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Challenges I face living in Japan

by HannahInJapana • 274,739 views

**I will work on making my vids shorter and to the point from now on!** I hope I don't discourage anyone who wants to study abroad or live in Japan. You should follow your dream regardless of...

I wonder what would it be like being African American in Japan cause I want to go
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a good way to meet people not according to their common likes but by being human. simply conecting to someone baised off their energy. :)
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i live in europe and i would never try to live outside of Europe, not even America... yes Japan is interesting and i love Animes (that;s why japan mainly became well known to the westerns, it;s kind of amazing) but i would never, ever, ever go to Japan to live, maybe i could go as a tourist if i get a lot of money but that's it.
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oh you poor little snowflake!
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You seem to be very emotional regarding your past history. You seem to have an emotional attachment towards your friends and family in USA.
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I'm hoping that you can teach Japanese to us. :D
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=] Thanks for sharing! Love your channel!
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I speak spanish as my first language, then it is English as my second. You are correct, languages are attached to emotions, I never learned english in school, but on my own, and through songs, and guess what? I was one, if not the best english student  in my class (college). Why? Because the US has always had a very special place in my heart. My advice for you is this: when you don't know exactly how to say something in japanese just say it with even more emotion, like a poem is read to a kid, like a poem that you would read to your son. Emphasis and love go hand in hand. I remember my mother used to read me Gabriela Mistral's poems when I was a kid, and I remember them because of the love those where built on, and how my mother told them. Yes, I am chilean of course, just like Gabriela. All in all, if you tell your boyfriend "I love you", even if he doesn't understand english, but you say it with heart, with fire, he'll get it. The eyes will never lie and they will never be doubted.
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I actually have a very very hard time saying "je t'aime" in my native language which is French. Saying "I love you" though is a lot easier for me, because I don't fell the words as much in English. I kind of like it though, I prefer to say I love you because the meaning might be true however I don't feel it so there is no fear of rejection of looking foolish lol
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guys out there must be all over you, you have anime eyes.
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Hi, I just found your video today - I was born in Japan decades ago, and have lived in three other English speaking countries / cultures, and live abroad.  I can relate to what you are talking about in this video in many aspects.  One thing I wanted to let you know in this message was that you come across genuinely as a very nice person -- that was the first impression that I got when I listened to you for the first time -- your friends / listeners in Japan in Japanese will see that also before they hear what you had to say.  No worries, I'd say - you can try to explain to them that words cannot explain everything how you feel -- I'm sure they can see that in your facial expression / tone of voice, even without words...  In my case, most of my family members did not understand when I tried to explain it, but after decades later when my mom visited me abroad for the first time, she told me that she now understands / realizes that there is a difference in the way we communicate.  'Translation is the most difficult task one can perform' I used to say, like you - they are not merely a set of words - they have different meanings and feelings associated with those words, as we have learned from our previous experiences - I also first realized about this when I was about your age... :,)  You are not alone!!  Soon enough you will be able to think and speak in that language (without translating - you won't have time translating - will start to 'think' and 'feel' in that language).  People who have lived in different cultures and speak different languages would understand this.  :,)  Glad to find your video post!!!  Say Hi to your family and take care!  Cheers, Y.T.
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Kanan Dethin Austria Language is a holy tool Dear Ms. Hannah English is my second language. And it gave me a new world where I can associate to new feelings. It is now a great opportunity for you Hannah to get the chance to associate only fellings you need for a wonderful future. You got a great chance, of using only words in japanese which help people, And making yourself a meaningful person who is free again on a new level. I.e. I grew up with german and I heard a lot terrible words which only frighten and terrorise people. As a conclusion I used them myself. And I am not proud of that fact. I supported a culture which suppresses people. That makes a sick situation even for our own children. To sum up a new language gives you a chance to purifie your mindset, by associating feelings to apply only for senseful communications, and not offending each other in a kind of weird cultural struggle. Your opportunity is really sacred on earth. Thank you very much for sharing your experiences of life. Kind regards, Kanan Dethin P.S. Beside giving away my teachings, I learn for the Certificate of Advanced English by writing this text. A win-win situation at least.
