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After a While, Living in the Kanto Area is Dull, Isn't It?
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Black_Beer_Man



Joined: 26 Mar 2013
Posts: 453
Location: Yokohama

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 1:39 pm    Post subject: After a While, Living in the Kanto Area is Dull, Isn't It? Reply with quote

If I were asked for an observation about Tokyo and Yokohama, I'd say that life here is mostly about working and shopping.

Fun for most Kanto people is getting really drunk on a Friday night, belting out a few songs at the karaoke box, grabbing a bowl of ramen and going back to the apartment for a 12 hour sleep.

People on the trains and walking around the city don't look particularly happy.

People in Osaka look more relaxed and content.

One thing that is strangely missing is live music in public places - especially in summer. Yeah, you can pay 3000 yen to see a band in a bar or see some at a festival, but street musicians are few and it would be nice to see more of them at rooftop beer gardens and patio restaurants.

Tokyo and Yokohama are not cities associated with the word "fun" when you think of worldwide places to enjoy yourself in the summertime.

Tokyo has tried to up the fun aspect of the Asakusa area recently by adding human-pulled rickshaws operated by amusing young men. That's a small start.

However, Tokyo and Yokohama need to build some kind of fun image in time for the Tokyo Olympics. Otherwise, I am betting that attending the Rio ones were more fun if not chaotic too.

I've made these observations after living here for some years - after the initial Blade Runner buzz wore off.

Your thoughts please.
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dove



Joined: 01 Oct 2003
Posts: 271
Location: USA/Japan

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its all relative and it's only going to ever be relative when happiness and fun are concerned. I live in Brazil now, after spending years and years in Tokyo. Sao Paulo is chaotic, bureaucratic, traffic-choked, and dangerous in many areas. Many of my Brazilian friends are trying to get out, to start new lives in the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia. But it's a city with intensely fun nightlife, festivals, beautiful and friendly people who really like foreigners. I sometimes miss Tokyo because I used to love wandering all the neighborhoods, visiting museums, galleries, street festivals, coffee shops, interesting shops, just soaking up that cliche of the cutting age modernity side-by-side with the traditional. And, of course, I miss the safety. So to me, Tokyo is really fun. But then, when I want to be bad, Sao Paulo is much more fun. I don't want to stereotype, but sex and drugs are a fact of life here--if you want it to be. I will say, without a doubt, teaching in Brazil is much more fun than Japan. Here's an example: I had to prepare a class on drug vocabulary for students who were going to be visiting Amsterdam.
I enjoyed that class, but I can imagine there would be some teachers here who wouldn't want to touch that topic (or any topic related to sex--a popular topic here. I remember one class where the students debated working as programmers at porn websites). See, it's all relative.
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 828

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would tell people to head to Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, or Fukuoka rather than Tokyo. I enjoyed my six years in Tokyo, but after awhile the busy lifestyle really does get tiresome. You can have a more balanced lifestyle in the smaller cities..
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1562
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just lived here since I made more money but since I haven't the last two years, time to move on.
Life is dull and people are too stuck up.
Depends on how much of a decrease in salary you are willing to put up with.
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Black_Beer_Man



Joined: 26 Mar 2013
Posts: 453
Location: Yokohama

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Tokyo & Yokohama, there is very little (almost no) interaction between strangers.

People don't make eye contact, smile or engage in small talk.

Neighbors don't speak to each other.

Shop clerks very rarely make any small talk with me. As a foreigner, it's so easy. They could ask where I am from or what I think of Japan. Yet, I have had this happen once in the past year in a supermarket from a young male cashier. (Now he is probably fired for talking to me. LOL)

What's also interesting about this is that it's another example how Japan and the West are opposites.

In the West, it is offensive to invade someones' physical space (bump them on the train or wear a backpack and press it into someone's body), but usually okay to enter someone's metal space (like share a smile or make a comment).

In the Kanto, it's perfectly fine to invade someone' physical space swing your backpack from side to side hitting people on a crowded train. But, don't you try to talk to me!
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1562
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well if that bothers you you wouldn't like Korea or China.

I had a Nepalese students who got sick of Kanto and left after graduation. He mentioned that he worked at a convenience store in Chiba for years and many customers would not say anything, not hi, not thank you. Nothing

People live in their private capsules and are so anti-social yet at work they have to pretend their group has such harmony. It can be a fake society.
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Black_Beer_Man



Joined: 26 Mar 2013
Posts: 453
Location: Yokohama

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mitsui wrote:
Well if that bothers you you wouldn't like Korea or China.



