One of the most civilized, advanced and disciplined nations, Japan, is for many a true model of social, economic and even emotional conduct.
Japan includes more than 6,800 islands within its borders, whose natural beauty is protected by a real love for the environment and its balance. In fact, the Japanese are among the few earthlings who demonstrate a high degree of wisdom in their dealings with nature, understanding that they must not fight against it (a desideratum that is hilarious and losing from the very beginning anyway), but on the contrary, to be friends with it, to understand it and to adapt to its manifestations, no matter how aggressive they may be.
Another interesting aspect related to Japanese traditions, this time regarding superstitions, is the reluctance towards the number 4, because in Japanese, its phonetic resonance is similar to that of the term that defines death. Thus, in addition to many other customs related to avoiding the "fateful" figure (as other nations do in connection with number 13), tall buildings refer to the 4th floor as 3A or 3B, and when sitting at the table, the Japanese are careful to be 3 or 5, having indisputably, in general, an appetite for odd numbers.
Besides the speed and punctuality of trains, the reliability of cars, the cleanliness of cities, the resilience of buildings to earthquakes, the mastery in arranging floral ornaments, the respect given to the idea of honor and many other reasons to praise this people, the Japanese also own the most famous cow species, Kobe, whose meat is highly valued worldwide. However, in order to reach these unique results, the cows in question are cared for in a very special way, giving them a lot of attention, gentleness, daily massage, and during the summer being treated with sake and beer. There are only 262 farms in the Tajima region that raise the famous species, the name Kobe coming from the capital, and each of these farms growing only 5 cows at a time.
Japan is also the country of street vending machines of all kinds. With a huge number of about 5.5 million functional units, the Japanese can quickly find, on almost any street corner, beer, hot or cold coffee, cigarettes, wine, condoms, books, magazines, various dishes, light bulbs, bags of rice, toilet paper, eggs, porn magazines and even… used lingerie.
Also on most street corners there are special vases, in which there are… umbrellas. If it starts to rain, anyone can take an umbrella, and after they no longer need it, they will leave it in any vase intended for these accessories, of course, at any other street corner.
If you've ever wondered where the word karaoke comes from (when you've probably tried to prove your vocal-interpretive skills in public), well, the term is of Japanese origin and means "empty orchestra." In the 1970s, Daisuke Inoue, a cabaret singer, invented a "machine" that works on the basis of coins (like ordinary jukeboxes), but which plays only instrumental pieces of music, thus allowing those interested (with the help of an adjacent microphone) to actively participate in the "completion" of the song (with their own voice). Unfortunately, he did not homologate his "invention", and thus, did not get any benefit from the successful spread of his brilliant idea around the world.
As if defying the hypocritical concepts that condemn pornography (although as the statistics show, the whole planet consumes this genre more or less assumed), in Japan, all the small supermarkets, also called "combini", sell pornographic materials. They can be bought at any age, even if you are a child. In Japan, there is no sex education in schools or in the family, so young people are forced to learn the "theme" of this important chapter of life on their own. For Japanese society, magazines, hentai and manga anime seem to be "didactic" materials instructive enough on this topic, and reality does not contradict them at all.
Japan is a country particularly attracted to eroticism. Testimony is the countless love hotels, establishments dedicated to those who need a short period (or a little longer… for example one night) to have sex. They have hearts at the entrance (and not stars), and the rates vary according to the time spent on the occasion of these adventures. About 2% of Japan's population visits such a hotel every day.
About “soulmates”, “love at first sight” and more...
Love is by far the favorite topic of poets, composers and writers from all over the world, and the “I love you” concerned, successfully contaminate the pages, lyrics and the lines in open scene, without the slightest super saturation of the consumer, eager of much and lacking consistency emotion. Because, of course, the famous “love” means a subject that sells very well... either transposed in soupy novels with happy-end, either in soap operas with breakings at minute, or live transmissions with suicidal threats, having a tendency of sentimental blackmail, almost everywhere in the world, the sick and paroxysmal romanticism is popular.
In addition to the classic story of a HE and a SHE perfectly compatible, who intersects by chance on the street, change fugitively (but eloquently) some glances and, obviously, their phone numbers, and then meet at a restaurant, their own homes or who knows where, to be miraculously invaded by the feeling that, suddenly, life lived without the other one is not life, but only a pale substitute, in reality, love takes forms much more sophisticated and exposed to hazard. From the so-called “love at first sight” or the one animated by finding the “soulmate”, up to the passion blossomed between two hearts separated by a multitude of kilometers, existential concerns or good years (almost enough to compete with the age of Cold War), the emotional communication is completely different from person to person, no matter how much we would try to define it in generic terms or “all-encompassing” titles. Beyond our linguistic stubbornness, there is a whole universe of manifestations and meanings.
