Thursday, March 15, 2012

Stupid Foreigners in Japan! The 97% of bad apples spoil it for the rest of the 3% - When in Japan, do as the Japanese do in spite of yourself

Being a foreigner in Japan is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you are allowed to slide by the locals if you make some faux pas when it comes to courtesy or business manners. Because you are a foreigner, there's all sorts of rules that you might not be expected to know and follow. As long as you are sincere and show that you are making the effort to assimilate and do like the Romans do, then the Japanese are quite forgiving for minor transgressions. In fact, the smart foreign businessman can use this to great advantage.

I have many times. I find that being a foreigner is a huge advantage.

On the other hand, because you are a foreigner, there's all sorts of things you probably cannot or won't be allowed to do. It's not as bad as it used to be but some of those things are things you'd take for granted back home like renting an apartment, getting a bank loan or getting a good job even!

It's hard to try to make a living when you are a foreigner in Japan. Not only do you have to deal with language problems and a Japanese language that changes everyday, no matter what you do, you can't change your face. So no matter how much you try to assimilate, study the language, learn the customs and drink like a fish you'll always be a foreigner.

In spite of what of what foreigners think, this guy at least doesn't sully the image of foreigners like today's examples do. Who cares if this image is of a straight laced foreigner bumpkin? The Japanese see him as a cartoon character. 

Not only is the mere fact of being a foreigner a double edge sword, we have these dumbsh*t foreigners all around us here who are messing things up for the rest of us.

I've often said on my radio program that, "日本にいる外国人は97%いいかげん" (Nihon ni iru gaijin 97% ha ikagen) which translates to "97% of all foreigners in Japan are undependable (or useless)." 

You folks think I jest, but I don't. I do think most foreigners in Japan are pretty useless and I think you cannot depend on most of them at all. Heck, look who's talking! I think I can't depend on me too many times! Especially when it comes to raising kids! (Oh parenthood and the irresponsibilities that come with it!) But what some of these other foreigners do is just unbelievable!

Looking like a stoner in the west might be cool. In Japan? 

One might say that "A few bad apples spoil it for the rest." Not in the case of foreigners in Japan. The vast majority are screwing it up for the minority of us who are trying to fit in and not raise too much hell and be good neighbors. 

In Japan the group is very important. Westerners have a hard time understanding this. But your actions will affect the group whether you like it or not. Like I said, it's hard enough trying to fit in and make a living without the peanut gallery screwing things up for the rest of us.

And speaking about screwing up. In today's news, TODAY, there's two stories about two dipsh*t foreigners who have screwed up big time. 

First from the Japan Times:

Ex-TV personality held over rape, robbery
A 25-year-old former TV personality who had been accused of robbery and injury in another case was rearrested Wednesday on suspicion of raping and robbing a woman after breaking into her apartment in Tokyo, police said.
According to the Metropolitan Police Department, Alexander Lee Dela Fuente broke into the Ota Ward apartment of the woman in her 20s at about midnight on June 28. He chloroformed her until she became unconscious, and then raped her and stole 5,000 yen and a cash card, police said.
Moron! He did this for ¥5,000!? I'm speechless.

This is bad for my business as it just makes the Japanese suspicious of foreign TV & radio talent and foreigners in general. What Alexander doesn't realize is that, besides never getting a TV job again, his former management agency just got a massive black mark and things like this cause agencies to go bankrupt and people to lose their jobs. You know, like people who have kids to feed?

Like I said, foreigners need to understand how actions here affect the group. Had this clown still been a TV reporter, committing a crime like this would cause the entire show to be cancelled. That means a bunch of staff people, cameramen, writers, lighting people, assistants (people with children and rents to pay) all lose their jobs.  Several years ago I caught a guy on one show I produced doing drugs. I fired him from the show on the spot. I had to. If he got caught by the police, our show would have ended immediately and everyone would be out of a job. Once again, everyone had families to feed and responsibilities. I couldn't take the risk. I had no choice but to fire him right then and there.

