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Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian?
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As some of you know, I'm supposed to be in the middle of a tour working at the US Embassy in Moscow right now. Unfortunately, our two governments can't get along, and due to the forced reduction of embassy staff that Russia imposed last year, I'm not going to be able to do that job. So now I'm headed to a new job at the Seventh Fleet staff home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan.

I'm fairly certain the Russian language and cultural training I got will be somewhat less than useful in Japan. Yokosuka is a bit south of Yokohama (I might try to live in that city), and it looks like I'll be in Japan for a few big events like the change of Emperors late this Spring, and maybe the Summer Olympics in 2020, depending on how long my tour lasts.

Any feedback from the LR collective on life in Japan would be great.

Slowguy

(insert pithy phrase here...)
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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Less vodka, more sake?

Don't put your arm through a paper wall.

Sorry - I've got nothing useful. But cherry blossoms!! And you won't need your parka anymore!
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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There really isn't much of a difference between Japan and the US, culturally and the language is eerily similar to English.

You'll be fine...

How does Danny Hart sit down with balls that big?
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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My wife worked over there for a while for Amazon. She enjoyed it. Saw a lot of the stereotypical behavior. Very uptight, formal male employees during the day, shit-faced and acting ridiculous at night. People were very particular, hired lots of little old ladies who just wanted to be told exactly how to do something and they would do it in exactly that way hour after hour in the warehouses.

They had to cover all the books they sold, kind of like we did when I was in school as kid. Apparently it's a privacy thing, so others can't see what you're reading when on the trains and such. And a lot of what they are reading is "erotica" but Amazon (at the time) wasn't allowed to sell it because they like to pretend that market, which is huge, doesn't exist.
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [BLeP] [ In reply to ]
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BLeP wrote:
There really isn't much of a difference between Japan and the US, culturally and the language is eerily similar to English.

You'll be fine...

Thanks. I've been to S.Korea, so it's probably basically the same, what with the Japanese influence, and all, right....

Slowguy

(insert pithy phrase here...)
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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Pretty much the same.

Try to find out what this is all about.



How does Danny Hart sit down with balls that big?
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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Lived in Japan in the 90's...
Yokohama is a beautiful city (by Japanese standards), but pricey.
You probably aren't appreciating the fact that nobody really travels by car on a daily basis -- it's all trains and subways, with maybe a bus transfer thrown in.
Without googling it, my guess is Yokohama-Yokosuka daily commute would be a serious time-suck and life drain.

Japan is a quirky place.
You'll probably come to appreciate some of the cuisine -- llike food stalls at the train stations, or simple ramen shops, or "izakayas" (pubs, which serve endless variety of appetizers.). The type of everyday food you can't get if you go looking for "Japanese food" in the States.

Japan is also unbelievably crowded, in general. You can't imagine til you're there.
The upside is 90% of the population crowds into the Tokyo/Nagoya/Yokohama and Osaka areas.
As you get further out, things get less crowded.
I never cycled there, but it might be possible..

When I was there, did not have access to ex-pat lifestyle or income...
If you are well taken-care of, it could be a fun couple of years.
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [spookini] [ In reply to ]
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spookini wrote:
I never cycled there, but it might be possible..

I happened upon a show on the NHK channel the other day about an American ex-pat (who is apparently a food blogger/Instagram star-type?) cycling around that part of Japan - it looked like it had a ton of potential for riding.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/...n/vod/cycle/3004388/
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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im envious! The people i know that have worked in Japan have all said that they found it hard to practice japanese, because the japanese all wanted to practice their english.




who's smarter than you're? i'm!
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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Supposed to be some outstanding powder skiing at Hokkaido.

drn92
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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Stationed on Okinawa 93-98, so my experience is a wee bit dated. I was completely shocked the first time I was turned away from a business for being a "gaijin", happened a few times in Gotemba (in the shadow of Mt. Fuji) as well. Over time you'll learn where you're not wanted. Don't fall into the trap of completely living "on base", get out in the local area. I took a couple of semesters of Japanese language, even as poorly as I spoke, I was fairly well received by the locals because I was trying to fit in.

