@Nekopire There is some truth in what has been shared. And if you enjoy the positives it's also good to know the negatives. The culture is indeed amazing, wrapped in cherished traditions, but also very trendy and exciting. One of the biggest things I've learned about Japan is that they love a lot of arts, crafts, and DIY stuff. Here in the US we seem a little too preoccupied to appreciate some of the things that Japan appreciates, and it's really unfortunate. Also, if you have a good idea for a thread you'd like to see, why not go ahead and make one yourself?
I feel like... a lot of western otaku don't understand that Japan isn't Japanland. It's a country like everywhere else with a unique culture and people. Just because Japan has many things we like doesn't mean it's going to be this amazing place where you can buy all the anime stuff and electronics. It's not the place where you can just eat all the food. For someone like myself that loves Japanese rock, it's not the place where you can just go to all the concerts and then leave. If you go to a temple, you should treat it like you are going to a church here and wear something decent, not your shorts and flip flops...
Respecting a culture is also important as a visitor, and I feel a lot of western otaku ignore this and make for a bad example of what a foreigner in Japan is like. Just because you appreciate a culture doesn't mean you understand it, but perhaps understanding it will make you appreciate it more. So, I encourage this discussion of positives and negatives. It keeps people from being disappointed and perhaps shows people what to expect.
For modern Japan, I'd say these stand out to me:
Positive: Unique traditional culture/architecture, delicious food, favors cuteness over sexiness, super convenient things, cute and cheap clothing(at least in Okinawa), and fun pop culture. Can buy lots of anime goods at any bookstores/hobby shops. Clothes aren't suffering from the same issues as clothing in USA is(thinner and more fragile). Knowing English is a desirable trait.
Negative: Society is very sexist and strict against women compared to Europe/USA. Rape is often unreported or not considered a crime. Pedophilia and lolicon are trendy. Tension between Japanese/Chinese/Koreans can be strong for many people and cause racism. Suicide and bullying is worse of an issue.
Fruits are freaking expensive. Hard to watch free anime(legal streams block Japan IPs and anime channels like TV Tokyo are only for Tokyo area. You're limited to childrens' anime and Sazae-san if you don't live in Tokyo or Kyoto). Radio stations talk too much, and talk over music. They also play "Let it go" on radio... that tortured me.
A good amount of negative and positive points of Japanese thus far. I feel taken as a whole the thread is a good general synopsis of where Japanese society stands today. A society doesn't remain the same forever of course and it will be interesting to see what course Japan takes in the future. I can remember seeing that the Japanese Prime minister Shinzo Abe said that getting woman in the workforce and empowering women is one of his priorities. Don't know if he will be able achieve this goal.
Oh Abe... That guy... don't get me started on him. To an outsider this all sounds very good, but we don't have to put up with the rest of his bullshit, his goal is to get MOTHERS in the workforce primarily, as a lot of women are already working. He's trying to promote a program where mothers can take their children to daycare and be able to work. He's also trying to encourage the birth rate to go up in Japan. This sounds great but he's not doing this because he's a wholesome, lovable guy... he's doing this to promote production and so that there will be people to take care of a population that will eventually age. Japan has a very low birthrate...
Yeah, its a difficult predicament. How do you revitalize an aging population without overpopulation or putting controls in place that people will protest against. More woman are working in Japan, yes, but they are still mostly treated with contempt and many must be content with lowly positions. Abe's motives may not be philanthropic (they really are economic like you pointed out) but at least its a start ;)
From what I've seen alot of politicians were pretty mean/radical against women... I mean I remember one of the previous prim ministers was a RAPE novelist, and would talk really hatefully towards women... like he said any woman who isn't giving birth is USELESS and should die. He was saying how the earthquake/tsunami was divine punishment or something like that. Man that guy, I don't even know how he came into power...
I remember when he was "sponsoring" the Comikett, and my mom and I were in Tokyo and asked if I wanted to go, I was reluctant and decided not to, because... with a guy that crazy you don't know if he plans to burn the convention down with all the "sinners" in it(he hates anime). @_@
Regarding the whole birth rate issue mentioned by SarcasticDesire, is everyone here familiar with the synthetic relationship issue that japan faces.
If you're talking about couples who don't love each other, yes. It's sad that people marry each other and even have kids together, but don't even love each other or like each other. It's like, are they doing it just to fit in and be "normal"? >.<
Wait! That's happening too! Man, Japan has it rough. However, that's not what I meant. I was talking about how both genders in japan prefer virtual relationship with a fictional partner rather than a real one. I understand that there are a few issues that lead to this problem, so I was wondering what everyone's opinion is on that subject. I would also like to hear opinions on what Kohagura mentioned as well.
Oh I see, but yeah that is also a thing I noticed. @_@
Mostly with the hardcore male otakus, though. Honestly though, I think it also is a problem with sexism that causes these issues, and a big gender divide in Japan. Girls don't wanna date guys because they're "creepy otakus", and guys don't wanna date girls because they're "gold-diggers"... They're caught up in these negative stereotypes and don't give each other a chance to realize that only a few people are creepy otakus or gold diggers.