The next story about "Gaijin F's Up Big Time!" comes from the Japan Times Online. This story is especially damaging and I also have a unique interest in this case. It is about a star player on the Japanese Basketball league who has gotten arrested for importing more than a kilogram of marijuana to Japan. He did it in the mail for chrissakes! What an idiot!

(Er, by the way, did I mention that 97% of all foreigners in Japan are useless and undependable? I did? Okay. Thanks.)

Why I am interested in this story is because the Japanese basketball league has been struggling for years to make a dent in this country. Just this year it looked as if they had turned the corner. I went to their all-star game at Saitama arena and the place was packed with 14,000 paying guests! It was a great time!

Next year the league is going to expand and a new team is being started in Tokyo. The fans and the media have great expectations. I had great expectations as they are slated to use my company to sell tickets to their games, so not only do I have a fan's interest, I have a small financial interest.

Now, on today's news, I see a familiar face! Why, isn't that the guy who won the MVP award at the all-star game I was just at with my son a few weeks ago? By golly, it is!

The  Japan Times Online reports in Evessa's Washington Arrested in Drug Case:

Osaka Evessa power forward Lynn Washington, the most famous player in bj-league history, was arrested at 10:20 a.m on Tuesday for alleged involvement in the importation of between 1 kg and 1.5 kg of marijuana, media reports stated the same day.
Washington was booked by Osaka Prefectural Police on Tuesday, according to published reports. His 32-year-old wife, Dana, was arrested last month, it was reported.

 In November, Washington's wife's name was on a package that allegedly contained marijuana and was shipped to Osaka from the United States. The marijuana had an estimated street value of up to ¥9 million, according to news reports.
For Washington, a two-time bj-league MVP, a Cannabis Control Law violation could signal the end of his career in Japan, and a decline for one of the league's great teams.
League spokesman Akihiro Ejima said a meeting is planned for Thursday, and representatives of all 19 teams will be included to discuss this issue. It essentially boils down to this: How will the league handle what has become incredibly bad publicity for a circuit that is struggling to capture the public's attention?

See? The actions of this incredibly dumb foreigner have now damaged the livelihood of basically everyone in the league and their families. What an a*shole! I've written before how screwing around with pot in Japan is a good way to get free room and board at the local penitentiary, no ifs ands or buts!... But a professional basketball player shipping this stuff from the USA through the postal service? 

That's like walking around with a sticker on your head that says, "Arrest me!"


I don't really have any snappy ending to this post. I guess I could just say a few things...

It's hard enough to make a living anywhere in the world, even if you are a local. In Japan, us foreigners have all sorts of disadvantages - as well as advantages. I'm the type of guy who, in spite of myself, likes to put the best foot forward. All I can say is that, "This is Japan." If you want to smoke marijuana, you shouldn't be here. It doesn't matter if you think the laws are wrong or that marijuana isn't bad for you. That's besides the point. Marijuana is against the law and they will throw you in jail for possession.

If you want to rob or rape, or commit any type of crimes, and you are a foreigner, then Japan isn't ideal for that either. Know why? Pssst! Don't look now, but as a foreigner, you stick out like a sore a*shole. It's not like you are going to steal a purse and then run into a crowd of Japanese and disappear while you blend in.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Japan, do as the Japanese do. If you are not going to assimilate, then please do the rest of us a favor and leave. You won't be missed.

NOTE: The purpose of this post isn't to bash foreigners in Japan, per se. It is, hopefully, to serve as a warning to people. Everyone makes mistakes. I've made way more than I care to remember. But through these mistakes, we learn. I see these people who were arrested and shake my head. Of course I've never committed a crime that involved a victim, but I have done many things that were illegal and that I am ashamed of. I hope, in my probably most confused thinking, that someone might read this and think carefully about what they are doing while living here in Japan... Like I pointed out, your actions will not only affect you and your life, it will affect others that you work with and care about. Remember that.


Boo said...

いかげん --> いいかげん

Overall, I think the crime level is statistically low when one compares foreigners to the general population, but as you say, they stand out.
But what do you think is worse? The presense of working foreigners occasionally screwing up, or the military foreigners? (I know, that's another topic)

mikeintokyorogers said...