My opinion differs with you regarding Korea. I have taught there and have worked in Seoul and in a much smaller city (in which I remember restaurant staff asking me questions with a combination of broken English, body language and simple Korean).

Koreans, even in Seoul, are much more sociable with foreigners than Japanese are in the Kanto. Koreans wear their emotions on their sleeves. Especially when they're smiling and happy, it is easy to share a smile or crack a joke with a convenience store clerk or a waitress there.

A couple of years ago, when I visited Taipei, I was chilling out watching a band of street musicians and a Taiwanese guy came up to me "Where are you from? Are you enjoying Taiwan?". He was smiling and gave me a friendly tap on the shoulder. At first, I thought he was crazy, and maybe he was the exception and not the rule. But, in almost a decade of living in the Kanto, I have never had such an encounter.
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TokyoLiz



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1548
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It likely depends on where you live. We moved into our house in January. We're in a semi-rural area in the sprawl. Already we are friends with the neighbours. We participate in the neighbourhood association. When we go for walks, we talk to lots of people. We also know the staff in the local shops, some by name.
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Vince



Joined: 05 May 2003
Posts: 559
Location: U.S.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tokyo has lots of cultural things happening and all kinds of opportunities to join clubs, so I wouldn't call it dull. It's just more of a museum city than it is a carnival city.

I'm an introvert, so Tokyo's socially reserved atmosphere usually suited me. On the other hand, it's nice when a clerk knows how to greet you warmly and make a bit of small talk without getting intrusive.


Last edited by Vince on Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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victory7



Joined: 22 Mar 2016
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find staff anywhere in Tokyo usually friendly. I'm a cheery guy and try to have a smile on my face when I have contact with staff of any store whether it's a bar, izakaya, department store, supermarket or conbini.

I don't think Tokyo people are as unfriendly and rude as some gaijin think. 1 major thing to remember Black Beer Man - for all the keigo and other polite language and certain outward customs, Japanese society is essentially hard. Hard on individuality, hard on passion, hard on emotions, hard on dreams, hard on those who want to save money, hard on those who just want to live a little or live more fully.

Tokyo is the ultimate expression of this hardness. I have met very few people who work to live - nearly every Jp person I've met here through work and socialising lives to work. Even those who think more outside the box. Tokyo is mega competitive and that's also part of the reason why Jp people in Tokyo can seem so distant from anything resembling real fun and spontaneity.
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rxk22



Joined: 19 May 2010
Posts: 1628

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mitsui wrote:
I just lived here since I made more money but since I haven't the last two years, time to move on.
Life is dull and people are too stuck up.
Depends on how much of a decrease in salary you are willing to put up with.


People aren't stuck up in Kanto, at least not in CHiba. It is something else. They don't want to interact and they are miserable, or at least outwardly so.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1562
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, at least Tokyo people are stuck up and look down on other people and can't stand hearing anything besides their accent.
That goes for people from Osaka, Tohoku, etc.

Tokyo is dull since everything revolves around work.
People only identify with their job or group.
Life is cold and competitive.
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rxk22



Joined: 19 May 2010
Posts: 1628

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah it seems like people here in Kanto hate free time. If you have any bit of free time, you are like a deviant. My wife lets me go to the gym once a week, which involves a little under two hours in total. Many people act like that is some sort of big deal.
I have gotten the impression that unless you are working an insane load, that you are not trying hard as a human, or worse yet, are failing as a man.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1562
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It isn't just Tokyo.
My in-laws would work almost every weekend in Osaka.

In the past people would have stores attached to their homes where they would sell tobacco, alcohol, etc. These people might be open for business six days a week or even seven.

Work becomes a substitute for religion.

People don't understand teachers who want to relax and sit around for part of their vacation.

My wife would prefer me to work than to go to Japanese class.
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Black_Beer_Man



Joined: 26 Mar 2013
Posts: 453
Location: Yokohama

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Work culture wise, countries like Japan, South Korea, Mexico and The United States are doing it all wrong. These countries (not in any particular order) have the longest working hours.

However, they are not as productive as Germany. Germans don't work these long hours and they have at least 1 month vacation a year.

I watched this BBC video on German culture. One reason for the success of German companies is that German workers are completely dedicated to the job as soon as they enter the factory / office. No chatting about last night's football game. No Facebook. No text messaging to friends. They focus on the job and then go home.

As far as I know, the Japanese also focus on the job, so how is it that they can't match Germans?

I think the reason is that too much of anything is counter productive. We all know this from teaching. If you didn't get enough sleep the night before, your performance in the classroom is not your best.

Maybe Japanese companies need to seriously think about restricting work hours.

https://youtu.be/9bTKSin4JN4
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