Surprisingly popular with foreigners sights

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Perhaps some of my readers have made the New Year resolution to head to Japan, so here are a few suggestions for where to go from a survey by goo Ranking into sights that Japanese are surprised to hear are popular with foreigners.

I’ve linked all the sights to either their official sites or to other reviews of the places. I’ve never really understood the attraction of the Shibuya crossing; perhaps I was too used to other busy crossings in Osaka before it appeared on my radar? The Robot Restaurant looks utterly cheesy and I’ve heard it’s quite overpriced for what it offers. The one I’d recommend the most (although probably the most out-of-the-way one) is number 16 Koyasan Okunoin, a graveyard with a lot of spooky atmosphere:

Okuno-in cemetery, Koyasan
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Bad manners in the train and by foreigners

Today we have @nifty’s survey into manners, where I’ll select two ranking-like questions, on bad manners in trains (by Japanese) and bad manners by foreigners.

For the list of bad foreigner manners, I suspect that a lot is confirmation bias, that one bad-mannered foreigner tarnishes the reputation of all. Furthermore, many of these ill-manners can be levelled at the Japanese too; middle-aged women (especially from the Osaka area) are rather noisy in trains, Japanese abroad are quite camera-happy in no photos and no flash areas, around my local station is no smoking, but I’ll see at least one person a day puffing away, and so on.

Foreigners taking photos in “No Photo” areas reminds me of this curious case (scroll down a little).

Here’s a couple of trains manners posters:

Please do it at home.
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Why foreign men dislike Japanese women’s gait

< ?PHP include "/home/kenyn/public_html/libchart/libchart.php";$chart = new PieChart(400, 200);$chart->setTitle(“What do you think about how Japanese women walk in high heels?”);
$chart->addPoint(new Point(“Extremely clumsy”, 22));
$chart->addPoint(new Point(“Clumsy”, 38));
$chart->addPoint(new Point(“A little clumsy”, 30));
$chart->addPoint(new Point(“Looks good”, 10));
$chart->render(“/home/kenyn/public_html/image14/high-heel-walk.png”);
?>
What do you think about how Japanese women walk in high heels? graph of japanese statisticsOmron, a healthcare electronics manufacturer, published a survey that serves to advertise their new female-oriented device that diagnoses one’s walking style, with this survey asking foreign men what they think of Japanese women’s way of walking.

Demographics

Between the 23rd and 31st of October 2014 the company Neon Marketing, on behalf of Omron and underwear manufacturer Wacoal, asked a mere 50 foreign men who had lived in Japan more than a year to fill out a private internet-based survey.

I think Japanese women in high heels, on the whole, are extremely clumsy-looking. Often, they walk like Honda’s humanoid robot Asimov, with knees bent forward and bum sticking out, and stiff legs pivoting at the pelvis only. Furthermore, there is a lack of ankle muscles or ankle support, so most of them twist their ankles with every step. I’ve seen more graceful baby giraffes taking their first few hesitant steps!
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What foreigners love and hate about Japanese public toilets

How cleaner are Japanese public toilets? graph of japanese statisticsJapanese public toilets are something that almost every visitor to Japan will experience, so this survey from the toilet manufacturer Toto looked at foreigners and toilets to see what issues there were.

Demographics

During September and October of 2014 600 foreign residents of Japan aged 20 or older completed an internet-based survey; ten countries were represented; South Korea, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, USA, France, UK, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. No further demographics were presented.

I’ve used a Japanese-style toilet for number twos exactly once, at a bowling alley when I had the runs, and in the process managed to get a rather large poo stain on my trousers, a fact I never realised until I got home that night. I’m very particular about toilets, so barring emergencies I use department store Western-style toilets almost exclusively, and I tend to select heated seats, but I never touch any of the bum-squirting stuff.
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What Japanese think foreigners think is strange food culture

goo Ranking took a look at what aspects of Japan’s food culture they think foreigners would find strange. Note that here the foreigners implies non-Asians, as there are many aspects listed below that are shared with Korea and China, for instance.

Demographics

Over the 18th and 19th of February 2011 1,097 members of the goo Research monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 67.6% of the sample were female, 6.8% in their teens, 21.0% in their twenties, 32.1% in their thirties, 24.0% in their forties, 9.0% in their fifties, and 7.1% aged sixty or older. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

Above is kusuya, and a video of number 10, live fish sashimi, may be watched by following this link, if you feel up to it.
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Japanese working overseas, and overseas workers in Japan

How important is understanding Japanese customs for foreign workers? graph of japanese statisticsThe Cabinet Office Japan recently took a look at the international movement of workers, which for this survey was specifically Japanese wanting to work overseas and foreigners coming to Japan.

Demographics

Between the 15th and 25th of July 2010 3,000 people randomly selected from resident registration information were approached for face-to-face interviews. Of the 3,000, 1,913 people, or 63.8% were available and answered the questions. 54.0% of the sample were female, 8.6% in their twenties, 16.0% in their thirties, 17.8% in their forties, 18.6% in their fifties, 19.8% in their sixties, and 19.2% aged 70 or older. There were a few other demographic questions, but they were sufficiently interesting to be presented in distinct tables below.

