TIM BUNTING

KIWI YAMABUSHI

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Passivity

Japanese people in general are amazingly passive. From what I’ve seen, they are taught from a young age to just accept things that are given to them in life. They are used to things being prescribed to them, being told how to think, how to act, I actually think the small camera showing how the celebrity audience is reacting may be a way in which they show people how they should be acting at certain times. In turn, they tend to be satisfied with the default option (check Internet Explorer’s rate of use in Japan, although recently it’s changing, that’s good!), and it’s when people are fed up with the default option that things go wrong.

That is to say, alternative lifestyles in Japan need to be either promoted, or accepted more. People need to know that they don’t have to follow everyone else. Especially in the modern world where our survival does not depend on the community, we should feel more free to do what we feel is right, even if it goes against popular opinion. I’m not referring to the criminal, I’m referring to alternative methods of making a living, doing things on the side, which still seems to have a bit of a stigma.

At least that’s how I feel. I’ve recently realised that I have been purposely doing things that I know may not be acceptable in Japanese culture, but that are nonetheless harmless, with the sole intent of showing people that things can be done differently. One example would be wearing casual clothing in an otherwise very formal setting. The majority of men I work with wear suits every day. I don’t. I usually only wear them to keep them from getting mothballed.

Passivity is good for communities. But the downside is that you are letting things happen to you, and that could mean things that would be avoidable with a little effort on your behalf. I respect the Japanese for being passive, but it doesn’t come without its disadvantages.

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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

tim@timbunting.com

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