AMERICA NOTES

email received



Hello! I am an English teacher living in Tokyo and found myself dabbling around

your "notes." I really enjoyed reading your thoughts (esp. on Schopenhauer) and

would like to encourage you to expand. And it is in the supportive, lively spirit of

academic debate and the enriching pursuit of knowledge that I want to offer a little

criticism to be read, scoffed at or downright rejected- just enjoy the ride!

My small, proverbial bone to pick: as an American (by name only- I too have

repudiated the place, hence my ex-pat status) I find your "observations" of America to

be incredibly shallow, stereotypical, and lacking in any practical application...I kept

imagining a group of Londoners in some corner pub slapping each other on the back

and making witty jokes about America as a social crutch to impress "some birds"

sitting next to them. (Why no equally critical, debasing "England" section?)

The point I want to make is this: I know EXCEEDINGLY little of the Western

philosophers, so I was intrigued by your Web site analysis. A problem arises in my

mind, however, when I read your America section (as concept that I know intimately).

The question becomes, if I found your descriptions of America to be sentimentalized

and without intellectual enrichment, should I not take ALL your sections to be the

same? I should hope not. Had I been a professor of philosophy, would my opinion of

your analysis be equally tainted? Just something to think about...

Thanks for taking the time to read this and despite my tone I THOROUGHLY

ENJOYED your page. America does "suck," to put in bluntly, but I think it is time

Europeans moved on to new topics. I do not hate Europe nor Japan nor Cuba, and by

gawd I do not wish to be lumped together with "cowboys" and xenophobic, money

hungry capitalists with nasty mean streaks...I am a Buddhist living in a Buddhist

country and am totally imperfect, and, if indeed I am without any redeeming qualities

(which I am often accused of) I would prefer to follow Kierkegaard's lead and take all

the resposibility for my quirks squarely on my shoulders, as an individual- and not

blame America ("the ethical") for my eccentric nature and beliefs!

Still, thanks for the good read. A real challenge and I do wish you luck in getting

published. (As for me, I'll stick with ol' Lao Tzu and the Japanese zen monk Dogen for

advice). Sincerely, Joe "the bloody yank" in Tokyo
 

my reply


Of course you must be right. I suspected something of the sort and I am

grateful for you pointing it out. I shall delete the links. I'll put

your message on the page.