Boo sensei.
Thanks for pointing out my Japanese error. I bow my head at your feet for you most honorable and wise teachings.... I think the military are MUCH worse. The reason why US military crimes have disappeared in the last few years is that I heard those clowns are restricted to base. Thank god for that!

Andrew Joseph said...

I know of what you speak, Mike.
Foreigners need to remember that they are ambassadors of their country, and to the Japanese, any one foreigner IS representative of that entire country and often of foreigners in general, as many Japanese folk just tend to lump foreigners as, well, foreigners.
Many was the time I wanted to enter the London Club in Ohtawara, just to see what the hell went on in there, but I kept reminding myself that it just wouldn't DO for a semi-legend to be seen in an unsavory light. People notice foreigners. Hell, I did, too! I would look at a strange foreigner in my town and wonder just what the hell they were doing there. I've obviously done a lot of dumb stuff while in Japan, but I always did it while I was with a Japanese person... you kind of get a "Get out of jail free" card, as authorities would then tend to hammer at the Japanese person who should know better than to lead a foreigner astray of Japanese rules he knows nothing of. Total BS, of course, but really man...
By the way... the guy who drugged the woman and raped her and stole 5000 yen... he didn't do it just for the money. I'm pretty sure the rape part was the main thing. But yeah... acts like that cast every foreigner in a negative light to the Japanese... it's just the reality of the situation.

Anonymous said...

Altho' I agree with much of what you say and think that you're doing a service to remind foreigners to try to fit in/obey laws, I have a few observations:
1) isn't it a part of discrimination to paint all members of one group with tar when it is only a few who behave badly
2) foreigners are under represented in crime statistics (i.e.a higher percentage of Japanese commit crime here than foreigners) so why are you falling into the discrimantory mindset described in point #1
3) your advising foreigners not to chloroform and rape Japanese women because it reflects badly on other foreigners seems to negate the horrible violence against this woman and all victims of sexual assualt--shouldn't we be more concerned about the victims here rather than people who might be viewed suspiciously by the public?

Just my two (3?) yen worth.

Mr. Nobody said...

Hello Mike,

These are the articles I rather enjoy. It makes one inquire into so many things, especially in terms of society, philosophy, and behaviour.

It is 2012 / Heisei 24, (time catches up with us all, I was almost going to calculate Showa), and Japan is either at, or near the apex, of OECD countries. Yet it seems rather odd how as a nation. it seems nearly always impervious to both criticism, and its own behaviour.

What kind of uproar do you believe there would be if someone were refused business or a service based on their ethnicity or national origin in say, the USA? What would happen if it were a known common policy for foreigners to be persona non grata in many flats/apartments and some businesses in any other OECD country?

I think most likely, there would be protests, talk of cultural and economic sanctions, boycotts, and the like. Since Japan is still the most advanced Eastern powerhouse, it seems rather odd how it always gets a pass on its bad behaviour. I am rather flummoxed as to how the nation/people gets away with so much on an international scale. It seems in our modern decedent cultures, it is more important as to whom does an unseemly act, than the act itself.

It seems most foreigners in a new land are unusual in one form or another. Most are culturally, emotionally, spiritually, or even literally, hungry. I believe almost as many are upset with the status quo of their own life, or the general life of their home country,. Some are adventurers, misfits or simply bored . I think many are a combination of all of the above.

That being said, I find that many people from many countries, unlike the Japanese I've known, haven't been inculcated to near the degree, with the positive notions of truthfulness, diligence, trustworthiness, perseverance, or even punctuality,.

In the West the group was rather important, but with the horror of so much death from wars, genocides, and entho/religious turmoil, I believe they may have to some degree thrown the baby out with the bathwater, but the belief in the supremacy of the individual, at almost nearly the 100% exclusion of any group, currently reigns supreme.

As to the accused, I will decline to say anything until after their trials/convictions. Although it also seems odd how no one seems to questions how Japan, along with a number of former, and current totalitarian countries, manages to achieve a conviction rate of approximately 99%.

