Society Watching and Corona in Japan

I was looking forward to quite some things when moving to Japan, to the food, bathing culture and more. I was also signing up to other aspects, like a society where people are watching each other, more than in Germany.

A first flavour of that is in TV series about Japanese life: older woman with a worried face picking the trash bags of others from the outside, verifying if trash was correctly separated and the rules got followed. People are also, compared to other countries, very sensitive to noise in the house. One of the fears of renting a room to a foreigner are loud parties, which would disturb others.

I was aware of the ‘watching’ already before moving here, and made my piece with it. I also had to cut down some things, for example I did not dare to buy an electrical guitar here in a rented room in Tokyo, fearing the noise for others. A friend with electrical(!) drums did get hinted that others heard his drums.

Me being me, I keept thinking: now if you have a society where people are watching each other to some degree.. there surely must be good aspects?

Comparing the Corona situation in Germany and Japan, I found an answer: in times like this. the ‘watching’ helps. This occurred to me last week Saturday, when I was at the top of Mnt.Nabewariyama/鍋割山. Daily new Corona infections in Tokyo are below 30 since weeks, but here hikers were lined up in front of a hut, waiting to buy ‘Yamaudon’ for lunch. Despite infections down, and all at the fresh air, all wearing a mask. For comparison, in Germany, with numbers exploding, there was recently a soccer game - and you saw a wall of fans, almost noone wearing a mask. Why do people wear a mask here? It’s less that all know in detail how infection happens, but because a majority wears a mask.

About vaccinations: Japan was very late. Germany started around beginning of 2021, Japan started middle of the year, and vaccination rate is now the highest in the G7 countries. Also in Japan, we have mistrust in the government and so on, but once enough people were vaccinated, people wanted to do their part.

I think I saw the good part of the ‘watching each other’.

Last modified on 2021-12-06