I watched a movie tonight called A Japanese Story. I didn't choose it, my mom did, but I'm sure she had me in mind. It was a little odd - it has something in common with Million Dollar Baby, which my mom and I watched last night; I won't give away the connection.
It was a really moving movie. It really makes you think of the rules we live by, as Americans, as Japanese, as Australians - rules that help us work together and smooth through some of the daily problems people have - and how ridiculously inadequate those rules are in some cases. There are so many guides to our behavior based on our role in life: taking myself as an example, I am a man, a son (to two different parents, the rules are different for each), a cousin, friend, sometimes I'm an employee ;). I'm an American, too, an American ashamed of his government's adherence to rules that never made sense; soon I will be an American living in Japan. All of these categories have rules assigned to them, some of which I have to follow, no matter what, some of which are, like I said before, to smooth relationships and keep things courteous. I'll give an example of the latter from the movie - the rule that when you receive a business card from a Japanese businessman you should treat it as the person himself - is one that works for the Japanese, or at least for those that care about such things.
These things are all pretty obvious. Also obvious is that we violate these rules all the time. But I think that sometimes we forget that there are certain things that go beyond these rules, there are times when you have to go beyond these rules, in order to be a human being. This movie portrays that, something I think is obvious but we forget on a daily basis. At least I do.