From my experience staying in Armenia as well as on-going communications with Armenians afterwards, I often think that Armenia could be a good place for Japanese people to live actually. Today, I will write about the reasons why it may be a good place especially for “ordinary” Japanese which they would face during their stay in the country.
Well, first of all, in Japan, there are approximately, 126,000,000 ethnically Japanese people, which is approximately, 40 times bigger than the estimated number of population of Armenians in Armenia (it is also believed that the actual figure could be much less than that though). At the same time, the society has been already developed a lot materialistically and in terms of system and social structure. In addition, in many cases, people are more respected and appreciated to behave in the same way as other people do rather than becoming and behaving very distinctively and individually. In other words, collectiveness and social consent are something embedding in the society and that covertly affect the behavior of Japanese people.
On the other hand, the covert social system sometimes enforces people to oppress themselves by killing their uniqueness and individuality. For example, in the education system, students are not recommended to critically/creatively think of alternative answers but are highly encouraged to remember only one answer which the teachers says “correct”. Even in the company, employees are not encouraged to use creativity to produce a new work while they are highly encouraged to follow a manual set by the company always no matter how inefficient the manual is without any questions. In this kind of society, it is often hard for them to have distinctive identity that maintain their confidence that having uniqueness is good or to feel themselves something “special” or find a special meaning in their life. These mental factors sometimes make them lose their motivation in their life and lose a hope for their future, turning to have the feeling that they are just a part of the society which can be substituted by someone else easily and that even makes some people commit suicide. To make the matters worse, the highly developed city, Tokyo, has a very shallow relationship among people so that these “lost-hope” people cannot even feel a tie to their community.
In contract, Armenia can be a very good place for these Japanese people in some respects. What I experienced during my stay in Armenia is that I was treated very special simply because “I am Japanese”. It did not matter what experiences, skills and personalities I had. It was simply because I was Japanese. The experience could have been different if I had been Chinese. It was a very nice feeling of course because most Armenians I met said “Oh you are Japanese and you are in Armenia. You are very special. We really like you so much”. Well, you may understand that if everybody around you suddenly treat you very special no matter what, you can feel excellent and you may misunderstand that you are such a special person although the reality is that it can be just due to your nationality rather than the person you are. This situation can likely affect those aforementioned Japanese people who are kind of disappointed and lost in their life in a very positive way. They even would be able to find something that is meaning to them.
Secondly, as I said that in a city like Tokyo, there is no proximity between human relationships in most cases. In other words, there are a number of people who are craving for very close relationship with other people and the community. I was also one of such people. So, during my time in Armenia, what I really loved is that the often too much interference to me from Armenian people. In Japan, few people would interfere your life by asking you too many questions about your life, what is going on, your love etc. They are rather indifferent to other peoples’ affairs. This could be a good situation for those Armenians who are tired of too much interference from other people. In comparison, this close, often too close relationship and communication with other people would make these Japanese people who have been craving for it feel happy, satisfied, fulfilled and loved.
In addition, I am afraid to say that Armenia due to the unfortunate situation in the recent history, there are many things which are less developed compared to Japan. That is, if something very normal or ordinary in Japan society from their perspective is brought to Armenia, they can be something very new, interesting and useful for developing Armenia. This can be also said for people. Some Japanese people have skills which can be considered “so so” in Japan, yet; their skills may turn to be excellent or highly appreciated in Armenian society. That, in other words, may give these Japanese people a chance to find a meaning of stay in Armenia because their skills and experiences can help them contribute to the development of society, which would make them have a very something meaningful in life.
These factors that are stemmed from the differences between Japan and Armenia, in my opinion, could make Armenia a good place for Japanese people to stay actually.
I also wish I could be there soon—!!! But I think I need several more years to increase my financial ability before moving to Armenia to start a big social project…