Stereotypes are not good since they cause us to make assumptions about people from other countries before we've gotten to know them. When I taught English as a Second Language, I used to do a lot of part-time work, going to people's homes to teach their kids once a week, and I was able to come into contact with a lot of people from average families trying to help their kids learn English to extremely wealthy students who seemed to think it was fashionable to have foreigners hanging around. One family I taught seemed to be a pretty average Japanese family on the surface: bustling mother overly concerned about her kids' education; bright daughter; younger son who loved Pokemon and "UFO Catcher" (crane game) machines; and a salaryman father who often worked late. The father surprised me one day by showing me pictures of his journey from Vladivostok to Moscow on the Siberian Railroad, which had been a lifelong dream of his, and I was immediately sorry I'd assumed he was such an average Joe. The leader of my daughter's Girl Scout troop is another such person. At first glance, she's an average middle-aged Japanese woman, worrying over how to make her daughter study more and tending a small dairy farm. Turns out, she's also a published author of children's books, and quite well-known in her field, which I never suspected, looking at her. I wonder if the Japanese I meet here have stereotyped ideas about what I'm like before they get to know me?