Xenophobia

in
Chiba, Japan
Level 6
898 Views

Hello, there.

Would it be alright if I shared my experience with the neighbors?

When I moved to the new house, I was thinking about starting Airbnb business, but I did not have concrete plans for that yet. When I sent some pictures of my house to some international friends of mine, they mentioned, "Oh! it is a very beautiful house and I will stay there definitely ."

I visited some of my neighbors with a gift to say hello and to tell about the plan of welcoming international friends: I said to them, "If you hear some noise from my house or see some troubles, let me know and I have to apologize."and they kindly replied, "Oh, the fault might be all ours. Never mind." : the old woman of the next door was nice to me at first, but she changed, even if I said hello, she ignored me with a sullen look.

One day I saw a man standing in front of the gate of the next door for hours and I heard they were speaking ill of me, so I joined the conversation: the man said to me angrily, "You didn't tell us about international visitors coming to your house and you didn't say hello to your neighbors. We feel uneasy having foreigners in our area. You should join our Residents' Assosiation but you ignored us." Accoriding to Japanese law, they should Not force us to join it, and I know it is nothing but a waste of time and the members are always whining about their neighbors for FUN. It is quite worthless, but the man, sub leader of that assosiation, forced me to go to the office and to join it and I had to pay 4400 JPY for the membership fee. I told them I greeted to my neighbors and told about the international visitors, but the man said, "No, you didn't do it. No, you didn't do it. If so, tell me the exact date you did it."quite repeatedly and rerentlessly, MORE THAN TEN TIMES. According to the law of our area, it is not hosts' duty to tell the neighbors about the Homestay Business. The old woman of the next door forced me to buy the new laundry poles that cost quite expensive, and she complained about my laundry space: she said to me "It looks quite dirty!"repeatedly and ruthlessly, MORE THAN 20 TIMES, in total, though none of my visitors complained about it.
It is my house, and it is quite offensive for the neighbors to peep into the private space.
I asked Airbnb staff about it, and they replied, "No, you don't have to buy them." I told the sub leader about it, and he mentioned,"Ah? Airbnb is nothing but a private company, so we do not trust it. You should ask prefectural office, and they are quite trustworthy. I am going to tell the prefectural office that you are making trouble with the neighbors and you will be desparate." He wrangled on, " You don't seem to be lawyer's daughter, for the lawyer is the respectful person. Only factory workers are staying at your house. When are you going to buy laundry poles You must do it. Tell me the exact date you will buy it." Almost all the visitors of my house are the researchers of university lab, engineers, teachers and martial artists, for there are some very famous universities around here and we have the world wide famous martial artist close to my house, however, if the visitors are the factory workers, who cares? I am not such a discriminant, and my father, grandfather and brother were lawyers: my aunt is a very successful lawyer and we can see her on TV., but I don't think only such titles tell they are respectful people or not. I called the prefectural office to ask if I should buy laundry poles and everything my neighbors forced me to buy, and they replied, "No, you do not have to, and you are not making troubles, because merely laundry thing is not the requirement for our supervise, but if your visitors throw the garbage away into your neighbors' houses, we will deal with it as one thinks fit. "

Everything happened here is because of their kind of xenophobic attitude of Japanese: some of the brain scientists insist that Japanese people are the most xenophoic in the world and try to unite and stick together as stupid Residents' Assocciation against foreign menace:menace that is nothing but their paranoid without any knowledge about international affairs, politics and foreign cultures, though most of the visitors of my house are doing fabulous with perfect politeness and so respectful. Moreover, many of my guests can speak three or more languages so fluently, but most Japanese can speak only Japanese, though people study English for more than ten years at school. That is one of the cause of misunderstanding and paranoid.

 

 

 

 

25 Replies

Re: Xenophobia

in
NY, NY
Level 10

@Michiko2 I very much enjoyed reading this post.  It is so vivid and so well written.

 

I feel for your distress over your neighbors' attitudes.  Neighbors can so often be difficult that in America we have a saying:  "Good fences make good neighbors."  🙂  I've had some terrible neighbors and they can make your life miserable.

