Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Japan & Global Citizenship

Japan is the last place to go to study "Global Citizenship" . It's a country where facing the truth about anything is taboo. Hide the facts and statistics, and everyone is blissfully satisfied. Massage the longevity figures so that people will think they are living longer, even though a large percentage of the population still smoke quite heavily (some behind closed doors), and salt is consumed in high quantities.

Tell them they are special because they eat rotting or reconstituted soya beans in different forms, instead of fresh vegetables or fruit. Give them any food that still has it's natural fresh taste, and they will hunt high and low for soy sauce, or ginger with which to "flavour" it .

"Cute" means a way for the men to maintain their power over the women. Keep them like children then they can be controlled. Make them think it's good to be childish and emit high pitched giggles even when they are fifty years old. The average Japanese person has a good salary yet has one of the lowest domestic standards of living amongst any of the civilized countries, although perhaps it's not fair to call Japan completely civilized. By the way, the hot summer is not the only problem in Japan. In winter, anywhere North of Tokyo is freezing.

They have no central heating and just hover over a smelly oil heater which they have to fill every day, or huddle together with their feet in a hole in the floor in which is a "half bar" electric fire. Their working conditions are grim. They live in great fear of their senior colleagues and usually take only a few days of their official holidays because they worry about their image. Oh yes, "image" is very important in Japan, but anything goes if you can do it without getting caught in the act. Wear a disguise to go to a "love" hotel with someone else's wife or husband, that's fine. But don't hold hands with any of the opposite sex in the street ! Sadly the Japanese have been misfits for many centuries, mostly of their own making because they wanted to remain seemingly "special", but one hopes the youth will change all thatnow that they can travel more easily.

Yes the culture shock for them is to realize just how pathetic things are in their own country after they have been brainwashed into thinking Japan was best. Soseki the famous Japanese writer hadthe same experience in London in the early 1900's. He was extremely shocked and depressed to see that London even then was far in advance of Tokyo in terms of living standards, after he had alwaysbeen told to the contrary. How do I know all this ? I lived and worked in Japan. I married a Japanese woman, but thank God, she was already aware of the grotesque lifestyle being lived there, and we are now happy to live in another country.

Japanese friends visit us and are never the same again. Their "bubble" is burst and they become unwilling discontented citizens of their own world back home. No, the Japanese are not Global Citizens by any stretch of theimagination. However, if you want to study "IsolatedCommunities", then do go to Japan. After which, you will reallyappreciate your own country.

An ObserverTechniques@binternet.com

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