Good Morning



  • I don't know if I've posted this before, but anyway, here it goes.

     I was reading this piece about a life in Japan by a games designer. The piece itself is about Japanese culture in general although there was a bit that you might find interesting:

     

    'In many Japanese offices, you're required to scream "Good morning!"
    at the top of your lungs, clapping your hands to your thighs, as soon as
    you enter the office area every morning. Everyone in the office then
    shouts "Good morning!" back to you. At my orientation for one company,
    the Human Resources Girl — whose face (figuratively) literally
    screamed "Hall Monitor" — was going over the "Good Morning!" protocol.
    Her explanation weird despite its terseness: "This is how adults
    interact in Japan." Most of the people at the orientation, like me, were
    under twenty-five. "Before we move onto the next item, does anyone have
    any questions?" I seriously and portentously asked a question, then,
    which I thought was hilarious: "If we're the first one in the office in
    the morning, do we still have to scream 'Good Morning' and clap our
    hands to the sides of our legs?" Her answer was immediate, and
    humorless: "Yes." "Well, I mean, there's no one else around to hear it,
    right?" "You still have to do it. It's the rule. Every employee
    must do this. That's why we call it 'protocol.'" This instant was
    actually the very first time I begin to ponder the logistics of actually
    going ahead and being homeless. You know, cardboard, up against
    concrete, is not only not uncomfortable — it's pretty good for your
    spine!

    I pushed further: "What if I am the second person in the office, and the first person is someone with whom I have, previously, managed to successfully cultivate a congenial personal relationship? What if it's a person whose first and last name I know, with whom I share interests and hobbies, and we've previously agreed that we think this 'Good morning' shit is some serious bullshit, and we just agree to be like, 'Hey, what's up' to one another in the morning and we've also agreed that hey, if anyone else asks, we'll just go ahead and say 'Oh yeah, that dude totally screamed "Good morning" to me this morning'?"

    The HR girl didn't even blink: "You still have to carry out the customary 'Good Morning.'"

    How this relates to videogames: That company I talk about in the above paragraphs? They were a (pretty big) Japanese game company. These are the kinds of things the people who make your favorite Japanese games are forced to do every day.

    It's worth noting that I got friendly with a guy in the office — and one day, he happened to be first in the office, and I was second. I didn't say good morning to him. He came over to my desk about two minutes after I'd settled in. "You forgot to say good morning."

    "Yeah, I know, dude. How are you doing today?"

    ". . . You know, I don't really mind, myself, though you really do have to say good morning. If there were more people in the office, and not just me, they would think you were not part of the team. Even if it's just me in the office when you get in, you should try getting into the habit of saying good morning in my presence. This is just how we do things in Japan, Tim."

    "Well, [Name-removed]-san, you can try putting 'san' on the end of my fucking name from now on, then, you know, as practice."

    Really — all these customs and politeness and whatever, and they go and throw out the customary name suffix and just call me "Tim". Why not "Tim-san"? I'm required to put "san" on the end of their names. It's a little . . . suspicious. I knew from the beginning that I would never "fit in" whether I wanted to or not; well, this was probably around when the rest of the world got the memo.

    I never talked to that guy again! From that day on, when I arrived in the office and he was the only other person there, I wold snap my fingers, point directly at him, and then, when I had gotten his attention, I'd give him a sharp military salute, letting some huge "HOOH" sound escape the back of my throat.'

     

    Source here if you're interested.

     



  • I'd prefer that over what I find where I work.  You have to be pretty friendly with someone  for them to even make eye contact when passing them in the hall.  Most people here would rather stare at their shoes or straight ahead (like a zombie) than say "Hello" to another human being.  If greet others first, most times you will be ignored.  Consequently, I don't say hello to most people here anymore.  I've never worked anywhere else where this is the case.  It's very odd.



  • I've read that before. It's an interesting article, but that guy's obviously a total asshole. I don't know if it's for religious reasons, or what, but most of his complaints sum up to... well, him basically being some weird combination of Amish and hippie vegan who also works on video games. There's basically no place on earth that guy would fit in.

    Edit: one thing I enjoy about his diatribe: he doesn't pull punches about the casual racism present in Japanese society, like the blurb about not adding -san to his name above. So many other people, when describing Japan, completely gloss-over things like that, or mention it in a pragmatic no-nonsense way: "in most areas, you must be Japanese to buy a house", as if that's God's own dictate and not a petty, racist, law.



  • @DOA said:

    These are the kinds of things the people who make your favorite Japanese games are forced to do every day.

