Musician Dustin Wong returned to Japan five years ago and, despite having grown up here, he encountered a few cultural differences after coming back.
Sipping on a strawberry milkshake at a cafe near Shibuya Station, the composer and guitarist speaks carefully, but candidly, about those differences, one of which is a general lack of critical expression among his Japanese peers.
"Artists here aren't really encouraged to explain their work," Wong says, adding that as hard as he tries to coax it of them, many remain guarded when it comes to their motivations. "Whenever I'm talking to musicians in the U.S. or Europe about, say, politics, we'll dive straight in. Here, I've spoken to artists and said that I want a space to talk about these things and I just got 'Why?' That's a huge problem."