字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 I feel like there’s a big gap between American, US, culture and Japanese culture when it comes to arguing with people and having strong opinions on things. Of course this is just a huge generalization! Every person is completely different. But one of the things that I noticed when I first came to Japan was the seemingly lack of strong opinions by people here. Or at least the lack of willingness to express their strong opinions. Now, this is not including arguments on the internet! You will find crazy people arguing about everything on the internet and I don't think that's a good reflection of people in real life. But before I get into Japan, I want to talk about American culture, my culture, a little bit first. I feel like my culture values strong opinions on things. Even if you don't really know much about it, or even if you don't really care about it, you’re almost expected to take sides in arguments. In our school system, at least when I went through school and I imagine it’s still pretty similar, every year in English class we had to write countless argumentative essays. An essay with an introduction, a thesis statement stating your argument, three paragraphs supporting your argument, and then a conclusion. We wrote these on all kinds of controversial subjects, from gun control, to the death penalty, to probably abortion, I don’t even remember all of them. But we were given subjects and we had to take a side and then defend that side. And the purpose was to teach us how to critically think and formulate arguments, but I think a side effect of that is that it also sort of ingrained into us that we need to take a side on arguments, whether we've really researched it well or not, or whether we even really care about it or not. And our media has always reinforced this idea that you’re either on one side or another. And society reinforces this idea. We talk about these things with our friends. People want to know where you stand. People get into arguments about it. Sometimes friendly, sometimes not so friendly. And that’s how I grew up, thinking I needed to take sides on things, that taking sides on things meant that you were intellectual. And I never really questioned that, like really questioned whether that was necessary, until I met Jun. Now I don’t want to say that Jun is Japan and that he represents Japan, but I think he is very traditionally Japanese in a lot of ways, and of course he’s the biggest Japanese influence that I’ve had on my life. And so when I used to talk to Jun about some of these things and I would ask him his thoughts and he would tell me both sides of the argument. And I would be like, “Well… what do you think?” And he would say, “I think both sides have good points.” And I would get so frustrated! I'd be like, "Take a side! What is YOUR opinion on this?!" And sometimes when I would thoughtlessly say something like, “Oh, of course ____ is bad. Like, of course plastic surgery is bad.” He would play devil’s advocate and he would ask me, “Well, why do you care so much? Why does it matter to you what they do with their own bodies? Can't they do whatever they want?” And I would be like, "What are you talking about? Of course it's bad! Everything thinks it's bad!" But it made me think. And over time I was like, “Why DO I care? It really ISN’T any of my business.” And I don’t know where the exact change was. It was probably very gradual. But eventually I just sort of stopped having a lot of these strong opinions that I used to have. I think part of it is also just growing up, I don’t feel like I need to answer to anyone anymore. If someone asks me “Where do you stand on this issue?” I feel confident enough now to say, “Meh. I don’t really have an opinion.” Which is something that I feel like would have been unthinkable for me to say as a teenager. I used to love having debates with people. Americans argue things for fun. Is Batman or Spiderman better? Uhh obviously batman is better. Is Star Wars or Star Trek better? Are you kidding me right now? We do this for fun. And I didn’t see that happening a lot in Japan. And I was like, “Why aren’t people having fun conversations like this?” And while I still think conversations like that are fun, I don't really have a lot of strong opinions on things anymore. Basically all of my opinions revolve around "It’s none of my business unless someone is hurting someone else." People ask me aaaall the time, “Rachel what do you think about this controversial subject in Japan?” like I should have a a strong opinion where I say, “Well obviously this side is right and this side is wrong.” But I don’t. Which for some reason makes some people really angry, that I’m not completely on their side and trashing the opposing side. And when I read comments like that, it's really shocking to me. This has happened a few times before. When I talked about whaling, I completely understand both sides of the arguments. I'm not really on a side. But people would write comments and they would be so angry that I wasn't COMPLETELY on their side. I was just in the middle and people didn't like that. I just, I understand where the other side is coming from, too. Like when we talked about microaggressions, I said those things don't bother me at all. I don't care if they happen to me at all. But I also don't care if it does bother someone else. People got really angry at me that I didn't completely trash those people who do get bothered by it. You want me to get angry at people? You want me to be hateful and rude toward someone else's feelings? This is really confusing to me, the idea of getting angry at someone for being in the middle. But then I remembered how much it used to bother me when Jun didn’t take my side on things, and refused to do anything but be thoughtful and neutral. So, I do remember being like that. I used to be like that. I used to feel like Jun having no opinions meant he didn’t care about things, and that it was a bad thing to not feel passionately about something. But I think that was my cultural bias. Because we really value passion. We idolize people who stand up for their beliefs. And while I still understand that, now I also see that Jun wasn’t being apathetic and indecisive… he was being thoughtful. He was being open to new ideas and recognizing that every side has reasons for feeling the way that they do. He was being a nice person. And I’ve always known Jun is a nice person. It's really obvious that Jun is a super nice person. I’ve always looked up to him for that, he’s someone I want to be like. I feel like he’s a better person than I am, and being around him helps make me a better person, too. I don’t think I’ll ever be as calm as he is, but looking back at where I used to be, compared to where I am today, I think I’ve changed a lot thanks to him. Of course we still do have opinions on some things, and I don’t want to say this is fundamentally Japanese, or anything. It always depends on the person. But I feel like it’s more common in Japan than in America—I definitely don’t see the insanely strong reactions to things here in Japan that I see in America. Again, not talking about the internet--that doesn't count. It can be hard for me to tell what is culturally Japanese and what is just Jun, sometimes, but to me I feel like he represents a lot of the best things about Japan. And I don't think I would have changed like this if I hadn't come here and met him. Thanks for watching. Bye!