Tokyo Motor Show

The Tokyo Motor Show opens to the public in a week, and the day reporters run around at sprawling Makuhari Messe is Wednesday Oct. 24.
We already saw some models in previews:
My story on what Toyota is showing.
And my story on cute cars at the show.
The themes of Japanese-ness and cute culture have always fascinated me.
For decades of modernization, companies like Toyota were playing catchup with the West.
Now the time has come, in this age of globalization, for Toyota, and others, to strut their stuff as far as what’s unique about them as Japanese.
This is a very very difficult question.
You have to be unique if you want to compete.
But do you set off with the idea/goal of “wanting to be Japanese.” (or “wanting to be cute”)?
Being Japanese is what you end up being _ as a result of your being yourself.
No matter what you do, if you do it well, and you do it honestly, you can only be yourself.
And if you are Japanese, then your product will be Japanese _ without even trying.
A writer doesn’t sit down: Yes, I am going to write that great American/Japanese/Japanese-American novel.
If he/she does, it’s likely to be pedantic.
It’s backwards.
This is not to deny that it is critical and useful to recognize how you’re being yourself/Japanese.
By seeing the world, and studying diversity, a person gains insight into what is unique about a national culture _ and also what’s universal.