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Back, temporarily, from the Land of the Rising Sun

Politics Nothing goes with politics quite like crying and complaining, and we're a perfect example of that.

Back, temporarily, from the Land of the Rising Sun

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Old 06-10-2018, 05:48 AM
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Nontypical Buck
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Default Back, temporarily, from the Land of the Rising Sun

I find I'm not deeply interested in politics right now since I'm going to be having a different sort of concerns. I'm debating whether or not I should vote here by absentee ballot. Obviously I'm affected by U.S. policies, but not more so than anyone else living in Japan.

So anyway, there is hunting in Japan. You can use a shotgun which has to be registered with the police. Getting a license to hunt is much, much more difficult than it is here. Apparently there is no bowhunting but one can participate in archery as a sport.

Our house is fantastic. You know there are no earthquakes i Michigan, but they do occur in Japan. If our Michigan house fell on us, we would be done for. But if our house in Japan fell on us, we would come away with a few bruises. We will all be sleeping on the floor in the same room. That's most convenient since the cupboards where the bedding is stored are in that room. We have a washer, but no dryer. You hang your clothes outside to dry. You can get a dryer, though if you want to live more like it's done in the U.S. of A. There are sliding doors between rooms. You can make a room larger by just sliding doors open.

You can get almost anywhere on public transportation. Although, for trips out in the country, a car would be more convenient.

I had the honor of meeting some of our daughters school mates and their parents. You would be stunned at the difference between children there and here. The kids bow politely to us and, since we have doctoral degrees, call us sensei. The respect for parents and other adults is stunning. The kids have to wear uniforms to school. Boys wear slacks and blazer with white shirt and green and yellow striped tie.(School colors.) Girls wear skirts, yellow blouse, feminized blazer with green scarf. The skirts are not really very long and some of the girls pull them higher on the waist to make the skirt shorter. The uniform calls for black shoes, but the kids actually wear sneaker. Any color is allowed. The school badge has a different colored border which indicates grade level. You have to be respectful of those senior to you.

Of course the primary reason for our move was to get our daughters out of the modern American environment, that is, moral environment.

Groceries are more expensive there, but there is plenty of fresh produce of all kinds. Seafood is very plentiful as is chicken and pork. There doesn't seem to be a lot of beef.

I hope I'm not too old for this kind of exciting experience.
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:49 AM
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No, you are not too old for this kind of experience. Please post other such observations from time to time as you see fit. I, for one, will find them very interesting.

My expectation is that Japan is a highly mono-cultural nation. Said in other words, there is little diversity in Japan. Said in other words, the vast majority of people in Japan are native Japanese. Is this expectation accurate? By the way, I do not see "mono-cultural" as inherently bad. If the culture is good, mono-cultural means more of a good thing, right?! How are you treated? It sounds like you are treated with respect, but, aside from this, do you feel like you are an outsider or do you feel like they welcome you?

I would be interested in hearing your comments on how Japan manages to have well behaved children. I assume this betokens respect for authority in general and respect for parents in particular. How is that engendered?

Some years back I worked for Samsung, a Korean company, and read some books on Korean culture to know what was going on. One of the things I found out was that in Korean culture specifically -- and in "Confucian" culture more generally -- the social group was more important than the individual. Social harmony was important. This involved respect for hierarchies. Perhaps this is somewhat involved in the respect for parents and authority figures in Japan?

As a separate question -- although it may be related -- do you observe partisan politics in Japan? Do you observe in Japan groups that seem to actively attack traditions as we see in the West (college professors, news media, Hollywood, visual artists, writers)? What is the attitude towards law-and-order in Japan? I'm thinking particularly of things like destructive protests where property is damaged on-purpose during the protests such as in Ferguson Missouri, at Berkeley, in Baltimore, etc.

One other attribute of Confucian culture is a deep and abiding respect for education. This does not exist in the same way in the United States. Respect for education is respect for education as an instrumentality to material wealth -- a path to a good job -- not respect for scholarship or learning in and of itself. How do the Japanese view such things? I do not limit the idea of someone who is educated or a scholar to college professors -- but this can include people who read and study independently. Do they read books?
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:07 PM
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Nontypical Buck
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Originally Posted by Alsatian View Post
No, you are not too old for this kind of experience. Please post other such observations from time to time as you see fit. I, for one, will find them very interesting.

