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arual
November 13th, 2014, 10:32
I have a nose stud and a bunch of ear piercings which I was planning on taking out for the interview anyway (if I get one!) so is it really worth disclosing on the medical form? I can definitely cover up the nose piercing with makeup and my ears would be covered by my hair, though the holes are hardly noticeable...

I'm tempted not to mention it just for simplicity's sake but even so, most women have their ears pierced, would we be expected to mention the normal acceptable two??

(I have been working on this application for so long I may have driven myself to madness over every tiny detail but I'd like to hear your thoughts anyway)

word
November 13th, 2014, 10:51
Are you asked about piercings on the medical form? Craziness.

arual
November 13th, 2014, 11:25
It seems strange to me too! I wonder if it's a new question for this year as I didn't see any mentions of it in older threads.

Zolrak 22
November 13th, 2014, 12:09
Must be an UK thing, American one didn't ask for that detail.

I figure it's part of the whole, "don't judge by appearances" thing.

Penguee
November 13th, 2014, 12:37
Nah, it said it on the American one. I wrote that I had ear piercings. Maybe you didn't notice it?

At this point, I guess if you didn't write it down you'll have to hide it.

Ini
November 13th, 2014, 12:51
How do people manage to take months filling in their applications and then come away from it going "I didn't notice that on the form", "I got my own birthday wrong", "I accidentally wrote a death threat to the Japanese PM in the section marked other teaching experience"?

word
November 13th, 2014, 12:53
TBH, I'd say don't worry about mentioning piercings. Take out any of them that you deem necessary for the interview. Then put 'em all back in when you come to Japan. If you get one of those weirdo BoEs that hates piercings, just be all like, "Oh, I celebrated my admission to JET by getting some new piercings!"

I suspect the piercing question was mainly to avoid hiring complete weirdos who had their earlobes stretched to their shoulders and eighteen eyebrow piercings. I could be wrong, though...

miami? SF?

Penguee
November 13th, 2014, 13:05
How do people manage to take months filling in their applications and then come away from it going "I didn't notice that on the form", "I got my own birthday wrong", "I accidentally wrote a death threat to the Japanese PM in the section marked other teaching experience"?

Yeah, kind of amazing. "I accidentally sent a list of my favorite sex positions instead of my SOP."
Not really sure how "birthdate" and "today's date" would mix anyone up? But idk.

Zolrak 22
November 13th, 2014, 14:27
Nah, it said it on the American one. I wrote that I had ear piercings. Maybe you didn't notice it?

At this point, I guess if you didn't write it down you'll have to hide it.
I probably don't remember reading it then (sorry) , seeing as I don't have any piercings, it wasn't a top priority. [emoji14]

frayedflower
November 13th, 2014, 15:40
How do people manage to take months filling in their applications and then come away from it going "I didn't notice that on the form", "I got my own birthday wrong", "I accidentally wrote a death threat to the Japanese PM in the section marked other teaching experience"?

This post is literally perfect.

dbw146
November 13th, 2014, 15:53
I have a friend with a lip piercing and ear piercings who mentioned them on his medical form. He's now on the JET Program in Takasaki. I have similar piercings and thought it best to just be honest.

word
November 13th, 2014, 17:35
Yeah; I think people have said before that it doesn't affect whether you're accepted or not, but it can affect where you're placed. I'm talking out of my arse; miami or SF could probably say for sure.

arual
November 13th, 2014, 20:14
Ok, thanks everyone! I probably will just mention it, as I'm an honest soul at heart... :redface: I'll take 'em out for the interview anyway and they'll be so dazzled by my honesty and professionalism they'll have to hire me. 100% foolproof plan.

miamicoordinator
November 13th, 2014, 23:09
Yeah; I think people have said before that it doesn't affect whether you're accepted or not, but it can affect where you're placed. I'm talking out of my arse; miami or SF could probably say for sure.

Sorry! I didn't see this until now. Yes, the U.S. applications also ask abotu tats and piercings. There is still a heavy social stigma regarding these two things in Japan. Sure, it has gotten better over time, but there are still many onsens that will not let you bathe of you are inked.

I had many JETs last year who had multiple piercings and it was not an issue because they took them off for the interview, and came dressed professionally. If you come to my interviewing with 3 inch gages though, thats not going to fly too well with the other members of the interview panel.

There are those BoEs that may not want to hire someone with piercings and tats, and that is their perogative. However, there are plenty of JETs who have tats and piercings and it is a non-issue for the most part.

We do ask for that information on the heath form because Japan is a country that does not like surprises. Since the application does not require a picture, we at least want to get some sort of idea of who will be walking into the office for the interview.

MC

JET ProgramCoordinator SF
November 14th, 2014, 02:21
Having piercings or tattoos definitely doesn't affect your acceptance onto the program. I don't know if it would affect your placement - honestly it never even occurred to me that that could be the case. TBH I really don't know what they use that information for in Tokyo.

The interviews are professional, which means you need to show up in a suit and tie. What you do with your hair, piercings, etc. is up to you, but it should reflect professionalism.