Mike, I find the story of the firing of an employee rather troubling. I understand how you most likely had to do it, but that fact that a large part of Japanese society believes in collective punishment, is in my opinion, hypocritical, unjust, and rather abhorrent. Many Third World countries get a pass on this, generally because they are Third World countries, but again, it is strange how a First World country also gets a pass on it.

As to the number of foreign criminals, I have a few comments. It seems that most crimes, especially the petty crimes, are done out of a combination of impulsiveness, and boredom. I believe that more crime in the world is done from boredom, or out of a sense of excitement, than malevolence. That being said, it seems that many people in foreign lands, are more law-abiding than the same people in their native lands.

Let us say the there is the average X (American, Ugandan, Ukranian, insert nationality) citizen, and that they are six times more criminally inclined than that average Japanese citizen. Even if they are in aggregate 80% less criminally inclined living in Japan than in their native country, they are still more criminally inclined than the average Japanese citizen.

Mr. Nobody said...


But in many instances, that simply isn't the case. The media loves stories that reinforce the people's and their own prejudices, and generally collective bigotry. I did some research, after the talk about the crimes that were committed by U.S. service members around Okinawa. The U.S. service members seems to be less criminally inclined than the Okinawans, at least in Okinawa, yet how often does that make the news?

I agree that one should attempt to assimilate to a large degree, in whatever nation or culture, that one plans on spending a great deal of time. That being said, it also seems curious how so many Western nations, where they have “lost the plot” so to speak. Where one can go to an area of many cities, and effectively a foreigner in ones own country.

It is bad enough when many foreigners in a country choose not to assimilate. What is even worse, is when ones own leaders, discourage foreigners from assimilating.

As to behaviour, for myself, I try to live by at least the “silver rule” if not the “golden rule”.

All the best Mike!

Murasaki Shikibu said...

If you think you stick out like a sore thumb in Japan, try being a North Asian in Europe. Depending on where you are, people will treat you in the same way the Japanese do, and because of cultural differences they aren't going to be polite about it either...not in the least. You won't get the advantages of being racially different that you do in Japan and just get all the bad stuff.
As Mike points out, there are the perks and the pitfalls of not belonging to the mainstream race in Japan (or any country!)...and be glad that the perks exist for you because they sure don't exist for Asians outside Asia. We're just a bunch of prostitutes when we are younger and restaurant owners when we grow older. And yes - some man tried to recruit me for prostitution on the streets here when I was younger. What was he thinking? I was wearing a long sleeved crew neck T-shirt and jeans and some NIKEs which weren't even pink. I had to wear boy's NIKE because of my shoe size. Very unsexy stuff! Further to this, when I and some other American gal (African American) complained about this treatment we were getting in Europe, these European women snapped back with this: But you have to admit there are a lot of Asian and African prostitutes here.
Should I laugh or what? ;)

mikeintokyorogers said...

Hi Mr. Nobody!
Let me try to briefly respond:
1) As far as foreigners being persona non gratis and being refused service. This is still, in theory anyway, a capitalist country that respects the rights of property. If an owner of an apartment building does not want to rent to a foreigner, that is his business. In the United States, the right to refuse service is supposed to to be a right held by property owners.
2) The firing of an employee is not collective punishment. If a worker on a Japan TV or radio show were to get arrested for drugs and that show terminated, that is also not collective punishment. TV & radio is considered to be serving the public. The show would end because the sponsors would immediately drop. No money. No show.
3) As far as locals versus foreigners committing crimes. The locals are locals. They are the children on the local people. The difference in how they and foreigners are perceived should answer why locals are more forgiving of locals who commit crimes. I think that is pretty standard anywhere in the world.
4) Wait a minute Mr. N!!! You're not getting away that easy! Now, you've piqued my interest... What's the Silver Rule?

Anonymous said...

Andrew Joseph wrote, "Foreigners need to remember that they are ambassadors of their country"

Wouldn't you say that is a very a collectivist/fascist/nationalistic perspective which furthers the agenda of Empire?

How about instead, they are ambassadors to liberty?
Or, representatives of themselves?

