...and the correct spelling of knew is, well, k-n-e-w.
Everything must be dumbed down, including (especially) discourse. There must be no capacity of critical thought and introspection. The public requires entertainments... bread and circuses. Plato's Analogy of the Cave comes to mind and the flashing lights projected on the wall have merely become more entrancing and desperate even.
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I wish to thank kirakira25 and caffeinebuzz for their acceptance of my comments because I really did hesitate about being so vocal and nearly deleted my comments before finally deciding to post them. I have had similar experiences at parties where the servers are treated horribly, disrespectfully and rudely. Recently, at a party I attended, a female server was told to sit down next to me and talk to me! I said that I am sure she is busy, must be worried about her job and really needs to get back to it, but the "man" said: "It's ok, I know her boss!" He then said her bosses name and ordered the woman to sit down. The woman looked frightened and resentful but the man was gleeful he had produced such a reaction in her. She obediently sat next to me. How she maintained her composure is a testament to the strength of her training and professionalism. We had an obligatory conversation, then I made apologies for her, and said surely she must be very busy and doesn't have the time to sit here chatting with me. She was finally allowed to leave the room.
Putting this story of friendship together with the new suicide statistics in Japan is important. I feel we need to recognize that in a society where more than 100 people a day commit suicide, in such a small population group, this speaks to the fact that on a very deep level even Japanese people don't like their country. All those 32,753 (reported) suicides cannot be chalked up to the economic decline. For at least 12 years the suicides have topped 30,000 souls. Is this their only way out?
Caffeinebuzz, have you noticed that feelings and emotions seem "canned"? I mean, when it was time to say good-bye, samishi came out because it was the appropriate feeling for the moment. Kawaii and Kimoii are two such ready made emotions, one involving "good feeling" and the other "sad feeling". But there is a very limited range of possibilities to their emotional life.
I am sure I am going to take some heat from the usual suspects who will cry that I am Japan Bashing or they will use the other ready made response: Japan, love it or leave it. However, it is high time that there be a creative and proactive response to Japan's social problems. It is time to grow up. I've got some stuff to do now, so I got to go. Look forward to more of your interesting posts. I wanted to say more, but no time just now.
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Japan is not merely a cold and uncaring society, it is ruthlessly competitive and anti-social. As much as the Japanese speak of unity, the importance of getting along with each other and smoothing over differences, etc, what is actually happening is an oppression (eventually suppression)of the individual's identity. This pattern begins with the "one size fits all" regimentation in compulsory schooling and caries on into adulthood. Children learn very quickly to assault each other over differences, inform on class-mates and participate in the Go-Nin-Gummi system of observing each other to score points with the teacher.
Japanese people do not have friends... they may have allies... but they do not understand the nature of friendship as it exists elsewhere in the world. I would be interested in knowing how many people responded that they do have friends, only because it felt too pathetic for them to tell the truth. I would be interested in seeing how women would respond to such a poll as well.
A previous commentator mentioned alcohol. I agree that seems to be a real problem in this country. When Japanese get drunk they do not behave well. Alcohol does not help people to open up to each other and become closer, it acts as stimulant initially (one or two drinks), but soon produces depression.
Materialism is the overall ethic here. Even relationships between the sexes are a commodified, economic exchange such that I would argue that even love (as meant in the West)- much less friendship - does not exist here.
I have been here almost fifteen years. I wish I could say I had a friend.
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