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Western Culture Sucks

Coming back to the USA there are some serious cultural differences between the USA and Japan. Some are arguably good. People in the USA are generally more individual. I think that’s good.

On the other hand, something I really hate about the USA (and many other western countries) is there is this attitude that I can only some up as “It’s fun to laugh at other’s expense” or maybe “It feels good to piss on other people”.

Simple examples are vandalism. Why do people key cars? Keying someones car, taking your keys and scratching the paint on their car has no point whatsoever. Most people don’t key the car of someone they know, they just pick some random car and scratch it. Why? What is it about our culture that compels people to do that?

It manifests itself in other ways. Men’s public restrooms are almost always trashed in the USA. Go to theatre, museum, bar and the men’s toilets will be broken, doors pulled off, paper towels all over the floor, coat hangers broken, doors kicked until they are bent and no longer close, seats are covered in urine or any number of other problems. We put up with it and I know I probably assumed it’s just a part of life but it’s not. Not in Japan anyway. The bathrooms in the train station might be stinky but in general I don’t remember any abused toilets in Japan.

What is it about western culture that makes so many people into assholes? Why is it I can’t keep anything in my car when it’s parked in public because someone will bust the window into the car and steal it? We take that for granite granted. We just know it happens and we put our stuff in the trunk. But guess what, it doesn’t happen in Japan. In fact right now in 2007 the newest hot fashion in Tokyo for men is 8 inch long wallets that stick 4-6 inches out of your pocket. In the USA or many other countries that wouldn’t work because it would get stolen but not in Japan.

Want a perfect example of just how much better Japanese culture is in this area? In a 2 or 3 story fast food restaurant here is how it works in Japan. Walk up to the 2nd or 3rd floor and find a table. Leave your purse, sweater and notebook computer on the table. Walk down to the 1st floor and order your food. Come back and your stuff is still there. Is there any other country that would work in? Certainly not any western country I know of.

I’m not saying I’m not guilty of being an asshole. When I was a teen I did my share of prank calls and other more destructive things. Why was that cool? Where did I learn that from? Do kids do that in Japan? My impression is no. Or at least maybe their parents really displine them if they find out and work that feeling out of them.

Another example, I used to be able to laugh at the Jerky Boys. Most of our culture seems to enjoy that. Now through I just find prank calls sad and mean spirited.

Another example is vending machines. You could never have outdoor vending machines in the USA. They’d get abused, robbed and destroyed. In Japan they are everywhere, clean and unabused.

What’s wrong with our culture? If there is any one thing I took away from my 6 years in Japan this is the #1 thing. That all the bullshit we take for granite granted in our culture is not in fact “the way things are” and that we just have to except it. People being assholes in these ways are not just “a part of life”. I know this because I lived somewhere where they didn’t exist for 6 years.

  • GenkiGaijin
    I agree

    I agree with Western Culture sucking. You don’t know me but I went to a language school called Kansai Gaidai with Colin W. (Square Enix.)

    Anyway, before leaving for Japan I had Japanese roommates in college so I could get used to eating Japanese food and speaking Japanese before making the big leap going over. When I was in Osaka, Japan studying, I lived with a Host family and had no problems that other Americans were complaining about.

    After my year as a language student I came back to Osaka to teach English. Almost every weekend I would go to Kyoto and eat good food, look for antiques, and go to play video games at arcades. I really liked the Namco arcade in Kyoto down the main shopping road.

    After a year of teaching I decided to go back to the U.S. This was in 2002. The first two weeks were horrible. My mother took me out to eat and I got sick on American beef. There must be some kind of chemicals in the food here. A lot of food made me sick. I was alright going to a seafood resturaunt but typical American food made me ill until I got used to it again. I noticed how overweight everyone was and I noticed how pushy and rude Americans are becoming. People in Osaka were rude walking around but not like in the U.S. In Osaka there were just billions of people trying to get somewhere so the rudeness was unavoidable.

    Here, if you spend too much time picking something out at the grocery store someone will bang into your shopping cart and want to push you out of the way. I am lucky that Tampa has a Japanese population. Not as big as L.A. but I kind find all the food and stuff that I used to buy in Osaka at Kotobuki Japanese Market. I can even find my two favorite drinks Lemon Chu Hai and C C Lemon.

