Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I Love Japan


I know sometimes I rant about the negative aspects of Japan (and more often my own country), but when you have two different cultures affecting your life things can be overwhelming. The thing is you have to shift your way of thinking to get buy in any new or different culture. You will often here of people talk about when they use their second language their mind begins to think a different way, as if they have a second personality. It's very true. That aspect of you which adjusts to that specific culture also helps you understand how to relate and communicate, in a sense, you take on a multi-faceted and cultural personality.

Me in Japan

When if comes to life in Japan, I will be the first to admit that I prefer it over my life in America. It's not that I lack patriotism because I love my country; however, in my experience there are benefits to living in Japan which affect my everyday personal life.

For instance, my fiancé always complains about the unhealthy diet I have here in the U.S. Friday nights often consist of one two many cheeseburgers or slices of pizza. Top it off with a super sized fries and milkshake and my Sayaka is sure that I will have an instant heart attack. It is true that Japanese food is extremely healthy and is the best diet you can have. That's why they don't get old or fat! Plus I truly do have a genuine love for Japanese cuisine…its delicious! Sayaka’s cooking is wonderful too, and we can’t always find the right ingredients living here in the U.S. This is just one example of why I would love to live in Japan.

Even though Japanese women's rights are about 30 years behind the U.S. liberation and equalities that American women have the luxury of every day; sitting back and complaining about it never solved anything. Getting involved in politics, local events, etc. are one thing I intend to do while living in Japan. Bringing an awareness of the issues which bother me is one way to help bring awareness to others also. Japan is an interesting country, because they actually do care what outsiders (gaijin) think. Foreigners who live in Japan have lots of influence, even political influence, and several laws have been changed at the beckoning cries of distraught foreigners.

Sayaka's Parents

Living life morally, justly, and with a good heart is another way to show by example how to change things for the better. Ever time I visit Sayaka's family; her parents pay extra close attention to me. As my future in-laws observer me I too notice interesting things about them. When I get up to help Sayaka do the dishes after a big dinner her father used to tell me to go watch some television and let the women do "women's work." However, after repeated polite refusals, I joined my darling at the sink and washed those dishes right by her side. This of course spawned a series of events in which Sayaka's father would get up early and do the dishes. Sometimes, after a meal, he was over energetic and would try clearing the table before some of us were done eating! I think he was trying to show that he wanted to help out, but still wanted to seem manly about it. As Sayaka's mother rolled her eyes we all shot glances at each other and laughed. Even though he didn't get it exactly right, Sayaka's father's heart was in the right place.

Hopefully in the future, my continued love and caringness towards their daughter will show them that a man can be a man, but at the same time, he can also be a gentleman. These are some of the things that one can hope to do to ensure that everyone is being treated fairly. Taking an interesting, staying involved, working together, and being chivalrous is just the first step, but it's a good one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree, I love the US and Mexico as well :=), dealing with the whole package, both good and bad, is part of culture immersion experience. Mexico's good points - cheerfulness and family ties. US - economic savvy and equality treatment. There's a lot of good things about Asian countries as well, the honor and respect they show towards elders, good money manageing skills, the discipline in their work and an appreciation for spirituality (both western and eastern religions) healthy diets as you mentioned, just to name a few... I have to admit I fell in love with this culture as well (that one particular aspect I'm sure will evolve and mature with time), all countries are beautiful in their own right :).