20 November 2005


Emotions can be culturally defined. I believe that I have seen cultural variation in the display of emotions. If the Filipinos can be so open in displaying emotions, the Japanese can be lacking.

Susanne has asked me whether the Japanese restrain their display of emotions. And the answer to that is mostly yes, from a foreigner's perspective. I guess the Japanese just have very subtle ways of displaying emotions. They are very restrained, and they express their intent in different ways, by hints, signs, and signals.

I believe that this is ok, however, there might be a pressure on the common populace to conform, that's why whenever they get out of their country, they go no-holds-barred in the rowdy things that they do.

There is a saying in Japan "Tabi wa haji shirazu" which when translated, means "Travel do not know embarrassment." It is often the case that the inhibitions of the Japanese are let loose whenever they are on vacation, because since nobody knows them on the area that they are visiting, they can do whatever they want without social repercussions.

I saw this firsthand when I was in Guam. Guam is the Japanese playground. And I have seen plenty of Japanese tourists walk along San Vitores Road drunk, swaying back and forth, barely able to reach their hotel room at night. Some have been arrested for lewd behavior.

Well, I guess that's the Japanese. Maybe when I get to live in another country, I might see a peculiar behavior from their folk.


  1. i'm about to send a copy of uncle charlie's diagnosis to our relatives. what's your email add?

  2. Thanks for answering my questions!
    Your writing is very intresting.

    I think emotions are not culturally defined, to my mind every human being has the same emotions deep inside.
    But the expression of emotions surely can be culturally defined! The expression of emotions can be restrained or can be advanced. Of course I prefer living in a country and in a surrounding that prefers acting out emotions.
    Yet in Germany the conservative bourgeoisie restrains the expression of some emotions too.

    Or do we perhaps restrain ourselves? Sometimes I ask me myself that too.

    By the way you have always very nice pictures in your entries!!!

  3. i admire the japanese culture. its sense of self and honor. i also like the pretty costumes ..