    Anway, its been 5-years since I left Japan. I still find Americans rude and I have been thinking about getting back to Osaka or Kyoto.

    I wrote down my 3-year experience in a 365 page book that helped to deal with readjusting to American life. I have met some cool people back home but there has to be that one rude asshole who cuts you off and flips you off in traffic that happens more often, then I would like, to cause me to think about going back.

    I hope your readjusting goes better for you then it did for me.

    Genki Gaijin

  • Ben
    Re: cars getting keyed

    My new car was keyed in Tokyo two weeks after I got it; I had driven to visit my cousin in Nerima-ku, and parked in the visitor’s space at his apartment block. When it came time to leave, I found both sides of the vehicle keyed, which meant I had to spend about JPY 60,000 getting the doors fixed. Maybe someone objected to seeing a new car, maybe Nerima ain’t such a nice part of town, maybe my cousin’s neighbours are assholes, or maybe I was just unlucky. Anyway……

    I think there are probably just as many jerks over here (I’m in Osaka), but IMHO the societal pressure to conform & not cause trouble is much stronger than in many western countries. I guess there is also a much stronger sense of public ‘face’ , with consequent shame & guilt if you’re caught doing something naughty in public.

  • http://www.nokonoko.net johntv
    Sounds like…

    …Japan has had a very good influence on you. It definitely has on me. I view life a lot differently than I did before I moved here back in 2000. I’m sure part of it is just “growing up,” so to speak, but a lot of it is just gaining that much-needed perspective of what Americans look like from outside the big shelter we all lived in. It’s not pretty.

  • albertj

    I wonder if Japanese value things (like public facilities) because many of them spent many hours cleaning their classrooms in grade school. That should certainly give you a better appreciation for how much work it is to clean something. I visit Japan about twice each year, and everytime I come back to the US, it hits me how much people trash their environment here. Next time you’re at an intersection at a left-turn signal, lean out and take a look at the median strip: hundreds of cigarette butts. Or what about the people who shove empty drink cans in my bushes? Are people here that uneducated? California spends millions each year on litter collection, all because some ***holes are too lazy to use trash cans.

    By the way, Gregg, the saying is “take something for granted.” :-)

  • albertj

    Oh, and let’s not forget the phonebooks at public phones in Japan which are in pristine condition and not even chained up. I think Japanese are much more aware of “The Golden Rule” and treat others as they would like to be treated themselves. Many Americans seem oblivious to the Japanese concept of “meiwaku kakaru.”

  • Vorteks

    I definitely agree. It disgusts me how much we Americans live our lives at the expense of others. I can’t believe that stupid “Borat” movie is so popular. What’s so funny about wasting other people’s time and embarrassing them on screen? I want no part of entertainment that primarily involves belittling others. And yet, every else seems to love it.

  • NativeNewporter

    Hi Greg:

    < ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> 

    I’ve been a regular visitor to your site and even posted here a couple of times and it was because of some of the things I read here that I finally went to visit < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Japan last month. It was one of the cleanest, best organized places I’ve ever visited. We were in the Ginza station (Oedo Line) and were looking at the local map deciding which exit to use and this tiny, quite elderly woman (well dressed in a fir trimmed coat, hat and gloves) came up behind us and in perfect English asked if she could be of assistance. At first it didn’t register that someone could have been speaking to us but after hearing her again, it was clear that she meant us (were we that obvious?). We explained we were headed and rather than just telling us which exit to take, she insisted walking us through the station to the stairs and told us “exit here and cross the street to the right and our shop would be on the corner”. Greg, I couldn’t ever imagine someone doing this here in the states. Generally a verbal “use that exit” with a wave of a hand in the general direction would be about the best one could hope for here. This level kindness and consideration was consistent throughout our entire trip in Japan and we can only imagine that’s what you’ve come accustomed to. All we can say is “lucky you”. We think about Japan every day and the wonderful cultural differences we experienced and can tell you we look forward to returning to visit soon. Don’t be too hard on things Gregg, all cultures have good and bad points, unfortunately I think you (as well as us) are experiencing two cultures that are pretty much polar opposites.

     

    For the sake of discussion Gregg, do you ever get the feeling our society may be “too far gone” to salvage it?

  • Sumie
    This is Sumie!

