How to surprise the Japanese

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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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Top thirty festivals for tourists visiting Japan

If you wish to risk getting fingerprinted and come to Japan, what things might you want to do? To find out what festivals or events Japanese would recommend to overseas visitors, a leading on-line consumer research company goo Research asked its monitor panel this very question.

Personally, I have only been to number 5, Daimonji (far too many people!) and number 27, the Japan Formula 1 Grand Prix. Which Japanese festivals would you recommend to tourists?

All photos below are courtesy of flickr.

Ranking results

Q: What Japanese festivals or events would you want to recommend to overseas visitors?

RankFestival PhotographerScore
1Aomori Nebuta Festivalautan100
2Sapporo Snow Festivalglazaro83.8
3Gion Matsuritkosaka81.1
4Awa OdoriT. J. M65.1
5Daimonji Gozan no Okuribimasatsu53.4

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Slight negative feelings to foreigners buying Japanese companies noted

Any merit or demerit in foreign-affiliated foreigner CEO share dealing? graph of japanese opinionJust recently japan.internet.com published the result of a survey conducted by JR Tokai Express Research into foreign-affiliated companies. As finance is one field I know little about, please let me know if I get some of the terminology wrong!

Demographics

On the 14th of March 331 people from JR Tokai Express Research’s monitor group employed in private industry successfully completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 77.9% of the sample was male, 16.6% in their twenties, 43.8% in their thirties, 31.1% in their forties, 7.3% in their fifties, and 1.2% in their sixties.

This topic has, I think, been in the news recently, but I can’t find anything about it. The nearest bit of English news I’ve discovered is this piece from Japan Economy News on a foreign-led shareholder revolt.
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Top 10 photo locations in Japan

I spotted this report of a survey on the top 10 photo locations in Japan (or did they mean Tokyo only?) as chosen by 100 tourists randomly stopped in the Tokyo streets.

The article, sadly, is missing photographs of said items, although a quick Google Images search should show you the missing items; in fact, as a public service, here goes:

10. Tsukiji Fish Market
9. Kimono
8. Japanese street signs
7. Mt. Fuji
6. Vending machines
5. Narita Airport
4. Shibuya Crossing
3. Asahi Beer Headquarters
2. Tokyo Imperial Palace
1. Kaminari-mon.

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Japan going to the dogs, gaijin hanzai (foreigner crime) blamed: part 2 of 2

If you see a crime occurring, etc, do you contact police? graph of japanese opinion[part 1] [part 2]

The Cabinet Office Japan recently released a survey into people’s thoughts about public safety in Japan. 3,000 people aged 20 or older were chosen by random, and between the 14th and 24th of December 1,795 of them, or 59.8%, took part in face-to-face interviews. Of those who did not participate, 124 had moved, 79 were on long-term absenses from home, 365 were not at home, 58 could not be found, 514 refused to participate, and 65 did not take part for other reasons. Demographically, 54.1% were female, 8.9% between 20 and 29, 15.0% between 30 and 39, 16.9% between 40 and 49, 21.9% between 50 and 59, 20.7% between 60 and 69, and 16.7% aged 70 or older.

The “gaijin hanzai” comment is related to the uproar regarding of widespread availability of a magazine playing on precisely the fears expressed in this survey.

I was surprised by the results in Q11 – my sterotypical image of the Japanese is that on the whole they would tend to help the police to the best of their efforts, but we see that they have reservations, especially if the crime is a relatively minor one that doesn’t involve family or friends.
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Japan going to the dogs, gaijin hanzai (foreigner crime) blamed: part 1 of 2

In the last 10 years, how has public safety changed? graph of japanese opinion[part 1] [part 2]

The Cabinet Office Japan recently released a survey into people’s thoughts about public safety in Japan. 3,000 people aged 20 or older were chosen by random, and between the 14th and 24th of December 1,795 of them, or 59.8%, took part in face-to-face interviews. Of those who did not participate, 124 had moved, 79 were on long-term absenses from home, 365 were not at home, 58 could not be found, 514 refused to participate, and 65 did not take part for other reasons. Demographically, 54.1% were female, 8.9% between 20 and 29, 15.0% between 30 and 39, 16.9% between 40 and 49, 21.9% between 50 and 59, 20.7% between 60 and 69, and 16.7% aged 70 or older.

