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THE
May 15th, 2015, 09:12
I NEED YOUR HELP.

Hi. I want to write a blog post talking about the highs and lows of various aspects of life here in Japan so new ALTs can have some idea of what to expect. I'm a straight male, so I have no idea what it's like for people who aren't. So tell me, please.

I won't quote you or identify you individually, but instead will try to get a general picture of the highs and lows. Thank you in advance for reading this and commenting :)

sourdoughsushi
May 15th, 2015, 14:06
Please make sure to try Tumblr. Im not even being malicious in saying this.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
May 15th, 2015, 14:11
Please make sure to try Tumblr. Im not even being malicious in saying this.

That you have to point this out is instantly hilarious to me.

THE
May 15th, 2015, 14:44
Thanks for the advice.

Tumblr confuses the heck out of me but I'll give it a look.

sourdoughsushi
May 15th, 2015, 14:57
Thanks for the advice.

Tumblr confuses the heck out of me but I'll give it a look.

You can just search jet program(me), but there's a pretty active community on there so I would recommend creating an account and posting with those tags to get responses.

Virgil
May 15th, 2015, 15:34
I find that is has no bearing on my life here that is any different from back home. I'm a bit of an anomaly though.

Zolrak 22
May 15th, 2015, 15:38
I'd ask everyone's opinion. (Not just the demographic you perceive to need)

What with the ESID and all that.

I'm sure other straight males have other perspectives to share with you about their experiences.

Ebi
May 15th, 2015, 17:20
Yeah... I don't really know what I could offer to this topic. The highs? I met and married a pretty awesome guy. The lows? Well, the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands of people was pretty awful. I don't think either of those things are really related to my gender nor do they reflect "the experience of being a woman on JET".

sourdoughsushi
May 15th, 2015, 17:29
As far as being a lady goes, I feel like the majority of the struggle comes from buying habits/preferences over sexism or struggling to live in Japanese society.

Do I think Japanese society thinks of women differently than Western society? I do, but I'm also not Japanese so I haven't come onto any real issues with that quite yet. It could happen.

As far as being a gaijin lady goes, the pads/tampons here are dick and birth control is way too expensive and way too taboo and doctors can blab to the entire town if you're placed somewhere non-inaka enough to even do that, anyway.

The other main struggle ladies have here is with body image. About the same percentage of Japanese ladies are underweight as there is obese women in America. It's a different game out here and a lot of relatively healthy girls end up feeling down.

singinglupines
May 16th, 2015, 10:09
Hm, the JET Ladies group on fb certainly has some good insights as to being a woman in Japan especially dealing with sexism. I'd be interested in reading your final post.

Jiggit
May 16th, 2015, 10:31
About the same percentage of Japanese ladies are underweight as there is obese women in America.

No. That's complete and utter bs.

BifCarbet
May 16th, 2015, 11:00
About the same percentage of Japanese ladies are underweight as there is obese women in America.

No. That's complete and utter bs.

I'm inclined to agree with Jiggit, but Jig, are you from America? Honestly I don't remember.

underweight as in being unhealthy because of a lack of muscle and fat, I think that number is probably pretty low. A lot of women in Japan are skinny, but not that many are dangerously underweight, at least not like the obesity problem in America. That's about a third, according to the Center for Disease Control. (EDIT: that's a whole population figure. I imagine it's slightly lower in women, but not sure)
Obesity and Overweight for Professionals: Data and Statistics: Adult Obesity - DNPAO - CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html)

sourdoughsushi
May 16th, 2015, 11:21
Ahhh, yeah. It would seem I'm recalling something a bit wrong. I looked into it, and I'm likely recalling an article from 2012-ish that said nearly 30% of women in their 20's are underweight in Japan. That's still something to consider in relation to the average age of an ALT, however.

1 in 8 Japanese women too thin, survey says - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun (http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201412100053)
This gives some more up to date info. "1 in 8 too thin, 21.5% in their 20's too thin".

BifCarbet
May 16th, 2015, 11:28
Ahhh, yeah. It would seem I'm recalling something a bit wrong. I looked into it, and I'm likely recalling an article from 2012-ish that said nearly 30% of women in their 20's are underweight in Japan. That's still something to consider in relation to the average age of an ALT, however.

1 in 8 Japanese women too thin, survey says - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun (http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201412100053)
This gives some more up to date info. "1 in 8 too thin, 21.5% in their 20's too thin".

