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.






Ari Boettcher

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

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