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View Poll Results: Do you find the claim that the Japanese like/love nature more than others justified ?

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26. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, they care much more about nature, animals and the environment than the rest of the world

    2 7.69%
  • They care a lot by international standards, but less than the Western average

    2 7.69%
  • Why would they care more than others ?

    10 38.46%
  • They care a lot about seasons and cherry blossoms but kill whales and destroy their environment

    6 23.08%
  • No, the Japanese care less about the environment and animals protection than average

    2 7.69%
  • I think it is impossible to compare because there is no national trend anywhere

    4 15.38%
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Thread: Do the Japanese really love nature more than all other people ?

  1. #76
    puzzled gaijin
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    kinsao,

    Great post. Even as Maciamo pointed out, you're only focusing on two of his points that were discussed a bit in this thread, your points raised about the attitude to nature and the cost (time and money) of access are good ones. This is something I miss myself, being able to easily access more natural areas from my home. Previously, in Hong Kong of all places, a reservoir area was just a ten minute bus ride from my home in the New territories, or later from my village on Lantau Island (now near the new airport). In the US it was similar, I sometimes lived just minutes from canoeing and hiking areas. Here, it's more like an all-day affair to get to nicer areas that are often overcrowded. I only dream about day hikes now .

    I would claim that the natural conditions of some of the national parks here are not well maintained. As a prime example, the aforementioned Oze garbage dumping cleanup which was highlighted in the news recently, where tons of garbage were located and removed from this part of Nikko National Park. Many of the owners of the inns and pensions located in and on the edges of the park couldn't be bother to pay to remove garbage generated by their paying guests.

    Another area, though not a national park, is the shoreline areas in Japan. Some Japanese rave about natural and historic Kamakura, yet when I visited there the beach was literally a garbage dump! It certainly seems that Japanese perspectivess of nature are slightly different than Western perspectives.

    As to the interest in nature programs, I too am less interested in accurate cataloguing of species of trees, etc. It is similar with art, I know what I like, I don't always need to memorize the history of the painter's background and style to appreciate the paintings I look at. So I don't fault the Japanese for a lack of interest in botany or zoology.

    I really do think that this current generation in Japan is 'tech-crazy', and that may be causing some people to be less interested. Also, I think some people see rural living as less fashiobale. Finally, because of government influence on education people are also less interested in the great outdoors. Certainly in more rural areas in Japan it is not necessarily the case, but the majority of Japanese live in urban areas.

    But then again, in many other countries so do large populations that work in the city, either living there or nearby as they also do in Japan. Is it that most Japanese cities are not built with keeping natural areas nearby, in other words, do the suburbs expand so much they become urbanized suburbs as well? Like the infamous Tokyo to Hiroshima Honshu Island industrial/commercial/residential sprawl, sometimes you can go forever and never escape a very unnatural landscape (kinda reminds me of some parts of New Jersey! Garden State indeed).

  2. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    The strongest arguments that make me think that the Japanese do not cherish nature more than Westerners (and probably less) are : the relative lack of houses with garden, the little number of botanical and zoological gardens, the little number of nature documentaries on the main TV channels, the absence of elected Green Party, and the near absence of vegetarianism. These are all provable facts.
    You mentioned you had some figures for the houses with gardens. I had a quick look and couldn't see them in the posts. It would be interesting to see them. If I missed them perhaps you could point me in the right direction. Also it would be useful to see the number of zoos and botanical gardens in Japan and the figures on vegetarianism, if possible.


    Another thing that would be useful to see is your figures for the number of nature shows on Japanese TV. I saw your post about the French speaking channels and nature programmes but unless there is a comparison with Japanese TV, it holds less value in the argument. I had a look but things have moved around a bit recently, so if I missed it, my apologies.

    Lastly, I'm not totally convinced of the strength of 'the absence of an elected Green Party' as one of your arguments. You even mention yourself that the same could be said of the US and other European countries. An elected Green party says more about the political and state funding system in the country than it does about normal everyday people's likes or dislikes.

  3. #78
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralian View Post
    Is this what you think?
    You have quite an interesting opinion.
    Anyway, I don't quite understand why you want to label Japanese and their culture in such a way.
    What's the point?
    Get this out of my head as I have been tormented by it on a nearly daily basis for over 4 years. The trauma will take time to heal, but talking about it helps.

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  4. #79
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    kinsao,
    Great post. Even as Maciamo pointed out, you're only focusing on two of his points that were discussed a bit in this thread, your points raised about the attitude to nature and the cost (time and money) of access are good ones. This is something I miss myself, being able to easily access more natural areas from my home. Previously, in Hong Kong of all places, a reservoir area was just a ten minute bus ride from my home in the New territories, or later from my village on Lantau Island (now near the new airport). In the US it was similar, I sometimes lived just minutes from canoeing and hiking areas. Here, it's more like an all-day affair to get to nicer areas that are often overcrowded. I only dream about day hikes now
    In Brussels (pop. 1 million by night, 3 million by day with commuters), in addition to 101 parks witin the city limits, there is a beautiful 5,000 ha forest (50km2, i.e. about the size of the Edogawa or Nerima wards in Tokyo), half of which is within the city limits. The Sonian Forest, as it is called in English, is only about 5-15min (depending on whether you go by car, train or metro) away from the very centre of the city.

    I am one of the few non-Japanese in the world who has taken the same to make an extensive guide of the parks and gardens in Tokyo, so I know what I am talking about when comparing green urban areas. The largest park within the 23 wards is Kasai Rinkai Koen (Š‹ź—ŐŠCŒö‰€) which is nearly 80 ha. The largest park in Tokyo-to within the urban area (without taking the train for 2 hours to Chichibu) is Showa Kinen Koen, which is 138 ha.

    The 23 wards of Tokyo sprawl over 616 km2, and are thus about 4x bigger than the state of Brussels (161 km2). Yet, with a night population 8x superior (10x if we include the rest of Tokyo-to) to Brussels, the Tokyoites only have easy access to 717 ha (7 km2) of sizeable parks and gardens (i.e. those I have listed, omitting tiny parks that are no bigger than a backyard) for recreation and enjoying nature. That's a bit over 1% of green areas for Tokyo...

    Official statitics show that 27% of Brussels' land area is covered by public parks and gardens, and 17% by private parks and gardens (the latter is close to 0 in Tokyo). The total of green spaces in the Belgian/European capital represent 53% of the total area, and this only includes about half of the 50 km2 of the Sonian Forest within the city limits... (once you are in it, city borders don't count anymore).

    The largest parks in Brussels are also bigger than those in Tokyo's 23 wards. The Bois de la Cambre, for instance, extends over 125 ha, and has ponds with water birds, hills, and roads by bicycles and rollerskates.

    In spite of the immensely higher percentage of green areas in Brussels compared to Tokyo (about 50x more), and the lower density of population in Brussels (about half), I found the parks in Brussels to be much more crowded than in Tokyo (see the pics in link above). This reflects, in my opinion, the much greater need (not just interest or liking) of Belgian/Brussels people to be close to nature, if not compared to all Japanese people the at least the 10 million of Tokyoites. On any sunny weekend in Brussels parks get as crowded as during the one-week of cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo !

  5. #80
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craftsman View Post
    You mentioned you had some figures for the houses with gardens. I had a quick look and couldn't see them in the posts. It would be interesting to see them. If I missed them perhaps you could point me in the right direction.
    I found that when I was in Japan. I am pretty sure it was somewhere here, but I cannot find the right table anymore. Anyway, how many houses with garden/yard have you seen in Tokyo ? Personally, none.
    Also it would be useful to see the number of zoos and botanical gardens in Japan and the figures on vegetarianism, if possible.
    Phew. Do you think I can find all the links like that. Why don't you look and try to confirm or deny my claims. Here is a list of botanical gardens in Japan. Feel free to compare the number and size with Western countries, and make the per capita ratio. The only botanic garden in Tokyo (23 wards) is Koishikawa Shokubutsuen (the one of Tokyo University). It is ridiculously tiny (16 ha) and only has 4,000 species of plants. There are two botanic gardens in Brussels, the biggest of which is 92 ha wide and has 18,000 species of plants (so about 5x bigger in size and variety than that of the world-famous Tokyo University).