Yikes.

Jiggit
May 16th, 2015, 12:21
OK, but more than 70% of people in America are obese.

BifCarbet
May 16th, 2015, 12:25
OK, but more than 70% of people in America are obese.

Haha. No.
Anyway, I was trying to support you.

Ebi
May 16th, 2015, 14:52
The other main struggle ladies have here is with body image....a lot of relatively healthy girls end up feeling down.
That's a good point. I can fit in Japanese large sizes and often mediums now if I'm careful about the styles, so I haven't really felt "too big". But I've had a total stranger who happened to ride the same bus everyday approach me one day and tell me, "Wow, you've lost so much weight since you got here! You were so big before, but now you're skinny!" It was meant as a compliment, but lol. I thought my weight change wasn't *that* noticeable since I was only on the high-end of healthy weight before, but apparently it was. Health matters are more openly discussed in my experience, so commenting on people's appearances and weight isn't taboo.

On the flip side, I actually feel a lot better about my body since coming to Japan. I eat healthier so I look and feel better. I know a lot of people who transformed themselves after coming to Japan since they had a chance to make a complete lifestyle change and get healthy. And as for self-image, I've visited enough hot springs full of ladies with all sorts of body types, so I don't feel like I have anything to worry about.

But I can't really imagine the kind of comments bigger ladies must get, so I'm sure it's not easy.


OK, but more than 70% of people in America are obese.
Technically, no. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, but only one-third are obese. I think the parameters to be considered obese are a bit stricter than being overweight.




An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

See the following table for an example:


Height
Weight Range
BMI
Considered


5' 9"
124 lbs or less
Below 18.5
Underweight


5' 9"
125 lbs to 168 lbs
18.5 to 24.9
Healthy weight


5' 9"
169 lbs to 202 lbs
25.0 to 29.9
Overweight


5' 9"
203 lbs or more
30 or higher
Obese


Source: Obesity and Overweight for Professionals: Adult: Defining - DNPAO - CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/defining.html)

And here's a wikipedia page with more details including the different classes of obesity: Classification of obesity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classification_of_obesity)

THE
May 19th, 2015, 15:44
Thanks for chiming in, you wonderful, beautiful people. (Body image is a thing I would never have thought about, and that aspect of being a female ALT is very interesting.)

I didn't really know how to explain what I'm trying to do, so here's a sample:


— SCHOOL STAFF —

Best Case Scenario: You work in a school with staff and students who respond positively and respectfully to you. The other teachers and office staff make an effort to communicate with you about upcoming meetings and events, changes in the schedule, and other things you need to know. [...]

Worst Case Scenario: You work in a school where staff respond to you negatively. You are spoken down to or ignored because of your lack of Japanese ability. Even if your Japanese is flawless, the fact that you are not Japanese results in you constantly being isolated. [...]

Basically: You spend 8+ hours of your day there five days a week, so the staff at your school have a huge impact on your impression of Japan during your tenure. For the most part, staff will at least make sure you are in good enough a situation to get to and from school. Some staff will go the distance helping set you up with the things you need, out of the simple goodness of their hearts, though this isn't guaranteed. [...]



So I'm trying to collect a general picture of the best and worst things that ALTs encounter and then a summary of what (I think) is most likely. What's the best that a female ALT could expect from her school/staff/town? What's the worst thing an LGBT ALT might have to deal with? Etc etc.

Virgil
May 19th, 2015, 15:48
Best case scenario: People are nice, and genuinely care about my well-being

Middle: People are not necessarily nice, but are honest

Worst case scenario: People are spiteful, and discriminatory. They will not be honest about it, but instead hide behind a mask of nicety.

That's just a personal opinion. Some people are good. Some people aren't. That's life. It basically doesn't matter how much of a weirdo I am here, as long as I don't rock the boat, you know?

Ananasboat
May 19th, 2015, 15:52
I mean, yeah would the best, average and worst case scenario be pretty similar for everyone?

My best is I have great classes with great teachers.

Middle case is I have okay classes with okay teachers.

Worst case is I get called a fat and smelly foreigner by my students and the teacher does nothing.

jwkelley
May 19th, 2015, 16:38
The good, sex is likely easier for us.
The bad, there is not nearly as much support for long term relationships that will turn into something. The typical stuff like marriage, ability to adopt, apartments visas ect. ect.
Most of all the other aspects are very situational and fall into similar sht a straight guy would handle.