    Not since about 1996 has Japan made a game that I like, let alone would consider my favourite. Every game is either ridiculously campy melodrama or a hyperactive missile storm.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I've read that before. It's an interesting article, but that guy's obviously a total asshole. I don't know if it's for religious reasons, or what, but most of his complaints sum up to... well, him basically being some weird combination of Amish and hippie vegan who also works on video games. There's basically no place on earth that guy would fit in.

    Edit: one thing I enjoy about his diatribe: he doesn't pull punches about the casual racism present in Japanese society, like the blurb about not adding -san to his name above. So many other people, when describing Japan, completely gloss-over things like that, or mention it in a pragmatic no-nonsense way: "in most areas, you must be Japanese to buy a house", as if that's God's own dictate and not a petty, racist, law.

     

    You know, I gotta kinda agree on you with that.

     Also love this:

    [...] Anyway, I brought up the "irasshaimase" thing, and she groaned. Her first explanation was the knee-jerk: "It's a Japanese thing."

    [...]

    Like, during orientation at a Japanese company, you're told to use the word "Otsukaresamadesu!" when greeting other employees either in the hallway, at the coffee machine, or even on a train station platform on the weekend. The word means, more or less, "You are tired!" The progression goes like this: When you see someone in the office before noon, you are to tell them "good morning." After lunch has finished, leading right up to the end of the day, it's "You are tired!" So there you have it: Japanese people in the office are expected to work themselves to tiredness before lunch. Or maybe they're expected to eat so much that they get tired.

    He acts like his own language don't have these "things" to them. He acted like japanese were retard for saying something so stupid and for it being a japanese thing.

    Every language have words that people use VERY often that mean a very specific thing but is used casually as a whole different thing. Like say the word "fuck". God, the more I read his article, the more angry I get at him.

     Also, the whole "Otsukaresamadesu!" means kinda like "Good work" or "keep up the good work" in it's used context.

     



  • @BlackMan890 said:

    He acts like his own language don't have these "things" to them. He acted like japanese were retard for saying something so stupid and for it being a japanese thing.

    I'm re-reading the article (bored at work), and yeah. Even weirder, he does bring up an English word that has absolutely no meaning: "hello".

    I get the impression that his real beef is:
    1) he's upset that in Japan, words that mean nothing (like the English "hello" and "ouch") also have a literal meaning
    2) it's fucking annoying that the guy in the jeans store yells it over and over

    I can definitely sympathize with 2), but 1) seems... not that weird at all, frankly.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I get the impression that his real beef is:

    1) he's upset that in Japan, words that mean nothing (like the English "hello" and "ouch") also have a literal meaning

    2) it's fucking annoying that the guy in the jeans store yells it over and over

    I can definitely sympathize with 2), but 1) seems... not that weird at all, frankly.

    So....when he says hello, he doesn't mean anything? Maybe he means...doesn't have some other, culturally determined, idiomatic meaning?

    What cracks me up is watching Japanese shows (especially stuff like Ninja Warrior) where you hear so many english words. Like the names of some of the obstacles: Spider Walk. I guess they just give them english names to sound more interesting / exotic to the Japanese audience.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    I get the impression that his real beef is:
    1) he's upset that in Japan, words that mean nothing (like the English "hello" and "ouch") also have a literal meaning
    2) it's fucking annoying that the guy in the jeans store yells it over and over

    I can definitely sympathize with 2), but 1) seems... not that weird at all, frankly.

    So....when he says hello, he doesn't mean anything? Maybe he means...doesn't have some other, culturally determined, idiomatic meaning?

    What cracks me up is watching Japanese shows (especially stuff like Ninja Warrior) where you hear so many english words. Like the names of some of the obstacles: Spider Walk. I guess they just give them english names to sound more interesting / exotic to the Japanese audience.

    In some cases yes, they do just that for several reasons including what you said.

    Others are: the word doesn't exist and they had to make it up or use a foreign word or a combination such as Merikan ko.  Also some part of the japanese youth has been influenced by gaijin culture and programs targeted at them have a lot foreign (english or otherwise) words



  • @boomzilla said:


    What cracks me up is watching Japanese shows (especially stuff like Ninja Warrior) where you hear so many english words. Like the names of some of the obstacles: Spider Walk. I guess they just give them english names to sound more interesting / exotic to the Japanese audience.

    Yeah, god how I love to hear japanese show pronounce english words. Its god-awful-awesome.

