Very little gets written about this in the blogging world. Unfortunately, it takes up more than 140 characters from Twitter.
Right now, I’m kind of at a crossroads. Not sure if I will be continuing in Japan, because the work situation is pretty thin. But of course, making the big leap of going back home—with America’s 9.5% unemployment and 17% underemployment rate–doesn’t seem so appealing either.
I always hesitate to blog “anti-Japan”. I have been here for a number of years, and have met many, many really terrific people. But I have often, I should say, smelled the smells of a few contemptible people. And seen the general politics that goes on here. And it’s no stretch to say, that you’re being pushed out of Japan from almost the second or third month that you live here. It doesn’t get any easier, and it has nothing to do with whether you know the language well or not.
Japan’s relations with America rely on a set of fictions, and a certain number of people to keep them going. I think this has been the case since 1945, and it gets updated as the decades pass.
The trouble is, nowadays these myths and stories don’t make much sense anymore. So part of me wants to go home and talk about them. Publicly, in the flesh, as someone who’s lived in Japan over 5 years, and not as a corporate assignee or other elite. I am about as ordinary as they come.
But the other side of me says it’s not fair to the Japanese people who are stuck in the same bind due to the twisted corruption of the place. And then again, there are fine people at home who are put at a disadvantage because of what they don’t know about what goes on in Japan. There are America’s relations with China, which arguably our current relations with Japan get in the the way of. (After all, we didn’t have the war with China, they did.)
Has anyone in the last 10 years, never mind the last one year, actually sat down and rationalized America’s current relations with Japan? Does it make sense? Where and how?
I know in the small expat blog world, I am associated with these “work from within” notables like the people in the Foreign Workers’ Caucus and Debito Arudou. But I’m also open to the idea that these folks not only waste their time, they waste other people’s time too. It could be, that Japan committed to them over the years just enough, so that they commit to Japan’s games played against the foreigner population here. No, not sell out, but a different math equation.
There is a real lack on the internet of objective, frankly anti-Japan commentary. Material that says, why are labor and contract issues so difficult? Why is our military made into a bogeyman while the U.S. taxpayers continue to shell out so much in support of it? What exactly is the corporate governance of American multinationals doing business in Tokyo, the Kantou region, and other areas of Japan?
I don’t want someone else’s agenda. “Join us, and fight from within to change things for all!!” That is a lot of bullshit, and you can really only sell it to people who haven’t been around for five years. I want to see the analysis, done by either IRS or some credible nonprofit, as to the kind of money the U.S. Treasury—via tax breaks—is shoveling into Tokyo. I’d like to know, someday, what Temple University Japan actually costs the Pennsylvania residents. (I highlighted that one a year ago and am not holding my breath for an answer. Especially out of Temple.)
I’d like to know how many Japanese benefit from the U.S.-Japan totalization treaty versus how many Americans. Why does Japan continue to allow the alternative “private insurance” scam to continue, fully one year after it’s been pointed out widely over the Japan expat net? Things like that, which I’ve blogged about, and where you should be able to get an answer from someone.
It was pointed out to me that the Chinese are beginning to do much more news reporting in English, including about Japan. I wonder if they will inevitably set up English commentary websites to go with their reporting.