Monday, January 25, 2010

We're Not All Gun-totin' Maniacs

In yesterday's post I tried to address some misconceptions people have about Japan. Now, in the spirit of international relations, I'd like to address the Japanese on some misconceptions they have about the West, and the US in particular. These are all things I have personally experienced in my travels.

1. We're all Christians
I wonder where Japan got the idea that we're an overwhelmingly Christian nation? Could it be the President saying "God bless America" every chance he gets? I can understand how such a thing could come to pass, but let's not forget our religious freedom. And that also means freedom from religion.

2. We're all gun owners
Again, I understand. The world sees kids shooting up American schools on the news. But to turn this one around, from the sensationalist news reports I've seen, all Japanese carry around axes and knives to cut up their girlfriends, fathers and English teachers.

3. We all like sports
I am a pariah because I don't like sports. Actually this is pretty much universal. Maybe in France I could find good, sports-hating company.

4. We can't eat Japanese food
Sorry, friends in Japan. I hate to break it to you but your cuisine isn't all that weird. We've been eating raw fish over here for decades now. What else is there, rice and mushrooms? I think I can manage.

5. We can't use chopsticks
Again, been doing it a long, long time. The funny thing is, Chinese people don't think twice about Westerners using chopsticks. Of course they can, it's a useful tool. The next time someone praises me for using chopsticks I'd like to praise them for using a knife and fork.

6. We live amidst horrible violence
I have heard stories from young Japanese people about their parents being terrified to let them go to war-torn America. Killing in the streets! Mass confusion! I think Afghanistan and Iraq might actually be safer than the scenario they imagine for America. But compared to super-safe Japan, I suppose anything else must seem like a war zone.

7.We're loud, selfish and rude
OK, they've got on this one.


  1. mmmmm.....I don't know about Japanese cuisine though since not only sushi, yakitori,okonomiyaki,ramen, curry are Japanese food,,,,,no.

    What about nattou?? I've never met any Americans who is willing to eat this. But we LOVE it and eat this daily.
    We have some weird shit that many people don't even know because I can't find it here in the U.S. You know, the kind of thing you eat daily at your home but never seen it restaurant or any market because we know Americans are not going like it.....or maybe it's just hard to find ingredients.

    and yeah! of course all Americans have guns!!!

  2. OK, natto is kind of weird, but compared to the weird food other countries it's nothing, like the fermented shark they bury in the ground in Iceland, or that super stinky Chinese tofu. I know there are some odd vegetables in Japanese cuisine too, but you rarely eat bugs (like Korea and China), you don't eat your monkeys, etc. I still stand by original statement. ^_^