    Hi greg! how have you been doing there? I agree with what you wrote, but as someone said above, each culture has bad point and good point. First thing that I thought when I just came back to Japan from States was, “Why people are having such a unhappy face in train in Japan??” In the States, it never happen, everyone seems happy!  Maybe we want to have what we don’t have.  I tend to focus on good point of States, and bad point of Japan, as I am in Japan.

    Anyways, hope that I could see you in the near future!

  • http://reno.versuscity.net AndrewA
    I concur 100%

    At times I really wish I could go back to Canada, because it is, afterall, my home country and I miss a lot of it, but like America, I really can’t stand some of the habits people have over there. Even though Japanese people tend to have problems with individuality, their manners and politeness more than make up for it, IMO.

  • languagenazi
    granted

    the phrase you are looking for is “take for granted”. rocks have nothing to do with it.

  • http://www.kaizendenki.com ichien
    Japanese Schadenfreude

    “It’s fun to laugh at other’s expense” exists in all cultures – and the Japanese are no different.

    Perhaps it is a little more difficult to see on the surface with Japanese because they are so outwardly polite, especially to white North Americans/Europeans.

    Or perhaps what appears to Westerners to be no big deal is really something altogether different to Japanese.

    But Japanese do in fact laugh at others’ expense. Probably more often than one might think.

  • Dax
    let’s not make orange to apple comparisons please…

    In the USA laughing at others its becoming a habit something to even brag about with friends (yeah I heard both people braging about “keying” and bragging about “how they humiliated that guy” and so on).

    In Japan if you show that kind of behaviour openly and loudly you would get “the-Eye” and get ostrcized too.

    That’s a monsterly HUGE difference…

  • http://www.strob.net Strob
    Same in French canada

    I live in Quebec (french part of Canada).

    I spent 2 months and a half in Japan and My girlfriend is Japanese so I know Japanese culture a bit too. And I must agree too!

    In Quebec this is the same as in the US about what you are talking about. I always talk to people here about the jihan (vending machine) in Japan as the best example to demonstrate good civil behaviour in Japan. there is no way you can imagine a jihan here in a dark corner of a small alley without it being rub!

    Many years ago I read in a tourist guide that Tokyo was very safe because, in part, of some contract between the police and the yakusa. The secret contract would stipulate that the police will let the yakusa do some big business in exchange of the yakusa “helping” the police to take small criminal out of the streets. So maybe if you kick a jihan you’ll end up in the sumida river with your feet in a concrete block! But maybe this is just urban legend.

    Anyway every single time I have to lock my bycicle with three heavy locks, I think about how it would be great to have some japanese way of life here in Quebec: more respect and less fun at other’s expense.

  • ravi
    yes west do sucks

    Hi,

    I am a gaijin and have been living in japan for past 30 years. It is a heaven. In the 30years of my life in Japan I have misplaced my things like video camera, bag containing money and IDs in places like Disneyland, game parlour and in the parking etc… but always got it back.  Streets and highways are so clean that even if you want to throw something out of the car window you dont.   You bump into somebody in the train and before you could say the other person say SORRY. You ask someone the way if you are lost and he/she goes out of way to help you. Once I got lost in LA and asked for directions and the young guy gave me just opposite directions.  In NY central station I asked a guy for directions and he just plain told me f…off. What a difference.  I think not only west but whole world should learn from Japan.  I love this place.

  • ravi

    Hi Ben

    I read your grievance about keying of your new car. Ben do you know how many gaijins are staying in Nerima-ward.  you cannot be 100% some Japanese did it.  It can be that some gaijin ASSHOLE did it.  U had bad experience and it is sad but just think about good things about Japan and its people and you will forget or ignore this incidence.  Your car was keyed and it is better than being broken into and things got stolen. There are bad elements in every society and it is sad they are increasing in Tokyo and other big cities. Goodluck next time Ben

  • anotherben
    BTW Gregg, do you have a Japanese accent?

    I’m just wondering if the Japanese style of pronounciation has rubbed off and if you speak english with a Japanese accent? That would be pretty cool.

    Cheers,

    Ben

    PS Sorry to hear about your culture shock. At least you got to live the good life for some years before having to go back. I think 50% US 50% Japan living regimen might work. Use the time in the US to save money for your living in Japan. I’m hoping to work something like that out myself. Ganbatte!

  • Gambatte
    Wow!

