I have always been a fan of Japan. I have been there four times, including on my honeymoon. I even had the pleasure of living for a year in Kyoto working at Kyoto University. It is, in many ways, a wonderful place and I do hope to go back when time and money permit. I even am teaching my son what little Japanese language I still remember.
But there are always strange undercurrents in Japan. Korean and Chinese friends of mine cannot understand why I ever would visit Japan. They have an anger towards Japan that Americans have a hard time understanding. The presence of the yakuza (Japanese mafia) in Japan is omnipresent, once you are aware of it, which seems strange for an otherwise so law abiding nation. When World War II comes up in conversation, many Japanese still think Japan was justified in its imperialism and that America should apologize for the nuclear bombings and for the occupation. It is a constant source of scandal that Japanese leaders frequently downplay and misrepresent Japanese imperialism in Asia. I was amazed at how unresolved WW II seems in Japan and in Asia. read more »