Cross post from reddit that just got locked:

/r/japanlife/comments/18ycbqu/returning_back_to_europe_after_45_months_in_japan/

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 !

  • @akaifoxOP
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    115 months ago

    I can identify with what the OP was feeling

    Flying back home and at Heathrow I honestly thought “why is everyone fat?” Then I got to enjoy someone’s 30 minute speakerphone call on the train’s ‘quiet coach’

  • @Zealous
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    45 months ago

    OP has only only been here for 4.5 months on an exchange. He clearly has rose-tinted glasses on.

    I’m not denying what he is saying but I visited the UK back in February last year after 5 years here and I had a wonderful time. It felt so good to just talk to people in English and share banter, spend time with family, not have to overthink every interaction. Sure people can be loud and it can be a bit grim but it felt refreshing after being here so long. I don’t really understand what these “conflicts” OP is referring to. I’ve only really had a bad encounter with some chavs before.

    I had a good think about what I wanted out of life after that trip, and decided to move back in April (especially for career reasons). I think being the only foreigner in a traditional Japanese company has really burnt me out. But I’m glad I got to spend some time in this country!

    • @akaifoxOP
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      25 months ago

      Went back for a bit and at first it was great, especially: “I can talk to people in my native language!”

      But it didn’t last long before I was missing my 麻婆豆腐 🤣

      • @[email protected]
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        fedilink
        25 months ago

        Where do you live? Mapo tofu is relatively common, so you could likely get it in your own country if it has a sizable Chinese population. I wouldn’t even call it a specialty of Japan, and I’ve personally had better ones in other countries.

        • @akaifoxOP
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          110 days ago

          Necro post, but I was in the UK at the time of writing

          Back near Ikebukuro now and am a frequent visitor of many authentic restaurants :) It’s often funny as the staff don’t even speak Japanese in some of these places xD

  • udon
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    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.