Training in Japan, a few tips!

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Brian R. VanCise, Sep 17, 2004.

  1. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    One piece of advice to add.

    There are places in Tokyo where you can get uniforms made with your name on them. I would reccomend you go with katakana which is used as a phonetic alphabet for non- Japanese words. Unless you really, really know the language well, don't even think about using kanji - the pictogram part of Japanese. You may note that the guys who know the lnaguage well all go with katakana. You would be best to follow their lead. It is too easy to foul up the kanji- even if you ask a Japanese to write it for you.

    And if you don't believe me, ask the guy in Nagase Dojo we are now calling "Jurassic Park." :rofl:
     
  2. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    Just to emphisize the above point.....

    Do not make 'talky talky' gestures with your hand at the translators or otherwise order them to do something for you.

    And the Japanese are pretty much forgiving to people who do not know all the fine points of Japanese customs and manners as long as you are fairly respectfull in your attitude. But for Cthulu's sake, would people try some of the stuff I have seen go on here in their home countries?

    Ignoring a person's request that you do not try cooking in the dojo they let you sleep in and ending up burning it to the ground is not a small cultural thing. The same goes for talking loudly while the teacher is talking, screaming at any time, etc.

    There was an old comedy program called Barney Miller with an episode that stands out in my mind. A Puerto Rican police officer is bringing in a hispanic perp when the perp makes a comment in Spainish and the officer cuts him off in the same language.

    Perp- "Hey man! Why didn't you tell me you were Puerto Rican?"

    Officer- "Are you kidding? How the heck do you think I feel when I hear someone scream 'help police' and find some Puerto Rican beating the hell out of someone? I want to pull my gun out and say (switching to British accent) 'I say ol' chap! Do be a love and but your hands up! Cheerio!'"

    Sometimes I feel like I am living that episode when I see some of the stupid stuff gaijin do in Japan away from the people they have to deal with on a regular basis. All their good sense and politeness goes out the door. I know I am not the only one that tends to avoid visiting students until we are pretty sure that they won't stand embaress us. I have had guys make obvious lewd comment about females that did not require any language ability to understand while standing next to me.

    When you travel in Japan, understand that you are guests. You are not expected to know everything, but try to think about the possibility that you may be offending someone before you do something. And don't be surprised if those of us that have to live here avoid you if you do not try to make that effort.
     
  3. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    One request by me.

    In Japan, a lot of males will drop their trousers and change into their uniforms in front of everyone- females included. And many non- Japanese have decided to be like the Romans in Rome.

    However- I think you should note that the Japanese that do that usually are wearing something like boxers. Saturday I saw the teacher change and he was wearing long underwear in August!

    Please, please, Please do not do like what I saw that day and wear sexy briefs with t-backs...... :anic: If you do, please change out of sight. It sounds like common sense. But there is no test for that in the Bujinkan it seems.
     
  4. Kizaru

    Kizaru Purple Belt

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    By "t-backs" you mean "thong underwear" or "a G-string", right? "t-baku" is just a Japanese translitteration, right? You did get pictures of the guy in the thong to post all over the internet, right?
     
  5. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Common sence seems to be thrown out the window by
    some people! I saw the same thing multiple times when
    I was training in Japan and you are exactly right in that
    the the times I did see a Japanese change that way
    they were wearing more appropriate clothing underneath!
    Such as boxers, long underwear, etc.

    Brian R. VanCise
     
  6. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    I think it goes without saying that one shouldn't be late for appointments. Well, I was unlucky enough to do just that once. I was busy looking for something in Umesato (what I was looking for is another discussion altogether:uhyeah: ) and thus showed up a bit late for Noguchi's class. Of course I said hello to said gentleman before I joined in, but after 30 minutes or so I started to feel a little bit sick and feverish, which would get worse the day I left, so after a while I decided it would be best for me to leave. I walked up to Noguchi and said that I felt a little feverish (yes, in Japanese) and he said OK. I even tried to pay him for the class but he wanted me to keep the money, and so I went home to get a hold of some medicine.

    I did feel a whole lot better the next day though, so my illness didn't keep me from visiting Soke's class in the evening. Anyway, during the tea break, people I knew from before walked up to me and said "hey, where in the world did you go last night? What's that supposed to mean, just disappearing without warning?" with the obvious connotation of "who the hell do you think you are, first arriving late to a Japanese shihan's class and then walking out at the moment of your choosing, you little punk!?!?"
    Initially, I was furious at them for interpreting it like I was being a jerk to Noguchi, which was about the last thing I wanted to do while in Japan. I was just about to retort big time when I remembered where I was and who was sitting about three meters to my left, and so I settled on not uttering a single word to the people in question for the remainder of the evening.

