2

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globetrotters/ Travellers what have you seen? experienced?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 26, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Hello. A lot or some of folks here has the oportunity t travel far away. Do you have seen people with healthy bodies and teeth and healthy satisfied lifes? And balanced lviing.

Im very curious what you experienced.

Please share here with me or us.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 26, 2011
at 01:00 PM

Not ideal at all. Thats why I left - i didnt want to raise a child there. No way. The politeness from crowding could definitely be - great point. Academic pressure is tremendous there for sure.

27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on July 26, 2011
at 12:56 PM

Someone theorized that the Japanese are a very polite society due to the overcrowding. Are you sure the "happiness" you observed there is due to their way of life/eating and not to the civility required from living in a densely populated area (am referring to Yokohama more than Fukui but I guess that says something if you observed the same ambience in both places)? I'm also thinking about all the suicides by students overwhelmed by academic expectations. I'm not so sure the Japanese have an ideal way of life.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 26, 2011
at 12:26 PM

ha, i love it: same for me while I was in Japan - the only time you saw huddles of big people were when you were in the cities and you'd see aussie, brit, or US tourists. I would always wonder what went through the mind of your average Japanese fellow who was constantly, and only, confronted with these portrayals of Western folk. You would hope that they'd realize its not everyone but being constantly shown one image of a group of people can be awfully jarring to the otherwise open-minded mind.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 26, 2011
at 12:23 PM

bikes. i forgot bikes. good one. In Japan too you see ubiquitous bike-usage, even in the countryside where there are serious hills, etc.

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5 Answers

4
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 26, 2011
at 12:20 PM

As others have said answers to this kind of questions are quite generalized. That being said:

I lived in Japan for 5 years. I spent two years in Yokohama, which is a large city ??? totally urban, NYC style - more urban than most US cities, actually. I then spent three years in Fukui, which is back country ??? kind of like saying you moved from Manhattan to Minnesota (never been there but;)

Physically the vast majority of Japanese people are thin. There will be talk of ???oh they???re skinnyfat??? etc and yes that may be true. However, let???s not let perfect be the enemy of good ??? it is a nation of generally non-obese AND HAPPY people. That alone I would say gives us something to look at for some kind of lesson to learn.

Not many people there are doing intense stuff like crossfit, weight-lifting, running marathons, etc. Of course there are those who do these types of activities. However, rather than those semi-extreme activities (though I myself am an avid, if rankly amateur, weight-trainer) you see the vast majority of the population rather simply more physically active throughout the day. They walk a LOT. You see lots of people gardening, walking, just doing light activities like archery, fencing, martial arts, etc. There seems to be a general awareness that the body is meant to be moved and used; if one doesn???t do anything one will quickly become unable to do anything.

Take this for what its worth: I worked in a 9 story office building with no air conditioning in Fukui. The city hall, no less. Let that sink in: no air conditioning. This is a very hot and humid climate. There were posters everywhere, and people followed the direction(!), that if you were going no more than three flights up or downstairs you were to take the stairs. Just a simple thing like that keeps the body moving through the day, keeps the mind from falling asleep, keeps blood flow up, better energy levels, etc. So basic, so simple, yknow? You would never see that in the US. Never. And there was no punishment for not obeying; no cameras watching you, forcing you; noone but you to know and judge your actions.

Food wise, as many mention, people eat a lot of rice, the vast majority of which is white and highly refined. The diet is incredibly balanced, however (by the way, how demonized has the word ???balance??? become in our little community?). At every meal you see low-but-present protein, medium-to-high fat, and medium-to-high carbohydrate. There is no fear of any one food at all. Nothing like the extremes that you see in the US where you got vegans shunning all meat and making tofu-burgers, ZCers shunning all plant matter, zero-dairy people thinking milk is white-death, etc.

Emotion/mentalstate-wise I???d say it???s a terrific country. I alluded to this in my third paragraph. You simply do not see the numbers of overtly angry, unhappy people there. Its not much of a stretch to say that practically everyone is happy. Now, of course you get those who don???t like their jobs too much, divorce rates (though I suppose high divorce rates bring about happier people, right???), suicide, etc and so obviously you got undercurrents of extreme unhappiness. What I was always impressed with, and what I???m trying (but failing) to convey here, is that there is a better???social atmosphere (?). I would say this is related to the lower levels of just pure unhealthy/sickness relative to a place like the US. We are too sick as a society to be really happy.

27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on July 26, 2011
at 12:56 PM

Someone theorized that the Japanese are a very polite society due to the overcrowding. Are you sure the "happiness" you observed there is due to their way of life/eating and not to the civility required from living in a densely populated area (am referring to Yokohama more than Fukui but I guess that says something if you observed the same ambience in both places)? I'm also thinking about all the suicides by students overwhelmed by academic expectations. I'm not so sure the Japanese have an ideal way of life.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 26, 2011
at 01:00 PM

Not ideal at all. Thats why I left - i didnt want to raise a child there. No way. The politeness from crowding could definitely be - great point. Academic pressure is tremendous there for sure.

3
D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on July 26, 2011
at 11:27 AM

2 months ago, my family spent 3 weeks Bogota Colombia for vacation and it was shocking to not see anyone that was fat. Bogota is a very modern and is has an extremely large population and has all the problems that are large city like New York or Los Angeles has, but the people were thin - even in the poorer sections.

