|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Seven years have passed since young Iranian men started to arrive in Japan in search of work following the end of the Iran-Iraq War.
The number of Iranian visitors has totaled 300,000 by now,but we are still ignorant of these "strange neighbors."
It's time to get to know them,insists Spa!
The magazine's 10-page feature on Iranians in Japan is comprehensive and concrete, covering many aspects and quoting a lot of informations.
The article begins appropriately with statistics.
Spa! informs that about 4,000 Iranian men are flying into Japan to work every year and about 20,000 are now working illegally following the expiration of their visas.
According to Spa!,contrary to the widespread view,most Iranians who come to work in Japan are not from poor families.Many of them are middle-class university or college graduates.
"They come here for money because the dollar sells at extremely high prices on the Iranian black market.
They earn yen here,exchange it into dollars and make a killing when they go home," explains Toshihide Aikawa, a freelance journalist.
"But they are not here because they can't make a living in Iran.
Many of them own big houses back home.
They live well."
Aikawa adds that many Iranians despise Japanese residential conditions and living standards and want to leave as soon as they reach their savings target.
But it takes months,sometimes years to accumulate a target sum.
While in Japan,Iranians live modestly.They tend to stay home watching Japanese TV or visiting Iranian friends when they are not toiling at work.
One reason for their shyness is the desire to avoid unnecessary spending, but many live in a closed world because they find people and customs in Japan too weird.
"When I first came here,I thought all Japanese women were prostitutes,"Mr.M.,a four-year resident,remembers.
"In Iran,only prostitutes leave their skin exposed like Japanese women do."
It is rather well known that many Muslim visitors keep away from Japanese food because pork is used in a very subtle fashion.
But many Iranians do not even accept Japanese clothes.
"Japanese trousers look unhip," notes Mr.M.
"We like baggy pants with a plenty of room around the thighs and narrow cuffs.
You can't find them in Japan.
I ask my mother in Tehran to send me a new pair over whenever I need trousers."
But not all Iranians are stubborn nonconformists.
Spa! informs its readers that there are also assimilated Iranians who eat pork,drink alcohol,buy women and ignore daily prayers.
"Some of us suspended prayers and fasting," observes Mr.H.
"because,our Japanese co-workers and friends get angry if we ask about pork in a meal every time we eat together."
Photojournalist Tsuyoshi Nishiyama estimates the ratio of liberal Iranians in Japan who drink alcohol at about 10 percent.
Iranian men are also struggling to keep their conservative morals about women.
Mr.B. informs Spa! he is doing his best to keep away from Japanese women because he want to marry an Iranian woman who shares his Islamic values.
Spa! reports Iranian men are overwhelmingly polite and square.
They blush at questions about sex and denounce adultery.
Feeling that these harmless men are widely misunderstood (the magazine's earlier survey on Japanese women found that Iranian men were the least favored international date), Spa! listens to a 27-year-old Japanese woman dating an Iranian.
"Before I met him," she recalls, "I used to think Iranians were dreadful.
But soon I learned that they are well-mannered,cheerful and kind people."
The informant reveals that her boyfriend is so considerate to tell her that he doesn't want to take her with him when he goes home because he doesn't want to see her suffer in a very different culture.(TI)