Stereotypes are a part of all of us, for better of for worse, and when we hear that a person is from a certain country we’re likely to call up preconceived images of what that place is like, even making judgements about the person based on this limited information. We know these images are highly subject to error, of course, but it can be hard to revise your way of thinking. Before I came to Japan, I imagined an extremely high-tech country where everyone performed their jobs with meticulous efficiency. In reality, there’s plenty of “low-tech” present in everyday life here, a fact the J-List staff is reminded of every afternoon when we hear the old man driving around our neighborhood selling stone-baked sweet potatoes. Japan often has little use for efficiency, and when it’s time for J-List to make our monthly payment to our local bank, our banker comes to our office to pick it up himself rather than us sending it directly to their account, which is done to preserve the old-timey feeling of of community banking, or something. Below is a fun image by a Japanese artist showing famous stereotypes of Japan by foreigners…although since he’s expressing his own stereotyped views of what we love about Japan, it’s quite an interesting image to analyze. (The full-sized version of the picture is on the J-List Tumblr if you want it.) So what are your stereotypes of Japan?
It’s fun to explore our stereotypes.