Smithsonian.com has an interesting article on Japan’s culture of improvement, as in, when they find something they like, they refine it to the point of perfection. The article specifically takes a look at three very American topics, bourbon, jazz, and workwear, and illustrates how some very determined Japanese are transforming them.
In Japan, the ability to perfectly imitate—and even improve upon—the cocktails, cuisine and couture of foreign cultures isn’t limited to American products; there are spectacular French chefs and masterful Neapolitan pizzaioli who are actually Japanese. There’s something about the perspective of the Japanese that allows them to home in on the essential elements of foreign cultures and then perfectly recreate them at home. “What we see in Japan, in a wide range of pursuits, is a focus on mastery,” says Sarah Kovner, who teaches Japanese history at the University of Florida. “It’s true in traditional arts, it’s true of young people who dress up in Harajuku, it’s true of restaurateurs all over Japan.”
(Photo by Raymond Patrick)