    Be it for the zoological gardens (list here), it also depends what you define as such. Japanese language does not clearly distinguish between zoos, animal parks, safari parks, bird parks, animal theme parks, and sometimes even natural/animal reserves. I have seen some of the so-called “Ž•¨‰€ in Japan and they do not deserve more the appellation of zoo than some farms. It's always good to compare the best a country has to offer, so as to compare the top. I have been to Ueno Zoo, which is Japan's first and most famous zoo, and it wasn't very impressive (well, it has pandas, which is partly why it is famous). It has only 422 species and 2,600 animals, against 950 species and over 5,000 animals for the Antwerp Zoo in my ridiculously tiny country (so tiny that many Japanese and Americans cannot place it on a map of Europe).

    It's sad to have to compare Tokyo to Brussels, or Japan to Belgium, and still have the latter win...

    As for vegetarianism, I mean by that not eating any meat (including fish and seafood), even if it is not visible (e.g. in sauce or soup). What interest us here is not to kill animals, so eggs and milk are fine, but animal fat is not, as it requires to kill the animal. Anyone who has lived or travelled in Japan knows that it is extremely hard to find Japanese food matching those criteria. My sister is a vegetarian (because she doesn't want to kill animals), and she came twice to Japan (about 3 weeks each time). We travelled through half of the country, and I can tell you that it was a p.i.t.a. to find something else than bread, pastries, pasta and Indian food for her to eat. Vegetarian Japanese food is mostly restricted to Buddhist cuisine (rare outside Kyoto), or a few dishes like soba and vegetable tempura. Anthing else has meat in it. Japan is clearly not a vegetarian-friendly country. In restaurants they were often surprised at the request to serve a dish without meat because no Japanese ever ask them (we were seen as the difficult gaijin ), while in Europe they are so used to it that most restaurant now have at least a few vegetarian dishes or will gladly cook a special dish without meat. I remember the time we asked in a "omu-rice" restaurant chain if we could have a dish without bacon mixed with the rice for my sister who is a vegetarian. The waitress asked the chef, and after 10min of "negotiation" she came back telling us that it was impossible because the chef didn't want to serve a dish that didn't taste the way he wanted. We were 4 people, and we had to leave to find another restaurant, just because they couldn't accomodate a vegetarian. We had other similar experiences elsewhere too.

    Another thing that would be useful to see is your figures for the number of nature shows on Japanese TV. I saw your post about the French speaking channels and nature programmes but unless there is a comparison with Japanese TV, it holds less value in the argument.
    I suppose that anybody really interested on this forum knows Japanese TV programmes... If not, I invite you to check this online TV guide. Keep me informed on your findings.
    Lastly, I'm not totally convinced of the strength of 'the absence of an elected Green Party' as one of your arguments. You even mention yourself that the same could be said of the US and other European countries.
    The USA is not really an example in environmental protection. They even refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Here is more info on Green Parties around the world. You will see that the Greens are one of the major parties at the European Parliament. There are in fact two main Green Parties, one of which is the 4th biggest at the parlaiment out of a good dozen of parties. All the Greens got 6.5% of the votes Europe-wide at the 2004 election. They are especially strong in Scandinavia, Germany and Belgium. In Belgium, for instance, the Green Party is a ruling coalition party in many levels of government (municipality, province, region, country), and even the majority party in a few municipalities.
    An elected Green party says more about the political and state funding system in the country than it does about normal everyday people's likes or dislikes.
    I disagree. In fact, I think there is a Green Party in Japan, but nobody has ever elected them. If it must take money and startling campaigns for people to care about nature, then it is a sign of lack of general concern by the population.
    Last edited by Maciamo; Nov 21, 2006 at 21:12.

  6. #81
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    The data on park per capita doesn't support the exsistance of the strange Japanese population claiming the propaganda you repeatedly mention, even caused trauma.

    About the politics, just look at the our neighbors. It is sad that liberalism in Japan or Asia is still related to the red. But I also feel perplexed to see Europeans vote far-right parties and some countries have to ban them. I don't know if they are greener or not, thogh.

  7. #82
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipokun View Post
    The data on park per capita doesn't support the exsistance of the strange Japanese population claiming the propaganda you repeatedly mention, even caused trauma.
    I can't make head or tail of what you are saying. I used the term "propaganda" only in relation to "the Japanese think that they love/care about nature more than others". The data on park per capita in Tokyo (vs Brussels) indeed does not confirm that the Japanese love more nature. Is that what you wanted to say ?

