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The flip side of the “othering” — the inability to ever “be part” of this place — is the (somewhat compromised) “superpower” of reinvention. When you can never integrate, you are given a blank slate upon which to … iterate? Sure, iterate. There are many examples of folks moving from the west to a country like Japan and creating new personas. I’d even go so far to say that to choose to live in a place like this — a place where you can never fully “become” — is symptomatic of deeper pathologies. A controversial thing to imply, but I can say with certainty that in my case, choosing to live in Japan was in part a response to earlier traumas. For sure. I see this now with absolute clarity. As I wrote yesterday: Just being in a place where social systems exist to support folks — and the lowest someone can fall is relatively not that low compared to back home — changed me. (When I mention “economic fairness” this is what I’m talking about; of course, Japan is flawed in its own many ways, far from perfect, but through a baseline of national health care and social services — even with indisputable issues like gross gender pay disparities — there is something like a universal basic income in effect, and that alone makes the other problems feel potentially surmountable (as opposed to utterly hopeless elsewhere); think about how deep a person can fall in a city like San Francisco, how far into hell they can descend — that’s what I am talking about when I talk about fairness, how far a society allows someone to fall before intervening, before dramatic intervention happens automatically.) (Perhaps I would have experienced something similar had I moved to Scandinavia?) Made me feel cradled in a way I hadn’t felt before. A kind of macro, societal level of cradling. So for all the othering that living here might ensue, it was made up for by these other qualities.
— Craig Mod, « [TTT3] Day 1 : Disney to Chinzan-so »


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