The growth of the Asian impact on Western culture can be really felt over the last few years. I for one am stunned at the sheer number of Chinese students who now fill British Universities, from Imperial College to the University of Northampton, they are funded to the gills and ready to learn.
In the Edinburgh Fringe, they are talking about the advent of a Chinese cultural revolution with lavish productions of Shakespeare remade with Taoist philosophy .... remarkable.
The impact of the Chinese will grow exponentially over the next twenty years as they continue to exploit the one thing the Russian never had ... lots and lots of Cash.
Want to know where the vast majority of the US debt got spent, look no further than China. They have vast reserves of foreign currency build up over thirty years of "Made in China". The trade deficit to China is extraordinary. Hence why 100,000's of Chinese students can study abroad (and work really hard and all go home too) and why the London Olympics will be a small fart next to the extravagant and elegant trumpeting flatulence of the Beijing Olympics.
My background however? Well I used to live in Japan, speak Japanese and subsequently I still relish in their different type of Orientalism.
I went their in 1996. By the time I came back, Princess Diana was dead and Tony Blair had "won a really big erection!". It was the end of the epoch of Japanese hegemony in the world. Soon, large back would fall and a decade prior to Leman Brothers, Japan was mired in a corrupt and oligarchic credit crunch.
But back then ... it was so cool.
I went to high school everyday and lived with host families and learnt the lingo. Made friends, fell in love, you know the pattern. I nearly took a scholarship to Kyoto Daigaku (University) to study Japanese full time. Girlfriends, regrets etc. Nah.
The reason for all this, well I watched Rick Stein's superb documentary on Japanese Food on the BBC IPlayer and was enthralled. There are very few ways to get a glimpse into Japanese life, and this program really succeeded. The closeness and the culture are there in authentic spades and it was a real treat.
It also avoided anyone getting dressed up as a samurai, ninja or other such crap.
Want to know about the Japanese, understand their Food. I even found Rick Stein's observations directly mirroring my own. Stand out television.