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Why do Japanese people think of Mexico as Ponchos and Tacos?

pinson27

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I've been wondering if world cultures is a subject ever learned at schools in japan. I've never gone to japan, but as i meet japanese people in chat rooms text chatting or voice chatting or the rare times i have met them in real life they know nothing about Hispanic people or our culture. When i mention mexico they go "Tacos? Ponchos?".

Me myself i don't know about many countries either but i have browsed books and seen documentaries on discovery channel or something to know at least a little something about various countries.

Just recently, this PhD. japanese girl studying in my city.. we met and she said she traveled all over because her study has to do with Environmental Science and she has traveled to so many countries , she even said "i went to costa rica". Ok, so i said in email prior to meeting her, "i'm hispanic". And she responded "i never met any hispanic people and i don't know about them or their culture". And when we met she was so austounded by me and my roots, like i was a space monkey or something^^ I also noticed Chinese people also seem to not know about Latin america at all. When i studied in college we had Immigration courses, world history, world cultures, and all kinds of stuff that introduced me to a bit from various cultures... korea, japan, vietnam, thailand.. europe, africa etc.. You know, your basic world cultural knowledge. But why is it they don't learn about this?

Also note i'm talking about Educated japanese young people.
 

Karamuucho

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If it helps, a lot of people I know in London think that aswell.

They also think of Japan as Sushi and electronics, I beleive they're called stereotypes.
 

Ewok85

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Your knowledge of Japan is extremely lacking too, so I wouldn't go pointing fingers.

When I think of Mexico I too think of ponchos, tacos, fiestas and tequila. Mexico is a long way from Japan, and there are not many reasons why they would study about it. Most Japanese would know more about Korean and Chinese food etc than you or I would.
 

Nicky

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Mexico makes me think of sombreros and pinatas. And I actually LIVE in a largely Hispanic community.

😊
 

Uncle Frank

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Public Relations Department

Mexico sure needs some good PR here in the US; all I ever hear are bad things on TV and in the papers?

Uncle Frank

 

sabro

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When I think of my old neighborhood back in Los Angeles, I think of tacos. Especially King Taco. You can't get that out here. I also think of Hollenbeck Burrito's and Pastrami Cheeseburgers at Spikes. You can't get pickled plums out here either... or udon and miso...

When I think of Mexico... lots of different things- from pyramids to ballet foklorico, mariachis, nortenos, caballeros and chicken fighting. Arroz con Pollo and chicken mole and pan dulce...
 

craftsman

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You mean all Mexican people don't look like this?

020919sombrero-1.jpg


Just like you - I've browsed a few books and seen documentaries in my time but still if you asked me what a Mexican looked like - someone like this would pop in my head. Maybe playing a guitar and with a much bigger moustache.

I've got to admit that it's rather weird that you expect 'educated' Japanese people to have knowledge about Latin America. I haven't got a clue about hispanic people and culture. In fact I can't think - of any of the people I know - even one who knows about it either. Should I too go back to my educational roots and find out where they failed me? I think not.

It appears to me that in a round about way you're asking the same question Maciamo posed a while back about the general ignorance of Japanese people and 'world' history.

Please don't take offence when I say this pinson27 - it's great to ask questions all the time, but it's even better when mixed with some common sense.
 

gaijinalways

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Just recently, this PhD. japanese girl studying in my city.. we met and she said she traveled all over because her study has to do with Environmental Science and she has traveled to so many countries , she even said "i went to costa rica". Ok, so i said in email prior to meeting her, "i'm hispanic". And she responded "i never met any hispanic people and i don't know about them or their culture".

So who or what kind of peopledid she meet in Costa Rica????
 