I've had many people ask me after they were accepted onto JET what they should do with their piercings, dyed hair, etc. Should they remove it all or go as is? Unfortunately there is no solid answer, as what people think about those things varies from individual to individual. On average Japan is more conservative, especially in schools, where in most schools students are not allowed to dye their hair or have piercings themselves. I tell my outbound JETs that if their piercings and hair are an integral part of their identity then they can go to Japan as is, but they'll run the risk of people stereotyping them from the get-go, and it may make things more difficult at first. However, Japanese people know that Americans and other foreigners do not abide by the Japanese fashion code, so they won't be too surprised. It also sets the bar for your appearance at that "low" of a level. Otherwise you can remove all the piercings and dye your hair back to a normal color. This would allow for a smoother transition, less stereotyping, etc. You can then slowly add back in piercings and dyed hair when you and your colleagues are comfortable with each other. However, there is a possibility that now that you've set the bar that "high", it would be hard to move it. So it really depends on what sort of risks you are willing to take with your new job and life in Japan.

hello_kupo
November 14th, 2014, 05:43
I have one facial piercing that I intend to remove during the interview and, if I'm accepted, during orientation/school time/community events/etc. I also have a LOT of tattoos, but as long as I am wearing long-sleeves and pants you cannot see them. I know I'll get hot in the summer months, but I am prepared to make that "sacrifice" (although I don't consider it to be one since I really want to be a JET). While internationalization is a huge component of the program, I believe caution and assimilation is appropriate for more "alternative" types like myself.

Point is: I did not mention my facial piercing and I only mentioned one of my ~15 tattoos on the Self-Assessment Medical Form. I currently work in a creative field, so my appearance is acceptable as is -- yet I don't want to shake up my reviewers too much. I'm going to do my damnedest to hide them at all times and I feared revealing everything would work against me.

Shincantsen
November 14th, 2014, 06:06
I have one facial piercing that I intend to remove during the interview and, if I'm accepted, during orientation/school time/community events/etc. I also have a LOT of tattoos, but as long as I am wearing long-sleeves and pants you cannot see them. I know I'll get hot in the summer months, but I am prepared to make that "sacrifice" (although I don't consider it to be one since I really want to be a JET). While internationalization is a huge component of the program, I believe caution and assimilation is appropriate for more "alternative" types like myself.

Point is: I did not mention my facial piercing and I only mentioned one of my ~15 tattoos on the Self-Assessment Medical Form. I currently work in a creative field, so my appearance is acceptable as is -- yet I don't want to shake up my reviewers too much. I'm going to do my damnedest to hide them at all times and I feared revealing everything would work against me.

Just as an anecdote, one of the other ALTs I worked with had been a JET and was actually a direct hire by the BOE, and he had a tattoo that was half-visible when he wore short sleeves, which he wore all the time, so it's not necessarily completely forbidden.

JET ProgramCoordinator SF
November 14th, 2014, 06:22
I have one facial piercing that I intend to remove during the interview and, if I'm accepted, during orientation/school time/community events/etc. I also have a LOT of tattoos, but as long as I am wearing long-sleeves and pants you cannot see them. I know I'll get hot in the summer months, but I am prepared to make that "sacrifice" (although I don't consider it to be one since I really want to be a JET). While internationalization is a huge component of the program, I believe caution and assimilation is appropriate for more "alternative" types like myself.

Point is: I did not mention my facial piercing and I only mentioned one of my ~15 tattoos on the Self-Assessment Medical Form. I currently work in a creative field, so my appearance is acceptable as is -- yet I don't want to shake up my reviewers too much. I'm going to do my damnedest to hide them at all times and I feared revealing everything would work against me.

Again, lying on your form is a very bad idea. That's one of the few surefire ways that can get you disqualified. All of your info on those forms eventually makes its way to your Contracting Organization. If you tell them that you only have one tattoo and suddenly you have 15, well that could be quite startling to them. Sure it's possible that you may have gotten 14 tattoos since you filled out your application, but we know that's unlikely. I had a friend who had tattoos on his wrists and he wore long sleeves during the summer to keep them covered up. Eventually he eased his schools into the idea that he has tattoos and could wear short sleeved shirts. Every situation is different, but again, piercings and tattoos aren't going to negatively affect you on the application.

hello_kupo
November 14th, 2014, 06:27
Just as an anecdote, one of the other ALTs I worked with had been a JET and was actually a direct hire by the BOE, and he had a tattoo that was half-visible when he wore short sleeves, which he wore all the time, so it's not necessarily completely forbidden.

Yeah, from what I've seen on the net it seems that it's a pretty mixed reception. Of course, I'd be thrilled to just let it all hang out, but I worry about it being more distracting to students rather than offensive. We'll see. If I get in, maybe my secret will come out over nomikai with the JTE and they'll be all "Pssh, don't worry about it."

ambrosse
November 14th, 2014, 06:28
Most women, and a good handful of men, have ear piercings. I do, so I just said that I had one traditional lobe piercing in each ear. No biggie.
I would think that if you had monstrous gauges or the likes, that would be a problem.

hello_kupo
November 14th, 2014, 06:32
Again, lying on your form is a very bad idea..

