In my personal opinion, there is one word in the Japanese language that really says a lot about the Japanese people. It's used almost daily, in reference to a multitude of situations and experiences....most often it is used in its negative form.
Koji uses it when he has to go to the toilet and someone is already in there. Issei uses it when his DS has been put away for a certain amount of time on one of his "game days". The K-Man uses it (though not as often as he would tell you!!) when I've made something for dinner that isn't to his liking. I do it everyday...from driving in traffic to working the crazy-go-mad schedule I sometimes have. The K-man and I both use it when we discuss our financial situation.
The word is gaman. According to one of the dictionaries I use, to gaman is to "persevere, tolerate, endure, carry on despite heavy trials, have patience".
Listen to any conversation and I can almost guarantee that sooner or later, that word will be brought up. Someone is gaman-ing all the time.
In the Japanese culture, it's better to gaman a situation than it is to cause anyone a problem or embarrassment by trying to change that situation. (Sometimes, I think that there is a very fine line between gaman and ignoring....but that's just my thinking!!)
There has been some excitement here in Japan with the latest announcements of Nobel Peace Prize winners. There were quite a few Japanese given this dubious award...and one man in particular who received this award, Osamu Shimomura, is the one who has taken the simple word of gaman and made it a part of his life work......since the early 1960's....with these.....
****Sidenote about Mr. Shimomura before I continue....though he was born in Kyoto, his family moved to Nagasaki a few years later. One of my students said that he was actually blinded for a short time because of the atomic bomb. He studied and worked here, at Nagasaki University for 15 years. The people of Nagasaki are very proud of him.