Kinsao

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I'm European and I am woefully ignorant about Mexico, and, in fact, about most other cultures. ☝ Quite frankly, my education was crap. Our learning about other cultures was limited to geography (which was mostly about farming and which we were allowed to drop at age 13), and history, which, errrr, taught us about other cultures in the olden days. 😌 I suppose what I'm trying to say is that although the Japanese education system might fall down considerably on this point, it's also mistaken to think that Europeans are necessarily any more knowledgeable. Or perhaps it's only those who went to my school. 😊

When I think of Mexico I actually think of something a bit more like Arizona, since I have an aunt who lives there and she sometimes sends me little Mexican ornaments or pieces of jewellery as a gift. Sure I associate ponchos with Mexico 😊 but not thinking that all Mexican's wear them any more than all Scotsmen wear kilts :giggle: ... I also think of tequila and acoustic guitar and desert... 😍
 

Mike Cash

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And when we met she was so austounded by me and my roots, like i was a space monkey or something

You mean something like the way you treat Japanese people? Interesting.
 

pipokun

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if some Asians stop some illigal activities in South America, border patrols will stop racial profiling or stop calling all Asians as chino.
Bike check by J cops, what Maciamo calls terrible human right infringement, is nothing serious at all, though I don't like it, either.
 

Maciamo

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If it helps, a lot of people I know in London think that aswell.
They also think of Japan as Sushi and electronics, I beleive they're called stereotypes.
There aren't sushi and electronics in Japan ? Better think that than think that Japan is a country of green curry and Taoist temples. 😊
 

Maciamo

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You mean all Mexican people don't look like this?
...
Just like you - I've browsed a few books and seen documentaries in my time but still if you asked me what a Mexican looked like - someone like this would pop in my head. Maybe playing a guitar and with a much bigger moustache.
My goodness, what documentary did yo watch ? Was it a Japanese or an American documentary ? 😊
I've got to admit that it's rather weird that you expect 'educated' Japanese people to have knowledge about Latin America.
Why ? I expect anybody, well educated or not, to have at least a minimum knowledge of most countries around the world. What is school for ?
I haven't got a clue about hispanic people and culture. In fact I can't think - of any of the people I know - even one who knows about it either.
I wouldn't boast about it if I were you, especially as a Westerner, as Latin America has long and deep ties with Europe and North America.
Should I too go back to my educational roots and find out where they failed me? I think not.
I think you should (otherwise you might die of a stupidity attack :p ).
It appears to me that in a round about way you're asking the same question Maciamo posed a while back about the general ignorance of Japanese people and 'world' history.
It is justified, it seems...
So who or what kind of peopledid she meet in Costa Rica????
Exactly. I hope even our uncultured craftsman knows the meaning of "Hispanic", as a Westerner...
I'm European and I am woefully ignorant about Mexico, and, in fact, about most other cultures.
Don't be so modest. We are not talking about the same ignorance. You know what "Hispanic" means. You know that the Aztecs lived in what is now Mexico. You know that the Mexican speak Spanish and not Mexican. These are all trick question to an "average university-educated" Japanese. 😌

Let us not forget that Mexico and Japan have pretty good relations; in fact so good that Mexicans in Japan are exempt of visas for 3-months like people from developed countries, and unlike Japan's neighbours (even South Korea). It's also 10 years since Mexico as a convention for the avoidance of double taxation with Japan, which many developed countries do not have with Japan yet (Belgium only signed it last year).

Here is a summary of Mexican-Japanese diplomatic relations.
 
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Karamuucho

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There aren't sushi and electronics in Japan ? Better think that than think that Japan is a country of green curry and Taoist temples. 😊

Haha mate don't get me started with that...

"Oh you're Japanese? I LOVE Chinese food!"

...What? Do you even hear yourself talking?
 

dreamer

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Well every countries are stereotyped...
just to quote some experiences:
Some French classmates of mine thought that we were only eating rice and raw eggs. (I've chinese origins btw)
Some Japanese friends thought that the Whole France was like Versaille Castle with its people wearing only fancy clothes.
Some Chinese relatives thought that I rarely took a bath.
Some Bostonian colleagues thought that France was a country with people wearing a beret and holding french bread and over 30% of jobless people.

