The average Japanese doesn't know how good they've got it. In Japan, crime is virtually non-existent, the police don't hassle people (never hear of "police brutality") and one can feel safe in their own neighborhood at night. America is not a free country at all anymore. Nevertheless, I often meet Japanese people who have been to the United States and they tell me that they love the country because it is "freedom."
I've come to the conclusion that the idea of what "freedom" is to a Japanese person is different from what "freedom" is to an American.
The Japanese confuse "wide open spaces" with "freedom."
Watch the video below of the famous Japanese girl's group, "Puffy." This video was shot in the USA. This is pretty indicative of what Japanese people consider "freedom." Watch it for a minute.
You see? Wide roads, convertible cars the size of boats, wide open spaces, Statue of Liberty, California palm trees, having a big assed dog, sandy beaches, Los Angeles freeways, driving out in the middle of the desert... These are the things that represent "freedom" to a Japanese.
What represents "freedom" to an American? Well, of course I can't speak for all Americans, but huge cars, big dogs, sandy beaches and Los Angeles freeways (as well as concrete statues) do not represent freedom to me in the least.
Freedom is, to me, is the ability to walk down the street in a major city and smoke a cigarette (I don't smoke) or drink in public or to be able to walk out of my house any time at night or day without the oppression or fear that I am going to be attacked or robbed... And that means being attacked or robbed by criminals or the police, but I repeat myself. These are all things taken for granted in Japan.
Freedom is, to me, to be able to do what I want as long as I don't interfere with other people or bother them. Or to not have other people or the police infringe upon me for no apparent reason.
Freedom is not the United States in 2012 that is for sure.
Sandy Beaches in California? Sure. Just make sure you don't barbecue or throw a Frisbee or a football or dig too deep a sand castle on an Los Angeles beach. It's now a $100 dollar fine if you do.
CBS reports in LA County Updates Ordinance on Ball, Frisbee Throwing at beaches:
Right! They are going to relax the rules in winter off-season... Great! Nobody goes to the beach in winter off-season!
Of course throwing a Frisbee or football at the beach isn't the complete or comprehensive definition of freedom. Nor is children being able to make sand castles as they wish; neither is the ability to drink or smoke at the beach (neither of which is legal on California State beaches). But I think these are pretty symptomatic of a very un-free country.
Freedom in Japan today blows away freedom in the USA today... Evidence? Here, here, here, here, here and here, just to point out a few.
We can drink and smoke in public, throw Frisbees and make sand castles as we please... Heck, we even have convertible cars too... Admittedly we're a tad bit short on the wide roads department but we have the best public transit and train and subway system in the entire world to make up for that.
Probably not the perfect definition of freedom, but a heck of a lot closer than today's USA is.