JB: What was that all about, Izumi, trying to figure out how to take over the Internet?
AIZU: How to follow the game, or how to catch up is a better description.
The Japanese can play the game of catching up much better than everybody
else. The problem is, it's usually very difficult for Japanese to be the
AIZU: The Japanese tradition is importing the culture. Almost two
or three thousand years ago we started importing from China. About 150
years ago we started importing the culture from the West. We not only
swallowed this culture, but very often, almost always we changed it,
or added, or modified, and thus it's become a very unique, original.
The problem is it's sometimes very difficult to find where the real
origin of Japanese culture is. That though doesn't mean the Japanese
culture is not original. We at GLOCOM tend to make a clear difference
between the culture and civilization. Civilization is more of the actual
forms of life life styles, the use of gadgets, etc., while culture
is much more deep, and it's hard to change, even when you try consciously.
In terms of civilization, Japan can export things, like cars and VCRs,
but we never really exported the Japanese culture. Americans are now
eating sushi as part of the California cuisine. But that doesn't mean
they partake of Japanese culture.
AIZU: Or write it.
JB: Because they're not trained to speak, they don't want to be embarrassed, and you wind up in a situation where you're completely dependent on translators, and you have no idea what the translators are saying. Americans don't know what's going on and it's thus very difficult to read this culture, because what you hear may not even be what is being said.AIZU: For the Japanese speaking and writing, expressing yourself, can be embarrassing. We have difficulty exporting internal ideas to the outer world. We have a history of not having to export ideas. We just take from the outside. So we can read, we can hear, and understand English, but we haven't really cultivated expressing, or communicating, or interacting in English.