Lost Japan Summary

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Japan’s outside perspective has changed over the past few decades as an industrial and economic power; however, many people seem to misinterpret the cultural history that is the backbone to Japanese society. Alex Kerr reflects on his experiences of travelling throughout Japan, from school as a teenager to exploring the vast Iya Valley in Shikoku. Through his journey, he is able to gain perspective on how different each sub-culture is within Japan, while also noticing the similarities that have been established in the Japanese cultures for thousands of years. In Lost Japan, Alex Kerr discovers the beauty of Japan’s people and the culture they live in, while also recognizing the flaws in its people as they drive more towards commerce and forget…show more content…
When applying for college or for a job, you need to stand out, otherwise you do not hone the skills necessary to prosper in that school or company. However, Japan is the contrary with regards to individualistic society. Although not the most collectivistic society in relation with other Asian countries, Japan’s is still relatively low in comparison with the United States. Japanese people tend to be reserved in the business culture (Hofstede). They focus on the collective group aspect to achieve a common goal within a company, rather than have personal gain to rise up the corporate ladder, of which seems imperative to do in the United States. Loyalty to the company is an important aspect for Japanese people, while Americans tend to job hop wherever there is more money or potential to make more money. In relation to Alex Kerr’s experience, he discusses the norms of educational society in Japan, of which can adhere to the business culture as well. He states, “the Japanese educational system aims to produce a high average level of achievement for all, rather than excellence for a few… Being average and boring here is the very essence of society, the factor which keeps the wheels of all those social systems turning so smoothly” (96). Companies in Japan believe education is not…show more content…
Personally, I would have trouble with the education system. Encouraging students to not stand out would be difficult for me to adjust to. Since being in United States education systems, I have learned to be the complete opposite, therefore I would to readjust vastly in order to adapt to their culture. Although education is one factor, I believe the most important adjustment would be socially. Focusing on how I can develop and enhance my perspective socially would ensure my respect and interest in the Japanese culture. Communication and keeping an open mind to trying their own set of norms, such as social activities or daily routines, would allow me to quickly be part of their culture in order for future endeavors. In order to prepare myself for such endeavors, I would need to do more extensive research on the current common practices, both socially and in business, to provide the necessary information when I arrive. However, I believe interaction with others and diving into the culture first hand will provide me with the tools necessary to live in a different culture. I used a similar tactic when living in Barcelona, Spain for four months this past year. I found directly immersing myself with the people and speaking the language every chance I could made my experience much more enjoyable and memorable. I believe that doing the same thing, if I were to go to Japan, would be just as effective and

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