01-22-2007, 04:08 AM
My husband is originally from an itty bitty town along the northern coast of Japan - literally wedged between mountains and the sea.
While I can`t say that I`ve *lived* there, I`ve certainly spent enough time up there to know what it`s like - we spend a few months up there each year. My experiences are probably partially colored by the fact that my husband is sort of the community 坊ちゃま, but here goes.
The positive; There is a very strong sense of community. Everyone knows who you are, where you live, etc. And most people go out of their help you out, give you free food, etc etc. The atmosphere is extremely friendly, people go to other people`s houses all the time, the children are watched by everyone, etc.
Old customs are alive and kicking and people generally follow them.
The negative: All that community support you receive? You have to reciprocate it. And if you don`t, because everyone is so connected, everyone will hear about it and think badly of you for it. If you don`t know those old customs, or choose not to follow them, you`re thought of badly.
Also... Everyone is busy. The pretty images of the Japanese countryside are a fantasy. There is no calm relaxation. Everyone, everywhere is working 20 hours a day in one way or another - when you are working from your home, there is no end to the workday. People have 10 times the free time in the city.