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    One hand clapping

    John has posted again on one of my favorite (if that’s the word) subjects, spurred by this at It Comes in Pints? (strong language alert, though it’s in no wise gratuitous) and this at Ilyka Damen’s. This is from a comment he also left at It Comes in Pints? about three-fifths of the way down the page:

    [T]he expats who think they are something special because of the experience are even worse in Asia [than in Europe]. A lot of them have the “spiritual quest” thing going on, too, which makes them even more annoying (if you can imagine that).

    Yes. If I ever start prancing around and getting lecture-y about how living in Asia has made me more Harmonious with Nature (because the post-War steel/glass/concrete/blacktop blanket over Japan is punctuated by the occasional decorative carp pond, don’t you know), you are to punch me. Hard. The idea that Westeners are spiritually empty consumerist vessels, into which mystical Oriental wisdom must be poured to help them achieve cosmic wholeness, is a real menace. (However, it should be pointed out that most expats and travelers don’t think that way; it’s just that those who do are pushy about it.)

    3 Responses to “One hand clapping”

    1. John says:

      My favorite quote on this subject is from here:

      Rural in Japan is damn rural. It can get to be like those postcards you see of a guy in a rice field with an ox and bamboo hat that some mint tea drinking liberal will tell you is the REAL of Japan. Let me tell you, the real Japan is a 30-something guy with a deck of Mild Sevens and a One Cup spending a few hours in a pachinko parlour.

    2. Dean Esmay says:

      Oh goodie! Blogfodder for Monday! :-)

    3. Sean Kinsell says:


      Too true. People’s desire to see Japan as nature-loving and profoundly Zen-ful has this weird way of coloring their vision. Or maybe cropping their field of vision. They only register the stuff that jibes with their expectations, and they think of the neon-addled pachinko-ya-and-Daiei places as the aberrations.


      Don’t be too mean to the anime crowd; Japan-worship is probably better than, say, drugs, though it’s probably more annoying to those around them. : )

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