The Disappearance of Self in Japan | HuffPost
The life forces that Japanese Americans recognize in the silence of space are of the life forces in plants and land, based on relationships formed over years. emotions in the silence of space, such as intimacy, respect, hope, flourishing, and . Most relationships between Japanese men and Dutch women were The silence and shame that surrounds intimate Japanese–Indisch relations has persisted. personal desires that encourage dependence in romantic relationships. In recent ingly visible in Japan, and many marital counselors offer advice suggest- ing that .. give, she suggested that this dynamic of silent (and possibly embittered).
They started hanging out together, going hiking, going to the zoo and spending time in parks. When she woke up, she realised that someone was holding her hand: After the karaoke incident, they went on a proper date.
During their date, Masaki told Leslie that he loved her. There was a lot of ambiguity; they would often go out with other friends instead of just the two of them. Japanese men often send subtle messages. I think Masaki wanted to get to know her well before making a move. Leslie says that casual dating is not his thing. He always aims for a long-term relationship. Approaching Japanese men can get you very far When Kala, an African American woman, saw the guy, she immediately knew that she wanted to meet him.
At the time, Kala was teaching English in Kagoshima while learning Japanese. During their meeting in the student building, a Japanese man with an awesome haircut passed by. The whole study group started talking about how she could meet that guy, completely forgetting about studying Japanese. They came up with a plan to help her: Their mission seemed to work well.
They successfully invited the guy to join their group and he seemed to get along with them.
However, there was one problem: Kala was shocked when she learnt the news. She was at an international party, and saw the guy with his girlfriend. She decided to get to know him better, and hoped that eventually things would work out.
After a while, Kala threw a Thanksgiving party at her place. She obviously invited him. In fact, the Thanksgiving party was more or less an excuse to see him. She made a special map just for him, showing the way to her house. He brought sweet potato balls to the party. Feeling bad, she started eating them herself. Thank you for bringing them!
Sometime after the Thanksgiving party, Kala finally decided to ask him about his girlfriend. Shortly after, they started dating. That was more than 10 years ago. Kala is married now.
Dating Differences Between America and Japan
Her husband is the very guy she met in Kagoshima. They have been happily married for 9 years. All this was possible because Kala approached him actively. Women who can approach men seem to do quite well in Japan. I have the impression that many Asian men believe that non-Asian women are not into them, so they need a little bit of encouragement sometimes.
Foreign men share their reasons for divorcing Japanese wives - Japan Today
But Takuya was neither fashionable nor handsome. Foreign men share their reasons for divorcing Japanese wives Jan. You might be surprised to learn that the main catalyst for divorce in each of their scenarios was rarely related directly to cultural differences.
Instead, it seems that a combination of other factors played the decisive role. Japanese blogger Madame Riri recently posted an article exploring this issue by sharing the stories of men who were asked to described the reasons they divorced their Japanese wives.
The Disappearance of Self in Japan
First, practical issues concerning family and money played a large role in their decisions. He tried to please his wife by buying a nice house, car, and going on overseas vacations. According to him, although cultural misunderstandings were present in his marriage, they were not the root cause for divorce because he and his wife were both aware of and accepted the differences. Instead, it all boiled down to logistics: Either I would have to bring my parents to Japan or my wife would have to bring her parents to Virginia.
The man remarks that he and his ex-wife still love each other, but cannot be together due to the circumstances. As the equally mobile Anglo-Jamaican writer Zadie Smith notes in her brilliant essay, " Speaking in Tongues ," this liberating multiplicity of selves sometimes means a corresponding inability to plant a single self anywhere.
In Japan, I would say, this is regarded as the norm which in Japan means the ideal. We in the West, especially in recent decades, are taught to "be ourselves. In Japan, the most considerate thing is not to be yourself. Not to impose your particular personality -- and preferences and prejudices -- on a situation. The ideal is to play a part -- to be generic, in a way -- and to perform the Platonic ideal of a convenience store clerk rather than complicate the matter by insisting on being Yukiko or Naohiko.
The Californian shopkeeper sweetens your interaction with her she hopes by confiding in you about her boyfriend problems, by telling you of how aggrieved she is to be at work today, by introducing herself as "Paula" and calling you "Pico. Why let her personality -- or yours -- come between you and reality? A gross simplification, of course, and perhaps a romantic distortion to boot; that there are agonies in Japan, often to do with the self and its sorrows, is amply borne out by the more than 1 million hikikomorior shut-ins, who never leave their rooms, and by the sobering fact that one Japanese takes his or her life every 15 minutes.
Yet anyone who has been to East Asia has grasped, if only at an instinctive level, how many things, starting with the self, take on a different meaning and value there, so that the nature of your interactions is it seems more formal, more hierarchical, more stiff and it is believed friction-free, than in all-over-the-place India or Indonesia not so many hours away.
