Behind the Monolithic Mask

Much like the Vilani, the Japanese are monocultural, monoracial, mono linguistic, mono-everything. But despite all that conformist seamless unity, there are still differences that peak out…

My dad is from Osaka and my mom is from Kobe. Then we moved to Kyushu. A colleague of my dad from country side once worked/lived in Osaka. Because my dad is a polite person, this colleague confided to my dad that he was bullied intensively by everyone in Osaka. After talking to him about it, my dad figured out that this person was too delicate for Osaka.

Not so untypical conversation between Osaka person O and non Osaka person, say C

C: Hi, my name is C. How do you do. Nice to meet you.

O: Nice. I’m O. Where you from.

C: I’m from **** (anywhere outside of Osaka).

O: Really. So what do you do here.

C: I teach in **** University.

O: Wow, you must be smart. How much do you get paid.

C: Well, (already getting slightly outside of comfort zone), my salary is **** yen a month.

O: Really. That isn’t that much. I do **** and I get paid **** yen a month. You got family?

C: Yes, I’m married.

O: Got kid?

C: No. (getting more uncomfortable)

O: How old are you?

C: I’m 32.

O: Your wife?

C:She is 30

O: What’s wrong with you two? Your wife got a problem?

C: What do you mean problem?

O: You know some medical thingy. I hope it isn’t you instead. Could happen to anyone, even to guy, you know. Or not enough sexy time nowaday for married young people I read in magazine, yada yada yada.

C: We decided to wait until I get tenured but we would like to have one now.

O: Could be too late now. You two gotta get busy.

At which point Mr O might introduce a brand of pit viper drink, which work better than viagra. Mr C is traumatised at this point, politely thanks Mr O for his advice. He later call his friend back home that all the horror stories he heard and all the things he saw on TV about Osaka were actually true.

How the conversation could have gone alternatively between Osaka person O1 and O2.

O2: Hi, I’m O2. Yoroshiku.

O1: Nice. I’m O1. Yoroshiku. You from here?.

O2: Yep, I’m from **** (somewhere in Osaka).

O1: Really. I’m from nearby ****. So what do you do.

O2: I teach in **** University.

O1: Wow, you must be smart. How much do you get paid.

O2: I get **** yen a month. What am I supposed to do with this little, huh.

O1: Really. That really hard. I just do **** and even I get paid **** yen a month.

O2: I know but this is 9 to 5 job. Hourly basis, I get paid pretty well. Hahaha.

O1: True true. Can’t beat government job. Got family?

O2: Yep but no kid yet.

O1: What’s wrong?

O2: Only got the job when I was 28, got married last year. She is 29 so we are really being “busy”, wink wink.

O1/O2: Hahaha.

The comparison isn’t really the same, between the Vilani of the Empty Quarter and the rest of the Vilani.

Instead, comparing the Vilani of the Empty Quarter and the rest of the Vilani is more like… umm… comparing the Muslims of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Islamic World.

The TL 15 poison tolerated by Vland is far too innovative, far too creative for real Vilani like us! I’ll step on no starship higher than TL 11. If it was good enough for the Shadow-Emperors, it’s good enough for me!


I’m telling you, there’s something in the local solar radiation…

OK, just a bit more inspiration, from What is Tokyo like compared to London?

Public transport is gentler in London.  You won’t have something like ducks wandering into the tube tunnels and the train gets stopped for half an hour at Regent’s Park while the animal loving staff escorts them out.  In Tokyo you get the occasional suicidal failed business owner or a restructured salaryman on the train tracks, and the Chuo line just runs them over.  As every Japanese knows, that is the only proper way for a proper man to take responsiblity for failure.

Change the names, and you have a firm reminder for the Traveller that he isn’t on the homeworld, anymore…

Both cities do work long hours.  The kind of hours some parts of London pulls is every bit as insane as in Japan, especially if you are in some parts of financial services or retail.  And then they go out and party into the wee hours, and give law enforcement, bouncers and emergency medical staffs a reason to get paid.

PCs really need to get involved in this, at least one. They should be discouraged from brining their firearms, or at least the obvious ones… and absolutely no grenades!

Ground-floor retail space is so expensive and in such short supply that most businesses can’t afford it. That’s why you see shop signs going up all the main buildings, they’re marking the shops on that floor. Even McDonald’s tends to be upstairs.

It would be rather cool, to have an old friend sell their starship shares, racking in a cool MCr 4.327… and then spend most of it on a tiny “but it’s on the ground floor!” fast food stall on their home city of 932 million-man megacity. “Best deal I ever made! Do you know how much I rake in every. single. week?

Graphic design in London is discreet and authoritative. Graphic design in Tokyo all looks like it’s been put together by a school student.

Or by one of the more artistic-minded Vargr…

A popular tourist destination is the Robot Bar, a frantic floor show full of overwhelming lights, sound, half-naked girls and robots. Here’s the lounge where you wait for entry.


Actually, this reminds me of an upper-class Ovaghoun Vargr pad, after his Vilani servants convinced him to “tone down the bling a bit.”


About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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