 

Now that you've done all the right things, like meeting your neighbors and letting them know that you will be embarking on homesharing, and talking to the prefecture office, you no longer have to discuss any of it with your neighbors.  Continue to smile and be cheerful and let them stew in their own juices while you enjoy interesting visitors from all over the world and contribute to your bank account.

 

If this were a Hollywood movie, one of your visitors would win the heart of the old lady next door by some act of kindness, and the next thing we know, she would be starting her own Airbnb business.  We would discover that she had been quite lonely and that homesharing made her happier.  At the end of the movie we would see all the neighbors and their guests gathering together with food from all their nations and enjoying one another's company.

 

It's not a Hollywood movie, but that doesn't mean you can't have a happy ending to your Airbnb story.  🙂

 

By the way, your description of the Japanese distrust of foreigners made me think Americans and Japanese have a lot in common.  Just look at the person Americans elected president!

Re: Xenophobia

in
Chiba, Japan
Level 6

Great thanks for your advice! The movie you told about sounds quite wonderful !   I wish the old woman of the next door started Airbnb Business, and I will promote the movie that originated from my real life with the stupid Residents' Association and its members. Thinking about it makes me happy.

You gave me guts! 

 

 

Re: Xenophobia

in
NY, NY
Level 10

Aw, @Michiko2 , that's wonderful.  I'm going to look forward to seeing that movie!  🙂

Re: Xenophobia

in
Chiba, Japan
Level 6

Thank you so much!  I will do my best!

Re: Xenophobia

in
Llanberis, United Kingdom
Level 10

Sounds like your neighbours are trying to group together to brow beat and bully you - and you're letting them. They can't force you to join an organisation, they can't force you to purchase laundry poles, they can't dictate who you should allow into your own property.

 

The best and only way to respond to people like this is in kind, they will soon back down if they realise you are not an easy person to bully - My response would consist of just two words, one of which would be "off".

Re: Xenophobia

in
Chiba, Japan
Level 6

Great thanks for your advice !  Sure, I realized that they are trying to group together to bully me as you mentioned, for they are saying exatct the same thing in union with one mouth repeatedly, MORE THAN 100 TIMES.  They can not do anything else and can not say anything else, for they are too old to deal with something new having  luxury of time.  Your  two words gave me guts!

Re: Xenophobia

in
Florence, Canada
Level 10

@Michiko2, I like your tag "stupid residents' association". I am surprised it is not a more popular one 🙂

You are doing everything right, it sounds like. You are open with the neighbours, not hiding anything. You joined the stupid association, and that will hopefully give you a voice in it. You came to this forum to ask advice, rather than complaining to your guests, because no guest likes to hear about neighbourhood drama.

I hope your nosy neighbours start minding their own business. 

 

Re: Xenophobia

in
Chiba, Japan
Level 6

Great thanks for your advice!  I am happy you like my tag "stupid residents' association".

By the way, the sub leader of this "stupid residents' association" likes to stay at Airbnb places that he thinks untrustworthy all over the world, but he doesn't like the ABB in his area. 

What a contradiction!  If he contacts you that he wants to stay at your place, our "smart hosts' association" would politely reject him!  You gave me guts!

 

Re: Xenophobia

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Michiko2i don't know anything about the laws and customs of your community in Japan, and I presume that you're following all the local regulations correctly. But while xenophobia could  play a role in your neighbors' attitudes, their attitudes echo a lot of the legitimate concerns that communities have about Airbnb worldwide. I don't necessarily agree with all these viewpoints, but I think it's worth engaging with these talking points when approaching your neighbors in dialogue:

 

1. People worry that their sense of community cohesion will erode if residential units are occupied by temporary visitors who aren't invested in the lives of their neighbors.

 

2. People feel suspicious when strangers appear in a close-knit residential community and they don't know whether they are supposed to be there.

 

3. Renters worry about gentrification and fear that landlords will push them out when holiday rentals are more profitable than long-term leases.

