Japanese - Aspergers connection :-) ?

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shomnec
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17 Jul 2009, 2:32 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm a 30-year old male "self-diagnosed Aspie" who has worked really hard at 'being NT' (meaning fooling all others and myself into thinking I'm NT) since 7th grade. I always knew I was very different in my social mannerisms, but the only way of being different I knew was being a nerd/social outcast, so in adolescent terror I did everything I could to distance myself from that manner.

Before I learned about the existence of Asperger's last year, I was always very much attracted to Japanese mannerisms, facial, expressions, affectations, and culture because I thought they approximated my own. There's something about the (exaggerated?) way that Japanese people respond to one another socially in movies/game shows/dramas, etc. that reminds me of the way I "act NT" with others.

I just wanted to see if anyone found any resonance with this phenomenon. I have no Aspie friends (many NT ones), so I'm secretly hoping that I'm able to figure myself out with the help of resources like this one. Thanks!

Dan



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17 Jul 2009, 7:11 pm

Earth has a myriad of cultures. Eventually there's gonna be one that's suited to someone outcasted from their own per default...... And then there's the conspiracy option which I like, that the Aspies and Auties in Japan are the undiagnosed trendsetters and progress-engines. We rule japan? Well japan rules. Yatta, Mewtwo! Hadouken Goku for me, will ya?

*Grin*



Aoi
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17 Jul 2009, 7:20 pm

Yoku ganbatte iru yo ne. I'm bilingual (English/Japanese) and spent part of my life in Japan. But I started in the U.S., so consciously learning the rules there and never having anyone expect me to get them right since I was an outsider (gaijin literally and figuratively) made life easier in a lot of ways. But it was also harder, since working Japanese socialize over drinks (lots of beer, sake, etc.), which I can barely tolerate. Same with much of the food that you get at a standard yakitoriya or nomiya.

Some of the Aspies I've met say Japan worked well for them, but others did fine in other foreign countries. I think the point is the "foreign" part, where as an outsider you have to consciously learn everything and you're not expected to get it all right.



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18 Jul 2009, 1:36 am

Until some illness took me down I traveled on a regular basis to Japan for martial arts tournaments, it's a fabulous place but if you go there you REALLY need a good guide and translator to show you the way the country works. My guide was a big Australian guy called Dicko Henderson and the moment I stepped off the plane he told me this:

"Mate, welcome to Japan. This is the closest you will ever come to living on another planet. These little folk look different, act different, eat different, learn different, work different, marry different, shag different, smell different and even die in their own special way. There are thousands of unwritten rules and after living here for thirty years I'm just getting used to the place. Take a deep breath and step this way".

As aspies we like order and in Japan there is order. You might not like the food though and if you have sensory overload problems then stay well away from the cities.

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18 Jul 2009, 2:04 am

LOL. Sure is Weeaboo in this thread :lol:

Don't forget the hikkimori and japan having a high diagnosis of autism, et. Granted that's due to the restrictive complicated BS social rules worse than in the US and Europe...


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Roxas_XIII
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18 Jul 2009, 2:54 am

Seeing as Japanese culture has been an obession of mine for a good 3/4 of my life despite being Caucasian, I can relate.

Myself and some of my buddies from HS are planning to save up money during our college years, then take a trip to Japan after we graduate. Its pretty much the last major entry on my "bucket list", so to speak.


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Henriksson
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18 Jul 2009, 4:38 am

Warsie wrote:
LOL. Sure is Weeaboo in this thread :lol:

My thoughts exactly. :lol:


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exhausted
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18 Jul 2009, 12:40 pm

i'll have to think about it. (i have been and haven't come up with anything so far.) my mother's parents were Issei (Japanese immigrants.) lot of aspie traits on that side of the family (myself included.) on the other hand, lot of aspie traits on the euro-american side of the family too.

it's definitely a culture of hyperfocus. i'm third generation, so pretty assimilated. but i do have the hyperfocus. unfortunately, unable to put it to any practical use. (Asian culture seems to like practicality, in a lot of ways.)

if i put down the rest of my (half) thoughts, i'll just end up babbling. chances are good i'm doing that already (so i'll stop.)


