Friday, August 29, 2008

"Do you like me?"

Watashi no koto suki?

There are, in fact, people who (gasp!) actually like the Japanese. One of them are the Finns. Finland was under Russian rule during pretty much the entire 19th century. This continued until the fall of the Russian Empire, when Finland became an independent nation for the first time in about six centuries (the Swedes ruled Finland before Russia). The fall of the Russian Empire is closely associated with Russia's losing the Russo-Japanese war. They like us because an enemy's enemy is a friend. Oh well. At this point, I'm ready to take what I can get...

Kidding! About the enemy's enemy, that is. And I'm not sure if Finns actually like Japanese. Since Finland was a part of Russia, I am sure there were Finnish soldiers fighting against the then Imperial Japanese Army. I do know that Finns and Japanese communicate in similar ways (in a way some cultures would call "passive-agressive". Which I can understand. But it works. Most of the time, anyway). I also know that most Japanese who go to other countries say most people were nice to them but some people muttered racist slurs in stage whispers or tried to overcharge them or sell them inferior merchandise, and that most Japanese who go to Finland say that everyone was nice to them.

BTW, grab a Japanese person and chat to them about Finland and they will tell you that Finns like us so much, they named a beer after their favorite Japanese, Admiral Togo Heihachiro. This is not accurate. The Finnish beer label "Amiraali," whose name translates into "admiral" has labels which feature famous admirals from around the world. Admiral Togo's label is the only one imported to Japan on a regular basis :)

4 comments:

Livy (^_^)v said...

My country was invaded by very cruel and sadistic Japanese soldiers for 3.5 years.
It was a very dark time for the country.
Then the Hiroshima and Nagasaki got bombed by the USA, and we have our independent lives since then.

To some people in other countries, we could be called ignorant citizens, since we have no problem facing any Japanese people these days.
The teenagers here are so crazy about the Japanese things that are sold in the market. Those computer games, mangas, CDs/DVDs (music/movies), fashion styles, etc.
And the adults are so respectful to the Japanese traditions and dreaming to visit Japan someday in their lives (including me and Hubby).

The war is over decades ago.
So what's the fuss of keep on thinking of it?
Here, we just try to keep things as real as it is, and enjoy our lives to the fullest.
Life's short, make it worth (^_^)v

pumpkinmommy said...

I am sorry Japan invaded Indonesia and turned it into a colony It was wrong, but the US did not need to drop those bombs and blow thousands of babies like my Pumpkin Princess to bits, and make many more babies suffer horrible diseases like leukemia. Indonesia's independence might have been perhaps a couple days or maybe a week later than it actually happened, but there is absolutely no way Japan could have won that war, and the USA knew it. The atomic bombs were more about the US Army Air Corps trying to prove its tactical worth so that it could become the present day US Air Force, which, to me, isn't a very good reason to flatten a city with ordinary people (including babies!) living in it. (They even teach this in university level history classes in the USA, it's not just politically-fired Japanese that say this))

I think we need to think about the war every so often so that we can prevent it from happening again. When I go to elections, I try to pick the candidates least likely to take us into another war. When I see terrorists attack innocent people, I try to understand what makes them do what they do (even if, most of the time, I can't).

You and I are lucky enough to live in countries where we can choose to get information different from what our countries hand us. No, my history textbook does not talk about the Nanking Massacre, but when my high school history teacher talked about it, he wasn't carted off by the authorities. We can check out anything we like on the internet and form our own opinions. And it annoys me when people who don't have this choice tell me how evil and ignorant I am.

angelena99 said...

(I'm afraid I'm going to leave a rather light-hearted comment, and I now feel a little bad for doing it after the serious comments - but I'm going to do it anyway!)

So I have further evidence for a Finn-Japanese fondness, which is that my family emigrated to the US from Finland, and I like you, so even though we've technically never met and I'm not technically Finnish, we're friends!!

And I have loved reading your thoughts about all this as it is information and perspective I would otherwise not have had. So thank you.

pumpkinmommy said...

Hi Angie! You've read everything, and that alone means a lot to me. These "let's go back to WWII" entries are, I think, hard to comment on, and I expect a total of zero people to agree with them (my friends who would don't read this blog). I just wanted to say what I felt in my own little corner of the internet. I'm hoping that people who read this will think something along the lines of "Ayako is definitely not what you would call uber-right-wing-imperialist Japanese, she finds her internet friends through a defunct website that pokes fun at 90210, and yet she's asking the then-US government 'did you HAVE to drop it?' so maybe perhaps there is a tiny little grain of truth in what she is saying, OK, I've thought about it, I disagree with her and the A-bomb was indeed necessary and brought about good for humanity, but if Ayako feels this way, can you even begin to imagine what an actual uber-right-wing-imperialist Japanese has going on inside their head? And wouldn't it be awful of any of them ever came to power?"