THE
May 19th, 2015, 18:12
Why is sex easier?

Frap
May 20th, 2015, 07:17
Why is sex easier?

Cause girl orgasms, am I right guys?

Jiggit
May 20th, 2015, 08:39
Gay male couples have more sex than straight couples and straight couples have more sex than gay female couples.

word
May 20th, 2015, 08:58
Organizations like Stonewall function as very effective dating networks, plus what Jiggit said.

Frap
May 20th, 2015, 15:04
Gay male couples have more sex than straight couples and straight couples have more sex than gay female couples.

Would you like to be a statistic?

Jiggit
May 20th, 2015, 15:42
Would you like to be a statistic?

You're going to fuck me? That would be nice, I suppose.

word
May 20th, 2015, 16:02
Eh, just keeping it real. We're all statistics, really; I never got people's opposition to being included in them.

Zolrak 22
May 20th, 2015, 16:46
Eh, just keeping it real. We're all statistics, really; I never got people's opposition to being included in them.
No one ever wants me as a statistic. [emoji29]

They say I'm an anomaly...

Frap
May 21st, 2015, 01:02
You're going to fuck me? That would be nice, I suppose.

This is a very apathetic reply to some dynamite flirting!


Eh, just keeping it real. We're all statistics, really; I never got people's opposition to being included in them.

Who's opposed?!

BambooTelegraph
May 21st, 2015, 09:11
Ah, I think I can provide some direction:

As a cis-gendered, straight male in a pretty awesome relationship, I was interested in learning more about (all the shit I've heard about) Japanese relationships.

I came across this e-book: There's Something I Want to Tell You by Yuta Aoki (http://www.amazon.com/Theres-Something-Want-Tell-You-ebook/dp/B00SDJ61FI). It's a pretty eye-opening and cheap read for those of us who aren't aware of the complications that foreigners (with differing genders/sexualities) encounter. I'd check it out!

THE
May 21st, 2015, 13:31
>BambooTelegraph: Thanks for mentioning that book. It's only a few dollars on Kindle so I think I'll give it a read over the weekend.

Thanks everyone for commenting. I'm going to take my time learning about this and update in the future. For anyone interested in the current version of my blog post, here's the link (https://shougayaki.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/should-i-spend-a-year-or-more-of-my-life-as-an-alt-in-japan/).

Dululu
May 22nd, 2015, 10:44
I NEED YOUR HELP.

Hi. I want to write a blog post talking about the highs and lows of various aspects of life here in Japan so new ALTs can have some idea of what to expect. I'm a straight male, so I have no idea what it's like for people who aren't. :)

With all due respect, OP, why do you feel that you should be giving this kind of advice? How helpful is it to new JETs to receive 3rd hand advice solicited through an anonymous online forum. Surely there are people better placed to do this (and they will) on the numerous blogs out there. I can understand you giving links to blogs but collecting and dispensing the advice yourself seems crazy when, as you say, you have no idea.

It's admirable that you are trying to help new JETs but why don't you stick to offering them advice about stuff you do know something about?

Just my view. No offence intended.

jwkelley
May 22nd, 2015, 10:54
We have an app, it basically has a come do me button. I am speaking very generally with the comment.

THE
May 22nd, 2015, 14:57
With all due respect, OP, why do you feel that you should be giving this kind of advice? How helpful is it to new JETs to receive 3rd hand advice solicited through an anonymous online forum. Surely there are people better placed to do this (and they will) on the numerous blogs out there. I can understand you giving links to blogs but collecting and dispensing the advice yourself seems crazy when, as you say, you have no idea.

It's admirable that you are trying to help new JETs but why don't you stick to offering them advice about stuff you do know something about?

Just my view. No offence intended.

No offense taken :). This question is a valid one, and is one of the reasons I just went ahead posting without it. I wanted my guide to apply to as many ALTs as possible, and to look at a wider spectrum of experiences, not just my own, which I think is what makes it valuable. I'm not a primary source of information, which is why I would have anything I write about it checked out by people who are, but you might be right that it's better to find existing sources of information and link to them.

BifCarbet
May 23rd, 2015, 02:08
Oh man! A real-life acceptance and constructive use of criticism!