The Japanese Mentality

The Japanese Mentality by Yumi K.

 Did you know that Japanese people are jealous of Europeans?

Japan is seen to have a lot of delicious food, kind people, beautiful cities and interesting culture – so why are Japanese people jealous of Europeans? I believe this reason lays in the difference of mentality and life experience.

When talking to international friends, I was surprised by how different our lives were. In Japan, growing up meant you went to middle and high school and then eventually to university. Rather than university being a choice, many went to university because it was expected of them and a higher paying job was connected to your university.  Because of this, even without having a goal or a dream, many simply studied hard to enter university rather than focusing on a separate dream as one might in Europe. Personally, I feel like Japanese people don’t think about their future life as much as other countries. Even for Japanese people that leave that frame that everyone else seems to follow, seem to face a lot of difficulty since society is focused on a specific way of living rather than trying out new things or taking time off (e.g gap year) to figure out your dreams and goals.

 An example of this is related to something a friend from France told me about. This friend was taking Japanese lessons at a language school in Japan. He mentioned that the teaching method was very different from the one used in France, with teachers focusing on direct teaching and repetition rather than the understanding of sentence structures as one would do in France. While my friend this was a good experience for him, it also shows the difference in lifestyle and teaching of both countries. Rather than thinking about how to make a sentence in English, in Japan we learn to memorize words instead. I did the same until high school which made speaking English naturally very hard when talking to native speakers. Because of that I think that Japan is bad at these subjects – of course, Japan has other good points. Meeting people from overseas has made me want to understand the way other people thinking and the good and bad things that play part in creating a good life – both in and out of Japan.

 Coming to Europe felt a lot like a culture shock, but understanding the people I met and the culture differences has made me aware of many things I hadn’t known about Japan before either. Because of this I would like to encourage people to travel to different countries or speak to people from other places and broaden your understanding of society, mentality and the world.

日本のメンタリティー

 日本人は、ヨーロッパ国々を羨むことを知っていましたか?ご飯が美味しい、人が優しい、街が綺麗というのに何故だろうか、、それは、他に理由があるのでは、ないだろうか。私は、メンタリティーや人生経験の違いにあると思う。

 海外の友達と話して驚いたことは、人生の考え方だ。日本では一般的に、中学、高校、大学、就職という流れがある。良い企業に入るために頭の良い大学に行く、そういう敷きたりが多いと未だに感じる。~をしたい、~になりたい、という気持ちや考えを持って進学をする人は、私が出会った経験上、海外の人と比べて日本は少ないと思う。自由に考えたいと思っても、みんなが働いているからこうしなくちゃいけないという社会の流れが私たちの根強い人生観を構築したのだと感じる。

 また、日本で日本語を勉強しているフランス人の友達ができた。日本語学校の話を聞いたところ、日本の教え方は、これだからこれ。理由はない。ダイレクトに教える。例えばがない。と言って、彼は違いと不満を述べた。たしかに、英単語帳を丸暗記する学生を電車の中で見ることは多い。私も高校生まではそのような勉強の仕方をしてきたが、実際テストの点数だけで実践的ではなかったと思う。私の友達は、悪いこともあるがいい部分もたくさんあると言って現在はたくさんの経験をしている。

 これだけで比べると日本が良くないように思えるが、日本にも他に良いところはたくさんある。良いところ悪いところから見えてきた課題や考え方を理解して、良い人生を作っていきたいといつも海外の人たちと出会って、そう思う。

Ari Boettcher

Ari - Freelance Writer and Illustrator with an interest in Japan and Japanese culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *