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  • One very interesting thing I noticed about Japan is that everyone is Japanese. Sounds like a stupid oversimplification, but it actually looked rather strange to me that everyone -- from the taxi driver to the bank clerk to the guy sweeping the stairs in the subway to the convenience store clerk -- was Japanese.

    In most other places I've lived/visited, there are large groups of immigrants or migrants who perform the less desirable jobs that are collectively "not us". That's probably still the case to some degree in Japan as well, but it just seemed like the country as a whole took ownership of the meanial jobs instead of shoving them off to the undesirables, migrants and immigrants.

    • (Note: Forgive this question if it seems ill-informed, because I really don't have any direct experience of Japan myself. I have read a book by an American in Japan, but that's hardly direct evidence.)

      Couldn't that be explained by the enormous pressure put upon the pre-career-choice Japanese person by their parents and teachers combined with the enormous social pressure not to contradict people in better status than you?


      You are what you think.
    • Japan isn't exactly one big happy family. Lots of those menial jobs are, in fact, held by undesirables -- Nth-generation Koreans [], burakumin [], or even people who just got on the wrong side of tests []. Apparently Japan has just decided that there's no need to look far for undesirables when they can so expertly make them at home.