I totally get what you're saying, SF. I wrestled with what I was going to declare on my app for weeks. I don't mean to encourage lying on the form -- rather I'm just sharing what I decided to do. The tattoos on my ribs, chest and thighs are the largest and most numerous, but all of them are only seen when I'm in a bathing suit or underwear. Those in particular seemed really unnecessary to mention. The ones on my arms and calves are the most concerning and I mentioned the one tattoo that is prone to accidental exposure. However, I do plan to be extremely vigilant about them and I take it very seriously.

word
November 14th, 2014, 11:08
I also have a LOT of tattoos, but as long as I am wearing long-sleeves and pants you cannot see them. I know I'll get hot in the summer months, but I am prepared to make that "sacrifice" (although I don't consider it to be one since I really want to be a JET).This was my plan.

It is a very impractical plan.

Summer in most of Japan is far too hot and humid to wear long-sleeved shirts, especially if you're a sweaty white guy.

I found alternative solutions.

therealwindycity
November 14th, 2014, 21:01
Having piercings or tattoos definitely doesn't affect your acceptance onto the program. I don't know if it would affect your placement - honestly it never even occurred to me that that could be the case. TBH I really don't know what they use that information for in Tokyo.


There was quite a kerfuffle last year over the mayor of Osaka saying that public employees shouldn't have tattoos at all, and anecdotally I heard that it affected ALT placements there as well.

daisychain
November 14th, 2014, 21:35
I'm really glad I've held off on my other tattoos for now as I do not like getting hot and sweaty :( humid weather is already my worst enemy.

Luckily mine is pretty much hidden easily but I did find it funny to have to disclose it on the form. I just said that I already have to keep it covered in my current job so it's nothing new to me :)

Penguee
November 14th, 2014, 22:09
I'm really glad I've held off on my other tattoos for now as I do not like getting hot and sweaty :( humid weather is already my worst enemy.

Japan gets like 80-90% humidity in summer, did you know? It's like walking through water. Perhaps not your ideal location forever if humidity is your enemy. Especially my friends with curly hair....it's awful. They have to wear braided pigtails. All. The. Time. because the second they set down the straightener....POOF.

daisychain
November 14th, 2014, 22:16
That's exactly why it's my enemy - my curly hair turns into an afro. I made sure to visit Japan in summer so I could see what it was like before applying.. I can learn to live with the hair issue (it's bad enough here in the UK between the random weather outbursts. Even when I straighten it here the rain or heat makes it mental) but if I had to wear long sleeves or tights ALL THE TIME to cover things, I would die a little inside. Probably physically too, ha..

Penguee
November 14th, 2014, 23:30
Well, get used to the frizzy 'twin tails' as they call them here. Unless your hair isn't long enough for them. If you come over here for good, I recommend bringing every single hair product you think you may need plus extras. My friend brings buckets of hers. Also, a lot of hair places won't even touch curly hair, so get your 'do tamed before you get here. :/

MAC the makeup company sells tattoo concealer. We have MAC here, so you can always consider that route, too, if summer gets to be too intense. Wearing concealer MUST be better than long sleeve cool-tech, although it does help a bit.

I hate Japanese summer. I don't want to think about it now. I want to just think about the bone-freezing cold winter. Like right now. Everywhere in my apartment is freezing. The unheated toilet seat (!!!) is the worst.

Ini
November 14th, 2014, 23:43
why havent you got a heated toilet seat? they are only 1-2man.

daisychain
November 14th, 2014, 23:56
I've heard about the perils of hairdressing in Japan for us frizzballs. I guess I'll need a lot of hairbands for work and rock the big-hair look inbetween.

I didn't know tattoo concealer existed so I will invest in some of that for summer - thanks!


why havent you got a heated toilet seat? they are only 1-2man.

The idea of a heated toilet seat sounds nice at first but would creep me out - it's like someone has been sitting on there for ages before me..

Zolrak 22
November 15th, 2014, 02:40
I found alternative solutions.

I gotta be honest, I never pictured you as a guy with tattoos.

I guess I learn something new every day.

Aaaand now I imagine that at least one of those is bird related.... XD

Penguee
November 15th, 2014, 09:23
I've heard about the perils of hairdressing in Japan for us frizzballs. I guess I'll need a lot of hairbands for work and rock the big-hair look inbetween.


As long as the school allows it. I've had several curly haired friends be told by the school that their hair is 'too distracting' and that they need to change it so it doesn't bother the students.
This is the country where teachers aren't allowed to wear nail polish, yo. Gotta be the same as everyone else. My naturally curly haired students get a horrible time.

Penguee
November 15th, 2014, 09:24
why havent you got a heated toilet seat? they are only 1-2man.

Naw, man. My apartment is too old. I'd have to buy a new toilet and install a plug somewhere in the bathroom. My toilet is strange, unlike I've ever seen before. At least it comes with instructions about how to use it on the lid. I kid you not.

greyjoy
November 15th, 2014, 09:33
My toilet closet doesn't have an outlet either. What a nightmare. What's the point if coming to Japan if I can't drop ten man on a fancy toilet to do all the work for me?

daisychain
November 15th, 2014, 19:56
As long as the school allows it. I've had several curly haired friends be told by the school that their hair is 'too distracting' and that they need to change it so it doesn't bother the students.
This is the country where teachers aren't allowed to wear nail polish, yo. Gotta be the same as everyone else. My naturally curly haired students get a horrible time.

