is a question that needs to be asked far more often in Japan.
When I was teaching at public schools, I was amazed at the lack of imagination and curiosity of Japanese kids.
Like, I'd tell them Mickey Mouse was the Prime minister of Australia and they'd go, "Ohhh really." And not in a sarcastic way, as in: She's the sensei, her word is God, admittedly she is a foreign sensei who I call "Corinne teacher" but she is sensei all the same.
My students were never rewarded for the right answer but always rewarded for trying, answer wrong or right. Because when it comes to English I think it's always better to try, make a mistake but get your point across rather than keep quiet and not get anything across. Co-mmuuuu-nniiii-caaaaaaa-tion people!
And see, I don't think the same goes for Japanese, sometimes I will try and get my point across while knowing my Japanese is rubbish but possibly understandable and I will be met with smiles and blank stares. Of course depends on the person, take my MIL ad FIL. MIL is awesome with the understanding, I'll sprinkle in English words when I don't know the Japanese and use 2 word unstructured sentences and she'll still try very hard to get it.
FIL, on the other hand, unless it's perfect Japanese, will stop listening and look at his wife or Ryota with a fucking goofy grin and a look that says, 'Son, your moron wife is trying and failing to speak to me, translate will you?!' He doesn't mean it that way, but it's such a frustrating feeling for me and really does make me just want to shut my trap.
Anyway, back to the original point... I think Japanese people and kids in particular, who are supposed to be curious by nature, really should start asking more questions, for example, "Sensei, why do you just copy our textbook and give it to us for homework?" And if sensei was honest he'd answer: "Well johnny-kun, I just can't be arsed as I have to stay in this bastard school until after dark to watch you little fuckers run around and hit baseballs." I think this is why kids clean their classroom here, kids in Australia would be all, "Uhhh, Miss, this is child fucking labour!!!" I think a mix is good, a little more inquisitive but not quite as lazy as the little Aussie bastards..
The reason I was thinking about the 'why' thing, is the other day, I got my hair done at the local salon and was looking at the sign that had the salon's name on it for a good 2 hours, which gave me a bit of time to think I guess. The salon name is P.H.D. which for me is the thing you get when you spend your entire life at University and get to be called a doctor. And then under the P.H.D. it said 'Phass hair design.' Hair-good, design-nice one, phass-???? Do you need a P.H.D. to know what Phass means?? Am I just incredibly dense and don't know what phass means??? So I asked my friendly stylist what Phass meant, and I think he'd never been told or asked about it, because he panicked for a bit and then answered, "It's this salon's name" No shit, brightspark, but what does Phass mean? I asked all of this in Japanese so it's not like I was giving him an English quiz, he confessed to not knowing and asked me what it meant in English, I said I didn't know and that was the end of it. Didn't he have the slightest bit of interest in the name of the place he was working?
Another thing that got me thinking about the lack of why usage in Japan is the fact that on more than one occasion, I have been thanked by a random Obachan on my son. The usual drill will go,
-Obachan makes face at Ash
-Ash giggles and responds in his slut-like way
-Obachan gushes at how cute he is
-I go all J-style and deny his cuteness while my western inner child screams "Ohhh yeah I know he's cute, you wanna see his fat little legs!?"
-Obachan says, Arigato gozaimasu!!!!
Now this is where I'd love to ask her, why thank you??
Thank you for having a cute child?? Thank you for breeding with one of my race?? Thank you for increasing our aging population?? Thank you for letting me make faces at your child?? Thank you for marrying a Japanese man and putting up with the fact that they have been treated like a baby by their mother and grandmother their whole life and may never actually grow up?? Thank you for staying in Japan and producing a half child that may end up on a gap commercial one day??
But while we're asking questions about Japan, I have a few of my own...
Top 10 questions I want to ask about Japan...
1) Why don't you have real ovens/sausages/dishwashers/bacon/grass/meat pies Japan?
2) Why are so many Japanese girls pigeon toed?
3) Why is your idea of comedy a man slapping another man over the head many times?
4) Why does everything on TV and everywhere else relate to food but you're all skinny bastards?
5) Why do you say shirts instead of shirt? (Same applies for fruits and nuts)
6) Why do women insist on carrying bags with their hands twisted up like they have a disability?
7) Why do men piss in the street, especially taxi drivers!?
8) Why does the fact that it's expensive make it the best?
9) Why are your garbage men so freaking uptight that they picked a tiny tuna can out of my burnable rubbish bag and put a sticker of garbage shame on it?
10) Why isn't it weird to you that your school kids are at school on their holidays unless the school is physically locked?