This blog was running a poll on this subject. The question was;
‘Do you think Japanese people are fairly good to Foreigners?’
78% of the visitors to this blog responded that Japanese people are fairly good to foreign people.
21% of the visitors said ‘To some extent’ Japanese people are good
Only 1% of the visitors told that Japanese people are not good to foreign people.
What I conclude from the poll and along with my 10 months living experience in Japan is Japanese people are really good to foreigners.
Almost 95% of the visitors to this blog are foreigners. Foreigners themselves say that they do not face any kind of discrimination in public in Japan compared to many other countries. Many times the fear of Japanese people to talk in English is misinterpreted as aversion towards foreigners.
My own experience says I have not faced any discrimination till now. I used to commute the heavily crowded Toei trains and Tozai line trains in the morning and evenings. Literally the people are sand-witched. Had any of the Japanese man or woman or child showed any kind of dislike towards a foreigner at their face or action, I could have sensed it.
Reading through some Forums for foreigners, I had gone through many statements that they have faced discrimination in Japan. Some of the foreign people said, Japanese people are racists. In one discussion, when I commented that it may be due to the English speaking fear of Japanese people and told my own experience during the past months, I got the answer that ‘Jayaprakash is the lucky Indian’, who have not faced any discrimination till now in Japan.
I really don’t know on what basis some foreigners who lived in Japan say that Japanese people discriminated them. I have written in this blog on June that I used to attend a physiotherapy course for the disc prolapse and sciatic pain. 5 days a week I continued the course for 3 months and now continuing 2 days a week.
The clinic I have been going is having only Japanese staff and nurses. They do not speak English and I am not fluent in Japanese. I am the only foreigner patient visiting the clinic as far as I know. As part of the treatment, the doctor and the medical staff have to touch the body. I have not seen any kind of negative attitude towards me from any of them. In fact, they treat me as if I am a Japanese and exchange all kinds of wishing words in Japanese while I enter the clinic and leaving the clinic after treatment.
Coming out of the clinic, I used to enter the nearby convenient store (kombini in Japanese!) to buy snacks and juice. Instead of discrimination, I have seen the little sales girls who show interest to receive money from a foreigner!. That was really surprising to me when I thought of the bad experiences narrated in the websites and forums on discrimination of foreigners in Japan.
Frankly and very truly I can say, I have not faced any kind of discrimination or racism in Japan.
To mention one more warm relationship I have with my hairdresser Takagawa san, who runs his Hairdressing saloon near Toyocho. Every month I visit his saloon. He knows my choice in the Indian hair style. Only once for the first time in March 2008, I explained in my broken Japanese to him about my hair style. He do not ask me every month about the way my hair should look like. He knows. He talks in Japanese while dressing my hair. I could catch 20% of his words and the remaining portions I correlate and guess. The communication is all about an understanding between two people, not really all about language!
Some day, it will be time for Takagawa-san and his wife to take snacks and traditional Japanese food. All the time they have invited me to join with them. One day, Mrs. Takagawasan gave me a set of traditional Japanese food. At first, I hesitated to receive it from them. To be frank, it was due to my fear of getting discriminated from Japanese people as read in the forums and websites. They insisted me to take their food and I obeyed.
Having been passed through many incidents of life in Japan and mingled with Japanese people, if I am true to my heart, I can not say that ‘I face discrimination in Japan’. I am really sorry that I could not join that group of foreigners who likes to announce to the rest of the world that Japanese people discriminate foreigners.
For those who say Japanese people discriminate foreigners, I do not have any advice or do not know what you mean by discrimination. But think before announcing to the world: Is it only to catch the attention of public, because discrimination is an issue in your own country? So, you want to declare to the rest of the world that Japanese people are also not free from that devilish nature in the mind like your own country men?