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Can you ever get truly "close" to someone who is Japanese?

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This is kind of a big question, and I'm going to hope it doesn't sound like a racist insult.

I have been around a good number of men and women from Japan, only gotten to really know one or two, but only to a certain extent. There is always a "wall" I guess. The most recent person, it was difficult to even maintain a friendship type of relationship, due to the fact they always had something else to do. Only many months later would they even mention doing something, and even that didn't seem to be the case.

I guess I'm wondering if this wall will always be there. If you can ever get past the cultural barriers and just "talk about anything." I'm sure this seems a bit of a silly question, but I'm still very lost in a lot of the culture and reasons, and probably always will be. It seems that I can be told how special of a friend or person I am, but then... I don't even hear from them again.

I guess I just don't understand... :souka:
 
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It's because they aren't used to it I guess :? It's something new...and they kinda look at it with precaution.Well my friend is the one that ALSO can't wait to see me in real life...but on the other hand...I often imagine what it would be like when we are together...and are talking etc...
 
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Ya I feel ya on that....

There was this girl I used to like, now we are just friends, even though we have known each other for 5 years now.. and STILL there is a wall. We are just party friends, act buddy buddy and drink/smoke/dine together but... when it comes to anything that is actually deep, meaningful, and personal.. BAM! Wall... sometimes I think my friend is terrified by me, scared, or SOMETHING I have no clue... Talking to her is like talking to someone I dont hardly know...still though... she still calls everytime to hang out when she visits San Diego every few months. Every single time... there is a HUGE wall and it drives me nuts. Its kind of wierd to have a friend who I'v know for so long, and when we hang out, it feels like I'v only known her for a week or so.... :? I am flat out clueless, and I am about to give up!

I think she just acts like this towards me only though... so.. Either way, I still have no clue and it drives me nuts.

Maybe if I was psychic or something.. that would help :giggle:

nandesu ka? wakarimasen... :kanashii: :kanashii:


Language Disclaimer please read: Sumimasen, Nihongo ga sukoshi wakarimasu, demo mada jozujarimasen... sumimasen!
 
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^

Yes, that is EXACTLY what I am talking about. Know the feeling as well... hurts horribly. From what you say about her I'd swear it is the same person we know lol.
 
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Want a cigarrette man... oh and here is a Newcastle for ya to.. oh? Dont have a light, I'll light ya up man, no worries...

Here is to absolutely drop dead gorgeous japanese women who are impossible to talk to even after knowing them for many years. To being strangers!

KAMPAI!
 
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Somewhere between a wall and 'talk about everything'....closer to a fence, gate or maybe one of those three layer roadside stone walls :p But mostly because my conversational Japanese is improving and he has a bad attitude about too much English practice (although it's pretty good comparatively), so I can call more instead of everything being email. I would recommend against making directly personal overtures if at all possible, though :eek: . In our case, he has a creative or artistic outlet in music and a fascination with "deep, meaningful" lyrics which I sometimes try to use as a non-threatening way to broach more intimate discussions. It's definately a challenge. You sort of have to feel each other are on the same wavelength for the barriers to begin fissuring and then if you're lucky, start slowly getting beaten down....
 
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Like Elizabeth said, it may be a wall, but it has a door ;)

With Japanese people you do 'feel' that theres layers to how well you know people, some of my friends are open and honest while some are just showing me themselves on the outside, not letting me know the person within. Time fixes that.....
 
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Ya, if only ;)

Thanks for the comments Elizabeth. You can guess who I'm talking about of course ;P Guess I'm just still trying to figure it all out. Been reading books on culture and language, and I about the social differences. Thought it would clear things up, but just made it worse heh.

Thought maybe it was some sort of "step" in a friendship or relationship. Guess it really is "always there" then... Wonder if I'll ever find that door, or at least see the wall again.

The person will be gone in less than two weeks... the last time she mentioned doing something, I said I could then she said she was busy seconds later and didn't know with what.



I think I'm just totally crazy now :p
 
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In recogizing the wall you just make it worse for your self.

I'm with Psi-dood, just sit back and take it how it is.
 
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Don't have any choice, but to do that. :) Just always in the back of my mind wondering is all.
 
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the last time she mentioned doing something, I said I could then she said she was busy seconds later and didn't know with what

No way man! You for reals? I get that exact thing to! What usually happens to me is... I give up my entire evening to hang out, all my friends leave, I am all alone, waiting on her. Than.. I get this for the rest of the night as I wait...

*cricket* *cricket* *cricket*

[many hours later]
*ring!* *ring!* *ring!*
me: hello?
friend: GOMEN! sorry I cant make it!
 
