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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Learn the Culture Before Going to Japan

Many blogs, sites and videos will always recommend you learn the Japanese language before traveling to Japan. While that is important it is not as important as learning about the culture. You can get by without the language as I have mentioned in a previous blog, but you won't be able to get by without knowing the culture. If you don't know the Japanese culture you may do something to give a bad representation to foreigners which can lead to other people having a bad experience of Japan.

I came across this idea fairly recently when I stumbled upon a video on YouTube (press the link if you'd like to see what I'm talking about in this 9 minute video). This guy in the video entitled "Why I NEVER Recommend People Go To Tokyo" is specifically singling out Tokyo as his concern. He states many reasons why Tokyo should not be a person's first choice, whether it's because of pricing, being crowded or any other reason. In his comments section he has a lot of people commenting from both sides of his argument. I personally don't care whether people go to Tokyo or not, as I usually don't recommend Tokyo myself unless I know the person only wants to experience the anime culture of Japan. Another thing about his video is that I agree with all of what he's saying, every word! Now, he's on the internet, so he should have said everything in a more sensitive way to not offend people (unless, of course, he doesn't care like me), but there's a section of the video that interested me the most. I'm going to elaborate on his idea of "anti-foreigners" in Japan. I know this is a very sensitive topic for some people and some people may worry about this before going to Japan, but I want to clear something up about this idea that Japan is "anti-foreigner."
Chad Zimmerman, Japan YouTuber. Source: Twitter
Everything Chad, the guy in the video, is saying about "anti-foreigner" is true and I agree with. He says that Japanese people are not "anti-foreigner," it's just they had a bad experience with a foreigner which made them want to stay clear of other foreigners so they don't have that kind of experience again. Chad used an example of not being allowed in a restaurant in Tokyo because he was a foreigner. The reality of this is sometimes there, and that's because the restaurant owner probably experienced something horrible with a foreigner and now every foreigner after has to suffer for it. This is a sad but true fact that some people may have to face. I'd like to add though that this is not only a Tokyo problem (I've experienced it in Osaka too). This is a big city problem because like Chad said, this is where all the "dude-bros go."
Participating in recycling at McDonald's.
How can we solve this problem of ignorant tourists/foreigners? They need to learn about the culture. Everyone should learn about the culture if they want to go to Japan. If you or someone you know goes to Japan blind, without any clue of the dos and don'ts, you will surely do something to offend someone and then everyone after will suffer for it. I, myself have tons of topics for you to study up on such as restaurant etiquette, train etiquette and so much more. If not my own things, please search other options to learn about the culture, like Chad Zimmerman from the video. There are many people out there willing to share their knowledge of the Japanese culture. Make the effort to learn and everyone will have a better experience of Japan because of it.

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope this has brought things into perspective for you. For more Japan content or just to chat about Japan, follow me on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.