It seems fitting to look back at my expectations written before going to Japan, to see which were met. I wrote "...we are at 36,000 feet high and traveling at 560 MPH, heading north west on a great circle route over Fairbanks Alaska and out over the Bering Sea. It seems paradoxical that while we are traveling back in time we are going forward at the same time. As we travel west we always set our clocks back; yet, as we head out over the sea and cross the date line it instantly becomes tomorrow and when we land in Tokyo we will be 11 hours ahead of New York". What a perfect paradox this is to help Japan.
It almost seems as if Japan emerged from the Second World War to create its economic miracle by adopting certain aspects of western culture while disregarding the rest. Sadly, even now, 55 years after the war ended, Japan has never completely shouldered responsibility for its part in the war and continues to see itself purely as a victim. Amazingly, modern Japanese history is excluded from college entrance exams and does not appear to be taught in high schools. The Japanese have never apologized for their war crimes nor compensated its victims. So, while Japan is a modern economic miracle and can boast a remarkable and wonderfully rich cultural heritage, it still suffers from an inferiority complex, unable to make amends for its past and still the victim of western prejudice.
Part of the problem seems to be that westerners have never taken time to truly try to understand Japanese culture and psychology which is rooted in traditions highly alien to those of the west. There is little doubt that we in the west have a distinctly superior attitude about our own achievements.