Now, I think all of you who have read my 3 Differences post, have been long awaiting a post to explain why Japanese people are polite and American people are friendly.
Well, now I can finally tell you. So buckle your seatbelts and get ready for the reason Japanese people are so polite!
To answer this question, we must go (again) to the time of samurais. Imagine this. A foreign traveler is walking along a long, thin, dusty road. Stores line the street, and people are in them, some calling out to the people about their best products, some inside of their dark store, quietly organizing the products on their shelves.
As the traveler goes further on, the stores disappear and instead he finds himself in a small neighborhood.
Because of the vast population of that prefecture, many small houses are squeezed together. The traveler looks into the small crack between two and whistles. Then he passes along.
Back to today. Now, Tokyo City is one of the most populated cities in the world for its size. Wherever you go, people, people, and more people, walking in the streets, buying things, talking to friends on the side of the road, or doing their job.
Now, this is normal in some big cities, but take a look at how big Tokyo actually is:
Do you see what I am getting at? Tokyo is just a small slip of land with 9.2 million people living or staying there. That’s approximately 1 million more people than New York!
And the thing is that this not just in Tokyo. The whole country of Japan is squeezed tight, and there is 126 million people in it. That’s only half of the whole population of the country of America in the space of California! And it’s not even like all of the land is livable. 80% of that land is mountainous or unable to be built on!
That means that the houses that people live in have to be little, and the houses need to be close together.
After this long build-up, this is my point: When people live very close to each other, they absolutely have to get along.
In America, thanks to the vast land, people have plenty of space between houses. People even manage to have YARDS! (In Japan, hardly anyone has a yard, unless you call the slim half-meter strip of grass in front of people’s houses “yards”.) If neighbors get in a fight or they don’t get along, they don’t have to wake up and see their neighbor’s face a few centimeters away from their face (I’m exaggerating, don’t worry), because they live so far from one another.
Japanese people on the other hand have to get along because they live so close to each other.
Here is an example: Let’s say one person warns his neighbor to be careful to keep his plants on his own property since they are coming into his property. Now, there are two possibilities of what could happen next:
A. The neighbor will kindly agree.
or B. The neighbor is offended.
Now let’s imagine the neighbor is offended and gets angry. It isn’t so much of a problem if it’s in America. But in Japan people live so close that they can’t risk such a problem! Where would the problems end?
So there you have it! One main reason why Japanese and American culture are so different. It is because of the difference in the size of land!
If you want a better explanation for this, feel free to comment below, because I am listening. For now, bye and God bless!