Kingston’s Journal: Tourism vs. Integration

“Visiting a country is far different than living in one.”

This is my last night in Japan and I’m not sure when I’ll be back. Sightseeing aside, I don’t feel like I have a great understanding (firsthand anyways) of the people here. And to truly understand the culture, gaining perspective from the most important part, the people, is key. Deep rapport and frequent daily interactions with Japanese people is essential. And this goes for any culture in the world. Language exchanges is a start, becoming a member of the community (i.e. a job) is better, joining like minded social groups is even better and having an intimate relationship with a born and bred member the best.

From what I’ve seen though, I don’t think I’d ever want to truly live in Japan for several reasons:

  • People seem isolated for instance, people on public transportation seem lost in their own bubble, no one talks.
  • There seems to be an emphasis on minimizing human contact in traditionally social activities. Restaurants have self ordering kiosks and individual seats.
  • The politeness (I’m told by Japanese) is surface level: Making me question whether conversations are geniune or not.

In any case, the above points highlight some personality traits I want to limit and whether I like it or not, I’m still influenced by my surroundings. So by this logic, a more outgoing culture would be more befitting for the character traits I’m working on getting to rub off on me. So that’s a wrap on Japan, off to Korea tomorrow.

Kingston S. Lim

October 13, 2019

Tokyo, Japan

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