I Don’t Love You, I Like You A Lot

I Don’t Love You, I Like You A Lot

I Don’t Love You, I Like You A Lot

I Don’t Love You, I Like You A Lot

I love you: aishiteiru.

I like you a lot: daisuki.

There is a significant contrast in the way the Japanese think about love as compared to the Occidental mindset.

Here is an experiment for you dear reader.

Ask your Japanese friend if they have ever said to their partner “aishiteru.”

愛書道

If the answer is yes, then ask how many times.

Unlike English, this powerful word is rarely spoken in Japanese, as ai (love), is something to feel, not talk about.

Of course, the answers will vary depending on the exposure they have had to Occidentals influence and their specific generation.

In particular, if asking an older Japanese person, they will probably answer, “Whaaat?”, and then seem a touch embarrassed.

Indeed, members of this generation have probably never even uttered the words daisuki, let along aishiteiru, to their significant other.

Daisuki, is what the Japanese would actually say to each other when they wish to express affection towards their partner.

The chances of them having used the word ai in Japanese, is minimal at best.

In this shared journey on the blog, we have discussed many different aspects of the Japanese mindset in the series entitled “language is a concept.

Indeed, love is also a concept, and the meaning it holds differ from culture to culture without a doubt.

For the Japanese do not conceptualize love as in the Occidental mindset.

Of course the Japanese feel love, as all humans do (unless you are a psychopath, narcissist, or solipsistic), they simply do not verbally express affection using the word ai to their object of endearment.

Indeed, if these words were ever uttered from the lips of one of the middle-aged or older generation of Japanese, their wife would look up on them with suspicion.

怒る主婦

This also goes for other acts of random affectionate and appreciation, such as bringing flowers home to the wife on an ordinary day.

Such acts of affection fundamentally lie outside Japanese social conventions.

In fact, the Japanese are not openly affectionate towards each other, especially in public.

Perhaps this is rooted in the culture of shame, of which the Japanese society has been built upon for centuries.

kimono clad girl covering mouth while laughing-01

For certain, the influence of the Occidentals on the younger generation of Japanese cannot be denied.

However, even modern Japanese, when compared to other more openly affectionate cultures such as Americans and the French, do not show open public displays of affection.

For the Japanese, showing physical intimate affection in public is clearly not in their psyche and something to be done in private.

Spot the difference true stories:

One’s first Japanese wife’s mother and father had never actually met or dated each other before they got married.

Mother-in-law was beckoned to a room where her elder brother, the heir to the farmhouse and father told her, “Next month you will go marry and Mr. *** in that village over there.”

There, her life had already been decided, and this dear, sweet lady had no say in the matter of marriage, whatsoever.

One’s own mother was the babysitter of father’s older brother, there they met, and the rest is history.

A love story to be sure, as my father in the eyes of his father-in-law was not good enough for his daughter, and he continued to reject the marriage until well into their journey, which is currently at 60 years and counting.

people in love

However, my grandfather saw how hard my father worked making a wonderful life for his own family (thanks for everything Dad), and admitted sometime before he died to my father, “You are the best son-in-law and man could have ever asked for.”

Certainly, in many societies throughout the world, people marry because they are “in love.”

This is also the case in Japan, but there is still an element of matchmaking that goes on here.

These are not matches made in heaven, but matches made in the office.

This is where the superior, sees his subordinate is now ready for a wife, and will choose a suitable partner either from within the company (preferable), or from a suggestion by one of the scheming matchmakers in his network.

As proof of this matchmaking history, one can observe this tradition at a Japanese wedding. There are 4 people seats at the head table, the bride, groom and the 2 matchmakers.

仲人実際結婚式

Ahhhhh to be in love…

Nothing is more joyous and exciting than the feeling of fresh “love.”

However, the joyful but temporary feeling of “love” will soon dissipate into other kinds of feeling that are not as pleasant as “love”, such as when one’s spouse fails to put the cap back onto the toothpaste, forgetting to flush the toilet, or uses a towel for something other than that particular towel designated purpose.

toothpaste cap off

Alas, how quickly the feeling of “love” can turn into something else.

