how many leica forum members in Japan?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by john sypal, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. Seems like there are several forum members in Japan/Tokyo.
    How about getting together sometime, to look over prints, cameras,
    etc? I am in the Tokyo area (Matsudo, Chiba).
  2. Anyone from the Leica Forum is welcome to stop by (or even crash at) my place if they ever get down to Shikoku. For what a weekend trip to Tokyo costs, I can fly back to the US to see my wife and kids!
  3. Equally interesting would be to know what all these Leica-totting gaijin are doing in Japan. As many of you may have gleaned, I'm a professor (linguistics and culture studies) at a small liberal arts college.

    I'm guessing that Steve West's "day job" is as a studio/advertising photographer in Tokyo. How did you get that gig?
  4. Hi John, I'm in Tokyo (living in Gotanda, working in Shimbashi). It would be cool to get all
    of us together for coffee.
  5. I am rotating between the Left Coast (U.S.) and Ebisu/Tokyo, and Wakayama (near Kobe) about once or twice a month as a partner with the big M. mostly stay in hotels.
  6. Well, well, what a small world it is (no pun intended), as it happens I live in Matsudo,
    Chiba. Heaven on Earth for those of you who are unfamiliar with it!!

    John drop me a mail, would be my pleasure to meet for a coffee. richardsmall at hotmail
    dot com.
  7. Sorry, meant to say I second Alan's idea for a get together.
  8. Hey John, I'm also in Tokyo (Shinjuku). I'd be up for getting together too.
  9. Hi All! I am located in Harajuku. Been here in Japan for three and a half years. I have a strange existence here. Work for a Japanese non-profit, a bit like the Rotary Club, editing their English correspondence. I have plenty of money to live well in Tokyo, and go abroad a few times a year, but never seem able to travel around Japan, much like as in Don Carroll's case.

    If anyone wants to meet, feel free to contact me, I have plenty of free time, and if you want to grab a coffee or a bite to eat, or a beer, drop me an email at "batmanghelidj at yahoo dot com"
  10. Also in Chiba. I read the forum daily, but am still shooting an Olympus 35RC...
  11. I'm in Tokyo (changing trains at Gotanda at least a dozen times a week), but unfortunately I have about half a dozen deadlines looming, so all social life is out. I'd like to meet up a few months from now though.
  12. I'm envious... I haven't been back there for quite a while now.
  13. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    sounds like the start for a 24 hr shoot-a-thon?
  14. Live in Akashi near Kobe. Teach Lit. & Writing at a private U.
  15. damn i may just have to move to japan!
  16. so a shoot-out it is.... i'm in.

    takaaki, how long since you haven't been back? get yourself over here and join the shoot
    out... it'll be interesting to see your take on tokyo. and bring grant with you.
  17. Sounds great!

    How about a Saturday in Mid Feburary? Maybe the Saturday the 19th, Shinjuku perhaps? I want to see Claude's yellow M4 in person...

    I am 25, and working at a private jr/sr high near Kita-Matsudo station on the joban/chiyoda line. Today is the entrance exam test for the high school and there are a few hundred nervous kids waiting out in the courtyard.. I saw one kid studying in AMPM across the street while he was getting a bottle of juice before I came to work today-

    my email- jvsypal At Yahoo dottu komu
  18. Shootout on February 19th. I'm in. Shinjuku is cool, but how about Ikebukuro - more gritty!

    Anyone up for coffee, whatever before that?
  19. I am so envious of you guys! I was in Japan, oh, 20 years ago, teaching English at a small private language school in Ikeda, south of Nishinomiya. I lived in the small village of Yamamoto, north of Kobe. There was a fantastic tiny temple with a waterfall at the end of a path from the village towards the mountains. My girlfriend and I were the only gaijin in the village at the time, except for the owner of the language school. (Oxford English Language School) I loved Japan! Unfortunately I came back to Canada when my girlfriend became homesick after 1 year. A few years later, I married another girl whose ancestry is Japanese. Needless to say, I scored big points the first time I met her parents and said, "Ita da ki masu" at the beginning of dinner. I have been to too few places in this world, but Japan is somewhere I'd go back to, even before visiting places I've never been to. Kampai, my friends!
  20. OK, I think the 19th should be ok, but let me check.