Even if I kept it tied back? I do try and keep it tamed but it'll be fun trying to explain how I have actually straightened my hair in summer and it has just naturally gone crazy... Time to stock up on the FrizzEase.

laura1088
November 17th, 2014, 11:13
Kat Von D has a whole line of cover-up stuff for tatoos too.

Jiggit
November 17th, 2014, 15:02
Sorry! I didn't see this until now. Yes, the U.S. applications also ask abotu tats and piercings. There is still a heavy social stigma regarding these two things in Japan...We do ask for that information on the heath form because Japan is a country that does not like surprises. Since the application does not require a picture, we at least want to get some sort of idea of who will be walking into the office for the interview.

So this is just saying "many JET COs will discriminate against those who have tattoos and piercings" without using nasty words, yes?


Having piercings or tattoos definitely doesn't affect your acceptance onto the program. I don't know if it would affect your placement - honestly it never even occurred to me that that could be the case. TBH I really don't know what they use that information for in Tokyo.

So you don't know what they use the information for and yet you can say definitely that it doesn't affect the application process? Despite the fact that they ask for this information as part of your application?


The interviews are professional, which means you need to show up in a suit and tie. What you do with your hair, piercings, etc. is up to you, but it should reflect professionalism.

Again, "if you have a bunch of piercings and unusual hair you will be less likely to be accepted".

I know you two can't really respond to this straightforwardly for obvious reasons, but for those of you who can't read between the lines, this is what they are saying.

TBH if your appearance is particularly out of the ordinary you should be aware in general that it is already jeopardising your employability wherever you come from. I'm sure you all thought about whether or not expressing your individuality mattered more than your job prospectives at the time you made the decision to have pink hair and gages, right? Japan might be more obvious with its discrimination but it's basically the same deal.

greyjoy
November 17th, 2014, 15:15
So you don't know what they use the information for and yet you can say definitely that it doesn't affect the application process? Despite the fact that they ask for this information as part of your application?

Since applications are scored on a rubric by the consulates, they can say outright whether or not they deduct points for body mods. It's on the application so that the coordinators don't have to meticulously note all the different disfigurements an applicant has during the interview. But since it will almost certainly have an effect on placement, the information is still relevant to Tokyo, and thus collected.

But yeah, people who go into interviews with an emphasis on expressing themselves over expressing their skills and abilities are going to get discriminated against in any country. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that you should make sure you appear as normal as possible when you interview, whatever you plan on looking like when you show up for day one.

sharpinthefang
November 17th, 2014, 15:36
Regarding onsens, my friend and I went to one last night and she was turned away due to a 1 inch tattoo on her little toe.

Heated toilet seats are nice, you kind of miss then when you go to places that don't have them...

Jiggit
November 17th, 2014, 15:52
Since applications are scored on a rubric by the consulates, they can say outright whether or not they deduct points for body mods. It's on the application so that the coordinators don't have to meticulously note all the different disfigurements an applicant has during the interview. But since it will almost certainly have an effect on placement, the information is still relevant to Tokyo, and thus collected.


If it didn't make a difference then why would they need to note it at all, either during the interview or on the form? Of course they've said that the rubric doesn't allow them to deduct points for it, but I think it's naive to think that they won't use the information they ask for. I get that to some extent it will be used for deciding who goes where after they have been accepted. But at the end of the day the decision is being made by people, most of whom will be Japanese;


If you come to my interviewing with 3 inch gages though, thats not going to fly too well with the other members of the interview panel.

How else should an applicant interpret this? Saying things like they "won't fly too well" or "you should try to look professional" are just obfuscation. The outright statement is that they do not discriminate based on personal appearance, the truth is that they absolutely are going to judge you at least partly on the way you look and the less ordinary you look the less likely you are to make a good impression.

I'm not trying to tell people they are stupid or should give up on Japan because of having piercings. Honestly there are plenty of JETs who have tattoos and piercings. It wouldn't seem to matter too much, all things considered. However it does matter, and you shouldn't take the advice of coordinators (who have a vested interest in maintaining the image of the organisation they are employed by) without a pinch of salt. Neither am I saying you should disregard their advice, they obviously have a lot more info than anyone else.

Then again if someone takes it at face value and goes to the interview with black lipstick and a wine cork in their eyebrow I suppose it says a lot about your common sense and social awareness anyway. It's catch-22 really. Nothing wrong with wearing weird stuff except that other people think it's weird to wear weird stuff so you're weird because you don't care about other people thinking you're weird.

sharpinthefang
November 17th, 2014, 16:00
Jiggit's essay .
Could I please forward this to my entire year group of secondary school?

word
November 17th, 2014, 16:03
I gotta be honest, I never pictured you as a guy with tattoos.

I guess I learn something new every day.

