I suppose things in Japan didn’t end up very conducive to cultural comparison, because what started with an all too short stint in the Japanese equivalent of St. Louis quickly devolved into a secluded lifestyle in the Japanese equivalent of Little Rock. At least, how I’ve always imagined Little Rock. Neither of these places have much in common with places I associate with “home” to begin with, which means Nagoya versus Washington is only as valid a comparison as St. Louis versus Washington or Tajimi versus Nagoya. Sadly, much of my opinion of life in Japan has been shaped by the constant presence of ignorant rubes in the town where I reside. Not to sound arrogant, but when part of a man’s self-introduction includes the fun fact, “America is the country I hate most,” it raises some questions about his validity as a representation of an average human being, but then those questions seem to be put to rest by the complete lack of reaction from anyone else in the vicinity.
Then you start asking other questions, like, “What other countries does he hate, and how long did it take him to come up with this ranked list?” And somewhere in the midst of all this wondering, it occurs to you that somewhere at any given time, someone in America is saying the same exact thing about some other country, and suddenly it also occurs to you that saying “I hate America” is only about as broad a statement as saying “I am American,” because really what does that mean beyond that I spent the first half or so of my life bombarded by commercials for Dunkaroos? And I’m only American by the same hand of fate that deemed another man Japanese and another man dyslexic. You’d be American too if you were me and I’d hate America too if I was born, raised, and for all intents and purposes trapped in Hickville, Japan my whole life wondering why we have to wear suits and use the English word for coffee even though it’s not an English concept, when all of these things practically swear allegiance to a country that, according to my history class, microwaved two whole entire cities without provocation while all of our nation’s strong men were out committing deeds of valor. You bet your ass I’d hate America, and probably even more than all the other countries I’d learned to hate for being uncooperative or strange or assertive. Yes, I feel that as long as man is restricted to the perspective presented by having a single physical body, he will hate other man. Woman, meanwhile, will be standing in the corner with her hands on her hips, tsking the night away.