not expected to show your real feelings

That doesn't bother me nearly as much as the occasional times when I find the same behavior rubbing off on me. Not so much any more... not since I haven't had to commute to work on a regular basis.
 

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Yes - I think you are right. It's funny because Japanese have very good awareness and depth of character but there is a huge disconnect as well. I was thinking about that on the train last night at 11:30, filled with drunk guys who could barely stand up in the train and had no problem knocking everyone around. I'm wondering where is the politeness now? And by the way why do couples spend every night avoiding each other? There are some things that are difficult to understand when we are living in foreign cultures.

I spend a lot of time in Thailand and Thai people are very proud, Buddhist, family oriented, etc. However, they have no problem lying their little asses off about almost everything and being promiscuous with lots of partners... it's cultural and difficult to understand, but that's how it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Are you describing Japanese schools or American schools LOL- sounds like education sucks all over. One of the main reasons I'm not sure about having kids!

But it's true people are people everywhere. Polite Asian cultures like Japan and Thailand have a lot going on under the surface.

About the handicapped lady in the supermarket - most Asians have a major stigma about handicapped people. They are often afraid it is contagious. I used to work with handicapped children and saw it quite a bit. My Chinese ex was actually worried about having kids with me because she thought the brain injured kids I work with could somehow hurt our kids... Crazy and most Asians I know have similar fear of handicapped people. Ever wonder why you don't see many handicapped in Asia? Because they are hidden away by the families most of the time.
When I first came here there was almost zero access for wheelchairs at places like train stations and malls. Out in the country side you still have to call hours in advance so they can be waiting to carry you up the stairs but what a hassle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Been shoved out of the train by an old lady recently? Or had some OL run in front of you just to be in front and then, once there, slow down so she could go back to reading her email?

My theory, such as it is, is that the Japanese are expected to be civil in so many situations where there might be a chance of an actual connection with the other person that they take advantage of anonymous situations by dropping all the pretense and just ignoring anyone around them. It's built into the culture because you're not expected to show your real feelings

That doesn't bother me nearly as much as the occasional times when I find the same behavior rubbing off on me. Not so much any more... not since I haven't had to commute to work on a regular basis.
You know the term obatalian, lol, I think it comes from crossing obasan with alien and they get obatalian.

I agree with thoughts on people letting their pretense down in crowds and such.

edit: it must come from those zombie movies which were renamed "Batalion" here and were hugely popular.
 

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Just to be sure... these are mostly all generalizations. I have one Japanese friend who lives nearby who always manages to be considerate, even to people he's not likely to ever meet again. And I knew one young Japanese guy who used to leave work (in a Japanese company) around 5 or 5:30 every evening because he wanted to spend time with his family. And these behaviors we're discussing are certainly not absent in our own cultures, either.

I agree that "people are people everywhere". We're colored by the culture in which we are raised but a lot also depends on the specific person. And when you're a foreigner in Japan, any behavioral trait you see that you don't particularly care for is easily mapped in our brains as being endemic to Japanese culture -- but I've seen some pretty rude people where I come from, too... and some very polite ones. I do feel there's more of a disconnect here and that may be because people have politeness beat into them rather than letting is come out from their own hearts... or it could be that I'm still seeing things through Western-colored glasses.

BTW, my reference to schools was a reference to Japanese schools. I have little experience with American schools in Japan but I would suspect that if one wanted to get into a Japanese University, one would have to follow the same exam-first, school-later model. It's just strange to me because, where I come from, you attended school first, learned the material as best you could, and *then* had to pass the exams.
 

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I know the term and I also heard it was a cross between obasan and "Batalion". I'm pretty sure that if I'm still here by the time I'm 70 or 80 yrs old I'm gonna be just as pushy as the obatalion. I wonder if there's a similar slang term for ojisan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I know the term and I also heard it was a cross between obasan and "Batalion". I'm pretty sure that if I'm still here by the time I'm 70 or 80 yrs old I'm gonna be just as pushy as the obatalion. I wonder if there's a similar slang term for ojisan.
Yeah, "Ojisan" lol. You'll often here them refered to as ganko ojisans and so on.

