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Evacomics: Funny Comparison of Japan, Singapore and U.S.

Today I want to introduce an amazing comic artist to you.
I found her blog many years ago and ever since then have enjoyed her funny comic strips where she’s comparing Japan to Singapore, the U.S. and other countries. I really love her humor and with just a few panels she’s able to convey things showing how they really are.

When reading her comics I often find myself smiling and nodding. If I could draw at all I would show you the differences between Japan and Germany. ;)
But as I can’t I decided to introduce you to “Evacomics” instead because it’s something you really shouldn’t miss if you’re interested in Japan and how life there really is.

 

Evacomics: Funny comics about Japan

And there’s nobody else who could introduce Evacomics better than the artist herself. I’m glad that she agreed to do this interview.

Zooming Japan: Hi, Eva. Please introduce yourself.

Eva: Hi, Jasmine! I’m Evangeline Neo, a comic artist from Singapore. I’ve been publishing my own comic series via web since 2007. I was awarded an MDA scholarship in 2003 and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. I subsequently earned a scholarship for Japanese language study and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Waseda University in Tokyo in 2010 supported by Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2013 I returned to Singapore and founded Evaworks Pte Ltd as a vehicle for my marketing expertise, deep cross cultural insight and entrepreneurial spirit.

Evacomics: Funny comics about Japan

Eva at Hitachi Seaside Park – a place I have yet to visit (can you believe it?)

 

Zooming Japan: Why did you decide to come to Japan and why did you leave again?

Eva: After graduating from my art school in US, I returned to Singapore to work on my comics. But seeing that the industry had not grown and sales of comic books going down, I wanted to see and experience how Japan created the vibrant manga culture and if I could learn something from it and bring back home. I had no money to study abroad so I applied for scholarships and got one offered by Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Japan) on my third attempt. I left because I graduated and did not want to sell my soul to any Japanese company for a working visa. I wanted to develop my own brand “Evacomics” so the best place is back home (and no rent!).

 

Evacomics: Funny comics about Japan

Zooming Japan: You’re drawing awesome comics comparing Japan to other countries, mainly Singapore. How did you come up with that idea?

Eva: Hint: I didn’t have a smart phone for my last 1.5 years in Japan. I didn’t look down on my phone like what most people do now, so I just observed everything around me. As a student, I had more time to socialize with many people so ideas came in through regular conversations, too.

Evacomics: Funny comics about Japan

Zooming Japan: Where / how can people enjoy your comics?

Eva: They can check out my Facebook page, blog and also Instagram.
I have a Patreon campaign now to allow supporters to directly fund me.

They can also purchase the book “Eva, Kopi and Matcha” that you see in the photo above on Amazon.

 

Evacomics: Funny comics about Japan

Zooming Japan: In your opinion, what is better about life in Japan and what is worse when you compare it to Singapore?

Eva: It’s always more interesting to have changing seasons, fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables and meat. Everything in Japan looks more visually appealing, from snack packaging to billboard ads. Scenery is also beautiful there. We have no rural area in Singapore now, no mountains, no river, no lakes.
The only thing I don’t like about Japan and the reason why I left is the working culture there. You are supposed to follow what your superiors want, work overtime and get totally exhausted. There’s no work-life-balance. Being a woman doesn’t help either. I had been looked down upon a couple of times from old Japanese businessmen. Of course, not all old Japanese businessmen are arrogant, I had professors who were absolutely cool and open-minded.

 

Evacomics: Funny comics about Japan

(*Zooming Japan: Don’t even ask what kind of weird situations I had with my students because of that …)

 

Zooming Japan: I’m writing a blog series called “A German Alien in Japan”. We all know that Western foreigners in Japan are sometimes treated differently from Asian foreigners. Would you agree? What’s your experience?

Eva: Yes, definitely. I heard from friends that companies who were hiring English teachers prefer foreigners who look more foreign (i.e. blonde hair, blue eyes). You also get more attention when you have a Western-looking foreign friend in the group … everybody just treats you kinder. For me, I looked like a Japanese, so I only got “better” treatment when I didn’t completely understand the instructions and spoke in English …

 

Evacomics: Funny comics about Japan

(*Zooming Japan: And in Germany you have to call the waiter several times and hope you’ll be able to pay any time soon. On top of that you’re supposed to pay a tip.)

Zooming Japan: Do you have any advice for people who want to live in Japan?

Eva: It’s probably better to save some money and then apply for a one-year Japanese course there to experience Japan and its culture. You get to learn the language, make new friends and have time to tour around. If you decide to study or work there, you can research and get interviewed directly, too. There’s also the MEXT scholarship. You don’t have to pay school fees and you get monthly allowance, too!

Zooming Japan: Thank you very much for the great advice and for taking the time for this interview, Eva.

 

Evacomics: Funny comics about Japan

I hope you like Evacomics as much as I do.

Evacomics: Funny comics about Japan

You can stay connected with Eva and enjoy new comic strips regularly on the following platforms:

14 Comments

  • i totally dig customer service in singapore! if there is anything i cant stand in japan, its omotenashi, most of the time…
    the last one is also nice… most excuses in japan are a joke and on top of that, nothing changes, as long as someone says sorry its okay and the same thing will be repeated all over again^^

  • I agree with gorden: the constant barrage of auditory input in Japan is so annoying. I already know I handed you 2000 yen. I don’t need to be thanked out the door. I don’t need to hear that I shouldn’t run on the escalator, or stand behind a yellow line, or or or or.