    You have written this very well. 

    I thought petty vandalism and asshole behavior was a world-wide problem.  Your comment about vending machines being impossible to have outdoors in the U.S. couldn’t be anymore true.

    This is interesting and refreshing to hear.  Great post!  ^_^

    I’m sorry to bother you, but could you please tell me how you transported your desktop PC to Japan.  It looks like it could cost $500 to ship it FedEx.

    Thank you very much, Great Blogs!

  • meenoo

    Hi Gambatte

    wow 500bucks to ship it to Japan.  Better sell it there and buy another

    one in Japan for less than 300quids. (good ones plenty available in used

    market)(.

    cheers

  • http://blog.greggman.com greggman
  • http://randomstabbing.blogspot.com/ DoctressJulia
    Yes, I Agree About WEstern Culture

    GET ME OUT OF HERE! It’s true. I am in the US and I am constantly worrying about getting mugged, robbed, car broken into, I wish I could come to Japan! Know of any bars that need a good bartender?? lol. I envy you, especially beacuse of the FOOD! Japanese food is the best thing eve…. suuuushiiii…. drool.

  • Pleaseenteraname

    As far as “shipping” computers, you just take the box to the airport and check it as baggage. Travel light and you’ll be able to ship it for free. My last trip I went to Costco, bought a big box of pots and pans, and brought them home with me to Japan unopened.

    I’ve never been charged customs duties on anything.

  • ike

    I think some of you guys give credit to Japan a little bit too much. As others have already pointed out, there are assholes likewise in Japan that laugh at others expense, and yes, probably more often and a lot more demeaning than you can imagine. And yeah I can’t stand the grumpy faces people put up at trains here either. 

    Sure it’s clean and safe in Japan, that’s nice and I’m not complaining. But that’s the exception and not the norm.   

  • Maarek
    Haha

    You know, I had read this before going to Japan a week ago and the whole time I could only think of the article. What I found disturbing during my trip was that I couldn’t find trashcans anywhere in Tokyo… Maybe I missed something but I would walk around with a bottle in my hands for hours hoping the next vending machine had a trashcan or I was stuck carrying it around even longer. No trashcans and no trash anywhere… it really is an amazing sight.

  • Ryan
    crime and punishement in US vs Japan

    What is the punishment for stealing in Japan vs. US. I know in the middle east they tend to lop off the limbs that do the stealing and the rate of theft is very low. If we started lopping limbs off in America for stealing you could leave your wallet anywhere you wanted to without worry. I think the deterrent is two fold. Who wants to lose a hand? Once you do lose one, EVERYONE knows your a f’ing thief at first glance.

  • ALias

    Umm… you are writing granite instad and granted. 

  • EggCorn

    And you are writing instad instead of instead. It’s a deep-seeded problem.

    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001823.html

  • http://blog.greggman.com greggman
    lots of typos

    If you haven’t noticed, I make lots of typos. If I worry about it too much I’d never write anything. It takes time to write a post in the first place, more time then I have, then it takes even more time to attempt to proof read it. I say “attempt” because of course remembering what I wrote my brain will have a tendency to think it read what I wanted, not what I actually wrote.

    I know the difference between granite and granted.

    Especially since in 6th grade we learned about gneiss (pronounced the same as “nice” )which looks similar to granite hence the pun “it’s gneiss but don’t take it for granite” :-(

    Now, I wonder how many typos are in this response.

    The funny thing is “don’t take it for granite” works as an idiom just fine. It would mean “don’t think it’s set in stone” (another idiom) which is most circumstances would have a close enough meaning to “don’t take it for granted”.  “deep-seeded” works just as well. Something deeply seeded would be hard to un-seed or dig up so it would have about the same idiomatic meaning as “deep-seated”.

  • jeffbomb
    Japan – vandalism and disrespect ison the rise.

    I’ve heard from a number of folks in Japan that disrespectful behavior is on the rise there, too. Of course, in a country which values respect as much as Japan, it is still far less of a problem than in the U.S.

    The U.S. version of “respect”:

    In the U.S. the word “respect” is screamed and spat into a video camera lens by rappers with fake gold teeth, who don’t have the slightest clue what the word means, except that “Malcolm X used it once, so if I want to seem like a bad ass, I should use it, too”.

