Monday, June 11, 2007

Japan Extravoganzas

Not much new to report here. I recontracted and will be continuing my life as an ALT in Japan. Public schools here are nice. I really like the concept of school uniforms and working together. The type or harmony this brings cuts down on bullying, trying to be cool by having brand name designer sneakers is non-existent, everyone shares equal social status and equal opportunity is given. Just as the example of copying your neighbors homework being not taboo, but rather, accepted in the most charitable spirits of team work. Something which is shunned in American schools is common place here.

In a way you could say Japan schools are almost backwards to that most familiar. But it comes down to uniform simplicity, a system of structures, both social and private, and the final product is an extremely well regulated school system which creates some of the most standardized humans in the world today. They may not be anything especially advanced, but they are sweetly traditional, hard working, generous, polite, and in this society of homogeneous structures working together under the umbrella of set social hierarchies... well, you just sort of let everything fall into place on its own.

Above all, it is a nation of peace. This is the reason Japan seems so Japanized in whole... that its unique quirks sort of feed its ability to sustain its unique qualities, thus it Japanizes and then internalizes everything it comes into contact with. Afterwards it keeps the remainder of that which makes it unlike any other country or cultural plethora in the world and advances itself by constantly remaking itself.

Japan is simultaneously Asian in the most ancient sense, but also, its something western and modernized. Beautiful young women walk down the streets wearing kimonos while checking their wireless email via their digital cell phones invoking a kind of special feeling, reserved for only Japan, that puts a smile on your face. There is no other place in the world where you get this constant hybrid of classical along with deep seeded historical sentiments and at the same time sponsoring a sense of cutting edge modernity. It's the sensation of a Japanese rice farmer knee deep in the water and mud of his rice patties on a hot summer day when just a few feet beyond his land shoots the bullet train toping out at over a hundred and ninety miles per hour as it takes business commuters from their rural homesteads into the heart of the beating metropolis, Tokyo.

Here is the melting pot where East meets West and finds a delicate balance by means of spectacular assimilation and re-articulation. Japan is a sort of cultural revolving door, yet always manages to come around again to its roots and deeper heritage. All of these tings in unison make it more than just an experience. So please, won't you join my experience and come along for the ride?

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