Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bonsai-Goldfish Theory

In case you're unfamiliar with bonsai trees, in a nutshell, they are dwarfed trees, but still have the characteristics and needs of a normal sized tree of the species...it's just on a smaller scale. Bonsai trees are very common here in Japan and are very popular with the locals.

America is commonly known as "The Melting Pot," so for the sake of argument I'm going to say Japan is "The Goldfish Bowl." Okay, I obviously come up with that on my own....there was something on FoxNews (yup, we get that here, channel 55 on AmeriCable!) that triggered my brain. When I got my first goldfish, Bert and Ernie, at the age of four or five, my mom said that if I wanted the fish to grow and get bigger we needed to get them a larger fishbowl. She was basically telling me that if we kept him in a small bowl, they'd stay small, but if we invested in a large tank they'd grow. Now take it from me, the last thing my parents were going to do was buy a fish tank and set it up with a filter, etc, for two goldfish that they could easily flush (if necessary) and replace for a few dollars. My sisters and I wouldn't be the wiser.

The girls and I stopped at 7-11 yesterday on the way to pick up Bob from work. They had all sorts of goodies in the candy isle including KitKats. They had a bag of KitKats, but then individual boxes of them too. Only here's the catch, they're mini KitKats. So that got me thinking, "Obviously our [American] portion sizes are larger, but man, their candy is smaller too!"

But portion sizes aside, why are Japanese people on the whole smaller and petite? An acquaintance of mine, Aime, has a theory, and I wanted to share it:

I'm sure there are many genetic and scientific explanations as to why the Asian bone structure has evolved in the way that it has. However, I've got my own theory, called the Bonsai-Goldfish Theory. The Japanese people are like Bonsai trees in that they are just living on a small scale - why? Maybe because Japan is an island and there are too many "goldfish" in the bowl keeping anyone from getting any bigger. By keeping all the "goldfish" small, everyone is able to thrive, if you put too many big "goldfish" in the bowl, then you start to get floaters at the top. Anyone who has spent any time on a JR line train headed towards Tokyo at 7 a.m. knows that if you are over 200 pounds, you will physically NOT FIT on the train, or will sustain an injury trying to making yourself fit.

So while you don't normally see a tall tree in the middle of bonsai trees, as long as you share the resources and plant your roots with everyone else's, you very well could make it!