“I have a love and hate relationship with Japan. And after five years of living here, small things have started to pile up. Take for example the lack of flexibility or critical thinking. Nobody takes a stand against the established order (except for a very few outspoken minority). That’s why you often hear people say, ‘This is how it’s done in Japan.’ No one questions why things are the way they are even when they don’t make sense. Which explains the very low voter turnout during elections. Now when they do deal with a problem, the focus is usually on symptoms, like having women-only train cars.

“I’m a researcher at a university in Tokyo and part of my job is to go to conferences abroad. In Europe, and I think in America too, it’s very common to take the week off following a conference in a faraway country. In Japan, it’s not only not common, but also not allowed. One time, I asked if I could go on holiday in Paris to visit family and friends after a conference in Hamburg. I told the university I’d cover my own expenses and they could deduct from my salary and paid leaves. I was told I’d have to fly back to Tokyo first because it’s not part of my business trip. Which is ridiculous because Paris is so much closer to Hamburg and I’m supposed to be working to save energy as a researcher in renewable energies. They said, ‘Shoganai. This is how it is in Japan.’

“My explanation for this way of thinking is because it’s a nation built on one of the most hostile places on Earth. Japan has earthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, mountains everywhere, not enough natural resources, densely populated areas and limited space. So, people are extra careful not to disturb or criticize others, otherwise it could damage society. But this is purely my view based on broscience.”



弁解するとしたら、それは日本が地球上で最も敵対的な場所につくられた国だからですかね。日本には地震、台風、火山噴火があって、自然資源は少なく、人口が密集しているしスペースも小さい。だから、人は周囲の人の邪魔をしたり批判したりしないようにしなくちゃいけないって余計に敏感なんじゃないでしょうか。これはあくまでブロウサイエンス(非科学的)な僕の考えなんですが。【翻訳:Loving Life in Tokyo

Nonbei Yokocho “Drinker’s Alley” Shibuya 渋谷のんべい横丁

Published by


Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s