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Old 10-24-2013, 09:45 AM   #76
Peter Boylan
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 291
Re: Can you truly understand budo without training in Japan?

Philip Zeplin-Frederiksen wrote: View Post
This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, and for that, I apologize going a bit off topic, and focusing too much on these things. But this is again the whole "Japan is uniquely unique" concept, which is just silly.

Japanese culture is no more difficult to learn, than any other. As long as you are not a foreigner living in your own little "gaijin bubble" (having only foreign friends, eating at only the foreign restaurants, etc.), it really doesn't take too long to get acquainted with Japanese customs, and how to smoothly fit in.

Japan is a wonderful country, with an incredibly rich history and a wealth of traditions. But it is no more unique, or difficult to grasp, than any middle eastern country, African country, European country, or any other culture. .
I agree with this. That's why I carefully chose the phrase "to function in". Grasping and understanding Japanese culture is quite doable. It's internalizing the myriad social rules and operating under them smoothly which is the challenge. And it's a challenge I don't think is worth the effort, because Japanese social rules are a very tight straightjacket. My life as a gaijin in Japan is much more relaxed and easy, and I can do many things that Japanese don't just because it isn't the proper social thing to do. I knowingly and willingly cross all sorts of lines in Japanese society that natives won't. I do this understanding what I am doing. Grasping Japanese culture and social mores is one thing. Being able to operation smoothly within them is another thing entirely.

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
Budo Books, Videos, Equipment from Japan
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