Every now and again, I find something that explains some small part of Japan.
I made such a discovery recently, when I was riding the train and noticed an advertisement for "The Museum of Western Art". In the guidebook, this had sounded interesting to me, as it seemed to be a different type of cultural flow than I was used to.
Most Westerners are aware of the way that culture flows in from the East. They have seen it in the sushi restaurants of Vancouver, the lack of a fourth floor in new highrises in Toronto, and best of all, on MXC.
After living in Tokyo for a year and talking about global culture with my Japanese students and friends, I have also come to understand the powerful effects of Western Pop Culture on Asian countries. Young guys love to break dance, McDonald's is everywhere, and Jehovah's Witnesses knock at my door regularly.
Still, "The Museum of Western Art" sounded like an interesting way for the Japanese to experience some of the more refined pleasures that have emerged in the West. And by "those pleasures", I mean the rich tradition of painting, sculpture and performance art that flies in the face of the hard-drinking, womanizing, clumsy stereotype that some people hold to.
Imagine my surprise when I saw the painting they'd chosen to use in their ads...
Here's a closeup of the painting. I'm on the left, with the cup.
There I am!
I'm so offended by what is clearly a direct attact on poor innocent foreigners who would NEVER do anything to draw negative attention to themselves.