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Japan

Community Veteran
Posts: 7,913
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Registered: 02-08-2007

Japan

I Know there has been a world wide recession for the past 2 or 3 years but in Japan their economy has been fairly flat for at least 12 years.  Has anybody any ideas of why this might be ?
It's not like they are lazy or do not manufacture and export thing so what went wrong ?
I Ask the question because I wonder if this is going to be the future for us ?
6 REPLIES
David_W
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Posts: 2,293
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Registered: 19-07-2007

Re: Japan

From what I gather, it's pretty much what just happened to us, low interest rates, inflated housing prices, easy credit, banks buying/selling toxic debt etc. which caused a bubble that burst.  The difference is in how we sort our problems, the Japanese are pretty good (the people that is) at sorting out problems, if their is a problem with money, they are frugal and save, if there is a tsunami, the yakuza (Japanese mafia) will help out (there was very, very little looting after the earthquake/tsunami recently, compare that to what happened in the US after Katrina and you'll see the difference).
So the issue with Japan is that it's people are not spending (and also not really reproducing very much, their population is in decline so the distant future is a bit bleak - immigration is very difficult, if you want to be a nurse in Japan you need to learn words that the majority of Japanese people don't know) but their exports are still pretty strong (even with competition) so it's a very tight rope the Japanese government is walking, but they can't make credit easier to get (I've heard that it's insanely hard to get a credit card in Japan) because that's what caused the problem in the first place and the Japanese people are saving and not spending anyhow.
This is a good read that sums up Japans problems, but their problems can't be looked at the same as ours, Japan is an inward looking country (it was big ships with guns that caused them to open to the western world - the Black Ships).
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Japan

The history of the "Black Ships" is lightly covered in the excellent semi-historic documentary novel by James Clavell "Shogun"
If you are at all interested in Japanese history its worth a read. Far far better than the TV mini-series which had a reasonable stab at it, but didn't really didn't do it any favours..
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
David_W
Rising Star
Posts: 2,293
Thanks: 29
Registered: 19-07-2007

Re: Japan

Lot's of Japanese history is pretty fun.  Before WW1 there were fears about Russian expansion and an alliance between France, Russia and Germany so the British and Japanese formed an alliance which led directly to Japan joining the Allied side during WW1 (a marked change from WW2).  There is also the case of Charles Lennox Richardson who didn't dismount his horse and got too close to a Japanese retinue (with samurai), the samurai attacked and killed him because he didn't dismount and bow which led to a small war (Britain won).
Then eventually the Americans sent along Tom Cruise which totally ruined American-Japanese relations to the point that the Japanese people demand the Americans remove their military bases from Japan  Crazy
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,913
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Registered: 02-08-2007

Re: Japan

Quote from: Petlew
The history of the "Black Ships" is lightly covered in the excellent semi-historic documentary novel by James Clavell "Shogun"
If you are at all interested in Japanese history its worth a read. Far far better than the TV mini-series which had a reasonable stab at it, but didn't really didn't do it any favours..

Yes I saw the series on TV and recently read the book which as you say was far better than the mini-series. It's quite clear that James Clavell did a considerable amount of research for the book.
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Japan

@David W the story of Charles Lennox Richardson is also covered by James Clavell in another of his researched Japanese novels "Gai Jin" (literally -foreigner-) a bit harder work than Shogun but worth the effort to read. Its big problem being in a novel of over many 100s pages the ending is somewhat rushed. However, as in Shogun many of the historical events alluded to actually took place.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
David_W
Rising Star
Posts: 2,293
Thanks: 29
Registered: 19-07-2007

Re: Japan

Gaijin sort of means outsider, doesn't need to mean a foreign person though that's generally how we outsiders see it.  I currently (again) play Final Fantasy XI, it's an MMORPG from Japan which means the servers are heavily populated with Japanese people (it has a rudimentary translation system for certain key words like "Good morning" which is translated into English/French/German depending on your client).  Playing games with Japanese people can, oddly enough, teach you a bit about their work ethic and how they view things.  With western players it's about getting to the end as quickly as possible using whatever tools are available to you, the Japanese players though seem to favour getting to their destination and will build a team based on their needs.
Some western players view the way the Japanese play as racist, most of the Japanese players prefer to play with other Japanese players or to do group activities/quests etc. with other Japanese players at the exclusion of western players, unless their is only a western player available who they require to make their team right.  Western players will group up with anyone, English, French, German, Japanese, American so overlay that perspective onto the Japanese player base quite unfairly.  The Japanese play the game to relax and have fun (like all of us) so sitting down for a couple of hours with English constantly going off in the chat box must be unpleasant for their players, a bit like studying!
I had one friend in that game from Japan, she didn't speak a word of English and my Japanese typing skills are very, very poor, I can understand a bit if I'm listening but I can't really spell (and most certainly can't read anything other than numbers..... 1 to 3) but we got by with the translation and a bit of confusion, she even gave me a present for valentines day though I wasn't playing (or she wasn't playing) for white day for me to return the thought.