Quote Originally Posted by studyonline
Have you noticed that there are kinds of arts in Japan? Even for drinking tea.
Both Chinese and Japanese people like things to be arts. We like to appriciate what we do.
Are you implying that Western cultures do not have similar arts ? Maybe that is because you live in the US where everything is so straightforward and factual. Just look at the rules for drinking tea in the UK. They are probably as strict as the Japanese tea ceremony (and stricter than the Chinese one). Young generations tend to lose this, but there are many 'artistic' rules just to hold one's fork and knife, how to place the cover on the table, how to hold a glass of wine properly, look at it properly, smel it properly and drink it properly... It's usually not call "art" but "sciences" although it is almost exactly the same. Ikebana has an equivalent in several European countries (e.g. Austrians call it "Gebinde"). In fact, I know quite a few Japanese who are learning European-style flower arrangement (or floristry). As for 書道 (shodou), there is also "calligraphy" in Europe.

What's more, most of the so-called "Japanese arts" are actually Chinese at the origin, from 書道 to 武士道. Even garden landscaping in Japan was typically copied directly on China. So I find it strange that I've heard so many Japanese pride themselves (like you just did) on their "Japanese arts", when most of it is a variant on the original Chinese art. Even origami, fireworks, rice paper, or arched bridges are all of Chinese origin. This may shock the Japanese pride, but even 花見 (hanami, "blossom viewing") is originally from China. Ume (plum), sakura (cherry) and momo (peach), which are often described by the Japanese are typically Japanese trees (sakura is even the national symbol) were all trees indigenous to China that were imported to Japan.

Sorry, my aim was not to offend you, but just to show you that it is all too common for Japanese people to think that their country and culture is unique, when in fact the "typically Japanese things" have equivalents, or even their origins, in other countries. This tends to get on my nerves, as for many Japanese the Western world lacks the "refinement and sensibility" of Japanese culture, just because they take the US as a model and forget about true Western culture in Europe. It's quite incredible how self-aware the Japanese can be, but how ignorant they are of the rest of the world. The main difference between Europe and Japan is that the Japanese make a lot of fuss about the few things that they define as Japanese, while most Europeans cannot even tell a fraction of their country's traditional culture or arts because they don't care.