Japan is basically a monolingual country. People can communicate only in Japanese anywhere in Japan, with one exception: Kyoto. As most of you may know, it’s the ancient capital of Japan. This could be a stereotypical idea (of many Japanese originated outside of Kyoto, I believe), but Kyoto people are snobbish, and their language is too difficult. It’s not about their accent or dialect. In Kyoto, we’re always required to understand the implication of their words. Let me give you some examples.
If your kids are running around in a restaurant, the restaurant staff might smile at you and say “They are so cheerful.” Don’t you ever reply like “Yeah, they’re so excited about coming here in Kyoto.” The staff means “Shut them up!” Even if you wear a cheesy shirt, Kyoto people would smile gently and say “You look good no matter what you wear.” I’m not blaming Kyoto people but on the contrary respect their culture created by the long history of Kyoto, though I don’t think I can survive there. According to a theory of historical science, concealing true intentions is ancient wisdom to survive through many struggles that had repeated over time in the power center.
Kyoto language is an extreme example, but it’s true we are required to read between the lines in communication, which, I could say, is difficult in other countries but possible in Japan, an almost mono-cultural country. The good point of this high-context communication here is we can convey detailed nuances more easily, which would also contribute to a technique transmission in the furniture making industry, I’m guessing.
2020/09/02 By Shungo Ijima