Today I leave Japan. I think I hardly scratched the surface. As easy and fun as it was for me to live around here, as hard it seemed to understand what lies beneath. From my perspective in some ways it reminds me of a theme park.
You may watch and take the rides, but your are not supposed to change anything. There seems to be a well-balanced but delicate system in place that keeps things “nice” or even “cute” …
… even when it is deadly serious: How about joining the army?
Then it seems: Whenever japanese people do something more complicated than shopping they do it as a group.
This is not the way I remember the world I know to work. I enjoyed the comforts of Japan as it is and can understand why people seem to be suspicious of foreign influences and what they might do to their society. The spirit of Sakaku seems still to be alive: the centuries of self-imposed isolation from the world … until the black ships came knocking.
I have seen much less foreigners in Japan than I have seen in other countries. So to some extent Sakaku still operates.
Now I have to pack.