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October 25, 2012


Maybe they have cheapo Halloween decorations because they are made there? (Or at least near by.)

Regardless of what anyone thinks of American culture, it's one of the country's biggest exports. And not just in monetary terms.

Valentine's day is pretty big in Japan I think. Other countries have adopted various other American holidays.

Since Beijing (and other cities, I guess) apparently doesn't have turkeys, people order KFC for "Christmas dinner" weeks in advance, because, you know, that's what they do in America. We were in a lot of places in June that had Santa Claus pictures up. And then there's this. Not the story, but the comments from the head of Yum, China.
Hate to see the whole world turned into an Americanized version of its former self....

LJ, are you seeing Halloween decorations in Japan?

Oh yeah, but, like all borrowings made by the Japanese, what it represents is really hard to say. Halloween, originally being a yearly ceremony to assuage the dead and prepare for the storage of the harvest, has a parallel in the Japanese custom of Obon, so the borrowed version is simply an excuse to change everything to orange and black for a brief interlude before moving to Christmas.

My perspective may be a bit off as I teach in a faculty of British and American studies, so we will often have parties tied to events in the Western world (though some of my colleagues weren't too happy about my suggestion that we burn someone in effigy to celebrate Guy Fawkes night) and I have often tried to explain the deeper meanings of these things, but I know I'm not getting it across. (The new school year starts in April and when I came here 15 years ago, I started a 'freshman camp' where the freshman intake stay the weekend at a research facility we have about an hour away. One of the events we have is an Easter egg hunt. After a couple of years of trying to explain the relationship between easter, eggs, rabbits and the Resurrection, I gave up and just let them go out and find the damn eggs)

About the picture, I think the line on the left says

yellow/flower/first crop/saké/smell

Something like 'when the yellow flowers bloom [one can] smell the sake'

I'm shite at flower names, but googling say the flowers with those characters are kibana cosmos, though this site shows the name as daylillies, though my dictionary has them as chrysanthemums. One of those is also edible, so I don't know if the sake is flavored with that. Yellow flowers are also historically significant because of the Yellow Flower mound revolt in 1910, so there may be some historical overtone, however, that took place in April rather than in the fall.

The last character is very cool, because 聲 is the old Japanese character for 声, which is koe or voice, and I think is related to linguistic synethesia, where one 'hears' a smell. For most odors in Japanese, the verb is 'kagu', but for a small set of smells (incense, sake), you use 'kiku' which is 'to hear'.

I once heard a good ole boy cracker Republican praise "entrepreneurs" AND talk about "freedom fries", all in one paragraph, and from the look on his face, you could tell he didn't know he had just spoken French, the dumb jagoff.

I speak French, too.

I caught Michael Richards, he of "Kramer" fame and later infamy, on the internet telling Jerry Seinfeld about a trip to Bali he took after his on-stage meltdown (hasn't performed standup since) and he decided to go deep into the island, thinking he was getting away from it all (I've been to Bali, thirty years ago, and even then it was touristy enough that it's hard to believe there are culturally isolated spots, but ....) and he hiked through a jungle and came upon a village in a clearing and the first guy he met, wearing local dress, pointed at Richards and started yelling "Kramer! Kramer!" to his fellow villagers.

I'd like to think Richards did a triple take and an elaborate pratfall into a large vat of cassava after he turned around and saw the guy wearing a Hanuman mask who had sneaked up behind him.

China is an odd country, and I am no more wierded out about halloween decorations used there than I am at the music that their street cleaning vehicles loudly play.

Which every American would recognize. Frosty the Snowman. Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Stuff like that.

when i was in Japan, i learned that the Japanese have a strange relationship with Santa.

The same thing happened in Japan. As you pointed out, the Japanese have embraced all sorts of Western holidays and festivals – Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas are all extremely popular there.

As China’s economic power continues to grow and the living standards of the average Chinese worker improves we will see traditional Western holidays like Christmas and Halloween and so on co-opted, stripped of any religious significance and turned into secular shopping holidays.

Why won't we ever see a Chinese holiday adopted by the US?

Why is American culture export-only? Although I guess there is Gangnam Style.

Doesn't help that Chinese holidays are based on the Chinese lunar calendar.

This is not directly connected to recruiting, but it was in the same general area of the site. It's an outlet for eFeihu, or "Flying Tiger," a Foxconn-run e-commerce company.

The low birth rates in China due to the one-child policy also led to relatively few young adults and relatively many older persons at an earlier state of development than happened in the West and in other developing countries. China’s young adult population is falling rapidly.

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