But to what extent do these love hypostases share the same chances of success as in the case of typical lovers, whose happiness seems to be encrusted in chromosomes and stars, or to what extent the example of the latter ones should become the rule for all lovers who respect themselves... it remains to be seen. Or to be lived!
Love at first sight?
SHE was a dreamy young woman, preoccupied with signs, numerology and marriage. HE, an ordinary young man, smiling her nicely over his sober glasses and the cup of tea remained prisoner between his motionless fingers, stopped in their turn (emotionally), from the usual pulse of drinking. SHE felt like the earth moved under her feet at the sight of the very charming man, in his own way, who would be perfectly suitable as a bed-neighbor for her, not only at the table, in that place that suddenly became just as intimate as her bedroom. At least, that's what she guessed! She could not know for sure before finding out his date, time and circumstances of birth... vital information to properly calculate the opportunity of crumpling the bedding, lacking “action” since the days when they had been purchased (on offer and many years before). But even without the consent of karmic figures, SHE still seemed to be more and more in love with the stranger “Mr. Perfect”, already seriously worrying about the color of the napkins or floral arrangements... necessarily in resonance with her own aura, wonderfully outlined in the fascinating posture of bride.
Although falling in love at first sight seems to be the appanage of teenagers or, at most, of some who came to their early youth, there are also cases in which people around the middle age or even retirement, feel late butterflies in their stomach (if not... somewhere nearby), at the view of a particular sample of the opposite sex, labeling that experience as “the purest and most thrilling love ever lived”.
But no matter the age or apparent authenticity of the feeling, the prompt reaction to biceps, triceps, décolletage, bottom, endless legs or simple charisma, it should not be immediately overlapped to the idea of “love”, but only associated with a simple and natural attraction that can progress or not to a somewhat more complex stage of feelings... eventually authenticated by a certain “chemistry”, not only by the prosaic physiology. In this context, “love at first sight” appears, therefore, as a slightly hypocritical name, attributed strictly to the activity of sexual hormones, unleashed suddenly and irresistibly in the presence of someone “promising”.
The less superficial interpretation of feelings, however, makes reference to a rather generous concept, which, in addition to the euphoria of dopamine, adrenaline and endorphins awakened to life, also implies a series of other elements felt, certainly not at first sight, but only with the passage of time, based on knowledge and reciprocity carefully assumed: affection, romance, commitment, the feeling of a common direction and... much, much more!
It is prematurely, therefore, to put the equal sign between the physical attraction (on the one hand), instinctual impulse that can easily install in the female hearts and male fantasies after only a single view of the own dreams materialized in a pleasant presence, and love defined not only by thundering heartbeats or wild sex (on the other hand).
As well as it is also premature to discredit any form of wild passion burst ad hoc, expecting that its chances of survival are very slim in addition to the luck of a deaf blind, shipwrecked on a deserted island. For, sometimes, what seems to be a mere intense fire, of short duration, may turn into a real love consumed quietly and in time, or including crowned at the altar.
The value of the spontaneous “love” should not be, therefore, neither overestimated nor underestimated. There are only probabilities that they can not define, in any way, axioms. On the other hand, we, as direct participants in drawing up these “variables”, can bring a substantial contribution in the sense we want them to materialize. Although, even this, means only 50%! The rest is implacable, at the fingertips of the other... “soulmate”.
HE was a guy quite different from his buddies with whom he used to spend in a row and insipidly the evenings which have become almost routine. He participated as a mere “silent witness” to their flirting sessions with interesting young ladies or to the laudatory discussions about their own nightly performances, whose records they kept with the sanctity of an impeccable account balance. He did not venture without programming in any relationship, because he had a very clear idea about how SHE should be and look like: brown hair (natural and without bangs), wide forehead and dark circles under her eyes (fatigue certainly betrays devotion), tall and calculated, dimples in her cheeks, two big brothers, graduated in Architecture, “Taurus” (as a sign), sensitive to compliments, surprises and mountains, fascinated by the idea of time travel, documentary films and last but not least, a partisan actively involved in the fight for greening the planet.
He had the certainty that only that long-awaited “soulmate”, promised by stars and confirmed by intuition, would meet all the features compatible to his pretentious inner, as his acquaintances described him in unison.
And, despite the arguments of others, HE vehemently refuses to understand the fact that even globalization is insufficient to guarantee the identification in the crowd, of that type of idolatrized “pattern”.
