[quote=“dylan”]I agree. Aside from a lack of useable land, I see little that we have and they don’t.
Sorry I took so long to respond to this post, but I was at work when I read it, and though there aren’t that many people at my school who can read English, I didn’t want to take the chance of someone standing over my shoulder and reading disparaging remarks about their country.
Now that I’m home, I can tell you about a few areas where Japan is quite far behind Canada.
For starters, oral contraceptives were illegal in Japan until a few years ago. This was ostensibly because of a “higher risk of ovarian cancer” (and many doctors still try to instill fear into their patients by drilling this point into them), though there were two more sinister reasons. The first was that it allowed women to control reproduction, which threatened a lot of men. The second was that it cut into the OB/GYNs’ very lucrative abortion practices. (Japan doesn’t have the same taboos about abortion as the west does).
Another area that lags behind is traffic safety. While Japan does have some of the safest cars in the world, people still drive much more recklessly than in the west. They routinely drive insanely fast, talk and even e-mail each other on their cell phones while driving, and watch TV on their on-board navigation screens. To say nothing of the fact that many parents eschew car seats for children in favour of holding their infants in their arms. Many people also allow their young children to ride in the front seat without seatbelts. These children can often be seen pressing their faces against the windshield. I see it every day.
Plus, race relations in this country are, at times, abhorrent. There is no law stopping a business putting a sign in front of their business saying “Japanese only” or “no foreigners allowed.” Even if a non-asian is a naturalized Japanese citizen, they will still bar him or her entry, saying that they look foreign so that’s reason enough. Even the deep south of the United States–arguably with one of the worst records for race relations in the world–outlawed that practice over forty years ago.
And let’s not also forget the fact that it’s a very poorly kept secret that many schoolteachers over here tacitly approve of bullying as a method of controlling students who are different from the others. And by different, I don’t mean disruptive or lazy. I mean those who excel and don’t try not to stand out–yes, you read that right, don’t try not to stand out.
And while it’s true that Japanese schoolchildren routinely outperform their North American counterparts on standardized tests, this is mostly because they’re taught how to take tests, not how to understand things. The Japanese school system uses rote learning to drill facts and figures into their students, but it teaches them next to nothing about how to interpret that information, or how to think critically. Again, this is something I see every day.
Yes, Japan may have great technological innovations. But a society cannot progress on technology alone.
Don’t get me wrong–I’m not saying that Japan’s a bad country. I’ve lived here for five years; if I thought it was that bad, I would have left years ago. But I think it’s important to dispel the myth that Japan is this wonderfully advanced country that’s so much better than Canada. Canada has a lot to be proud of. People shouldn’t forget that.