Counter cultural culture
February 3rd, 2013

Despite many Japanese values for conservation, efficiency, etc., I sometimes have to question the cultural ideology and thought of how and why…

Japan has a culture that claims to not like to waste, known as 勿体ない, mottainai. For many cases this holds true and greatly differs from American culture: Japanese homes are not centrally heated as to save electricity; most Japanese homes air dry their laundry to also save electricity; bathrooms do not have towels and people use their own personal handkerchiefs to dry their hands; plastic, paper, and cans are recycled meticulously, with different recycling days for different types of trash; wasting food is frowned upon.

However, amidst all these savings and aversions from waste, there are also large amounts of unnecessary waste that seems a bit contradictory: although homes are not heated, toilet seats are always heated; Japanese homes may not use driers, but they do laundry more often [nearly everyday]; every purchase is meticulously wrapped in plastic or paper, placed in a bag, which is then neatly taped closed; Japanese don’t really care for keeping leftovers…they like everything made fresh.

It all just seems a bit contradictory; one seemingly-basic-amenity is sacrificed for…something that seems kind of excessive [I don't need the toilet seat to be toasty 24/7...and I love restaurant leftovers...]. As much as I like how purchases are wrapped, it really is unnecessary and it results in a lot of excess paper [and time at the register].

Another somewhat counter-intuitive aspect about Japan is that for a country that is a world leader in technological advancements, there is a bit of a shoot-and-miss. Maybe because things like house heating and wi-fi are pretty standard things in the US, I am surprised that those things are not the norm in Japan. There is wi-fi of course, but it isn’t as common as one might think. Outlets [at least at my university] are also a rare sight [though...to be fair, McDonalds and KFC here have outlets at every seat...]. Credit cards are also not used as much in Japan; many places don’t take card at all. When I think of Japan, I sometimes think of too much technology…toilets have upwards of five buttons, and my shower in my homestay has a control panal to alter the water temperature. It just seems like too much.

Although I have a few qualms about the Japanese way of doing things, it’s just a different culture, a different norm, a different standard, than what I am accustomed to.

[Edit]

A friend posted this and I thought it was highly appropriate [and more thorough than I am being here...>.>]

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A little bit of an intro...

This is my personal site to post some stuff – stuff that is so random I can’t really be any more specific. But if you care for photos of food, panoramas, my day, or just the thoughts that go on in my head, please stay!

I love to travel, bake, burn time on tumblr, read, cafe questing, and run around pretending to be a photographer. I also have a thing for Japanese, classical music, and food. Wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, I hope to do it with a smile, see new things, do everything, and just experience and take it all in.