I hadn't eaten much Japanese food before living there, but learned to love it real quick. TV shows are as fucking looney as you've heard. Quite a few American movies shown with subtitles, but no US style censorship.

Public transport on Oki back in that day was limited, so a car was a must for us long-term folks. I'd imagine public transport is far better where your headed, but getting your Japanese license and buying car was is a good experience.

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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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Work on your 'slippery stairs' skills...?

Sorry, I got nothing useful for you.


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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [spookini] [ In reply to ]
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Quote:
You probably aren't appreciating the fact that nobody really travels by car on a daily basis -- it's all trains and subways, with maybe a bus transfer thrown in.
Without googling it, my guess is Yokohama-Yokosuka daily commute would be a serious time-suck and life drain.

I was given to understand it would be like a 30-45min commute (train/metro), and it was recommended to live there because there's more to do than down in Yoko, but I don't know for sure.

Slowguy

(insert pithy phrase here...)
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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http://www.bjornbjorholm.com/ This guy did a bonsai apprentiship in Japan and has some interesting posts about life there. He also married a Japanese woman. She is quite disrespectful of him in some of the videos as well. I don't know why he takes it.

Life is full of froth and trouble, two things stand in stone
Kindness in another's troubles, courage in one's own
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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slowguy wrote:
Quote:
I was given to understand it would be like a 30-45min commute (train/metro), and it was recommended to live there because there's more to do than down in Yoko..
Well, could be. If it's one train, zero to 1 transfer, that'd be pretty ideal. You still have to get used to sitting (or standing) on a train 30-45min each way.
I learned to sleep standing up. This was before smartphones and podcasts, so there was no good way to pass the time.
Yes, Yokohama is considered a stylish city, cosmopolitan & international by Japanese standards, better quality of life than Tokyo.
Probably a sizeable ex-pat foreign community there, w/ shopping/bars/restaurants that cater to foreigners.
Never been to Yokosuka, but it'd be more rural. Bear in mind "rural" by Japanese standards just means there's not 6 ppl/sq inch.

I'm guessing with the advent of internet and streaming data, life for an ex-pat/foreigner is much easier than when I was there.
Japanese TV was pretty unwatchable. They do have a respectable pro soccer league (televised games). Baseball didn't appeal to me - small fields and boring gameplay.
Question, are you married or single?
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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If you get a chance, go down around Mt. Fuji, I believe it's the Fuji Five Lakes area. It was beautiful. I'm pretty dated too as I was there in '91.

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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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you won't go wrong reading nonfiction by Ian Baruma or Alex Kerr.

On the artier side, Tanizaki's In Praise of Shadows is great.
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [spookini] [ In reply to ]
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spookini wrote:
slowguy wrote:
I was given to understand it would be like a 30-45min commute (train/metro), and it was recommended to live there because there's more to do than down in Yoko..

Well, could be. If it's one train, zero to 1 transfer, that'd be pretty ideal. You still have to get used to sitting (or standing) on a train 30-45min each way.
I learned to sleep standing up. This was before smartphones and podcasts, so there was no good way to pass the time.
Yes, Yokohama is considered a stylish city, cosmopolitan & international by Japanese standards, better quality of life than Tokyo.
Probably a sizeable ex-pat foreign community there, w/ shopping/bars/restaurants that cater to foreigners.
Never been to Yokosuka, but it'd be more rural. Bear in mind "rural" by Japanese standards just means there's not 6 ppl/sq inch.

I'm guessing with the advent of internet and streaming data, life for an ex-pat/foreigner is much easier than when I was there.
Japanese TV was pretty unwatchable. They do have a respectable pro soccer league (televised games). Baseball didn't appeal to me - small fields and boring gameplay.
Question, are you married or single?

Single. I've done 25min daily commute on the metro here in DC for 8 months or so. Not exactly the same, but in the ballpark.

I'm open to other suggestions, of course. It seems like Yokohama has lots to do, and it puts me much closer to Tokyo than if I live all the way down in Yokosuka. The commute is the obvious downside, but the quality of life seems like it might be better.

