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Have a great care in how you attempt to cast Japanese priorities into your western morals. Devotion to work is devotion to family. Selflessness is expressed via success, not conspicuous gratification. Joy is found in greatness, not triviality or distraction. Speaking of oneself in terms of happiness is very different that speaking on fulfilment.

I would actually urge any westerner to go study a semester or two of Japanese language (not culture), purely for the calm insight it can provide into the alternatives to our way of seeing, understanding, and acting upon the world.




> I would actually urge any westerner to go study a semester or two of Japanese language (not culture), purely for the calm insight it can provide into the alternatives to our way of seeing, understanding, and acting upon the world.

I have to agree with this. The first foreign language I studied was French, and it taught me almost nothing - everything was so similar to English that most things were just a matter of memorization and one-to-one conversion. I quickly lost interest.

But Japanese has been entirely different. When you speak in Japanese, the way you think is different from when you speak in a Western language, such as English. The culture is inextricably tied to the language, and if you learn the language and then get a chance to actually visit the country and use it in real-life situations, it all clicks - why the language is structured how it is, and how it shapes all of Japanese society into its unique form.




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