Many also notice that the cultures where tipping is unknown offer the very best service, which arguably says something about social obligation, a commitment to the whole or what underlies both a readiness to take self out of the equation. Nothing's personal, in both directions. I'm often struck at how my Japanese neighbors probably know less about Buddhist texts and teachings than do my neighbors in California; they ritually head to the temple only when it comes to the ceremonies around death -- the official burning of the self -- and even though four in every five admit to pollsters to observing Buddhist funeral rites, barely one in five calls herself a "Buddhist.
In any case, as in any culture, Japanese monks are as often the butt of jokes and suspicion -- why are they asking so much money for a headstone?
Japan's commitment to the relational self is what keeps it ever further from the world at large. But it also keeps it flourishing on its own terms.What Japanese Think of Open Relationships
But Japan's gift is for taking principles and turning them into a code of etiquette; for, in fact -- rather like a Zen monastic's -- absorbing those principles they feel no need to articulate.
Meditation, after all, is part of almost every culture in the world one reason Tibetan Buddhists don't see it as the essence of their philosophy ; but not many cultures have developed a contemplative aspect as rich as in often noisy, fluorescent, more than cluttered modern Japan. People there may not consciously see the self as the source of suffering, but they do seem to see it, in the public context, as being instrument and subordinate to the needs of the whole.
A culture of ideograms more than ideas is already rooted in the concrete and in action, a freedom from needing to look for explanations. In many ways, Japan's commitment to the relational self laid down in Buddhist Nara and Kyoto, where I live, more than a thousand years ago is what keeps it ever further from the world at large some would say, from the possibilities of modernity.
It's what keeps the nature of self and daily life flat to the point of boredom. It has turned the country too often into something of a deaf-mute in the international sphere. Behind the shifting surfaces In his book "The Geography of Thought," Richard Nisbett suggests how what might once have been Buddhist or Confucian principles have become rules and habits in such cultures by summarizing what he and other cultural psychologists have found in their research.
An American 6-year-old, asked to describe his day, tends to refer to himself three times more than does a Chinese 6-year-old. Shown a picture of a fish tank, Americans are apt to fasten on the biggest and most prominent fish, while Japanese viewers make 60 percent more references to the water, the rocks and everything in the background.
English-speaking parents are given to emphasizing nouns and categories when talking to their children, Nisbett and others have found, where Korean parents are likely to lay stress on verbs and relationships. If you want confirmation of this, look at a picture by Hiroshige, in the late 19th century, next to one by Rosetti -- a distinction beautifully opened out in Orhan Pamuk's exploration of the individuality of artists in the West and the commitment to a larger whole of artists in the East, as seen by someone sitting between them, in "My Name is Red.
Read an ancient Chinese or Japanese poem, see a movie by Yasujiro Ozu, and you register the same. The emotion comes through more strongly because the individual characters don't get in the way. My wife comes home from her job and tells me about "Section Head," as she always calls her.
The fact that I don't even know her boss's name -- and that she never uses it -- takes some of the sting, the personal animus, out of the complaints that she makes, as every worker around the world will make. She tells me about the occasional visitations of "Leader," and I do not begin to have a person to imagine. And always, instinctively, she will favor first-person plural over first-person singular.
Dating Differences Between America and Japan
Talking to her oldest friend, from high school, she still introduces herself by her family name -- which she didn't change when she married me -- and, of course, traditionally in Japan, as elsewhere in East Asia, the family name is what comes first. There are not only famously different words for the private self and the public in Japan -- tatemae and honne -- but also more than a dozen different words for "I," depending on whether a man is speaking or a woman, an emperor or a commoner, a friend or a colleague.
There may not be quite as many words for "I" in Japan as there are for snow in some indigenous languages, but there are certainly enough to suggest that it's hard to think of absolutes in the midst of so many fine gradations. My wife, dressed in a heavy-metal t-shirt and leather jacket, and off to her job selling punky English clothes, will still refer to herself in the third person -- as only women in Japan do -- and will not use my name in conversation with a friend, but will say something like "Husband" or "Man of the House.
Suzuki, she'll ask, "Mrs.
Suzuki is okay today? If we go into a casual pizza restaurant together, the hostess will greet us with: As most visitors note, the Japanese love wearing uniforms, even when in mufti, as it were. On weekends, they simply change from the name-tag uniforms of their jobs to the roles -- of rockabilly musician or bandaged nurse -- they play for fun, and are most themselves when taking on a part.
If an elderly couple lack grandchildren to visit them on Sundays, they think nothing of turning to the Japanese efficiency headquarters to hire a pair of young actors to come and perform the role, crying, "Hi, Grandma and Grandpa! Attendants in cosplay pose for a photograph at the Tokyo Game Show I used to get strip-searched every time I returned to my adopted home, on the grounds of looking like someone from a poor Asian nation. This role-inflexibility has kept women in their place long after a relative equality has arrived in other developed nations -- leading, rightly, to a brain drain, with Japan's bright, determined and energetic women joining Goldman Sachs and McKinsey.
The island nation still doesn't seem to know what to do with gays, or people who don't fit the norm. Even in a Japanese temple, the one-size-fits-all anonymous black robes can't conceal every difference between Yoko and Gary.