The Japan Channel: An Exploration

by Jennifer Mitchell

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The website widely known as Youtube has many channels; literally hundreds of channels exist for people who video blog for entertainment or  other purposes. Certain channels, however, have become ways in which people get information.  These channels  inform audiences in the importance of different cultures and how they differ from their native beliefs and ideas.

This sentiment is expressed in one channel I came across, which goes by the name “TheJapanChannelDcom.”  An Australian  man  runs this channel about the historic and glorious culture of Japan.  A section of his channel contains the heading, “How To.”  This section is comprised of tips for foreigners trying to cross cultural barriers.  The episodes of the channel’s “How To” emphasizes the importance of body language and harmony to the Japanese, as well as other more tangible information such as exchange rates between countries.

A scenic view from Japan

The “How To” section discusses Japanese body language in a two minute and fifty-second video and highlights various differences. The video describes various mannerisms, first mentioning how the Japanese refer to themselves when speaking.  When the Japanese talk about themselves they “me” or “I want to” while pointing to their nose, while we as an American culture would point towards our chest and say “I.”  Another difference is that the Japanese do not like to be blunt and answer to the negative firmly.  Instead, they will tilt their heads if asked a question and may suck through their teeth when trying to get across to the person that the answer means no and that they shouldn’t have asked so much of them.

The Japanese also find many American gestures exetremely rude.  For example ,in Japan, they consider pointing as a rude gesture. Instead, they look where the person is talking and won’t look at them directly.  Similarly, Americans often beckonsomeone to come overwith an index finger.  The Japanese instead wave towards you with their palms facing towards them with their hand downwards, making a motion insisting for the person to come to them.

In Japan, harmony is the most important aspectto maintain  in daily living. The Japanese are very sensitive to negativity and do not allow any to be expressed in public or  their own family members.  If a person does show negativity through complaint, the Japanese will not acknowledge or show any emotional towards the complaint.  The The Japanese people believe they must always maintain a happy disposition since they do not want argumentative situations to escalate.

A 1000 yet note

Currency in Japan differs greatly from currency here in the United States.  Japanese money is called yen, while our money we call dollars and cents. One yen in Japan is equal to roughly one cent here in the United States.  The Japanese use their yen in coin form, which goes up to five hundred.  Here five hundred yen would equal the amount of five dollars.  After the yen in coins comes the yen as notes, which is similar to dollar bills.  The notes start with one thousand yen, which equals ten dollars in American currency.  Japan’s ten thousand yen is their highest amount of currency, which equals about one hundred American dollars.  The Japanese handle their money in a discrete fashion by giving and receiving money in envelops and trays, while Americans tend to take the money from others’  hands directly. There is also no tipping in Japan; they see it as improper to insure one’s work creditability.

All in all, the Youtube channel known as “TheJapanChannelDcom” is a very insightful way to get familiar with the culture of Japan.  It branches out to a variety of ways for foreigners to understand the differences between Japan and with their own country’s cultures. By being familiar with  Japan’s cultural differences, such as body language, harmony, and currency, one will be prepared to engage with the country both socially and economically.

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