By >Daimaou - G.G-B
Japan: It’s Not Funny Anymore, an Interesting article to read
A good friend of mine pointed out this Kotaku article to me. I am sure that you have heard about Kotaku; a US based Video Game Blog/Magazine that is pretty popular around the web. They posted the following article: Japan: It’s Not Funny Anymore, that I would like to share with you today, not because this article is completely truthful, but simply because it is interesting in many ways.
I have to confess that I am not a reader of Kotaku, I know the website but have never felt comfortable reading it. I am more interested in reading its direct competitor Joystiq for example. Also I have to admit that I do not know or have never heard about the person who wrote this Article, Tim Rogers, who I am sure is a decent guy that I would like to have the pleasure of meeting one day.
Now back to Tim Rogers’ article, Japan: It’s Not Funny Anymore. First of all I strongly advise you to take the time to read it. It is a very lengthy article but Tim Rogers describes many things that I have to agree with, like its rant on “Japanese Comedy” or Drama on TV…Never have I seen such bad acting in my life… The “Mandatory Parties” with your co-workers, clients, suppliers… The poor quality of “today’s Anime”…
Even though I have to agree with some points he made and detailed very well, on the other hand I was saddened by Tim Rogers’ lack of perspective. First and foremost, I have to strongly disagree with his first Paragraph
“I’ve lived in Japan for a long time. When I first came here, I liked living here. Now, I don’t. I haven’t changed. Japan hasn’t really changed, either. Something else, however, has.”
This makes absolutely no sense at all, how can someone who apparently lived in a foreign country for that long say “I haven’t changed”. This is, and I am sorry Tim… absolutely ludicrous. I myself have lived in 3 different countries for a quite long time and been in Japan now for 8 years. Each year I spent overseas changed me from the day I left my home country to today. At 36 years old I realize that I am no longer the same bloke I was 15 years ago. Add to this that age, people you meet, working experience and so on all have an effect on you and your personality; how can Tim Rogers start his article by proclaiming that he has not changed?
Despite describing Japanese society pretty well, I really regret Tim’s lack of perspective, yes Japan and Japanese can seem weird to us, yes us foreigners, people who have grown up in a different country with a different culture and education… But Japan is not any weirder than Hong-Kong where I lived or even China where I spent a lot of time and, guess what, Japan is now not even any weirder than my own country! Where strikes and “kidnapping company’s executives” became a national pastime.
Not any weirder to me than the USA for example, the so call land of the Free, where buying some video games may be more difficult in a certain state than buying a Gun! Or where in Virgina for example the General Assembly approved a bill that allows people to carry concealed weapons in restaurants or bars where alcohol is served. An interesting article in the New York Times even explains and I quote “the House of Delegates voted to repeal a 17-year-old ban on buying more than one handgun a month.” (Please check out the full article from The New York Times here).
Now yes, Japan is changing, and things may not be as fun as in the past, but we have to keep in mind that we all changed!
Also we have to keep in mind, that whether we like it or not, we, myself included, are just “Guests” in Japan or any other foreign country we have lived or will live. And as a Guest we have to adapt to this new environment without judging it or interfering with it.
We also have to remember that we are “ambassadors” of our own country and have to behave respectfully in any foreign countries we are living in or visiting. I have seen in Japan many of my countrymen acting like jerks – giving a bad impression, without realizing, of all other foreigners living in Japan or anywhere else for that matter.
However, I also agree that when living in a different, foreign country it is our duty to share our experience in order to teach others something new, but we are not here to force our way of life onto the people and the country that is now taking care of us…
So basically while I admit that Tim Rogers describes correctly a part of Japanese society, he unfortunately failed to describe its many other wonders. In my opinion, Tim Rogers lost all perspective and if I have the chance to meet him I will suggest him to spend a couple of months back in his own country, where I am sure he will also see how things have changed there as well.
Personally when I am starting to get tired or feel uncomfortable in the country where I live, I try to fly back home for a couple of weeks, to realize that I am better off living overseas, discovering new things everyday like a 21st century Indiana Jones.
PS : It’s being raining the last 3 days and I could not shoot this week-end Let’s Visit Tokyo video… Hope next Saturday will be better !