Friday, September 17, 2010

Early impressions of Japan

I had a lot of early impressions since the very first moment I arrived in Japan in late August. One of them is portrayed by this picture. The place shown is in the middle of the Path of Philosophy (Tetsugaku No Michi) nearby green mountains on a Saturday late afternoon. Having concluded that they were coming back from school noticing their uniforms, I asked myself: “Why are they there?” I don’t remember a single time where I was at school on Saturday! This is something into which I would like to take a closer look: the Japanese thought; the Japanese way of thinking familial, social and cultural education. Kitaro Nishida used to walk on the path everyday thinking about a way to conciliate Western thought and Zen philosophy. Maybe this could help me to understand the Japanese education system!



While sightseeing in the Namba area of Osaka, I noticed these places where large windows give visible access to those people, obviously Japanese, sitting in front of electronic machines. The noises produced by them and their powerful colors caught my attention so I stayed for a while in front of what was happening. Asking to my friend what was the name of that game, he said to me “pachinko”. It may seem unusual, but it was the first time I heard this word even though I saw this game several times in movies. And apparently it is a phenomenon in Japan. I just had to walk one more minute to notice that those places are everywhere and seats are full even on weekdays. According to some information I got then, pachinko may indeed be a social and cultural phenomenon regarding the number of persons playing it and the time that can be spend by them to play. As it is shown in the picture, mostly men occupy the place. It could be interesting to look further into it.

1 comment:

  1. You have taken on two challenging subjects while exploring your early impressions of Japan. Gambling is not legal in Japan but pachinko seems to be a form of gambling. How does this work?

    A few years ago Japan relaxed its education system and students did not have to go to school on Saturdays. They were supposed to pursue hobbies and spend time with their families. Many students ended up going to cram schools because they weren't getting enough at their regular schools, especially for entrance exam preparation. Now Japan is changing its educational system again. Check out this recent article:

    I hope you continue to examine these subjects. Looking forward to your future posts.

    Please change your font size and style (and spacing) so that it is consistent within your post. Also, set the default language to English.