All across the country Japanese people were 1) wearing kimono; 2) arranging flowers; 3) pouring cups of tea carefully; 4) writing calligraphy;5) playing old instruments and 6) reciting traditional style poetry.
Well, some people were! Most Japanese were enjoying a day off work and going shopping, to the movies or preparing for the winter season....
But this Culture Day made me think about the word "Culture", because in Japan it has a clear meaning - all those traditional artistic, polite skills that people learn and have licenses to show their ability in.
Of course, that isn't the only meaning of "Culture", but that is the meaning which quickly comes to mind.
Britain is an old, traditional country.
What is British Culture?
I am still wondering!
We do not have a group of traditional skills that modern people take the trouble to learn and continue. Of course some people are interested in country dancing, or stained glass windows, or cheese making or playing ancient instruments.
But these are minor hobbies - not clear elements of "Culture".
We have plenty of Very British Lifestyle Cultures: Afternoon Tea, Full English Breakfast, Horse racing, Village Fetes, Pubs etc - but not the kind of "Culture" that is the same as Ikebana or Tea Ceremony.
Anytime there is an international event and Japan is involved, you know there will be women in kimono/tea ceremony/dancing/origami/paper cranes/drum playing.
Britain? Um.....tea? football? Peter Rabbit? Harry Potter? A doubledecker bus?
The Closing Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics showed this problem....I think it was David Beckham on top of a double decker bus, with some singers and people wearing mini-skirts....
It is strange that Britain,a country with so many traditions, has such a weak national cultural image.