Entry: Comparison Japan vs UK Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Superficially there are many similarities between Japan and UK:

Usually we focus on how different Japan is (Geisha, Onsen, Manga, Shinkansen, atomic bomb history etc) - this is much publicised.

However both countries are actually remarkably similar in many ways (maybe more than between other countries, certainly more than one can expect from two countries at opposite ends of the world)

Both are
- an island nation,
- somewhat connected but at odds with its continent,
- partially successful efforts in separating from dominant cultural neighbour (UK vs US, J vs China),
- long history in same borders (since islands),
- dominant central city,
- democratic,
- punching much above its weight in industry (eg technology) and culture (eg film),
- highly ritualised society (parodied by G&S in The Mikado),
- royal family,
- culture of heavy drinking males,
- best underground,
- authoritanism (school, government),
- love of nature and gardens,
- politeness/fear of social awkwardness/panic of embarrassment,
- drive on left,
- tea
- .co.jp/co.uk etc Internet domains
- fish & chips (or rice) ;-)

Some of these similarities differ in extent (e.g. in UK the women also drink a lot, in Japan the tea is green) and some differences are being eroded over time (e.g. UK has now become a foodie nation after a grim past)

Some differences will never heal (Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles ;-)

But by and large an amazing amount of overlap and similarity !


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