A Life in Japan – The Good and The Ugly of Japanese Living

#brokenfantasy The Realities of Living Abroad in Japan or AnywhereWant to Live in Japan?

Discover the good the bad and the ugly of Japanese living from actual foreigners who came to Japan and ended up staying + my own experiences of the #brokenfantasy

Throughout my 15 years of studying Japanese culture I’ve noticed one thing when it’s comes to researching about Japan, and it’s that very few places ever tell it like it is, there’s always a grass is greener attitude with many Japanese hopefuls (people wanting to go to Japan for work or school).




The reason I believe is because many people when they want to elope to another country want to see it as ‘greener on the other side’ and of course that comes with a side effect of what I call bullshit blinders. But the fact of the grass is greener is not always the truth. But it goes farther then just creating a fantasy island in your head and ignoring the troll under the bridge.

It starts from your own personal experiences and attitude of where you are at right now beyond what the true ‘bad’ or ‘ugly’ that may be cascading through out the given society at any given time.

…What do I mean by that?

It means that the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ does not work because of YOU, not because of the place you are currently at vs where you want to go. It all stems down to your attitude about where you are now. There is an old story about a monk who was sitting at a cross road between two cities. As he sat there resting, a man traveling trekked up to him and asked him “I just came from the city in the west! Do you know how the people in the east are like?” and the monk looked at him for a lengthy period of time then asked “How were the people in the west?”and the traveling man said “I loved the west, the people are wonderful”, and the monk quickly stated “The people in the east are wonderful as well”. An hour went by and another man trekked up to the monk and he asked the same thing but this time he said he was from the east and the monk again replied similarly “How were the people in the east?” and this time the man blurted out “The people of east are pompous, snobby and mean” and the monk took a deep breath and replied “I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but the people of the west are also pompous, snobby and mean”.

The point of the story if you’ve not caught it yet is to basically tell you, if you are looking for greener grass to escape from something you dislike, chances are, you’ll find it where you’re going as well. The point I believe in fantasying about moving to Japan is to be realistic and open to all varieties of experiences but to create a positive attitude where I am now and take that with me. So my goal in studying for Japan is to not only see the wonderful things about Japan, but to also see it’s strife, it’s poverty, it’s robotic society and how they operate through shame and fear. I believe many of otaku (Japanese culture nerds) believe they want to live in Japan for all the glorious reasons that one would want to live in Japan, but end up never seeing the darker sides of Japan. I’m sure for many of these individuals seeing or hearing about these darker sides could very well burst their fantasy bubble that they’ve held on to for so long and emotionally invested in, thusly creating doubt or cognitive dissonance. I’m sure this territory here is quite scary for some folks #brokenfantasy (it doesn’t have to be though – and shouldn’t).

So being the person I am, and having been mentored and taught by many different entrepreneurs and mind mentors through out my life, I have a sort of perspective that some don’t naturally have when it comes to being lost in the mind of fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, dreaming of the good that will come from a change in ones life is the bread and butter of the mind, it’s the reason anything really changes for anyone, so I’m not knocking on creating the fantasy, but at a certain point one must recognize that not everything is as it seems or better yet, it’s not always going to be peaches and cream when you get to Japan (or where ever). Knowing how to handle yourself when something happens, be it political with the law or by just social standards of how you might be treated or to even how you might be living when you arrive in Japan is all very much a positive to know before coming over. Now, you’ll never know exactly what you might be up against, but knowing some of how the culture is in a seemingly negative way, might be good to know, this will fortify you in a way before ever arriving.

I believe many people make a country change and immediately regret it because they had a land of fairies and green isles dancing in their head, but when they finally arrive to their locale of their dreams they quickly see the same load of crap that they left behind landing right back in their lap before they could even leave the Airport. So my suggestion here is, keep researching your fun and exciting interests of Japan or whatever place you may be going to, but also let a good %15 of negativity come in with it as well. I don’t want to give up my dream of living in Japan for a period of time, I don’t want a political craze or social difference to break my will to experience Japan, it doesn’t actually have to be what you or I think of as negative, it is what it is and it’s good to know but not dwell on. So living it through others experience’s can give you time to prep for some up coming battles that will undoubtedly happen while you’re in Japan, in fact when I day dream I also see the tough times that could come down the road and see how I would deal with them when they come up, which makes me confident. (this is not dwelling, I do not accompany these thoughts with the feelings of fear, except I see these challenges and use the feeling of confidence while day dreaming – #mindtrick tip)

