I didn't write about "that place" (USA) because, after living in a peaceful and civilized country (Japan) for so many years, and watching the USA turn from the world's worst aggressor nation into the world's worst aggressor nation and fascist police state, I've come to despise everything about the USA. And make no mistake about it, America has become what it has and that is the fault of average Joe-blow Mr. & Mrs. America.
As Ted Rall writes:
"For all the admirable qualities of the American people - love of rock 'n' roll, deep-fried food, and hugely impractical cars, and ridiculous movies featuring numerous explosions - Americans are not the smartest. They are an easily confused lot."
They've also let their country go to hell while still believing that everything is OK.
My friend asked me why I didn't write about my visit in detail this time and I thought to myself, "what can I say that I haven't already said?" In 2005, I wrote an article entitled "America is Bankrupt" which Lew Rockwell told me was the #2 most read article on his web site for that year... When I wrote that article, I got blasted by many Americans saying that I was wrong. If you read that article now, it sounds like "same old same old" nothing special or nothing new. I told him that I have nothing good to say about America so it's just best for me to ignore the dead.
Japan blows the USA away for a great place to live. There's a million and one things about Japan that is better than the USA and much more free than the USA. The USA is a busybody nanny state.
I won't go into specifics. Why bother? I've done that a hundred times.
Here's a short vignette by my friend who is from San Francisco and living in northern Japan. Read this and think deeply about what is being said. It is about freedom and the fabric of society. If you understand this, then you can see why Japan is a much better place to live than the USA.
Here is his letter:
Went to the beach with my 9 year old and 2 of her friends this Sunday afternoon. It was a warm day and the beach wasn't crowded. No cops anywhere in sight; the lifeguard was there, but hidden from view and totally unobtrusive.
I drank a can of ice cold beer that I bought at the corner liquor store a block from the beach. Just one can. No one said a word about it.
The children went in the ocean and I kept an eye on them. Everyone was well behaved on the entire beach. No loud radios, drunks, bums, or slobs. No trash. No one allowing their dog to run around unleashed and harass people.
An 8-ish year old girl shows up with a 2-ish year old looking child, probably siblings. The 8-year-old wraps the child up in towels just like a Japanese mother would do, to keep the sun off the child's skin. I looked closely to see, yet no parents are in sight. The older child places the younger child in an inner tube and they spend several hours floating around and enjoying themselves. Another Dad and I take turns keeping an eye on the nearby children, but they never need to be admonished, playing respectfully together and laughing. When I go in the water I leave my valuables in a waist pouch on the beach, with no fear at all that anyone would steal anything.
We all wash off at the public beach shower and walk home. Stopping for ice cream along the way. At 5PM, a friend of my 9-year-old rides her bike home, about a 15 minute ride to the other side of town.
Admittedly, it's not exciting like Tokyo and I hope you are still awake.
If you read between the lines, you may understand how this vignette represents a very particular way of life in many respects. It would be easy to contrast this to my experiences in America, many of which were good as I lived in San Francisco, a most beautiful part of the world.
There's more to this letter, but in each paragraph, there's a list of mundane everyday things that are done in civilized, sane countries yet they cannot be done in the USA anymore.
The USA the freest nation on earth? How wonderful it is to be overweight, drugged out, addicted to TV and seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.
Read the rest of this letter and more wonderful insight at Andy's Japan Adventures: http://andysjapanadventures.blogspot.com/
About the only reason I scratched Japan off my list of countries I might move to from the unitedstate (from what I can determine) is not being able to own a gun.
From reading this blog entry it seems like I might not need one there.
Have you ever felt you needed one there?
Another stumbling block was, I felt it was necessary to be able to speak And be able to read and write in Japanese to work there.
Is that a good rule of thumb?
Last weekend I didn't drive to the bar without my seatbelt on because my wife reminded me with a pleading/unhappy voice that the fine was increased from $50 to about $100.
I forgot my cigarettes so I didn't get to try smoking in a bar.