    About the politics, just look at the our neighbors. It is sad that liberalism in Japan or Asia is still related to the red. But I also feel perplexed to see Europeans vote far-right parties and some countries have to ban them. I don't know if they are greener or not, thogh.
    I am not sure what liberalism and the far-right have anything to do with the absence of green parties. I am not going to expand in this thread on the fact that far-right parties are extremely diverse (no two parties are alike), and the term "liberal" can have very different meanings depending on the country (e.g. in Belgium it describes the reformist right, but in the USA it refers more to socialists, so the opposite of Belgium).

  8. #83
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    "the Japanese think that they love/care about nature more than others".
    So where can I meet the Japanese?
    For your next trip to see your parents in law, I highly recommend that you should go upstream to the source of the Tama river. It must be quite an interesting short trip.

  9. #84
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    A little update about the zoos. I only managed to find a list of 69 zoos, animal parks, safari parks, bird parks, and animal reserves in Japan (there could be more), but what is certain is that there are over 675 in Germany alone (including 414 actual zoological gardens => see list), at least 63 in Austria (for a population 16x smaller than Japan => see list), at least 123 in France (see list), etc. There are about 350 zoos in the USA. I have made a list of a famous zoos in Europe. Let's keep in mind that the population of the EU is only about 3x bigger than Japan, but there are thousands of zoos, animals parks, aquaria, etc. However you look at it, Europeans (and to a lesser extent also Americans) are much keener on animals than the Japanese.

    What is more, Japan's biggest zoo doesn't make the top 5 in Europe in terms of number os species and total animals, and maybe not the top 10 (I do not have all the necessary data for Europe).

  10. #85
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    If I were you, Maciamo, I'd loudly agitate us over the anti-zoo movement outside Japan or species extinction in Japan after Meiji ...

    The movement is also here. The latter one is really critical, for the extinction of Toki bird, Japanese crested ibis, unabled the Ise shrine to preserve every 20 year reconstruction work. The shrine will continue to do the work, but it is not exactly the same as the ones hundred or thoudsand years ago any more...

  11. #86
    puzzled gaijin
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    Actually, I just thought of one area where maybe you forgot to mention that the Japanese are often 'talking and thinking' about nature; poetry..haiku for example. Traditional haiku always features some natural scenery and some comparison to the sun, moon, an animal, etc. Now of course one could argue that just talking about nature is not the same as spending time in it, but one would have to state that in haiku often people had to think and observe some aspects of nature to write the comments that they struggled to include in their poetry. Now of course whether Japanese as compared to other people aound the globe write more poetry about nature or not, I don't know.

  12. #87
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    Actually, I just thought of one area where maybe you forgot to mention that the Japanese are often 'talking and thinking' about nature; poetry..haiku for example. Traditional haiku always features some natural scenery and some comparison to the sun, moon, an animal, etc. Now of course one could argue that just talking about nature is not the same as spending time in it, but one would have to state that in haiku often people had to think and observe some aspects of nature to write the comments that they struggled to include in their poetry. Now of course whether Japanese as compared to other people aound the globe write more poetry about nature or not, I don't know.
    Poetry has been inspired by nature since ancient times, probably all over the world. I don't see in what Japan is special for that. In fact I found traditional Japanese art in general not to be very "nature-centered", compared to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Traditional Japanese art is very much Buddhism-centered. Shintoism didn't inspire muc artists. On the contrary, Roman mosaics, for instance, are almost always about nature, the four seasons, etc. Greco-Roman mythology is full of themes about nature, such as the gods of the 4 four winds, the Nymphs, who were personifications of the creative and fostering activities of nature, or many other gods associated with nature (Dionysos the god of wine, Pan the shepherd god, Artemis the huntress, etc.). The cult of nature is also very present in modern paganism.

  13. #88
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    But French Dionysus is now believing in more beer than wine, isn't it?

  14. #89
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    I didn't vote in the poll. I thought the choices in the poll were too limited, and would cause me to make an unfair generality based upon my limited perception.