    According to folks in the U.S. (and I am generalizing, I know) “respect” is something that “YOU give to ME”. Respect is rarely thought of in the sense of giving it to someone else.

    Japan isn’t doing so hot either, lately:

    All that aside, however, I was in Japan again last month. I noticed a sharp increase in graffiti around the northern 1/2 of Tokyo (Shinagawa, Taito, etc). I didn’t go to other parts, but I must say the change is quite noticeable.

    About 3 or 4 years ago, I noted that there was not *one* bit of graffiti in the area. I mean, I was coming back to the States and telling everyone I knew how such a big city has no graffiti. But now I’m walking the very same streets, and it is there in abundance. Oh, it isn’t as bad as many cities in the U.S., but it is everywhere. Oddly, it is in similar “gang tag” style, as Japanese appear to be attempting to emulate hiphop “culture”. (Yes, the quote marks are intentional)

    Cars keyed by Japanese, too:

    As for keyed cars, I’ve had a few scratches here and there. But the person who has seen it worst is my wife. She had all kinds of obscenities keyed into her car once. I mean it was a terrible mess. They were keyed in Japanese. No doubt by a Japanese friend of hers, with whom she’d recently had a (very) minor disagreement. Happens everywhere.

    It wasn’t always like this in the U.S.:

    My grandmother lived in Atlanta for most of her life. Decades ago, she would routinely shop for groceries and then take all her bags to the bus stop outside the grocery store. She would pick out all the “cold items” (milk, eggs, etc), and then leave the rest of the bags at the bus stop. When she got home, she would send a few of her kids out to the bus stop to retrieve the rest of the bags. Nothing was ever taken.

    It wasn’t always like this in Japan… it wasn’t always like this in the U.S. either… so what are we really seeing? :

    It isn’t “Western culture” that sucks. Its the new times. A terrible state of decline across many cultures. The thing you are noticing is the fact that the U.S. is ahead of Japan, in that the U.S. is declining first. This makes it look (comparatively) as if Japan is not experiencing the problem. But if you ask around, people in Japan are talking about “the new disrespectful and self-indulgent generation” all the time. At first I thought “every generation complains about the prior generation”, but I don’t think that’s entirely true.

    Doesn’t every generation complain about the new youth of their times?:

    Do you think that the generation in Japan growing up around 1810 complained about the generation growing up around 1830? Probably not. There was probably continuity in the culture. We are seeing cultures in transition. They are becoming more pragmatic, and also more disrespectful. Its a shame that is echoed on both sides of the Pacific.

    I think it can be turned around. I think that if we begin to show respect for people who are respectful, and if we openly show our contempt for those who are impolite and self-centered … this thing could slowly begin to turn around, just as it slowly began to creep towards decline.

    There used to be “Civics classes” in the United States. Once those ended, things went down hill. My mom’s generation took them. And you might note that theirs is the generation deemed “The Greatest Generation”. My sister and I didn’t have it. And we would both be thought of as rude assholes, had we grown up in the 40s and 50s.

    My wife’s generation also received civics lessons as part of school. She still has the cool mementos she got form the City of Taito when she reached “adulthood” and became “officially a true citizen of Taito”. When we saw some of that stuff (with the city seal on it and everything) she told me all about the big ceremony and how much it meant to her and the others who were coming of age (20 years old or something like that).

    When she described it to me, I got teary eyed, thinking how nice it is for a city to embrace their young citizens like that, and to teach them the importance of belonging and helping their city to be a good one.

    In the U.S., we express much of our “civic pride” in the form of disrespecting other cities. In Michigan, for example, it goes something like: “Detroit RULES! Chicago SUCKS!!!!” or maybe a suburban rivalry “Northville is for pu$$ies! Canton Township rocks!”

    I think it can change, if society decides to change it. Maybe some civics classes. I’m an optimist. An optimist who has typed way too much of a rambling response. :)

    [PS: Your software rocks!]

  • languagenazi
    not a typo

    Writing “granite” instead of “granted” is not a typo, especially when done repeatedly. If you had typed “grantd” instead of “granted”, for instance, that would have been a typo. Typing “granite” is just plain old illiteracy, a sign that you misheard the phrase when spoken and never saw it (or at least noticed it) in writing.

  • Lin

    you know what I love most about Japan?

    if you stand around one spot squinting at a map and looking puzzled, some passerby will stop to ask you where you want to go. i once had a salaryman lead me and three other friends across three roads and up the fourth floor of a building to the place we had to go… i can’t believe he went to all that trouble.

  • kawaiisucks

    You know what i love about Japan? How absolutely awful the pop culture is in every single way.

  • StevenW

    Western culture sucks, period. I mean especially at modern times but even in the earlier times white people think they are superior than others. When their attitudes are like this, there’s not much surprise the rudeness and “oh, look at me I’m so special, I’m better than others” consolidate into rude behaviors. I live in Canada, and we have a multicultural demographics in Vancouver. From my observation, western culture doesn’t seem to teach people about being respectful to others, it’s always about me, me, me. How do I look? Am I sexy and hot? Am I attractive enough? And a lot of energy is spent on these superficial shit. For some reason, they also enjoy putting people down to make themselves feel better. I think it’s very sad in many ways especially for those ignoramus that don’t get out to see what can be learned from other cultures. These people lack cultured humility and some collective value that gives them clear direction. They are taught and influenced to doubt authorities, to act individualistically, to challenge every values. This is not a generational issue but a cultural issue.

  • http://blog.greggman.com greggman
    Superficialness

    Interestingly, “How do I look” seems to be a bigger problem with Asian culture in my experience than in Western culture. Japan, Korean, HK, it’s far more important that you are always dressed up, always wearing brand names, have brand name bags, an expensive watch, etc, than it is in the West. So while Asian cultures seem to value community over the individual as a positive aspect of their culture they have this negative superficial aspect as well. I wonder which, if any cultures, have both good parts.

  • Jojo Bizarro

    One good reason cars get keyed is because of car alarms, which are not only completely useless (since professional thieves will manage to steal the cars they want, and you can deter joyriders from other cars by simply rolling up the windows and locking the doors) but also annoys people within hearing distance of these irritating earsores. If you annoy people with that worthless noisemaker in your car, you’d better expect to see those nasty scratches.

  • Shadow

    You would be surprised just how many Asian societies have what some of you call an “individuality” problem. Main reason is quite obvious, Asians are too into family, traditions and keeping cultural influence part of daily life.

    As someone quoted on here “not every culture is without problems” all forms of Asians societies harbor some kind of racism if not towards different color but also towards themselves over simply how they lead their lives. There are certain qualities all Western and some Eastern countries will come to note as unique, but politeness and ethics alone are not all that make up a people.

    If you have seriously spent 3+ years in Japan seeing just that, perhaps you have not spent enough time looking at where Japanese culture is. Fact is the Japanese streets are ruled by mobs anywhere from your simple pop machine to someone in power there is some form of mafia controlling it all and they are not very kind to outsiders. Japan is also one such country that doesn’t like being influenced, they like being influential as per their customs but show them even the slightest of what you think then prepare to be surprised.

    Its human nature, we find qualities best and worst in all things but sometimes we tend to get lost in the good things.

    No I’m not oriental!

    (StevenW I hear yeah man, if it isn’t the attitude problem then it’s the traffic definitely the traffic *sigh*)

  • Susan

    Oh my God! I’m glad I live in Canada and the USA, because it seems we are more like Japan as far as theft and vandalism goes. I don’t think I would put my coat and bag on a table in a restaurant and leave without being paranoid, but that’s more me being nuts.

  • Ion

    StevenW is a fine exponent of White cretinism. Apparently his main objection is that there are a lot of non-Whites living in the West who have failed to assimilate and expose the exact ethnocentrism they show in their home countries and thinks that this is somehow a fault of Western civilization.

    The big problem with the West is the huge amount of non-Whites living in it, who are not capable of assimilating.

    An almost completely White country such as Denmark or Finland exhibit a lot of the customs and mannerisms of Japanese.

    One fundamental distinction between Japan and Western countries is that Japan doesn’t have millions of niggers within its borders.

  • Ayana

    The main difference that I found btw Western and Japanese culture is that there are many more public servants per block than there are in the West. Western countries are a lot larger in terms of their shear size, it’s much more difficult for a police force to monitor a large sector with a thin population than it is to monitor a large population in a condensed area. About ten years ago it was pretty safe to say that in Japan there was pretty much a police officer to every block. This was warranted because of the population density allowed for such a thing to be reasonable. If you had that in the west it would be silly.