Therefore, one submits this:

Make sure to consciously choose to love each other ever day, and when the inevitable tough days come, one will be ready to make the conscious choice to love the other, because just as with hate, and all emotions, love is actually a choice.

Along with love, be sure to sprinkle on lots of respect, understanding, compromise, perseverance, humour, and life-long laughter and affection toward one’s own object of “love.”

Japanese Imperial Family

Calling All Citizens

Calling All Citizens

Calling All Citizens

Calling All Citizens

The very first time one became aware of the ubiquitous Japanese public address system was sitting inside an old farmhouse.

The old black phone started to chime… ding dong ding….

classic black telephone

A voice came from the great beyond delivering a stoic message broadcast directly via the farmer’s very own black telephone echoing throughout the rural farmhouse.

“This is the your local municipal office with an announcement.”

An amazing system of days gone by for sure.

All citizens of any particular neighbourhood, get a direct message from their village, town, or city office via the community public address system.

Now isn’t this a great way to keep the community tightly knit?

As with many things in this digital age, the black telephones have now been relegated to the history of analogue devices.

smart phone garbage heap

However, there are still independent speakers dotting all neighbourhoods throughout Japan, and one can hear the chime before the message from the municipal office echos throughout the land.

One sometimes hear a message about an elderly person with dementia wandering off and becoming lost.

The message asks all of the locals in the area to be on the lookout for a lost-looking elderly Japanese citizen with dementia.

Often there is follow-up announcement thanking everyone for their cooperation, and reporting that the elderly dementia citizen has been found and returned to their home safely.

放送スピーカー

One recalls just after the pandemic announced in April 2020, there was a quite dystopian-like long announcement encouraging everyone to return to their homes by 17:00 as a rule, and also talked about counter-measures to take against the pandemic.

One believes these message bring a peace of mind (安心 anshin) to the Japanese, a very important feeling for Japanese to be sure.

One also find it delightful when the song Edelweiss comes on the public address system instead of the regular chime, and all know it’s 12 o’clock, and time for lunch.

The community-wide public address system will then chime again at 17:00, where schools children know it’s time to go home.

Unlike where one grew up, where mother would bellow out the front door, “time for dinner.”

One would have to say, the Japanese community public address system is very important not only to disseminate information, but as a reinforcement of the bond to one’s own community.

tightly knit community

Music Goddess Uehara Hiromi

Music Goddess Uehara Hiromi

Music Goddess Uehara Hiromi

Music Goddess Uehara Hiromi

The Gods of Music have anointed Uehara Hiromi as one of their own, the Music Goddess who now travels this mortal coil spreading joy where ever she may go.

Here, exuberance exudes from her heart to all, via her Goddess-like unparalleled musical skills and divine presence.

She was born in Hamamatsu Shizuoka, Japan, where Yamaha also boasts its origin.

ヤマハ浜松ビル

Could it be the Gods of Music looked down upon Hamamatsu Shizuoka and Yamaha saying, “Let there be a child prodigy.”

“She will go forth into the world, and bring joy to all who hear the magic disseminated from her anointed fingers for the edification of all who hear.”

And so there she is, embodying the fundamental essence of music, disseminating her divine vision throughout our world.

Indeed, Hiromi has left a very deep and meaningful impression after viewing interviews in both Japanese and English, and hearing her philosophy, which one can access inside her music.

Extremely complex in technical demands, her music simply takes one to a different level, where her heart is in direct communication with each listener on an infinite number of levels.

Intrinsically, Hiromi’s music is a celebration of the common humanity we innately share.

Here, she expresses her divine visions, sending out a clear message of human unity through her music.

Moreover, two anointed brothers, Mr. Anthony Jackson and Mr. Simon Philips, masters in their own right, join her on the incredible trio journey to unite humanity through music, our universal language.

One could say Hiromi embodies the YAMATONADESHIKO spirit.

After the Great Tohoku earthquake, March 11, 2011, Hiromi felt the Yamatonadeshiko spirit calling her home from the States.

She said “ I had never felt that Japanese in my whole life”, as she comforted her compatriots with live radio and TV performances.

She cradled Japan’s wounded soul in her bosom of music and facilitated healing amongst the devastation of this unprecedented natural disaster.