Aaaand now I imagine that at least one of those is bird related.... XDNah. It's "gang"-related. A bunch of my friends and I went and all got the same tat when we were kids. My feelings about it since have varied wildly. I don't mind that I got it, though. I do wish I had gotten it in a less-visible place.


Naw, man. My apartment is too old. I'd have to buy a new toilet and install a plug somewhere in the bathroom. My toilet is strange, unlike I've ever seen before. At least it comes with instructions about how to use it on the lid. I kid you not.


My toilet closet doesn't have an outlet either. What a nightmare. What's the point if coming to Japan if I can't drop ten man on a fancy toilet to do all the work for me?You guys could always run an extension cord into the bathroom. It would probably be worth it. If you have a FRAN who knows anything about electrical work, adding a socket is relatively easy, generally speaking.


Kat Von D has a whole line of cover-up stuff for tatoos too.Applying tattoo-covering make-up on a near-daily basis would be a ridiculous waste of time and effort--you'd just end up rubbing it off on your clothes, and everything else, anyway. I've had some experience with the stuff and it is only something you'd wanna do for very special occasions.


Regarding onsens, my friend and I went to one last night and she was turned away due to a 1 inch tattoo on her little toe. Craziness. Mine is very visible and I've been to several no-tat places. Maybe my Japan is just laid-back (certainly doesn't seem that way, though).


Then again if someone takes it at face value and goes to the interview with black lipstick and a wine cork in their eyebrow I suppose it says a lot about your common sense and social awareness anyway. It's catch-22 really. Nothing wrong with wearing weird stuff except that other people think it's weird to wear weird stuff so you're weird because you don't care about other people thinking you're weird.word

More like you WANT for people to think you're weird.

therealwindycity
November 17th, 2014, 16:05
Nothing wrong with wearing weird stuff except that other people think it's weird to wear weird stuff so you're weird because you don't care about other people thinking you're weird.

He speaks the truth.

Zolrak 22
November 17th, 2014, 23:57
Nah. It's "gang"-related.

I do wish I had gotten it in a less-visible place.

http://i.imgur.com/hqfDWww.gif

Now I'm picturing something like this :
http://galleryoftattoosnow.com/TranscendTattooGalleryHOSTED/images/gallery/frankArm.jpg

But somehow in a more visible place.

Shincantsen
November 18th, 2014, 00:49
Now I'm picturing something like this :
http://galleryoftattoosnow.com/TranscendTattooGalleryHOSTED/images/gallery/frankArm.jpg

But somehow in a more visible place.

Two words: Face tattoo.

Zolrak 22
November 18th, 2014, 00:53
Two words: Face tattoo.
There's no way he'd be THAT crazy... right?

Verbatim
November 18th, 2014, 07:08
Is it a tattoo of Little Foot from Land Before Time?

I literally knew someone in college with that on their calf.

mothy
November 18th, 2014, 08:47
Is it a tattoo of Little Foot from Land Before Time?

I literally knew someone in college with that on their calf.

Using literally in this way makes it seem less likely to be true.

word
November 18th, 2014, 09:13
There was this fantastic bit about the definition of "literally" on the last episode of Newsroom.




(Un)fortunately, it's not a face tattoo. That would be pretty bad(ass).

4685

Verbatim
November 19th, 2014, 07:15
Using literally in this way makes it seem less likely to be true.

Literally just doesn't mean what it used to these days.

And I have no pics to prove it either! Lol It was pretty small though- like the size of two U.S. postage stamps.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
November 19th, 2014, 08:12
Yes, it literally does.

Verbatim
November 20th, 2014, 05:09
In that case I am literally telling the truth :p

sharpinthefang
November 20th, 2014, 14:52
Saw a tv show a few weeks ago where a guy got a tattoo of a camel done on his toe...

greyjoy
November 20th, 2014, 15:23
I get it

sharpinthefang
November 20th, 2014, 15:33
I get it
His chat up line was the 'best' ever according to my bother.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
November 21st, 2014, 10:16
In that case I am literally telling the truth :p

I literally hate you. :)


His chat up line was the 'best' ever according to my bother.

Why was he chatting up your brother?

greyjoy
November 21st, 2014, 16:10
Don't take everything so literally, snow.

shue
March 4th, 2015, 14:19
...

Jiggit
March 4th, 2015, 14:22
That being said, my piercer is Japanese and I was not allowed to take photos and videos of him piercing me in case he gets into trouble with the law.

Wait, what?

word
March 4th, 2015, 15:08
Maybe you're supposed to have a license? Training to make sure you don't accidentally infect a bunch of people with Hep C?

Ini
March 4th, 2015, 15:29
There we go then, as long as your are going to an unlicensed, backstreet tattooist you'll be fine.

ITIL - dispensing solid advice to potential JETs since 2004

JestersJ
March 5th, 2015, 13:09
I have a friend teaching as a JET in Okayama that left her nose piercing in lol they didn't ask her to remove it and they call her 'cute' or 'cool' when they see it.

uthinkimlost?
March 5th, 2015, 13:12
To her face, maybe.

Jiggit
March 5th, 2015, 13:17
To her face, maybe.

word.

