Shiny happy people

First of all, if you know the post reference and picture, I’m sorry. That song makes me cringe.

My blog can sometimes look like I am hating Japan. That’s really not true at all. I fit in quite well actually. My wife thought I hated Japan at first because of the complaining I do. Then we moved to South Carolina and I did the same thing there. It’s just me venting a little, and I do mean a little. In real life I would just shrug my shoulders and say “oh, well” and let the problem slide. An unfortunate part of humanity is that the bad always comes to the forefront of your mind. It shames me to say this, but when I was a student teacher, I can remember the names of the handful of students who were problems, but I can’t name a single kid who was really cool or just on task. So to try to counteract this, today’s post is about some of the things I love about Japan.

1) reading time

I give the Japanese education system a lot of flak, but they do have positive points. One that I love is the first half hour of school is reading time. Anything is ok, even manga. What a fantastic and simple way to improve literacy.

2) physical fitness is a thing

Japan puts a lot of stock into PE and eating healthy. Even though I think PE is non academic and has no place in affecting academic standing, I can not deny that it is an important life skill.

3) no feeling of entitlement

I have watched many interviews with the homeless of Japan. What do they want? Jobs. What should the government do? Not a damn thing. They don’t want federal money, they would rather earn it. I haven’t done my own study, but this is what is overwhelmingly apparent from English translated interviews.

4) public housing

Public housing in the US = gang bangers, drug dealers, thieves and crack heads. I know because I used to live in public housing. Mixed in with that group are people that just need a little help to get by. In Japan it’s the opposite. It’s a well managed community with fully functional citizenry. Public housing in Japan also has a required compliment of businesses that are all within walking distance; Doctors, dry cleaners, super markets, play grounds, and a post office. I don’t know how the government gets those private businesses to build there, but there they are. I am guessing subsidies…

5) the McDonalds guy

I hate McDonalds in the US. In Japan it’s awesome! The food looks like what is advertised, the food is well prepared, and unbelievably, the staff are really well motivated and friendly. They even deliver, and the food is still fresher than the average US store. When the driver comes to my house, they immediately get on their knees and begin to abase themselves as they give you the food. It’s almost embarrassing.

6) seasonal items

Some items you can only get at certain times of the year. It sounds stupid at first, but I actually prefer it now. The items are fresher and because it’s a limited time it’s much easier to savor.

7) mass transportation. Not just for loonies.

Buses and trains are clean and unbelievably efficient. A car is just a luxury really. It’s easy to get by without one. If you live in the sticks, you may need one, but I don’t.

8) internet delivery

Everyone delivers. Even the supermarket delivers. American chain restaurants often have an English internet order site were you can order your food without going through the hassle of calling up. For the supermarket, I would naturally expect everything would be stuff that regular shoppers wouldn’t choose. That is not the case though, the quality is quite good actually. I suspect that with the Japanese emphasis on quality, low quality goods would ruin the reputation of the shop.

9) The day at work program

This is another thing I love about the education system in Japan. For one day, students choose a business they would like to work for. Then, they call those companies and ask if it is feasible. Some say yes and some say no, but assuming yes, the students will go to that company for the day and actually work. Obviously it’s monitored and in some cases, just training. An example of training is for when kids choose the fire department. They obviously don’t really go out and put out blazes. The real life work experience is just such a worthwhile event, but I think the US is far too litigious for such a learning experience to occur.

There is more out there, but this is what comes to mind at the moment.

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