As somebody who is born in the 80’s, the era of my upbringing was mainly focused the 1990’s. This is where I learned about values and how the world worked… or at least it helped me shape the view point of what the world’s ideal should be.
This is also the era where I moved in between cultures…. specifically of those in between Japan, United States and the UK. As somebody who is only trying to grow up, get myself ready for society, I never had any questions… well in reality I had lots of questions, but I always had the chance to perceive and understand what was right for me.
the biggest influence I got from this decade were those of cultures of US and UK. As US being my birth country, and also the place where I really learned to “mold” my character and persona, and UK was the motherland of my foundational thinking, and of course the principles of the English language.
I never actually compared the 3 countries’ cultures, for some reason I always felt as though I had the best of times, where ever I went. Some people say life is a journey, but it was something more modest than that, it was probably more like continuous rounds of “trips” , trips where I’d find new places and new people living their own normal, humble lives. Never had I thought for a moment of comparing the cultures, at least not in a way to make an comparison of “which is better or worse”. As we have colors and shapes… and for some vibes and that beyond, different cultures utilized different colors and shapes to present the different things.
It wasn’t until I landed back to Japan in the year 1997. It was great to be back in the same community after about 8 years time, and I was eager to learn about the culture just like all the other cultures, because that was actually the thing that I had al\ways done, but here I felt something different…. it was as though nobody really liked their own culture. Everyone wanted to be total peace and harmony, yet they wanted to learn about individuality, and though everything is about “peace and harmony”, not many people went out of their way to help out people in need of assistance, or even just a small nod, acceptance, or just a “hi”, and there was a lot of misunderstanding of American culture. There were probably many aspects that played part in this happening… mainly the horrific war in the first half of the 20th century, but in the current times… as of the year 2020, there are not as many people who remember the exact time that the war was happening. The scar wounds of the horrific aftermath is about to be put to an end.
When comparing the cultures. In Japan, it was to just “let it be”, just don’t see, touch, or feel about anything around you… this was the way of harmony in Japan. In England, everything was about compliance and following orders, and of course looking out for your peers and colleagues seemed to be the norm, what ever the reason, people always wanted to be respectful to each other. In America, the story of the 90’s was definitely about diversity, and portraying the uniqueness of each and every individuality. It was also an era where it seemed that the long dispute between the “white race” and the “black race” had taken a big turn in American society, where black culture seemed to be dominant American culture in aspects like sport, music and entertainment… at least where I lived. Everyone had seemed to live for a equal rights and always trying to find a way to be “civil” or just trying to find and help out individual rights and bringing out the potential in every one of them. None of this movement in America was actually talked about in Japan… it was only “sold” in forms, again of entertainment, mainly movies. So the fact was that efforts made in the US of trying to get rid of the race rivalry in the US… or in any other part of the world was never to be told. There was also another factor that played in this… Japanese people just wanted to be “Japanese”… but this is a story where most Japanese people have a hard time grasping… is it the place we live? place of birth? the mandatory education system? or the family lineage? It’s something that most Japanese people still have not figured out for themselves, nor is the this possibly dispute discussion be laid out on the table even till this day.
As we are now living in an era, where virtually anything is possible.. thanks to the utilization of technology, it is important to keep our eye on what’s important; starting with our individual selves and all the people around us. I personally really cherish the 90’s, is it because I actually lived that era? Possibly. But more than that I believe it was one of those transitive periods, where “convenience” and “inconvenience” met and worked hand in hand with each other. The best part of life are always the time of transition; the time of change… or just opening up new gates. As being a grown Japanese man, I would personally like to open the new gates with the utmost respect or “礼のこころ (Feeling of appreciation and gratitude)”, and revisit and re- learn from the gates of time called the past. And as a consequence we are truly able to feel the moment.
It’s never a bad idea to look back to your upbringing and contribute to the current society by sharing parts of it with the people you adore.