There's 6 of us here... ask away.

For one year, 6 MEK members lived in Japan. Here they share pictures, answer questions from members, and talk about their experiences as 'gaijin'.

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Re: riddle me this???

Postby tallasse » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:37 am

I haven't seen a single American comic of any type, unless you count Spiderman shirts and movie merchandise. In the shopping districts, arcades seem to be every 10 feet, though a lot of times it's 99% pachinko machines.<br>
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The only sort-of-lolita around here is the idiot American who doesn't realize you aren't supposed to dress like that at school. There are plenty of Japanese lolita fashion fans in more appropriate places, around Osaka in Shinsaibashi and especially Ame-mura, the "American Village" shopping area. <p><!--EZCODE HR START--><hr /><!--EZCODE HR END-->Jeremy Smith, ex-VP, ex-Scribe, Viking, hanger-on, Stranger in a Strange Land... Japan.<br>
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Re: riddle me this???

Postby timmothy otoole » Wed Sep 14, 2005 9:27 pm

What kind of classes are you taking? <p></p><i></i>

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Re: riddle me this???

Postby Delurio » Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:59 am

Have any of you ran into girls offering enjo kosai? <p></p><i></i>

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Re: riddle me this???

Postby tallasse » Thu Sep 15, 2005 3:02 am

I think enjo kosai is arranged beforehand? Through internet or phones or something, I don't think they just stand around. But I did see one girl meet her enjo kosai date at shopping center near the train station, either that or it was a junior high student who was way too close to her dad. Either way it was really creepy. <p><!--EZCODE HR START--><hr /><!--EZCODE HR END-->Jeremy Smith, ex-VP, ex-Scribe, Viking, hanger-on, Stranger in a Strange Land... Japan.<br>
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Re: riddle me this???

Postby Souma Momiji » Thu Sep 15, 2005 8:30 pm

I'm taking Spoken Japanese, which is always interesting and I try my best in to volunteer a couple times a day. Then there's Reading and Writing Japanese. Which I think can be optional under certain conditions which I promptly forgot because who wouldn't want to take Reading and Writing? XD<br>
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I'm also taking Religion in Japan which is an awesome course taught by a really interesting open-minded professor. Sometimes, I hear someone who might think she's a bit... spacy. But I kind of like that since it makes the classroom more open to discussion and different opinions.<br>
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There's also Onna to Otoko: Gender and Sexuality. I just was interested in looking beyond the stereotypes of Japan's gender differences... except... So far, we're just learning the stereotypes and other things I don't quite agree with. But it's interesting from the perspective of understanding how other people might understand such things. If that makes sense...<br>
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There are other classes I wanted to take, but they were closed by the time I got there. Oh well, maybe next semester~! =D <p></p><i></i>

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Re: riddle me this???

Postby timmothy otoole » Fri Sep 16, 2005 2:26 pm

What does enjo kosai mean?<br>
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And are all of your teachers from Japan or are they from everywhere?<br>
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Are the students from all over the world? <p></p><i></i>

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Re: riddle me this???

Postby tallasse » Fri Sep 16, 2005 10:14 pm

Enjo kosai is usually translated as "subsidized dating." Older/middle-aged businessmen pay junior high and high school girls to go on dates with them, sometimes for sex, but not always. The girls usually need the money to buy designer clothes and accessories and whatnot to keep competing in the cut-throat world of school popularity.<br>
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Basically it's prostitution.<br>
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Next questions: The language teachers are all Japanese. The teachers for the other subjects are mostly Westerners, Americans, Canadians, maybe a couple Europeans, and one Taiwanese. The students are from everywhere, though about half of the 430 are from the U.S. I have personally met people from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, the Phillippines, Russia, Lithuania, Turkey, Israel, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, the U.K, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and Iceland. There are people from all over the place. <p><!--EZCODE HR START--><hr /><!--EZCODE HR END-->Jeremy Smith, ex-VP, ex-Scribe, Viking, hanger-on, Stranger in a Strange Land... Japan.<br>
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Re: riddle me this???