 

4. Local laws are often unclear about the rights, responsibilities, and regulations that apply to Airbnb properties, so it can be hard to tell whether a host is following the rules.

 

5. Neighbors don't know whether a host has taken measures to screen their guests, and they've heard horror stories about guests conducting criminal activity or having wild parties.

 

6. People don't like the idea of their neighborhood being a tourist destination and fear their local institutions being replaced by luxuries less useful to locals.

 

I don't know how many of these concerns apply to your community, and once again I don't agree with them as reasons to oppose someone choosing to host Airbnb guests. I just think that it's important to ask questions and try to understand these potential points of view before totally writing our neighbors off as xenophobic bigots. (And it's not much of a stretch to see how this also applies to the geopolitical moment, as larger-scale versions of these fears are fueling the rise of authoritarians, isolationists, and fascists).

Re: Xenophobia

in
Chiba, Japan
Level 6

Great thanks for your advice.

 

Sure, all these you menntioned are the quite important issues for all the hosts to think it over again and again, especially in Japan, the law for Homestay Business was regulated only last year. Even many of the officers don't know about the law so much: I experienced several times that even if I asked something concerninng the law, they replied, "We don' t know, for this law is just started right now." Accordingly it took time when I filled the required document.

 

These are the point of views of mine.

 

1. The visitors buy some food and stuff for their daily use at the shops  in the community area, so they turn out to be invested in the lives of the community. 

 

2. Many Japanese people like to travel around  countries oversea in a happy holiday mood and they meet so many strange foreigners there, and I don't think they  are wondering if most  such  foreigners are about to hurt them, and this is why?

 

3. In my case  I set the price just same for both users.

 

4. It should be shown to local people, all the documents we did for running the business  as correctly as we can.

 

5.The hosts should share all the fear and anxiety that community people must be bearing. 

 

6.In the case of my guests, most of them have their own business, and spend most time at the lab or training rooms and they are not bothering the local institutions: I occasionally tell about it to local people and that is the main reasons that make me get started Homestay Business.

 

Thanks to you, I will clear everything and think it over again. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re: Xenophobia

Level 10

@Michiko2 

 

I read your letter with great interest. I think - it is not because the Japanese or just your neighbors are xenophobic. It is a common attitude in many countries, some neighbors are often hostile to some nice people.  Instead of "good fences make good neighbors"  - in our country we have a saying for such people - "It is not important for me to be okey, it is important for me that my neighbor to be ill."

 

And I continue to have problems similar to yours and perhaps much more. At the beginning the neighbor who lives just above the flat I listed on airbnb went to all offices, wrote letters, insisted all neighbors to vote against my decision to be a host. Now and then she is doing bad things which are making my business to suffer, just the last example - as soon as I clean the windows - she throуя дкш асишщ уьшеи

Re: Xenophobia

Level 10

@Michiko2  - Oh sorry - I send by mistake the unfinished message - My neighbor throws out dirty water as soon as I clean the windos - I clean them again - she makes a tube the dirty water to drip non stop...  

Re: Xenophobia

in
Chiba, Japan
Level 6

Great thanks for sharing your hard experience your neighbors. 

 

I think all the guests of yours have to give you the special thanks to you and surely they do.

 

People might think that happens only in the drama or movies, but it really happens in the daily lives of  some very nice  hosts: a friend of mine told me that her neighbors are consistently bullying her, though she was just a house wife with no business and she is very nice: she was about to take  action, but she didn't.  We could analyze a kind of envious sentiment of such relentless neighbors cause all these.

You gave me guts! 

Re: Xenophobia

in
Madrid, Spain
Level 10

@Michiko2 , why on earth your neighbors are able to see what you have and use inside your house?! None of their business! If they don’t want to be polite - their problem. Just smile nicely! And do what you are doing without paying too much attention to them. Within established limits, for sure. 

My neighbours, for example, get my smiles. And when they show no respect they get some hours of very heavy music. During established time, for sure:) They get it very quickly and for long time:). 

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