Something Familiar Yet So Different

After spending an evening in the Gion district of Kyoto, when one sees a geisha or maiko for the first time walking down an alley, it quickly becomes clear to any outsider that Japan is a place far removed from their own country. Yet a shopping trip on a sunny day in Shibuya may give foreigners from 'modern' countries a nostalgic reminder of being in a city at home.

Speaking with America as a frame of reference, Japan is an anomaly of mixing tradition with 'modern' ideas from around the world. How businessmen pace themselves to and from work is strongly reminiscent of the modern American white-collar worker. And yet the life of a Mahayana Buddhist monk could not be further from what we accept as normal.

This section is an attempt to explain the differences and similarities between Japan and America by focusing on exploring Japanese 'tradition' and 'culture'. Hopefully readers will accept what they see here with an open mind and utilize this info which is the result of my studies and observations. I cannot speak for a race, nor can I ever attempt to fully comprehend it as an outsider. But as an American speaking to Americans, I hope to relate my findings to you as best as possible.