Indeed, sometimes the Japanese referred to Japan as the “country of disasters”.

災の国 wazawai no kuni

Even so there is also

災転じて福と成す wasazai tenjite fuku to nasu

Turning disaster into fortune

And as sure as the sun shines off puddles after rain, the sun will continue to shine upon Japan again, again, and again.

So, the deepest appreciation to our cherished daughter, the Goddess of Music, who continues to bless all of us each and every day, Uehara Hiromi.

My Friend The Kamikaze

My Friend The Kamikaze

My Friend The Kamikaze

My Friend The Kamikaze

Just to review “kamikaze” means divine wind.

Kami = God
Kaze = Wind

Upon receiving marching orders, multitudes of these young men sacrifice their lives for the Empire of Japan, an extremely tragic part of Japanese history to say the least.

kamikaze fighters

Many many moons ago, my now dearly departed best friend Susumu, took all on a trip to his friend’s house in the breathtaking Miura Peninsula.

There, all were invited to stay at his friend’s ancestral home, where one came to known her father was a major tuna broker in this area.

Little did one realize just exactly how important this man was in his hometown, not only as a tuna broker, but as a wise, and very wealthy merchant.

One gave him the moniker Maguro Oyaji; Grandfather Tuna.Atlantic blue-fin tunaIt was just the other day when one called this dear old friend in the Miura Peninsula for a catch-up, where she confided to me her father was in the 特攻隊 (tokotai – kamikaze squad).

Very fortunate for him, and my cherished friend, the war ended before the chance to sacrifice his life for the Empire of Japan.

Thinking back upon this now, one felt he talked pragmatically how life is delicate and fleeting like his “success”.

built his business
living each day
like it was his last
as in the mindset
in his Yamato Spirit
waiting for his turn
in his rickety aircraft
only to sacrifice life
in the final battle

Kamizake Fighter On The Last Mission

The last time I saw Grandfather Tuna was when one’s parents came to Japan.

Invited out for a New Year’s eve party at his home, he wave Dad over and wanted to talk to him about the war.

Fortunately, Dad was born too late (CE1935 S10) to have participated in these unthinkable and genocidal wars, so there was not much my father could offer about wartime from his Canadian perspective.

But, just like an older brother recounting heroic stories to a wide-eyed younger sibling they had such a wonderful bonding session as one sat interpreting between these these two extraordinarily different souls.

Eons ago, in a different Japan, one was often invited to people’s home, for a meal, when being a foreigner in Japan was still somewhat special.

Often there would be pictures of young men in uniform on the wall above the Buddhist altar, as this is where the Japanese honour their dead.

遺影第二次世界大戦

Never had one ever met someone whose lives had been touched by someone who died in war.

One needed to understand the kamikaze, and their final days as they waited for their turn to serve the Empire of Japan.

Digging around in the “suggestions for further reading” section of Professor R. Taggart Murphy’s brilliant work “Japan and the Shackles of the Past”, one came across “The Nobility of Failure: Tragic Heroes in the History of Japan”, by the masterful Ivan Morris.

The nobility of failure tragic heroes in the history of Japan

There was the “Kamikaze Fighters” section, tragically sub-titled, “If Only We Might Fail…”

The ruinous final days of the sacrificial lamb’s to the Empire of Japan, were noted in their letters home, farewell poems, and accounts of these Sons of the Japanese Empire.

Like many of the tragic stories of Japanese heroes without a hope for victory, the tokotai carried out their mission with a toast to the Emperor on their way to their final destiny.

Indeed, an incredible insight into the mind of these young men, barely out of their teens, flying away from their families and their dreams to sacrifice their life for Japan.

If only we might fall
Like cherry blossoms in the spring
So pure and radiant

Haiku to soothe your last days on this mortal coil.

The Japanese have an exquisite word concerning the ephemeral human condition:

儚い (はかない – hakanai)

儚い Fleeting TimeHakanai is something to be felt within the depth one’s own soul, and to capture fleeting moments in time forever, is to begin to understand the true meaning life.

the meaning of life

Window Tribe

Window Tribe

Window Tribe

Window Tribe

What is the window tribe?

It has to do with the corporate ladder, and the dreaded desk beside the window.

