Speaking in a public question-and-answer session, “Ask Marty: An Insider’s View Of Japan Through The Eyes Of An American Rockstar”, former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman explained the biggest difference between Americans and Japanese. He said:
“This is a generalization. In Japan, the overall mindset is to not create trouble for other people and keep the peace. Always consider the other person first. In America, it’s [about] me — how do I stand out, and how do I be the best? Neither of these are bad things, and the ‘me’ mentality is fantastic for people who rise above a lot of hardships to create fantastic things, so I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that at all.
In Japan, it’s sort of frowned upon. The nail that stands up gets hit. In America, we’re brought up [being told], ‘You are number one. You can do anything.’ In Japan, it’s a group mentality. Both of these are fantastic. Trying to do the one that you’re not is not so good.
What resonates with me about the Japan mentality is, when you are with a group of people who are really good at what you do and you succeed, you’re celebrating with a group of people, and that group celebration is just so much more enjoyable.
It’s kind of lonesome when you’re celebrating something you did only by yourself. I find that if there’s someone I can share that success with, that’s a very sort of Japanese team mentality that I really enjoy.
But on the other hand, had I not grown up in America and realized that if I’m working with someone who’s holding me back — I don’t want to be in this group; I want to do other things – that would have been frowned upon in Japan, and I wouldn’t have been able to be nurtured. It’s been beneficial to have both parts of those cultures in me.”
Click here to entire interview.