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people stopped knowing what "i love you " meant a long time ago.. they say "i love you" but they really mean " i love having sex with you"
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I live in Korea, and when you were talking about your second point, I definitely agree. I feel like, in general, instead of seeing me as a person, an unique, special individual (which I believe everyone are), I'm just "the foreigner". "The foreigner", who's just like that other foreigner, and all other foreigners. I'm put in this box, and my personality, my attitude, actions, my opinions, and thoughts, seem irrelevant. They instantly think I will like clubbing, be loud, and being very free and dating a lot of guys, having one night stands, and so on. They don't take time to really know me, because I'm probably just another foreginer. I'm exciting enough for them to wave and call my name when we pass each other in the hallway, but not necessarily friend-material or someone they want to deeply get to know or get a connection with. I'm "that foreigner", "too different from them to understand them". In Korea, many people seem to view Europeans in that way because of so many Europeans coming here for exchange or travel, just enjoying their time and a new, exciting culture for a short time. 
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not even korea. this is usually happening in asia. we see people from outside are foreigners
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1) You are very attached to your friends and family from home. I can tell by your voice that you are a very emotional person. 2) You like meeting people and just have a good time. I'm more introvert so it is hard for me to understand this point. I think it is always important to shove some comments off and just take the good parts. I meet a Japanese person (in Japan), I talked to him in a broken Japanese and he looked at me like: "What is this foreigner saying". He responded really quick in a strong tone. I shove off that expression/tone and told him that I didn't speak Japanese very well. He laughed and said its okey. After a few minutes, he asked me for my Email.  3) Emotions are attached to our language. The fact that you don't feel anything when you hear "aishiteru" means that Japanese is not YOUR language yet. It is your second language. It works as a bridge for you. I speak 3 languages fluently and a broken Japanese. It took me time to connect the other languages to my personal feelings. Today "I love you" sounds unemotional compared to other languages. Overall I have to say that you are not the sort of person that is made to travel. You struggle because you relate every place you go to your home. You don't see Japan as a country with its own merits. You have to have your personal things around you and that is okey. But it is hard to travel like this.  My advice, don't compare Japan to your home. Your home will always be better. Instead become Japanese. Eat, drink, talk and enjoy Japan.  I hope that helps and cheer up. You have a beautiful personality and don't let culture ruin it ^_^
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ahh that's an interesting point about the feeling behind languages. japanese is my favorite language to listen to personally, so i'd probably melt hearing aishiteru hahah. it sounds so delicate and soft and gentle. but i really do get where you're coming from. i'm probably just more used to it because i've been listening to it since i was young
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Hi I enjoyed youre video but..... I felt like i was gonna cry. I am very sensitive to peoples tone of voice and body language, and it sounds and looks like in any second you will start to cry.  I know that was not the case but naturally I shed a tear while I listened
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I'm French born Chinese. Lived in Beijing 5 years and now in HK 4 years. Even being a fluent 75% speaker makes me feel different from my Chinese bro' and sis', culture, humor, body language all these things are so different. We are called gently  " banana" here because behind our yellow skin we are kind of white inside.  I feel like a French in China and feel like a Chinese in France. When i hang out with Frenches,  humor, stories, music taste, most of the things get connected very quickly because of the same culture. People around think that i studied in France because i have no accent in my Cantonese (i'm an undercover French Chinese) and it's confusing them, even when i was in Beijing saying that i was French was like weird for them. I was saying this to make them aware that i couldn't follow their speedy conversation at 100%... I do have a language barrier, my response to local humor is quite slow and sometimes i can't even get their jokes thinking of my HK colleagues, while everybody laugh i'm sometimes :???? and it's a quite lonely feeling. I'm not socializing much with Hknese most of my friends are expats. I did make effort, rip some cd's with African, Indian, Portuguese music, movies etc...by most people here still prefer local stuffs and music. This is something you can't change and it's people's culture and vision.  Manners, habits can be shocking for you or them but there is no intention to upset people, it's always the barrier of the culture. Like in France you shake hands with most of your colleagues and kiss women colleagues on the cheek, you greet everyone when you get into the lift and you hold doors when you see someone behind you. In HK greeting people in the lift doesn't happen, people barely look at you in the morning...it was super annoying and frustrating and all my expats friends encountered the same problems. I learned to compromise a little more day by day and i still often feel frustrated as well but now it came to a point that doesn't affect me that much anymore...And sometimes i'm just telling myself maybe i just should go back where i'm from but i don't especially want to go back so i only need to compromise to make my life happier...