Before I left I wanted to go outside near the door to be with the People who are forced to go outside if they want to smoke.
Just for kicks and in a half-hearted manner as I went outside I asked the bartender what the rules were, if I could take my beer with me or not.
He said it was against the rules but it would be ok this time. I guess that $1.00 tip helped? haha, just kidding, I don't know why he made an exception, maybe it was because it was a slow night and I'm cool?
Or maybe he knew I was going to do it anyway?
The guys in the crowd started telling me about how they are often run off or harassed by the police for being too noisy laughing and talking while outside smoking. We had to keep it down.
After I finished my beer and started walking home the police car that was in the parking lot next door watching us drove up behind me and rolled along slowly to my left while aiming a spotlight on me.
We went like that for what seemed like a long time.
I could walk straight so I guess the police were satisfied and continued down the street.
I thought, perhaps I should've brought the beer bottle with me or gave them the bird or a dirty look, but I just didn't feel like it and I kept thinking about the way my wife said fines have increased and thought of how she would not be very happy if I challenged authority and bought some liberty with nothing else to show for it.
There's always next time?
Dear Anonymous... Your letter once again reminds me of why I will never live - or even visit - that place again. The utter idea that the cops follow you and flash a light on you as you walk is insanity.
No, never felt the need for a gun here. In the USA, you'd be nuts not to carry a gun. In Japan people would think you were insane to even carry a knife let along a gun.
I haven't been back to the US in over a decade now. Have things changed that much since then?
Because of the restrictions placed on me as a non-US citizen after 9/11, I just couldn't be bothered to go, so I haven't been there.
Trust that you don't want to go there. That place has gone completely insane in my opinion. Stay away!
The United States that I am living in today is not the same country that I grew up in. Thinking about it causes a bit of melancholy.
Despite the inconveniences and challenges of the technology at the time, the reality that "bad people" are in every society and culture throughout all history, and some aspects of those years that are best forgotten, life was better in my youth.
We have lost our moral compass. We stopped...no! were manipulated and encouraged to cease taking responsibility for our own decisions and actions. The quality of life in the States has decreased considerably.
It is easy to blame the average American. The fact is that the average person is not, and never was, an independent thinker. The media, education, health, and other institutions have exploited this fact. Those who are unable to think critically are easily influenced and indoctrinated. I saw this first hand in almost every aspect through my many years as a public educator.
The underpinnings of American culture are different from the Japanese culture.
Just what do you think the average person will do when the society that they live in is profoundly sick? Most people will conform. Those who will not, "stick out," and sometimes, more often than not, suffer the "consequences" of their action.
"It is no measure of mental health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -Krishnamurti
"Have things changed that much since then?"
I'd say so.
My description above about walking home from the bar was in a medium sized Midwestern town in a not-too-bad part of town. It used to be I might think something like that would happen in the big cities, but not here. That was then, this is now.
Why, not too long ago as I was driving at night and stopped at a traffic light I had a cop briefly flash a spotlight into my car, I presume he was checking to see if I had my seatbelt on. I always feel like I'm on a stage and under a microscope at the same time, it's a bit creepy, but not as creepy as the CCTV cameras that have sprung up at almost every street intersection.
I might add, the reason I didn't buy or ask for a cigarette from someone at the bar is, the goberment has put an asbestos type of substance in all the cigarettes to make them self extinguish, except for (for now) a few types of roll your own loose leaf tobacco.
Everyone I talk to agrees with me that the added substance makes you feel sick and hurts your throat. Not that smoking is good or anything, but the state makes it worse. I won't smoke them, and I suppose that's also why I see a lot more chewed up wads of gum on the parking lot surfaces wherever I go.
I also forgot to add, I think I almost got punched for suggesting that solar power wasn't good enough as a replacement for our energy needs as it wouldn't power a jet aircraft. It seems to me that Lots of issues easily set People off that really shouldn't.
Americans: overweight, stupid, and drunk. Yet another mass generalization. You're keen on that.
