What I like about Japan
On Friday, January 29, 2016 a Japanese woman asked “What do you like Japanese culture?” Maybe she meant what do I like about Japanese culture? Or, maybe she wanted to know if I liked sushi, or kimonos specifically. Or, maybe she just wanted to know in general what I liked about Japan? Or, maybe she meant what I liked best about Japan? All difficult questions. I want to answer without insulting Japanese.
After a moment’s thought I said that I liked Japanese reserved manners. I don’t much fancy North American in-your-face assertiveness. Japanese are no less individualistic, but they are not nearly as self-promoting or fawningly affirmation-seekers. They are a quieter people. That doesn’t mean that I like everything about Japan, and it doesn’t mean that I still do not feel culture shock. I don’t, and I do. But more often than not I feel better suited to the manners and sensibilities of Japanese than my native Canada. Canadians are a provincial people.