    It would take several months before the misunderstanding was taken care of between me and the individuals in question, but looking back on it now it obviously seems quite pointless. Anyway, the next time I'm in Japan I'll be inclined to skip any and all classes I won't be able to make it to in time to make sure the incident doesn't repeat itself.
     
  7. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I know how you feel and have been in the exact same position of
    showing up late for a class in Japan! We got caught up with a
    few of our guys in our group staying out way to late and so we
    started late and arrived ten minutes late! I felt really bad, I am
    very punctual and rarely if almost never late for any appointment!
    The Shihan in question though, seemed really happy we were
    there and did not seem to mind! Whether this is the case I do
    not know, but we enjoyed all of his classes while we were there
    and he was always nice to us. With the travel time involved
    coming from Tokyo I am sure that this happens every now and
    then and that they take it in stride! However, I hate to be late
    for anything and it certainly made me feel really bad!

    Brian R. VanCise
     
  8. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    I don't think showing up late is quite that bad. But maybe if you get into the same situation in the future, you might think about putting off getting the medicine and sitting on the sidelines watching class. I doubt Noguchi would take offense, but it would have shown the others in the class the fact that you were not in a condition to train anymore. Try to look green at the same time. Trust me, dropping out of training is not frowned upon if you are sick. But you do have to worry about others whom you do not make explinations to spreading stories.
     
  9. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    I just find it sad that the Japanese national pastime of backstabbing gossip has spread to Bujinkan members of foreign nationalities...then again, who am I to talk - I'm fairly sure whom the gentleman who burned down a dojo in Japan is, as well as which shihan the dojo belonged to. :uhyeah:
     
  10. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    Is there no one out there that can take a very obvious hint?????

    I have maybe a year before I move back to America and would like to check out various areas while being able to show my wife just how nice an area they are. I am not the greatest in taijutsu (I train under them) but could be of help if you could just give us a place to stay and a tour for my better half while I teach your class.

    Consider this an appeal for a tour of an area to move near to in return for teaching the simple level of taijutsu I can understand while living here!!!!
     
  11. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    George Ohashi wrote this on Kutaki recently.

    What the hell is wrong with some people!!!!!

    You know there is a story behind that warning. It was not a pre-emptive strike. And you know it is not a case of someone who has a little beer on his breath but otherwise acts normal.

    Am I the only one that hears about these things and wonders why we have to make all these precautions against idiots? To me, showing up to class obviously intoxicated is outside my way of thinking. I can't imagine doing it anymore than sticking my hand in a meat grinder. It is just freaking common sense.

    So why the hell do we have to make announcements like this?

    For the love of all that is good, keep some decorum and try to use some common sense while in Japan. I have a nasty attitude towards a lot of non- Japanese in Japan until they prove they will not do something like this that makes us all look bad. People sail in, party and raise hell and then go home without ever having to live with the consequences of their actions. I have to live with it instead. There are restraunts near Ayase station that will turn away non-Japanese now. I never caused problems there. But because of some idiots my options for eating are now limited.

    Use common sense when you come here people!!!!! Just because no one says anything to the guy walking down the street in Manhatten while picking his nose does not mean it is acceptable. Things work the same here. By the time someone tells you to stop you have probably already ruined your reputation. I do not think the drunkards will ever be fully forgiven. And they could have had a lot more help with their taijutsu in the future instead of being allowed to wallow in their ignorance if they had only used a little common sense.
     
  12. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I couldn't imagine anyone ever showing up for
    class drunk! I guess some people just throw
    common sence to the wind when in another
    country! Don, you are right unfortunately it
    then makes everyone look bad!

    Brian R. VanCise
     
  13. Bigshadow

    Bigshadow Senior Master

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    You know, I saw that post on Kutaki and I was in disbelief. I couldn't believe that Ohashi-san had to say that. It just makes sense not to consume alcohol before training.

    I have not been to Japan yet, my plans are Daikyomyosai (sp?) next year (2006). I am an extremely polite person here in the USA and of course I am a littled worried I would still do something offense, so I am taking the time to read posts like these on Kutaki and also pretty much anything Ohashi-san puts out about coming to Japan, what to do and not to do, plus all the common sense stuff.

