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September 8, 2009

On Being in Japan

The machine of Japanese society is oiled by holiday snaps and boxes of seaweed crackers stamped with the silhouette of Hello Kitty.Before I lived here Ireadthat the Japanese spend the same equivalent of their GDP on omiyage as America spends on law-suits and litigation. In this sense, the commodity of 'being somewhere' has far greater value for Japanese society than the mere personal. If we in the West were offered the chance to swap all our law-suits and lawyers for seaweed crackers, I hope we'd at least consider it. -- Daniel Rourke @ 3quarksdaily

Posted by Vanderleun at September 8, 2009 12:43 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

I went to Japan many times for business, working in the semiconductor-equipment field. I learned early on to bring small tokens to the young men (never women) who toiled as installers and field-service technicians. The instant they knew/felt that I understood and wholeheartedly participated in their tradition of what we might see as kinda silly, was the instant they became more open about the problems they needed me to remedy, and the more friendly and warm they became toward me. My secret "weapon" was 2-pound bags of M&M's put into a big bowel in the common-area of their office, and any little "Americana-looking" trinket from the area of my residence to give to key people I needed to work with, to make things work smoothly...I had it easy, I live near San Fransisco.

I learned a lot there, and still cherish the experience.

Posted by: Patvann at September 8, 2009 3:52 PM

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