I guess that in Japan, liberty is a foreigner too? Or liberty, like a so many other Japanese words, is a word no one there understands? Not that it's widely understood by anyone anywhere.

I've read elsewhere that fascism is taking hold in Japan in response to the goberments handling of the nuke disaster. It seems like fertile ground for such. This blog entry seems to prove the point.

This whole post, I'm sorry if it's off topic somewhat, but, this anti-MJ stance the Japanese goberment and the Japanese People take more than makes things equal in the whole, "Japan is free'er than the unitedstate" deal, imho.

It seems to me, one way or another, in a sense the whole world is not free.

In some places more than others, helots all.

mikeintokyorogers wrote, "This is still, in theory anyway, a capitalist country that respects the rights of property."

Well, if they don't respect the right of the individual to own their own bodies, they don't respect the right of property, same as any other two-bit western nation like the unitedstate, which in theory respects the rights of property also. Psft.

Are there *any* groups in Japan pushing for the legalization of MJ, and an end to the war against some drugs while restoring some sense of sanity in Japan?

In Japan, the war against groups is frowned upon, but the war against individuals is not. I'm sensing a whole lotta manipulation going on,... as has been the case since conquest no doubt.
Seems to me Japan is a lot like the South in the unitedstate:

How Southerners Were Taught To Murder for the State

A big fat Stockholm Syndrome sticker goes here x.

- clark

Mr. Nobody said...

Hello Murasaki Shikibu,

My apologies for the greeting. I am always unsure how to address someone's name in English, in a forum such as this one.

I can name a number of places in Europe, where Europeans are almost never seen. Would you agree that there is generally more of a variety in both behaviour and culture, in a distance of 100km in Europe than in 1.000km of Japan? If so, a statement about Japan, generally carries more weight than a statement about all of Europe, with approximately thirty times the area, six times the population, and fifty times as many cultures. Is that not so?

I do agree that there a both perks and pitfalls at being a foreigner. One problem I have is with tourists, and tourism in general. It tends to result in a coarsening of the behaviours of both the tourists and the host country. It generally takes advantage of a host country, and leaves both the host country, and the tourist, in my opinion, in worse shape.

I must say that I find the behaviour of the tout/pimp rather disgusting. That being said, I hope that the European women were simply explaining his behaviour, and not excusing it.

At the end of the day, what can one person actually do, unless one is a prime minister, or potentate, except to possibly laugh?

Mr. Nobody said...

Hello Mike,

As to Japan being a capitalistic country which respects the right of property, I will leave that for another time, except to say the following...

Which way do you want it? If business is just business, as your countrymen say, shouldn't the only colour they look at is green?

One of your earlier articles was that the restriction of oil was considered an act of war against the nation of Japan proceeding World War II. If a business, or nation, decides that they don't want to sell an item to someone else, shouldn't then that also be their right? Most likely, that oil wasn't going to be turned into productive goods, but instead was going to be used to further power Japan's war machine.

How was it the fault of Rockefeller, Roosevelt, or the King of England, that the Emperor/totalitarian state wanted more people and territory? From an ethical/moral perspective, should they have added fuel to the fire, or ammunition to their arsenal, so to speak?

I don't believe that it is a totally black and white issue. I do believe that a ban on foreigners is obviously bigoted, and rather abhorrent. It is IMHO, also rather bigoted and abhorrent how so many Westerners don't hold the Japanese up to similar standards as compared to other people.

Finally, wouldn't a more accurate depiction be, that is, if an entire nation has needs and emotions, that Japan, wants socialism for itself, and capitalism for everyone else?

About the TV show... It makes me ask a number of questions... The firing of one employee is not collective punishment, but that cancelling of an entire TV programme because of the actions of one person, would be considered collective punishment, would it not?

I could understand the possibility of advertisers dropping out. What would happen if the TV programme were on NHK? Also, do you believe that TV actually “serves” the public? With commercial TV, isn't it the case that it is the advertiser that is served? Or is the public like the Christmas goose that is “served”?

There are multiple meanings to the silver vs. golden rule. If the golden rule is do unto others that which you want done unto you, the silver rule is don't do unto others that which you don't want done unto you..

