The Reason I Like Japan. 日本が好きな理由

People often ask me what I like about Japan. Japan is a very easy country to live in, with 24 hour convenience stores and vending machines on every corner, and a cash-on-delivery reliable postage service, just to give a few examples. However, the same argument of livability could be made for Australia, or many other countries. I am sure that I could live in any number of countries comfortably. So what sets Japan apart from the rest?
日本の何が好きとよく聞かれる。24時間空いているコンビニと自動販売機がたくさんあり、安くて頼りになる郵便システムもあるし、日本はすごく住みやすい国だと思う。しかし、オーストラリアも他の国も住みやすい国だと言える。住み心地がいい国は実は沢山ある。では、日本のどこが違う?


I think one of the most defining features of Japan is Japanese culture. In contrast to many other countries, Japan has a long history that was relatively shielded from the outside world until the early 1900’s. Even since then, the country remains largely homogenous and conscious of preserving tradition.
日本の特徴は日本文化にあると思う。他の国と違って、日本の歴史は長くて、最近まで外からの影響をほとんど受けなかった。今でも、外国人が少なくて日本の文化を守りたい日本人が多いです。


What interests me in particular is the sheer amount of culture that this country has to offer. I think I could live here a lifetime, and still not have experienced everything. I started to make a list of all the different aspects of Japanese culture that I have learned or heard about so far, and was surprised at how many of them I didn’t know about before I came to Japan. Perhaps Japanese people don’t do enough to advertise their country to the world. I am sure that there is something for everyone here.
特に面白いところは日本特有の文化がいっぱいあるということだ。一生住んでも全部体験出来ないぐらい多い。日本文化について知っていることをリストアップしている時に驚いたのは、日本に来る前は知らなかったことが多かった。日本人はもっと自分の国をPRした方がいいかもしれない。誰でもきっと日本の文化の好きなところが見つかると思う。


Perhaps the most famous example of Japanese culture is martial arts, but there are so many different kinds of martial arts. Just to name the few that I am familiar with, there is Karate, Judo, Kendo, Aikido, Jujitsu, Iadio, Sumo, and Kyudo. Ok, so maybe martial arts aren’t your thing. How about something a little more peaceful? You could try ikebana (flower arranging), sado (tea ceremony), shodo (calligraphy), furoshiki (the art of wrapping), buyo (traditional dance performed with a fan), hanami (flower viewing), or kimono.
日本文化と言ったら、武芸を思い浮かべると思うけど、武芸の中にも沢山の種類がある。私は知っているのは空手、柔道、剣道、合気道、柔術、居合道、相撲、弓道である。武芸にあまり興味ない人もいるけどね。もっと優雅で落ち着ける文化はどう?華道、茶道、書道、ふろしき、舞踊、花見、着物もあるよ。

Aikido
Tea Ceremony
Furoshiki

Yukata
Sumo... suits. haha


Kendo
Calligraphy
Hanami

Still not convinced? How about watching some traditional theatre? Some of the most famous forms of theatre are kabuki, noh, kyogen, or bunraku. There are also more modern forms of theatre, such as takarazuka, which I introduced in one of my previous blogs. If music is more your thing, there is taiko drumming, koto, shamisen, or shakuhachi (a bamboo flute).
他にも沢山ある!伝統的な芸術はどう?有名なのは歌舞伎、能楽、狂言、文楽である。前にブログで紹介した宝塚のような近代的な劇もある。音楽が好きなら、太鼓、琴、三味線や尺八等もある。


If for some reason none of the above interests you, there is also local festivals, J-pop, karaoke, purikura, fashion, food, shrines, temples, castles, Japanese mythology, samurai, ninja, robots, maid cafes, sake, shouchu, manga, anime, crazy game shows, a man who walks his tortoise on the streets of Tokyo, and so much more. I can guarantee there is something, if not many things, that would interest you in Japan. The only problem is choosing your favorite one, because Japanese people will ask!  
今まで書いたもの中に興味があるものがなければ、祭り、Jポップ、カラオケ、プリクラ、ファション、和食、神社、お寺、城、神話、侍、忍者、ロボット、メイドカフェ、日本酒、焼酎、漫画、アニメ、クイズ番組、東京の亀と一緒に散歩するおじさん、等々、面白いことがいっぱいある!興味を持つことが沢山なくても、少なくとも一つはあると思う。難しいことは日本人に日本文化の中で何が好きと聞かれた時、一つ選ぶことだ。
Erekocha Festival

purikura (photo booth pics)

Its all about the small face and big eyes!
Shochu
Eat all the food!!!
Toudaiji Temple, Nara

Karaoke
Harajuku Fashion

Of course, I often miss feeling mateship, cheering for the underdog, getting struck down by tall-poppy syndrome, abbreviating every single word, and enjoying a laugh and a stubby with my fellow countrymen. As much as I love variety programming, it could never make me laugh as hard as watching Carl Baron, or listening to Hamish and Andy on the radio. As much as I love Japanese food, it will never trump Sunday roast or kanga bangers and mash. Australia is a pretty awesome country as well.
もちろん、メイトシップ(オーストラリアにおける助け合いの意識)を感じること、勝てそうにない人を応援すること、tall poppy syndrome(オーストラリアの社会現象。出る杭は打たれるに近い)に打たれること、単語を全部省略(オージースラングに)すること、同じオーストラリア人とビールを飲みながら笑うこと、こういうことがたまに恋しくなる。バライエティ番組が好きだけど、カール・バロン、又はヘイミッシュとアンディというオーストラリア人のコメディアンを見たら、凄く笑える。和食が好きだけど、ローストディナーとマッシュポテト付きカンガルーソーセージが食べたい時もある。オーストラリアもいい国だね。
This is the greatest Japanese invention ever... a small seat that helps you sit on your knees! I got this Japanese culture thing down!
It doesn't get more Japanese than drinking parties!
I miss roast dinner!!!

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