It soon became apparent that more than a few of them shared some attitudes with expatriates in Japan: They had very little complimentary to say about the country in which they now lived. Their posts were clogged with whiny, whingeing, self-centered rants about a nation that failed to live up to their expectations. I’d heard the same for years from foreigners in Japan; only the names and places were different.Though the proportions may be different, I think the same types of people can be found on both sides of the East Sea (or Sea of Japan). And while a lot of it may stem from the reasons Ampontan suggests, a good amount of it (for some people at least) comes from the jarring experience of being stripped away of one's racial transparency, which they never knew they had back home (it's transparent, you see).
Fancy that; they came to the other side of the world to broaden their horizons but expected everything to be much the same as it is where they came from, including television program content, informal interaction in public among strangers, and supermarkets selling bucket-sized containers of diet ice cream. You know the expression, “Youth is wasted on the young”? In this case, the experience of life overseas is wasted on the people who live overseas.
Among the reasons for this phenomenon is that some people are not as open-minded as they like to pretend when they preen in front of their psychological mirrors. Most people come to terms with a world that isn’t going to conform to one’s demands or expectations before they’ve left school. Some of those who haven’t wind up in Northeast Asia.
Another factor–in Japan at any rate–is that they feel cheated because the Lafcadio Hearn experience is no longer open to them. They’re disappointed that time and traffic doesn’t stand still because they happen to be walking down a street filled with people more interested in the concerns of their own lives than their proximity to
a member of the Master RaceMr. Global Adventurer from a country Far Across the Sea. Yet another is that it gives them a cheap excuse to bask in the sunshine of their superiority.
But there are legitimate reasons to grouse, of course, and the mere act of complaining about something reasonable to gripe about (e.g., "no gaijin" housing listings in Japan, honesty-impaired hagwon managers in South Korea, difficulty for non-White faces to get work teaching English, etc.) doesn't make one a kvetchpat or a waaaaagugin. But if it takes over your mindset and becomes the dominant theme, then you may have crossed over to the dark side.
And, like I said at Ampontan's, kvetching can be a contagion, so watch out.