So I’ve learned something very interesting about Japanese culture.
Every day at around 6 AM, they put exercise music on the radio, and have a prescribed set of exercises everyone in the country does. Sensei told us that children, even in the summer, go to the park and do the exercises, and get a sticker, which they can redeem at the beginning of school for a prize.
So, naturally, sensei had the brilliant idea to have us do the exercises in class.
I did not. I stood up and halfheartedly waved my arms for five seconds, and then just stood there feeling like a fish out of water while everyone else flailed around.
I’ll take the grade hit, if there is one. She found my limit.
It’s an interesting cultural phenomenon, for sure. But I’m a gaijin. I’m learning about Japanese culture, but it’s not my culture. I wasn’t brought up with that, and I don’t have to do it. So I won’t.
But I think I understand why Japanese do. Not only is the common health very important to them, but it’s a shared ceremony, which is something my country doesn’t have enough of. So perhaps it is rather telling of me that when given the opportunity (or even obligation) to participate in such a ceremony, even at work, I consistently refuse.
This is something I certainly need to dig into – it’s as if I am completely incapable at the moment of doing anything that might make me a part of a group, even a little.
But it is what it is. It’s an interesting Japanese cultural artifact, for sure. But the more I learn about Japanese culture, the more certain I am that I will never, ever set foot there. Which, again, leads to the obvious question of why I’m bothering to learn it at all.
I still don’t know.
That is all.