February 08, 2006

Turning Un-Japanese

The title links to a somewhat interesting article on how Japan is supposedly turning un-Japanese. Oh wait, make that on how TOKYO is becoming un-Japanese.

The article is correct in saying that Japan is not as homogenous as it is usually made out. It talks a lot about how foreigners are becoming part of society, how much more of city life is now in English etc etc. But, what the author describes is really much more a Tokyo thing in my experience than a national thing. Nevertheless, it isn't bad to dispel some of the myths surrounding the country. It just always irks me when people talk as if Japan = Tokyo.

Uhm, no. Not quite.
And that's not surprising really. In my experience capitals are usually not representative of their country. Same goes for Amsterdam. While I love the city, it is not all what the Netherlands is about... Tokyo is like that. It's an amazing city, but please don't think that that is all that Japan has to offer. There is so much more, and most of it is much more interesting and fascinating once you get outside of that big mikan called Tokyo.

In other Japan-news, now that another Princess is pregnant - and now that there is some hope again on a male heir to the throne - Koizumi is postponing the proposed bill in order to amend legislation to allow female succession.


Anonymous said...

I so totally agree with your comment. After living 9 years in Japan and traveling from one end of Japan to the other extensively, Japan does not = Tokyo! If the author really wants to experience Japan...then get out of Tokyo!

machiruda said...

Yep, people who claim to know all about Japan, and say they understand the tiniest things about Japanese culture (kind of like the author of the Newsweek article) but when you ask how they know, "oh, I lived in Tokyo for a few years...", just annoy me to no end!

I don't claim to know it all myself but at least I've travelled fairly extensively and have lived in different places.
What did you do that put you in Japan for so long?

daniel leussink said...

hi from a very nice london!!
well... 30million poeple live in or aroudn tokyo, so thats about a fourth of the total populationof japan. it has to be representive in a way...