And so on...
Still, I am not shocked and I tend to laugh when people ask me this kind of question because I believe it's ok not to know how another country really looks like. I am not saying that everybody's always thinking of a foreign country based solely on stereotypes, but what may seem obvious to you may be new to someone with a different background.
Wherever you go, I doubt you can escape stereotypes ^^;
 

Maciamo

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Some French classmates of mine thought that we were only eating rice and raw eggs. (I've chinese origins btw)
What strange idea. I have never even seen raw eggs in a Chinese restaurant in Europe !
Some Chinese relatives thought that I rarely took a bath.
In what way what your relatives think of you is a national stereotype ?
Some Bostonian colleagues thought that France was a country with people wearing a beret and holding french bread and over 30% of jobless people.
There are about 10% of people officially looking for a job, but if we include the children, retired, handicapped who can't work and other people not looking for a job (e.g. housewives), then the number is well over 60%. Your colleague was probably talking about the jobless among the active population (those aged 16 to 64), which is 37% in France (31% in Japan and 29% in the USA => see stats).
 

sabro

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Most people are far too dependent on generalizations and stereotypes. (Irony intentional.)
 

craftsman

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Maciamo, youch! I think you need to voluntarily ban yourself for those slights on my cultural character.

My knowledge of Mexico comes from thoroughly respected sources: Spaghetti Westerns, 'the 3 Amigos', a few episodes of 'Bonanza' when the bandits attacked, 'the Alamo' and 'Speedy Gonzales' - the fastest mouse in all Mexico.

Now as to what 'Hispanic' really means - I had to look that up. I knew the word, I had an idea of what it meant but not the detail.

So am I an uncultured buffoon? Well that's quite possible and would certainly never declare myself cultured, that would be far too pretentious and I would leave things like that to...er... others.

But my defence, your honour, is that I'm just not interested in Spanish speaking countries and cultures. It's complicative ignorance. I don't know - I know I don't know - and I don't care. I think you'll find that most 'ignorant' people have a very similar reason.

Take a random country - for example a country like......say.......Belgium. I had absolutely no interest in Belgium before I got a special offer eurostar ticket that by chance went to Brussels. I of course studied many years of European history and passed all my history exams with flying colours right up to University but I still knew absolutely nothing of Belgium. No wait.. I knew Marks and Spencers did boxes of Belgian chocolates.

So I went and now I know all about the Belgian people. I know that everyone walks around with fries and mayonnaise in one hand and a glass of Hoegaarden in the other and they all live near the 'menneke pis' and a waffle stand. That's right isn't it!!?

See - if I'm interested - I know.
 

sabro

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Hispanic is a Nixon era sociographic term with little real world meaning. It means vaguely the same as Latino... centering on language-culture base to describe a broad cultural-linguistic-geographic poplulation. In truth the term can be used to describe diverse people with rather little in common... from Afro-cubans, to Portuguese speaking semi indigenous natives, to German blooded Argentinians, short dark skinned Chicanos... and fair skinned green eyed Mexicanos, Spaniards, criollos, mestizos, and mulattos... and fifth generation Texanos. Some are offended by the label, while others embrace it.

It encompasses a wide spectrum of what people might consider "racial" or genomic diversity, as well as a high diversity of language, culture, religion, tradition, and history.
 

Mike Cash

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Take a random country - for example a country like......say.......Belgium. I had absolutely no interest in Belgium before I got a special offer eurostar ticket that by chance went to Brussels.

I had no interest in or knowledge of Belgiumツ before being bombarded by posts about Belgium on JREF. Now I have no interest in or knowledge of Belgium.
 