I see things like:

being pissed off about the amount of homework I might end up with, getting pissed about someones attitude I didn’t agree with, getting pissed at a teacher, getting pissed that a cop would screw with me because I’m a foreigner, getting frustrated not being able to communicate with someone fully…

These things are fears, but the more I can go to these fears through research and being up front to myself and the world (and feeling confident), the less these things will even take place and when they do, I’ll be prepared long before they happen. I’m much more excited then I am worried about anything that will happen, but being able to work these things out and know they could exist help me feel even more confident in moving to Japan for two years, in fact it may seem weird, but having the feeling of being the minority is something I look forward to experiencing. I know I’m much more then just a water bag implanted with encopretic emotional spew (involuntary defection) that’s purely triggered by emotional responses of my surrounding reality, so I know I could very well appreciate the awkward feelings and use them to my life experience and advantage.  Feeling what many throughout the world have to deal with their entire lives gives one an eye into a world that is fully real and offers much more compassion by understanding it at a core level, in the end gives those such as myself a better light to guide future generations forward (children and society).

In the end, I do feel that there is more positives in experiencing and moving to Japan then any of the negatives and perhaps you will feel the same after you view the video I listed here on this page. I’ll be sure to mark all my ‘negative Japan’ posts with #brokenfantasy and through my meta tags. But even now after watching information about the working poor, politics and fear and shame tactics I’m still just as excited if not more, because the #brokenfantasy is allowing me to see exactly what I’m getting myself into and I honestly don’t think it’s that bad at all considering all the pros an cons at this moment in time.

I guess the ball is in your court, what do you think about learning about the negativity of the culture you want to move into? Is it positive… or more negative in your eyes and why?

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The Japanese Constitution – PDF and History

MacArthur Drafted New Japanese Constitution in 1947 Post WW2Read The Japanese Constitution

History, Personal Comments and PDF version

(You Can Read the Japanese Constitution in PDF form HERE)

When it comes to learning about the Japanese constitution and history one has to truly learn where the Japanese had come from. Through 1889 to 1947 Japan was working under the Meiji Constitution. This document was largely created and implemented because of a man name Ito Hirobumi where he called for a bicameral parliament which in Japan is called the Diet (A bicameral legislature is one in which legislators are divided into two separate assemblies, chambers or houses). In the Meiji constitution the emperor had full control over the Japanese army and navy. During this constitution voting rights vastly increased over 25 years when it was first written in 1889 which guaranteed universal male suffrage in Japan.




As WWII begun the Japanese military was able to assume control without going against the current Meiji constitution, but soon after the defeat by the American allies Japan was soon again looking to change or more so forced to change their current constitution to meet more of what the allies felt was a civilized constitution and government. On May 3, 1947 the new constitution of Japan went into effect. With this new constitution universal suffrage of all those at legal age were able to vote, which immediately gave women of Japan the right to vote for the very first time in their governmental history. The new constitutional document was implemented largely because of Commander Douglas MacArthur with his chosen occupational staff he had brought with him to help prepare the new Japanese constitutional draft in Feb 1946 after the first Japanese attempt to write their new constitution was deemed unacceptable.

Their attempt to draft this new constitution was rejected on the stance that the current Japanese government in charge of writing the draft were being way too conservative. Soon after the rejection MacArthur gave the order to his younger staff to draft their own version in only one week. The new documentation and constitution of Japan was quickly submitted on Feb 13 of 1946. This new constitution protected civil liberties as well as preserving the emperor as a symbol of the state and unity of the people, but in the end he was stripped of his power of being a quasi-divine figure and being able to control the state of Japan with the will and flick of a finger. At the same time the Japanese constitution forbade ever again waging war EVER.

