I have less than twenty-four hours on this continent, then I leave for a month.
I went in to work today, but only to give two tours. One was to a girl from Pennsylvania. I asked where in Pennsylvania, as if I had any idea. She was interested in environmental studies, and is studying in Chile this summer. I told her, basically, she needs to come here. It's like she was made for Augsburg.
After work (12:30), I went back upstairs and cleaned for two hours. Then, I finished reading the book Japan in Transformation, which I got from the library. I learned that Japan's flag is controversial, and wasn't actually adopted as the national flag until 1999. The reason is that the flag is associated with Japan's militaristic past, which is sort of a taboo subject among Japanese.
Overall, the book was a good read. I also learned a bit about the U.S. occupation after World War II.
Up until this year, I knew hardly anything about Japan as it really is. Additionally, I didn't grasp the implications of what I did know. Take anime/manga for example. The treatment of women can be likened to Western pornography, bordering on rape in extreme cases. Yet the sexual environment in Japan is such that such things are accepted. Of course, people revolt against the messages anime and manga send, but for the most part, the situation is a way of life.
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the whole thing. On one hand, I appreciate Japan's openness with sexuality (I wish sex as an issue wasn't so taboo in the U.S.). On the other, I feel I should be upset at the portrayal of women as toys.
Some things to think about...