Easy Come Easy Go

Filed under:☽2004,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 11/5/2004 @ 7:51 am

Well I guess it’s time to explain something. As I said, I came to Okinawa as an AF dependent daughter, age 17, in my last year of highschool. I was one of the most rose-colored glasses people you will ever meet. All you have to do is read my senior yearbook to see that. Life> on Okinawa tends to drain all of that hopefulness, enthusiasm, and tendency to see things on the bright-side away from a person. You can spend years trying not to be the ugly American and doing it the “right” and “acceptable” way, whether logical or not. If you are unfortunate to be too good-hearted a person over here, family, friends, neighbors, just about everyone is constantly after you for what they can get out of you. Eventually all that takes a toll and you reach a culture crash (yes crash not clash!). And trust me, because I have been through it already, this is when all the leaches begin to strike. If one is lucky, they get past the crash and try to remain as open-minded and positive towards life as this culture will allow a foreigner to be.
If I were to describe the majority of locals that I have experienced since 1974 in two words, the words would be histrionic and salespeople. Because of the limited amount of manufacturing and other big business on the island, the majority of the islanders are entrepreneurs. Everything they do has some aspect of business in it. Although this culture is supposed to have been influenced greatly by Buddhism, they didn’t seem to grasp the “middle road” philosophy except when it comes to mixing business and pleasure. Almost everything else they do is to one extreme or the other. Another thing that seems to be lacking in the culture is responsibility for one’s own actions. Because of the social structure, what happens is one or two children in the family, hardly ever the oldest son anymore, end-up finacially supporting every hair-brained idea the parents and non-responsible siblings manipulate them into. If you come into all of this from total inexperience in the culture, you tend to be used to help in the family plot of schemes. Over the years all of those ill concieved plots begin to crumble and then everything comes flying back to those good-hearted children and their families. Over here, a person is always confronted with a pack of people just waiting for any opportunity to take advantage of a situation, usually for their own financial gain. It is almost like watching a pack of wild dogs go after injured large game.
I must add, there are some very nice people over here who are sincere, well-intentioned, and truely wanting nothing more than friendship, but it is a rare occasion when I stumble upon them.



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