A little bit of Rio in Kyoto

Trip Start Sep 08, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of Japan  , Kinki,
Friday, October 22, 2010

In Kyoto we stayed with Oliver - a Brazilian who has been living in Japan for eleven years. He spoke at great (great) length about Japanese culture and the things he had observed. We were encouraged to have confirmed that some of our thinking had been roughly on the right lines but of all he things he said, one seemed to make real sense of a lot of the aspects of Japanese life we had observed.
He talked about The System and The Book. He suggested that in the West we effectively start off with nothing and during the course of our lives we acquire things; we earn our wealth, we gain the respect we deserve, we labour for social standing and our position in the community. In Japan this is not the case. In Japan you are born with a set number of points. When you are born Japanese, you are given The Book and you are born part The System. This you cannot change. You follow what it says in The Book. You act according to your position in The System. And if you make a mistake? you lose some of your points. This all sounds fair and familiar but the important distinction to emphasise is that in Japan, once you have lost some of your points YOU CAN NEVER GAIN THEM BACK. They're gone. You can never re-earn them. Your life is now set on a different course.
This is why the Japanese are so self-disciplined. This is why they have no need for the police. Forget the Law. You follow what it says in The Book or your life is over. And this is said literally. For if your mistake is big enough, for example if at aged 32 you decide you want to pack in your well-paid job and go and see the world, you will not only lose your points, your respect and your social standing, you will lose your family too. You can never return, for they cannot afford to be associated with such failure. You're out. And if one day you do wander back the best thing your family, your brother could do would be to supply you with a blade or a gun as the only honourable thing you can do, if you have any self-respect for yourself or your family, the only thing you can do once you've lost so many points and brought such disgrace is to kill yourself.
This, so Oliver tells us, is why we have seen so few homeless.

Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • Please enter a comment.
  • Please provide your name.
  • Please avoid using symbols in your name.
  • This name is a bit long. Please shorten it, or avoid special characters.
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: