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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Why I Do What I Do !

What most Japanese take for granted living in a country full of food and natural resources is astounding ! In a country like Japan where it's cute and fashionable to be skinny, millions of children in poor countries around the world languish in poverty and hunger daily who would give anything to fill their belly's. This award winning picture was shot in Africa of a boy struggling to reach the U.N. Food Bank, which was only 100 meters away. Unfortunately, he didn't have enough energy to crawl his weary body no further. The person who took this photograph was stunned at what he had seen; a vulcher sizing the boy up from head to toe waiting to seize him by the throat once the boy finally gave up. The photographer was over taken with confusion not knowing what to do, so he walked away and never looked back. Shortly after this photographer won the Pulitzer prize for this photo he committed suicide. Maybe he felt that perhaps he could've done something... During my time here in Japan, I have seen and heard everything ! I have sat at the table with grown Japanese men who hate their own country; men who simply see no good in living here at all. Some of these people will spend years worth of savings just to travel outside of Japan to visit places worse off than their own country; some even live. Of course when they visit such impoverished countries they take with them the comforts of home, their wealth, and their technology in order to live comfortably among the poor and indigent; it's not like they could actually live and struggle like the poor had they not depended on their magical passports providing them with an easy escape route out of a country full of abject poverty. It also amazes me at how many Japanese people don't even like their own national cuisine, things like; sushi, natto, sashimi, sake, and the list goes on. I met this student in my class, her name is Ruriko ( I won't protect her identity) who is incredibly overweight and unhealthy. She swears up and down that she doesn't eat fruit, bread, or ramen. She doesn't drink milk and the majority of all the food and drinks Japan is known for. Instead she will stuff her face with rice only. Nothing else. I have met tons of Japanese girls who swear they hate fruit and who simply refuse to eat vegetables. Unbelievable ! Does this have anything to do with capitalism or even ignorance ?


  1. What we take for granted may be someone else's need for survival. The grass isn't always greener on the other side...count the blessings of what we have instead of complaining of what we don't have. Thanks for the drop and I like the photo of the emperor and empress on your blog :)

  2. Thank you ! Yes. I hope to help people realize what they have while hear. Thanks again for you comment.

  3. I've seen the photo of the kid and the vulture before; definitely a telling photo. I can't imagine anyone seeing that photo and then scrolling away without really being lulled into serious thought.

    As for Japan losing its culture, that's inevitable. But the speed at which this happens can be controlled to some extent. I think too many people are either one way or the other here; Either they firmly love Japan and have no interest in the world outside or they have no interest in Japan. That's why it's refreshing to meet people who have not only a healthy love and respect for Japan, its culture, and traditions, but also for the world outside of Japan and humanity in general.

  4. I agree with you. Finding like minded people who love Japan is hard, but from time to time I do and it's great. I think people from the
    Kinki region or Osaka love Japan. Tohoku is the same, too. I'm thinking about moving away from Kanto. I've also met people who too, understand and respect other cultures outside of Japan.

    Thanks for the comment

  5. No it has very little to do with Capitalism. It is a change in culture. Culture changes and it will always change. So, is the nature of humans.

    As far as the little starving boy goes...damn that is really sad. The guy who took the photo did not help. No wonder he killed himself.

  6. Cultures don't just change on their own. There has to be some form of cultural or ideological integration from an outside source...i.e. language,economic model, religion and so on.

    Many people in Japan only care about money, money, and more money. It wasn't like that much until Democracy and Capitalism took root.



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