Postby nonee » Mon Oct 24, 2005 5:52 pm

What have you seen/heard of the yakuza?<br>
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I've been doing some research, but all the more accurate stuff I've found is over ten years old, and i've seen a news article about homeless yakuza.. are they being cracked down on? Do they get mentioned much on the news? <br>
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Re: There's 6 of us here... ask away.

Postby terra in essence » Tue Oct 25, 2005 2:16 am

YES! I have a question. Is Briana still alive, and if so.. Email me. Oh, and buy me stuff. (I'll pay you back! Promise!) Oh and what's this I hear about you might STAY HOME at the semester break. WRONG. Lazy Bum...although I'm running low on people to obsess over naruto with... <!--EZCODE EMOTICON START |I --><img src=http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/tired.gif ALT="|I"><!--EZCODE EMOTICON END--> <p></p><i></i>

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Re: riddle me this???

Postby tallasse » Tue Oct 25, 2005 2:21 am

The real Yakuza are not like in movies. They are not like organized crime in any other part of the world... they have a unique relationship with Japan and the government that I personally think is great.<br>
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Basically, the Yakuza are part of the system. Yes, technically they commit crimes, but they do the dirtier work of society without causing any trouble. The Yakuza openly keep offices emblazoned with their logos in major cities, publish newspapers and magazines, and run businesses in plain sight, while the police and government pretend that no such thing is happening.<br>
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Why? Because the Yazuka are an integral part of Japanese society. No modern government can endorse black market goods, prostitution, and the like, but the Japanese government realizes there will always be a market for it. So rather than try to fight it like the U.S. government, creating a huge conflict and driving values up through scarcity, the government allows them to do their work, as long as they do it without causing undue stress on society. <br>
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For the most part, that is what the Yazuka does. They're fair-minded, patriotic businessmen. They're patriotic, they're honest, and they go out of their way to not bother private citizens.<br>
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For instance, pachinko parlors are EVERYWHERE in Japan. Every 10 feet is a big building packed with addicted gamblers feeding metal balls into a machine with a naked lady on it. But they're not gambling for money, that's illegal in Japan. What do they win? Plastic trinkets. Woo. What a waste of money, right? Wrong. Right next to every pachinko parlor in Japan is a little booth with a counter and tiny (20cm x 20cm, really small) windows. When you are done gambling, you get your trinket prizes, take them to the shop next door, and put your trinkets in the window. Poof! Your trinkets disappear, cash appears! Now, eventually the prizes would run out, right? Wrong. The little shop sells the trinkets back to the pachinko parlor to be given out again. All legitimate business, right? The parlor isn't doing anything illegal, they give out prizes, like Chuck-e-Cheese or something. The shop isn't doing anything illegal, right? They just buy second-hand goods from whoever happens to have them. It's not their fault that the pachinko parlor happens to give away the exact trinkets they are interested in buying. And the parlor has to get more trinkets from somewhere, and the shop happens to have a huge supply of them. It only makes sense to sell them to the pachinko parlor, right? It's all legal, this little cycle. Guess who runs the trinket exchange? Yup, the Yakuza. Gambling is illegal, but people want to do it anyway. So the Yakuza greases the wheels a bit and sets up an operation to make it all legal, and the government is happy.<br>
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The Yazuka aren't vindictive or extortive, either. Chad's host father was part of a lawsuit against a Yakuza group who purchased land next to his office without permission of the neighborhood association. Yes, he sued the Yakuza. And he won, too. What happened? Did the Yakuza threaten him, kill him? No. They apologized for making the purchase without following the proper procedures, and returned the land parcel. Good Japanese citizens with a mind for civic affairs.<br>
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Not only are they part of the system and part of society, they're also fiercely patriotic, too. They will do the things that society wants when the government's hands are tied. In 1995, the AUM Shinrikyo cult perpetrated a series of deadly sarin gas attacks in and around Tokyo. When the cult leaders were caught, it was a given that they'd be tried and found guilty, but it would be a lengthy, drawn-out process. The main guru was kept under heavy guard, but some of the other leaders weren't so carefully guarded. What happened? A Yakuza member broke through the police escort and stabbed one to death on live television. He didn't resist, or try to blame someone else, he simply stabbed the cultist, dropped his knife, and waited to be arrested. The Yakuza, meting out instant justice to an enemy of the Japanese people. And they still keep an eye on the cult to this day. The Yakuza support neighborhood watch groups, run citizen awareness meetings, and lead investigations into the financial and personal activities of the remaining members. Doing their part to protect Japan.<br>
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They're even devoutly religious. Here in the Osaka area, there's a world-famous shrine, the Fushimi Inari Taisha, it's the #1 shrine in Japan for business matters. Companies that want Inari's assistance in the success of their business donate to the shrine, buying (for large amounts of money, $80,000 for the smallest) torii, the big Shinto gates marking a holy place, to be placed on the walk of a thousand torii. The larger the donation, the larger tge gate. If you take the right path down the walk of torii, you will find one of the biggest torii at the shrine, always freshly painted, always meticulously maintained. Who donated the hundreds of thousands of dollars for it? The Yakuza. Yakuza members are often found at this shrine, praying for the success of their business like any other businessman in Japanese society. <br>
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The Yakuza are being affected by the recession as much as any other business in Japan, and they've had to lay people off too. And they do get mentioned in the news, just not ina bad way. Recently the head of the Yamaguchi-gumi Yakuza gang retired and a new leader was selected. The news reported on the possible candidates and on the eventual choice, same as they would the replacement of any CEO. The government definitely isn't cracking down, because that would be counter-productive. The Yakuza have their place in society, and the government has theirs. For the average Japanese, it all works out invisibly, and therefore is fine.<br>
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That was a long answer... <p><!--EZCODE HR START--><hr /><!--EZCODE HR END-->Jeremy Smith, ex-VP, ex-Scribe, Viking, hanger-on, Stranger in a Strange Land... Japan.<br>
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Re: riddle me this???

