Congratulations are in order.

For SEB regular lurker Zak on the birth of his new son. I’m about five days late with this as the wondrous event actually took place on the 12th and I blame this on my inability to remember to read his blog even though I keep meaning to. I think I’ve mentioned Zak’s blog before because I find it fascinating in part because he’s living a life I once dreamed of—being an ex-pat living in Japan—as I was once quite enamored with that country (still am to some degree). It was reading the websites of other people like Zak that convinced me that perhaps Japan would be a nice place to visit regularly (if I can ever afford to), but that I probably wouldn’t find living there to be the wonderful experience my fevered imagination kept thinking it would be. Still, I love the contrast between its rich history and its just plain odd-at-times culture. Zak talks of his own ambivalence for his adopted home on occasion as well and I can’t help, but think I’d share some of those same thoughts if I were there even though some of the goofy stuff Japanese people do, like the finger pose they adopt when having their picture taken, is just part of what I think is great about the people there.

Anyway, if you haven’t already done so you should go by his blog and shower him with good wishes and lots of misguided, but well-intentioned parental advice for a new father.

7 thoughts on “Congratulations are in order.

  1. Thanks for the post, Les. The little dude is a treasure.

    And, as for Japan, remember my motto: “A Japanophile is someone who hasn’t spent a long time in Japan.”

  2. See, I really am ambivalent, because whenever I post anything like that comment above, I start to feel bad after a while and I am compelled to modify it with something like “there is a lot about Japan that annoys me, and a lot that I like about it as well. The same thing is true about the States, and probably would be for anywhere else as well.”

    I think it’s just that after being here for so long the things that annoy me about the culture have become very easily pressed buttons.

  3. I think that’s going to be true of anywhere one might live, though. As much as I love the United States it should be obvious from all the ranting I do about the idiots that make up the majority of my fellow Americans that there is plenty of stuff about our country and its culture that bugs the shit out of me.

    If I were living in Japan I’m sure the highly regimented rules of their culture with regards to position and how the rules of conduct change depending on your status would annoy the hell out of me. I can be crass in my attitude by American standards so I’m sure the Japanese wouldn’t have a clue what the hell to make of me. That and my total indifference for someone’s social status would likely cause me no end of trouble.

    But there’s still a lot about Japan that I think is pretty cool. The same is true of the United Kingdom as well, which is another place I once considered as a possible cool place to live.

  4. You mentioned “the finger pose [Japanese people] adopt when having their picture taken” – I am curious what exactly that finger pose is? and is it really as widespread/common/popular as it sounds in your entry? sorry for the silly question, I know very little about Japan, but I find the coexistence (if you will) of traditional and modern aspects of Japanese society absolutely fascinating and I am eager to learn about Japan (so I will definitely check out Zak’s blog). Well, that detail just caught my eye. Kind regards.

  5. My apologies for the pretty unnecessary comment/question I just made – right after posting the comment I went to Zak’s weblog and saw the the finger pose in question on some pictures posted there. Do you know anything about the origin of this finger posing?

  6. It started out as a “V” shaped peace symbol, which is still the main version you see today. However, these girls have a slightly spread out version up near the top of their face that I think is supposed to be cool or something.

    It’s amazing how early Japanese kids begin to adopt the two-finger picture pose. I think I’ve seen it in a sonogram once in a 7 month old fetus.

    OK, just kidding…

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