    Also, I want to point out something:

    Maybe if I moved out to Osaka, things would be better. What things, though? Well, maybe the people wouldn't bother me so much. Though you know what, if I'm going to choose my place to live based entirely on how little I mind the surrounding people, or if I'm going to live somewhere I wouldn't have to deal with people at all,it might as well be somewhere I wouldn't have to pay quite as much for vegetarian recipe ingredients.

    Let me paraphrase:

    I hate it when people bother me or talk to me. I prefer the surrounding people to be zombie like. Did I mention I love Equilibrium?

     



  • @frits said:

    I'd prefer that over what I find where I work.  You have to be pretty friendly with someone  for them to even make eye contact when passing them in the hall.  Most people here would rather stare at their shoes or straight ahead (like a zombie) than say "Hello" to another human being.  If greet others first, most times you will be ignored.  Consequently, I don't say hello to most people here anymore.  I've never worked anywhere else where this is the case.  It's very odd.

    Wouldn't it be really funny if they thought the same thing when they started at your company, then as you said, "Consequently, I don't say hello to most people here anymore".



  • For another gaijin view on Japan, I used to read Azrael's editorials (link). He's an English teacher in Japan, and he dealt up with a lot of... Cultural shock as well.

    But then again, we're talking about the country where they came up with Hard Gay (not what you're thinking, also SFW).



  • One of his earlier articles has this tidbit:

    It only takes one jerk to prove any hypothesis absolutely false

    Like, have you ever heard the rumor that you can drop cash on the street in Tokyo and the people are so honest that someone will find it, pick it up, and take it to the cops? Well, that's absolutely 100% not true, because I once found a plain envelope on the ground with "6,000 yen" written on it. Inside was 6,000 yen. I put it in my pocket and kept walking.

    Hahaha.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    One of his earlier articles has this tidbit:

    It only takes one jerk to prove any hypothesis absolutely false

    Like, have you ever heard the rumor that you can drop cash on the street in Tokyo and the people are so honest that someone will find it, pick it up, and take it to the cops? Well, that's absolutely 100% not true, because I once found a plain envelope on the ground with "6,000 yen" written on it. Inside was 6,000 yen. I put it in my pocket and kept walking.

    Hahaha.

     

    Oh my god, that article is golden. It has so much fail and head-desk moments I can't even begin to count them. Even the title was hilarious xD
    You know, people like him is the reason why the world is as bad as it is. Everything he says and does, he does so in childish way ("I know what I'm doing", "Stop telling me what to do", "You are stupid" and so on).

    [rant]

    Wow, I wish someone would just kill him. He is being disrespectfull to EVERYONE around him, expects EVERYONE to respect him, he acts like a jerk, talks like a jerk, is a social akward lifeless idiot and ignores everyone while criticising veryone for doing the same thing.

    [/rant]

     



  • @C-Octothorpe said:

    @frits said:

    I'd prefer that over what I find where I work.  You have to be pretty friendly with someone  for them to even make eye contact when passing them in the hall.  Most people here would rather stare at their shoes or straight ahead (like a zombie) than say "Hello" to another human being.  If greet others first, most times you will be ignored.  Consequently, I don't say hello to most people here anymore.  I've never worked anywhere else where this is the case.  It's very odd.

    Wouldn't it be really funny if they thought the same thing when they started at your company, then as you said, "Consequently, I don't say hello to most people here anymore".

    I'm pretty sure there is a lot to that.  It's a really big company and I remember visiting another site several years ago and encountering the same phenomenon.  The location where I work and this other site are both in the R&D part of our business.  I think it's almost like a virus of sorts.

    Also, we have a lot of 20-somethings with CS degrees, so there's that too.



  • @frits said:

    Also, we have a lot of 20-somethings with CS degrees, so there's that too.

    Weird, most 20-somethings with CS degrees I've met are actually quite sociable, albeit nerdy...  I guess just depending on if they have a masters or not as I know a couple who do have theirs and they are pretty much shut-ins.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    I get the impression that his real beef is:

    1) he's upset that in Japan, words that mean nothing (like the English "hello" and "ouch") also have a literal meaning

    2) it's fucking annoying that the guy in the jeans store yells it over and over

    I can definitely sympathize with 2), but 1) seems... not that weird at all, frankly.

    So....when he says hello, he doesn't mean anything? Maybe he means...doesn't have some other, culturally determined, idiomatic meaning?

