ISUNA's PASSION FOR JAPAN
Japan sure is a fascinating country.
ISUNA let you here discover about each and every little things that makes
this country so fabulous (or lesser in some occasions..). There have
been many things and many blogs written about myriads of subjects which
talks more or less about Japan, or Japanese stuff, but let's try here to
sort out some of the best of it. One of the main goal is to put up here
information which has been validated and/or is believed to reflect the
reality of Japan to the best of my knowledge! It is also a page where I
will explain my perception of this nice country.
*** IMPORTANT NOTICE : READ THE
DISCLAIMER BEFORE READING ***
: Why Japan ?
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Japan. For many people in
the west, this country located in the Far East (as we like to locate it)
is usually considered as a far, mystical land which has always sparked
curiosity and questioning.
There have been numerous notable people
in the history of the world who tried to decipher thoroughly the culture
and the psychological and philosophical characteristics of its
inhabitants. Very few have succeeded.
Today with the world bustling with new technologies,
many ways to transfer and access information and unaccountable social
medias ; with travelling around the globe made easy and affordable,
everyone keen to travel comes to Japan as in a country like many others.
But is it?
Japan is a unique country, one that many fails to get, if
even only, a glimpse of : how it has evolved, how it has managed itself
through times, wars, disasters… and many social influences that makes it
the wonderful country that it is today.
Of course everything is
not perfect in Japan. But many things makes it a good place to live,
even for foreigners / immigrants, as long as they are keen to embrace
But "why Japan" you ask?
This is a tricky
question. Driven by the feelings, some people choose to come to this
country and find themselves, or find answers to what they were searching
in life. Some will go back after the first trip, the first two weeks or
months, and some will stay forever, or try to do so...
the people are and the way things are done is Japan is just so different
and kind, because the people think about each others. This country is
composed of only a couple (thousands) islands after all. So, taking it
back from the old times, if you do something wrong, there nowhere else
to go, so people must behave.
If only the rest of the world would
work that way. There are many things that every other country in the
world could benefit learning from Japan.
VISITING JAPAN 101
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In this section, ISUNA provide a small guide with links
on how it is recommended to behave while visiting Japan. As with many
things, some manners may or may not be quite as expected to be readily
abode to, especially by foreigners. But those recommendations remains
good indications on what is usually correct.
Use the information described in this section
at your own risk! ISUNA is not to be held reponsible for any encounters
or mishaps resulting in the use of the provided information.
RESTAURANT AND EATING MANNERS
: A Little bit of history
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Many people will remember Japan because of
the World War II. Some will actually automatically associate it with WW
II. Japan suffered a catastrophic and humiliating defeat as the
militaristic ideas of the country couldn’t have been suppressed by
opposition before a world conflict sparks :
This war completely disfigured the country
and marked the starting point of what now makes Japan as it is today.
scars of war are long gone. Most people you would ask weren’t even born
and so they have obviously nothing to do with that part of history.
In some ways, we could consider Japan as
being a victim of that world conflict. At a time when communications
were still problematic, understanding of foreign cultures still
embryonic, many nations wouldn’t
understand where they were going exactly. Pretty much everything was
being done on a trial/error basis and being driven by the forces of
wrongful people made the way harder for some of them.
We can’t simply just put the blame on anyone
But let's move on to brighter parts of history.
The culture in Japan is still very present and each and every part of
Japan has its own festival and celebrations, at different times of the
year. The many national holidays and special days contribute to keep the
culture well rooted. The social part of the festival events are a good
way to get the people to work together too. Since the ancient times,
forged by the mixed psychology of Buddhism and Shinto the different
aspects and rituals processed at these festivals are respected
meticulously. Most of the time, the traditional attire and costumes are
part of the ceremonies.
The country used to be run by some
fearless, treacherous samurais and shoguns that were led by the gods,
tracing back to the Shinto philosophy which was established in the
ancient times. Those people had very unpredictable minds but many of the
decisions they tooks were wise enough to rule the country in a very
strict manner, thus making the people quite frightened and respectuous
of each other.
In the 1860's when a new era began, the western
things and manners were imported to Japan, changing forever the face of
the strictly organized and treacherous manners carried by the shogunate
The Meiji restauration called in for upgrades in culture,
technology and know-how. The country benefited greatly of what different
countries brought in.
Along the years, it evolved but Japan took what
it wanted and rejected the rest, adapting the good things for its
people. But it's pretty much only after WWII that things started to get
CHAPTER TWO : A perfect
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Education in Japan, which has been forged by ages of Confucianism and
the great discoveries of the Meiji Restoration, has played a major role
in making Japan one of the most advanced countries in the world (and the
first one at some point). There is a way of doing things in community,
together for the good of everyone. In this complex relationship with
themselves, people abide by the unwritten psychological challenge of
forgetting oneself in order to accomplish their tasks in the most
efficient manner, ultimately in the spirit of the majority’s thinking.
There is no individualism inducement in the education nor in the working
environment of the majority of Japan today. In the family or at school,
children learn to value what’s important for the good of everybody, from
dressing up in the morning to riding the train, from helping cleaning
the school rooms to learning basic things like gardening, swimming and
People in Japan, especially in big cities, tends to
always dress nicely in order not only to be proud of themselves or to be
accepted as a part of the working society by wearing the appropriate
suit, but they do it also to be nice to the other’s eyes. After all,
nobody wants to see people dressed with disdain, old clothes, clothes
that doesn’t match or fit the body we have… Name it. You probably have
some example of people with no fashion sense at all in your own country.
People in Japan have style. Especially women, most of them take really
good care of their looks, may have a certain (read good) sense of
dressing femininely, and if this is OK with them, well, it is beautiful.
This may sparks a whole debate about how feminity and female rights and
women are treated in Japan.
Many people come to Japan with their
point of vue from the west and prioritizing that women must be equal to
men and women rights has many specific caracteristics that must be
respected. In Japan, the point of view that emanes from the west is
widely unknown and is subject to imcomprehension from pretty much
everyone. Because the way things works here for men and women is widely
accepted and has been since the ancient times. It is part of the
culture. Men and women here are different and play their own parts in
the game of life. Everything here has a certain balance and as
foreigners, messing with this balance can pretty much sparks some
frustration from Japanese people.
In short, what you think is
wrong with some people, may not be wrong in their own world, anywhere
you go. Many people cannot assume that and are too hard-headed to even
try to understand that. This is a shame because some very well-educated
people, with knowledge, from University, people that has studied about
Japan, cannot come to think that the way some things are in Japan cannot
be changed because western people think it should.
It's Japan after
all, and you cannot tell Japan what to do.
Things in Japan work
swiftly sweeter than many other places in the world. The security is
very high, crime rate very low... By changing some things to be like
what is in the western world would probably only affect negatively the
Again, everything is related somehow to the psychology
of the ancient Buddhism and Shinto teachings...
This may sounds
like a catch phrase in a movie but, in Japan, you got to keep going with
the established balance.
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