Being immersed in the digital world

Being a person who was born in the late 90’s, I grew up with technology. At the time computers, phones and other technological devices were still developing but not non-existent in average households. My generation’s experience with technology is quite different from others. People who were born before the 90’s for example, where having any sort of computer in the household was not the social norm. Or people who were born in the early 2000’s even. Their experience of technology is completely different.

Recently, I was given the chance to travel to Japan and meet up with a friend who was living there for 6 months. He was born and raised in Australia but this year decided to go on exchange. Within that time he adapted to the Japanese environment and adopt their way of living. With places like Akihabara, it’s easy to see that Japan is more open, accepting and overall has a completely different attitude to their technology compared to other countries.

If you’re a person who isn’t that social, doesn’t like to go clubbing or is tired of just seeing malls, Japan is a wonderful place. This is due to the huge amount of things to do outside of home. There is a huge focus on going out and always being on the move in Japan. You have gigantic arcades that span over 5 floors, internet cafes are constantly updated and well maintained (In contrast to Australian or American internet cafes) even to the point where people have the option to stay in an internet cafe. On top of this, the normal shop hours range from 9am to 11pm, every day. Now if that wasn’t enough there is a large abundance of 24 hour shops and convenience stores. All of this while keeping everything within walking or biking distance.

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A picture of Akihabara, also known as Electric City

As an outsider being immersed in a foreign culture, it was interesting to see that even with the power of current technology, there were still people constantly out of their homes. Yes people do go out in their spare time in Australia, but it’s generally with company. You will rarely get people going out of their homes for leisure by themselves. Even then, most of the time it’s either going out clubbing on a Friday night, having lunch/dinner with friends or going out for the movies. Which is interesting since it’s not like we don’t have the technological power to have the same things Japan has. This difference in culture is interesting due to the different uses such technology has.

In Japan, you’re constantly immersed in digital technology, it’s a part of the culture. This difference was made completely clear when I stayed up to 5am playing Pokemon GO with my friend in Japan. Yes, there are several cases where staying up late and wandering by yourself or even with a friend is dangerous. However, this was not the case in Japan. Me and my friend were wandering the streets of Kyoto by ourselves but it was completely safe. There was no sense of danger at all. Even then, we came across multiple players with the same goal as us. It was amazing being able to play this game with no sense of danger and coming across different players. You do that in Australia, chances are you’re going to run into a bad crowd. Being immersed in this digital world with no repercussions gave me an experience that I was not able to get back home in Australia.

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Pokemon GO

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