Japan. What a country. I haven’t been there myself, but god I wish I could go there. It has so much that I like and I want. Sure, it may not have had a pretty past, it may have something of a collectivist culture, has a reputation of shame being a primary agent of social control, and, from what I hear, an extremely harsh prison system, but the bad can’t possibly overwhelm the good. In fact, here’s what I like about Japan.
Technology (well, mostly video games)
Japan is where lots of my favourite video games come from. Pokemon, Shin Megami Tensei, Sonic the Hedgehog, Asura’s Wrath, Dynasty Warriors, and others. I find it hard to forget the experiences provided by the games Japan brought us. I like some Western games, but over all they can’t compete. Japanese games inspire my ideas of design (I intend to be a game designer in the artistic sense, and creative director, in the future), and that’s good enough for me.
Religious culture and mythology
Japanese religious life seems to be a syncretism of Shintoism, Buddhism, and Christianity, though life is still secular. Buddhism first came to Japan from Korea in around the mid-6th century, and over time, it became a part of Japan’s culture, and the source of some awesome religious art and architecture, it has had such great appeal to me ever since. Then there’s Shinto, which also inspires equally cool religious art and architecture.
I like anime and manga, and its culture has frequently given me ideas. I’ve always appreciated anime, especially some of the famous dark anime movies from the 80’s and 90’s, and some of the brighter stuff in the modern age, and the sexy side of anime, and some action anime shows, like Bleach. Of course, some modern Japanese games feel like anime, due to presentation and voice actors, to both good and bad effect. I’m not sure where I’d be without it.
Katanas are awesome. Fact. Everyone on the Internet agrees. OK, I guess I get that from video games, but all pathways to the katana are acceptable in my eyes.
It’s mingling of “move forward” with “treasure the past”
Japan is very progressive with technology. Moving forward is definitely a thing for Japan. But from what I hear, the Japanese still respect their age-old traditions and cultures. They treasure their past and its traditions. Hell, there’s still a lot of unspoiled nature and wilderness in Japan where the cities don’t tread. We have a lot to learn from them.
I forgot to mention Japanese cuisine, ninjas, and samurai, just to get that out of the way.