For a reference point, let’s start with the tale of a large Japanese chemical conglomerate during the oil crises from October 1973 to March 1974, and how this particular Japanese corporation thinks about its employees.

No Toilet Paper Japan 1973

It is important to know, Japan is a beautiful island nation with very few natural resources, and most of the raw material to run the industrial machine of Japan must be imported.

This oil embargo stopped the supply of the vital base petrochemical material upon which this large Japanese chemical conglomerate built their products, and by extension, where upon modern civilization is built. 

This sudden dearth of raw material shut down all plants, making a large portion of the staff idle. 

As a matter of fact, this large Japanese chemical conglomerate did not lay off a single employee, and put the entire work force of many thousands to the task of sprucing up the factories, reshaping the landscaping of the plants, and, in all likelihood, digging holes, only to fill them back in, metaphorically speaking of course.  

Happily for all involved, the embargo ended, and the most diligent staff of this large Japanese chemical conglomerate went on to run their factories at full-tilt-boogie over the next few decades, turning Japan into the second largest economy on our planet, only a few short decades after the abject desolation brought upon her by the United States and their weapons of mass destruction.

Japan's economic chart going up

Off course not all Japanese are diligent and attentive workers, and these slacker-slugs will soon find themselves candidates for the dreaded window seat.

So, what does the large Japanese chemical conglomerate do when these regular employees are no longer contributing to the corporate family’s mission?

They continue on the payroll as they slide down, and then off the corporate ladder to a cold and faceless seat, in a dank empty desk, by a window faraway.

Welcome to the window tribe.

stressed out Japanese employee

There, the banished live out lonely days until mandatory retirement with nothing to do, no one to do it with, and no responsibility whatsoever.

Truly a sad and indeed pathetic site to behold, as it happens in almost all corporations. 

Nor will these members of the window tribe ever be asked back after the mandatory retirement age, unlike many of their highly skilled former counterparts, who are so very valued that even after retirement, they are asked to come back at a much reduced salary, where they are honoured. 

There, these excellent and diligent salarymen are considered to be the elder statesmen of the large Japanese conglomerates, as they continue to mentor and impart wisdom upon the up-and-coming corporate tribe members.

One sometimes wonder if perhaps the more seemingly cruel road of the American corporate way of just being outright fired, like the nameless, faceless, and ultimately soulless widget that a corporate cog ultimately is at the sad end, although extremely unpleasant and harsh, is far and away, a better road for one’s owns fulfilling life.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end

Alas, this is rarely the case for the sad, lonely, and dejected window tribe.

Anyway, it could be worse, one could actually be asked to “wash the neck”. 

In past times, washing one’s neck was done just before slicing the head off at the execution grounds.

Now in our more civilized society, one might properly prepare the heart when “kubi o arau” is mentioned, as this is the metaphor for one about to be fired.

“Omae Kubi Da”

Donald Trump You're Fired

Culture point:
Historically, changing companies in midstream was considered to be an act of treason. In the new firm, these traitors would be looked upon with suspicion throughout the rest of their careers. Indeed, these lost souls will never ever actually be able to assimilate into their new corporation, as they will always be considered as an outsider, regardless of skills.

 

The Mickey Mousification of Japan

The Mickey Mousification of Japan

The Mickey Mousification of Japan

The Mickey Mousification of Japan”

​When one thinks of Mickey Mouse, what is the very first thing that comes to mind?

One’s image of Mickey Mouse has always been two things.

First and foremost, the joy this dearly beloved character brings young and old alike, and is so very cherished and dear to the Japanese heart.

Indeed, Mickey Mouse, along with the many other characters produced by this large American entertainment conglomerate, embodies the Japanese cult-like worship of kawaii.

MickeyMouse-01

Mickey Mouse also has a highly negative connotation encompassing slipshod workmanship on shoddy products, and a flippant attitude toward others.

One could even go further and say the mind-set and behavior of certain groups of people one has been observing over the last few years, represent an extremely Mickey Mouse approach to life.

In the run up to the 2016 American election, one said, “We are surely to see the end of what once was the United States, beamed out on realty TV”, and so it was, there for all to see.