Is it even worth mentioning how until a few years ago, the Japanese have endured virtually single-party rule uninterruptedly? Should I even bother to bring up how corporations work Japanese overtime without compensation? Does it matter to you at all that foreigners have limited civil rights, no matter how long they reside in Japan?
No, it doesn't matter bringing up these points with you. We tend to loathe in others what bothers us about ourselves. Do you see something in the fat, lazy, ignorant, self-aggrandizing American that you loathe in yourself?
"Does it matter to you at all that foreigners have limited civil rights, no matter how long they reside in Japan?"
No. It doesn't.
"Does it matter to you at all that foreigners have limited civil rights, no matter how long they reside in the USA?"
I wrote about people like you here: http://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.com/2011/05/white-cultural-superiority-complex.html
Read it. If you are an honest person it will hurt. If you are not (and are a self-aggrandising American) then it won't. What do you have to lose?
M. said, "We have lost our moral compass.
...cease taking responsibility for our own decisions and actions."
Some People say, morals are fungible, rather we have abandoned the free market.
M. said, "The underpinnings of American culture are different from the Japanese culture."
I'm not so sure that is true.
I think the individuals in one embraces liberty and the free market more than the individuals in the other and that is all.
First off, to anonymous #1, the idiot from the midwest, the fact that you're wife is reminding you to fasten your seat belt because of a possible fine and NOT that you may die in a car accident from not using it, well, shows her real love for you. Secondly, you are a fool for doing that "nobody tells me that I have to wear a seat belt" thing when we all know that your chances are much better of surviving an accident with it on than not. But then again, you do smoke and that's your decision. Sounds like you are unhappy and have a death wish. Good luck with it.
So wait a minute! This guy in northern Japan writes about two very young children that are unsupervised by any adult? What the hell? Talk about complete irresponsibility. And this has nothing to do with molesters or pedophiles (which I know they do have in Japan) but about water safety. If the 2 year old was drowning, would the 8 year old be able to save her? And yes, I know the writer said that he and another guy kept and eye on them but what if they hadn't been there that day?
And this is supposed to paint a pretty picture of how nice and safe and free Japan is when it really just sounds dumb.
The above commentor confuses parental responsibility with how safe a society is. Big difference. Talk about sounding dumb!
Sounds like a lot of fear mongering in this article. Mike says, you'd be nuts to not carry a gun? I live in the US and don't even feel the need to own a gun let alone carry one. I know the movies show it like it's crazy and out of control here. But it ain't as bad as you guys are trying to portray it. No cops flashing lights on me, no one pulling guns out while I go about my business. A violent society? Sure. But try to separate fact from fiction. In fact, some of the craziest gun toting people in this country are from the Sovereign citizen movement.
Thanks Bill... No. Where I lived, you'd be crazy to not have a gun. I lived in downtown Los Angeles. Annual murder rate in, say, Compton was 39 people out of 100,000. In places like North Dakota, it is different. Recent data shows that 1 in 133 people will be a victim of violent crime during their lifetimes. Sure that averages out places like Detroit, LA, New York, etc. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bjs/104274.pdf
That's not scaremongering.
Hey Mike. I know from reading your bio that you have been living in Japan since 1984, right? So, if you lived in LA, it must have been quite a while ago. Anyway, I too used to live in LA and neither myself nor any of my friends there carried guns or felt it necessary to do so. But we were diligent in staying out of "hot zones" places where you could get mugged or shot by a drive by shooter. Just plain common sense. And if you happened to be in one of those areas like Compton or East LA and white like I am, even if you did have a gun, it wouldn't really help you much. In fact, in might get you hurt.
You're right though, I don't live in a big city anymore, but I also don't live in N. Dakota. (Does anyone?)
Last thing. When you lived in LA, did you carry a gun? Just wondering...
