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?

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.

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.

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.

Tea Ceremony

Sumo... suits. haha


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).

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!  
Erekocha Festival

purikura (photo booth pics)

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

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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