This isn't a thread to just talk about the stuff we don't like in Japan, I'm just saying every place has it's own version and I think it takes a while before us gaijins even understand that. I think it's a shame that Japan isn't as known for the stuff that goes against the image.

I wouldn't worry about being so P.C., I'm counting on people knowing what the vibe is. That's one thing that is so great about Japan, not so much into that P.C. stuff.

And I was talking about Japanese schools, my kids just go to normal school here.

You don't see a lot of the joy of learning in kids here like what I experienced growing up. My general observation is that it's like no kid left behind policy on steroids. (heavy emphasis on test scores as sole indicator of success). Kids actually enjoy their cram schools more. Just nuts.
 

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You don't see a lot of the joy of learning in kids here like what I experienced growing up.
Really??? As far as I can tell, my kids love going to school (ku-ritsu) and I'm often taken aback at some of the insights the older one has brought home over the past couple years. I was bored silly with school when I was his age (of course, going to a Catholic school probably didn't help). It's hard to tell how much of what he learns is from school, how much is his own personal interest (he likes to read about Japanese history, for some reason) and how much is from being exposed to non-stop media. And both my kids have been doing the "challenge" series from Benesse since before 1st grade so that also exposes them to a lot of interesting stuff.

The older one does like juku better than daytime school, though. The younger one doesn't seem nearly as motivated and may well end up flipping burgers for a living.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That was a brain fart, I meant that they don't encourage that feeling in school here like in the school I went to, but I went to a private school with a very high teacher student ratio. Kids here to love to learn the same as anywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Living in Japan means that you probably have never seen a Kardashian.

Most of Japanese TV sucks as well but for different reasons. Reality TV here used to mean Denpa Shonen, which is a show I used to like. Of course anybody who reads the online news sees all the various headlines through the years.

Any country where a Kardashian is made a star shouldn't have nukes plain and simple. Not that anybody should, but that's just scary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
What is that experession? Insanity is repeating the same thing again and again and expecting a different result? That pretty much sums up education here.

My kid just started middle school, he has about an hour or basketball practice before school and then a few hours after school before he gets home in time to go to cram school. He leaves home at 6:15 in the morning and finishes sometimes as late as 9pm.

He's 12. You couldn't get away with making an adult work that hard and yet they don't think twice about making kids do this because......they had to do it when they were kids. Well god damn, do they really think things are going to turn our different for our kids? For all the studying and practice they do in this country you'd think they would expect some real results. Where are all the gold medals at the olympics? Where are all the nobel prizes? Where are the happy healthy well formed individuals? It's no wonder that people are driving their cars into people at kyoto and stuff. No wonder everybody complains about stress and stomach cancer. The only wonder is why on Earth they can't put it together and figure out their system sucks.

The ex told me, "Well everybody has to do it." Same stupid excuse that the nazis used.

I get my kids from high school thank god, then they can start to live and enjoy life. End of rant.
 

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I like the trust and dedication in Japanese friends. One time I mentioned I like fugu, and when it was the right season in December, a friend researched and found a tiny three generation sushi place. I will always remember the lengths they went to enable our family enjoy a dish I read about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
There certainly is that good host thing running through a lot of Asia. What's strange is that a lot of foriegners end up with more traditional Japanese experiences than most Japanese. How many of us have seen kabuki?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank god we vacation when we want to. Was watching the news this morning and saw a bit on a 1.5 kilo line for some stuff which is in right now. Never seen so many people happy to be waiting in line. Wasn't there talk about off setting the holidays between the east and west?

Learning about roof balconies. They always seemed so awesome. Now that I have 60 sqaure meters of it the neighbor tells me in the summer the balcony will melt foam beach sandals. Set up my automatic watering system for my veggies and flowers using grey water from the bath, very cool and even eco like. Now I'm looking at 240,000 yen to have the balcony covered in super afro turf stuff that is supposed to reduce temps by 10 C. I am so scared of the summer. My place is all floor to ceiling glass with sun morning to night.
 
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