Cross post from reddit that just got locked:


I have been on on exchange living in Japan and I must say I have been impressed and felt very very very welcome here. Have never felt this way in any country (maybe not even my own). I am heading back now unfortunatly.

Apart from all the good food, nature etc. The things that I have noticed and really appreciated was:

  • Never had a conflict with anyone here. Not a single one (yes, it is obvious I am not Japanese, so I guess locals will be more accepting, but still).
  • Everyone seems to be very mindful of others and things are so clean and orderly. No one is loud, take up space etc. And no one minds you (people dont stare at you or comment on what your doing).
  • Japanese people would ask if I needed help on train stations etc. * Very kind people ! It has been very easy to meet locals and I have made good friends (maybe not on tatemae level?).
  • Overall, sitting in the airport, I already feel the European/western loudness, taking up space, clumsiness etc. … Very uncharming to observe actually comming straight from Japanese living.

I know I probably have some of the traits myself (as I grew up in it) but I am almost a bit affraid to return to all the random people creating conflicts, loud and obnoxious people etc.

Anyone who can comment on things that might help ? I have already tried to find Tonkotsu ramen places (hahah!) in my city and other Japanese things that might make me feel more at ease. Non the less, thank you Japan for an absolutely amazing experince here !

  • udon
    25 months ago

    Can’t confirm in that black/white framing. I had “conflicts” here as well, also several racist encounters which felt kind of odd as a white dude (and lacking the threatening component other people in other places would experience). I mean conflicts here in the sense of disagreements, similar to what I had in my home country. No fights or anything. Also, I think some of the more ugly sides of Japan only become visible once you’ve spent some more time here and outside of a student exchange context. It can be hard to understand some of the unfriendliness behind the friendliness, and I don’t even think I’m very good at that, yet. Kyoto has a reputation that even Japanese people from other cities don’t always get that they are being insulted 😅

    About helpfulness… Yes, when asking for a train or so. But also, I once had a sports accident (broke a bone) with several people standing around and nobody helped although I made it quite clear I need help. That would have been different in other places. This was weird and took me a while afterwards to process. I have my theory why, but am still not entirely sure. Anyway, that’s a different topic.

    All of that said, Japan is clearly easy on all of that, but it’s not like assholes don’t exist. Cultural codes of what is ok, what is not, and what counts as a provocative move are just different.