Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Ordinariness vs. Contrariness hr577

on September 17, 2016

I have signed up for a few online survey websites and answer some questionnaire or other every day to earn small change. Other than money, there’s a byproduct in answering them. Each questionnaire has a set of answers to choose from that a survey writer thinks participants’ answers are supposed to be. I can see a trend and an opinion of a majority of Japanese people through the choices. To be honest, even though I’m Japanese myself, it’s a complete mystery to me what Japanese people think and how they live. I can understand the American way of thinking, for instance. It’s reasonable and logical, right or wrong. But for Japanese people, I often have no clue why they act or think as they do. The answer choices for a questionnaire are helpful leads to knowing them better. I take a glimpse of popular things or thoughts among Japanese people through a set of likely answers. There’s another interesting byproduct in surveys. Unveiling my true self. To save time, I answer them as quickly as possible. Choosing an answer instantly without deep thinking reveals what my unconscious mind really tells. I’m sometimes startled at my own answer, which means I still don’t know myself either. While I’m answering them, I encounter a problem quite frequently. My answer isn’t included among the suggested choices and I can’t select any of them. It’s so rare that I find the answer that refers to me or to my opinion in the long list of choices. In most cases, my answer is ‘Not applicable’ or ‘Other’. I simply don’t agree or apply to the suggested answers anyway. The choices are laid out in order of probability and none of them represent my answer. I even don’t know the items or the people on the choices that are considered to be popular in Japan. There’s no way for me to choose from what I’ve never heard of. My opinion is always in the minority. Whatever I do or think is usually shared by merely two to ten percent of all. Unfortunately, consensus is valued above character in Japan. Being different falls into disfavor. What I think and how I behave is mostly ignored or meets a scornful laugh. As a result, I feel I’m totally an outsider of this world. Maybe I’ve become a contrary person who believes most people except a few wouldn’t understand me ever. The other day, a motion to expand a parking space in my apartment complex was made. The complex I live in was initially built as a vacation home for people in the city. But recently, more and more people have been moving in to actually live here like myself. That has caused a shortage of a parking space. Some proposals for the solution were brought up, such as, to expand the parking lot by acquiring the neighboring land, to reduce parked cars by collecting fees or limiting to one car per household. Although I opposed strongly, other residents voted solidly for a motion to get land to expand the parking lot with a huge amount of money. The cost would be paid by reserves that the residents, including me, pay every month as a maintenance fee. It’s outrageous to me because I have neither a car nor a driver’s license, and don’t use a parking space to begin with. No one ever imagines a resident without a car exists in an apartment complex that is located in an absolute rural area enclosed by the mountains. My opinion that living here without a car is duly possible and thus expanding the parking lot is unnecessary was completely ignored and sneered at as usual. I wasn’t disappointed, though. I knew how things would go and this outcome is exactly what I expected. I’m used to being outside the majority…

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