Coming from a foreign culture, one of the things a person gets accustomed to is the varying view of human relationships. Some people over here consider relationships a “human bank” concept. One makes deposits in a relationship in hopes of gaining a profitable return in the future. There is some merit in this idea. After all, if everyone only placed positive deposits in relationships there would be a lack of disharmony and disagreement in those relationships. In reality, however, few people agree one-hundred per cent on everything. Most relationships are based on common interests with friendly interaction (or positive deposits) having varying degrees of disagreement with unfriendly interaction (or negative deposits) in side areas of interest. While taking sociology classes in college, I even once learned it took approximately twelve or thirteen positive images to erase the affects of one negative image. If this is true than relationships, according to the “human bank”, theory are the balance of positive and negative deposits between individuals in everyday life. Even if a person builds up a large account of positive deposits it only takes a few negative deposits to wipe out the account (or lack of trust). And if a person builds up a large negative balance (lack of trust), it would be extremely difficult to make enough positive deposits to end up with a balanced account (or the benefit of doubt) in the relationship. And it would be almost impossible to end up with a positive account (or trust).
On Okinawa fads seem to govern the masses, whatever is the new thing rules until the next new thing comes along. Whatever that current fad is, there are always people who try to jump on the wagon. Is there an understanding of the difference between really liking something that one has no say in and being obsessed with something one has no say in?
Recently an old custom has begun to reemerge in our neighborhood. For the past several weeks I have heard various vendors peddling their goods through a speaker as they drive through the area. The services range from hot sweet potatoes to recyclable goods pick-up to mesh screen repair. Thirty years ago this almost non intrusive means of peddling services and goods was common place. In fact one of the services offered was the exchange of used recyclable newspapers for toilet paper. I remember housewives running to the truck with their stacks of papers not unlike American children who had been anticipating the local ice cream truck. This means of block to block sales is much more pleasant than the door to door sales method. The peddlers usually softly announce their service over a microphone in melodic rhythms. If someone wants to partake in the service being offered, they go to the street and wave the vendor down. This way no unwanted interruption of the day occurs. I am pleased to see this style of sales still remains active on the island.
Here it is the season of Easter bunnies, chicks, and baskets. This is one holiday the locals and the Japanese businesses really haven’t picked-up on yet. I find that a little surprising since I think Easter egg hunts would be just up their alley, as far as family entertainment for the kiddies. Anyway I hope everyone has a very enjoyable weekend.
Okinawans have very many charming sayings. Some of which are “Children are for playing, money isn’t;” “Once we have talked we are friends;” and “A smooth talker is no good.” But if you talk once to a person who is a smooth talker, is that person a friend who is no good? What if you talk to the smooth talker many times? Does that make the person a close friend who is no good? Is there a word in the local dialect for acquaintance? I haven’t been able to find that particular phrase.
Since there really isn’t a pet peeve on a weekly basis that hasn’t been discussed previously, I will be posting peeves as they occur. Accordingly, the name of this category is being changed from Really!!!© – Pet Peeve of the Week to Really!!!© – Pet Peeve.
With the weather being in the usual in and outs of the season, Taki and I were able to take a road trip a few days ago. We drove up north to Eco Park. The flowers weren’t quite in full bloom as we strolled amongst the busloads of elderly visitors viewing the multicolored plantings. As we drove back from the park, I caught a glimpse of rows of spinning wheels not unlike that of an infant’s carousel spinning above its crib. When I was finally able to clearly identify what was spinning round and round, it brought back memories of a simpler time on Okinawa. Each wheel had rows of squid pinned to it as it twirled in the basking sunlight. This is how the locals of this town still make the popular snack surume (sun dried squid). The simplicity of it all reminded me of times when we would go down south for winter concerts and one of the enjoyments of the day was when we could get a hold of tin foil wrapped barbequed cob of corn or hot sweet potatoes to warm-up our chilled hands, and we would all huddle into groups to try and block the blistering north winds and munch down as music blared in the back ground. It is always heart-warming to see the parts of Okinawa that some may call countrified or country hicks; to me those small simple remnants of the past are what give Okinawa its charm.
I realize that the younger generation is more accustomed to the usage of curse words in everyday life. But is it really necessary to use such language when seated next to young 4 and 7 year old children. That is exactly what happened when a father brought his young aspiring guitarist to listen to the band last weekend. Can’t the X generation hold off on vulgarities for even a little while?
Last night I read an article in an English language Japanese newspaper that discussed the Japanese female view of youthfulness and adulthood. The article raised some interesting thoughts. Somehow the article seemed to hit a note in my observations of the local society. In Japan is youthfulness viewed merely as a state of physical appearance and outward childish behavior? Is being an adult viewed as a status where females substitute the direction of consumerism from inexpensive bobbles to “prove” their maturity by displaying expensive trinkets? Or, on the other hand, is youthfulness a state of mind where a person retains the inquisitiveness of a child constantly seeking a better understanding of the world that they live in? And maturity merely a progression of the mental state where a person has learned to apply past experiences to their and society’s advantage when facing the challenges of life?
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