Zolrak 22
March 5th, 2015, 14:25
"That's a really nice cologne. "
"Those are some wonderful flip flops. "
" That's an amazing haircut/hair color. "
" Those are some cool tattoos. "
" That's a cute piercing. "

Notice a pattern?

JestersJ
March 5th, 2015, 14:58
ever heard of not caring* about what they say behind your backs? lol

uthinkimlost?
March 5th, 2015, 16:03
Ever heard of missing opportunities and getting shitty recommendations when you leave because you couldn't understand what people were trying to tell you?

greyjoy
March 6th, 2015, 17:40
How do you know when your Kyoto sensei doesn't think your hair looks douchey?

Jiggit
March 6th, 2015, 18:59
How do you know when your Kyoto sensei doesn't think your hair looks douchey?

When they don't comment on it. That's also how you know your Japanese is good.

johnny
March 7th, 2015, 19:56
When they don't comment on it. That's also how you know your Japanese is good.
:lol: I think you're onto something. My Japanese is pretty bad and they compliment it all the time.

word
March 7th, 2015, 21:18
You start to understand this the longer you're here. Being complimented on your Japanese when you're still struggling, being complimented for your ability to use chopsticks or your style of bowing, being complimented for wearing "cool" or "interesting" clothing... These are usually odd ways of stating that you're an outsider and probably always will be. If you're lucky, they aren't outright insults. When people talk about how "polite" Japanese people are it's usually an indication that they don't actually understand how this aspect of the culture works. Japanese people are generally pretty polite, to be sure... by Western standards.

johnny
March 9th, 2015, 08:28
I think that's a little bit negative. You almost make it sound like every kind word from a Japanese person is a veiled insult.

I agree with you to a point, but I suspect a lot of the compliments are just Japanese people trying to be pleasant.

I usually get the chopstick compliments from people with poorer English and I expect they're just trying to strike up a conversation with a limited vocabulary.

I was recently told by one of my JTEs that she thinks I have a nice haircut and I think she was just paying me a compliment.

Jiggit
March 9th, 2015, 08:40
Yeah, word is putting forward the "micro-aggressions" argument I've seen before, and I've never been too convinced by that. On the other hand it is true that Japanese often comment about the things that make one different without thinking about how the other person might take it. I don't think every compliment is meant as an insult per se, but a lot of them are meant to nudge you about what you're doing that's making you stand out. If you were Japanese you'd probably take that and change it, if you're a foreigner it's less clear because they expect you to stand out.

Honestly sometimes it seems like they just speak without thinking. It's like the whole "I heard English food is not good" thing - if they'd stop to think about the other person for a second, they might realise that opening with an insult to that person's culture might not be the best way to make a new friend. But a lot of people here just do not think about others' feelings for a second. I have a lot of confusing conversations with Japanese people that go something like

"Oh (completely out of context observation) desu ne"
"... Yes?"
"..."
"...What?"

A lot of the times I have trouble talking to people here I understand every word they're saying and yet have no idea what they're trying to communicate.

Gizmotech
March 9th, 2015, 09:20
Yeah, word is putting forward the "micro-aggressions" argument I've seen before, and I've never been too convinced by that. On the other hand it is true that Japanese often comment about the things that make one different without thinking about how the other person might take it. I don't think every compliment is meant as an insult per se, but a lot of them are meant to nudge you about what you're doing that's making you stand out. If you were Japanese you'd probably take that and change it, if you're a foreigner it's less clear because they expect you to stand out.


nod, nod.


Honestly sometimes it seems like they just speak without thinking. It's like the whole "I heard English food is not good" thing - if they'd stop to think about the other person for a second, they might realise that opening with an insult to that person's culture might not be the best way to make a new friend. But a lot of people here just do not think about others' feelings for a second. I have a lot of confusing conversations with Japanese people that go something like

"Oh (completely out of context observation) desu ne"
"... Yes?"
"..."
"...What?"

A lot of the times I have trouble talking to people here I understand every word they're saying and yet have no idea what they're trying to communicate.

Now, I get this problem a lot. I usually just brush it off, but occasionally I just reverse it on them. Especially if I just don't feel like talking that night. I have had entire conversations about american food, hours of it, before the person even asks me if I'm american. It's japanese assumption culture, and it's fucking annoying.

coop52
March 9th, 2015, 10:11
I think that's a little bit negative. You almost make it sound like every kind word from a Japanese person is a veiled insult.

I agree with you to a point, but I suspect a lot of the compliments are just Japanese people trying to be pleasant.

I usually get the chopstick compliments from people with poorer English and I expect they're just trying to strike up a conversation with a limited vocabulary.

I was recently told by one of my JTEs that she thinks I have a nice haircut and I think she was just paying me a compliment.

It can be a genuine compliment, depending on the context. If it's from someone with poor English who doesn't really know what to say, as you said, there's probably no other added meaning. Or a compliment on a haircut from someone you get along well with is probably an actual compliment. Growing up in the South and being able to tell when someone's "bless your heart" is an insult of your intelligence or a statement conveying genuine empathy has helped a lot. I recommend all JET applicants to go spend some time with some Southern Baptist church ladies.

uthinkimlost?
March 9th, 2015, 10:47
being able to tell when someone's "bless your heart" is an insult of your intelligence or a statement conveying genuine empathy has helped a lot.

