With or without realization, some of us are nomads at heart. We travel whenever time and resources permit but we also dry travel through cultural immersion. My first exposure to the Japanese culture was around 10 years old. One of my classmates introduced me to origami, the art of paper folding. To this very day, I am still very grateful to that friend of mine. Folding my first origami chick was a struggle initially but later on it evolved into a fun filled pastime. A hobby that had captured my imagination for decades. Origami is still a favorite form of brain teaser especially when I encounter stumbling blocks in life. Solution as miraculous as origami always seem to appear out of nowhere whenever I managed to transform a single flat piece of paper into a three dimensional object.
My love affair with origami hadn’t always been a smooth joyride. For a period in my life, I was very sad to learn that using paper to create art was bad for the environment. Nowadays, I can be guilt-free to indulge in my favorite pastime as long as I use recycled paper in my creations. There are also some groups that utilize cloth in origami. This way, the same cloth can be reused in multiple origami projects.
My subsequent exposure to the Japanese culture was at the university. As a university student, I was given the opportunity to take four semesters of compulsory Japanese language classes coached by native Japanese language lecturers. Much to our relief, the scores were not taken into account for GPA calculation. While the Japanese language was not technically challenging, in the social context however, it is a language of nuances made complicated with the need to constantly read in between the lines. It is as if the Japanese language was tailored to suit the non-confrontational and secretive nature of the Japanese people.
Japanese people captivate the world with their hardworking yet mysterious presence, painstaking patriotism, creativity, innovation and most of all their ability to reinvent themselves after experiencing utter devastation during the World War II. Unknown to many, Japanese people reside in a different moral universe than the rest of the world. They were practically brainwashed since birth. During the Heian period, the golden age of the Japanese civilization, women continued to stay with her parents even after marriage. This arrangement allowed both men and women to engage in numerous extra-marital affairs.
The biggest scam in the history of mankind is that the emperor of Japan is worshipped as the head of Shinto cult, the official religion of Japan. In Shintoism, perverse sexual practices such as pornography, pedophilia and incest are not seen as a crime. In addition, Japanese Buddhism differs from mainstream Buddhism. In mainstream Buddhism, celibacy is one of the utmost important criteria observed by monks as a form of self-control in the path towards attaining enlightenment. In Japanese Buddhism, monks in certain sects are allowed to take wives. It is in a way very similar to the difference between Catholic and Protestant priests.
The reason I am writing this article is by no means to compare which race has the most refined culture or to make myself feel better by putting others down. Culture is after all both good and bad depending on one’s life choices. This article highlights the dangers of overstepping the boundaries of culture or otherwise known as cultural obsession. Perhaps it is less harmful to immerse in a culture by means of academic pursuits. When teenagers without much spiritual background pursue foreign cultures blindly, it can turn into a dangerous path towards self-destruction. Picking up pieces of your life again after such confusion comes with a price. A price that is sometimes too hefty and unnecessary.