    As for any of you that are getting fired up about Japan, let me give you the scoop. It is extremely easy and at the same time very challenging to live in Japan. If you are a native English speaker, and you went to University and graduated, you can pretty much automatically get a job teaching English. The visa is sponsored by the company that hires you.

    There are two ways to get your visa. You can come here, armed with a resume and a copy of your Uni diploma. Then you can wander around and try and get hired by the company of your choice. The other way is to get hired stateside, or out of Japan, by one of the big Japanese schools. Once they have issued you with a visa, you can use that visa to work anywhere. If the company tells you you cannot, they are lying. Based on this, you can quit the company that sponsored your visa, and find work elsewhere if you like. It's good to have this option, in case the company that hired you is funky, or you find a much better opportunity.

    Believe it or not, if you are a native English speaker, you are very much in demand here. The Japanese may be wizards with cars, optics, engineering and other scientific endeavors, but, no insult intended, they are at the back of the class, when it comes to foreign language aquisition. It is astonishing that the Japanese, who must rank as one of the most intelligent of races, are complete spastics when it comes to teaching English. The Japanese are excellent learners, but for some reason (nationalism?) they sabotage all efforts to teach English here.

    Anyway, it's easy to come over here that way, or if you are from a variety of countries, and under a certain age, 25-30, depending on the country, you can come over for a year with a working holiday. This visa is available for most first world countries except the USA.

    The pluses to living in Japan are as follows:

    1. You might be a slob, that no woman would touch with a ten foot pole, in your own country, but you will be looked on as a kind of Tom Cruise figure here by many women, and be a kind of star in your own right. A zero is a hero in Japan.
    2. There is virtually no crime here. Having said that, I have heard of people being beaten to death by the yakuza (foreigners), and the perps getting off scott free.
    3. The food, transportation, and other facilities are really good. So is the beer. And they have cool eating and drinking establishments everywhere.

    The down side is:

    1. You will learn what a black man feels like in the United States. Japan is the one country in the world where white people are second class citizens. No way around this one. The upside to this is that you are not expected to adhere to all of the insane rules that govern all aspects of life in Japan. These can only be learned by growing up here, and foreigners have a get of jail free card, to be exempt from these.

    2. Everything is small here, including your apartment, and your bath. On the other hand, if you are an American executive none of the above apply to you. You will live in a palace that is larger than a football field, and you can swagger around like a colonial overlord.

    3. Forget about owning a car. Especially in central Tokyo, unless you like to pay $500 a month for a parking space, and then pay $15 toll fees every ten miles on the highways. Of course the upside to this is that if you are a fatass American that is used to driving your SUV down to the cornerstore for your sixpack and pizza, you will miraculously lose 15 lbs in your first month here, it's called walking!

    4. This one is the one that has had me stumped. Learning Japanese. Along with finding out what it is like be a minority, you can also experience the joys of being an illiterate idiot. You are now so stupid you can't read a single sign, newspaper, or even little kid's comic. I have picked up a degree of spoken Japanese, due to the fact that my s.o. speaks not a lick of English. I have been forced to learn the language. As for writing and reading, imagine learning Egyptian hieroglyphics. Now imagine some sadists, coming up with a language that is a thousand times harder.
  21. Another comment on Japanese:

    It's really true about how hard and impractical Japanese is. English is far superior, that is why everyone speaks English, and the Anglo Saxons conquered the world. And I am no Euro-centric racist. I despise Anglo Saxon hegemony as much as the next guy. However, English is much easier than Japanese. You have 26 basic symbols in English that a 5 year old can learn in an afternoon. From there you can go on to form words like "big," "bird," "philiosphy," and "camera." In Japanese you need to learn the equivalent of the type of secret code that was used in WW II by the Germans to talk to their spies with.

    Kanji...............I suppose if I ever learn it, I can tell you what its advantages are, but not now..........
  22. There are quite a few people on the CV mailing list in Japan too; perhaps with some overlap. Come on Claude, Kanji are easy - there are literally dozens of Chinese people who've learnt them with no trouble at all! ;o)
  23. I live in Tokyo too. Well.. work in Hiroo and live in Gakugeidaigaku (i know, hard to pronounce, but just 5 minutes from Shibuya).

    I'm open for any plan :)
  24. Everything Claude says is twice as true in Tokyo and only half true outside of
    the major cities. : ) Many of these same things are true of expats anywhere
    in the world and not exclusive to life in Japan -- this is now my 6th country as
    an expat.