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connecting emotions to language is HARD when you are older. i was lucky to grow up speaking english and german, so german words have some emotional meaning to me, but english words i still find more intuitive. finding the emotional, visual, tactile and spatial links to words is the key to learning a language i think. and it's definitely hard. ha, regarding japanese, one time i accidentally gave a japanese kid a white chrysanthemums because i thought it was pretty but i made him cry and i didn't know that it was the flower you use at funerals in japan O-o' 
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Hannah, you are very pretty. That's all.
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yes every word has an image and emotion connected to it so when learning a new language - the image/emotion are not necessarily there That's why it takes so long to really speak another language fluently - we lack the feeling for the words
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For me u sound like u where about to cry everyone gets homesick sometimes
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thik are  very hard at first year in become better in latter  whent you move to another country, word mean nothing at first in latter you have the feeling, is dificult to going back  to the country one leaft if you stay too long in another country .
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I totally understand you. It's not like, you would want them to be like Americans, but it helps when things are just a bit easier. That would help you to understand all the world you're living in so much more and appreciate it 10 times more. I was always a person that would go and be interested in a foreigner, because they just bring something extra in my life, and I would always do the first step so that I can discover like a whole other world. But I remarked people are not like this around me. I faced also such cold coming from people when I changed country. Just the fact I was not speaking the same accent, they just seemed to run away and it hurt me a bit to be honest. I always tought people feel just like I do and I was so wrong. So... I imagine you in Japan where you appearance is different. I visited an asian country as well and I remarked they weren't friendly to white people. As you said, it will take time because maybe they just don't naturally appreciate foreigners, white people... you can consider yourself lucky that you have a few friends in Japan... I mean, I'm in Canada and sadly I could not make motre than 1 friend in 4 years.
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ぜひ、にほんごでビデオつくってください!
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that's how asian people feel too living in america, except vice versa. 
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cheer up, dont cry on us now, it's only a matter of time
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why would a jap homo want to talk to you?
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welcome to first world problems
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Okay, now I seriously feel offended. I am part Japanese. My grandmother Sumiko was full blooded Japanese. For those of you that say Japanese have no love...you need to stop being racist. If you think Japanese have no love than go live there and find out for yourself. Hannah your daughter is absolutely beautiful by the way and I enjoy watching your videos, I understand as a Gejing its hard living there being white. But as a child growing up in America it is hard as well. As a child I was made fun of because of the shape of my eyes and skin tone. Now I don't get made fun of as much about it but people confuse me for Indian, Chinese and Hawaiian. I wish you and your family the best of luck in your future travels.
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Wow this was so incredibly helpful... I never thought of some of these things. Thank you so much for making all of the videos that you do. They are so informative to someone who is planning to move there in the next few years.. Thank you!!!
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Hanna-san  you should leave Japan. Just before I watched your recent videos. You became extremely sensitive. In my opinion, Your negative perspective to Japan is beyond the difference between Japan and US, westerner and asian etc. What you feel weird about Japanese is actually same as US people do.(i.e. old men take photos of children who have no relation to the old men They just take photos because children are cute. They don't have any creepy purpose ! US people do same thing more than Japanese, isn't it ? ) I got so sad.....
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At first I was watching this because you're cute, but I continued watching after I learned something about different languages and the connections spoken words have on the brain.  Good job!
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and you're so pretty :)
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I listened to this very heartfelt and all, but I couldn't help at 7:39 but to giggle when I saw Ellie picking her nose. >//u//< hehe Sweet baby, silly baby~
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i want to take a handfull of dapper dan and brush those bangs back b4 you suffer whiplash . if you want japanese folks to speak to you wear a t shirt that says "china rocks" !!
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There is a saying " Talk to a person in a language they understand and you talk to their mind.  Talk to a person in their Mother Tongue and you talk to their Heart"
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Thank you very much for your post. It is so valuable to me.
