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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


A list of Japanese Cultural Phenomena

I had occasion to make a list of things that strike me about Japanese culture.

The ones that I might attempt to explain by the use of my Lacan upside down fallopo-imagocentrism (i.e. the opposite of phallo-logocentrism) theory are marked with a * or a # for more weakly linked, and ? being more problematic or just particularly unclear to me.

Why are the Japanese so good at mathematics, at school at least?

Looking through the list I would like to recommend Nakashima Yoshimichi (Urusai Nihonjin no Watashi) as a great Nihonjinron, theory of Japaneseness.

Hazel Markus, Shinobu Kitayama, Richard Nisbett, Takahiko Masuda, , Jane Bachnik, Kimura Bin and Hamaguchi Eshun are great too.

I have deliberately tried to avoid the use of Japanese language since the list was originally written for Japanese learners of English.

Japanese mannequins (generally with Western features) #
Japanese T-shirts (generally with Western writing)
Plastic food outside of restaurants *
Methods of inputting Japanese characters via the keyboard
The strengths and weaknesses of Japanese software *
The Japanese obsession with having hair #
Japanese dogs, traditionally kept outside
Cute things found in people's cars #
Comic cafe's #
Finger pointing to improve railway safety *
The way in which it is okay to make a noise while eating noodles #
The way in which it is not okay to eat on the street (except ice cream)
The use of seals, instead of signing ones name #
One hundred yen shops
The way in which many students at Japanese universities do not expect to have to study very much #
The use of masks to prevent others from getting ones cold
The existence of yellow number plate small engine cars
The prevalence of mobile phones equipped with the Internet #
The lack of restaurants on the side of Japanese rivers and mountains
The proximity of houses and supermarkets to mountains
The proximity of houses and supermarkets to agricultural land and ditches
The use of "mothers' bicycles" and the relative absence of bicycles with crossbars
The practice of having plastic surgery
The prevalence of unmarried people
The lack of unemployment
The use of excessive employment, such as flag waivers
The lack of Western goods for sale
The size and expense of Japanese vegetables #
The sweetness or tastelessness of Japanese fruit #
The small size of Japanese chocolates #
The prevalence of thin people *
The number or restaurants where one is allowed to smoke #
The number of politicians associated with corruption #
The existence of registered "violent groups"
The love of dolls and robots but not sculpture *
The use of sexual metaphor to describe parts of the body such as cleft chins and the uvula *
The existences of seminar groups at an undergraduate level
The lack of importance placed on the level of university degree #
Bowing on telephones
Saying "aah" after ones first mouthful of beer
The use of plastic bags for umbrellas
The way in which supermarket staff show customers the way to a particular isle (but taking them there, rather than by giving the number) *
The prevalence of superheroes with large families
The lack of theft and violent crime #
The fear of theft and violent crime
The prevalence of suicide
The existence of vending machines
The lack of graffiti and vandalism #
The existence of "its me, its me" fraud
The absence of hand signals by bicyclists #
The sex (gender) of cheerleaders
The tendency to practice dancing or voice training in public
The formation of circles by student groups, outside supermarkets #
The prevalence of vocal announcements *
The tabu on private speech, such as using mobile phones *
The complete lack of architectural harmony #
The lack of litter #
The lack of litter bins
The existence of rooms for taking commemorative photographs in hotels *
The shouts emitted by Japanese sports people to improve their concentration #
The frequency with with Japanese sports-people use image training techniques *
The importance placed on calligraphy *
The importance placed upon set phrases in letters #
The making of pyramids at school sports festivals *
The prevalence of school uniforms #
The vast number of idols *
The use of toilet slippers
The removal of shoes in the home
The removal of shoes in computer rooms
The lack of computers in Japanese offices #
The prevalence of robots in Japanese factories *
The lack of dubbed movies/prevalence of subtitling ?
The speed at which cars travel
The absence of central heating in homes
The use of heated coffee tables
The prevalence of refuse separation
The need to wash uses containers
The size of roads
The lack of road names ?
The system of naming plots of land instead ?
The location of floor numbers between floors ?
The use of smilies that do not smile #
The numbering of tobacco products
The opening hours of ATMs
The prevalence of new cars #
The lack of second hand shops
The love of cleanliness #
The size and shape of Japanese baths
The practice of communal bathing
The strength of gender roles
The ability and confidence at singing #
The lack of confidence at dancing #
The number of auto-photography machines *
The love of auto-photography *
The hesitance towards self aggrandisement or linguistic self expression *
The use of the stones, scissors and paper game
The practice of staring games #
The silence on trains #
The carrying of radios (especially by older gentlemen)
The emptiness of beaches
The number of words for I *
Various Japanese gestures, such as nose pointing **
The average TOEIC score
The strength at mathematics ??
The prevalence of dams and other concrete structures #
The cost of motorway/express-way travel
The "firefly tribe"
The recycling rather than reuse of bicycles
The excellence of Japanese service
The lack of menus at the highest level
The prevalence of choosing the same food as ones co-eaters
The practice of going to the toilet in groups
The preference for group vacations
The preference for separate accommodation #
The love of newspapers ?
The sheer volume of comics *
The practice of community ditch cleaning
The use of health potions
The existence of hostess bars *
The love of sportswear *
The love of cameras *
The lack of debate *
The practice of stomach diplomacy *
The practice of persuading people before meetings *
The emphasis on the privacy of information #
The lack of credit cards and use of cash #
The existence of "pocket money" for wage earners
The number of private universities
The emphasis placed upon university
The length of employment
The lack of meritocracy based wages
The existence of large bonuses
The size of families
The lack of forewarning of death
The ability to compose short poems
The emphasis upon imagery in poetry *
The use of English in pop songs
The popularity of computer games *
The prevalence of 'vertical pinball' as a form of gambling
The lack of choice in Japanese gambling
The use of advertising in children's programs
The use of sign language by children's heroes #
The lack of mouths of popular cartoon characters #
The size of the eyes of popular cartoon characters #
The love of white skin
The ability to tell the season from the sound of insects
The number of new religions
The lack of women politicians
The sheer number of Japanese inventions #
The lack of clear policy statements by politicians *
The use of photographs on political posters *
The use of imagery, rather than comparison, in advertising *
The abundance of curtains and tinted glass in cars #
The lack of story/punchline type jokes #
The use of movement and gesture in humour *
The number of scary female monsters *
Their tendency to come out of images *
The use of photographs to remember the dead *
The lack of family photographs in homes and offices *
The emphasis on the exchange of business cards #
The emphasis on politeness
The emphasis on greetings
The fear of inappropriate or negative words ?
The emphasis on right ways of doing things #
The emphasis on time place and occasion #
The use of mirrors in trains and other public places *
The beauty of Japanese people*
The wackiness and originality of Japanese fashion #

And the list could go on.

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arrrrgghhh so true i love it!
Cuteness generally
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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.