    As for becoming an instant babe-magnet the moment you step off the plane, they say: "the odds are good, but the goods are odd."
  25. Claude and his ilk are what some of us derisively call "Professional Gaijins." Most of what
    he wrote is incorrect. Not that you couldn't find individual cases to support his views, but
    those kinds of generalizations make me sick. They are racist, not in the most malicious
    sense, but out of ignorance.

    There is a small industry built up around professional gaijins. It includes bad books and
    articles puporting to explain the "mysteries of Japan." It includes all the awful language
    schools where people with no teaching skills peddle language classes. There are
    foreigners doing good work here, and then there is this class of second-rate parasites and
    losers who understand little about Japan, but are quite ready to tell you all about it.
  26. I'm in for the 19th. Name the time and place.
  27. Masatoshi,

    having re-read Claude's matchbox summary of an expat's expectations in Japan, I can't really see the racism. Most of what he says about the Japanese seems complementary - good learners, sabotaged by national language learning strategies etc. and most is positive about Japan - good food, transport etc.

    Most of what he implies about certain types of Americans, on the other hand, seems less than complementary.

    Is it whites being treated as second class citizens or Japanese being a difficult language to learn that you find offensive? I'd be intrigued to hear more of your point of view.
  28. Uh, Masa-chan, genki ja nai? Doshta no?
  29. Here's a Japanese Joke:

    Me: Nan ji desu ka?
    Masa-chan: Oyaji desu!

    It would definitely be lost in translation though.
  30. Masatoshi, harsh words but often painfully true -- and again not just in Japan. I've taught in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Mexico, and for the last 8 years in Japan (a total of over 20 years as an expat/foreigner/hawaja/gringo/gaijin so I have a pretty good handle on the personality types you tend to find. At least in the Arabian Gulf (Arabs don't call it the Persian Gulf) an MA in a language related field (preferably linguistics or TESOL) was the golden ticket to a job so there was a good deal more professionalism in the teaching there. There weren't really any opporunities for "private" language schools and visas were very tightly controlled. In fact, in Saudi you actually had to hand your passport over to your employer upon arrival in the country and only got it back when you left.

    In contrast, the English teaching scene in many places in Asia (Japan, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Korea, etc.) operates more freely as a market economy. You'll find people with every possible skill level hauking their linguistic wares at a wide variety of prices. Some people are happy with "privates" for 3,000 yen an hour. Some charge 10,000 an hour. The professional teachers among them are also "selling" their hard-earned skills as an educator/writer/editor while at the other end of the spectrum are people charging essentially for being a "foreign friend" -- this last group I like to think of as "language gigalos." From what I've heard and from the info available on Dave's ESL Cafe (a major clearing house for ESF/EFL jobs overseas) the situation in Korea is even wilder and often less scrupulous than in Japan.

    While the tone of Claude's comments was unfortunate (and yes just a little racist and/or colonial), a certain amount of what he says is true. For example, the male gaijin with his Japanese girlfriend/wife is not just a cliche but a statistical regularity. People here can hardly believe my wife is NOT from Japan. And one (highly embarrasing) question my female university students regularly ask visiting male exchange students in class is: "Do you like Japanese girls?" Of course you have to keep in mind that the term "gaijin" (or the more polite "gaikokujin") is largely reserved for the white-skinned variety. African Americans are usually called "kokojin" (black people) while other "unidentifiable" Asians are just "asia-jin." Japanese, by the way, tend to think of themselves as the "white asians" as opposed to the Chinese or Southeast Asians. BTW, these are not my opinions, but the opinins expressed by students in my cross-cultural awareness classes year after year. When it comes to foreigners there is a definite preference order: 1) white-ish English speaking foreigners 2) other white-ish foreigners 3) non-white "westerners" 4) other, including subcontinental, Africans, other asians and South Americans. This last caste is subject to fairly severe prejudice at all levels. Not exactly the fierce racial hatred found in some parts of the US, but a sort of ingrained belief in the inherent "dirtiness" of these peoples. Many landlords will not rent to this last group and many are also hesitant to rent to "white" gaijin. Korean-Japanese and even a group of Japanese-Japnese called the Buraku or Burakumin have endured extreme predujice over the years.

