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Unformatted text preview: outcast) or they end up saving their poor witless peers from complete destruction… or embarrassment (oftentimes portrayed as the worse fate of all). These types of stories, of course, spoke to the brainy, lonesome and terribly awkward teenager that I once was (not that I’ve made much progress since) and they still fascinate me to no end. I think depictions of outstanding, but exiled teenagers have such an enduring appeal in Japan because they poignantly exemplify the unspoken tension that is so pervasive in Japanese culture. This tension arises out of a fear—a constant neurotic (bordering paranoid) fear that one could be cast aside by their friends and co-workers at any moment—that is just as malignant as it is crucial to the Japanese way of life. Fail to stay in your place, fail to meet expectations or, worse yet, fail to avoid embarrassment, and you could be facing the cold, hard fate of unremitting public ostracism. Now that’s enough to scare any Japanese teenager....
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- Winter '07
- japan, japanese culture, Ross Avilla