    I would imagine that some Japanese people care deeply about nature and a lot of others don't. Japan has a long tradition of art, visual and performing arts, dedicated to nature. The influence of Budhism and the ancient anamistic traditions affect spiritual and aesthetic values. They have as a culture perfected the small garden and ways of bringing bits of nature into the urban environment. Bonsai, the tea garden, the koi pond, Zen gardens of sand and stone... the concept of Wabi Sabi... all point to some deep appreciation of nature.
    Japan is also has one of the strongest anti-nuclear movements on the planet. It is also a pioneer in the alternative fuels and hybrid autos (I own a Honda Insight). Recycling and green energy is on the rise.
    Greenpeace in Japan has 15 full time staff and 4500 members.
    Friends of Earth Japan has been around for twenty six years.
    In spite of this, for a country of it's size and wealth there seems to be a general disregard for nature, or at least that is the perception I get... and the conservation and anti-polution values seem to be generally disregarded or considered of secondary importance.

  15. #90
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabro View Post
    I would imagine that some Japanese people care deeply about nature and a lot of others don't.
    This is obvious, like in any other country. What I ask you in this thread is to make the mental calculation to get the average (addition of all the individuals divided by the total population) and see if that average is higher than all other countries on earth. If only one country, even a tiny one like Luxembourg, has a higher average of people who care about nature, then the answer to the thread question is "no" (which seems so obvious to me that I am surprised some people answered the opposite). Even if Japan ranks in the top 10 among 230 countries on earth, it doesn't matter, as it isn't first as some Japanese I have met have claimed.
    Japan has a long tradition of art, visual and performing arts, dedicated to nature. The influence of Budhism and the ancient anamistic traditions affect spiritual and aesthetic values. They have as a culture perfected the small garden and ways of bringing bits of nature into the urban environment. Bonsai, the tea garden, the koi pond, Zen gardens of sand and stone... the concept of Wabi Sabi... all point to some deep appreciation of nature.
    This is the old culture of Japan, which has mainly disappeared for most of the modern population (well as much as the ancient, medieval, renaissance or 17th to 19th century cultures in Europe are not a reflection of modern Europe).
    Japan is also has one of the strongest anti-nuclear movements on the planet.
    This may be true for nuclear weapons, but they have good reason for that as the only country who was victim of the A-bomb. As for nuclear energy itself, the Japanese government is a fervent supporter of it. There are currently 53 operating nuclear power plants in Japan, against 17 in Germany, 23 in the UK, 9 in Spain or 0 in Italy. Only France has a similar number.
    It is also a pioneer in the alternative fuels and hybrid autos (I own a Honda Insight).
    True for car makers, but biofuel isn't available for cars in service stations like in Sweden or some other European countries, is it ?
    Recycling and green energy is on the rise.
    Recycling rules vary a lot among municipalities in Japan. For instance my ward in Tokyo didn't have a recycling category for batteries (I did ask the townhall and check their website), which is unbelievable here in Belgium. Japan is also one of the few developed countries that still incinerate most of its non-recyclable waste, rather than bury it. This is extremely noxious to public health because of all the toxic emissions (dioxin...) and causes lots of cancers.
    Greenpeace in Japan has 15 full time staff and 4500 members.
    See, this is ridiculously low for a country of 127,000,000 people. The London office alone has 90 full-time staff. Greenpeace has 250,000 in the USA (for about twice the population of Japan) and 2.5 million members in 40 countries worldwide (mostly in Europe).
    Friends of Earth Japan has been around for twenty six years.
    The WWF, founded in Switzerland, has been around for 45 years. Greenpeace, founded in Canada and now headquartered in Amsterdam, has been around for 35 years. Have a look at this list of environmental organizations, mosly in Western countries. If you know well Japanese ones, feel free to add them as none of them are listed.
    In spite of this, for a country of it's size and wealth there seems to be a general disregard for nature, or at least that is the perception I get... and the conservation and anti-polution values seem to be generally disregarded or considered of secondary importance.
    We agree here.

  16. #91
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    There may not be the modern equivalents of a conservation and environmental movement present in Japan as they are in the US and in Europe. It could just be that in the 20th century, the Western nations had a bit of a headstart and are more conscious of environmental issues. I'm not certain how you could measure this though.

    I'm not sure you can average attitudes... and even though your point may be well taken, the items used for support don't always seem to jive logically. Which is not to disagree at all. It is really difficult to account for cultural differences and a lot of perception has to do with observation of how people behave. You have significantly more experience observing the Japanese first-hand... as I have never been to Japan, and it may simply be true that your generalities are accurate based upon observation.

