Many westerners perceive Japanese as distant and shy, and they are hard to read..well, I can read what Japanese people are thinking or feeling usually because I grew up in Japan so I am very familiar with their subtle facial expressions which show their real feelings. But these expressions and gestures of disapproval and unhappiness tend to be so subtle that people who are not familiar with Japanese culture may never guess what we are really feeling.
In Japanese society, maintaining peace and harmony with others is much more important than your individual right and self-respect. Since Japanese education stresses the importance of group collectivism, children in Japan grow up with a much stronger sense of “common identity” as a group member or a citizen of Japan. I guess it can be called “national identity”. So we learned to maintain harmony with others and we try very hard to avoid conflict or confrontation with others. But again, this is a general notion of Japanese culture and there are people who are more confrontational than the average Japanese in the country and it all comes down to the individual so we can’t judge everyone based on their nationalities but if the person is from Japan, he or she is likely to be a good team player and prefers to avoid confrontation or argument with others. Knowing this helps us understand Japanese people a lot more because Japanese culture is very unique in its own way and if you are not so familiar with it, it can be frustrating in the beginning..
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