JAPAN: IMPRESSIONS OF A VISIT

upa-admin 22 Şubat 2014 1.552 Okunma 0
JAPAN: IMPRESSIONS OF A VISIT

“Conquering oneself and adhering to what is good within – this is true humanity. We are the ones to decide if we are to be humane or not”.

It is not incidental that I start this article with the quote from Confucius, the eminent Chinese thinker and founder of Confucionism. More of an ethic-political movement than a religion, Confucionism came to Japan from China, just like the Buddhism. In Japan, Confucionism has a peculiar ideological and moral influence.

World’s third largest economy – Japan – mesmerized me the most with its exotic courtesy. Throughout my visit, the only lingering idea I had was, “God, I admire the sheer extent of politeness that has been bestowed upon this nation”. It was fascinating to witness how regardless of one’s status or position, the people acknowledge one another and revered each other by bowing, almost folding in two, that is. Once process of reverence is completed, they nevertheless keep that person in sight and do not rush to return to their upwards stance. Since it is impolite to straighten yourself up before the other person does, both individuals involved, carefully examine one another.

Everyone wears a smile… Should a Japanese person encounter problem or sadden, personal feelings are not to be exposed. Adversity of this person must be concealed for others because the true Japanese want not to burden others with individual grievances.

Modesty… I have come to realize that modesty and enormousness converge at the same pinnacle here. As if Japan wanted to prove that it is great owing to its very modesty. Throughout the course of a seminar organized for MFA representatives from the CIS countries and meetings held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other institutions and technical centers, I have better realized the essence of modesty. Without proper introduction one can hardly distinguish between the head of a particular institution and its janitor. Even a uniform worn by absolutely every employee of a production facility we visited bore no insignia to tell apart the chief of the facility from its ordinary labor force.

Upon my arrival to Narita International Airport I was greeted by a Foreign Ministry representative and a guide, who after general welcoming, started their country introduction by saying, “We, the Japanese, take garbage home, if we find it on the street”. Although I chose not to ask, I was compelled by the question as to why anybody would take garbage home, if there were trash cans in public places. The answer to my question came after I walked about the city’s streets. There is no need for trash cans because people simply do not litter. Tidiness and order was ubiquitous; not only on the main avenues but also the backstreets that hardly see any human presence. There were no signs of dust or mud.

People demonstrate utter esteem and patience towards one another and rigorously follow the rule of a queue. They constantly apologize, seemingly afraid to hurt feelings of others. To me, this was an apex of kindliness.

The following experience during the visit enabled me to further acquaint myself with these people. As we took a bullet train from Hiroshima to Kyoto and indulged ourselves with the sightseeing of the city, I realized that gloves and mobile phone of mine were forgotten on the train. I was very frustrated because apart from everything else, I used my mobile device as a camera; hence, it contained all the pictures I had been taking in Hiroshima. I informed the guide about my misfortune. He listened patiently, and said he would do his best in trying to retrieve the lost items. He then telephoned someone and provided necessary information. Yet he made no promises, given that the Japanese consider promise a pledge. If indeed made, the Japanese would even sacrifice their lives to honor that pledge.

To my surprise, less than an hour later our guide informed me that my phone was found. As we have arrived to the train station to board the train for Tokyo he has emerged with my belongings, delivered to me in a colorful envelope, while repeatedly apologizing for the troubles. That was the Japanese system. These people do not have their eyes set on other’s property, nor do they lust for it.

With distinctive imprint that my visit to Japan and my experience had left in my memory, I was nonetheless equally troubled. The West today aims to impose its values upon the world and almost threatens to punish those who reject them. The Western model, centered on those values, appears unacceptable for the bearers of other civilizations. Therefore, instead of harmony, the West, with its cold, indifferent human attitude, position towards all religions outside of Christianity, and dismissal of the values of other cultures, sets the world on a collision course.

Conversely, in the Orient, most doctrines and faiths are based on humanist relations and mutual respect. Since this notion of mutual respect is yet to prevail in the system of relations dominated by the West, the chances of bloody wars are only growing. If the West indeed seeks for salvation of the humanity it must embrace and respect values of others.

Perhaps, that is why, for centuries, Japan shut its doors to the world, aspiring to protect its moral values from the outside evils… Great and powerful is the nation that preserves its national spirit and moral values and is capable of passing it on to the next generations.

Saadet RAHIMLI

Kaynak: Newtimes.az

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