Japanese Constitutional FactsBy May 3rd in 1947 it was promulgated by the Diet and it came into full force. So as you can clearly see that Japans constitution was heavily influenced by the current constitution that Americans so fully enjoy. But from further research the Japanese felt like they were being shoved into a box and forced to give up their honor and their international power. Be that as it may, but when you go through the Japanese constitution and see how much more freedom that was passed to the people of Japan after the defeat by the Americans in WWII you’d be hard press to ask any woman in Japan to give up their rights to be a fully present individual in their culture with all the liberties and rights as any man that also lives and breathes in Japan.

Abe Article 9 Political CartoonI’d personally have to say besides the bloodshed that was spilled during WWII between Japan and the American Allies that a lot of good came about because of the newly drafted constitution, and be it you’re in favor of Article 9 which states that Japan shall not wage war or maintain an army of any sorts or not, you should view this from a purely economic standpoint. By not being allowed to pursue the wars of the world which are constructed by corporate interests and bankers, Japan has clearly dodged a bullet of further economic degradation which has certainly played a part in them becoming an economic powerhouse in the past and still in the present.

I’d say giving the Japanese constitution a quick read would certainly give you an idea that it was truly written to pass along as much freedom as possible to regular citizens of Japan while limiting and auditing the current governmental agents that have been elected to keep them from corruption. But as we all know that’s never %100 going to be stamped out, but the way it’s positioned by limiting government control by the emperor certainly offers to the people of Japan something more then they had before WWII.

I’d certainly say this constitution is very well written in favor of the people in general. Although I dislike seeing attempts to remove or reinterpret Article 9.

You can read the Japanese Constitution here.

 

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Religion in Japan: Politics to Nothingness to Everything

Learn About Religion in JapanJapanese Religion: It’s Different Here!

What exactly is happening spiritually in Japan? Is there something that we Westerners can learn from Japan?

As I have for at least half my life now, I’ve been researching religion in all forms. I’m no stranger to the ideas of religion and the golden thread that is present within all major and minor beliefs. But despite whatever you and I think of religion here in the West, Japan has a very flexible and moveable reins which the Japanese can move when it comes any changing tides in their country, be it political or natural. The major religions of Japan are Shinto and Buddhism, but there is also small signs of Confucian, Taoism, Hindu, Islam, Christianity and Catholicism (only about %1 follows Christ in Japan).





Politics and Religion in Japan

Disappearing Buddha in Japan

Izanagi and IzanamiInstead of 7 days and 7 nights of creating the world it’s said in Shinto that after the creation of Heaven and Earth two kami (gods) were instructed to create a series of islands which soon became known as the land of the rising sun! These two kami were Izanagi and Izanami, and as they stirred the oceans the islands of Japan started to form.

But, beyond mystical kami that were instructed to create islands, this religion of Shinto has been said to be actively being practiced since the Joman period (14,000 – 300 BC). It’s very likely as religion does in Japan, it changed it’s mask to fit with the times at hand. In 600-800 AD written text begun to appear speaking about Shinto and the Imperial Family and the rites they took while practicing Shinto. But what exactly is Shinto?

Shinto can be best explained as a similar belief that the American Indians (or the Ainu People) have/had. Everything has a place, has an energy or a kami/god. Instead of just praying to one god as Westerners are so use to doing, Japan and the Shinto religion takes praise to all sorts of gods. You can find all sorts of these Shinto shrines across Japan, in fact there is said to be somewhere around 80,000 shrines in Japan, many simple shrines in the middle of a forest or near a river.

Buddhism in Japan is also a very affluent religion as well. It said to have arrived around in the 600’s AD in Japan and at first was rejected, soon there after it was accepted, but a great tragedy happened soon after, and it was said that the kami were rejecting this new belief, but even despite this horrible beginning, Buddhism took root in Japan and soon intertwined with Shinto. Many shrines across Japan have both Buddhism and Shinto rituals, statues, architecture and priests within the same compound. Although during the beginning of the Meiji Period (1869) Shinto was claimed to be the ‘State Religion’ in Japan and Buddhism was attacked and soon many newer shrines of Shinto would no longer collaborate with Buddhism ideology or effigies inside the shrine, although still the Japanese people carried Buddhism along any how despite the efforts of a group attempting to wither it away slowly.