The “gaijin hanzai” comment is related to the recent uproar regarding widespread availability of a magazine playing on precisely the fears expressed in this survey.

When I first heard about this survey I was really keen to get hold of it and translate it, but when I saw quite how much the fear of the foreign peril seems to have been stirred up, I got quite depressed. When the news of this poll appeared on Japan Today I posted a sarcastic comment (that got pulled by the moderators!) about how I was disappointed that foreigners did not make the list of dangers in that summary by Kyodo News. Little did I know that it was perhaps selective editing by the press so as not to hurt our English-speaking feelings. About the only bright spot I can find is that international terror organisations, etc, (with that “etc” covering local terror groups, the main ones so far that have actually attacked Japan) are not high in people’s concern. Note though that Q5 mentioned only international terrorists, there is no “etc”, or other questions on local loony groups.
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Top place for foreigners to live

Easiest places for foreigners to live in
According to the Center for Multicultural Information and Assistance (多文化共生センター) and reported on in the Kobe Shimbun, the easiest places in Japan for foreigners to live in were the prefectures Kanagawa and Hyogo (my home), and the cities of Kawasaki, Yokohama, and Osaka (my previous home city and the location of my employer).

Doing poorly were the perfectures of Ibaraki, Hiroshima, Kochi, Fukuoka, Oita and Kagoshima on twenty to twenty-nine points, and right at the bottom with nineteen or less points each were Aomori, Aichi, Saga, Nagasaki and Okinawa. It is significant to note, I think, that Aichi has many, many foreigners residing there working for Toyota and related companies, Nagasaki is rather international, and Okinawa of course has lots of USA military bases.

UPDATE: Scott and Durf have provided information (see comments below) on how the points were awarded. I’ll translate the list of questions tonight, if possible.

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Would you want to be taken to Asakusa by your Japanese friends?

In addition to the the question posed in the headline, I’d like to ask my Tokyo-based readers if your Japanese friends have tried taking you there, and what did they want to take you to there?

I discovered today another new-to-me web site, but this time it’s of a rather prominent research company, Macromill Inc. They’ve got some interesting opinion poll results on their site, but one that caught my eye was this one on the image of the towns within Tokyo. Over one day at the end of September last year they interviewed 1,032 people from their online monitor group, evenly split 516 male and 516 female, and each sex also evenly split with 129 people in each age band from between 20 and 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, and 50 years or older.

This is a slightly old survey, and since I am not a Tokyo expert by any long shot, I’ll skip a full translation (although give me a shout if you would like to see more!) and instead focus on the most relevant portion for my readers, a couple of images related to foreigners. Note that although the Japanese word 外国人, gaikokujin, means anyone from overseas, it is usually taken as referring to non-Asian foreigners. (Is it? I and many other English-speaking foreigners often assert this, but is there any evidence to support or disprove this supposition?)

Also note that Q1 specifically mentions foreigner friends, so it is presumably not just where they would recommend the average tourist should go. On the other hand, the respondent may be thinking of a friend from abroad coming to Tokyo for the first time, so perhaps it is the tourist spots that they are thinking of?
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Ex-Formula 1 racer + ex-model = true love!

In one of these strange and totally unscientific surveys that goo Rankings rather often conducts, we find out who the Japanese consider to be a model international couple. That is “model” as in “role model”, not “fashion model”. There is no demographic or other information for this poll, except that it was conducted over three days towards the end of November.

I believe the gist of the original Japanese question is after which international couple’s example would they like to model their relationship. One wonders about the thought processes that went on in the selection of two other-kind-of-model brides.

You may also note that all bar one seems to be a marriage with a white foreigner.

UPDATE: Following feedback from Roy, I’ve promoted (demoted?) Kumiko Goto to just “model”.
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