    What cracks me up is watching Japanese shows (especially stuff like Ninja Warrior) where you hear so many english words. Like the names of some of the obstacles: Spider Walk. I guess they just give them english names to sound more interesting / exotic to the Japanese audience.

    So what? Do you know what Hollywood movies do to the German (or other foreign) language? Most of the times, it sounds like the actor was trained by someone whose grandfather met a guy in a bar who admitted to having seen a German from afar when he flew his bomber over Germany.

    I mean, there are those stupid lines when someone asks the hero: "But, do you speak so-and-so?" And the hero promptly proceeds to mangle the foreign language in such a way that he would be spotted from a mile away! (Bourne, I'm looking at you!) And those guys are supposed to be undercover agents!



  • @Rhywden said:

    @boomzilla said:
    What cracks me up is watching Japanese shows (especially stuff like Ninja Warrior) where you hear so many english words. Like the names of some of the obstacles: Spider Walk. I guess they just give them english names to sound more interesting / exotic to the Japanese audience.

    So what? Do you know what Hollywood movies do to the German (or other foreign) language? Most of the times, it sounds like the actor was trained by someone whose grandfather met a guy in a bar who admitted to having seen a German from afar when he flew his bomber over Germany.

    I mean, there are those stupid lines when someone asks the hero: "But, do you speak so-and-so?" And the hero promptly proceeds to mangle the foreign language in such a way that he would be spotted from a mile away! (Bourne, I'm looking at you!) And those guys are supposed to be undercover agents!


    Two points:

    1. Hey, at least they're speaking the right language.
    2. No one in Hollyweird cares about your language.
    3. The foreign language skills may be the most believable things about the movie.


  • @boomzilla said:

    @Rhywden said:
    @boomzilla said:
    What cracks me up is watching Japanese shows (especially stuff like Ninja Warrior) where you hear so many english words. Like the names of some of the obstacles: Spider Walk. I guess they just give them english names to sound more interesting / exotic to the Japanese audience.

    So what? Do you know what Hollywood movies do to the German (or other foreign) language? Most of the times, it sounds like the actor was trained by someone whose grandfather met a guy in a bar who admitted to having seen a German from afar when he flew his bomber over Germany.

    I mean, there are those stupid lines when someone asks the hero: "But, do you speak so-and-so?" And the hero promptly proceeds to mangle the foreign language in such a way that he would be spotted from a mile away! (Bourne, I'm looking at you!) And those guys are supposed to be undercover agents!


    Two points:

    1. Hey, at least they're speaking the right language.
    2. No one in Hollyweird cares about your language.
    3. The foreign language skills may be the most believable things about the movie.

    Let me make a few things clear:

    a: No, they don't speak the right language. They're rehearsing some words which neither form a valid sentence nor do they sound anything like they're supposed to.

    b: I was addressing the hipocrisy of laughing at the Japanese's attempts to use English while ignoring the fact that your own movies do the exact same thing!

    c: RottenTomatoes does not agree with you



  • When I enter my team's area in the morning, I say "Word, bitches." 

    Am I the only one?



  • @Rhywden said:

    @boomzilla said:
    Two points:

    1. Hey, at least they're speaking the right language.
    2. No one in Hollyweird cares about your language.
    3. The foreign language skills may be the most believable things about the movie.

    Let me make a few things clear:

    a: No, they don't speak the right language. They're rehearsing some words which neither form a valid sentence nor do they sound anything like they're supposed to.

    b: I was addressing the hipocrisy of laughing at the Japanese's attempts to use English while ignoring the fact that your own movies do the exact same thing!

    c: RottenTomatoes does not agree with you

    I dunno...they sound close enough to me, so I'm guessing that they sound like they're supposed to. Everything they say is just some rehearsed words.

    I don't see any hypocrisy here. A character speaking a foreign language in a movie, in the appropriate context, is pretty different from using foreign words to describe something meant for domestic consumption. If a show started using Japanese or German words for things in a gratuitous way like that, I can guarantee you that I wouldn't be watching it for long. But Japanese culture is pretty weird, so I guess it works for them.

    An example somewhere in between the two was Veena Malik teeing off on a numskull on Pakistani TV. I don't speak Urdu(?), but I was certainly amused to listen to her rant and be able to pick out the occasional english word or phrase. Obviously, colonialism has had an influence there. I've heard similar from people speaking (mainly) spanish, who also know english. I suppose that's easy for bilingual people to mash up two languages.

    Who cares what RottenTomatoes thinks? I mean, I don't even ask a good tomato's opinion before I eat it.


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