Suraj wrote:I find most western portrayals of Japan to have a tinge of bitterness or resentment underneath. Japanese have an enormous 'we are Japanese, we do this our way' not-invented-here mentality. Even a lot of Japanese privately hate that. There's also a clear distinction societally about Japanese vs non-Japanese. Even a blond, blue eyed Euro is clearly made aware they're an outsider and not ever capable of 'going native' and will be treated as such.
While in interpersonal relationships they're warm and welcoming, societally, the enforced homogeneity is very much the case. That leads to astonishment, especially amongst those accustomed to white privilege, at being viewed as just one of the 'better' outsiders, but still clearly outsider. Not all of this 'different' treatment is negative, though it can be interpreted as such. Japanese have a lot of defined decorum for interaction and doing things. Outsiders are not expected to know these, and "you're not Japanese, you don't know these" can sound dismissive. But it need not be.
To Japanese themselves, a lot of these rules are a small emotional burden of being Japanese. There's a small amount of jealousy on their part that outsiders can simply play the outsider card; I've been told I should not bother to follow all the aspects of decorum because it's all quite vexing and I should simply play the outsider card to avoid having to deal with every aspect of formal interaction. Of course, I got that advice in trusted confidentiality because I've family there.
I can see how the average westerner, used to being treated as special wherever they go, find a nice cold bucket of water splashed in their face in Japan, figuratively. Suddenly they're an 'outsider', and not a universally privileged one. They're not a society without warts by any stretch of imagination, but they're also phenomenally well organized in many ways, and a lot of criticisms sound either exaggerated or hypocritical to my ears.
The whites are still get privilege there. Off course not at the level thats given in other SDRE/Sooth asian countries. I agree on the 'we are Japanese, we do this our way', theres a lot of that. This is because Japanese are process oriented, the process is as important as the end product. While we don't have any process as such so conform to anything thrown at us, the Japanese have have their process stratified and will like to follow them.But no need to be enamoured by it, there are many many rules and process that does not make sense even from Japanese perspective let alone Gaijin perspective.
The jealousy part is true too. While the Japanese are judged by how Japanesique they are, the outsiders are not, even if you have lived your whole life there. I found out very early(thanks to meeting with couple of Indian SDREs) that how much ever Japanesique you become you will be always a sato guy, so don't bother too much and just get along as much as possible to get the work done, don't try to imitate them.
or another way - I would rather have some of their problems than the ones we have in other countries
I would'nt go that far. They have lot of psychological problems, better to have our problems which are aspirational than their problem imho.