I find it amusing that this blogger constantly ballyhoos the importance of facts and then writes an editorial with the provocative headline above without any exercise of facts save you can smoke in restaurants and drink at the beach-- if that's your definition of freedom, then I feel sorry for you. This is black-and-white writing, emotional, if not hysterical.
If you're going to be provocative at least put a little effort into it. This just feels like lazy writing. And your characterization of Japan is maudlin.
Look who is talking about being maudlin! Here's your freedom facts. (read it and weep):
#1 The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and the largest total prison population on the entire globe.
#2 According to NationMaster.com, the United States has the highest percentage of obese people in the world.
#3 The United States has the highest divorce rate on the globe by a wide margin.
#5 The United States has the highest rate of illegal drug use on the entire planet.
#6 There are more car thefts in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world by far.
#7 There are more reported rapes in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.
#8 There are more reported murders in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.
#9 There are more total crimes in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.
#10 The United States also has more police officers than anywhere else in the world.
#11 The United States spends much more on health care as a percentage of GDP than any other nation on the face of the earth.
#12 The United States has more people on pharmaceutical drugs than any other country on the planet.
#13 The percentage of women taking antidepressants in America is higher than in any other country in the world.
#14 Americans have more student loan debt than anyone else in the world.
#16 The United States has the largest trade deficit in the world every single year. Between December 2000 and December 2010, the United States ran a total trade deficit of 6.1 trillion dollars with the rest of the world, and the U.S. has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976.
#17 The United States spends 7 times more on the military than any other nation on the planet does. In fact, U.S. military spending is greater than the military spending of China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined.
#18 The United States has far more foreign military bases than any other country does.
#19 The United States has the most complicated tax system in the entire world.
#20 The U.S. has accumulated the biggest national debt that the world has ever seen and it is rapidly getting worse. Right now, U.S. government debt is expanding at a rate of $40,000 per second.
Maudlin? Read more, clowny: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rep2/us-number-1-not-so-good-categories.html
Anonymous. When I read your post I thought, oh no you didn't! I knew Mike "O'Reilly" Rogers would tear you a new one. Boom!
seth said, "First off, to anonymous #1, the idiot from the Midwest, the fact that you're wife is reminding you to fasten your seat belt because of a possible fine and NOT that you may die in a car accident from not using it..."
HAHA you're the idiot, No One driving a car Dies at 10 miles per hour, which is the speed I drive when I take the short trip to the bar, it's too close to go any faster.
seth also said, "...we all know that your chances are much better of surviving an accident with it on than not..."
Seems to me that's what air bags are for. At any rate, as it stands now, I don't get to decide my risk tolerance because Clovers like seth feel the need to use goberment be a god and parent of everyone.
As regards the gun toting, insert numerous news stories of rural Midwestern and suburban East Coast families being terrorized and murdered in their homes, here X. It happens. So does campus rape and beatings, the standard advice is to give in? Psft.
Anonymous#1. I knew you'd be back.
10 miles an hour because the bar is so close that's how fast you need to drive? Hey, get off your fat ass and walk to the bar. In the cities in Japan people don't drive around in their cars very much. Mike can tell you about that. They walk ans use taxis and public transit. But wait, that'd be healthy for you and you don't want that.
Not all cars have airbags.
The gun remark was about carrying a gun. As in carrying it everywhere you go. Having one in your home to protect yourself, fine. But have to carry one here in the US. Some places, sure. Most places, nope.
Clover? Where the hell are you from anyway, boy.
The Clover Test
Conversations With a Clover….
seth said, "...10 miles an hour because the bar is so close that's how fast you need to drive? Hey, get off your fat ass and walk to the bar...."
Isn't that besides the point?
Isn't it ridiculous to get a seatbelt ticket while driving 10 m.p.h.?
What if I wanted to drive twenty uphill blocks at 24 m.p.h. to the other bar and restaurant?
Isn't it ridiculous to get a seatbelt ticket while driving 24 m.p.h.?
Driving reduces the likely hood of getting mugged and beaten while walking home, ever think about that?
