japanese stuff    
Samurai vs Cowboy
The following passage is interesting in the comparison of the cultural constructs of a samurai and a cowboy:

There is a similarity between these heroic, if not tragic, mythical figures of Japan and America. Both show a commitment to code and belief; both abjure what is considered normal life -- life that offers emotional security and material comfort. In each case we witness an expression of loyalty -- "the willing and practical and thoroughgoing devotion of a person to a cause," as described by Josiah Royce ( 1920). Both the samurai and the cowboy confront the contradictory forces of human desire -- to be committed to one's cause and so to sustain one's integrity, or simply to surrender to the comfort of living an ordinary life. In the end both the samurai and the cowboy decide to pursue a life that makes a strong yet muted individual statement supported by an inner strength.

From the book Japanese Communication: Language and Thought in Context by Senko K. Maynard; University of Hawaii Press, 1997