During our second week there, the Arizona tourism commision had some kind of meeting in the hotel we stayed at - I guess they don't have hotels in Arizona? Anyway, they were the only fat people we saw.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 26, 2011
at 12:26 PM

ha, i love it: same for me while I was in Japan - the only time you saw huddles of big people were when you were in the cities and you'd see aussie, brit, or US tourists. I would always wonder what went through the mind of your average Japanese fellow who was constantly, and only, confronted with these portrayals of Western folk. You would hope that they'd realize its not everyone but being constantly shown one image of a group of people can be awfully jarring to the otherwise open-minded mind.

2
27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on July 26, 2011
at 10:33 AM

This is very general but here goes:

A few years ago, I went to Europe for the first time. After landing in Zurich, I got on a train to Lucerne. It was a beautiful July day, and all the locals were out shopping at this giant farmers market set up all along the river. What hit me was how... slim all the locals looked. Not thin. Not puffed-up with muscles. Just slim, well-toned, and healthy.

A week later, I got off another train in Munich and was surprised by the bike culture there. Separate lanes for bikes. Hundreds of bikes in bike "parking lots" near the local open-air shopping mall. Bikes are an integral part of the transportation system there and I think the biggest thing, for me, was seeing a slim woman, in her 40s perhaps, ride to work in a well-fitted silk suit (tight skirt ending just above her knees), complete with heels. It's just a way of life there.

I became accustomed to seeing scenes like that. Ten or 11 days after I arrived in Zurich, I landed back in JFK and was taken aback by all the overweight people I saw trudging through the airport and chowing down at the food court. That was the exact same thing I saw when I left but it hadn't even registered with me - it was just part of life. After making my connection to DC, I got on the Metro at Reagan National and almost gaped at the bunch of overweight teenagers I saw on the train. I'd really forgotten about all that.

The thing is, I'm not sure Europeans are extraordinarily "healthy" compared to hunter-gatherer cultures. I'm sure Switzerland and Germany have their share of people who are less than optimally healthy. But in comparison, America... Whoo. What a wake-up call for me.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 26, 2011
at 12:23 PM

bikes. i forgot bikes. good one. In Japan too you see ubiquitous bike-usage, even in the countryside where there are serious hills, etc.

1
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on July 26, 2011
at 02:04 PM

Oh most definitely when I've travelled to the EU I rarely saw anyone overweight, everyone seems to be quite fit and nicely turned out. Walking everywhere, using public transportation, self-service rental bikes - most brilliant idea ever. Portions are smaller and meals spread out. I've never really seen snacking - it's a glass of wine or a coffee, maybe grabbing fruit from a stall. From posh homes to small apartments it was also rare to see a large refrigerator, all very small, and except for staples most food was purchased each day for the meals so never any leftovers unless it was after a party - and then that was breakfast the next day with coffee and tea. And kudos to all the time off, people don't stay home glommed to their Wii, P3 or tv. If the weather is nice they hike and explore and are outside all day. They jump the tube and head out of town. I go to Paris quite a bit and it's the same deal, in the city during the week, to the mountains on the weekend. No spacing out in front of the tv. If the weather is bad - yeah people go see a movie but also read a book or hunker down in a cafe with friends. I ate whatever looked good and always came back lighter.

Now in Central America it was a different story but still really positive even due to poor economic situations. You walked everywhere because you had to. Very lucky if you had a bike or could take the chicken buses. No snacking as there was no money to snack but people were healthy and happy. I can never convey enough how much I enjoyed my time down there. The generosity and warmth, the willing to share anything with a smile. I saw beautiful skin, amazing hair, strong bodies, more often than not healthy teeth for the young but older had theirs backed due, for the most part, to the citrus and salt used predominately with food and it starts to eat the teeth.

I kept pretty remote but when I did venture into larger areas it was freaky - like being back home. Not just with the tourists but the locals had taken on a different lifestyle, I saw so many people, including kids, that were overweight and tons of junk on every corner. And when you've been in basically a hut for 3-months and you see this? The shock hits big time. In the rural areas that I predominately stayed in, if I saw anyone overweight they seemed to always be a "person of power" so in their case it was more of a diet of excess and presumed status. Of course I saw saw treats in areas that my immediate thought was "how the hell did that get here" but no kid going wild - savored as it was, literally, a treat.

Anywhere you go you're going to find excess but man, definitely not at the levels we have here.. craziness.

1
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on July 26, 2011
at 12:54 PM

We've been expats for 15 years now and have pretty much covered most continents. I will say that the truly indigenious peoples tend to be healthier looking in general, that said, its changing.

When you are in the amazons and see an true indian with a bag of potatoe chips and bottled water you feel sad. In Taiwain there is a mix of really thin and really heavy locals; it depends where you go but if imports are abundant, there will be fat people! In Colombia where I live, you see in the city really thin and really fat people....20 years ago when we were here, they were mostly thin.

The only indians I recall looking really good, were in Peru, the ladies sang for us for money, but were happily chewing away on their coca leaves because of the altitude and cold. (am looking for the photo but my computer crashed a while ago and haven't uploaded everything yet)

People usually act surprised when they find out I'm American because I'm short and thin. That always amazes me but I guess I shouldn't be so surprised!

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