Postby new fate26 » Tue Oct 25, 2005 10:38 am

This might seem kind of selfish but what movies/tv shows have yall been able to see that we can pray to be imported that hasn't already? <p></p><i></i>

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Re: riddle me this???

Postby tallasse » Tue Oct 25, 2005 10:57 am

I dunno about everyone else, but I have been somewhat avoiding anime and whatnot since I got here. I watched half an episode of Super GALS one night, and I watch some quiz shows and Hanshin Tigers games. That's about it. <p><!--EZCODE HR START--><hr /><!--EZCODE HR END-->Jeremy Smith, ex-VP, ex-Scribe, Viking, hanger-on, Stranger in a Strange Land... Japan.<br>
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Re: riddle me this???

Postby NoWingedAngel » Tue Oct 25, 2005 10:40 pm

What role in society does Japan's royal family play? Are the mostly ignored, or are they admired celebrities a la the British royal family? <p>Fear Denies Faith.<br>
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Re: riddle me this???

Postby nonee » Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:23 am

Thank you so much! ^__^ That pretty much follows everything I've been reading so far, good to know it's still info I can use. And long answers rock. <br>
<br>
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Re: riddle me this???

Postby tallasse » Wed Oct 26, 2005 2:53 am

The Imperial Family is another peculiar position. Technically, they have no power, they are just figureheads. <br>
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On the other hand, reverence for the emperor is widespread and universal. They may have renounced their divinity, but they haven't fallen too far. They aren't in a crisis like the British royal family, where half the country isn't sure whether or not they should even exist.<br>
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In general, they don't interfere with society too much. They generally attend religious and international functions quietly. But when a major issue arises, if the empreror takes an open, public stance, (which doesn't happen often, but it does happen) it's a huge deal. If he says, "perhaps this is not a good direction," the direction changes. His word isn't law, but it's not often than someone will contradict him. <p><!--EZCODE HR START--><hr /><!--EZCODE HR END-->Jeremy Smith, ex-VP, ex-Scribe, Viking, hanger-on, Stranger in a Strange Land... Japan.<br>
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