"Who-wants-to-be-a-Millionaire"-level reflects the national education

It never ceases to amaze me how many Westerners seem tone deaf to this aspect of the culture.
 
Elizabeth said:
The whole concept probably goes against a certain expectation of personal modesty as well that no matter how facile you are with these sorts of questions, it would be unwise to show off and become a national celebrity by pretending to know more than everyone else.

So do you think that the reason why Japanese know so little about the world is because they feel that knowing more than the average is excluding oneself from the group ? That fits very well with the Japanese concept of harmony and collectivism, and that also explains why in Japan more than anywhere else I can easily guess what people know or what stereotypes are in their mind about the world. In Western countries, it depends too much on a person's education, intelligence, curiosity or experience. In Japan, no matter how intelligent they are or how much they have travelled, stereotypes and stupid questions like "does your country have 4 seasons" or "can you eat sushi and natto ?" are asked indifferently by anybody of any age, sex and social background.

in Japan, it's almost difficult to tell who is a "red-neck/riff-raff" and who is an intellectual/cultivated person. It's like everybody is both at the same time !
 
Definitely, Maciamo!!! I came to the realization some time ago, that I was computing what came out of Japanese people's mouths, into what they were actually thinking. Sometimes it can be completely different--what they're thinking and what they say. It's a very difficult task, boys and girls... ;)
 
Originally posted by Maciamo So do you think that the reason why Japanese know so little about the world...

Come on, would you stop with that? It just isn't true. If you tested people around the world for general world knowledge, the Japanese would not fair that badly.


In Japan, no matter how intelligent they are or how much they have travelled, stereotypes and stupid questions like "does your country have 4 seasons" or "can you eat sushi and natto ?" are asked indifferently by anybody of any age, sex and social background.

I think, when it comes to stereotypes, it is Westerners who have the irrational attitude. Stereotypes are usually true, and provide a useful context for understanding.

As for the stupid questions, sure they can be annoying. I've lived in Japan for 13 years, and people still compliment me on my ability to use chopsticks, something I pretty well mastered in my first month here. I think these types of questions are a kind of formality. There are certain questions that considered "safe gaijin questions" for Japanese who aren't really sure how they should relate to foreigners.
 
kirei_na_me said:
Definitely, Maciamo!!! I came to the realization some time ago, that I was computing what came out of Japanese people's mouths, into what they were actually thinking. Sometimes it can be completely different--what they're thinking and what they say. It's a very difficult task, boys and girls... ;)
You really do have to be on the lookout for the subtlest changes in mannerism or expression. A former student I used to stay with there, for instance, recently confided that his job situation in the last year had devolved from merely unpleasant to practically unbearable to the point he was actually seriously considering a change of careers. Looking back the only indication that comes to mind was that he would formerly let out a mild hum or whistle upon returning home and last time it was more like a softer, slightly resigned sigh. Knowing fall was always a stressful season, I didn't think much of it at the time much to my regret now....:sorry:
 
To claim that the quality of a country's education system can be measured by some silly TV quiz show is ridiculous.

Name one nation in the West where primary school students are expected to learn and master hundreds of complicated written characters (i.e., Kanji) in addition to the alphabet.

Besides, y'all really need to watch The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and see his "Jay Walking" segment where he goes up to people on the street and ask them SIMPLE questions. Most people can't get the answer. But they EDIT out all the people who do get the answers correctly.
 
Any Russians around? In that version contestants would rarely poll the audience which had a reputation of deliberately trying to trick them and being correct only ten percent of the time. Which must also say more about post-Communist values than their education system.
 

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