Whilst the word countryside conjures up many images, such as fields festoon with faeces, irate farmers, and fox hunting toffs, it’s not all bad. There’s the beautiful scenery, homemade jam, and the fresh smell of
In Japan however, inaka (the countryside) seems wholly bad. Certainly in Tokyo anyway. It’s generally used as a term of derision, and arguably at its mildest means backwards and unfashionable. Which in regards to the latter especially, is akin to calling someone’s partner pug ugly. Well, almost.
Yet for some reason this only really dawned on me the other day. As when out near my sister-in-law’s place in west Tokyo, I was surprised to see how close the mountains were. But despite how beautiful they looked, and before I had time to really think about what I was saying (or implying), I mischievously said that the area was very inaka.
The reaction was as swift and uncompromising as I (subconsciously) expected. And although she knew I was joking, perhaps defecating on her kitchen floor would have been only marginally less insulting.
However what was surprising was that I’d actually made the jibe in the first place. Despite the beauty of the mountains and the refreshing change it made from grey concrete, my first reaction was mockery.
Perhaps I’ve been in Japan (or Tokyo at least) for too long. I’ll be bowing whilst talking on the phone next, or extolling the virtues of unpaid overtime. Even worse, I may even feel the urge to start a Japan weblog…
Anyway, to further cement my new found disdain for mother nature and all those connected with her, here’s a gratuitous picture of a bit of country cool.