It’s an all-too familiar sight in Japan: smokers in clearly marked non-smoking areas.
Since coming to Asia, it has been interesting to see how well the tobacco industry is actually doing. After seeing a series of litigative defeats in my own country, I thought surely the industry was hurt. Perhaps so, but upon seeing vending machines along streets, and staggering reports that more than 50% of Japanese men smoke (or had smoked) made me realize that Asia is still in the 1950s.
Generally, local ordinances are in place around train stations and schools. Many visitors to Japan will notice increased signage for many things, so plenty of signs are printed, taped, mounted on poles, and even cemented into sidewalks and stairs. Fines can be 2,000 Japanese Yen on the spot, but I have never spotted anyone being stopped …except by my camera.
Apparently nothing stopped this old timer from enjoying a mid-afternoon puff.
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I believe in The Creative Commons.
A very cool take on Japanese woodblock art. I love the use of technology and music, both meant to enhance the art itself, bringing it more to life.
So earlier I wrote some thoughts on how people abandon things here in Japan. It’s certainly not unique to this culture, but perhaps there are some unique aspects.
I posted two pictures of the same bicycle, one year apart. The first time I saw the bicycle, (the “before” picture), I struck by it’s state. And so I proceeded to snap a pic. Of course, when I saw it again, (the “after” picture), I was simply impressed that no one made the effort to remove it…in over a year!
Having spoken to some Japanese about this idea of just ignoring something like a mud-caked bicycle, it seemed there was a consensus that there was no point in paying any mind to something that may still belong to someone. I raised the idea that perhaps it was purposefully ditched by the owner, perhaps to avoid scrapyard fees, or it was left there after being stolen by someone else. Again, the same sentiment was expressed: it’s not ours, let it be.
I suppose one unique point about that feeling is the notion of easily writing things off so long as they are not yours. Prime example: the other day a lady knocked a shirt off of a rack at a store. She didn’t realize it, walking away. Others walked by, stepping over the shirt, while going about their business. Perhaps in the West, a passerby is more likely to pick the shirt up and hang it as a courtesy…or in the case of the bicycle, report it to the authorities, or simply haul the offending thing out, especially if they’re one of land owners there.
By no means is this any kind of verdict on Japanese behavior, but rather an exercise of observation into not only an interesting culture, but my own notions and biases.
Ōsu Kannon (大須観音), a Shingon sect (“Japanese Esoteric Buddhism”) temple.
If you say “shitsuke” (しつけ) you could be saying one of these two meanings: 躾 or 仕付け.
① 躾 means home discipline or upbringing.
② 仕付け means rice planting or discipline.
I like learning kanji this way; it seems more interesting and efficient.
Watching news from all over the world has evoked this idea in me. Crises of all kinds are happening all over. Austerity measures in Europe have invited mass protest. And as a decidedly unresolved financial crisis in America lumbers yet towards another fallout, I am trying to see where my family fits in all of this. I also wonder if people are even considering this for themselves. Are they taking any steps for themselves? For the greater good? Or are they kicking against measures that would impinge on the luxury they have staked out?
As an American, I feel two forces: one says, “You deserve to have your cake and eat it, too.” The other says, “Give your cake to someone who needs it.”
Living in Japan has afforded me the “luxury” of some major life changes that would be far more difficult in the U.S. For example, giving up a car in lieu of mass transit. Yet I’m in that process of asking myself if I should eat the proverbial cake, or give it away…or better yet, give it up.
More questions, less answers. Each step is movement towards that sense of “genkaku”…or a lifestyle of austerity.