    Japan is so loud all the time. Even if you go skiing, people are so used to hearing stuff, that whilst you’re going down the slopes there has to be music playing in the background.

    Silence isn’t golden here because it simply doesn’t exist.

    • I agree, malls and other public places can get noisy. The one thing I really can’t stand are the teenagers working at the mall screaming “TIME SALE! TIME SALE!”. Can I please shop in peace??

      But trains are generally pretty quiet in Japan, In Singapore, it gets quite noisy with people chatting and obnoxious people with their iPad and smartphones blaring whatever they happen to play…

      • Oh, I agree re: people listening to music out loud in public spaces. But… have you ever been to a camping ground in Japan? Loudest, most obnoxious places I’ve ever been to in nature. Drunk, rowdy, and loud till 1AM, 2AM, and further.

        But people talking on the train? Why not? People should feel free to talk everywhere except when they are being taught something, or when they are watching a movie, or in a private space designated to quietude.

        That a train has to feel quiet makes no sense in a country that otherwise, is so infuriatingly loud. 7AM politicians shouting slogans through megaphones, neighbourhood construction starting at 6 or 7 AM in a small development on the weekend, and the constant shouting of vendors, of advertisements…

        In that society the only way a quiet train makes sense is that it is THE ONLY respite people get. Which tells you that there is a huge problem with the way the society is designed to behave. You, and individual can’t say anything. The shop, the politicians, the machines: can talk all they want. The only thing you hear is party lines, advertisements, or safety warnings. You don’t hear the organic, creative inanity of humanity.

        • i actually see that from another point of view… one thing: the quiet trains are tokyo, not japan… the other thing is: i love the silent trains, because everywhere else it is loud in tokyo… and i dont need to hear people stories^^ but that is just me… that is a matter of respect, when youre living a crowded environment, i dont think it has anything to do with people not being allowed to talk…
          the camping thing is of course typically japanese… whenever they think nobody can see them, they act like that…

          also, among the people i know here, i dont know anybody who doesnt speak his or her mind… sure, not always in a direct way, but i would never say i know anyone who is being restricted, or feels limited in his/her actions..

          • I think we are saying the same thing sort of. But I’m sort of taking it a step to the side: Japan is loud all the time. It is rife with advertisements etc. The train shouldn’t be sacrosanct. I wish it wasn’t, but… only if the entire rest of the country wasn’t such an echo chamber.

            Seoul is also very loud, but there is a better balance of people VS advertisements, which is easier to respect whilst being annoyed at.

            I think by restriction I meant: there are places where a person isn’t allowed to talk but a company is. The rights always favour the advertiser. They can say what they want when they want to, no matter that its 7AM on the weekend in a neighbourhood. But a person can’t talk on their mobile in a train?

    • yeah, on top of all that, its loud… the thing is, i just dont believe its honest… of course its trained behaviour, especially for shop staff, but you hear and say sumimasen and whatever so often, that it became nothing but a word, or maybe even just a sound… i mean i say it all the time, too, but i also know that half of the time (if not more), its just a reaction… and i bet that most of the “nice” salarymen”, or the “nice” old lady that are running you over every time you get near a station, are even pissed because they have to say it…
      i actually did some research recently and most japanese people dont like that omotenashi… that survey was about shopping though, no idea how people see it in restaurants, or wherever else… the general tone was more like “if i need something, i will tell you, you dont have to ask me what i want, the second i entered the shop”…
      well, its part of japan (because why change anything?^^), but i will never understand how people really think thats nice, or even a good thing… maybe they are from a country without any shop staff at all (i would certainly move there!)…
      and being german myself, i know what germans and probably everybody else thinks about the german customer service, to me its absolutely okay, as long as things are getting done… it can take a while, i might not be served in keigo all the time, but at least my requests are considered and usually changes happen (at least in my experience)…

    • Haha. When some friends from Germany visited me in Japan they kept asking me what the people in the conbini were saying? They were so shocked and not sure if they’re supposed to reply and what was going on.
      I’ve gotten used to it and actually I quite like it, but I’ve always only lived in the inaka where it’s generally not very loud.

      • well, i think they say the same as they do in germany, as far as i remember, the sentences are just longer…but im somewhat left in the middle there, i dont really mind the talking, so konbini us always okay… but in every other shop its annoying… you cant even try to look at anything without being interrupted and thats not really polite (from my point of view, but also from my friends point of view), its just some archaic manner that is being repeated all over again…

        and about replying, i always say thank you and whatnot and be just polite, but japanese people (at least in osaka, kyoto and tokyo) dont say anything…

  • Jasmine!!

    Just got back from my vacation in Japan..and successfully climbed Fuji. Everytime I come back to the US, it takes a while for me to get back to my usual routine….lol..

    After every trip, I always wondered about moving there, and this post cant come at the right time. Definitely checking out some of the free scholarships that is out there.

    and surprisingly I cant believe you haven’t been to Hitachi Seaside Park!! It’s definitely on my list of places to go as well…hopefully on next trip.

    • Haha, Ginny, I’m so glad to hear that and I hope you enjoyed climbing Mt. Fuji! ^__^

      Yeah, it’s been on my list forever, but I wanted to go in September and I never had any vacation time in September, so there you go. T_T