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View Diary: Japanese Mind 2 – The Crane Wife Strikes Back, and King Midas (72 comments)

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  •  Three caveats: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    janis b, justintime

    Though I don't exactly disagree with your points, kumaneko, I think your examples need three big caveats:

    1. The low crime rate.  While it might be true that you don't have to worry walking around any city in Japan if you are a male, I have yet to find a single female, foreign or domestic, who has not, when asked, described having been grabbed, groped, fondled, or sexually assaulted.  The rape rate in Japan is through the roof, and most of them are unreported because in Japan it is still "shameful", not to mention the police will ask all of the questions that get Republicans in trouble here- what was she wearing?  Was she drinking?  Was she a slut?  Plus, of course, getting the cops to investigate at all is a problem when you report a stalker.  While it is nice indeed to not have to worry about muggers, I worry a hell of a lot more about my women friends here.

    2.) The Japanese are considerate, yes, but once outside the group, the consideration drops appreciably.

    3.) This is the hard one.  Please note that I am not in any way saying your students aren't sincere in their efforts, and I do not know them personally and cannot guess their individual stories.  But I would put forward the fact that most "volunteer" work in Japan is actually mandatory, either assigned as a class or extracurricular activity or organized as another form of the all-pervasive social pressure.  Your personal mileage may vary.

    Odds and ends about life in Japan: 1971wolfie.wordpress.com

    by Hatrax on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 11:09:33 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for your comments, Hatrax, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      justintime

      and I'd like to respond briefly.

      1. Yes, a thousand times yes, you're completely right about male privilege in Japan and the awful treatment of women. These are crimes and they do occur far too frequently. Also petty crimes like stealing bicycles and umbrellas happen a lot, which is very annoying. I guess I was thinking of things like gun crimes and muggings. There's plenty of white-collar crime as well.

      2. This is the conventional wisdom and I used to believe it but recently I have come to think that there is quite a bit of empathy even for those outside one's group, or maybe people (especially young people) are expanding their "groups" to include a larger number of others.

      3. You're right about this--one of the professors at my university invites students to go to Asian countries to do volunteer work, but they aren't forced to go and that still doesn't take away from the fact that they do go and learn something from the experience. The student I was particularly thinking about went a second time on his own the following summer and that's what impressed me a lot.

      Perhaps the general non-confrontational nature of Japanese society is so appealing to me that I gloss over more faults than I should. I've also been lucky to have had good friends and family who have guided me into behaviors that are less likely to end up with me having unfortunate experiences.

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