Thursday, October 05, 2006

An Ill – Informed Cultural Commentary

It would be churlish to attempt to sum up an entire culture with a jarring buzzword word or meaningless slogan. But I thought might do it anyway.

So here it comes: the Japanese are what I would describe as “proud perfectionists”.

The creed by which the Japanese live their lives is so thoroughly laudable; if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing to perfection.

This permeates through every pore of its society: the streets are as clean as a whistle, the customer service is impeccable without being invasive, the people are immaculately turned out with collar nor cuff left unironed.

And of course, public transport is robotically efficient.

Of course, there does appear to be a downside on this quest to eschew the substandard. Namely, the Japanese work so bloody hard.

They really love working. And even those that don’t love working have to pretend they do.

I was speaking to Jun about this. He works six days a week and unwinds by getting royally whammoed on a Saturday night.

“When will you retire?” I asked him

“I am 54. In 20 years” he said.

“If you could give it up tomorrow, would you?” I said

“Of course” he said ”But working hard is Japanese style”

And of course, as my hardcore month demonstrated, English teachers too can do nothing but conform.

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