Just to be clear, one does not have the right to vote either in country of birth, Canada, nor in the country where one has permanent resident status, Japan.

These are mere observations from the point of view of an arm-chair theorist, watching various media feeds from afar.

Let us examine some examples of what could be considered, Mickey Mouse.

Exhibit A

A major American vehicle manufacture desired to enter the Japanese market.

Seeing 126 million affluent consumers had these Americans executives with lucrative stock options, salivating over green, lots of green.

Unfortunately, while these executives’ green-shaded glasses were clouded by the promise of vast troves of treasure, they failed to notice a couple of important things.

First and foremost, the narrowness of most Japanese streets, and the fact the Japanese drive on the left-hand side of the road, with the steering wheel on the right, seemed to have slipped by the profit hungry, very large American automobile manufacture.

Narrow Japanese Street

If this wasn’t glaringly obvious enough, they also failed to take into consideration the following:

The vehicle owners of Japan must pay tax based upon the size of their vehicle’s motor.

First off, there is the yearly prefectural (state/province) vehicle tax, and just to make sure all residents of our fair nation pay dearly for the privilege of driving in Japan, every two years one must receive the federal government inspection, which is not only based upon the size of one’s motor, but also upon the weight of the vehicle.

As one ponders the expense entailed in owning and operating a 6,700 cc motor, with a tank-like weight profile, let us also all remember gasoline is approximately double the price of the U$A.

You too can own a cadillac

Herein lies the recipe for a failed attempt to enter the Japanese automotive market by these corporate executives with large stock options, who were also wearing very thick green-tinted glasses.

This is also why one will see countless small vehicles with yellow license plates roaming about Japan.

These popular vehicles boast an engine size of 660 cc, fully 10 times smaller than the above mention American tank.

軽自動車ナンバー

One would have to say the lackadaisical attitude of this very large American automobile manufacture concerning their desired entry into the Japanese market was really quite…Mickey Mouse.

MickeyMouse-02

Exhibit B

Sometime one plays the role of interpreter, and in this particular case, between a medium sized American health supplement company and their prospective Japanese partner.

The president of the American company gave a PowerPoint presentation, which was known to have been originally produced in Spanish for their Mexican market.

The presentation was overlaid with Japanese text, but the original graphics remained the same.

After the presentation, the Japanese members keeping their stoic faces and low-key tone said, “this approach will never work in the Japanese market.”

To which this president of this Mickey Mouse corporation replied “If it worked in Mexico, it’ll work in Japan”.

It did not.

One would not only claim the atrocious attitude and narrow-mindedness of this abjectly clueless simpleton of a so-called executive was not only extremely Mickey Mouse, but also somewhat of a clown as well.

Stupid Looking Clown

The definition of a clownExhibit C

As mentioned above, one has been somewhat paying attention to the reality show going on over yonder on the great North American continent over the last few years.

The images of the recent pandemonium and chaos live-streaming from one of the most sacred chambers of the last remaining superpower being defiled, left one not only aghast, but dismayed at the degradation of the American society.

capital hill insurrection-01capital hill insurrection-03

One would even dare say, this grand melee looked somewhat like a Worldwide Wrestling Federation event, although this particular event involved a tragic loss of life, which makes it even all the more deeply shameful for the Americans.

Frankly, this event goes far beyond the pale of the Mickey Mouse stories being discussed here, and can be seen as the American society coming to a brand new level.

viking wrestling costume-01

Regrettably, one can now plainly see the American’s own democratic house in dire turmoil, as they continue to preach the the gospel of “freedom and democracy” throughout the world.

Now “freedom and democracy” has certainly worked to a certain degree for Japan.

After the Japanese went through the ugly process of a nation re-birth in the aftermath of the Second World War, there was a new found mission and purpose to unite the Japanese nation around the battle cry of economic growth.

Japan is now several decades into the colony experience, and one desires the Japanese to do what they do best; take imported ideas, and merge and improve them into something different and better, all the while being infused with the Japanese Way.

Let’s continue to build strong communities, based upon mutual respect of differences, and even more so, acknowledge and embrace our commonality, as all strive to create a better future filled with hope and aspiration for our children and those who come after.

Gloabl Peace and Harmony

Pin It on Pinterest