When I was living in Japan back in the '90's, news programs and tv dramas were already hinting at problems with kids (and adults) that couldn't communicate with each other well. They figured it was becoming a social problem back then, and it is still considered a problem now, though not much has been done about it so far that I have seen.
A friend, and former Portlander, now living in Sapporo, Japan, once told me that everybody there has a Keitai (cell phone). And for some families, they call to their family members (within their own house/apartment) to tell them dinner is ready or for any thing that needs to get mentioned, when just calling out to them in a loud voice would do just the same. I thought that was a bit funny, but kind of sad, that face to face communication was replaced by talking via cell phone.
Then there were the Otakus (nerds) in Japan that really have a hard time with interpersonal relationships. One story based on how an Otaku managed to get a beautiful girlfriend was portrayed in the TV series version of Densha Otoko (Train Man), done in a humorous fashion. Most of the counseling the protagonist of the true story was done via message boards on the internet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Densha_Otoko
The reason I bring this up is that Densha Otoko epitomizes the somewhat stereotypes of what Otakus are like in Japan, and I'm afraid how the same Otakus are in the US, or even in the Northwest. However, having been to various anime shops and conventions in Japan and groups here in the US, a lot of the stereotypes aren't so far from the truth. But these kids and adults that are so stuck into their media and virtual worlds is the problem that Joshua Patterson is talking about. And they are deeply disturbing when kids that are so media/virtual reality focused grow up to become adults that cannot interact well on a face to face reality.
I'm not saying all otakus and all folks that are highly media/virtual reality focused are completely inept socially, but I believe an increasing number of folks are, as the trend continues. I hate to see the day when people are only able to communicate via telescreen, like the world imagined by the late Asimov for his Robot stories...
posted 3 years, 1 month ago
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