Thursday, May 13, 2010

Changing Impressions on Japan

( Tokyo Trip)

Before coming to Japan I did not know a lot about the country or its people. But after spending a whole year here, I learned a lot as I have been having a lot of different experiences in a lot of different places of the country.
I cannot say that my impressions changed, but i can say that they have been intensified and improved.
As a summary of my journey here I should say that I did not stick with the same activities, as I have been to different festivals through out the year. I have also visited a lot of shrines and temples especially since I took the religion class with Kenney Sensei. I have learned a lot about religion and never expected the country to have a lot of different religions and practices. what was surprising too, is the manga culture in the country, i never expected before coming here and taking a class about it that the manga and anime was a part of the japanese culture. I only thought that it was like any other country just a form of entertainment nothing more.
I have also been to a japanese prison in a trip with scott sensei's class, and....japanese prisoners are so quite and hard working and clean, not at all scary as I guessed they would be before going to the prison. As for my anthropology class, this blog has pushed me to look up a lot of things before talking about them, and trying to understand them, and look at my surroundings in a critical, observational way. All that made my impressions about japan enhanced and the few stereotypes I had to completely vanish and be replaced by something more interesting and more real.
I certainly did not expect japanese people to be such nice people, and very helpful. I, personally, have never faced any discrimination from any japanese person for over 9 months now, and my impressions about the people is highly positive. The food, however, was a bit of a disappointing experience... as the regime in my own country Morocco is completely different and since I never liked fish anyways, I could'nt really enjoy japanese food at all. However, I was glad to meet such nice people who were all the time looking up for foreign restaurants to eat in when I was with them.
Before coming to Japan I expected the country to have 4 seasons just like back home, but I was surprised by how much the weather can change in a week. one day the sun the next day the rain..... it was interesting.
This is what I actually experienced during my journey in Japan and my love for its culture, and people has just been increased. I can't wait to come back again and experience some more.

The Grey Crime In Japan

Legal Retirement age in japan is 60 years old but because of the pappy boom in Japan, the government is considering an Elderly only from the age of 65 nowadays. According to the patrimonial model in japan, when parents get older, they live with their oldest son and his family until they die. This son gets the household and inherits the parents assets, properties, and business. The son works outside while his wife is supposed to take care of the house and her parents in law. Nowadays, with a lot of women working outside the house too, this standard family structure is not working anymore.
Nowadays more and more people go to live in medicalized nursing home where they pay for strangers to take care of them. the reason for that are not only the change in the family roles stated above but also: The increase in the number of the japanese elderly who are over 65 years old(76.3 for men and
82.8 for women), and the decrease in the birth rate 1.43. Beside, more and more older people are living on their own because they do not have children or family to take care of them.
However, these nursing homes cost a lot of money. and not a lot of people can afford to go there. Thus, this leads to a lot of negative consequences: the rate of suicide for elderly people is 33,5% of all suicide in Japan,Children killing their parents because the burden of the care is to heavy for them, and the criminality is very high among the elderly population.
In Japan, the rate of crimes by elderly people aged 65 or over is 12,3% and it is so far the highest among industrialized countries (US A: 5.4%, Germany : 3%, and South Korea: 3.5%.)this numbers is increasing and this is called the grey crime. those elderly people prefer to go to prison where they get food and shelter daily. And the crimes most done by these people are 65% theft, 3.7% violence.

Kumagai, Fumie. Families in Japan: Changes, Continuities and Regional Variations. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2008. ISBN-10: 0761840168. OCLC 213401097.
Kumagai, Fumie. "Research on the Family in Japan". In Yogesh Atal (ed.) The Changing Family in Asia: Bangladesh, India, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Chapter 3: 159–237. Social and human sciences in Asia and the Pacific, 35. Bangkok: UNESCO Principal Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, 1992. OCLC 27787559.
The impact of population decline and population aging in Japan from the perspectives of social and labor policies” Yukiko Katsumata, Population Division,Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Secretariat, New York, 16-18 October 2000,
The living Arrangements and Familial Contacts of the Elderly in Japan” Kiyosi Hirosima, September 1987,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Japan Helps its people

The population of people in Japan who are 65 years old or above occupies more than 20% of the whole population, and the current birth rate is getting low. Also, japan has a number of mentally and physically disabled people as much as all the other countries around the world. Thus, more people will need some policies to remove barriers from their lives in order for them to be comfortable and enjoy their lives as they participate in the society and its activities. That is, the idea that we have to cope with not only physical barriers but also social, systematical and mental ones. These ideas are called "barrier-free", "universal design", and “new technologies”.
Barrier-free is about removing the mental and physical barriers that trouble people in need. This idea is considered to be the solution of physical problems, but also the purpose is to encourage those who have some difficulties in their lives to take part in the social activities. It also gives them an easy access everywhere. So barrier-free makes life easier and enjoyable for elderly people within their society. These obstacles are in roads and buildings like steps and facilities, the unfair chances for these people to enroll or to get a job somewhere, the prejudice and the discrimination against them originated in the ignorance and the indifference of the normal people. Barrier-free is aiming to eliminate all these barriers.
Universal designed products and facilities are for all people in spite of their age and disabilities. This idea has 7 principles which are the equality, the flexibility, the simple design, the easy understanding, the safety, the ecology and the storage. The examples of universal design are indentations of shampoo's bottle, the point display of beer cans, non-step buses and toilets with many functions. And those universal designed products are highly beneficial.
Japan is also making new technologies who aim more and more to help disabled Japanese people. This help differs on the technology the electronic companies want to make. Some examples would be:

1) Cyberdyne an electronic company made a robotic suit that can help elderly people or people with Parkinson diseases to move. The concept is that the robot The HAL“The Hybrid Assisted Limb” catches the message sent from the brain to the muscles to move and makes the body move accordingly to the original message. The HAL is expected to be applied in a lot of fields like rehabilitation, physical training, and also to help disabled people.

2) The Taizo Robot that motivates the elderly people with exercise by giving them moves to do for 2 hours before it needs to be charged again. the Taizo is heavy ( 7 kilograms) and very expensive( 10 000 euro) so not a lot of people will be able to afford it or carry it places.

3) Honda’s body weight support system is a ‘walking assist device’. This device takes the majority of the weight the person uses away. It can help people to walk and climb stairs.
All these ideas are made specifically to facilitate people's lives.