Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Japan's endurance culture

Last month a Japanese friend who has emigrated to Brazil came to visit our family. Her parents emigrated to Brazil decades ago in pursue of a more care-free life style, and now their daughter in her thirties, still single, spent time every year visits her home town for a few days each time, and then takes time to do other travels en route. This year she chose Hong Kong as one of her travel stops. Temperamentally she is more like any big-heart Brazilian, but she certainly knows a lot about Japanese culture and has learned how to deal with it without being out-casted, for one simple reason, as she said, she has to deal with her relatives whose home she stayed every time when she was in Japan.

She talked about losing the War is a blessing in disguise for Japanese, otherwise Japanese nowadays will be very arrogant and myopic - looking down upon other Asians. Some of her German friends expressed the same sentiment, she told me.

We talked more about Japan's endurance culture. It is like, winning is not the key issue in any endeavor; the ability to endure grave pain (or suffering) is the real test to become noble and respectable in Japanese culture.  There are many examples. Today there are karate masters who proud to have rough skin/bones and deformed fists through the toughest training regimes. And proud to be able to punch forcefully and be able to endure similar powerful punches that will cause a lot of pain. Yet, in their daily lives they are kind gentlemen and would not (and did not) engage in street fights even when provoked.  Professional Sumo training/tournaments is one of the toughest sports. But when Yokozuno  Asashoryu was found breaking the nose of a bartender in a minor scuffle after a few drinks, he was made retired.

My Japanese friends told me that it is also the same within a family! Back home, she has to be seen to endure some sufferings! No wonder Japanese salarized men would not dare going home immediately after work. The wife would probably say, "Why didn't you make yourself suffer from overtime work!" And I am not joking....

Retired yokozuna Asashoryu

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