OK my choice of imagery might be a little graphic, I'll admit. But Japan is maybe a little like me, just a tad different!
So with that in mind, I should ask
"Just how did this peculiar, fascinating place, that is Japan, became my home? Or more to the point, was I at all prepared?"Long before I'd ever visited, I'm sure 'my' Japan was made up of a lot of
'false truths, and quite plausible lies'Probably built up over a long time, and overall, I must have accumulated many weird and wonderful ideas about the whole of the Far East.
Like from a B&W telly (black and white TV), uttered in proper Queen's English, and with a stiff upper lip you know.
"Far East!"Only geographically possible if you come from the UK, of course.
But of Japan itself, the land of the rising sun, I wonder if you share any (perhaps all) from this my rather eclectic list on Nihon?
- WW2 movies - well I was born to a country only some 20 years out of World War II! Japan and the Axis were mortal enemies of the Allies. That was true. But often American war movies just created stereotypes, almost caricatures, of the Japanese. Source 1, the baddies.
- Nippon stamps - as a child in the early '70's I collected stamps. There I admit this much. But I can, only just, recall that wonder with regards the troubling name, 'Nippon'. Source 2, amazingly detailed and ornate imagery of somewhere that annoyingly, would not use its correct name!
- James Clavell's Shogun. Some time in the late 70's I read my dad's copy of the book, because it had 'naughty bits' in it. But I was drawn in too, it was fascinating! The discovery of a 'new' world! Source 3, some fictional history and culture, though I never knew of William Adams.
- Monkey, the TV series - I no doubt watched this instead of studying for my O'Levels, back in the late 70's. Source 4, amazingly weird, but telling of the light hearted nature of Japanese humour.
- And Shogun the TV series, circa 1980. Source 5, hmmm, no idea what I learnt here!
- Turning Japanese, a song I listened to in 1980. Source 6, just a song, but still makes me giggle.
- I don't think I met real 'Japanese people' until the 90's! I had to emigrate to Australia for that. Source 7: polite, unassuming, friendly.
- And at last in the late 90's I made my first trip to Japan. I still recall being amazed at how different Japan was, and how, even though that first Englishman had come in 1600, I still felt like a real explorer in a 'new world'. Source 8: the real McCoy, truly mind blowing.
Nope, you just have to come, you'll never be prepared :-)
So with regards the image above, what does this all have to do with farts? Nothing of course.
Except, maybe, that we really aren't that different. In fact, that image is very Viz and Johnny Fartpants. If you're not English that might throw you a little, so click the link.
My point, not that I'm likely to have one in this rambling piece, is that if you can laugh at the same thing, well you're well on your way to some mutual understanding, and being perhaps, just a little prepared!
Oh yes, to any repeat visitors, no I still can't speak Japanese.
Start of month 9.