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Forgive me, and I honestly do not want to come off mean, but this sounds more to me like a view into the mind of a woman, rather than a negative cultural expose.  I thought my mind was going to explode.  I happen to like the fact women think differently, but I feel like I just got a glimpse at the contents of Pandora's box.  O_o
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Thank you so much for doing these videos Hannah.  It takes courage to do what you are doing.  I am studying Japanese language in America and I find your videos very helpful for understanding everyday life in Japan.   And your daughter is a doll! 
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You support gay rights :o <3 I love you :') xd My native language is Spanish, and well, it's true that the words in our native language have more feelings attached to them. It happens to me in English, the things you said, because I have to over think things that I already said or I'm going to say because I don't want to sound rude. In every language there's polite ways to say things, and rude ways, but in our native language, those rude ways or rude words are more than known, but in another country, with a different language, and a different culture, even say things that translated to our native language are not that bad, in other country, because of their culture, it might be rude to say some things. In resume, it takes time... :P Wish you the best to you and your lovely family. <3 
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Trying to learn a second language can be very hard. My ex bf was from Mexico and I tried so long to learn Spanish. Instead of helping me, he would critized and redicule me for my mistakes. Eventually I just f it and gave up..
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+Tracie Smith Your ex was a douchebag, and I think that for a good reason, he's your ex now. e.e Everyone makes mistakes when they learning something new. Today, I still get confuse with some words because they sound similar to me, like "it's", and "is", "thing" and "think", etc, but... it gets better. :P You shouldn't give up if you really like Spanish or any language, I mean if you liked, you should try. I recommend you to see TV, movies and listen music in Spanish. Translate your favorite Spanish song to English, and then step by step, you're going to start to get familiarized with some words and the pronunciation. I didn't learned English with the grammatical stuff, all I know about the language, I learned by watching TV, listen music (and singing my favorites songs haha), movies, etc. The grammatical stuff... I'll get there haha, but in the meantime, at least you can understand what I'm saying and vice versa. Don't give up: inténtalo, tú puedes. :D 
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ty for share this, really good exp...
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use Skype if you can't see family and friends.
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OMG,!! Quit fuckin whining
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The only advice I can give if these 2 years weren't enough to reach it. You have to talk and practice the language more to become like your 2nd mother tongue.
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I understand you perfectly sweetie! Hang in there! ^_^
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Honey! You should know that before you went to Japan there is NO LOVE there! For Japanese ppl LOVE doesn't exist! and what is more scary: LOVE* (if they feel anything like that) and SEX never go together there! SEX is SEX!  and LOVE* is LOVE*  OK? In other words: Japanese girl/guy can love you from the bottom of the stomach, they still fuck behind your back with your all neighbors around when you are at work! Good luck! : )
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Do you ever live there or you just watch the video in YouTube and start judging people like that? In Asian the love we have toward other are express in different ways. We don't give a hug to comfort someone or give a kiss and say I love you everyday like American does.
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The struggle with making friends and adapting to society , i guess, it mostly depends on the specific country, because of culture and their common understanding of foreigners. So it's more of a particular problem rather than a general one.
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Japanese people is "as that".  You can share 12 hours a day with 5 people in in the same office room, and after 3 years they are not just friends or your mates.  They have to "ask you " to do non-profesional convivence and after a lot of "levels" you get the price of their friendship. 
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Jesus, your voice sounds like you're about to bust out into tears... I can't help be get teary eyed O.O
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Awww Elie loves you so much. I don't know how you can resist the urge to give her kiss attacks!
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Sweetie, Talked to ur hubby. let him know hw u Feel b4 u explode. Maybe u can come up wif some plans wif him. U hv e sweetest daughter n ur a Great mum.
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life in another country is always hard. your not used to anything and you feel like you have to start from scratch. I'm in the Marine Corps and i haven't seen my family in more than a year, ive been stationed in Okinawa, Jp for almost a year. Good luck with you're life experience mam. btw it seems like you miss America you should talk to your husband about it if you dont already. Good Luck!
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go back to UR family and u feel better
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thank you for sharing :) I had never thought about the associations we have with words and how we may not feel the same when using another language! I find this fascinating!! I am sure this is something we all do, unconsciously :)
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your a strong person.
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were u watching someone else?
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I really agree with you miss....I have same thing happen to you:(
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Try to convince Japanese people to behave like people from US. That may help.
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living in a new country is alway very difficult in term of making friend especilly when their are so much cutural diffrences.
