Monday, March 19, 2012


It has become very obvious that the cultures of my "home" country, the United States and the country I am visiting (Japan) are far varied in attributes and habits. I first came to Japan approximately 40 years ago, as a buyer for the Six Flags amusement park company. I found a society based on respect, high moral character and reverence for elders, along with valued historical traditions. This largely remains today, with few exceptions.

Driving is an adventure and other drivers defer to oncoming traffic, if not allowing a turn would back up traffic or cause a roadblock. When this happens, "every" driver" thanks the other person, allowing the driver to "break" in line. There is no "cutting you off" on the freeways and toll roads. There are many small streets and decisions have to be made as to who either pulls over or backs up, to prevent the emminent collision. They politely bow to each other and the driver that has the easiest task to perform, usually makes the extra effort.

The population is healthy beyond belief and walks to all mass transportation stations, shopping sites and are more than likely walking 10 miles a day per person. The diet is healthy and with the walking they live long lives and continue to walk and exercise all day. On the trains you can hear a pin drop as it is disrespectful to yell or talk loud and it presents a calming effect, unknown in my home country. Young people rise and offer their seats for the elderly. The population is more concerned with whether others are put in situations that they would deem inconvenient as opposed to self gratification.

Children walk alone at the age of five and six and are completely safe, as the crime rate is insignificant in this country. The habits, activities and customs are based on logic and common sense, without overbearing regulations that constrict business or life. An example, is last night we ate at a sushi place, that has a conveyor belt which carries the individual sushi plates by all tables. If I was at home, no health department in the country would allow this exposure (there would be a huge sneeze guard, just in case someone sneezed or coughed on the food).

In Japan they understand that would be unacceptable and wear masks to keep their mouths and noses covered if sick or to prevent illness. In addition, at home in my country, I am sure that there would be mischievous acts performed on the sushi, as it passed by tables of unsupervised children. These acts would be inconceivable in Japan. All Japanese children understand discipline and are very reserved in public, regardless of their age.

Conversations are literal and one doesn't fear they may be shammed into believing something that isn't true or misled into accepting a situation that is entirely wrong in nature (basically being defrauded by lies). That does not enter the minds of the Japanese population in most cases. They are honest and open in their thoughts and conversations. It is a culture of peace and tranquility and are very concerned with what impression is being left with others.

Being in this culture, has made me realize the enormous change we as a free society have made, since my youth. In my youth our country was respected by the entire world and looked up to by other countries as a leader in all aspects. Now we expect our government to subsidize our lives and in most cases place our needs and wants before those of our neighbors, friends and relatives. It is a sad commentary and I completely understand why Josh has made the decision to move to Japan and adopt the culture of this country. Hold on, have fun and enjoy the ride my son! Thank God for Google+.

1 comment:

  1. OMG, Mike! Rick Santorum's preacher Dennis Terry would tell you to "GET OUT!" of the USA for what you just wrote! Y'see you didn't mention God or Jesus in Japan, did you? I'm sure Rev. Dennis Terry would have all those Budha worshiping infidels in hell, in spite of their good manners and discipline! I hope you can "google" Preacher Dennis Terry and see what he said and how Santorum is all pumped up over it. I sware, the Republicans are trying to usher in the new dark age.
    Over the years, I've had some Japanese students, along with Chinese and Vietnamese. I would gladly exchange all of my homeys for a class full of them. Purely for the fact that I would be respected.