    The Japanese block is compiled on average of large apartments, the average Western block is comprised of houses, Japanese pop. per block 200+, Western population per block maybe 50+. While there are blocks with houses in Japan the property values for houses is through the roof resulting in these blocks being comprised of richer families. No matter where you go the majority of petty crimes such as vandalism occurs in regions of poor income. In the west poor families can afford houses, and past that these poor areas are often located closer to the rich areas than you will find in Japan because of the simple fact that the West has newer developments than in Japan, and the regions are not as defined.

    I usually like to compare Japan with Vancouver, Canada in terms of real-estate. I have an Uncle who owns an international company that does many government projects. He is a millionaire due to this, however he lives in a home that is smaller, and less “nice” than the public housing “low income housing that drunks, and welfare mothers live in” in the region that I live in. Why is this? Probably because he lives in Vancouver and the price tag on the place he lives in (which is also a side by side) is 2 million dollars. In comparison the town houses where all basic utilities are paid by the local government in Winnipeg are $700 a month, which is dirt cheap for a 2 bathroom, 4 bedroom, full kitchen, three story apartment. To drive this point home I would like to mention that the further west you go in Vancouver the nicer the houses and as such the pricier the regions are. In Vancouver you will NOT see a cheap apartment complex next to nice houses, there are poor regions (where the petty crimes occur) and nice regions that have much less crime.) Vancouver is like Japan, low income houses are not near nice places, and the closer you get into the city the more the houses cost.

    In Manitoba however you can have a block where one side of the street is very, very nice houses, and the other side is low income housing developments. The nice houses are vandalized by the brats of the “mothers” who were knocked up at 16 years of age. Manitoba is like many western cities, they are new and as such do not have well defined regions, therefore bad kids will often be able to easily deface nice properties. Because the regions are not densely populated the public servants, and police officers are spread over a greater area and as such cannot act as quickly or efficiently when something happens. In the west low income families are able to live closer to the inner city and as such the brats are able to vandalize areas that are viewed by many people. While in places like Japan and Vancouver the real-estate makes it very difficult for low income families to live close to the heart of the city, so brats can’t as easily vandalize the high traffic regions. Furthermore, like I stated there are more public servants per square block in regions like Vancouver and Japan so even if something does happen, it’s dealt with quickly.

    Also you have to remember that kids do not have as much free time over in Japan as they do here. In the west kids have longer breaks and weekends because when the country was first established the kids were needed on the farms, giving way to two day weekends, 6 hours in school and long vacation time. With all this free time on their hands kids get board and will do stupid things like flip mail boxes to entertain themselves. When a kid on the other hand only has one day off, and goes to day school, then to night school and is always being pressured to do well or they will fail at life from middle school because you have to qualify for good high schools there, as well as secondary education. You don’t find kids with a lot of extra time on their hands. It’s a rarity for kids in Japan to have jobs, and some schools actually forbid it, while over here the vast majority of kids have part time jobs by the time they’re 16. This just goes to show the difference in free time. Bad kids with too much free time = petty crimes.

    There is a difference in rearing as well, you’ll find in schools in Japan there isn’t this whole “the teacher is powerless” garbage as there is here. Once kids found out that the teachers can’t do a whole lot to them when they misbehave you’ll find kids doing just about anything they want. In Japan on the other hand kids can be sent in the hall, forced to hold heavy books in their hands until it hurts, and humiliated in front of the class. Can you imagine if that happened here? Can you say law suit? When my teacher went over to Japan to teach English and history she found that the attitude was that even if something bad did happen, the other students, and teachers wouldn’t really say anything. She said there were cases where teachers would use corporal punishment in class. Though it has also been noted to that this don’t ask don’t tell attitude has also enabled a large amount of sexual misconduct btw teachers and students in the schools.

    I’d say the west is much better for that here than there. If it was even suspected that a teacher here was having a relationship with one of their students everything would be turned upside down. There…..well lets just say it’s not too uncommon for older teachers to be dating their 13-18 year old students. This is also seen in their pop culture where there are many mangas that have the “romance” image of the student being in love with their teacher, and then the relationship following through. This had to be cut out of the popular Card Captor Sakura where it is found out that the main character’s mother was actually her father’s young student….so yeah.
    West> East in terms of not allowing for pedophilia. Also when my teacher was in Japan, they still had the school girl shops where you could go and buy underwear, and uniforms that young girls had worn….the underwear vending machines are now outlawed thank goodness.

