It is slowly approaching my one year and a half mark here in Japan. Having taken a trip to the US and coming back, it has allowed me to refresh my mind on my values that have evolved since I had left. It has not been that long, but It has allowed me to realized just how very lucky I am to be where I am today.
Reflecting back on previous posts, I had a lot of critical views on the changing values and morals of society, Westernization, and the ever-popular views of feminism. Today, I can only say that those thoughts have become even stronger than it was at the time I wrote those entries. Why so?
Perhaps it was Western chivalry that balanced and defined the sexes in the past (not to be be mixed up with Eastern values), but I feel that this type of system helped reinforce the purely biological roles of the male and the female - the male as the protector and the female as the nurturer. Men were expected to honor, serve, and do nothing to displease their maidens. Women made sure the men were nurtured and taken care of.
With Western society continuing to 'progress' these days, these defined roles have slowly deteriorated over time, along with the respect that each gender had for one another. The biological roles we once identified each other by were not replaced with anything else to define ourselves with. Both genders have now entered a state of limbo, trying to act out each other's role with little to no responsibility. Power distribution has become scattered and each gender now ridicules one another. At one point in time, female job and income equality was an issue, but this has already been achieved (these were all once rights that women and men both fought for). Sadly, it seems that the balance of power has tipped too far to the other side. The imbalance is then applauded and glorified as being 'just.' Although many may argue that Western society has progressed, I believe that our society has actually digressed as a result of this trend.
The statements I made above are ones that have been recited by many people, besides myself... but now you may ask, "Why this subject?" or "Where the hell are you going with this?" The reason for me bringing this up is to reaffirm just how fortunate my move has been for me. Without a doubt, Japan has thrown out a good deal of its Eastern traditions and has also become "Westernized," both for better and for worse; however, there's something still here that has more or less disappeared from American society: Respect.
I feel like my gender role and position in society is still respected. I feel like the institution of marriage is far more respected. I feel that my partner doesn't try to act on my role and allows me to execute it. The idea that hard work and overcoming mountains, persevering through the worst, and not looking for an escape is an engrained value. The idea that perfection is an imperfection - that imperfection is perfection in disguise.
With all due respect to Western tradition, it has taught me how to exercise the above listed ideas and traditions successfully here in Japan. It has helped me cover up for what the Eastern traditions lack and execute them without issue. Thanks to these Western ideals, I can now fully appreciate the feeling of being honored, respected, and appreciated for who I am and what I offer. It has allowed me to honor my partner for who she is, respect her for her role, and appreciate what she offers to me; something I never experienced living back in the States. I have but modern America to thank for all of this.