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Click HERE for today’s photos.  Its a small set of images that I took during my most reent trip to Kyoto (November 2008).

I REALLY didn’t need to read this news story today.

I’ll be flying to Chicago for a business meeting next week, and could very likely be flying on that same plane.  In all likelihood that Air Force Sgt saved the lives of everyone on board.  The flight crew might have diverted based on the fact that they did recognize that they seemed to be loosing fuel, but then again they might have chalked it up to a gauge malfunction and pressed on.  We might have all ended up watching this on an episode of “Air Crash Investigation”.

I shudder to think how it could have worked out differently had it been a plane full of Japanese people, with no gaijins around.  I’m not bashing Japanese people,  and it is a very gross generalization, but I am also thinking that it just might have turned out very differently.

After more than nine years in Japan I can’t remember how many times I have seen Japanese people do their best to ignore a situation that they either did not want to get involved with, or thought that someone else would or should handle.  Granted, any person does who is riding an airplane has a vested interest to make sure that plane continues to fly, and not drop out of the sky like a stone.  But Japanese people, more than any other culture I have seen, are extremely good at ignoring things.

Those of you who have experienced the culture know exactly what I am talking about.  Especially when it comes to people in positions of power or prestige.  Doctors for example are treated as all-knowing gods.  A second opinion is basically unheard of in Japan, with patients taking their doctors word as gospel.    I don’t know about you, but it does not instill a great amount of confidence in me when, no matter how long a doctor has been working, you still refer to it as “Practicing” medicine.  The same thing holds true for lawyers.

Again, I know I am making some gross generalizations.  I guess that’s just the kind of mood I am in today.

Categories: others, Uncategorized
  1. David
    May 28, 2009 at 11:50 am

    I just got back from Japan. I went for Kobe Samba like I do every year. This year they cancelled it because of the flu. Just like the Japanese to over react to a situation.

  2. May 28, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    I have also heard the stories of how Japanese people will ignore someone you has fallen down. I think I have even heard the reason for this is to not cause any more embarrassment to the person. Like they are doing that person who has fallen down a favor by ignoring them.

  3. Pat T.
    May 29, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    My personal favorite is when it is assumed that a gaijin does not understand the language, and is verbally insulted by one of those Japanese of power or prestige (usually after a drink or two).
    I’m not saying those situations arise often — but when they do, rest assured that the Japanese will always, always, ALWAYS pretend to not understand the gaijin’s quick comeback in their native language, no matter how sharp or fluent. It is a way of saving face, as understanding will truly make the make the insulting party look like an ass in front of the friends they are trying so desperately to impress.

  4. J.
    May 30, 2009 at 7:57 am

    “Those of you who have experienced the culture know exactly what I am talking about. ”

    Nice photo’s of Saori in today’s album. I am starting to get worried about her being indoctrinated by you and grabbing a SLR…

  5. May 31, 2009 at 6:17 am

    That is a scary story. Have a safe trip!

    • February 7, 2012 at 12:48 am

      PS, frogot to mention the parallels of kami-kazi suicide bombers and izlamic suicide bombers. Same fascist ideology.

  6. Ian
    May 31, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Saori-chan get herself an SLR? You’ll have to bring her along to the next camera club meeting. Nice photos, by the way.

  7. June 1, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Interesting story. reminds me of something I experienced as well. Not so extreme though.
    I was on a KLM flight from A’dam to Bristol, and during landing I spotted a rivet sticking out about an inch or so. I shook my head, blinked a couple of times, but the rivet was still sticking out. Then when we touched down, the rivet fell back in place.
    So after taxying I warned the flight attendant. She didn’t really seem to understand the technical crap that was coming out of my mouth so she brought me to the captain and I explained him what i saw. One rivet out is not as big as a 6k lbs fuel leak, but you do need the damn things to keep the plane together!

  8. markie25
    June 9, 2009 at 3:52 am

    I wish you well and luck everywhere you go. Different place means different culture and tradition. This site might interest you or any of your Japanese friends. Thanks.

  9. June 9, 2009 at 6:21 am

    There’s a photo club in Japan? Can you contact me with the details? I’ve been looking for something like that for a long time – as long as it’s OK for English speakers to join.

  10. June 27, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Once I entered a Tokyo subway station only to find the line was temporarily stopped and would not be running for a while. Deciding instead to grab a taxi, I started back out. But to get back out through the gates without having boarded a train there was only one gate with one Tokyo Metro agent available, and by now a line had formed there. The problem kept getting worse, as more people kept entering and, seeing the situation, joining the line to get out. I noticed that nobody was doing anything to stop more people from coming in. If it had been New York, the people on the inside would have been informing those on the outside that the trains had stopped and they should not come in. Yes, it’s one of the quirks about Japan to go along with the more positive aspects of living here.

    Great photos as always.


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