About Japan being one of the most militaristic countries in the world, I don't think that "militaristic" represents any kind of deep human feature, but the superficial product of other deeper features. Japanese people are not "otakuistic", but they collectively have some characteristics that manifest in being otaku. At least some of them.

Modern military forces rely on discipline. Drill and drill and more drill. Trust your comrades, trust your superiors.

I don't think Japanese people were ever "militaristic", they were simply disciplined and trustworthy. Were the Japanese people too trusting in their military elite, a very aggressive elite to be sure, that lead them into an expansionist war? Sure. But that is different from saying that Japanese people were militaristic and are now pacifistic.

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As an avid (Scandinavian) fan & explorer of grocery stores, I'm quite curious about what caused the negative impression of Scandinavian supermarkets. (Is it the alcohol thing?) I've always viewed Swedish supermarkets as places of splendor and hedonistic indulgence, but maybe that's because I live in Norway?

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Thanks for the post.

1) I was in Japan a long time ago, but my general impression is that they held foreigners to a lower standard of behavior. "Of course those degenerate foreigners wouldn't mask." Combine this with a non-confrontational attitude and a feeling that tourists are not some kind of permanent problem and basically they just let it go and keep their disapproval internal.

This isn't a problem if you're a visitor but can be more of a problem if you tried to live and work in Japan, especially if you weren't a special person in any way. One reason there is such a low % of people who move permanently to Japan is they figure this out. That internal disapproval will later come out in lots of passive aggressive ways.

2) I'm not sure what the difference between "trust" and "trust-worthiness" is supposed to be.

3) I don't see what "trustworthiness" has to do with Pearl Harbor.

Obviously, Japanese are trustworthy to "insiders". The people in the attack fleet could all trust each other to do their duty and not send a message to Washington. They could trust each other to risk death for their comrades.

Japanese trustworthiness is a kind "state capacity". What that capacity gets used for is contextual.

4) Japan has never been averse to high skill immigration, but not many high skill people want to immigrate there because of #1. I don't think, and remain hopeful, they won't make the same mistake with low skill immigration that Sweden did.

5) I tend to think the internal dynamics of Imperial Japan made war with China inevitable, but it might not have been with the west.

As to what it might look like, aren't places like South Korea or Taiwan good examples. These were authoritarian states focused on technocratic capitalism with fake or severely curtailed democracies (in many ways Japan too, which has been dominated by the LDP in a so called "one and a half party system").

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A great case study of the kind of harmonious society that can be achieved through a strict immigration policy

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One of the best things I saw in Japan was a New York themed pizza place in Omotesando that had themed "griminess" - complete with fake graffiti and fake wall etchings in the spotless bathroom. Japan in a nutshell.

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9. Seems like the face-to-face home delivery standard existed also because the Japanese viewed it as the appropriate level of customer service and respect. Pre-pandemic, does anyone know whether any shipping company in Japan ever tried to "disrupt" this? Lobby the government or convince the public that the law should change? Or would that have resulted in massive negative PR?



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Honestly, I'd love even more thoughts about Japan, if you feel like it. What did you make of the Yasukuni Shrine and its WW2 revisionism? Did you eat any of the weirder items at Saizeriya?

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I really don't get the irrational hatred of masks. More extreme NPIs, like lockdowns, impose sever costs on those who don't agree with them, mask wearing is a trivial inconvenience, even though I think its unnecessary. More to the point, when you are a guest in someone else's country, huse or space, you should make an effort to conform to their expectations. I don't enjoy wearing a suit, but I wear one to a funeral, when I enter a mosque I take off my shoes, and when I visted the Wailing Wall I wore a skullcap - depsite not believing in sky fairies. Its just common courtesy. Wandering around Japan unmasked is terrible arrogance, all to avoid soooo minor an inconvenience.

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"Buffets are the sole place in Japan that enforces mask rules - plus a plastic glove requirement that I’ve seen nowhere else on Earth."

When our favorite Chinese buffet in Gainesville, Florida re-opened after the worst of the pandemic shutdowns were over, they initially required masks except when eating, and plastic gloves when getting food from the buffet.

Likewise, nearly all of the non-buffet Chinese places in town went long beyond other places in completely "re-opening" -- and were more "closed" from the start. Months after non-masked dine-in had returned at other types of restaurants, most of the Chinese places still had plastic sheeting over their doors and required you to phone in your order, then approach the door masked to slip your credit card through the plastic sheeting to a plastic-gloved worker who would then slip your card and your food back out to you.

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Buffet place I went to on holiday recently in Trinidad and Tobago also had the (double) glove requirement. I was like "Whoa, that's a new one. And pretty smart."

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Thanks for these observations. But it seems your libertarian theater leads you to ignore the data.


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