Monday, April 15, 2013

Japan: An Alien Culture

The poor writers of Star Trek try to create alien civilizations, but they really only manage to give us slight exaggerations and caricatures of contemporary Americans.  None of these aliens are so strange, though, as to be able to produce this:

Japan seems to look at the world in a completely unique way.  This should have been a warning to us:  the fact that the American occupation of Japan worked so well should have been a warning that it would certainly not work anywhere else.

Don't think, though, that Japan is crazier than any other country.  We all have our own odd characteristics; we just don't notice them, in the same way we do not usually see our own noses.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend when I came back from spending 3 months in Denmark and Germany.  I told him that nothing says "America" like two football helmets shooting lightning at each other, colliding, and exploding.  "I never noticed; it just seems so natural."  Of course he was exaggerating, but there is a sense in which this seems appropriate, in spite of the fact that it is obviously nonsense. 

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