Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tokyo - take it or leave it /Ch.15 Ignorance


What would you say to people's oblivion to even domestic news beyond just entertaining and 'cute'? 
Tokyo people mostly have no idea what's happening in the country or even their own city, beyond tabloid level highlights. Younger generation (~ 30s) rarely watches TV or browses through the news online (not to mention how poorly it's represented in Japanese by mainstream media, bought & sold to the owners controlling every breath they take).
Strangely enough, locals are only interested in extremely local information spec leaving out any 'uncomfortable' events, like let's say related to sensitive issues of politics, gender inequality, and lately nuclear energy.

News about the outside world is largely unrequited as unnecessary (unless somehow connected with Japan). Knowledge about anything outside Japan except for the few cliches is abysmal due to inadequate education and total lack of interest about anything beyond the border except for immediate entertainment (like sports events and such). 
So called 'graduates' from top Japan universities, employed by the top companies and public institutions exhibit less knowledge or interest in any international or domestic affairs than pupils in my own 6th grade geography and history classes. 

Shocking as it is, the situation doesn't stop to surprise when 'elite' universities grads are vaguely aware of WWII (not knowing even what was Japan's part in it beyond some primitive TV period drama completely lacking any historic realities),  haven't even heard of WWI (mentioned in their Business English text) or what was Japan position then. 

Surprisingly, all the local areas seem to remember rather minuscule in importance  squabbles between various prefectures dating hundreds of years back but still inciting a deep distrust to the point of them never 'inter-merry' even now, in 21century.
Extreme local always topples anything else in importance, making the phrase 'we, Japanese' (regularly addressed at foreigners) particularly shallow and hypocritical.

You'd think the capital will be another story, with all the people in the mix and all the promises of internationality. 
You'd be sadly mistaken. 
As this 'capital' is just a patchwork of local towns with constant influx of thousands of newcomers from around the country that only identify themselves with their birth place, this is not to be.

Few people are well travelled and knowledgeable, mostly of the older generation, 60+. But the flow has been steadily declining since 2000, as fewer and fewer youngsters show any interest in studying or working abroad, even with enough finance or sponsored by the companies citing all the 'inconveniences' (mainly related to food and language).

Any interest in outside world is rapidly shrinking despite any promises globalization may offer. That's why after decades of pointless attempts at 'learning' English through the decades of outdated practices, with teachers lacking basic English skills themselves and somehow paid for this fiasco of a job, and without any interest in actual events in English-speaking countries this capital (as the rest of the country except for the immediate tourist zones) remain obliviously unchanged and still is somehow surprisingly aspiring to 2020 Olympics. 
Good luck, visitors! You are going to need it.

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