I recently started to learn Japanese not to long ago, less than one year. I also attend a college that has international foreign exchange students, including Japanese students. They are also know as UKK students and there is a pretty fair share of them every six months or so they come and go. I started to hang out with a couple of them before I knew enough Japanese to have conversions or complete a full sentences but I stopped after I got a job and girlfriend(not a Japanese girlfriend). Now I have some more free time and I recently started to talk to the new UKK students that come to the school, they are very friendly but a lot of other American students I am becoming friends with are always around UKK Japanese students. When the UKK students aren't around they usually tell me some information about them I wasn't very interested in hearing because they are always talking about it. They go on to talk about Japanese people having an inner and outer shell and they are nice and friendly on the outside but when they are with people they know and trust they show there inner side and are a totally different person. I know this can apply to about any kind of people in any country but they go on to point out that they do some pretty explicit stuff aside from the usual smoking or drinking. An example would be the way they accuse the women as like "they get around" so to speak and kind of make them look trashy. They say most guys talk about you behind your back and are "two-faced" until they get to know you and they seem to slander them claiming that they "know there stuff" because they have been with these UKK students for quite some time. I feel as if they may be wrong not to fully deny there claim but I want someone else opinion on this. If any of you have ever been to japan or know any international students who come to the states for a program, can I get a little bit of what you think or can clear up out of this?
p.s- The people who make these claims are more focused on partying with Japanese people, drinking with them and "getting" with the Japanese girls. There interest in the language seems to be far from there true intentions. I feel that my goal, which is to become fluent in Japanese, can not be achieved from being in this group of students since so far I have learned very little with them compared to the amount I have learned studying independently on this site and other methods.
I know that public society in Japan can be very respectful and non-confrontational. I feel like the only time you can really be mistreated in public is if you go out of your way to do something despicable or if you simply don't own up to your own mistakes (even if it wasn't necessarily your fault).
When it comes to private matters, I can't really say for sure. I know a lot of the pretenses and pressures of society are shed when people are close and have some privacy. Japanese people tend to make fewer friends, but keep the ones they have close. Their bonds can go pretty deep once they get to really know each other.
Whether they'll really say some crude stuff behind your back, I think that may be because these students may be of a younger generation. But really, when Japanese people speak comfortably, they can sometimes really let it all out. I suppose it depends on the mentality/group dynamic of the people speaking.
I can say, speaking with Japanese people in a bar, the conversation can get pretty casual. People act like themselves (without bearing it all) and there is a certain curtain of politeness that is pulled aside when you're able to have drinks with the people around you.
Also, having a Japanese girlfriend, there is no polite conversation between us. While we're both very honest with each other, we're also both nearing 30 so we don't really bother with petty drama or talking behind people's backs.
I would take what these guys are saying with a grain of salt. Sure, they may spend plenty of time with thse UKK students, but they're still getting a rather limited scope of Japanese culture.