Monday, February 7, 2011

Japan is Great for Foreigners

I love Japan. If you are a foreigner and you come to Japan and you really make the effort to assimilate and understand the culture and speak the language, Japan can be a great place for you to live. Japanese people are very kind and Japan is a fun and kind of weird (in a good way) place.

Even if the economy has not been the best over these last twenty years or so, I think Japan still offers many opportunities for people to live and grow rich both financially and spiritually. 

Plus it's a fun place that always has something that makes me laugh... Oh, and did I mention that the food is great?

And everyone who comes here doesn't have to teach English. Some can do what they love! 

From Tonoharu. Ninety-nine percent of all 
westerners in Japan can relate to page on the right

The Japan Times has an interesting article about foreigners who came to Japan and are living their dream. They have have capitalized on the Japanese having one of the highest literacy rates in the world and the manga (comic book) boom.   

First off, from Japan Times, let's meet Frederic Boilet:

Frenchman Frederic Boilet was one of the first comic artists to grab the critics' attention when he moved to Japan in 1990 and launched the Nouvelle Manga movement that mixed the local manga sensibility with the Franco-Belgian school. An eclectic artist who even experimented with photography-based comics, Boilet has always based his sometimes erotic graphic novels on real stories, from either his or other people's experiences, always showing a sincere curiosity toward the country in which he lived until 2009.

As he stated in an interview to L'indispensable magazine, "For me, reality is more surprising than fiction. Rather than predictable and stereotypical imagination, I much prefer the complexity of daily life. Through my art I tried to document life the way I lived it, and trap it into my little stories."

Another artist is Dirk Schwieger:

German Dirk Schwieger is another artist who came up with an original approach to comic-making. While he spent only one year in Japan, in 2006, he grabbed a lot of attention when he turned his 24-part "webcomic" into an interactive project.
In his blog he chronicled a year's worth of "assignments" he undertook at the request of readers while living in Tokyo. People from around the world would send him tasks to accomplish — anything from "meeting a traditional sword maker" to "looking for a bosozoku biker gang" — and he would write, illustrate and post a new comic each week based on his experience. 

There's more!

2010 was a particularly productive year for this kind of comic book. First came the latest revised edition of the "Charisma Man" strips. This was followed by works by a couple of relative newcomers — Lars Martinson's "Tonoharu: Part Two" and a couple of "Sundogs" anthologies by Adam Pasion — whose characters might be seen as a sort of anti-Charisma Men in that they present situations unembellished and matter-of-factly.
As the title suggests, "Tonoharu: Part Two" is not Martinson's first foray in the field of expat comics: He self-published the first volume of this four-part saga in 2008 thanks to a grant from the prestigious Xeric Foundation.
Martinson, 33, first arrived in Japan in 2003 to work as an assistant language teacher, and spent the next three years working at a junior high school in a small town in Fukuoka Prefecture. His second stint in this country was in 2008 when he studied East Asian calligraphy under the auspices of a two-year research scholarship from the Japanese government.
"I planned from the start to turn my Japanese experience into a comic," Martinson says, "even though I didn't want it to be a mere autobiographical story. So I chose a 20-something American like me as the protagonist, but added a fictional group of eccentric expatriates living in the same rural Japanese town."
I think these examples just show a glimpse of the charm and fascination that Japan holds for many of us foreigners.
Sometimes Japan is just so cute you could just explode... Other times it is so frustrating that you fear you will explode.
And then, there's other times that Japan just can't stop making me laugh especially on anything to do with foreigners. In fact, in many ways, the best parodies on foreigners in japan are made by those same foreigners themselves. For example check out below. This is how the above article was featured on an English news site called News on Japan
Look at it and then look at the article that is featured just below it:
Feb 05The comic life of expats in Japan
Tales of expat life in Japan all too often get blown out of proportion and quickly become picaresque adventures that little resemble real life. For some reason, many writers can't resist the temptation to exaggerate things. In their stories - be them fiction or memoir - weird, exotic details abound, turning this country into a sort of Wonderland that, depending on the witness, alternate between sleaziness and the Theater of the Absurd.(Japan Times)
Feb 05Over 700,000 condoms stolen while transported to Japan
A major manufacturer in Japan has complained after their products were stolen while it was transported from Malaysia towards Japan. According to Sagami Rubber Industries, their 726,000 condoms were stolen, which came from their factory in Malaysia and should be taken to the company's main plant in Japan. When the shipment arrived in Japan, the container van was empty and the lock was changed before leaving Malaysia. The said condoms are 14 percent more thinner than the ordinary condom. (

It says on the top article "The comic life of expats in Japan... Tales of expat life in Japan all too often get blown out of proportion and quickly become picaresque adventures that little resemble real life." 
Then, right below it, it says, "Over 700,000 condoms stolen while transported to Japan." (The last sentence also says, "The said condoms are 14 percent more thinner than the ordinary condom." 14 percent more thinner!? Did I mention that Japan also has very funny English even in sites supposedly run and edited by foreigners? Chuckle.)
I dunno. Is it just me or does this strike anyone else as funny? I mean a quote about things getting "blown out of proportion" just above a headline about 700,000 condoms getting stolen is just too funny.
I know you think they did this on purpose... But did they? I wonder.
Japan is a real-life Fark. I love it here and I wouldn't have it any other way nor would I change a thing!


Anonymous said...

We have enough "furyou gaijin" in Japan. Please don't invite anymore to come...

Andy "In Japan" said...

All true, and for people of a prior generation who appreciate such things, Japan provides the politeness, safety, and maturity that we are used to. The anger and crudeness of American culture just arn't accepted here.

And thankfully, despite the dopey politicians, police state abuse that the people in America suffer from is rare here.
Japan; wonderful people, delicious cuisine, interesting country, and craaaaaaazy language.

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