Greenfield might just have something here-
Daniel Greenfield’s article: We’re Turning Japanese Now
|We’re Turning Japanese Now
Posted: 18 Sep 2015 01:21 PM PDT
It’s an article of American faith that Japan is an incredibly strange place. The world has been mapped and GPS’ed to death ruining much of the thrill of discovery. There probably aren’t any hidden cities with remnants of lost civilizations lurking in the deserts of Africa or the jungles of South America. That just leaves the land of the rising sun as the X on the map, the strange place that suggests that the world that we know all too well, might still be odder than we can imagine.
But Japan isn’t really all that strange. We are.
It has a few robot cafes, but not a lot of ATMs.
I kind of question how accurate the article is– I didn’t have trouble finding ATMs when I was there, for dang sure; they were inside of most of the 7/11s. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have fewer per person, for sure– but they’ve got a lot higher density in even their “small town” type places, so the practical distance to an ATM you can use (what I use for figuring if an area has “a lot” of a thing– how available it is) is much smaller per ATM.
I also can’t think of anyone I’ve heard talking about how we have to be better than China without saying at what– usually, it’s math and science. For some of the more evil ones, it’s controlling our population growth. (Yes, I know it’s not there; I’m part of the group who *IS* having babies and transmitting a purpose.)
I agree with his conclusion about people needing purpose, but not his arguments/evidence.
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My thoughts exactly. As my dad used to tell me when I was growing up: your conclusion is reasonable but your premises are flawed. Try again.
Also… we really are every bit as weird as Japan but it’s spread out across a continent of micro- and macro-subcultures. Japan’s is all concentrated on a few smallish islands.
Pressure cooker. no thanks
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What’s the false premise? I’m not sure the number of ATMs is that relevant. It could change drastically in just a year or two. I think he was just over there.
I was under the impression we had to be better than everybody at everything, before we settled for delusion.
What I got was we (not just US) built this great machine but we let the vileprogs drive it and they can’t think of anywhere better to go than to cruise back and forth on main street, vying for status.
Japan isn’t really a technocratic wonderland. It has a few robot cafes, but not a lot of ATMs. Its tech companies got by on Western products that initially never caught on in the West, like the Walkman and the tax machine. There’s not much of a digital economy and the computer isn’t all that ubiquitous. Daily life for the Japanese these days is usually lower tech than it is for Americans or Europeans.
Of those claims, I know from first-hand experience that one isn’t accurate; since his examples are the walkman, a mere half-decade of failure to expand won’t hurt it, and I know of no evidence that they actually started removing the ATMs that were there.
About the only thing I can think of is that the banks I saw frequently didn’t have ATMs, but that’s a cultural difference– they take that whole “service” thing very seriously. (I opened an account to pay my rent, and rather than “take a number” they call you by name and…well, it’s possibly the most formal situation I’ve ever been in, and that includes my wedding.)
I don’t even know what a “tax machine” is, and a search isn’t revealing.
As for computers being ubiquitous– monster rigs like the one I’m typing this on would be a sign of a super-geek since it would take up about 1/8th of the non-kitchen, non-bedroom living area for the place I had back in Japan, and folks would need/want to use one would be more likely to go a computer cafe, but people definitely packed laptops around more than I see anywhere that’s not college related over here. (and I’m Seattle, so it’s not like I’m comparing Tokyo to back of nowhere, Flyover, USA; my experience is also from Sasebo, which I’ve been informed is considered a really small, kind of backwards city best known for its hamburger obsession. Totally not kidding.)
There’s also things like our rice cooker, which is a Japanese model specifically because their idea of a bottom drawer it’ll-do-for-now model has all the features I could possibly want, and more…but which he doesn’t seem to consider at all, and would fall under the “daily life” aspect. Heck, daily life for WHOM, while we’re at it– what does he envision as normal daily life for “the Americans”?
So of the examples that he actually gives specifics on to support his claim, I know one is questionable, one is 30 years old and unclear (maybe he expected them to be made in the US? But in the late 80s EVERYTHING electronic was “made in Japan,” if it was any good.) and the third is so obscure I can’t figure out what he means.
For the broader strokes ones, I don’t know which ‘digital economy’ he’s thinking of to compare to the US’s– Japan is part of the same digital economy as the US, but they don’t have the same vast mass of young people, either by proportion or sheer number so they’re not highly represented in the individual level digital economy– and the computer is just different than here.
Sorry so long, trying to ride herd on the kids so I don’t have time to edit it down.
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Interesting. I was thinking it’s all in what you’re used to.. Here the nearest ATM are7,10, and 20 miles away and serve a good part of the county. Greenfield lives in NYC, I think, I imagine he would consider one every ten miles a little sparse. :o) Our digital connection is miles of phone line with probably twice as many people on it as it should. Works good at three in the morning.
Anyway, I see what you mean. I didn’t give much thought to that paragraph, as Japan and NYC are both foreign to me. (I went to NYC once, on my first leave as a plebe. Once was enough.)
What he was saying is true in general and many are much further down that road than we.
I guess, even though we appear to be submitting quietly, we really know how to drag our feet.