On my previous post, I talked about some common opinions that the world has on Japanese culture and whether I thought it was true or not. Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about how it is the other way around. Luckily, this makes great conversation topic at work. I’ve spent a few days asking people at my sharehouse and all sorts of people at work on their thoughts on Canada. Here is what I got:
Canada is very multi-cultural
This is true. In my opinion, this is is pretty true across North America in general, though it’s probably more apparent in places like San Franciso, and Toronto. I don’t think the importance of this became obvious to me until I came to Japan. According to wikipedia, only 1.6% of Japan’s legal residents are foreigners. And of those foreigners, roughly 1/3rd of them are Chinese. Translation: There’s isn’t a whole lot of non-yellow people in Japan. Being “Canadian” doesn’t really tie you to skin color or any specific ethnic background. You can come from Polish, German, Chinese, Japanese, or any country, but still, be Canadian.
People Are Very Nice and Say Sorry A L
False, you guys are adorable. All jokes aside, it really depends on which city you go to, and what kind of people you meet. I think every place in the world will have their pocket of nice people and jerks. Plus, the definition of “nice” is completely subjective. If you’ve ever been to a city like Rome, and then compare that to Toronto, then I could agree that Canadians are “nice“.
Of all the people I’ve met and worked with so far, the most generous I can be with the people of Toronto is to say that we are sort of in the middle. But within Canada itself, I’d rank Toronto the lowest on the “nice meter“. This is especially true if you magically end up in China town. For me, anyone I’ve met from Alberta or Nova Scotia really redefines being nice, and it’s genuine. Whereas with people from Toronto, the niceness comes with a side of arrogance. That’s not really a bad thing, just depends on how you look at it, but it’s definitely there. Outside of Canada, I find Iceland to be the golden standard in being hospitable and nice :). Japan is also up there for being very nice and well mannered, at least on an initial meet and greet.
Everyone in Canada speaks French
False. Embarrassing in many ways. According to Wikipedia, French is the mother tongue to 7.2 million Canadians, roughly 20.6% of the Canadian population, and most (if not all) of them reside in Quebec. While it is true that French is part of the Canadian education system, and we are taught the language for 9 years, most people don’t end up using it. I don’t have a statistic to reference on this one, but my gut feeling is that probably 1 out of every 10 people you meet may speak some French. Right now, my Japanese is probably better than my French, and I’ve only really learned for about a month. So dear world, please don’t expect us to speak French, because we don’t. I mean, I don’t. Quebec isn’t a real place anyway, it’s like a discounted France 🙂
Canada is Very Cold
Just depends where! I’ll keep this one simple. If you’re in Vancouver, the winter weather is similar to Tokyo. There isn’t much snow, and it rains a lot. During the summertime, Tokyo is between 25-30 degrees
Canada is an ideal place to live
Depends on what you’re looking for, but Canada is a pretty balanced country. This is a pretty interesting comment, and almost everyone has said this to me. I asked for a couple of top reasons why people think this is true, and here is a quick break down.
- Good healthcare system
- Hard to argue this one. The government really takes care of you on this front. While it isn’t the leader in maternity leave or anything like that, there’s definitely nothing to complain about. (Edit: After talking to Daniel) As a side note, residents pay 30% of the billable amount. In Canada, we go see our family doctor, and then we get referred to a specialist if needed. For Japan, you always go to a specialist.
- A safe place to live
- When people say this, they often compare it with major acts of terrorism or gun violence within the United States. This is something I definitely have to say Canada is amazing at. While no place is perfect, and every city deals with acts of crime, citizens of Canada are definitely not in fear every day of bomb threats.
- Good work life balance
- I can’t really argue with this either. Again obviously depending on what industry you are in and what city, you will have a different experience. But in comparison to say Tokyo, where the city is plagued with the infamous reputation of poor work-life balance, Toronto isn’t half bad. In general, I would say Canadians aren’t overworked in comparison to many other countries in the world. This isn’t without its flaws (slow adoption of new technology, poor advancements in many areas of infrastructure), but it fits the Canadian reputation of being balanced.
That’s it for now! The last one was very interesting to me and I’ll continue to ask Japanese people just for kicks. Stay tuned!