Commentary by Hank F. Miller Jr.
The Japanese economic was at it's peak back in 1986. The country was almost as great an economic power as the U.S.A. It's now 25 years later and Japan has changed greatly after experiencing the failure of the bubble economy, the lemon shock and the Great East Japan Earthquake. With the economic success of Asian countries (especially China), the world faces a new age.While corporations from advanced countries have moved their manufacturing overseas,the economies of those nations suffer and unemployment rates have been soaring. Because of this, in place of manufacturing, many nations are seeking fresh sources of income, instead of depending on financial deals. However, as a result many nations including the USA are experiencing the same conditions Japan did after the economic bubble burst.
This year Japan's GDP ranking fell from second to third place in the world after the USA and China. Under these circumstances, Japan values have been changing. It has become apparent form surveys that the numbers of Japanese who place greater importance on a spiritually rich existence rather then materially rich life achieved within a competitive society are increasing. One of the main reasons for that is most Japanese now enjoy a comfortable standard of living.The majority of Japanese families posses basic necessities such as electrical appliances or cars,etc while facilities like railroads and convenience stores such as 7 eleven and Lawson’s for example are well developed.
Japanese are now seeking a cultural environment which will enrich their spirit.The unique quality of Japanese culture seems to lie in its refined appreciation for beauty. For instance, Japanese cuisine is not only delicious but is presented on exquisite dishes,resulting in wonderful color combinations and good manners of the waiting staff also add to its charm. Taken as a whole,these details lift dining to a new level of a beautiful work of art.
Thus the elegance of Japanese culture can be seen in traditional arts,architecture,and in manufactured goods and more. This comes from the tireless effort for improvement that is typical to the Jaanese,often reflected in the punctuality of Japan's transportation systems and in the unparalleled hospitality found in ryokan inn's across Japan. Japan's government is hoping that "Cool Japan"cultural property born out of this perfectionism will be a new source of growth following in the footsteps of the manufacturing industries.
Anime (animation) and manga (comic books and movies) is all ready well-known, and Japanese cuisine is also well received worldwide.Recently the standard of service found in hairdressers and ryokan inn's staff is also making waves abroad.
"Cool Japan"is now gaining ground overseas,especially in Europe, the USA and Asia.
The easiest way to get a taste of Japanese culture is through travel. In Japan there is an abundance of natural beauty and a great many places of historical interest which tourists can enjoy all year round. I like the fact that there are so many seemingly contradictory aspects to the country, such as traditional versus modern,or urban verses rural, that manage to coexist in relative harmony it is truly a great place to enjoy.
Warm Regards and Best Wishes from Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka,Japan
Hank F. Miller Jr. EDITORS NOTE:
HANK IS A FORMER RESIDENT OF GLOUCESTER CITY NEW JERSEY