I loved these stories. I don’t believe they tell me anything in particular about modern Japan, but I found them all fascinating:
Reading this, Japan’s Prisons Are a Haven for Elderly Women – Bloomberg, you realize just how terrible prison is as a means of solving any social ills. All of the women in this piece could have better ways to deal with their problems. They lack money or social connections, and prison is the worst way of providing those. Yet that is where they go to solve their problems.
It’s a good piece. And a good reminder of why with a few exceptions, prisons are a poor way to deal with problems.
(Image from twenty20.com)
Minimalism is a foreign concept to some Westerners, especially as it is practiced in parts of Japan. Indeed, this line:
Fumio Sasaki’s one-room Tokyo apartment is so stark friends liken it to an interrogation room. He owns three shirts, four pairs of trousers, four pairs of socks and a meagre scattering of various other items.
You see “interrogation room” and “meagre”, which gives you some insight into how this writer sees it. The article which this comes from (and which is linked to below) does get more insightful and you gain a better insight into Japanese minimalism, from its cultural roots to its practicality (such as the real problem of how earthquakes make home objects dangerous).
Minimalism seems to be growing as a cultural concept throughout the world, and it’s good to know more about it, how the Japanese see it, and to think about how it should differ in Western cultures. To do that, see:
Three shirts, four pairs of trousers: meet Japan’s ‘hardcore’ minimalists in The Guardian