Japanese people tend not to have titles when it comes to religious affiliation, instead it’s quite natural to mold into whatever is happening around them, be it Buddhist in nature or Shinto, the Japanese culture is mixed with both sides of this religious coin through private worship to popular festivals. But besides getting into the extreme details of these different religions and the whose who, I’m going to break down my beliefs that surround these ideas and how they became so popular in Japanese culture and maintain themselves, and perhaps it will sound spiritual to you, if it does, it’s meant to as I feel there is something bigger happening then meets the eye with these beliefs.

Shinto and Buddhism in Japan Social EvolutionThe more I research about these people the more I realize that these communities of belief were created long ago, and for a very long time in Japanese history they fulfilled a purpose of bringing people together in the search for meaning in life (and still do). Life is fragile and we all have had the feeling of a more powerful energy present in our lives, it’s natural that religion of any kind arrives because of this universal feeling everyone has had at one time in their life, but these two beliefs (Shinto and Buddhism) merged so well that it’s easy to see that a destiny or fate pulled these two paths together and is the reason they are so hard to separate after being interwoven.

Between cleansing rituals of the Shinto and becoming one with all in Buddhism, there is a infinity that surrounds the soul when one is cleansed and then given an idea of that all is one and that appreciation is a main key factor of health, wealth and joy in ones life. I’m personally one who has played with both sides of these ideas and I’ve come to say both of these beliefs have drawn a line of science and belief into itself.

Buddhism and Shinto Shrine with Buddhist PagodoFor example there is a new age belief called ‘The Law of Attraction‘ which is being constantly activated as the Japanese people practice these beliefs and ideas in their life. The LOA is simply what you think about and believe is what comes about (which is even taught in Christian scripture) and I truly know for a fact the mass practice of these beliefs are creating some miraculous results that are affecting the world, be it seen as good or bad, these results are furthering the evolution of man kind.

Japanese people can be said to be some of the most healthy people in the world for many reasons beyond just their highly nutritious eating habits. It’s the idea of being cleansed, being purified, being apart of All, having compassion for others, as ‘others’ are really just them, you or I anyway. Beyond just the ideas of religion or spirituality, I truly believe that these are meant to help keep the Japanese people sane and healthy (It’s Like a Massive Placebo Effect if you Will). What I mean by that is that, we humans are naturally hunter and gathers,  it’s a fact, and with that we are meant to only live in tribes of maybe 100 people at any given time. The Japanese people live in a place where all their human instincts are telling them something is off. So being able to practice these beliefs and use festivals of these ideologies to instead overcome the over thinking of the mind and to come together as a community is another socially evolved resolution to the crowding of the people of Japan.

I truly believe that there is a collective mind that humanity draws from and I don’t think that these ideas came together by accident. Inside all of this something was created inside their society because of religion in their lives. This, I believe is transferred as a quiet serenity towards the life that was given to them, a peacefulness and appreciation and respect for others in the very same small spaces they find themselves at times. I truly feel that if something like Shinto and Buddhism were not apart of the Japanese culture, they would have been much more aggressive then they have been, not just with other countries but within their own country, between each person. Now, don’t get the wrong idea here, I’m not saying the Japanese are completely free of human faults, in fact there is quite a few still left obviously, but I’m attempting to point out, these subtle customs that were past down throughout history from father to son or mother to daughter that has created a more cooperative society that instead works more so through synergy.

Was Spirituality Guided to the Japanese?
From hierarchical family customs, to how children in school are treated and taught to how the State of Japan supports so many different festivals and events to bring one another together.  These are all benefits of these two beliefs that have been so dominate in Japanese everyday life. I can say with great clarity that if these beliefs were to not have fallen in the lap of Japan, Japan would look and feel very much different then it does today, and I firmly believe it would not be a civilized society like it has become, I do not believe it would have ever had a period of restoration or economic growth without these underlying ideas from Shinto and Buddhism.

The world of Japan without compassion, appreciation and respect would be a very disorganized place!

So thank Buddhism and Shinto for the best parts of Japan! And although the political scene of Japan is being manipulated through these religion (as is not uncommon for the rest of the world either), I certainly feel there is more good happening because of these beliefs then anything the government could ever do to subjugate the public into something that would be harmful. As said before there is something higher then the words of man directing the influence of the world and Japan is no stranger to that idea/fact.

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