    What Claude says about finding a job is also largely true, though the "boom days" of the 80's are long gone and the market is getting tougher. Still any reasonably sane native English speaker with a BA (in any subject) can find a job at a language school (or eventually start his own). You still occasionally see jobs announcements expressing a preference for "native speaker with blue eyes." Having visited dozens of middle schools and high schools as a teacher supervisor, what Claude says about the level of English teaching in Japnaese public school is also sadly very close to the mark. Still there are a fair number of as you say, Masatoshi, "losers and parasites." One American "ex-language school owner" I know is now serving 13 years for attempted robbery (he pulled a civil war era Navy Colt on a converience store clerk).

    I'd also agree regarding owning a car in Tokyo -- though it's much easier here in Shikoku. Still, I do have to pay nearly $1,200 in vehicle registration fees ("sha-ken"every two years but then you can often find a 10-year old car "for free" so I guess it balances out.

    All in all there seems to be a much greater ratio of "odd personalities" living overseas. I'm not sure if that's because living overseas makes us odd (eventually) or whether it just attracts an odder crowd to begin with.

    What's all this got to do with Leicas? Well, I'll tell you this much: language teachers in Mexico don't have the money or time for playing around with luxury cameras.
  31. Oya-ji, Den-pun, Ga-byou
  32. Claude, you okay? You're right - the joke's lost in translation and it's boring anyway.
    But, there's nothing as gratifying as the chance to teach everyone about Japan is
    there? Save it for the pics...:p
  33. Yeah.. It just takes some time to appreciate the true art of 'oyaji gags'... They could be
    funny after many warm sakes.
  34. you're talkin Takaaki. Don't know about the warm part tho.
  35. Typical middle east EFL job:

    Typical Japan EFL job:
  36. A few comments:

    - Most americans in Japan feel they represent the entire western world, that their habits and opinions can be expressed as that of westerners as a group, and Claude's viewpoint shows that pretty well. that's very partial. My personal origins make me feel closer (in terms of tastes and communication) to japanese than to americans.

    - As for content, I think Claude's viewpoint does not have a value beyond what he has experienced. It's as if a guy from uzbekistan living in London was pretending to say something intelligent on the english society without speaking english, being able to read the newspapers or reading ads in the metro. If you cannot read kanji, you can hardly bring forward something clever about Japan. It can't even be described as gaijin's experience as a i said before, since this would be far too broad.

    - As for women... first it's more something of a myth unless you have very low standards. Odds are good but goods are odd is a very intelligent remark. women that are fond of gaijins are usually different, and most Gaijins that suddenly find themselves successful do not realize they are only meeting a certain kind of women. And those are not exactly the ones Tom Cruise would be hanging with.

    I definitely agree on Masatoshi's viewpoint: while a lot can be said about how Gaijins can have trouble adapting themselves here, and how Japanese society can reject them, this kind of "industry for professionnal gaijins" that he refers to clearly exists and is as bad as he says.
  37. Masatoshi, The truth is that if the Japanese education system functioned correctly Japanese kids would be fluent in Japanese, and what is more, because of that ability, Japan would not be in a recession. The Japanese are world beaters, everyone knows that, but because of the complete lack of English speaking capacity, which borders on the ridiculous for a wealthy developed country like Japan, you are falling behind.

    The Japanese education system, government and society all promote an obedience first way of thinking, a kind of neo-confucianism. This might be good for producing good group workers, who obey orders, but it snuffs initiative.

    You know, Masa's problem is that the truth is harsh to the ears. As a foreigner, I probably have a more accurate view of the strengths and weaknesses of Japan than he does. His whole bearing, as expressed in his tone of voice, is the epitome of the kind of attitude that holds Japan back. Conservative, arrogant, rude, I mean I don't know where to stop.

    A friend of mine who has lived here for years, said that Japan is Sheep being led by wolves. That pretty much sums it up for me.

    Listen, Masa, I had no intention of railing like this, but your whole bearing seems to epitomise the kind of extreme arrogance that I find very distasteful. You are the worst Japan has to offer.
  38. "I mean I don't know where to stop" - it's easy, just shut up Claude.
  39. I actually like a lot about Japan, but Masa's outburst kind of makes me mad. Who the hell is this guy anyway, hiding behind his computer and spilling bile on me? I mean Masa, post a damn picture before you decided to shoot your wad, idiot.
  40. Hey Kei, Masa, both of you all, any time, anywhere, please.
  41. Don't even make me explain why Japanese women prefer non Japanese men.
  42. "Anytime, anywhere please" - Uh oh...drinking contest?
  43. Don't even make me explain why Japanese women prefer non Japanese men.

