Tuesday, March 9, 2010


If you can understand this and you can understand this and this, then you can understand this. I've said it before, I'll say it again, I have found people in Japan to be the biggest and best excuse makers I have ever come across. It makes sense. The majority of your life in Japan you are either being forced to accept responsibility for something or to avoid accepting responsibility for something. Alternatively you can live on the outskirts like me and never be responsible for anything.

I was finally able to see The Cove a week or so ago. I was both looking forward to it and avoiding it. Avoiding it as I already know and object to what goes on in Taiji. Looking forward to it because something has to make those...fishermen...stop. Winning an Oscar has to push the issue in some direction. The problem now, as I see it, is that no one in Japan knows what is going on in Taiji. If they did I have a feeling that it would cease to be feasible. It goes without saying that if this documentary had been about the hardscrabble fishermen of Japan doing the proud work of feeding a country, the Academy Award would be the biggest story of the week. As it stands? ...............Que the crickets. I just asked the teachers next to me if they knew anything about a documentary about Japan winning an Academy Award. No takers. You see that Japanese officials go back to the well on this one:

On Monday, officials in Taiji released a statement calling for understanding of food culture and long-standing traditions.

I would like the research to be done, but I have a pretty strong feeling that these traditions are not so long-standing. How far back can selling dolphins to aquariums date? Realize that Japan makes up this garbage for foreign consumption, not domestic. The pro-whaling arguments made here are very different from the ones circulated in the overseas press. No Japanese person has talked to me about whale research. They talk about that whales taste good and make a newer, stranger argument that Japanese people are Buddhists and therefore must use the animals and not just take their oil. Hmmm. The Buddha compelled marine mammal slaughter. I'll remember that. But you see the real appeal being made in this statement. It is the appeal being made in all of the articles that I linked to. Let me paraphrase:

Japan is a magical country, set apart from the rest of the world. In Japan all of the people are friendly and good and related to each other if we go back far enough. No butterflies were harmed in the making of Japan and the ecology is protected by having trees in the shrines and by carrying shopping bags. Outside of Japan strange scary things happen and everyone carries guns. If Japan loses at sports it is because everyone else is so big and Japan is so small. If Japan wins at sports it is because of the special spirit possessed by its inhabitants. This spirit must be protected. Not just from being violated but from being exposed. That is why mixed-martial arts in Japan never had steroid testing. The Japanese are far to pure to do anything so foreign so there is no need to even inquire. Japanese athletes overseas are also special and must be protected from any dabbling of racism that might effect them. These standards also apply to Japanese business. Of course rice from California isn't real rice, how could it be? Rice is Japanese. That is why everyone is surprised when white people use chopsticks. How could they know Japan's delicate secret.

Am I going to far? A lot is contained in that brief statement from Taiji. Are we to believe then that the government of Japan are cultural relativists? If some countries in Africa want to mutilate women's genitals, what can we do? If Japan wants to treat the oceans like their own farm, why should anyone object? Japan is just a tiny tribe of almost 150,000,000 people eking out a humble existence in harmony with its ancient heritage.

I will say again, and for the record, that this stuff makes me nuts because I love Japan and most Japanese people are far more decent and intelligent than this garbage. Japan does have a wonderful unique culture, but not so unique that it defies participation in a larger world community. If Japan wants to be a cultural isolationist, let it walk that long lonely path, but it can't pretend to be one thing on the world stage and another at home and then hide the parts it doesn't like while subsidising them out of its pockets.

Northwest Florida made it through the net-ban, you can grow up too Wakayama.


I am searching the Japanese press for mentions of the win........Nothing Here

1 comment:

The Morholt said...

Thanks for the series of posts: it will give me a few interesting things to look at over the next few days. I posted the address for my favorite explanation of scientific theory under that post.

attempting to silence the voices in my head.