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About making friends being hard for you: What not many Americans realize is that their habit of talking to strangers on the street and befriending them is not what happens in the rest of the world. To me it is not Japanese culture making it hard for you to make friends but the American way of befriending people out of the blue that just doesn't work anywhere else. I have been called weird for befriending people I have no friends in common with or for asking questions to strangers even if it was within an activity we had in common. American people are very open to this but most people are not, so when I tell people about how I met someone and it is this way, they find it very weird (I'm from Peru but have lived in the states for a while). Don't take me wrong I live in a very friendly place but just like in most of the world, befriending someone has a different process than over there. Outside the US, you would never just tap on someone's shoulder and ask them about themselves, that is a very American thing to do. At the most, if you had the same indie band t-shirt you would try to talk about the weather with them and then tell them about you own t-shirt to see if they were interested in talking to you more. It is like in the US you ask to go into the strangers world and outside the US you invite them into yours.
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It's not just an american thing 
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I can totally understand what it is like to be homesick! when I go on vacation in the U.S. and if I have to stay a week in a hotel it drives me  crazy. America is my home no other country will ever be their for me like America! I would  never live anywhere if not in the United States. how do you people do it? not to get homesick when you are on a trip?
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It is different for me i guess. I was born in Taiwan; it was my home until my family and I moved to Australia when I was six. Been in Aus ever since (in my 20s now) and I consider Aus my home, however I also feel like I dont have a home (as in from the moving). It feels kind of weird but because of that I dont have a problem going anywhere for a long time.
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Yeah, cos only 'mericans feel that way about the're (sic) contree (sic), cos, we ozzers is to stoopid to loves ours shitty countrees.
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the "i love you" thingy is kinda funny anyways. i'm german - but tell me i love you in german and I'd be like, yea, ok thanks. but the english i love you feels more... natural, and it has more feeling to it. but then again aishiteru and even the french je t'aime (and that's really the most romantic language i know) doesnt have that. and i think that's really weird. that whole phrase is just weird :D
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I wish people would stop apologising for long videos...I prefer them on long drives when I hook my phone up to speakers and listen to them as I drive or headphones while shopping.
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I have the same problems as a Chinese student studying in Australia
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Thought this vid would be interesting but you sound like a dingbat.
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anime and manga translates to white pussy for japanese dudes. true story.
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the problem of westerners living in japan: the cristian religion, the lack of humility and the crappy food like hamburgers.....
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I feel like this is very true, not mastering emotions behind every words...
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You seem really lonely to me
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She sounds sad like shes holding back tears especially at the beginning
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I never thought about that final point before and how important the feelings behind words are. Thank you for this video
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For some reason you sound like you're on the verge of crying.
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i bet that for that japanese boy when he says ' i love you ' in japanese , he may have the tingling sensation, but it does not resonate to him when you say the same thing in YOUR english is called mother language and yours is different than his. im romanian and 'i love you'  said it in romanian language (te iubesc ) is different ( and tingling and all ) and more special than said it in english or french  or japanese or chinese. but for all people regardless of nationality is the same precious feeling (when is true)
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Big kiss from Nans-Les-Pins.
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Stop complaining and go the fuck back home. The Japanese are stubborn people as it is.
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Firstly, I think some of you were kind of harsh. She's actually done a favour for students wanting to go to japan. Secondly, I totally understand how you feel. I've been living in Italy for a few years now and with the different mentality, finding close friends wasn't easy. Another difficulty is school itself-italian schools are seriously tricky. Learning the language wasn't a problem.about connecting emotionally with words and expressions, based on my experience it just took some time. Thinking in the language you are learning also helps a great deal. Good luck! :)
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You repeat yourself a lot while talking 
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ur husband never follow u back to america?..
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a true video, sharing deep feelings that a lot of folks couldn't word. Good luck, you have a great kid and Japan is not the worst country you could be lining in.
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Much emotion.So kawaii ^_^ .I really want to go to Japan someday,but the whole friends thing seems harsh.I'll just try to be really nice and respectful too.Arigatou gozaimasu!
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She sounds like she's about to cry :\
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Maybe it's cause she's thousands of miles away from home and Japan is very foreign to her.
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that baby have F$#%& huge head don't u think ?