Maciamo

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My knowledge of Mexico comes from thoroughly respected sources: Spaghetti Westerns, 'the 3 Amigos', a few episodes of 'Bonanza' when the bandits attacked, 'the Alamo' and 'Speedy Gonzales' - the fastest mouse in all Mexico.
Now as to what 'Hispanic' really means - I had to look that up. I knew the word, I had an idea of what it meant but not the detail.
So am I an uncultured buffoon?
By my standards, it takes much less than that (e.g. consider 'Speedy Gonzales' as a respected source of cultural knowledge) to be considered an uncultured buffoon...
But my defence, your honour, is that I'm just not interested in Spanish speaking countries and cultures.
That's no excuse. We live in the same world, at an age of increasingly globalisation and international exchanges. Latin America
Take a random country - for example a country like......say.......Belgium. I had absolutely no interest in Belgium before I got a special offer eurostar ticket that by chance went to Brussels. I of course studied many years of European history and passed all my history exams with flying colours right up to University but I still knew absolutely nothing of Belgium.
It is very very sad that you studied many years of European history and still don't "anything" about Belgium. Julius Caesar said that of all the people of Gaul the Belgians were the bravest. The Eburons tribe in Belgium gave him his first serious defeat. In 732, Charles Martel, a Belgian by birth, saved Europe from the Muslim invasion at the Battle of Poitiers. His grandson, Charlemagne, the founder of the Holy Roman Empire, was also born and raised in Herstal (Liege), Belgium and founded his capital (Aachen) a dozen kilometre from the present border of Belgium. The first crusade was led by Godfrey of Bouillon, a Belgian (born near Brussels and lord ofBouillon in Wallonia). Charles V of Habsburg, the greatest Renaissance emperor, was born and raised in Ghent, Belgium. It is partly because of his attachment to the Low countries that when he abdicated he ceded them to his son, Philip II of Spain, rather than his brother Maximilian of Austria. The result led to the creation of the Netherlands who rejected Spanish rule (probably wouldn't have happened if it had passed to the more religiously moderate Austria). Many intellectuals fled the Spanish rule to the newly independent Netherlands. One of them was Peter Minuit, the man who bought Manhattan from the Native Americans, and founded the colony of New Amsterdam (later known as New York), of which he remained the first governor for 7 years before founding the colony of New Sweden. In 1815, Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, near Brussels in Belgium. Nowadays Brussels is the headquarters of NATO and capital of the EU.
And you tell me you passed all your European history exams without knowing anything about Belgium ? But what on earth did you learn ?

Hispanic is a Nixon era sociographic term with little real world meaning. It means vaguely the same as Latino... centering on language-culture base to describe a broad cultural-linguistic-geographic poplulation. In truth the term can be used to describe diverse people with rather little in common... from Afro-cubans, to Portuguese speaking semi indigenous natives, to German blooded Argentinians, short dark skinned Chicanos... and fair skinned green eyed Mexicanos, Spaniards, criollos, mestizos, and mulattos... and fifth generation Texanos. Some are offended by the label, while others embrace it.
It encompasses a wide spectrum of what people might consider "racial" or genomic diversity, as well as a high diversity of language, culture, religion, tradition, and history.

Good description. Thank you. Hispanic cannot reasonably be used as a ethnic group, but it does refers to a very clear cultural group : speakers of Spanish or Portuguese from Latin America.
 
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Kinsao

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I passed my history GCSE without learningi anything about Belgium. Or Mexico. And I mean not anything. ☝

However, I did learn about the history of medicine, Britain in the period 1851-1851 (which has got to be one of the most boring stretches of English history ever! O_O), and many details about the history of the town where my school was located. Hmmm, useful stuff.... :eek:

Maciamo said:
That's no excuse. We live in the same world, at an age of increasingly globalisation and international exchanges.

That's all very well, but following that line, it would mean that we all ought to learn everything about every country. :mad: Much as I would like to be able to, and I'm sure it would be extremely interesting, I doubt I have quite the necessary mental capacity. :cry:
 

Mike Cash

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I passed my history GCSE without learningi anything about Belgium.

All I learned about Belgium was something about it being a popular route for Germans going on massive group tours of France.

However, I did learn about the history of medicine, Britain in the period 1851-1851 (which has got to be one of the most boring stretches of English history ever! O_O)

Oh, come now. How burdensome could it be to study 12 months worth?
 
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