Animal Magnetism is a great blog, and it proprietor is a thoughtful man. He has been to Japan several times, and offers some thoughts
I like Japan. I like the food, the folks, the scenery. I enjoy the porcelain beauty of so many young Japanese women and I enjoy the strong undercurrent of politeness and consideration that pervades the culture.
I’ve had some memorable adventures in Japan. It’s a place where you can walk down a dark side street on a Friday night with little or no worries, a few neighborhoods in Tokyo excepted. Some of my best adventures in Japan have started in just this way; some aimless wanderings in a new town that led to a great little local watering hole or restaurant. One of these, some years back, was Koharu – “Spring Nights” in English. Koharu is a little bar in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture, that in 2009 was run by three ladies (I’m guessing) in their early to mid 60s. My friend Paul and I hung out there a lot, and the Mama-sans loved us.
With all that said, though; I could never live in Japan. I’m too deeply and irretrievable American, a red-state American at that, to willfully put up with a lot of things Japanese folks take for granted. Now the Japanese people have the right to choose the government that suits them and they have done so, and I would be the last to say they should change that to suit the whims of Americans, just as I would be the last to say Americans should change our way of life to suit anyone from another country. But the Japanese culture and still rather unquestioning acceptance of authority has led to some policies that I could not and would not abide. Among them:
Refusal of the right of armed self-defense. This is not and has not been an issue in Japan, not the least of reasons is their crime rate, which in most places is so low as to be nearly non-existent. But Japan is a culturally and racially homogenous society, and what’s more a culture that places great value on conformity, on respect for authority, on blending in. The United States is very different. America was born in armed rebellion, the exact opposite of respect for authority; Americans today are fractious, rebellious and quarrelsome. As evidence witness our recently concluded Presidential campaign and its aftermath. Americans, by and large, favor our right to armed defense, a right defined in the Constitution by men who had just led a citizen’s army to defeat the world’s dominant superpower of the day.
There’s a lot to be said about Japan. But it’s a very non-libertarian society. I like the place and would gladly return to visit, or to work, for a while.
But live in Japan? No
There is more to check out, I, having never visited Japan, would say I would also never live anywhere where the right to self-defense is not protected, as it is in America. Which is also why I would never live in the People’s Republics of New Joisey, New York, Marxifornia, Taxachusetts, Illinois, Maryland or any other state that restricts the right to bear arms, which yes, does absolutely equate to stomping on the right of self-defense.
Of course visiting Japan would be something I could enjoy. For obvious reasons