For this gaijin, the great enigma of Japan has long been how its people can so readily adopt so much from others and yet remain unmistakably Japanese in spirit. Americans may be pragmatic enough to adopt things foreign, but they do so only reluctantly and with a sense of defeat.
Not so the Japanese. They readily embrace things foreign with not the least embarrassment or sense of loss. It all seems more graceful and reasonable than my own country’s way. Not only is it more graceful, but it somehow enables the Japanese to put their own unique stamp on what not too long before was entirely foreign.
This is a wonder to me, and no doubt feeds my never-ending interest in Japan and its culture, modern and ancient. Over the years of living in and visiting Japan, questioning and reading, I have failed to fully understand, though at times I have had glimpses of how the process works, and often in the strangest of places.