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    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Jul 17, 2002

    Question What is your image of Japan ?

    I'd like to make a little survey to know what spring first to mind when people hear the word "Japan". I am especially interested in how people who haven't been to Japan imagine it. For some it will be the technology (Sony, Panasonic, Casio...), the video games or the cars, while for others it will be the samurai, geisha or mount fuji. I am interested in false images of Japan as well. I often hear that Japanese people wear mask to protect themselves from the air pollution. No Japanese people don't live in capsule hotels, but yes they always remove their shoes before entering a house, eat rice everyday and have few holidays.

    I thought of posting a poll, but 10 choices are too few and it will biase the results. I'd like to hear raw ideas. Please specify if you have been to Japan or not and how you did, what was different of the idea you had before going.

    For myself, I thought Japan was more modern that it actually is. I was shocked by the ugly architecture and the lack of shiny glass skyscrapers like in Hong Kong and in big North American or Australian cities. Of course, I realised later that it was because of the earthquakes. Still, taxis are older than in most developed countries, even older than in Thailand or Korea.

    I hoped for beautiful traditional towns or districts, but most were destroyed, if not by the war, by concrete-loving officials trying hard to "modernise" their country by pulling down everything that is not hard, clean-cut and sterile. I didn't expect too much for Tokyo, but was dismayed by the concrete blocks in Kyoto (that hasn't been bombed during WWII).

    I didn't expect to see so many kimonos in the streets. I thought they'd only be worn on very special occasion, but lots of older women wear them almost everyday (in Ginza at least).

    I don't know why, but I thought they'd be a monorail going all around the city. I may have seen monorail pictures of Tokyo when I was a child and kept it in mind.

    I was surprised to find crumbling wooden houses still inhabited right in the center of Tokyo.

    I thought they'd be video game parlour everywhere, but instead it was pachinko.

    I imagined Tokyo very polluted (and also thought masks were for this), but I found a clean and relatively quiet megapolis instead.

    I thought I'd meet master of martial arts at every corner like in karate kid, but people prefer sumo (judo and karate seem less popular in Japan than in Europe).

    Your turn now...;)
    Last edited by Maciamo; Sep 28, 2002 at 23:24.

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