West Wind, East Wind

Filed under:☽2004,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 9/14/2004 @ 1:53 am

I never thought of myself as a political person. In fact I would rather stay away from the twisting and turning of the manipulative games. I have always felt more comfortable with the good-old fashioned straight forwardness of my upbringing. True at times I can be a little too straight forward, but only because I feel that it is a waste of precious time, energy, and effectiveness to play games with people. I see this as a system where like-minded people come and stick to mutually beneficial agreements. Yet, here I am on Okinawa where the social structure and politics run hand in hand. This is a culture that originated, after much internal feuding, as an autocratic Kingdom. This led to a tradition of secrecy and plotting in order to win favor with the ruling powers. What evolved was a system of hiding one’s true thoughts and feelings and channeling that energy into one’s goal, or being gamman. Although this system lends itself to a great deal of flexibility, the problem I see with it is that one never really knows what the other person’s goal is. This leads to a lack of trust and hidden shifting of commitments from one person to another when the second person’s goals are more closely associated to what is desired. This is more commonly expressed in Western terms as “yes” doesn’t mean yes and “no” doesn’t mean no.

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