Preface

I have always liked Arashiyama, Kyoto. A short walk from here are some beautiful temples and the bamboo forest.


I know you're hearing fine,
but choosing to ignore,
the hounds that wait outside your door

Spirit of the West
The Hounds That Wait Outside Your Door.
Labour Day (album)


I have wanted to write about Japan for some time now. But, lacking the necessary background and interaction in society, it was necessary to postpone at least parts of this document. Of course, my primary requirement was to be able to write about this whilst in Japan. The culture was (and is) massively different in many respects to other cultures. The way in which Japan has blended the past and present is really amazing. As for size, imagine a place slightly smaller than the province of Newfoundland (Canada), but with about 130 million people living on it. Here is another comparison: (The Municipality of Metropolitan) Toronto and Tokyo (23-Ku area) are similar (to within 10 square kilometers) in size. But, it is estimated that, on weekdays, about 30 million (akin to the population of Canada) work there.

As I started to write, I had been in Japan for nearly a year. This sort of document is the sort of thing that I hope to add to as time goes by. Especially in terms of travel.

Like many engaged in engineering R&D, there are few things as satisfying as getting to the bottom of something and coming into a state of intimate understanding. What I would like this document to do, then, is to shed some light on some of the issues that surround a small collection of volcanic islands and their people in the Pacific ocean.

Indeed, I aspire this document to possibly enlighten, but at least spark an interest in the many interesting facets that make Japan and the Japanese what they are. In addition, this might be the sort of document to shed some light on some of the phenomena unique to Japan and Japanese culture.

Japan is interesting because there is an amazing amount of obfuscation that takes place. Mostly it is confusing just for the purpose of appearing complex and unfathomable. Don't be deceived: Anything can be understood. All it takes is desire and some methodology. As usual, luck helps too.