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    I was suprised that there was a plant, flower, bush or something green planted or potted in all these little tiny available areas around extremley cramped and close spaces. I got the impression that people wanted to see green plants and flowers despite not having any room. In Tsunam everyone had a garden and everyone was proud to show me their gardens and to let me know the vegetables that I would be eating that day were grown by them. I can't say for sure that the Japanese do or don't like nature more than others, but comparing cramped, crowded Tokyo to Milwaukee, I can say for sure that Tokyo had more flowers and plants around their tiny houses/apartments. Milwaukee's city housing looks terrible and virtually no one plants a thing.
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  18. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldiegirl View Post
    I was suprised that there was a plant, flower, bush or something green planted or potted in all these little tiny available areas around extremley cramped and close spaces. I got the impression that people wanted to see green plants and flowers despite not having any room.
    Why is that surprising ? Most Japanese houses don't have a windowstand outside the house where to hang flowers, so they put in directly on the street. Here (in Belgium, but also Europe in general), most people have flower pots at their windows or balconies, in addition to a garden. If you live in city center, gardens are hidden inside the block of buildings, but you want your facade to look nice and so you put flowers. In the suburbs or in the countryside, as houses often have a frontyard as well, it is common to have trees, bushes and flowers in front as well as behind houses. Here are some pictures of flowers on balconies or frontyards in Brussels. The houses themselves are not very nice because the pics were taken in some of the worst neighbourhoods of the capital, but well...

    In Tsunam everyone had a garden and everyone was proud to show me their gardens and to let me know the vegetables that I would be eating that day were grown by them.
    Where is "Tsunam" ?

    I can't say for sure that the Japanese do or don't like nature more than others, but comparing cramped, crowded Tokyo to Milwaukee, I can say for sure that Tokyo had more flowers and plants around their tiny houses/apartments. Milwaukee's city housing looks terrible and virtually no one plants a thing.
    That doesn't make me want to visit Milwaukee...

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    Milwaukee- I think you go for the beer, but you stay for the...beer also.

  20. #95
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    Maciamo posted
    Poetry has been inspired by nature since ancient times, probably all over the world. I don't see in what Japan is special for that.
    Uh, that wasn't my point. I just mentioned this is a category you failed to look at.

    gaijinalways posted
    Now of course whether Japanese as compared to other people aound the globe write more poetry about nature or not, I don't know. Nov 25, 2006 22:00
    So as I mentioned in traditional haiku now, Japanese talk about nature. To get a good comparison with other cultures, I would think you should look at the percentage of poems talking about nature now, not when cultures started talking about it (not to put your mythology lesson down, it was rather interesting).

    Most of the opinions you have concerning Japan's supposed obsession with nature are concerned with the here and now, yes?

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    mmm...beer... Ok, for starters I don't want to give a bad impression of Milwaukee it really is a beautiful city. The city itself has many parks and of course being along Lake Michigan we have plenty of beaches and open areas. The difference that I saw was that here people don't decorate their houses in the city like in Tokyo. Maybe it is because rent is cheap here and people routinely and frequently move so why bother with plants. Just a thought...The city itself has tree lined streets and hanging flower baskets. We have many botanical gardens and a fantastic public park system, so if you need to see some green you can just leave your house and find it, without all the work to maintain it yourself. I live in the country and here, we all have gardens and flower beds. As a matter of fact my house is along a state forest, so I have my yard and then a whole park! It's great.

    Tsunam (sorry if I spelled it wrong...that's how it sounded to my ears) is in Niigata Prefecture. It is surrounded by mountains and I was told it was one of the most snowiest places in Japan. It is a rural community, yet very active and lively. I was quite a suprise to all the neighbors! They were very curious about me as they said it is not common to get foreigners there. I appreciated there gardens as I enjoyed fresh vegetables every day!

    @sabro yep you go for the beer, but you stay after the beer because you can't find your way out!

