Sunday, August 27, 2006

Why "so-called" Japanese life?

Before I get started, let me first say that I am well aware of how overused the phrase "so-called life" is so please don't tell me how utterly boring my choice of names is. The truth is that this is a rare instance where it fits the situation. I live in Japan and people assume I live a Japanese lifestyle but I do not. In fact, I live about as western a lifestyle as I can manage.

It's not that I hate anything related to Japan or being Japanese but rather that I want to be comfortable and have the comforts of home when I'm, well, home. My main interest in Japan and Japanese culture is the people and particularly their psychology. The way the people think, feel and act is of far greater interest to me than sleeping on a futon, drinking green tea, or watching high school baseball. I think the people are the most important component of their culture.

It's not that I haven't tried most of the things associated with life in Japan. I've spent my nights sleeping on a futon on the tatami mats with aching hips and back, attended more sumo tournaments at the Kokugikan than most Japanese people have, and had my share of food that you'd only find in Japan. It's just that I've been there, done that, and decided I'd rather live my way.

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