Can It Be Something More Than Sushi and Pizza?

Ever since the crisis has hit, I have noticed that media speaks a lot, perhaps too much about the decline of the Japanese economy. I find all this rather confused and deterrent. Treating an entire culture entirely from an economic perspective is not only disadvantageous, but a risky approach, especially when a large percentage of people do not ask themselves about the social explanation of the economic boom in Japan or simply some people sleep on one ear and blame a bad system. Of course this fact happens not only in Japan but also in the other countries to, because the decline appears to be global. Needless to say, being a foreigner, my experience and knowledge about Japan is obviously limited. Some people might even think, that I am not qualified to talk about this. They might be right, however - being in the fortunate situation of living in Japan I have the chance to meet different people and mentalities. At this point, some might assume, that this post will be about politics - however, to prevent misunderstandings right from the start: I will not be concerned with politics because I am just a simple person and my opinion is just my opinion... that might be significant or insignificant. Instead, I am concerned with the individual,group and the power to bring a good change in every country no matter where we live. This it will be the prism, I am looking through. For any country, preservation and cultural heritage are important.

The progress of globalization, the destruction of the local culture can be challenged. At the same time there are great opportunities for diplomacy and cultural exchange. I've always thought that Japanese people have such persistence, enthusiasm, effort, love of work, if in times of crisis as we are now people will at least try to get back to that concept(team work) I am sure that the country would be prosperous and will recover from the unfavorable economic situation. Needless to say living situation will grow considerably. I look at my job as a continuous flurry of opportunities to learn and perfect myself, rather than breaks for greater achievement or accumulation of wealth. For me, it's a process. And for this very reason, I am not just ready for challenges but I actually turn everything into challenge. Unfortunately what I see happening now in many countries not only in Japan is that people have lost interest in working, seeking only part-time jobs, living just in the present, and prefer to receive a lower salary but without bring any effort, without too many responsibilities. Everybody seek stability, but I think stability as a matter of fact do not exist, is just a metaphor, as the stability comes from within us. If we as individuals are not committed to our goals, and not put heart in what we do then nobody can give us stability. Stability we build by trusting in our power to do something for ourselves and those around us. Only then we can say the things in our lives are stable (being a stable person, a responsible person).

Anyway, I always was deeply concerned with the way how Japanese people are thinking. I just wanted to know more about Japanese culture and the Japanese mind, the art of living of Japanese people. As Rene Descartes has written in a letter to the princess Elisabeth of Bohemia " Having one foot in one country and the other in another is to be able to find freedom", I came to Japan with that freedom in mind. I came to Japan because of a great person that made me want to come back here and hoping to study a lot of technique and all that Japan has. Perhaps, I got my first culture shock, the first time when I realized that I could neither read the letters nor recognize most of the things displayed on the shelves a few years ago. But per total it was not difficult for me to adjust to the different style. For example I can eat any types of Japanese dishes wich is very good for health. I am flexible, and I am able to adapt to new situations easily, always open to new ideas. Another experience, aside from the language, is the cost of liven in Japan, which is very expensive. For a foreigner, used to a relatively modest spending and living habits, the Japanese medical bills, housing and other could be very high. But I believe that everything depends on the expectations and demands of life of each individual so this does not affect me too much. Other aspect is the fact that most of the women I met here were either housewives or part-time workers. Most of them complained because the expectation are not very conducive for them to hold on to a carrier, unless one is prepared to remain unmarried.

They are unhappy about that, while most complain of being lonely because their husbands work late most of the time. This is also the main reason why the rate of unmarried women, those who do not intend to marry or divorce has increased considerably. Personally I do not think this is the solution to the problem. I mean, a woman can be a good wife, mother and also a good business women. It's all in the will to make things go as we want. My definition of the sentence "an intelligent person" does not consist in the ability to make calculations or have a high IQ (ironically though currently working as IT Programmer )but the ability to influence people, to make a change for the better. When an intelligent person entering a door you can feel the sun rises. Japan is called "The Country of contradictions" or "land between tradition and modernity". There are temples next to skyscrapers, and women wearing a kimono while writing an email with their keitai (mobile phone). This is a powerful tool to attract tourists. In terms of international relations between Japan and other countries I want to believe that exported goods are not the only window through which we see each other, but can it be something more than sushi and pizza? Is the economical dialogue the only possible one?

I will conclude this topic by saying however that generally, I come to know that Japanese are very kind people when you get to know them better, even though they initially appear shy and distinct. All what I'm trying to say is that I want people not to give up and do something for a better future. This dilemma can only be overcome through a movement toward a more worker-community-centered economy.


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