    Of course, so far, I am just appalled that people would do the things they do there. Such as the whole trash issue, alcohol, and doing things in class to draw unwanted attention.

    I am looking forward to making trips to Japan.
     
  14. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    BigShadow,

    You will love it! I cannot wait to go back next summer! I really
    think that if you are considerate and use good common sence
    you will not have any problems. I felt very welcomed there and
    all of the Shihan really tried to make us feel welcomed and
    taught at a fantastic level! Soke, of course is beyond fantastic
    and his classes were a true delight as well as mind blowing.
    Go as soon as your able you will not regret it! Personally I am
    going when it is the hottest! Hot = less people, more space
    and possibly better individual attention. Though you could
    not go wrong going to daikyomyosai either!

    Brian R. VanCise
     
  15. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    If everything works out with my new job there's a chance I'll be back to Japan sometime next year as well.

    And if the pasta restaurant outside Ayase station is now among those places that don't serve foreigners, the guys responsible for it are going to bleed...:rpo:
     
  16. Bigshadow

    Bigshadow Senior Master

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    I am going to go over with my instructor, otherwise, if I were by myself, I would be LOST!
     
  17. Grey Eyed Bandit

    Grey Eyed Bandit Master of Arts

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    I went by myself, and that worked out fine. On the other hand, there were several people whom I knew from before there as well. But still, keep handy a Japanese dictionary, the address of the place you're staying at as well as lots of cash and a good smile and you should probably be fine.
     
  18. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    You know what got me... It was the fact that I saw the post, got the story from someone else and when I went back to the original message no one had responded.

    I am not registered at Kutaki. But a lot of people are. No one posted anything that was the equivelent of a jaw hitting the floor. I could not understand the silence at first. Then I realized...

    Stories of people getting drunk and doing stupid things in Japan are old news to most of us.

    People do things here that they would never do if they had to look at their neighbors for the rest of their lives and know they knew. When I take different cars on the train from people returning from training it is because I have talked with people on platforms only to have them suddenly make loud and obviously lewd comments about women walking by. You do not need to understand Japanese to know what they were thinking and saying.

    They would not do it in their home countries in front of people they have to live with. But they do it here. And they harm those of us that do live here and the Bujinkan as a whole.

    Think I am just being a ninny? There are people who have had to have the police take them off of those huge electrical wire towers while drunk. The Chiba SWAT team has shown up to the apartment of at least one Bujinkan member. Some visitors ignored Oguri's rule about no cooking in the dojo they were staying at and burned it down.

    Oh, I could go on for pages here. But you get the point. People forget to act like there are consequences to their acts while in Japan.

    And I do not want to be anywhere near them when they do.

    Some of the older folks may remember an old sitcom called "Barney Miller." One of the episodes had a Puerto Rican Detective bringing in a hispanic suspect. When the perp says something in Spainish, he is told to shut up in the same language.

    "Hey, why didn't you tell me you were Puerto Rican?" says the perp.

    "Are you kidding," responds the cop. "How the heck do you think I feel when I hear someone scream 'help, police he is trying to kill me' only to find a Puerto Rican beating the hell out of someone? I want to pull out my gun and say (switching to an English Accent) 'I say, would you be a good chap and put your hands up. Hip, hip cheerio!'"

    Some people living in Japan who translate are pretty friendly and open. Some tend to be stand- offish. Before you brand the latter as a bunch of Japan Elitists, try to imagine all the guys who came before you. You don't have to see most of the people on the platform again after making a wolf whistle and licking motions. But the guys who live here might see them again. :soapbox:
     
  19. Bigshadow

    Bigshadow Senior Master

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    Don,

    I can sympathize with you. I think there is alot of common sense things that cross national boundaries and are universal and everyone understands. Being polite and respectful is easy to do, I don't understand why people find it so difficult to do. Well, I definitely will not fit in with the people you described. :)

    I didn't reply to Ohashi-san's post because I was shocked (I am registered with Kutaki and on there often) and didn't know what to say and I felt it had a very powerful message in and of itself.

    There are many posts on Kutaki by Ohashi-san asking that people don't leave their water bottles and trash in the Hombu when they leave. I couldn't believe he had to ask... and ask... and ask.... I was shocked. I wonder if they leave trash in their own dojos? I like the mantra "If you pack it in, pack it out!" Got that from my off-roading people and the Tread-Lightly program.
     
  20. Eireannach

    Eireannach White Belt

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