His College Friend Was Obsessed with Japan and Dreamed of Living There, but When He Got Real About the Cultural Differences, She Got Upset and Stormed Out

A Japanese international student wrote to an online forum to ask if he’d been insensitive to his college friend. She was obsessed with Japanese culture and wanted to live and study there, but he felt that things would be tough for her there because of her physical characteristics.

International student

Don_t Have A Conversation In A Hallway
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The man wrote, “I’m at college in the US as an international student. One girl I know at my college happens to be really into my country of origin, Japan.”

Big on Japan

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“She loves the culture, the music, and the TV shows, and she wants to study abroad there,” he added. “She does ask me a lot of questions about my country and sort of sees me as a stereotypical ‘guy from Japan,’ which is annoying, but otherwise, she’s okay.”

Plus-size

Obesity
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The woman is plus-size. What’s more, she is very sensitive about her weight, and she reacts badly whenever she thinks people are shaming her about it.

Different culture

lose weight
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Japan has very different views about weight than the US. By and large, the citizens are a lot lighter than in the US.

Cultural insensitivity

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The man understood that if his friend were considered large by US standards, then things would be tougher in Japan.

Harsh comments

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He had seen slim and healthy people in Japan being openly criticized about their weight.

Asking for advice

Giving Unwanted Advice
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His friend wanted to move to Japan badly. So she asked him what his life would be like there. He laid out the pros and cons.

Prepare for the worst

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He warned his friend that it was common for Japanese people to comment on other people’s weight. He also told her that it was socially acceptable for people to make jokes about it too.

Solid reasoning

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His intentions were pure. He wanted his friend to have the full facts before deciding if Japan was the right place for her.

Big misunderstanding

Don_t Get Offended By Genuine Date Requests
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His friend didn’t see it that way. She was furious with the man for implying that she was overweight. She walked away, very upset.

Was he in the right?

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The man was devastated that he had offended his friend. However, he didn’t know how else to explain his culture’s attitude toward weight. He reached out to an online forum to ask if he was in the wrong.

The internet responded

Reddit
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One poster said, “I think you presented it well—honestly and factually. And it’s better that she knows this beforehand, which is why she asked you about experiences in your country. You weren’t being malicious. If she can’t deal with the actual situation, that’s on her.”

Another commenter replied, “As a plus-size woman myself, I wasn’t offended by what you said. If she’s touchy about the subject as it is in America, she wouldn’t survive the mockery in an Asian country.”

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