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hmm i personaly dont notice any big "wall" when meeting some one from a different culture... :? :? maybe im just used it ive always been in different cultures through out my short life i sometimes dont know where i belong :( :( :(
 
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Yeap, just relax.. try to chill out, and just be there when she needs you, wants to hang out, and talk (usually about nothing). I gave up trying... :smoke:


Got another cigarrette?
 
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No more cigarretes, started eatting them, ran out :) Maybe someday it will all make sense... just decades from now ;)
 
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Ewok85 said:
In recogizing the wall you just make it worse for your self.

I'm with Psi-dood, just sit back and take it how it is.
I guess I've just had the good fortune of meeting two or three who were extremely self-aware and would tell me straight up "I like to keep a certain distance with people, there are some things from my past that even my closest friends and relatives don't know, even very important things" or "I have to play my role and do what's expected of me in this matter." Not that I'm interested in every detail from someone's past either and I don't go around talking about that kind of stuff either, so it relieves the pressure immensely and now both of you know where the other stands. But they were both in their 30's and 40's....so maybe it is just a matter of fine aging, or at least being able to hang around that long. ;).
 
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Emoni said:
I guess I'm wondering if this wall will always be there. If you can ever get past the cultural barriers and just "talk about anything." I'm sure this seems a bit of a silly question, but I'm still very lost in a lot of the culture and reasons, and probably always will be. It seems that I can be told how special of a friend or person I am, but then... I don't even hear from them again.
Would you say the same thing about someone from a white European country? France? Italy? Greece? Russia?
 
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I don't know, I really don't know anyone from Italy, France or European countries oddly enough. And I live in California!

If it was the same circumstances, yes probably. Wasn't meant to sound racist, but was just trying to figure out if it was cultural, my perception, or maybe just that person.

I know so little about Japanese culture, I can't just say "Oh, this means that." or "He/She is just being this way because..." I simply don't know the reasons half the time, and could never guess what this person is thinking. I'm not sure at all what to make of it. With the "wall" there it is very difficult to get to know someone so you CAN understand the way they think and understand the reasoning.
 

Maciamo

Twirling dragon
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When I see how Japanese behave between themselves, it seems that relations are not so deep. My wife knows hundreds of people that she would describe as "friends", but she usually meet them once a year, and even her "best-friends", not more than once every few months - except those who work with her, of course. So she is always meeting people, but there doesn't seem to be the same kind relationships as Westerners usually have together. Of course, they can talk about all and anything, about personal issues, work, marriage, sex, or whatever, but are these really friends she can rely on in case of serious problem ? Usually not.

I have noticed that in Japan, even between "friends" (or "best-friends" !) it is considered normal to pay for the services they do for you, as if they were strangers. For example, if she has a friend who is a hairdresser, she wouldn't even expect a discount when she goes there to have her hair done. That strikes me as weird, as for me, friends are worth of special treatment. But when I told her that, she just replied that her friends also need to make their living. The Japanese approach is "life is hard, and we must get money to survive". The key word is "money". I have never seen any other economically developed country where people were so concerned about money.
My wife had to pay her mother a rent to stay in her own house since she was 20. I thought that was rather harsh from her mother, but she said it was normal in Japan. Children are also expected to pay some very expensive presents to their parents around 20 years old, to (partly) pay back what they have spent for their upbringing. I think the Western mentality is rather telling one's parents "but I didn't ask to be born", and giving full-responsibility to the "genitors" for their acts.

All this to say, that IMHO, inter-personal relations in Japan are based mainly on money (and mutual respect). The rule is do not do or expect anything from someone that you wouldn't want to give them. But for Japanese, doing something has always a price, even for friends, so there aren't many things they would do by pure generosity. Even paying the restaurant for you only means that they expect you to do the same for them the next time.

But japanese are always very concerned of others' fellings, so they will generally propose to help someone someone (even a stranger) in difficulty. If you seem lost, they'll ask you where you are going (that doesn't cost them anything). In that case, they do it because they'd like someone (a stranger) to help them if they were in the same situation. But often, they just want to practice their English, and if you answer them in Japanese, they'll be surprised and disappointed (if that was their goal). So Japanese certainly look very amiable and easily approachable, but the depth of their feelings is usually not what a Westerner would expect. There is often another reaosn behind.
 
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Well, everyone is different, so I know that these types of things aren't going to apply to everyone. However, cultural differences can be very distinct and effect quite a bit. I guess this might be one of them...

I just don't understand :p At least I can realize I don't understand though :)
 
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My wife had to pay her mother a rent to stay in her own house since she was 20. I thought that was rather harsh from her mother, but she said it was normal in Japan.
My parents in Australia made me do the same thing.

Basically said that you either move out and pay rent elsewhere or live here and pay less rent.
 
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