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im sorry that's soo mean from me 2 say that my apology pretty lady  :(  and I can feel sadness in your voice BUT you know theres no shame on crying and your body will release a hormone to make you happy after that :D  my apology again lady I hope you forgive me
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+riyad wadaee damn I wish if there's any way I can help you with that but idk if your husband can speak or learn English cant you find a job for him in your country and move there and I know that Americans loooove Japanese   
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You dirty yellow monkey
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She sounds like she's holding back tears the whole time.. I hate her voice..
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These aren't things to get bent out of shape about. These are common things, and widely understood among most people who travel or are thinking about traveling. I don't know how much you researched beforehand, but you didn't seem to grasp how things work there. It's the cultural difference. It's not your country, it's THEIRS. You should make the changes to suit them, and I'm not saying it was you, but there are ignorant people walking around thinking that they can do whatever they want and that the problem lies within the Japanese people themselves. This, is not true. The problems are all with you, and some may even lie in your head. They don't notice your struggle, and they can't read minds. I don't know how else to say it but to try to understand them better and change within yourself. If you can't get used to life in Japan, you probably shouldn't live there. All people need to go with and understand the same knowledge. The basic truth is that cultures can be very different. And it just so happens that at times, Japanese culture can be reverse psychology to some. Getting to know it and studying it for years, I know more of what to expect, but I can understand why some may not share the same opinions, value, or information.
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Much emotion.So kawaii ^_^  .I would love to live in Japan,but the thought of having noone at all is sort of daunting.I'm not old enough yet,but I'd still love to know if it's hard to do it alone.
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I know that feeling...... I have same feeling when I live U.S. I miss Hong Kong so much.
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your video brought light to many things that I hadnt thought of before.  We have in the past had foreign exchange students, and so to hear you explain how they were feeling was inlightning.  thank you so much your videos are in no way ever boring, thank you, trully loving your videos, just found your channel an hour ago, cant stop watching videos.
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You could always LEAVE ugly cave beast.
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Hi, I totally understand what you are going through! I'm a Russian girl living in Belgium. In the beginning I also struggled with the language. I speak Dutch perfectly but the fill behind it is completely different. So I was a lot of times rude to people without knowing. But after a while u will get used to it.
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you sound like you are about to cry
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I lived in many countries outside our home country and what u say is very true , the thing we did to fix this was to get together with our own people ( Sri Lankans) and form a club. So nobody felt alone since we would have these parties and get together and social events which would sort of compensate for the lack of companionship of people to whom we can relate to . Sometimes when the culture of the host country dose not permit outside integration then the only solution is get together with people like our selves . That is why u would find Indian areas or Chinese areas in western countries (US/UK/CANADA ) where we can feel comfortable in our surroundings . I don't know if it would work in japan with your schedules but try it , i guarantee u it will make life 10 times better. 
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cultural difference sometime feels like a big hurdle - things that we're comfort to eat, drink, see, feel, perceive and being accepted takes time on both sides
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It's weird isn't it? People can speak fluent Japanese or any other language for that matter, but when they're thinking, they think in their native language. I believe that a good trick is to start thinking in Japanese so you can trick your brain into thinking that Japanese is your main language. Maybe then, you might connect with Japanese words. I hope you do well in Japan! Btw, aww cute baby you've got there :D
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a person woud hav 2 b positive what their saying in their mind is correct first, thus mastering sentence sstructure.. which can still take quite some time to master
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That's the technique. English is not my native language but the first time I went to the US(Actually that was the second. The first one didn't count as this one) I spoke in English the whole day for about a month. It drove me nuts, because I couldn't think in my own native language , only in English. After that, I can connect to the feelings in both languages. This vary from person to person, but it takes time to get used to that. The second problem is that Japan is a country where the majority is introverted, shy and quiet. Their relationship takes a long time to develop, but out of the blue relationship its not that common. I live in Brazil, which is considered one of the most friendly country in the world ( I may be wrong about that) and as far as I know, its not that common to have a relationship randomly. Usually, you start with people that you have things in common, such as work, school, hobby places, activities, college, and so on. At least, that's what I think. And the Japanese people are pretty reserved to themselves. They don't open to anyone. Yeah, I can understand your struggle. Even though the video is old, I hope you are feeling way better today.
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