Link: Actually, Japan has changed a lot – by Noah Smith

There are some interesting numbers in the first article.

Every time I find Japan-related posts in places like HN, I realize how little I know about Japan. I stopped paying attention to Japan-related news when I moved to the Bay Area, but I admit that I didn’t pay attention either even when I was in Tokyo.

I was a typical single nerd male who didn’t read the news. And I’m not sure I should have read more – What was the point of being informed if the only choice was to live in Japan and (although I didn’t realize) I was in a pretty privileged position? Well, there were points, but there were other priorities.

Now being an expat with a hypothetical option to move back or not, should I read more about Japan? I still don’t know. Such a decision is probably led more by local and personal context than the global, objective parameters like GDP or mortality rate.

If that’s the case, why do I subscribe to NYT and read the U.S related news? Isn’t living in the Bay Area a personal, local choice? (It is.) That’s a fair question. I used to think that this is a survival strategy as an expat and that there are also some moral values, again as an expat, to be aware of the local habitat, and to blend in.

For some reason, these points don’t feel as convincing as they used to be. Nowadays I rather read it just because it’s interesting enough at a pass time. They have good writers and some articles are deeply researched and well-written. I didn’t have that feeling when I was reading newspapers in Japan. Also, exposing myself to the American value system still feels fresh to me.

This too is very subjective. I consider myself a very picky Japanese reader who has strong taste. And I consider myself a very mediocre and slow English reader who has less than middle-school vocabulary size. This fluency gap surely biases my judgment here.

It’s ironic that I read less because I can read more. Maybe what I should do is read The Japan Times or Nikkei Asia. It sounds as ridiculous as it can go. But just by visiting the site, I learned Toyota’s CEO is stepping down which is a big deal, I guess?