Monday, July 13, 2009

While Kamkura ocean-life is all about the beach, Yokohama ocean-life is all about the port. It was at Yokohama that Japan re-opened to the rest of the world and this year is the 150th anniversary of the port opening. To celebrate the 150 years, they have done some more organising of the old port area. The bit under the glass is the remains of a railroad turntable in the vicinity of the old customs house. The gaijin history of Japan part 2 really starts a few years earlier than 1859, in 1853 when the Americans arrived. The Japanese have done a remarkable job over the intervening 150 years of not absorbing American, or any other foreign culture. The root of this unique ability seems to be the belief, instilled somehow in all, that foreigners are a kind of alien species that can, by definition, never be understood. Likewise the belief is that Japanese are (culturally, mentally, and even physically) unique and likewise can never be understood by any foreigner.

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