Generally in Europe and America vol.2
Here in Japan, it's often said "In America and Europe" or "American
and European people" But which countries it points to in exact. For
me it sounds like pointed very broad area, from Iceland or Portugal in
the west to Turkey or Azerbaijan in the east. This kind of person would
be called "Argumentative person"
Because there is no contradiction for the word. Everybody has a consensus
for the definition. Then please tell me what's the definition of the "Europe
It must be "EU countries", must be "The West" If so,
the definition is ambiguous. However if TV news manuscript "European
and American countries ..." is rewritten to "Britain, France,
Germany Canada ... and US" the news comment could be continued forever.
But as I wrote in the last issue, in real world each European country,
Germany and Spain for instance, is totally different in people's feature,
philosophy, religious view, social system or economic situation. More over
for the US.
When I watched variety show on TV, the MC said "It's terribly hot here. We Japanese need a month long summer vacation like European and American people" I murmured "Oh, really??" From my experience, the people who take a month long vacation was only French. Actually at the end of June, Parisian got busy preparing for a Vacance. Then at the end of July the trains from Mediterranean coast were full. But talking about the US, the average length of summer vacation was shorter than the Japanese, I recall. Might be five days or so.
Certainly it doesn't matter the variety show host commented it from his
innocence. However seeing Japanese politician who have never live in Europe
nor America manipulating public opinion with the words "Generally
in European and American countries ..." makes me feels like being
cheated. You think I never know about it?
It's double imaged to the people who often scatter English words over presentation
even though there are exact words in Japanese. If it's hard to find the
appropriate Japanese words, why not make the presentation all in English.
It's much better than messy mixture of English and Japanese.
The common purpose for using the word "Europe and America" and
"Japanglish" is putting the ambiguity in the presentation. With
using the words they can avoid responsibilities what they have said. They
can also make an illusion on the abstract words. "It's usual in Germany"
and "It's common in European and American countries" which comment
make Japanese motivate? Maybe the later. Everybody do so, so must do we.
So politician often uses it to manipulate public opinion.
The brilliant picture for Western countries, Japanese people has made up and imitated it since the 19th century's modernization. They've copied the style and systems from diverse countries without thinking themselves. "Let's take after Northern European style social welfare. Raise tax to the Europe's level. This is American style employment. Energy strategy like Germany" This "copy and paste" made Japan like an unbalanced patch working. Nothing like the Europe and America any more. The solution had been quite simple "think themselves to improve" but they missed chance.
Whenever I hear the words "Generally in Europe and America" I
recall the conversation in the dorm. I'm afraid if even Japan's politician
still believes "Westerner is all the same. Talk to them in English"
" Portrait " Cienfuegos, Cuba 1998