Thursday, January 10, 2008

Diversity incarnate

Japan, home of shintoism, Mt Fuji, raw fish, big eye'd cartoons, weird video games, radioactive dinosaurs, and affordable electronics...oh yea, and Japanese people.

But is that all there is to the land of the rising sun?


There's also this guy...

I'm half Japanese.  Which half? Well, I have a funny looking toe, but I'm pretty sure I get that from my dad, so I am Japanese on my mother's side.  Her toes are normal.

Japan is diversified by many of the usual criteria; economics, politics, and...prefecture?
There are a billion-zillion sub-cultures in Japan, sometimes called 'speed tribes'...whatever.
The obvious ones are made up of people obsessed with games, anime, music, food, sex, and fashion. 
But the more interesting ones are the breakdancing rockabillies or the bowling cowboys.
Now that's cool.
Less than 1% of Japanese are Christian.  Here are some Japanese Missionary blogs.
pretty interesting. 

The Japanese have a great sense of humor.  
They don't trash talk people as much as Americans.
I'm not trying to bash American,  but just hanging around campus, clubs, or watching comedians it seems like most humor here is based on mockery or sarcasm.  Maybe that's why I like Jackass. Instead of social/emotional abuse it's physical.

Japan facts
  • It's rude to blow your nose in public
  • Japan is made up of over 3000 islands
  • The density in some parts of Japan is over 2000 people per square kilometer
  • The "clothing" worn by sumo wrestlers is known as a mawashi
  • There are over 1.2 million single mother households in Japan
  • Japan is in one of the most earthquake-active areas of the world
  • There are over 100 active volcanos in Japan
  • Less than 13% of the land is suitable for farming
  • Over 80% of Japanese claim no personal religion, although most follow some religious rituals

  • The Japanese have awesome music.

    I'm American, it is my national and cultural identity and I love it.  I've been to several countries and America is where I want to live.  I think it's the best country in the world.  Although I am only half Japanese I really cherish those cultural roots and have worked to explore this part of my ethnic identity.  

    Why does this matter to me?  In Japan there are Japanese people, there is Japanese culture. In Japan, it is not very significant to be Japanese, the emphasis is on what you do for a living, who your family is, or maybe what you can do.  But for someone to be Japanese (or whatever) in is significant.  It makes a difference in how you experience life, especially if you grew up in Ballwin Missouri in the early 70's (in Missouri no one can hear you scream).

    On my father's side...there are people from England, Denmark, Germany, Whales...and who knows what else.  So there's not much of a defined ethnic heritage explore.  My grandparents made a little family history DVD.  It was pretty cool.  They showed some really old photos and narrated with some interesting stories about how the Bowhay family immigrated to the states and made their way across the country.  In our childhood pictures, my brother and I stick out like yellow thumbs.  Sometimes I wonder if my Grandfather, who did not hide his prejudice of Mexicans, Native Americans, and African Americans, ever had negative thoughts about us.  I'd like to think that everything was fine.  It's weird sometimes how racism can be compartmentalized.  I remember on one special occasion both my mother's and my father's family were gathered together in St. Louis.  My brother leaned over and told me that there were two World War II veterans at the table that both fought in the South Pacific but on different sides.  I'm still amazed at that, only in America.

    ANYWAY, I'm as American as mexican pizza.  I love being a Japanese-America and I love America's diversity and I love that I am diverse in who I am.  But, I'd really love to see my not-very-diverse fellow christians take an interest in the amazing Japanese people.

    Japan has all the social concerns that any country has.  Here's some articles.

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