Thanks to everybody who’s posted so far.
This has been pretty interesting and helpful.
Anybody else out there with something to say?
Again, I really appreciate this… Thanks.
I’m of two minds about Japan itself. I go through periods of being absolutely enthralled with the country, the beauty, the relative peace, the kindness of its people, the celebrity status I am afforded; other days I am appalled and disgusted at the ugliness, noise, the arrogance and ignorance of the people, and the subvert and occasionally overt racism which I encounter.
I think it will really depend upon your expectations and mindstate whether you love it or hate it, and that is usually the way it goes. Japan is so far removed from the West, still, that there are usually very few ‘between’ opinions. Unless you count mine, which would could be considered bipolar, I guess.
If you intend to speak the language, this is one of the few countries I have ever visited where you will have to be basically perfect before people will consider communicating with you in Japanese (or, if they do, it will be extremely condescending, though they don’t realize it comes off this way).
No matter how bad their English, and I have have encountered some bad, bad, bad English communication that should have just taken place in Japanese. I managed, after, I would say, 3 1/2 years, to overcome this extremely annoying obstacle, and now my Japanese is at a level, finally, where I can just overpower most people when talking to them so that they won’t feel comfortable replying in English.
This sounds rude, but if you won’t do it it’ll get done to you, and it is incredibly hard to ‘practice’ your Japanese if you don’t adopt this hardass attitude.
Though my Japanese speaking, reading and writing is excellent now (5 years here and counting), I still encounter situations all the time where I will make a full statement to someone in perfect Japanese, and they will, smiling, turn to my wife and respond as if I am not even there.
This, probably more than any other thing, used to drive me absolutely batshit. I would check and make sure I hadn’t said anything wrong, my pronunciation was great. No, many Japanese just can’t imagine that a gaijin is capable of speaking ‘their’ language.
Finding a gym outside of a big city is a bitch, btw, and so is finding a good variety of ‘Western style’ bodybuilding food, but I’ll save it for another post, this is gettin long
Do you own a school out there? And out of curiosity are you Australian?