Although fewer people are flirting with the idealistic understanding of love, given the pragmatism infiltrated even within relationships (not only in science or business), theories like that of “predestination” continue to be embraced with enthusiasm by the incurable romantics for whom any attempt of affectionate gift, necessarily involves colorful hearts and fluffy teddy-bears, and the statements really valid, must contain at least a reference to stars, eternity and storms of the soul.
Assuming that each mortal has his pair put aside for “fusion” and perpetual happiness, the philosophy of the “missing half” (dating back since ancient times) is still present nowadays (also) because of mass-media or the so-called contemporary art, which frequently exploits the idea of a destiny concerned about the fact that every person should find, sooner or later... the perfect match. Of course, not without going through various adventures, tests, conflicts, identity crises or 100% incompatible partners.
From a certain point of view, the assurance that the Universe works hard, by default, to prepare us a positive future along with the suitable half-pair, has the gift to establish in our soul a certain sense of security and comfort. Because, what can be more comforting than believing that your love life is waiting apathetically for its completion, shaped gently (but accurately), by the skillful hands of a superior force which obsessively plans everything for the better? Thus, the lucky earthlings should not even have to strive too hard to do something in this respect, considering the fact that no matter their effort and will, the circumstances of life not at all accidental, will still get out in their way, at the appropriate time, that person with whom they will form the most impenetrable whole.
Moreover, the belief that the soul mate is somewhere there... wandering chaotically around the world, while it represents the true answer to all the needs and emotional desires of the ones fascinated by idealism, can determine them to create unrealistic expectations or abandon prematurely the difficult relations, consoling themselves in advance and without resentments that: “Anyway, it was not my soulmate!”.
The theoretical mirage of beings that fit just like the screw and the nut, having the same diameter, is therefore not the most effective method to deal with real life, as long as it incites to attitudes refractory to “getting to the common denominator” by tests, feelings and experiences of a couple, or to the passive contemplation in the direction of mystical and absolute scenarios, sitting, of course, with crossed arms and the eyes drawn to the sky.
If, however, the story goes beyond this phantasmagoric and rudimentary stage, becoming a starting point for the belief that any compatible partner can eventually gain the status of “corresponding soul”, and relationships with potential are also entitled to become the indispensable source of balance and satisfaction, then the colors of exacerbated idealism can change their chromatic brilliance, which allows them to be seen and admired with a little more attention.
Do contrasts attract?
HE was a young man passionate about literature, quantum physics and ballet. He was driving his personal car, ecological of course, while he was dreaming that someday he will save from extinction the frogs in Madagascar and, as a bonus, will eradicate poverty all over the world... First, for his inner peace, then for the sake of humanity, as it is nice for any right and kind soul.
SHE was the same young woman, passionate about parties, speed and alcohol. She was driving her noisy motorcycle, while centering her thoughts on the noble ideal of not depriving any part of her body of the privilege of being covered by tattoos.
She had no nightmares related to the planet's degradation, just as HE was not exactly the guy fascinated by piercings and eccentricities. They had decided, however, to form a couple and seemed to be doing pretty well. Although no one around would have given them the slightest chance of success.
“Slightly” pushed to the extreme, the case above has certainly its correspondent also in real plan, with the implicit shade variations. Differences in height, passions, vision or temper, often turn into points of mutual attraction, determining us to evaluate our partners in a favorable light and to admire them for what we do not have: 1.90 m, acting talent, initiative, self-confidence, organized life or an appetite for culture. Or... on the contrary, a childish simplicity, often comforting, in the middle of the own chaotic existence, like a puzzle always spread out by an invisible hand and with missing parts.
No wonder they say that opposites (contrasts) attract each other. As long as there are no irreconcilable differences, such as distinct religious affiliation (in the case of conservatives who refuse to “polish” their beliefs), or asymmetric educational levels that do not allow the development of a common language, the lack of blatant similarities is even recommended for the survival of a relationship. Because, along with the uniformity of personalities, lifestyles and experiences of the two, it inevitably falls the curtain of monotony that every couple should avoid as much as possible.
Although there are also exceptions, most often a melancholic oriented towards his inner world, will be deeply intrigued by the sanguine one who establishes connections with the outside world in a so natural manner that it seems born to jubilate in the middle of the crowd. Just as the expansive choleric as a pressure cooker, it is often captivated by the detached spirit of the phlegmatic, constant in reactions and behavior.
In this context, it becomes perfectly understandable why a HIM, in love with his sofa and PC, needs necessarily a half-soul for which the “rebellion” against the daily routine does not imply an effort similar to that of carrying a load equal to the own body weight or why a SHE who keeps talking as if her own life depends on the number of words said per minute, will feel at ease with a very economical partner in terms of articulated language.