People in Japan might use taxis and public transit, but that is not available in my area, and in the areas where it is, there's an increased chance of being beaten or robbed by criminals, or harassed by the cops. All of that is not so healthy.
Plus, if I drive I can turn on the AC so I don't sweat like I would walking, or turn on the heater so I don't freeze when it's -80 F,... because not every endeavor has to be about exercising.
seth says, "...Having one in your home to protect yourself, fine. But have to carry one here in the US. Some places, sure. Most places, nope..."
If you're not carrying, criminals have an opportunity, sometimes that opportunity is when a Person is walking in their front door or loading groceries into the car, a gun in a gun safe does no good at that moment.
You say you don't need to carry in most places, only there is no place called "Most Places" it only takes one time to become a victim and it can happen Anywhere.
I guess rape victims and victims of mugging can relax as long as they are in the safe zone called, "Most Places"? Psft, only in the minds of a Clover does this sound like a good plan.
Oh, CLOVER! How did I miss that one. I mean, I would have had to dig through a bunch of dumb Lew Rockwell articles to find it. Thank you for finding that term everyone knew except for me. No, I am not a clover. I actually have been ticketed twice for not wearing a seat belt. But I was younger and dumber. A scofflaw. I didn't whine about the law as much as about the fact that I got caught. I always tried to see what I could get away with.
Anyway, this is going nowhere real fast. Your the reason that people carrying guns around scares me. Guys playing cowboys. I know lots of guys like you. They are called Dicks. http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_be_a_dick
I provided a link for you. And good god, man, 80 below zero? You live in that? No wonder you're so miserable.
Where the heck did I ever indicate I was miserable? Psft, and 80 below zero can be quite refreshing at times, for us normal People anyway.
You however do seem to be a Clover, and something much worse too.
"Guys playing cowboys."? You are really sick, there's a lot of really dangerous individuals out there and arming ones self to try to survive an encounter with one is flat out common sense.
"Midwest police officer arrested in murder case... Brian Dorian, 37, of Crete, Ill., is accused of having asked victims about honeybees or construction projects before firing on them."
"Reid killed the employees of restaurants he targeted for a series of robberies... Corona was convicted of murdering ranch laborers and burying them in orchards."
"raped and strangled, burned beyond recognition in what had once been the beautiful Cheshire, Conn. home’s family room... "It’s clear that the cops were sitting around waiting instead of acting."
"At least 40 young men who drowned may have died by far more sinister means... serial killings at the hands of a national gang that revels in murdering young men and leaving smiley-face markings at the scene, a team of retired New York City police detectives and criminal justice investigators said Monday.
They believe the victims, including University of Minnesota student Chris Jenkins and Fordham University student Patrick McNeill, didn't accidentally drown but were actually killed by members of the so-called "Smiley Face Gang." A smiley-face symbol was found painted at some of the drowning locations... in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa, they said.
"They're telling you here that they're into evil, they're very happy as most serial killers are," said retired NYPD Det. Kevin Gannon. "They're content with their work and what they're doing and the fact that they're thwarting the police."
"Those people are still at large."
OK. Help Mike out here. What is a "Clover"?
"The Clover bleats – Safety! Security! – always missing the obvious, that whatever he’s advocating won’t actually make things safer or more secure, just less free. He also misses the global perspective, or what you could call What Goes Around Comes Around. The same logic the Clover uses to press for things like buckle-up laws can be turned with just as much force on him, to mandate jumping jacks and BMI checks, with lectures and – let’s hope – fines for noncompliance."
I thought of seth when I saw this comment on infowars:
"Patience is at an all-time low and fuses are short. People have been beaten nearly to death over things as stupid as a parking place. Brian Stow may never wake from his coma, after he was punched and kicked by two thugs, his crime… having a Giants shirt on at a Dodger game.
I will no longer leave home without a weapon of some kind. The sad thing is it’s only gonna get worse."
I'd bet that seth and People like seth have never heard of Ferfal, nor do they have an understanding of economics.
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