So I was watching this video, because a very artsy friend of mine shared it and she linked vending machine and automation to artisan work. In any case, after watching the video, I actually felt slightly offended.
Many people like to comment about Japan. Even more people like to say that they love Japan’s culture. Now about the latter, I think I should write a separate post on it, because I’ve always found people, who go for a holiday for 7 days or even 15 days or even 1 month in Japan and come back saying they love Japan’s culture, very amusing.
Because how can you figure out a country’s culture just from an overseas trip on a holiday when you don’t live in a normal citizen’s estate, make friends with normal Japanese, or work there? Perhaps, as usual, it is the way I define the word ‘culture’. To me, it is a very deeply embedded thing that can’t be determined just because strangers helped you when you were lost on the streets, or because every service staff bows, or because the toilet is clean. I think a country’s culture is much more than just that.
And I digress (and I wonder who I caught this from). Anyway. About people commenting about Japan.
I don’t particularly love Japan. I wouldn’t go as far as to proclaim that I love it because at best, I appreciate it. If there’s one thing I do love about Japan, it is the language and the style of writing, in terms of the lyrics, as well as the attitude portrayed in many media, especially in manga, songs and movies, which always advocate for 希望と情熱 when pursuing dreams and aspirations. I really, really, like the spirit and motivation that it gives to viewers. And so, apart from these, I do not comment much about Japan to the people around me. In general, there are two ‘teams’.
Team A: Love Japan, adore Japan. Different motivation for feeling so but mostly love the food and the well mannered people they come across in Japan.
Team B: Finds Japan screwed up, sick as a society, terrible place to work, with fake people.
Initially, I feel the need to defend both but in the end, I gave up. Because I realise I’m what you can say, on both or neither team, because I agree with both of them, lol.
And omg, main point, main point.
MAIN POINT is that, in the video, the dude gave quite a bit of statistics about Japan. From birth rate, to vending machine per capita ratio, to cost of manpower, as well as property. He also poignantly pointed out that there are many automation but Japanese still retained their focus on artisan products, like handcrafted coffee, as well as chopsticks. Which is all fine.
What annoyed me was how he seemed less amazed but more judge-y about the whole situation. Sure, he sounded amazed-ish (I use -ish cos I don’t think he was actually amazed but more like shocked) when describing the coffee making process, but to me, it seemed more like a situation of omg-they-automate-everything-and-then-over-obsess-with-handcrafted-stuff-and-process-that-isn’t-necessary-at-all (shock) instead of omg-they-are-so-efficient-yet-they-retained-their-roots (amazed).
Then, he went on to express his sentiments about coinage issues — that there are just too many coins in JP and the under utilised credit card situation. I believe it was intended to bring it back to how JP has a lot of vending machines but the way he expressed it, again, makes me feel annoyed because even if the norm to him, is to get rid of coins and go cashless, what makes that a norm for somebody else? I think it is alright to say that he found the coins troublesome or confusing, but I find it too over the top to coin (lol) it as an issue just because where he comes from or what is happening elsewhere is so.
Of course, as usual, I might have been too defensive while watching the clip and his intention wasn’t as what I assumed. Or perhaps it is the way he talks that make it seem like he is sorta disgusted or in disagreement to the situation in Japan. =/ I don’t know.
okay, ending it abruptly here.