In another meaning, it is much easier for one to buy an ounce of silver than gold. The rate of silver production has been decreasing, and the rate of silver consumption has been increasing. I also believe that there is more of a potential upside with silver than with gold, considering that most silver is used in industrial needs, and most gold is used in jewelry.

I also believe that silver has more of a history, and from a Western perspective, has always been more the people's currency as compared to gold. The British pound used to be an actual pound of silver. Or the term “sterling” which is synonymous with eternal, quality, and unsurprisingly silver.

Again, all the best for you and yours!

mikeintokyorogers said...

Hi Mr. No!
I don't have much time but wanted to touch on two things.
1) The oil embargo against Japan was not private businesses stopping oil sales to japan. It was the US federal government stopping private businesses and businesses in other countries even from engaging in private trade.
2) Ending a show if one person is busted doing drugs, etc... Make mo mistake about it, depending on the crime, the sponsors would drop. It is the right of the sponsor to protect their public image. They don't want to be associated with people who do drugs or commit crimes. They are free to sponsor what they wish. It is not collective punishment. If you were the host or reporter on a TV show my company sponsored and then you got arrested, I would stop sponsoring that show. It would be your fault that you let your friends down. I worry about my company profitability. Image is everything. The show would be cancelled. Depending on thei circumstances, the same thing might happen in the west too.

Mr. Nobody said...

Hello Mike,
Let me be clearer. Can one individual choose whether or not they want to do business with someone? Can an individual, can a business, can a nation? Can a doctor refuse service to a dying man? Is this acceptance, or refusal, to do business, an absolute or ultimate right?

Since the Rockefeller group made up the majority of the oil producers, they, or for that matter the public, most likely could have stopped the US embargo if they wished. Most of the petroleum products being delivered were most likely, for a war machine.

Which do you believe is a more noble endeavor, being responsible for the likely outcome of ones behaviour, thereby preventing a shipment,of products that most likely would be used to destroy people and things, or making a “fast buck”? These obviously were not easy decisions to make, but what would you have recommended to all the nations, businesses, and people, that did not want to do business with countries that were engaged in war?

I can understand commercial TV, WRT the advertisers not wanting to advertise, but again, what do you believe would happen with public TV? I'm not disagreeing WRT the actions of a lone individual, having a great effect on a group. The question is, should these things happen? If the US is the apex of the individual over the group, which country is the apex of the group over the individual?

Also, do you believe that the the same actions would happen in other countries? It seems in the US, for example, that probably more people in the media do drugs or some sort, than not.


Anonymous said...

wait... are you saying that you are not one of the 97%?

mikeintokyorogers said...

I can't resist this one... You mean, "you're" not "your." I suspect your comment might be tongue in cheek. If so, cool! If not, that's a 2nd grade grammar mistake. Compared to that, I'm a fricking genius.

Andrew Joseph said...

By the way... when I said we are ambassadors of our respective country - I don't mean to imply we get diplomatic immunity.
As a JET, we were told to act as though we were ambassadors to our country.. to handle ourselves if not with decorum, then to at least stay out of trouble.
There's trouble, of course, and then there is crime. The two people in Mike's article, if guilty, are criminals. I do think that Japan often tries to lump all foreigners in with the one bad one - hence Mike's point. If anyone would know, it would be him.

sarfios said...

I have no clue why Mr.Nobody, waste his time with the whining author. But I think he just realized their brain capacities are on a whole different level. Just like arguing with a dog.

When I was in Japan the people were treating me with a lot of respect and smiles, even defending me justifying me in front of their own culture.

Damn, who let those faddy people discover the internet.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for grave digging, but I had to relay how much the Author dislikes criticism and how it may reflect his time in Japan, or his being in Japan.
Whether it be a grammar correction, or questioning the validity if his post, he reacted with sarcasm and suddenly "ran out of time".
Much like many Japanese, and sometimes the Japanese government, he reacted to criticism much like a child. Culture is not an excuse for every behaviour, and the Japanese are not immune to criticism simply because it comes from "outsiders".