Japan Zone - I think the title conjours up one of two impressions
of what the site is about. One, it provides a detailed, in-depth
profile of a country which, while having a profound influence
on the late twentieth century, is still shrouded in a cultural
mist for many people; getting to the heart of this corporate behemoth,
it shows you what makes it tick, guiding you through its murkier
cultural waters and generally bombarding you with an avalanche
of superfluous metaphors.
Or perhaps it runs deeper than that. Perhaps the title refers
more to the idea of having a zone in your mind or in your life
that is occupied - preoccupied, even - with Japan. Maybe you only
want to enter Japanese cyberspace and have your curiosity satisfied
there. Or you may want to spend some time 'in-country' - and survive
with your body, sanity and dignity intact. For some people,
the time they spend in Japan is like a prison sentence. Restrictive
of mind and body, unyielding in its rules and regulations and
constantly reminding you of your 'outsider' status, life in Japan
can take its toll. You can go it alone or you can look to the
veterans to help you out.
Because you see, those poor souls who didn't survive the ordeal
in one piece didn't have what you have - access to an authoritative
Web site on this fabulous, frustrating, frivolous and oh-so-foreign
country. That's what Japan Zone is - a mix of both of the
above. A trusty guide with enough healthy cynicism to make sure
you get through the Far East Experience and come back for more.
Of course I accept absolutely no liability for anyone who, having
read these humble pages, still gets deported kicking and screaming
in a straight-jacket.
Mark McBennett (you really want to know more about me?)
The usage of Japanese words in English can cause some confusion. This comes from the fact
that some sounds in Japanese cannot be correctly, or clearly, represented with the English
alphabet. This site does not use Japanese text (except in graphics) and has not made a
particular effort to represent Japanese words "correctly". The exception is the language
sections, which give a rough introduction to the Japanese alphabets and some useful expressions.
The correctness of the Japanese included really only becomes an issue when it is spoken, and the
teaching of correct Japanese is not within the scope of this site.
Japanese people's names are given in the standard form used in Japanese: the family name first,
followed by the given name. There has been some discussion over the years in Japan as to whether
the western approach should be adopted when representing names in English. Opinion remains divided.
I adopted the traditional approach as I think it gives a more "Japanese" feel to the names.