    I'm rather curious... Why is that?
  44. OK. Wild guess. Perhaps because we are not as alcohol tolerant?
  45. Sh* called my bluff Takaaki.
  46. Tak, Kei, and Masa, I have nothing more to say to any of you until you post some pics, and then I may dignify your ignorant blathering with a response, but until then, uh....forget it.

    Gaijin 1
    Locals 0
  47. Hey Claude - you win. How about if I buy you a beer on the 19th?
  48. In all fairness, I must express my deepest gratitude to my Japanese hosts for allowing me to live and work in their country at this time. I have been treated very well while I have been here, and I have a lot of respect and appreciation for the Japanese.

    On another note, I feel very bad for the Japanese in having to host American bases. I wish for my sake and for the sake of the Japanese that this country was not still under American military occupation. It does not permit us to relate to each other as equals, and that is not healthy for either nation. The problem is that the government has no balls. If they did they would evict the Americans, and make their own foreign policy. This is not in America's interests however. It is in America's interest to keep Japan divided from China and Korea. The leaders of Japan that keep Japan subservient to America are traitors to their country. If I was Japanese, I would demand they step down for betraying their country.
  49. This love/hate relationship with Japan is pretty common among us Gaijin (Japanese for "outsider"). Japan is riddled with flaws, but there is a beautiful and graceful aspect to the Japanese, that they seem intent on smothering in plastic and loud noises.
  50. Claude, I had to point this out but the last photo I saw from you was on your yellow painted M4 (laying on an American flag towel).
  51. Hey Claude...

    I've never been to Japan (so I can't comment on your statements on their culture), and I've never seen any of Ken or Masotoshi's photos, but Takaaki posts more good photos right here on the Leica forum than most. Take a look at some of the n/w posts. Actually (and of course this is only my personal opinion, but one that I know is shared by more than just me) Takaaki might be one of the best Leica style shooters around here. Take a look and you will see the proof.
  52. Hey, check out my gallery, there's pics in them there pixels. I must say that since I joined the forum my output has decreased, and I don't own a scanner.
  53. Some of the stuff above about Japanese people and society is too silly to merit any kind of response. As for the language, that can be dealt with swiftly and politely.
    It's really true about how hard and impractical Japanese is. English is far superior, that is why everyone speaks English, and the Anglo Saxons conquered the world.
    Utter nonsense. No language is superior to any other, as demonstrated by the fact that all normally developing humans master their own first language(s), and that every language is capable of expressing anything. (Please forget fourth-hand accounts of how this or that native American language can't express time, or how "the Eskimo language" [huh?] has lots of words for snow, etc. etc.)
    English is much easier than Japanese. You have 26 basic symbols in English that a 5 year old can learn in an afternoon. From there you can go on to form words like "big," "bird," "philiosphy," and "camera." In Japanese you need to learn the equivalent of the type of secret code that was used in WW II by the Germans to talk to their spies with.
    Utter nonsense again. English has a whole lot more than 26 symbols (try looking at your keyboard), five-year-olds can't learn all of them or even 26 in an afternoon; the ability to pronounce the word "philosophy" upon reading it demands, inter alia, learning that "ph" is not the mere sum of "p" and "h"; numerous letters can be and are pronounced in numerous ways; to converse in Japanese you need know nothing whatever about the writing; to write Japanese to be understood you can (admittedly at a tight pinch) content yourself with fewer than 50 characters; and the ability to read and write thousands of characters is common in Japan, which manages to have a higher rate of literacy than do most nations that use the alphabet. (This is not to deny that the Korean writing system is hugely superior.)
    As for the piffle about Anglo-Saxons conquering the world, they only did so in part and for a relatively short period (I'm happy to say); this was a major cause (both direct and indirect) for the spread of English. (For a better understanding of which nations have defeated other nations and why, read Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel.)
    And now back to sanity, please.
  54. Thanks Andrew, I will take a look.
  55. Hey, I was being cantankerous and sarcastic. Actually I think the lignua franca of our day should be Spanish, by far the easiest language to learn. And as for the Anglo Saxon, uh, they have conquered the world, they carry the banners of Coca Cola, Wallmart and Boeing, and we all live under their domination.
  56. Claude, you blithering idiot. "Masatoshi Yamamoto" is something referred to in English as
    a "pseudonym." Big word, so I'll explain it to you. It means it's not my real name. And you
    should have picked up on that immediately, recognizing that no product of the awful
    education system you talk about could write the way I do. Or to put it in your blinkered,
    prejudiced way of thinking, "No Japanese would ever be so confrontational and disturb the
    harmony of the group." Which is obviosly what I've done with my posting.