Even if, for some, the perfect couple consists of two people who look alike, talk alike, think alike, love alike, hate alike, even dress alike, complete each other's phrases or they absolutely want the same things, the reality shows that not the similarities, but the differences represent the guarantee of success in love. Because they add salt and pepper to a relationship (especially on long-term), they wash away the boredom and ensure complementarity... as long as, of course, they do not create barriers in communication, emotional distance or extreme opposition in aspirations and interests. This does not necessarily mean, however, that the very similar partners are necessarily doomed to a gloomy life of predictability and unhappiness. But they are much more vulnerable in terms of diminishing enthusiasm and variety, these being usually indispensable conditions in the equation of couple happiness. But even in this case, it can be said that there are people who love to lie “still”, side by side, like hippos in the mud. As they say, the state of perpetual lethargy gives them the invaluable sense of stability.
Love has no age?
SHE was courted by all the men in the neighborhood, who, even they, the poor men, no longer knew why they adored her like a voluptuous and contemporary goddess. Was it because of her fleshy lips without the slightest trace of hyaluronic acid, her long and straight legs like those of the sexiest models, her generous and naughty décolleté which hypnotically betrayed her breathing, or maybe her shiny hair, sometimes disheveled by the wind on her dimpled cheeks, showing a slightly insolent smile? It could be any of them or all together... Regardless of the reason, however, it is certain that SHE was immune to all the compliments, attempts and favors of all those who swarmed around her, just like some kids, really enthusiastic about a chocolate fountain, preferring instead, to show up at the arm of a respectable gentleman, separated long time ago from his early youth, but unimaginably proud thanks to the success of matching his own accounts with the new blonde and stylish treasure, who... came to this world long after his birth.
HE was, therefore, a man in love with life, unused with refusals and impassive to the inevitable value judgments of unwanted (and envious, of course) commentators around him.
The major difference of age in a couple, is a matter on which everyone has much to say, but not in any way, but loudly, the most popular refrain in this respect revealing that not love but other regrettable interests are the basis of the relationship between a young lady freshly passed the border of coming of age and a Don Juan born just before our era (that of the Internet and mobile phones, of course)... or between an innocent, inexperienced young man and a lady with at least two divorces in her past, along with several other beloved spouses who have already gone into eternity.
Most of the times, the image-cliché of the partners between which a few innocent decades sneaked, depicts a half-soul blessed with money, wrinkles and influence, versus another one endowed with great ambitions, few years and unlimited sex-appeal. And what is generally believed about such an intensely debated situation, is that both characters transact their main “goods” to become, later on, the beneficiaries of some constant and consistent favors. And the values that are suspected to be the object of this exchange are usually finances and youth.
Beyond the cases where evidence shows that people's opinions are invariably not mistaken, there are also idylls where the substantial difference of age between two pigeons assaulted by Cupid, does not necessarily indicate the involvement of “business”, but the evidence of other legitimate needs or even the truthfulness of the saying that proclaims impartially and clearly: “Love has no age!”
The theory says that each individual chooses the partner according to the portrait of the opposite-sex parent. Although the complexity of the phenomenon can not be reduced to an elementary cause-effect logic, the above idea, however, describes a potential explanation for situations where a young girl raised in the absence of her father (or a too indulgent father), for instance, feels attracted to mature men, able to fuel her need for safety (in which case compensation prevails). Or, on the contrary, given the fact that there was not a very “pleasant” pattern of communication with the paternal authority, the young lady feels more comfortable only in symbiosis with someone younger, “inferior” to her (in which case avoidance prevails).
The range of possible interpretations does not stop here. There are also cases where the appeal to Freud's wisdom or of his disciples is totally unjustified for understanding the love preferences of some who simply like each other, despite belonging to different generations. They discover that they have something else in common, beyond the age ending in “1”, but separated by 20 years without a day, and identify themselves as being on the same wavelength. Moreover, they even have the ability to see beyond the standards and prejudices, assuming all the foreseeable risks derived from her 41 years and his 21 years... or vice versa.
Putting the love stories of everyone in the same pattern or saying innocently that the general set of love rules is always valid, from A to Z, for the whole world, can be a rigid, almost dogmatic choice and... undoubtedly, far from the truth. As life itself is “complex and has many aspects”, love is also a rather complicated issue both theoretically and practically, and can not therefore be reduced to the claustrophobic perimeter of a unilateral vision or to a basic mechanism, operating at all times in the same way. And common, general and somewhat abstract ideas about instinctive feelings or actions, can be useful as long as they determine in a mature, responsible and possibly passionate way to experience anything that may be interesting and acceptable to one's own personality, to test the boundaries and to the continuous personal development.
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