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October 27, 2007



Though also probably a bit dated, Benedict's "Patterns of Culture" is defenitely worth a read.

Arie C van der Hoeven

I have felt that many of the observations of traditional Japanese culture ring truer the farther you are away from the epicenter, being Tokyo. For me there have always been two Japans, the traditional areas of Hokkaido, Shizuoka and outskirts of Kanagawa versus the hustle and modernity of metropolitan Tokyo, Kawasaki, Osaka and Yokohama. I am energized by the city, especially on visits, but have more affection for the people in more rural or outlying areas.

I'm not one who can compare, but there may be places that may be much as Japan was 50 years ago in terms of culture and social interactions.


Arie, I think you need to read the book to see what I mean. For example "face" is very important, but not to the extent that it is scrutinzed in this book. Generally, I think the more impoverished the soceity the more important face and pride become, because they have little else. But other observations like the tolerance for drunken behavior and attitudes to sleep still ring true today.

Arie C van der Hoeven

I'm sure you're right, the difference in more rural areas is likely only a small degree. Unfortunately I'll likely not get to the book - the downside of my current situation with work and side projects. (Though I did finally finish the Lincoln tome "Team of Rivals".)

In another way, Japan may have changed incrementally since my days there in the early 90's. I'm more surprised at how Taipei has changed in 10 years. Last year when I was there it felt more and more like urban Japan from the 90's - especially in fashion.

Damn we're getting old - and bald :)

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