a shapeshifting visit in Japan…

Posted by Buck68 on August 22nd, 2012 filed in Uncategorized

by Buck68™, August 22nd, 2012
©2012 by Buck68™, all rites re-served. Each use whatsoever requires prior written permission from the author [email: abuck68@yahoo.com]

I just returned from the other side of the globe. I just returned to the former melting pot, now a village multicultural diversity of oppression and fighting back while always Forward and government getting more from the evil rich for the majority minorities always all suffering.

I just returned from a land where, one single generation ago, the Dreams of My Father were the 1942 realities of inexperienced combat with inferior equipment against the best warriors from a warrior culture of a nation completely enslaved unto death to the every word of The Emperor.

I just returned from the only nation on earth atomic bombed – twice. By no ‘mistake’.

I just returned to the nation that dropped those two nuclear weapons on everyone and everything in two cities.

I just returned from a devastated country occupied for 6 years, laughed at for its ‘made in’ label for 10 more, a docile ally for 10 more, envied for its quality workforce and products since then, and enduring economic stagnation for decades with no end to that tunnel, let alone a light shining.

I did not know a single Japanese person before my visit and had not been in the country for 35 years. I talked with a vice president leading his manufacturing company’s partnership with an American company in multinational ventures – 1 on 1, for 3 hours. I talked 1 on 1 with a retired veterinarian for 1 hour. I stayed at the home of an entrepreneur – owner of two private educational schools and a business – and his wife and 3 children – for 5 days. A 22 year old 2nd year university student approached us one day. The next, we discussed family, education, people, and politics while touring the Hiroshima Museum for the entire morning. I rode a bike with 2 others through the neighborhood of rice paddies, gardens, and homes of a suburban town of poor to upper middle class people. I had casual encounters with children and adults every train ride, which was almost everywhere I went. All, while visiting two relatives who tutor and teach English to people from 4 to 64 of many backgrounds and interests.

I am in exposure and sensory overload still. So much more than i could see, let alone absorb. Yet, continual affirmations of the best and worst of human nature, from the smallest nod unto every direction and size.

Some thoughts to consider; to ponder.

1-Compared to America, Japan is a homogeneous culture. Yet, in its single culture, despite recent enslavement, despite its unique nuclear experience, despite two decades of economic challenge with no end in sight…. Yet…what? IN EVERY casual encounter, every time, every circumstance – I experienced their initiating, courteous behavior. From a variety of non-verbal clues, it wasn’t … personal. It was … timely, quick, assistance with something i had shown or expressed a question about, usually a travel matter. Even children and young single women [I am an older man].

2-Change. The people i talked with invariably brought up their perception that Japanese change slowly; they want to watch something for quite some time before they decide whether to accept or change to it. If you will, a good, long, thinking ‘look’ …before a step, let alone a leap. Yet Japan has changed from a feudal slave state to ‘post-modern’ …with an utter lack of anger, envy, and recrimination utterly foreign ON THE SURFACE, to the Political Correctness and Social Justice of the… the… exceptional nation, the last best hope of the world, the greatest democracy ever.

3-Faith. In what we might call any number of faiths or denominations, a common thankfulness toward ancestors, perseverance, and endurance.

4-Education. Despite the constant pressures of competition, rigorous testing, and great cost risks, a system from 7th grade on up based on merit, and largely supported by the family or individual regardless of their financial status. Nearly 75% of Japanese children compete in some form of local based private schooling in addition to public schools. Coping with the stresses of and attitude towards competitive performance is determined by the individual, family, and by some teachers on their own initiative. I could relay observations of Japanese children studying… but you wouldn’t believe it unless you were passionate about how oppressive it really is…is.

I just started writing about my visit to Japan. I just scratched where it itched… ichi ban… and barely the surface.

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