I wonder if the last two questions about foreign workers are in any way related to this article from Ampontan, in particular this quote from Naoto Kan, who is Prime Minister at the time of writing, but may not be by the time you read this, in an interview responding to a question on job creation:

The first is to create hiring by such means as long-term care, for which there is long-term, latent demand, and relaxing the issuance of visas to foreigners.

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Showing foreign tourists the real Japan

Here’s a bit of an interesting survey from iShare, looking at what Japanese would introduce foreigners to.

Demographics

Between the 23th and 29th of December 2008 709 members of the CLUB BBQ free email forwarding service completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 55.0% of the sample were male, 12.1% in their twenties, 47.5% in their thirties, 30.7% in their forties, 7.6% in their fifties, and 2.0% in their teens or aged sixty or older.

I’d put Osaka higher up the list in Q1, but I’m biased! I’d also put Kanazawa higher, as it’s Kyoto without so many tourists, and I really enjoyed the one time I visited.

I wouldn’t subject anyone to Japanese curry, but I’d put Japanese-style snacks higher. I think that refers to Japanese flavours in Western-style sweets like chestnut Kit-Kats or wasabi (horseradish-like) flavoured crisps, rather than traditional Japanese confectionary based around bean-paste.

Judging by another survey, water-squirting toilets are popular amongst the foreign population, but game arcades and Scissors-Paper-Stone are hardly unique Japanese features. On the other hand, some of the machines in Japanese arcades have to be seen to be believed, so perhaps the first is a good choice!
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All permanent residents to get 12,000 yen handout

Since the time of publication the handout has been expanded to cover all foreign residents of Japan, not just the Permanent Residents. The exact method of determining who is a resident has not been disclosed, bu I suspect it will be anyone with a foreigner’s registration card.

There’s been a lot of speculation about the recently-announced cash handout from the government regarding the applicability of it to foreign residents in Japan, but I’ve not seen anyone blogging about it in English, so here goes with what I have learnt.

According to the Mainichi Shimbun (Japanese edition) on the 7th of November 2008, permanent residents should get the handout too, all 440,000 or so of us, both the special Korean permanent residents and the everyday ones like me.

I predict they’ll be many foreigners moaning about why it doesn’t cover long-term non-permanent residents, or those on spouse visas, etc, but whatever the government decides people will find something to grumble about, of that I can be sure.

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How to surprise the Japanese

Any foreigner who has lived in Japan, or even just visited for a few days, cannot fail to have heard “You’re good with chopsticks” from their hosts. This survey from goo Ranking into what foreigner in Japan activity surprises the Japanese (in a good way) looked at what other things people were impressed with. Chopsticks did figure in the rankings!

Demographics

Between the 21st and 23th of May 2008 1,072 members of the goo Research monitor panel completed a private internet-based questionnaire. Exactly 50% of the sample were male, 5.7% in their teens, 12.9% in their twenties, 31.8% in their thirties, 27.5% in their forties, 11.3% in their fifties, and 10.8% aged sixty or older. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

I’d love to see number eight myself, so if any of my readers have suitable photos, please post them and I’ll feature them on the site!

Number eleven is a Japanese habit of sticking a hand out in front to break through a crowd, often seen as someone tries to pass down a train for instance. However, some foreigners have found that a bicycle bell works just as well.

I don’t understand number sixteen! Is this a popular image from manga comics?
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Diplomacy in Japan: part 1 of 2

Have you friendly feelings towards South Korea? graph of japanese statistics[part 1][part 2]

Here is another detailed yet interesting poll conducted on behalf of the Cabinet Office Japan on the subject of diplomacy, in particular the points of diplomacy that the Japanese goverment itself finds important, and that they hope the populace do to.

Demographics

Between the 4th and 14th of October 2007 3,000 adults from all over the country were randomly selected from the voter rolls to take part in this survey. 1,757 people, or 58.6%, were available and agreed to take part in face-to-face interviews. 52.4% were female, 9.3% in their twenties, 14.5% in their thirties, 18.3% in their forties, 22.3% in their fifties, 20.7% in their sixties, and 14.9% aged seventy or older. As an additional data point, 40.1% had never been abroad, 56.1% had been abroad for a short trip, and 3.9% had stayed in one country for more than three months.

This is a great survey, one of the most detailed I’ve seen for a while. It also features the first bit of blatent propaganda that I’ve seen in a Cabinet Office survey. Note in Q3 where I have mention ‘the so-called “Reparations”‘. This is actually a literal translation of the Japanese, いわゆる「過去の清算」, iwayuru “kako no seizan”, complete with quotation marks.

Q3 also shows nearly nine in ten interested in the North Korean kidnap victims, very different from my foreign friends, who are almost to a man (or a woman) sick fed up with the coverage of the issue and how Japanese petulance on this matter threatens to wreck much of the progress being made. I’d put a loony on the other side of the water armed to the back teeth with conventional and nuclear missiles much higher on my list of priorities. I also notice the lack of a question on how profits from pachinko are sometimes funnelled to the North Korean regime.
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