Explaining Japan and the Japanese is big these days. There are Japanese who specialize in explaining themselves to themselves, and have built up a cozy little subject called nihonJin-ron - but nothing to do with the American president called Ron who tried so hard to under-stand Japan in the 1980s. The nihonjin-ron seems to consist mostly of attempts to congratulate the Japanese on being Japanese, but there are those who seek to spread the word to non-Japanese, too. They usually end in failure, with an exasperated and exasperating, "You don't understand, because you aren't Japanese." But ifJapanese civilization really is so unique, why does it claim to be so, just like every other nation, race, region, cult, sect and clique in the world? How many Chosen Peoples can the world hold? Then there are foreigners who come to Japan for a couple of weeks and on their return home, like the one-eyed man in the land of the blind, become instant expens in the country and its food, language, industrial relations, ancient history, scenic beauty, attitude to religion, political philosophy, etc., etc., etc. It's difficult to say who does more damage.
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