I’m surrounded by people who are IN LOVE with Japan and the Japanese culture. Because they’re so efficient and polite (on the surface…you’ll see why I say this later), and so damn good at whatever they do, I get it. They’re CRAZY efficient and OCD. They have a great sense of style and fashion. Everyone is well put together. And their food is also AMAZING. I get that. As a culture, on the surface at least, they’re damn cool. My entry is not about how cool Japan is because there’s so many articles about that and if you’re going to get all defensive about this country, stop reading right about…NOW. I did not enjoy Japan in terms of being impressed by their supposedly superior culture. I enjoyed Japan because it made me me appreciate my country, the USA, more. My Japanese friends, I don’t mean to trash your country but I honestly did not enjoy it. I like y’all just fine but not so much your country. So just stop right here because I don’t want you to hate me.
I didn’t understand the whole cosplay thing until my trip to Japan. After my trip to Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, I have a newfound respect for cosplay. It’s how people escape from their reality. There is a reason why the suicide rate is so high in Japan. They’re SO repressed, it’s depressing. Work and efficiency DOMINATES their lives. There’s really no room to play because work is the end all be all. Can you imagine not spending time with your family? Because that’s what I was told. Family life is not as important as work life. Work-life balance in Japan is extremely hard. So anyways, back to the whole cosplay thing. Everyone wears pretty much the same thing, black suit, white shirt, an occasional blue tie for the men while the women are covered up at the top but wear short shorts or skirts and heels. They were heels ALL the time (more on this later). You cannot have any tattoos on display or else you’d be associated with the Yakuza (Japanese gangs). Those in cosplay gear were a welcomed sight for me because they broke the mold. We came across a group of bi-racial (black and Japanese) teens in Japan. They spoke Japanese to each other but were in cosplay gear and had the “I don’t give a SHIT about what y’all think about us. We know we’re different and we’re proud of it.” Everyone tried not to stare at them but I gave them a mental high five. Kudos to them for having such a commanding presence! The Japanese are also not so accepting of other races. Read up on how they treated the Brazilian Japanese. You’ll see what I mean. My trip to Japan made me realized how much I appreciate America’s liberalism and focus on individuality.
What I also couldn’t fathom was how they don’t know how to deviate from the system. Case in point, we were standing at an intersection and it was the early morning on a weekend. There was NO car in sight but the DO NOT WALK sign was still on. Mike and I, being the Americans that we are, walked across. We got wide-eyed stares and people hesitantly stepped out of the crosswalk as well and hurried across the street. They would have WAITED until they were given permission by the traffic light. When we took the train around the city, we noticed that people stood in 2 directions and 2 directions only…shoulder to shoulder. Yes, this is a more efficient way of utilizing space but c’mon. They’re even polite in being pushy. This one guy backed into the train with his back turned and arms out and once he got in, straightened his tie, and no one said a thing. I’m sorry to sound judgmental, but man, they’re weird. I am very much an American/New Yorker. I would have been in his face about it. I would stand (and have stood) in a different direction. Yes, I am forcing my western cultures on a country overseas. It’s very American. :)
One disturbing incident was when Mike went to return the rental car at 7AM in the morning. I was at a convenience store around the corner and there were tons of Japanese businessmen reading porn manga and porn magazines before they head to work. As soon as I saw this, I made a beeline towards the exit.
I don’t like how they treat women in Japan. We were seated across a couple having dinner. They were nicely put together but the man was leaning back on his seat, legs spread opened, hand thrown out, and was not using a very nice tone of voice to the woman. The woman was sitting ramrod straight and eating from her bowl of rice daintily with her head down. It was clear he was not being very nice to her. He was a scrawny piece of shit and I wanted to go over there and slap the woman to get her shit together and have some self-respect and to give his scrawny ass a beating. When they left, she walked behind him, head down. This scene still burns me after 2 months.
So going back to the women and heels thing. The Japanese women wore heels even to Tokyo Disney. It’s crazy. They were limping and hobbling but they trooped on. That’s insane! And then there were those who walk inwards. I heard it being referred to as “pigeon-toed.” I thought it was because their feet was in pain but my friend told me that some women do it purposely because women, in Japan, are equivalent to children there and men find this attractive. W…T…F. Y’all are doing this for attractiveness? Like the snaggle tooth trend? SO weird. Is that why the Japanese women are so squeaky and high-pitched? It’s SUPER DISTURBING that the men would find women attractive if they behaved like children. Pedophile-rs galore in Japan! I was told recently that Japan JUST passed anti-child pornography laws LAST WEEK. Are you friggin’ kidding me?!!!
Now what led to my rant against Japan? This headline caught my eye this morning:
Japan’s Women Told to Breed, Not Lead
“Ayaka Shiomura, a 36-year-old member of the opposition Your Party, called for the Tokyo metropolitan government to support women who need assistance while pregnant or raising children during a June 18 assembly session. She also suggested that the government should help Japanese women who have fertility issues to conceive children.
Japan is wrestling with a declining birth rate and growing elderly population. It has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world.
While she was speaking, men in the section for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) began jeering at her with lines like: ‘“Hey you, should hurry up and get married!” and “Can’t you have babies?”’
It should be noted that this isn’t the first time the leaders of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government have made sexist and inappropriate remarks; it’s almost a tradition. LDP backed Shintaro Ishihara, who was governor of Tokyo from April 1999 to October 2012, remarked circa 2001, “It’s a waste and a crime for women who have lost their reproductive powers to go on living.” (PDF) The current governor of Tokyo, Yoichi Masuzoe, also backed by the LDP, has said in the past such classics as “Women are not normal when they are on their period. They are abnormal. You can’t possibly let them make critical decisions about the country [during their periods], such as whether or not to go to war.” He also has commented that women elected to office were “all a bunch of old middle-aged hags.”
Link to the rest of the story here: http://news.yahoo.com/japan-women-told-breed-not-lead-021921285–politics.html
I’m SO glad there are SOME men standing up to the treatment against women. I think the bulk of my trip was un-enjoyable because I was very aware of my limitations as a woman there. That is in most countries, I know, but in such a supposedly evolved country like Japan? I wasn’t expecting it. And the whole kiddie porn industry thing is sickening. See below:
Sexually explicit Japan manga evades new child pornography laws
“While no link has been made between anime, manga and child abuse, Japan is facing a “serious” child abuse problem, according to a White Paper issued by e National Police Agency in March.
The paper said the number of child abuse victims jumped 20% between 2011 and 2012, and the number of victims, arrests and cases are at their highest levels since they started compiling statistics in 1999.
At the same time, the number of cleared child pornography crime cases rose to 1,596, the highest ever recorded, the paper said. Most — 85% — were Internet-related. The figures inspired the U.S. State Department to label Japan as an “international hub” for producing and trafficking child pornography.”
Link to story here: http://wtvr.com/2014/06/18/sexually-explicit-japan-manga-evades-new-child-pornography-laws/
What did I like about the trip? The bullet trains, the food, the humble restaurant workers, the efficiency, and the cleanliness. Man, are they clean. But they’re also dirty underneath it all. I hope that the country does more for women and to protect children. Sorry friends, but I’m not a fan of Japan. I do, however, loved how they cleaned up after the World Cup game!