  22. #97
    japႎ vagyok undrentide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Anyway, how many houses with garden/yard have you seen in Tokyo ? Personally, none.
    I'm curious which part of Tokyo you were living and which parts of Tokyo you've visited... (Maybe shitamachi areas??)
    *I love undrentide by Mediaeval Baebes*
    And here're my bloggies (JP) & (HU)

  23. #98
    ƒKƒCƒWƒ“–şB doinkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldiegirl View Post
    Tsunam (sorry if I spelled it wrong...that's how it sounded to my ears) is in Niigata Prefecture. It is surrounded by mountains and I was told it was one of the most snowiest places in Japan. It is a rural community, yet very active and lively. I was quite a suprise to all the neighbors! They were very curious about me as they said it is not common to get foreigners there. I appreciated there gardens as I enjoyed fresh vegetables every day!
    It's actually spelled Tsunan (’Ă“ě), I think. ^^
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    L‚˘‹ó‚Ɖ“‚­‚ĚŽRX@“ńl‚Ĺ•ŕ‚˘‚˝ŠX
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  24. #99
    Banned sabro's Avatar
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    Check out Maciamo's photos in the gallery section. It may not be everywhere, but nature is apparently still out there.

    http://www.wa-pedia.com/gallery/showgallery.php/cat/503

  25. #100
    tsuyaku o tsukete kudasai nurizeko's Avatar
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    Heres a few points to considor about Japan.

    1. Japan is highly mountainous, very vertical.

    2. Theres is relatively little flat land.

    3. Japan has a high population.

    4. Japan is streached out over a long area, so most flat land is a little strip
    between the sea and the mountainous interior.

    Considoring these points, I'm not suprised Urban living seems awfully cramped.
    They cant afford Gardens because land is always in high demand and short supply, in western Europe we have massive huge flood-plains and rolling terrain to build over to our hearts content, but relatively low population density, so we dont want or need to build over everything.
    Saying that, from what i have gathered, the Japanese really do like to get out into the country.

    Concrete works along rivers and hills near to cities are there to protect the cities, Japan needs to protect what flat land it has.
    This does however seem to create a more noticable apathy towards nature in an urban setting, but its merely because the situation means a green urban enviroment for most Japanese isnt practical.

    In my home city of Aberdeen we have plenty of gardens and tree's and green spaces but thats because were one small city with plenty of room for everyone who wants to live here.

    The fact people spend good money to buy potted plants and stuff for outside the front of their houses is indication enough nature is important to them.
    The only difference really is that:

    1. The western world morally masturbates to nature to make ourselves feel like good noble people.

    and:

    2. The constraints of the crowded urban lifestyles of many Japanese means coupled with the demands on their time and energy means they just dont have days at a time to watch a bird sitting on a branch or watching a tree grow or whatever.

    I love greenery and nature myself but yeah, I can see why many Japanese just dont have the time and space to get into it as deeply as westerners.

    Maciamo: If your going to use secondary sources I would advice seeking out academic literature instead of more pop-lit type of stuff.
    The book you linked too isnt a scientific study into the destruction of the enviroment of rural Japan, its a book about the opinion of one writer, in essence, its not much more valid and impartial then a republican rant about the evils of a democrat run America or something.

    As entitled to their biased opinions as any given foreign visitor to Japan is, this doesnt make it fact.

    I was in Japan just 3 months and even I saw enough of the country to know the claim that all but one rivers of japan are concreted up was false.
    And I've never seen a concreted up mountainside ever, and I went on a drive through them to go fishing once.

    I dont exactly know your first hand experiences of Japan, but if you never got out of mega-Tokyo, your not really in a position to make wild claims on all Japan, while if you have travelled around a bit, it would be suprising if you could sincerely claim to have seen every hillside and river concreted up.

    I will agree though for various reasons gardens and nature being on the minds of most urban Japanese is rarer then Europe.

    At the time he wrote the book, there was only one river in Japan that didn't have concrete anywhere from the beginning to the end (in Shikoku, if I remember well).
    Thats unfair and you know it, very few rivers that run through a European city do so without concreted banks in places.

    Concreted waterways arent the preserve of japan, where do you think they got the idea?, concreting a river bank in certain areas are there to ensure the banks remain stable for the nearby buildings, and to help control any rise in water flow, to help dampen or stop the effects of what would otherwise cause flooding.

    Again, Japan is a country which in many places only has a thin strip of flat land between mountain and sea, where the effect of flash or severe floods can be even worse, and when flat-land is in such high demand, building right up to a river bank is sometimes the only option, and as such that bank needs to be stabalised and protected against flooding.

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