    I used the word racist, and qualified it by saying that it emerges from ignorance, and I
    stand by that. It doesn't imply hatred, only that generalizations are made about a people
    and a culture which are simply too broad to be true. I've lived and worked in a number of
    countries, and I've found no where else on Earth where there is the same tendency among
    foreigners to think they have it figured out, or where they are so eager to tell the world
    about their ill-conceived notions. Or maybe I'm making a racist generalization. No...

    To be blunt, people like Claude are, as I said, parasites and losers who can't make it
    anywhere else. It's like the WNBA, a special league for people who aren't good enough to
    make it elsewhere. There is, unfortunately, enough of a market for them in Japan that they
    don't dry up and blow away. I hope all you swaggering gaijin cocksmen enjoy screwing the
    ugliest Japanese whores you can find. Sorry, but the majority of women in Japan do not, as
    you seem to think, become weak in the knees and wet in the crotch contemplating the
    enormous bulge in your briefs.
  57. Masatoshi Yamamoto, don't be bashful, say what you think. You don't really need to beat around the bush, get to the point.

    Okay, i've worked it out, Claude is a wanker.
  58. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    yes. i worked it too, double and tripple checked all variables, and came to the same conclusion.
  59. Anyway, time for a photo...........
  60. I can't believe I have just read all this crap. Racist slurs. Verbal fights. Threats. And the
    overall winner of the ludicrous challenge gold medal: "I dare you post a picture, you
    moron!" Or something like that.

    Phil Kneen, where are you?
  61. wow this thread turned into an embarrassment........."masatoshi yamamoto" knows whats
    up. lucid dude.
  62. Actually Masatoshi is full of it. I read an old post of his were he makes much worse generalisations than I ever did. He calls Japanese girls prostitutes. Also much of what he writes is from reading books evidently, and not first hand experience. He declares Japan a feudal society, and laments the Sempai Kohai relationship. All truisms, and generalisations. Somehow it is ok for him to say this but not me.<p>As for my remarks about Japanese women enjoying western men, what is the big deal? It makes a nice change, and I was having a little fun, because I know what ball breakers American women can be, and I wanted to encourage anyone who wanted to to come to Japan.<p>These are comments from an old post of his which you can look up on photonet: I wouldn't go as far as to say Greenspun's comments were racist, but probably naive. But then again, he was only a tourist, and one with probably a (bleep) load of money acting as a filter. You've got to have lived there, in order to really appreciate the place or dislike its many facets.

    But as far as good taste is concerned, I laughed when I read that. I don't doubt that the Japanese have nurtured an esthetic sense that some Westerners envy. But caligraphy, No theatre, Kabuki, Tea ceremony, Japanese Pottery, Kimono, Japanese gardens, all these are things of the past and don't mean much to youngsters. Only the elite will try to cultivate tradional tastes.

    The typical teenager spends 4 hours watching TV, reading porn cartoons at 7/11 or Lawson, checking his Imode email. Girls don't fare much better, using their cell phone to set up an Enjokosai date, or put it otherwise, prostituing themselves to buy the latest Prada bag. One has to read the Pink Samurai to get an idea, but things have degraded further since the book was written.

    I'm not saying tradition is lost. In fact, the Japanese still follow them blindly. Take for example, Kohai/Sempai: Someone who's your elder is your Senpai, and you must respect him. That implies no arguing or even explaining something he may not know. That would hurt his ego. Oh, and even worse, if a girl happen to know something a man doesn't, she better shut up!! You get the picture. It's still a feudal society.