Slowguy

(insert pithy phrase here...)
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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Question, do you still have a BMW? If so, what will you do with it when you are shipped overseas?

How does Danny Hart sit down with balls that big?
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [BLeP] [ In reply to ]
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BLeP wrote:
Question, do you still have a BMW? If so, what will you do with it when you are shipped overseas?

I still have it. A friend of mine is going to hold it for me while I'm overseas.

Slowguy

(insert pithy phrase here...)
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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30-45min on train/subway is nothing in Japan. That is a pretty good commute. Less than 30min would be unheard of.
OK, if you're single -- I'm going to go out on a limb and predict you'll pretty quickly develop an appreciation for very attractive, stylish, Japanese women.
And there is nothing wrong with that.


(Don't go out and get married, though. Nobody is recommending that.)
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [veganerd] [ In reply to ]
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veganerd wrote:
im envious! The people i know that have worked in Japan have all said that they found it hard to practice japanese, because the japanese all wanted to practice their english.

^^
Same thing in Korea.

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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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I was stationed in Iwakuni from June 15 - June 17 and visited Yokohama and Yokosuka a couple of times. I loved living there and would definitely go back. It's clean and safe, the public transportation is phenomenal (clean, quiet, on time), the people are considerate, the food is delicious, and it's good life experience. Plus, like you probably experienced living in SK, it's much easier and cheaper to travel around Asia if you start in Asia. Let me know if you have any specific questions.
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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Congrats on the new gig - you'll have a great time in Japan! My last duty station was up the road at Yokota AB, but I was over at Yokosuka a few times for joint exercises. I even spent 10 days on the ol' Blue Ridge, though we never left port. Good times, good times...

The locals working in MWR are amazing - they regularly plan out cool local-area things to do, and are great at helping you very comprehensively plan out any bigger trips too.

The rail system is a marvel - it's intimidating at first (Shinjuku station has to be seen to be believed!), but you'll get used to it pretty quickly

Go party like a rockstar in Roppongi... After raging all night there, you can crash at Hardy Barracks before groggily heading back to Yokosuka.

Enjoy - Japan is an amazing country with no shortage of awesome stuff to see and do!

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball
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Re: Soooo,...do the Japanese people speak a lot of Russian? [slowguy] [ In reply to ]
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slowguy wrote:
Single. I've done 25min daily commute on the metro here in DC for 8 months or so. Not exactly the same, but in the ballpark.

I'm open to other suggestions, of course. It seems like Yokohama has lots to do, and it puts me much closer to Tokyo than if I live all the way down in Yokosuka. The commute is the obvious downside, but the quality of life seems like it might be better.
A few things

1) If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be a difficult choice between Tokyo and London. I've been to Japan about 30 times for work and pleasure, and will be heading back next month for a vacation. Some of the best quality food on the planet, interesting culture, dynamic, etc. The cities aren't pretty like Europe, but the countryside is wonderful.
2) I don't know about the Yokosuka area and military folks, but there's always a bit of tension between the Okinawans and the military. If that tension exists at your new base, just try to be civilian looking as much as you can. I don't work for the DoD, so civilian come quite natural to me...
3) Yokohama does have quite a bit to do, but nothing like Tokyo. That said, I wouldn't necessarily live closer to Tokyo. Honestly, how often will you be going into Tokyo? I imagine just weekends/holidays. Commutes in Japan can be a real PITA. Get on google maps and look at commute times between the base and where you may conceivably live. For work, we'd sometimes have meetings in the Yokohama area, but because of some of the roots, the trains were very local, very slow, and very few in number. At night, we'd have to run to catch the last train, which ended rather early. Sometimes we'd stay in Tokyo and commute down on the Yokosuka Line and have to switch 1 or 2 times. Ugh...

If you like beaches, living in Kamakura would be pretty cool. It's a "small town" by Japanese standards, but is also a top tourist draw. It takes less than an hour to get to Tokyo from there.
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