Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Technological Parade

I live in Japan, the land of technology mania! There is almost always something new being advertised and promoted on TV and at your neighborhood electrical appliance store. The average Japanese person is acutely interested in whatever is the newest, fastest, sleekest, hippest, and most technologically advanced piece of equipment on the market.

My husband is no different, as far as interest goes, but he isn't willing to spend the kind of money needed to actually go out and buy it! So our home policy has always been, "Wait till the price goes way down before considering a purchase." This means that no matter what the equipment is, we wait a year or more before buying it. (Of course, by that time, a new model and a much more advanced version has been designed and is being promoted and sold, causing us to question if buying the older model is such a smart move at that point. Based on this repeating spiral, we end up eliminating 95% of the latest "must haves" on the market.)

So I simply do not get my expectations up at all. Period. I think, we'll never get it, so don't allow yourself to care. Digital cameras, wide-screen TVs, ADSL, a second computer for upstairs (the first one was for the shop, downstairs); you name it, EVERYONE else had one before we ever dreamed of getting one. We never bought a video camera. But I'd wager to bet that the family of nearly every single classmate of my son's had a video camera during the years of recitals, field day events, and all other memorable video-taking opportunities of his school days.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am NOT interested in material consumption of all the latest technology. I'm just saying that it is all around us, and being promoted at a feverish pace, and new technology is constantly being developed and advertised to the point where you just want to scream, "ENOUGH, already!!"

You can never win, anyway. As soon as you go out and get the latest, coolest cell phone, the iphone is invented. As soon as you buy one of those and master its many complexities (all promoted as conveniences, one cannot live without), there'll be something else, cooler and more complicated, making yours obsolete. There is no end to this madness. We can never keep up with not only the Joneses, but also with the Sonys, the Apples, the Panasonics and all their whiz kids dreaming up even more technology.

Yet, if we don't at least attempt to join in the Technological Parade, it is a lonely, alienating road to walk, alone and confused, unable to decipher the latest byword or catch phrase. Once the Parade marches on beyond you, out of sight, it is a frighteningly still and lifeless space you are left in to inhabit.


Twice Blessed China Mom said...

Sally, are you aware of the Freecycle program on Yahoo? There is a program in Naperville and Downers Grove, and many other communities. People offer things that they do not need to others. No money is exchanged. Also, if people have a need for something, they post and offer it. The people just exchange the items.

Another group is The Compact. Friends in CA challenged themselves to no spending for a year except for food and underwear. They borrow, trade, barter, and get creative. Part of the reduce, reuse, and recycle thinking.

Do you have anything like this going in Japan? I'm curious.

Sal said...

What a great idea!! I haven't heard of anything like this in Japan, but there might be something somewhere. We do see commercials on TV about the 3 R's, and I'm 100% in favor of such philosophy.

Maybe I can get something going in my own town...hmmm...thanks for the tip!!