Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu

The New Year ‘s classic greeting is “Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu(あけましておめでとうございます)”. In English it is translated as “A happy new year”, but if literal translation it is nuance like “Congraturationsm, because the year has come”.

In the past when Japan was not rich, people’s lives were not easy and the average life expectancy was short, so our ancestors celebrated that the New Year was came.

Flag of Japan, 日本国旗

By the way, the New Year in 1989 was silenced by the TV program on the word “congratulations”, because the former emperor was fighting ill.

Japanese special skill

In a TV program about 20 years ago, a African man dressed in ethnic costumes said as follows in fluent Japanese.

Japanese lifestyle has quite Americanized, but since Japan has a long history and a unique traditional culture, Japanese should respect them more.

He does not understand. My response to him is “This is Japan”.

Japan has been actively adopted foreign cultures and customs from ancient times. However, only convenient places are available for us. Then we will improve it and add it to our culture.

For example, kanji(漢字).Kanji is important in constructing the names of Japanese and Japanese text. It imported from China long ago. But, Kanji is an ideogram. Even now China also assigns kanji in foreign languages and foreigners’ names in consideration of pronunciation and meaning of every letters. Coca cola is “可口可乐”, President Trump is “特朗普总统”. How troublesome.  So our ancestors invented phonetic letters katakana (カタカナ) and hiragana (ひらがな) based on kanji. So in Japan, foreign words can be expressed with phonetic characters.

Or Neapolitan. It is spaghetti seasoned with ketchup. It tends to be thought of as the origin of Naples in Italy, but it is different. In fact it was made by a Japanese and named Napoli without permission.

And curry. After being transmitted to Japan via the UK, it developed its own as a Japanese style curry.

Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc. are established as annual events not related to their original meaning in Japan.

Japan is such a country from long ago.

Kimono, 着物
Japanese wear such traditional clothes, only on special days. For example their wedding ceremonies. But there are also many people who choose Western-style.

Japanese security

As you know, Japan is safe. In many places it is safe to walk alone by a woman at night, and we often see the sight going to school or going out alone for children around 10 years old. Even if you sit down on a train seat and sleep, you are OK in most cases.

Patrol car、パトカー

Although the incidence of crime is relatively small, violent people, anti-social impulses and propensity are also in Japan. The other day, a young man arrested. He murdered 9 people in a short beriod.

Japan is peaceful, but please be careful not to overrepair even if you come to Japan.

US military base

There used to be a US military base in Subic and Clark at Luzon.

There are still many US military bases in Japan. Okinawa’s Kadena, Tokyo’s Yokota, Kanagawa’s Zama, Nagasaki’s Sasebo etc. This is a remnant of occupation after the Pacific War. But it is not necessarily humiliating. Because postwar Japan was able to concentrate on economic activities by outsourcing military power to the United States. By the other hand, The United States was able to continue the alliance relationship between the two countries while deterring Japanese reinforcement strengthening.

US Navy ship、米軍艦

However, US soldiers cause serious incidents in Japan occasionally. Especially in Okinawa Prefecture. Okinawa was occupied by the United States until 1972 even after the war. And there are still many US military bases there. In Okinawa, traffic accidents and women violence by US soldiers are repeated. Of course most of the US soldiers are harmless, but the incident that had not happened without a US military base gives a bad impression.

Also, the overhead of Tokyo is under the control of Yokota Base, and the route that Japanese aircraft can fly is largely restricted.

However, if Japan asks for the withdrawal of the US military, Japan will be required to take self defense. Therefore Japan need to promote the SDF to military, and heavily armed them. Of course it costs huge costs. In addition, the conscription system may be inevitable. And when the war broke out they will be dispatched to the battlefield, since they are soldiers.

How to get along with US military bases is a painful issue.

The Constitution of Japan

The Japanese Constitution was created by the United States which occupied Japan after the Pacific War. The big feature is abandonment of war. The United States that received great damage in the battle with the Japanese army wanted that Japan had no great military force after the war. Therefore Japan can not invade other countries with force. However, Japan has the Self Defense Force (SDF) to protect the country from attacking by another country.

Self Defense Force、自衛隊

By the way, SDF of Japan is also required to cooperate for PKO in overseas conflict areas in recent years. However, their activities are restricted to digging wells for local residents, or supplementing supplies to allies, due to constraints of the Constitution.

Therefore, the SDF is not killing any persons in the battlefield as anyone until today.

All-round organization

The SDF is a very excellent organization similar to the military. They do not actually fight, but they do not fail to train on a daily training.

And the SDF will do tremendous work as a rescue team in the event of a disaster such as an earthquake or typhoon. For example they repair broken roads and bridges that make people’s lifeline quickly recover like a construction company.

Self Defense Force Car、自衛隊車両

The SDF arrives with food. Therefore, they do not consume supplies for victims and do not procure supplies from local people.

Self Defense Force

The Japanese constitution states “There is no army, navy, air force, or other military power.” However, Japan has a militant organization called the Self Defense Force (SDF). From a foreign country, the SDF will look like a Japanese army. But their status is civil servants, not military personnel. Because it is not an army, the SDF does not have a military council system.

Self Defense Force、自衛隊

In recent years, the SDF go to conflict areas abroad and is responsible for backward support of allies.  In that case, if they get caught up in a conflict and kill someone or be caught, there is a possibility that they will be tried as a criminal, not a soldier.

Therefore, some Japanese wish to revise the constitution and position the SDF as an official army, but there are a lot of people who do not want it. That conclusion has not come out.