    In a way Japan is like the matrix. People are a bit more human and natural than in Singapore, but have completely lost touch with reality and nature. I could probably write a book about Japan, but I won't say more. Still it's a country I'm able to appreciate somehow.
  63. You know actually, Masa's comments are pretty fair, if not original, and his style is obviously different to mine. I must be a fool for taking his bait, but hey stuff happens, and you learn. Thanks for the lesson, Masa, or whatever your real name is. <p>By the way, you don't get laid much do you?
  64. No, Claude, I don't get laid enough. Are you offering? If you don't have a hairy butt (like so
    many gaijins - ooh! racist generalization!), I might be interested.

    But alas, you've again proved yourself stupid. The comments you posted as mine are in
    fact those of another person. Check the thread again, idiot. You f*&ked up yet again.
    Please make a correction. And apologize. You must know how important apologies are to
    all us Japanese.

    Here's the last comment I will make about second rate, parasitic professional gaijins:
    They're easy to bait. Never know when they're in over their heads and ought to shut up.
    See posts from Claude above.

    This thread has not degenerated, it has blossomed into something far beyond the usual
    Leica wanker circle jerk. It's funny, informative, and I've embarrassed Claude.
  65. Sorry, just can't let this one go. From Claude, again:

    "Masatoshi, The truth is that if the Japanese education system functioned correctly
    Japanese kids would be fluent in Japanese, and what is more, because of that ability, Japan
    would not be in a recession."

    I think most Japanese kids ARE fluent in Japanese. Or are you making another racist
    generalization, that they can't speak their own language? What's the scoop, Claude?
  66. I hide no more! This is me!
  67. Where'd you get the hair job? I can't find a decent place here in Shinjuku.
  68. Whatever. <p>If you are interested in checking out Japan, as I explained in my post, it's pretty much dead easy. And yet, as I also said, Japan is without exception the single most xenophobic, racist country on earth, period. I challenge anyone to come up with a legitimate contender. We are talking provincial to the degree that makes the Ozark mountains look like the Champs Elysee.<p>And yes, I stand by my promise that a "Zero is a Hero" in Japan, I know fat dumb guys that are juggling girlfriends, and they are gorgeous too. I am not saying this is a good or a bad thing, it's just supply and demand.<p>Because of aforesaid xenophobia it takes a certain immunity to abuse to live here as a foreigner, and that keeps more of us out of Japan.<p> The Japanese language is pretty much the toughest mother on earth to learn to read and right. Speaking is another matter. <p> My original post was meant to encourage people to come to Japan. Having said that, there are a lot of people like the guy that attacked me and my post lurking around here in Japan. Bitter Ex-pats, bitter Japanese. Shogannai.<p>What do I care what this idiot thinks of me? I am only trying to pass on what I know.
  69. Here are some pics I took in Tokyo, not on a Leica, actually it was with cell phone.
  70. This is where they process the gaijin. Actually Governer Shintaro Ishihara who built this monstrosity, is a notorious racist, who regularly blames the Chinese for everything. You must walk for miles to get out here, so that you can renew your visa, and you are not made to feel welcome. Well, welcome to 1984 maybe.
  71. Saturday morning on Omotesando.
  72. Claude,

    I haven't lived in the States for 10 years except a few days here and there for conventions. I have currencies from three different countries in my pocket right now and at least twelve in my desk. In fact I will be in Korea next week and then Tokyo after the Lunar New Year. Here is where I am coming from so enough said. While I am sure you only wanted to share your view of the expat world to be helpful, you must understand it is never a good idea to air other people's dirty laundry. There are some truth in some of the things you said and they are generalizations that is appliable to every other place I have been to and lived in. Replace "Japan" with another country and you would still be right to a degree. I share my professional space with many expats and they are all individuals and have their own ethics, politics, convictions like any normal people. However us Americans are a special breed while overseas. We tend to be loud, obnoxious know-it-alls. It took me many years to change my attitude. It is much better to accentuate the positive and co-exist. Enjoy your time there. The Japanese are the most polite people outside of Thailand so be polite in return and don't insult their women.

  73. Um, Excuse me Ray, but where did I insult Japanese women? It was the other guy that let loose about Japanese women. I actually love and respect Japanese women.
  74. A Superb example of the Japanese as Sheep Led by Wolves
  75. So now that this has all been said, is anyone going to get together this weekend?

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