Japanese schizophrenia

Japanese follow every single hype and they do it with conviction. They queue for anything new. If there is a queue it must be good, so let’s get into the queue! (I would just look for another venue without a queue, but maybe I’m just crazy). Money must be spent on all things kawai. “Kawai” (=cute) is an expression used for children and pets, but also for things such as cute socks or cute food (believe me, that does exist in Japan).

Kawai food
Kawai food menu in Tokyo. Can you guess which one is the rice curry and which one the spaghetti? And no, this is not (only) for children!

A month ago you could see Halloween next to Christmas decoration in the departement store shops. They don’t really know what the meaning of both events is, but they don’t care, it means you can eat pumpkin pie at Starbucks and eat black ice cream. And now there is a Christmas matcha latte! (I start to sound a little sarcastic). Maybe the cashiers in the stores like wearing a witch hat for Halloween and a Christmas hat a few weeks later?

Japanese are not Catholic, but a Christmas feel is cosy and kawai. (Also, I have the impression they love to imitate the Western world). Shinto and Buddhism are Japan’s two major religions, the latter one imported in the 6th century. Since then the two religions have been complementing each other and today no one really knows where Shinto ends and Buddhims begins. Japanese often have both a Shinto and a Buddhist altar in their homes.

Most brides want to get married in a white dress in a chapel with a priest (they love to ‘fake’ the Western wedding), but visit the Shinto shrines to buy charms and pray for good luck. Shinto seems like a means to ask the gods for a favour: business succes, safe driving, succesful exams, fertility and so on… And at the end of their lives every Japanese will be buried as a Buddhist. If that’s not religious schizofrenia, then what is?!

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