Web comic "Surfer Joe"

Rajio Taiso!? (#035)

Rajio Taiso

I hated Rajio Taiso as a kid…

I thought it was the dorkiest thing. Just look at THIS. Now imagine a hundred people lined up in rows doing it. It felt like there was some kind of expectation for everyone to be the same. As if only way people could get along is by fitting in to a preset system of behavior that was deemed appropriate. Who exactly decides the rules is anyone’s guess. I remember being really wielded out by the whole thing.

I’ve always had issues with organizations, groups, communities. Not that they were ban in themselves. But they always seem to require(overtly or not) a certain type of conformity that I’ve never been comfortable with. Almost everyone has their group, and they all tow the line. Most people I’ve met, when speaking frankly, know that they are jumping through hoops for the sake of their group. They accept it as a part of life.

The idea of clumping up is looked at as a good thing by society.

They give a person a sense of purpose in their lives. I makes life have meaning for a lot of people. Whether you’re with a religion, like a certain sports team(or sport, for that matter), or you’re a Chevy guy. Or a whisky drinker. How about a Surfer?

We group up and then we call our group special, sort of an argument for why we’re the best. People get into fights for group ideals. We even go to war over it, all the time. It’s a fundamental way of human thinking. We need to categorize and label things and each other. It’s all in our quest to better understand our existence. But this need to label things is where we start to separate ourselves from other people. And we’re so worried about being misunderstood we neglect to try and understand others.

Joe does Rajio Taiso because why not? Like he says it’s actually a good warm up routine. But where anywhere else in Japan it’s a sign of conformity, on the beaches it’ll almost surely get you funny looks. Does that make it a form of rebellion? 

Pretty silly thought, I guess it’s all about context.


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