Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Coming out of your shell in Kansai

I was talking with a client recently and she was telling me about her family situation. It sounded really interesting to me so I would like to share it with you here today.

First of all my client comes from an area in Japan where the inhabitants could be classified as "lively."

The Kansai region could be considered the cultural and historical heart of Japan. The people from this area generally are considered to be down to earth and have a great sense of humour. In fact it is well know that a lot of the comedians in Japan come from this area.

Kansai people are a bit more open compared to Kanto (Tokyo) people. The people in Tokyo seem to be a little bit more reserved (unless they are drinking) and everything is a bit more formal.

For example a few years ago I went to Osaka to watch a Field Hockey Olympic qualifying tournament. On the last day, New Zealand lost their classification game and I had had my fill of hockey for a weekend so I decided to have a look around the stadium and I found a sport shoe shop. I'm always interested to see what they have in those kinds of shops so I went in.

The shop assistant who was probably a university student greeted me in the normal Japanese way. I responded in the normal Japanese way. I said nothing. Then she asked me how I was. This is unusual, for Tokyo anyway and I said that I was fine. She then proceeded to ask me where I was from and what I was doing in Osaka. I told her that I was watching the hockey and that I lived in Chiba Prefecture.

She then started teaching me some of the local Osaka dialect. I then taught her some of the rural Chiba dialect which must have been quite amusing to other shop assistants and customers.

Long story short, I left there with a new pair of shoes and a great story about how different Osaka is to Tokyo.

Anyway, back to my client. She is very chatty and seems to be very sociable. She tells me she likes going out and trying different restaurants with her friends and she really enjoys living in Tokyo although she does get homesick from time to time.

She told me about her mother and father. It sounds as though she takes after her mother. Her mother has a lot of friends and really likes socialising but she sacrificed a lot of that to look after her children (my client and her brother). The father was more introverted and had very few friends if any and he liked doing things by himself. He would go and play golf, go running and even go cycling and leave my client and mother and brother by themselves and it sounds as though she to this day doesn't have a very good relationship with her father which is very unfortunate.

It made me sad hearing about this story.

If you energise by being by yourself that is fine. A lot of us are in that situation but remember unless you are the ultimate of hermits you still have to socialise and there are no better people to socialise with than your family. You can be yourself and no one is going to judge you. Remember the most important people in your life, don't neglect them.

There you have it, you have learned a little bit about the Kansai region of Japan and the difference between it and Tokyo.

The third city of Japan is probably Nagoya. I remember a friend describing it as the Invercargill of Japan. I've never been to Invercargill so I'm not sure if that is true or not. I do have a story about Nagoya but I will leave it to your imagination. Lets just say it involves me and a well-endowed Brazilian woman and I wasn't very introverted that night. (See! It can be done. You can come out of your shell on occasions.)

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