High Society

The cartoon industry in Japan is as pervasive as it is enthralling to many.

Desire with loathing strangely mixed
On wild or hateful objects fixed.
Fantastic passions! maddening brawl!
And shame and terror over all!
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(A 'Romantic Junkie Poet')
The Pains of Sleep

In many societies, there will be certain addictions that come about. Japan is like virtually any other metropolitan city in that a variety of substances can be had for the right price. One interesting difference is that Japanese are unable to tell the difference between a 'hard' drug and a 'soft' drug. So, their naive laws basically equate crack cocaine and cannabis. To most, if not all, non-Japanese this strictness is seen as nothing short of silly. Yet, considering the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party), is basically perceived as a puppet body enforcing America's interests, this does make sense. After all, the news and court reports are full of examples concerning how lawmakers in the USA also suffer from the same prejudicial or judgemental problems.

Thanks to a 'loophole', hallucinogenic fungi are legal. There is substance abuse on a grand scale here. But, only the substance abuse that is endorsed and supported by business. Namely faggots and booze. And the are consumed in vast quantities! It is as suprising as it is disgusting.

Historically it was tea they were keen on, but this has mostly been replaced by coffee. And Japan purportedly 'owns' Blue Mountain (the source of some highly prized Jamaican coffee).

There is also another sort of addiction here: Media. There are a myriad of forms of media entertainment. Some become so enthralled in it as to earn the somewhat dubious title of 'otaku' (a figure of speech implying expertize or fondness in a narrow field), or 'hentai' [sexual pervert]. Although, the author (according to his Japanese colleagues) qualifies as a 'UNIX otaku', and associates with 'SCUBA diving otaku', when the term is used by itself, it implies a person who is an expert voyeur). There are many stores that cater to this. Not only the large chain bookstores and local convenience stores, but also speciality shoppes. And any form of media is used --both motion and stills; live and otherwise (eg. computer-generated, drawings). Akihabara, in Tokyo, is not only renowned as THE place to buy Japanese consumer electronics and parts, but also has many stores catering to 'otaku' and 'hentai'. (So plentiful are the shops, I have taken to re-naming the area 'Otakuhabara'). They exist, interestingly enough, for both sexes and pretty well every persuasion. The really interesting thing is that it is next to impossible to get this material outside of Japan. This is partially due to the fact that customs or police officers (of other countries) will want to err on the side of 'political correctness' and choose to classify it as illicite material. But this is the very material that helps to make a life alone bearable for many Japanese. And I have met some Japanese who cannot bear the thought of being without it.