This is a relatively young blog. I wanted to go around the Internet finding sites to link to, but there’s a little problem with that.
I keep finding sites that cover Japanese culture that, without naming names, because that would be impolite:
- Lecture Japanese people on what they shouldn’t say to non-Japanese.
- Lecture Japanese on how they are prejudiced and narrow minded.
- Lecture Westerners about how Japanese culture isn’t that great.
- Lecture Westerners about how Japanese swords are nothing special.
- Lecture everyone in general about how Japan stomped over Asia in WWII.
With all due respect, I really can’t link to you in good conscience.
First of all, a lot of cultural misconceptions are a result of how the Westerner chooses to hear something said by Japanese people. Moreover, quite a lot of what is said that is found to be offensive is meant innocently and without a trace of maliciousness; I cannot say that about most “prejudice” in the world I encounter.
Finally, making yourself appear to be an expert in Japanese culture by trashing it, showing people your coolness credentials and making it seem like all of your critiques are founded on vast knowledge the reader possesses, is really arrogant business that has no place in learning. Well, not just learning; dealing with other cultures in general.
I’m not ashamed of liking Japanese culture. I don’t go believing wild things that have no basis in fact because I truly enjoy discovering the truth. I spent so many years learning the Japanese language because I wanted to have greater access to truth, and frankly, even to Japan’s national myths.
What, you don’t think France doesn’t have a lot of national myths? The U.S.? Even meek Canada? Let’s be real here: every country has its areas that it is not well versed in. Some are not the result of a lack of education in some area; they are the result of myth creation to hold nations together. It’s normal, frankly. To single out Japan for it is pretty lame.
So please, if you have a culture site or a site about Japan that doesn’t have a chip on its shoulder about Japan, let me know. I want to find you and link to you. I just don’t think you need to flaunt putting down other cultures to be considered an expert. Mere objective neutrality would do, but I guess that’s not as cool to some?
Either way, I’m going to try and stay positive and focused here.