Welcome to my literary attic—thirty years of sporadic reflections on topics from dirty words to advertising, academically stiff to tongue-in-cheek. If you have any connection with or interest in Japan, there’s probably lots here to respond to, maybe even new perspectives to help connect some of those pesky, inscrutable dots.
(Note downloadable .pdf files)
A Question of Rights. And What Went Wrong.
What happened to America? After such a promising start, where did the “noble experiment” go wrong? Or were the seeds of today’s problems right there from the outset? Find out in the article no magazine will ever publish! Updated version coming soon!
The middle-aged Japanese male has taken beaucoups of flack for decades—much of it, richly deserved. In this piece for a Japanese cosmetics magazine, myself and five long-time foreign female Japan residents explore problem areas and suggest solutions—where possible.
This study examines the cultural roots of Japanese and American advertising differences, with special focus on signature communication styles and the belief systems they grew from as a basis for insights into how and why the two approaches diverge and how they can work together. Presented in interactive format with embedded TV commercials and print ads, Mood versus Message traces today’s differences back to an underlying common ground, then examines the cultural factors that determined how each style developed. A work in progress, future chapters will examine how evolving globalization and social media are changing the playing field East and West.
Brown’s Helmet of History: Japan and America on the Archaic-Modern Continuum
Norman O. Brown was one of the seminal thinkers of the 1960s. His Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History opened my eyes to a way of thinking that saw life as the flight from Death, history as neurosis and cultures with their own life spans on an archaic-modern continuum—a way of thinking Zen and Gurdjieff helped take to its logical conclusion. In Japan, Takeo Doi’s books showed me the Japanese had a word for Brown’s flight from Death, which meant it was closer to consciousness that in the more modern, more repressed Christian West. Armed with Brown’s continuum, I have put “inscrutable” cultural differences from interpersonal behavior to words with irrational impact into what I feel is the proper context, if with unsettling implications for humankind.