Category Archives: Japan: Culture

Leaving Japan

Leaving Japan (Poem)Yes, I did the unthinkable – I left Japan. Took the wife and kid with me out to Oz, leaving only fond memories and my stippy mates behind (Well actually a pet rabbit too, but he never did much except jump around and shit everywhere anyways). After nine years in Japan, it certainly isn’t easy getting used to life “overseas”, and earlier this week as I busily pretended to be busy at my new desk in my new office, in my new city, my thoughts turned to what I’ve already started to miss in Japan:

My Favourite Things

Roppongi nightlife and loose social norms;
Miniskirts in winter and high school uniforms;
Harajuku girls suited up in costumes with wings;
These are a few of my favourite things. Continue reading Leaving Japan

Lady Tunnel Gods and Xenophobia: Japan under the surface

山の神 (The Mountain God)Even though it is widely believed that Japan is one of the most male chauvinistic (anti-female rights) countries in the developed world, it is hard to get a Japanese person to admit to that fact. Why is that so?

We all know that Japan and the Japanese like to appear to keep the peace and abide by the rules. There certainly are plenty of laws and even international treaties protecting the rights of women, and most Japanese will tell you that females enjoy the same rights as males when it comes to work and all other economic activities, the right to an education, and of course they will let you know that Japan has universal suffrage (however, they will forget to tell you that this was actually forcibly pushed into Japan by General Macarthur in 1946). Continue reading Lady Tunnel Gods and Xenophobia: Japan under the surface

Lying to Survive

Monkeys “I never saw it, it wasn’t me!” These are often words uttered by children in the face of being caught doing something that they shouldn’t be doing. This is commonly known in the West as lying, and something that should have been beaten out of us by the time we leave primary school. Likewise, if you saw someone else committing the crime, it is the proper and “right” thing to do to tell the truth of what you saw. At no stage is your position in this transaction question, as you would be doing the right thing.
Continue reading Lying to Survive

The Fundoshi – All What They’re Cracked Up to be?

The Fundoshi in ActionJapan is a country that is obsessive about packaging. From wrapping goods in simple furoshiki cloth to the thirteenth layer of plastic on your box of evening gumboots, anyone who has had anything to do with Japan knows how they love to package things here. So it makes sense that they should have a solution for wrapping certain body parts. Enter the fundoshi (above).
Simplicity in design is paramount and the “wrap around effect” is really something to be experienced. On a sweaty summers day in Japan boxers and briefs cannot protect you from a nasty rash or “overcooking the goods”. A fundoshi on the other hand is lauded for its ability to “pocket” the frank and beans, keeping those future All Blacks intact and air-conditioned. Continue reading The Fundoshi – All What They’re Cracked Up to be?