A Reflection

Trip Start Sep 08, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Japan  , Kinki,
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I am aware that most of my observations about Japan have been of a negative nature. That is not to say that the experience of being here has been an entirely negative one. On the contrary, it has been highly stimulating to try to fathom a culture which, whilst on the surface looks modern and familiar and consumerist, is really so very different from my own. My frustrations come from my own ignorance, my own lack of understanding (and the Japanese belief that their culture is too complex, too nuanced, to begin to teach me) and the fact that things do not work in the way I want them to.
But they do work. They work very efficiently and effectively and who am I to suggest improvements. And so whilst I am thoroughly enjoying being here, I know it is a place I could never live in. The people have such divergent values to my own and hold different things important. They are too self-disciplined for me. Too efficient, too precise. They are too law-abiding, too unquestioning of authority. But most of all they are too dispassionate, too soulless for me to ever feel a kinship with them and I do not find myself to be a better person when I am around them. I do not like myself here.

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