Apparently, my friends have claimed to have noticed me gradually turning ‘Japanese’… I think I might actually be going through, what I like to call: ‘Jvolution’; noun, the gradual development of a non-native Japanese person in to an all-round Japanese person. Was I really Jvolving? What makes my friends say this? What actually makes someone ‘Japanese’? With these questions on my mind I embarked on a mission to collect, compile and analyse Japanese characteristics (Jeese I sound like an anthropologist). So here I will set before you my Jvolution theory! Readers, be warned, as some aspects of the following could fall under stereotyping, sexist and any another ‘ist’ you can think of…oh and please take these points with a pinch of salt!
Manga, Anime & Video Games
Ok so first off, it all starts with the love of manga, anime and video games. As I later came to know, (being oblivious at the time), a lot of my favourite video games growing up were Japanese, namely Mario Kart 64 and Final Fantasy. Same goes for Manga and Anime, if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ve probably noticed that I was once a die-hard Pokémon Fan. If this sounds like you as well then, be advised, as this is the first point a person begins the Jvolution process.
So are you vegetarian? Yes? No? Sometimes? Well this question alone doesn’t determine how Japanese you are however; it’s interesting to note that historically, Japan has a long history of being a vegetarian society due to Buddhism. As we all know a lot of Japanese cuisine is known for consisting of mainly rice, seasonal vegetables as well as raw fish and seafood. As mentioned in my Japanese Food article, Japanese people place a strong emphasis on fresh, seasonal food and take great care with presentation. Does this sound like your diet? Not quite? Well if your health conscious and take great care in what goes inside you to stop your stomach from sounding like an unleashed monster form hell then congratulations, you’ve made it to the second stage of the Jvolution process.
It’s a Man’s World
To some, the following might seem like a step back in the human evolution process, but predominantly the Japanese think that a society with men in charge is for the better. As one of the top industrialised nations in the world, Japan still remains a male-dominated society, in which women are all too often expected to stop working once they start a family. However, things look like they are finally beginning to change with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan, to encourage women to enter and remain within the country’s workforce. Unfortunately I don’t think this has much to do with equal opportunities or womens rights, but more to do with the fact that Japan is currently troubled by a shrinking working-age population, and this can be ‘fixed’ by encouraging women to enter the workforce (maybe the West had a better way of putting it, but essentially England experienced a similar shortage in the workforce, during and after the 2nd World War, when women were encouraged to enter industry and migrant workers were invited to fill positions).
Do you harbour good feelings towards others by not judging them, even if your own list of accomplishments is impressive? I’ve mentioned this because maintaining a sense of modesty is emphasised in Japanese culture. If you enjoy the company of polite people, and tend to thank people with a smile then you’ve definitely surpassed the midway point of my Jvloution process. I have found that, when travelling overseas, the Japanese take with them their culture of extreme hospitality. If this sounds like you then you will almost certainly get along well with the Japanese people and their ‘super-efficient’ society.
Centre of the World
In recent times, the Japanese as a nation have become big travellers, as such it can be noted that they do not get on with people who tend to think that America and Europe are the centre of the world. This sounds a lot like me…what about you?
Do you enjoy taking baths…every night? Ok well I enjoy the occasional bath with some ‘Muscle Soak’ and my waterproof tablet, but I don’t think I’d have the time to have one every night, but if your Japanese you’ll have one every night, it’s a good old Japanese way of de-stressing and getting ready for bed – it’s the height of relaxation and its not uncommon for bath time to be ‘family time’. It’s worth noting that, the temperature for a Japanese bath is normally above 40°C! The high temperature is considered a prerequisite for complete relaxation…relaxing in 40°C….hmmmm I guess that’s something I’ll have to experience to believe.
So on a concluding note, yeah I think my friends are right, I am turning Japanese, and so have I got any of you guys thinking ‘I think I’m turning Japanese too!‘?
Why not get a friend who you think falls in to a few of the above mentioned categories to read this article, you never know it might just be the little nudge they need to start their Jvolution process and before you know it, you’ll have a few Nihontastic travel companions for your future trip to Japan! What else would you add to this list? Let me know by leaving a comment.
Before I sign off i’d like to leave you with this retro music video by the Vapours!