Japanese Exchange Student Gets Culture Shock After Seeing How American College Students Dress
A Japanese exchange student attending collegein the United States has sparked some intense social media discussion about the differences between American and Japanese culture after posting a tweet about how Americans dress.
Kanta (@theonlyonekanta), who has been living in California for over a year now, recently took to Twitter to express his fascination on how Americans apparently don’t worry too much about how they look.
“Something I really like about America is that people can wear whatever they want without worrying about what they look like,” he wrote, as translated by Soranews24.
“There are people who wear pajamas to class, and lots of girls who don’t wear any makeup. I’ve even seen someone who’s in their thirties wearing a Pikachu T-shirt. Regardless of whether other people like it, if you like it, then it’s okay. It should be like this everywhere.”
Japanese netizens picked up on his observation and retweeted his post. After becoming widely shared, it eventually sparked a debate about American and Japanese culture. Kanta then posted four more tweets, progressing his discussion by stating how his female Japanese friend felt that being in Japan was somehow oppressive after returning to Japan from the U.S.
According to Kanta, it could be because of a perceived pressure in Japan to appear a certain way and to always consider how one’s appearance affects others.
He noted how Americans are more confident in themselves, pointing out that they don’t like photo booths where eyes can be enlarged and be edited to look “cuter,” because “they don’t have to put on a fake image of themselves. Even if you don’t think you look good, you can still be proud of yourself.”
Comparing Instagram posts of his Japanese friends to those of his American friends, he expressed that Americans post more selfies than Japanese people who seem to be less confident with their selfies. Kanta posits that such freedom from worrying about the judgment of others make Americans quite different compared to the Japanese people.
Netizens who agreed with his point noted that the Japanese society can indeed be oppressive, and spending time in the U.S. can be a liberating experience.
“I felt the same way when I stayed in America!” one commenter wrote. “A white-haired older woman in a bright red suit left a big impression on me. Japanese people would be narrow-minded and say, ‘What is she doing wearing those clothes at that age?’. While I was in America I enjoyed wearing flashy clothes while I could!”
“In Japan women, in particular, are pressured to be cooperative,” stressed another. “My professor always nags me about that. Japan is a country that beats down the nail that sticks out, but in America, I’ve heard they praise it instead. It seems like they can relax a lot more there.”
Others found the comparison absurd, with many noting some positive things about the Japanese custom.
“It depends not only on the state but also the town and city,” a netizen opined. “Making broad statements based solely on your experience in one area is problematic.”
“Some people say that Japanese people being so self-conscious is a bad thing, but I think it’s actually a pretty strong merit,” a commenter pointed out. “That’s because they’re looking at everything from a larger perspective. I’d rather that Japanese people take pride in the fact that they consider how their actions would affect other people.”