    Though putting that aside, I’d say that the lack of free time for kids to do bad things, and the ease to do so due to enforcement, and accessibility makes a huge difference. Though it’s also to remember that a culture based around shame and conformity does wonders for controlling the population. There is a huge pressure to not stick out, or embarrass your family there. There was a survey that was taken btw American kids, and Japanese kids about what the biggest threat to teens was. American kids said drugs/violence and gangs, Japanese kids said conformity and disobedience…..so what does that tell you?

    You know there are so many other factors, but I’d say that’s probably the biggest things. People are taught that they must be the same, and obey. It’s one of their greatest prides, and strengths because it’s what gives them their unique ability to work so efficiently as a society….but at the same time, you are basically being told that you don’t matter, so yeah.

  • http://www.youtube.com/NachoVPMusic Nacho

    I think the whole thing is going in circles around one concept: RESPECT.

    Respect is the key for everything.

    There’s no respect among people in western society, it sucks so much… you can’t have a peaceful existence because you live surrounded by stupid people who enjoys vandalism.

    It’s very difficult to change this. The whole educational system is crap, but who knows who’s fault is that society became what it is today.

    We are fucked up, since I was a teenager I knew I would have to leave this place and try to find another society where things are different. Maybe that society will have some other problems, but I think respect for people is basic.

  • http://fatnewsfeed.com Samir

    Every culture has an element which enjoys putting others down–they just do it in different ways.

    http://fatnewsfeed.com/about/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1508301052 Stacey Shoemaker

    i love the japanese, that whole “Rape of Nanking” thing was hilarious…

  • Guest

    “One fundamental distinction between Japan and Western countries is that Japan doesn’t have millions of niggers within its borders.”

    It also doesn’t have millions of inbred, hate-filled white trash who would use the term “niggers” in everyday conversation. Just a thought.

  • the Truth

    its simple, the ASIAN are just more REFINED, more in-tuned with nature. Westerns have their artificially boosted testosterone levels injected into their dicks because of their pathetic and aggressive lack of self-discipline.
    Asians are shaped like marbles. Westerners are shaped like a toothpick.

  • john

     So lets say whoever you are talking to really is ‘slightly illiterate’… why do you consider it your purpose in life to rub their face in it?  Think really hard about this, because this doesn’t exist in most other cultures in the world – someone hell bent on hurting other people for… what? sport?

    My theory: most white people still have very barbaric instincts.  The Japanese royal dynasty is 2000 years old… 1000 years ago Vikings were rowing their boats to foreign lands and killing anyone they came across.

    (I’m not Japanese btw, the Japanese are actually kind of barbaric too)

  • SerpentwithKatana

    Pretty simple answer. America is full of stupid, fat, and ugly people. And that’s the truth. Being an American myself, actually Asian American, I really have no hopes for this Western culture because it is a burden to humanity. It honestly made me hate people so much considering how materialistic and fat people could be.

    But now I understand Western culture is the main reason why so many massive people tend to think like dogs, only obeying their masters, and doing what everybody else is doing. Sex, drugs, etc. is WAY OVERRATED you idiots. I would advise some people to at least GO LOSE SOME WEIGHT…

  • SerpentwithKatana

    You mean Asians are shaped like toothpicks, Westerners are shaped like marbles. Actually Western culture pretty much makes you become stupid, fat, and ugly, in all honesty.

  • http://greggman.com greggman

    Just FYI, while American culture has it’s issues so do others. As one example Japan is known for following rules to the letter when all reasonable logic would mean making an exception.

    Chinese culture (as in China) seems to be dog eat dog at the moment. There’s so many examples of people screwing over anyone they can to get ahead.

    It would be nice if we could figure out a way to take all the best parts of each culture and get people to give up the bad parts.

    At the moment though the most I can hope for is more people will live abroad and experience a different culture so they can see that people actually are different and while some things in their own country are great other things could be better.

  • SerpentwithKatana

    I apologize for that rude answer that I came up with. I was extremely stressed with how Western culture is brought up, I can also say Asian culture is bad as well. But I do realize there are good parts in every culture, even in America. I just had to look further. So thanks!