My age aside, I am enjoying the experience.

My expectation is that Japan is a highly mono-cultural nation. Said in other words, there is little diversity in Japan. Said in other words, the vast majority of people in Japan are native Japanese. Is this expectation accurate? By the way, I do not see "mono-cultural" as inherently bad. If the culture is good, mono-cultural means more of a good thing, right?! How are you treated? It sounds like you are treated with respect, but, aside from this, do you feel like you are an outsider or do you feel like they welcome you?00

The population is very homogeneous and the culture is, as you put it, mono-cultural. I think I have been accepted because I have made it clear that I intend to "go-native." In other words to become Japanese. I am living in a traditional home, rather than feeling a need to live the way I would in the states. It was not lost on my colleagues that my wife behaves as a traditional Japanese wife, even though she is a college professor with a doctorate. My colleagues seemed very comfortable addressing her as "sensei' while accepting the fact that she prepared and served dinner.

I would be interested in hearing your comments on how Japan manages to have well behaved children. I assume this betokens respect for authority in general and respect for parents in particular. How is that engendered?

The difference is truly phenomenal when you compare Japan and the U.S. I arrived home at one point to find my older daughter and two school friends with books and papers scattered around studying, still in school uniforms. When I walked into the room, all three jumped up, bowed and greeted me, "good afternoon, sensei." Apparently, physical punishment is not part of the technique. I have observed the same process with the way sachiko teaches our daughters. They are praised for doing well and disapproved of for not doing well. But there has to be a lot of praise. They seem to become addicted to doing the right thing in order to earn praise and avoid disapproval. I can waylay an impending rebellion or tantrum from one of our daughters by simply scowling at her. But you have to be consistent.

Some years back I worked for Samsung, a Korean company, and read some books on Korean culture to know what was going on. One of the things I found out was that in Korean culture specifically -- and in "Confucian" culture more generally -- the social group was more important than the individual. Social harmony was important. This involved respect for hierarchies. Perhaps this is somewhat involved in the respect for parents and authority figures in Japan?

Confucianism is probably a more significant part of the culture in Korea than in Japan. Shinto pervades Japan although most people do not make a big deal of it. Yet they still perform the rituals and ceremonies. Shinto is based on animism which dates back to the very beginnings of Japan. There are traditions passed down from the ancestors which govern behavior. These traditions govern sachiko's behavior and role as a wife and mother, and by my own choice my behavior and role as a husband and father. Shinto incorporates a spiritual element which is not found in Confucianism.

As a separate question -- although it may be related -- do you observe partisan politics in Japan? Do you observe in Japan groups that seem to actively attack traditions as we see in the West (college professors, news media, Hollywood, visual artists, writers)? What is the attitude towards law-and-order in Japan? I'm thinking particularly of things like destructive protests where property is damaged on-purpose during the protests such as in Ferguson Missouri, at Berkeley, in Baltimore, etc.

I don't think you could ever see destructive protests like we saw in Ferguson, etc. Obama encouraged the racial division that created those incidents. There is no racial division her because everyone is in the same boat.

One other attribute of Confucian culture is a deep and abiding respect for education. This does not exist in the same way in the United States. Respect for education is respect for education as an instrumentality to material wealth -- a path to a good job -- not respect for scholarship or learning in and of itself. How do the Japanese view such things? I do not limit the idea of someone who is educated or a scholar to college professors -- but this can include people who read and study independently. Do they read books?

Education is highly regarded here and educated people are highly respected. Education is for its own sake not just as job training. Japanese students probably know more about American history than American students. Being educated brings prestige which is why the kids at the school our daughters attend study as much as they do.
Small impressions are about all I can come up with now. I'm sure five years from now, I'll have more to say.
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Old 06-14-2018, 04:14 AM
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Well, glad to hear you guys are doing well there. I as well would not mind reading a little update here and there about your new life and if you guys get a chance or opportunity maybe a pic or two of the areas you guys will be describing.
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