It does, it really does.

Translating "I don't know him very well." to "I hope that asshole dies in a fire." takes serious practice.


I recommend all JET applicants to go spend some time with some Southern Baptist church ladies.

You monster.

Jiggit
March 9th, 2015, 11:14
I'd rather go to Mosul.

coop52
March 9th, 2015, 11:33
Doesn't mean you have to be friends, just observe in a "Gorillas in the Mist" sense

Cbill1
March 9th, 2015, 12:28
For what it's worth, while CLAIR and the JET Programme selection committees don't really care about piercings/tattoos if you can still look official, there are schools that do

As long as present yourself well during the interview and selection process, piercing and tattoos aren't likely to determine whether or not you get into the program. They may, however, be the reason you leave the program if you get to your school/BoE and they didn't realize you had them because you lied on your application.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of schools that don't care; even with sleeve tattoos, my school still lauds my pred as the "best alt they've had", but there's a reason he only visited one school instead of the two he was originally supposed to.


It can be a genuine compliment, depending on the context. If it's from someone with poor English who doesn't really know what to say, as you said, there's probably no other added meaning. Or a compliment on a haircut from someone you get along well with is probably an actual compliment. Growing up in the South and being able to tell when someone's "bless your heart" is an insult of your intelligence or a statement conveying genuine empathy has helped a lot. I recommend all JET applicants to go spend some time with some Southern Baptist church ladies.

Quoted for truth. My time growing up in rural West Virginia has served me well in the inaka.

Conversely, it's also reminded me why I split town the day after graduation.

uthinkimlost?
March 9th, 2015, 12:30
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of schools that don't care; even with sleeve tattoos, my school still lauds my pred as the "best alt they've had", but there's a reason he only visited one school instead of the two he was originally supposed to.

Ouch.

Cbill1
March 9th, 2015, 12:41
Ouch.

tbf, a lot of the lauding happened just short of me being here/the first week that I was here.

Also, it's intrinsically difficult to be as cool to a group of Japanese teenage boys as a six foot tall man with sleeve tattoos. Boobs can only do so much.

coop52
March 9th, 2015, 12:58
Ouch.
Wasn't there an ALT that got some sort of stature or plaque at their school? I think that someone posted a few years back about how their pred had one.

Cbill1
March 9th, 2015, 13:02
Nah, my pred doesn't have anything like that.

They make up for it, though, by making sure to still put his name on the enkai signup sheets instead of mine.

Bitter? Who's bitter not meeeeee

johnny
March 9th, 2015, 13:13
When I was a teenager I liked looking at boobs more than sleeve tattoos. It must be a cultural thing.

word
March 9th, 2015, 13:38
Yeah, word is putting forward the "micro-aggressions" argument I've seen before, and I've never been too convinced by that. On the other hand it is true that Japanese often comment about the things that make one different without thinking about how the other person might take it. I don't think every compliment is meant as an insult per se, but a lot of them are meant to nudge you about what you're doing that's making you stand out. If you were Japanese you'd probably take that and change it, if you're a foreigner it's less clear because they expect you to stand out. Oh, I didn't mean to go that far; to be perfectly honest, I quite like standing out a little. As I've said in the past, the longer I stay here, the more I find I actually value my "foreign-ness." It a very real way, it gives me a lot more freedom than many Japanese people have, from a social standpoint. If it means I'll occasionally be subjected to a poorly thought-out attempt at conversation, I can very happily live with that.

Gizmotech
March 9th, 2015, 13:45
When I was a teenager I liked looking at boobs more than sleeve tattoos. It must be a cultural thing.

Ya... but you liked looking at many different boobs. Not just the same pair over and over again. The sleeve tattoo is a constant state of bad ass. The boobs that aren't changing are just kinda meh. Especially when, (I don't know for sure) the majority of their idols(and likely classmates) are probably hotter than the ALT.

johnny
March 9th, 2015, 13:55
Ya... but you liked looking at many different boobs. Not just the same pair over and over again. The sleeve tattoo is a constant state of bad ass. The boobs that aren't changing are just kinda meh. Especially when, (I don't know for sure) the majority of their idols(and likely classmates) are probably hotter than the ALT.

I agree that looking at varieties of boobs was the best, but boobs that were nearby got bonus points. They also provided welcome material for day dreaming during boring classes.

Jiggit
March 9th, 2015, 14:01
Oh, I didn't mean to go that far; to be perfectly honest, I quite like standing out a little. As I've said in the past, the longer I stay here, the more I find I actually value my "foreign-ness." It a very real way, it gives me a lot more freedom than many Japanese people have, from a social standpoint. If it means I'll occasionally be subjected to a poorly thought-out attempt at conversation, I can very happily live with that.

