A mind for the other

Japan's DNA

As Japan becomes more like any other country, it's not so easy to see clear evidence of "a mind for the other" in everyday life, but it does still influence the way people behave. This "mind for the other" stuff isn't sappy altruism; it's the legacy of a pragmatic approach to getting things done, something that grew out of very tough circumstances in centuries past. People learned the hard way that if they thought only about benefits for themselves, things didn't work out well. If you didn't support other people in need, what motivation would they have to help you out when you were in need? You only have to rewind a few decades ago in the Japanese countryside to reach a time when everyone needed a supportive community just to stay alive. Times have changed. Things are much easier now. But nobody knows what the future holds, especially in a country that is so frequently hit by natural disaster. A time of relative calm might well be the best moment to consider what makes life bearable when the going gets tough. If you want to do that, the Japanese countryside is a great teacher. It's only out there that you'll still find the essence of Japanese greatness, often in the form of a very old person with memories of bad and good old days. Listen to them now, while you still can.

by Adam F

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