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19 Jul 2009, 4:17 pm

I like Jap stuff too. Animanga, sushi, the typical. But I don't obsess. I have better things to obsess over ;)


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19 Jul 2009, 5:05 pm

In recent years, I've thought of the Japanese culture (and other asian countries) as seeming somewhat autistic from the outside, yet still being particularly hostile to people who are actually autistic.

Look at the emphasis on academics, structure, the limited facial expressions, or how reserved they can seem.

But, all of that's just outward appearance. There's just as much complicated bull**** in their society as our own. The social rules are much more complex than the boisterous and unrefined Americans, the facial expressions more difficult to read due to their subtly, and the hierarchies even more deeply ingrained than the informal 'pecking order' in the US.

Things have to be particularly hostile there in order for the hikikomori phenomenon to be so widespread, such that even large numbers of NTs are crushed under the societal pressure and are forced to withdraw entirely.


And that's part of the reason why I like anime; the facial expressions are made very easy to read, the social rules are vastly simplified and largely consistent, and it's generally easy for me to understand. Due to this simplification, it's far easier for me to understand how an anime character is thinking and feeling than in most movies.



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19 Jul 2009, 9:47 pm

jocundthelilac wrote:
I like Jap stuff too. Animanga, sushi, the typical. But I don't obsess. I have better things to obsess over ;)


i have a feeling you meant absolutely nothing offensive by this. (trust me: i can relate.) still, some of us don't like the word "Jap." except among ourselves.

(do not poke or tease the Asian redhead.) thank you. hugs.

(all i know is--when i say something someone considers inappropriate,i wish someone would say: "that's inappropriate," instead of getting all freaked out and then not saying why. so i thought i'd follow the "golden rule." if any of that makes sense.


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Last edited by exhausted on 19 Jul 2009, 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

buryuntime
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19 Jul 2009, 10:08 pm

I've always though aspies like anime because of the easy-to-read facial expressions in the shows.



Batz
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19 Jul 2009, 10:49 pm

gsilver wrote:
In recent years, I've thought of the Japanese culture (and other asian countries) as seeming somewhat autistic from the outside, yet still being particularly hostile to people who are actually autistic.

Look at the emphasis on academics, structure, the limited facial expressions, or how reserved they can seem.

But, all of that's just outward appearance. There's just as much complicated bull**** in their society as our own. The social rules are much more complex than the boisterous and unrefined Americans, the facial expressions more difficult to read due to their subtly, and the hierarchies even more deeply ingrained than the informal 'pecking order' in the US.

Things have to be particularly hostile there in order for the hikikomori phenomenon to be so widespread, such that even large numbers of NTs are crushed under the societal pressure and are forced to withdraw entirely.


And that's part of the reason why I like anime; the facial expressions are made very easy to read, the social rules are vastly simplified and largely consistent, and it's generally easy for me to understand. Due to this simplification, it's far easier for me to understand how an anime character is thinking and feeling than in most movies.


Same here. :D



shomnec
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20 Jul 2009, 9:05 am

Hi all,

Thanks so much for your responses, particularly for your last few ones. I also like anime for its clear depiction of emotions, and your posts have made me realize why that's the very reason I also like Japanese behavior (at least as a total outsider with *zero* knowledge of the Japanese language) - They seem so affirming of each others' communications - the empathetic nod and "hai," etc. (Again, these are the casual observations of a total Japanese culture ignoramus).

Thank you for that insight! :)

Dan



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20 Jul 2009, 7:46 pm

"The nail which sticks out gets hammered down" -Japanese proverb

Japanese society is hierarchical, with lots of difficult rules that go with it. One of my relatives had to take a month-long course on Japanese etiquette before going there. To give examples of what he learned: the position of listeners during a presentation indicates the level of respect and the beverage served indicates their respect for you, whether you actually like it or can consume it is irrelevant.

This is definitely not an Aspie country.


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20 Jul 2009, 10:11 pm

i'm an Aspie...and i'm way into the Japanese culture and language!


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