I was referring to your point about people "stating you're an outside and always will be". Which I've heard also described as "microaggressions". I don't really think there's any intention in Japanese people to do that tbh... But then people who make articles about whiny crap like this tend to ignore things like intention anyway.

word
March 9th, 2015, 14:38
I guess I hate the term but understand the reality of it in some situations. I think that it gets stolen and overused but for some people, daily abuse at the hands of the majority is a pretty real thing. Keeping it real, though, I'm not stupid or pathetic enough to think that I'm suffering any sort of intentional (or even unintentional) abuse at the hands of your average J. My life here is pretty good, and while it's helped me to understand minority issues a little better, I'm not so foolish as to try to equate my life here with the lives of minorities back in the US.

Jiggit
March 9th, 2015, 14:42
Yeah I don't think it's unreasonable to say that as a foreigner in a homogenous, historically isolated and generally xenophobic (in the literal meaning of the word) country, you face some discrimination and prejudice in your daily life.

But a lot of the whining is just white people having to deal with not being no.1 for the first time ever and not realising that this happens to all non-whites back in their own country. And even then, I feel like the "racism" in Japan is probably some of the easiest to deal with as racism goes.

Which isn't to say that I wouldn't rather it not happen at all. But Japan could (and honestly should) be a lot worse for foreigners.

johnny
March 9th, 2015, 14:46
Are you implying that foreigners get away with a lot of crap that they shouldn't get away with?

word
March 9th, 2015, 14:53
But a lot of the whining is just white people having to deal with not being no.1 for the first time ever and not realising that this happens to all non-whites back in their own country. And even then, I feel like the "racism" in Japan is probably some of the easiest to deal with as racism goes.word


Are you implying that foreigners get away with a lot of crap that they shouldn't get away with?Yeah. Especially if they're American/British/Aussie/Kiwi/white, honestly. That chick who got busted with meth (I mean, Adderall) is in a hell of a lot better shape than she would've been if she'd been Chinese. And there was that Sri Lankan who died in detention a couple of months back--I doubt it would've happened if he'd been a blue-eyed whitey.

Jiggit
March 9th, 2015, 15:06
This'll be a fun topic; I always get kind of annoyed when people get away with drug smuggling cause their government appeals on their behalf or something. I mean, yeah, I don't think people should be executed... but people living in that country wouldn't get away with it.

word
March 9th, 2015, 15:16
This'll be a fun topic; I always get kind of annoyed when people get away with drug smuggling cause their government appeals on their behalf or something. I mean, yeah, I don't think people should be executed... but people living in that country wouldn't get away with it.
word

I mean, I'm the first to call for decriminalization, reduction of penalties, and elimination of mandatory sentencing where drug laws in my home country are concerned... but I absolutely hate to see crap like that going down when some well-to-do spoiled crackhead gets popped here. She's already going to enjoy significantly better treatment than someone in her position back home would've faced. I don't understand why politicians are trying to help her out.

uthinkimlost?
March 9th, 2015, 15:18
I watched a locked up abroad where a white girl was imprisoned in Japan.

"Ohmigod, they fed me and clothed me but expected me to do as I was told!"

Can't watch it now, but I think this is it:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1oius6_locked-up-abroad-tokyo-takedown_shortfilms

Edit: That's it. Last 15 minutes are fantastic.

johnny
March 9th, 2015, 15:24
Can I still get the gaijin advantage when I do stupid but harmless crap like forget to bow at the right times? That's all I want.

Jiggit
March 9th, 2015, 15:25
Can I still get the gaijin advantage when I do stupid but harmless crap like forget to bow at the right times? That's all I want.

Yes because it is totes kawaii.

word
March 9th, 2015, 15:50
Yeah bow at the most obviously wrong time, and make it really flamboyant. They'll love it and you can probably get away with almost anything after that.

Jiggit
March 9th, 2015, 15:52
Yeah bow at the most obviously wrong time, and make it really flamboyant. They'll love it and you can probably get away with almost anything after that.

"I impregnated your first born!"
"NANDATOOOO"
"MUSHYWACKYARRYMASEN" *bows and rips hole in pants*
"Ohohoho you crazy foreigners"

word
March 9th, 2015, 15:59
LOL Christ that would be perfect

uthinkimlost?
March 9th, 2015, 16:01
Nicely done.

mothy
March 9th, 2015, 16:42
This is essentially how I got my father-in-law's approval to marry his daughter.

Virgil
March 9th, 2015, 18:50
I watched a locked up abroad where a white girl was imprisoned in Japan.

"Ohmigod, they fed me and clothed me but expected me to do as I was told!"

Can't watch it now, but I think this is it:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1oius6_locked-up-abroad-tokyo-takedown_shortfilms

Edit: That's it. Last 15 minutes are fantastic.
Why pay for a shrink when you too cm smuggle drugs and go to Japanese prison.

The idea of Japanese prison actually sounds pretty terrifying to me.

webstaa
March 10th, 2015, 08:23
There was a program called 'Locked up Abroad' that did an episode about someone smuggling drugs (actual drugs, IIRC hash) into Japan. Probably on youtube somewhere...

uthinkimlost?
March 10th, 2015, 08:34
Why pay for a shrink when you too cm smuggle drugs and go to Japanese prison.

The idea of Japanese prison actually sounds pretty terrifying to me.

Word, word.

It is certainly one of the milder banged up abroads, though.