Nowadays, in Europe we can still sometimes observe the strong opposition between the City and the provinces, or the city and the countryside, or the Capital and other cities. This opposition often has the form of ridiculous snobbish posturing and frankly laughable claims about the “true” city-dweller (hint: one’s ancestors would have had to be city-dwellers since at least 4 generations), often the word “bourgeoisie” is used as it is something positive (hint: it is not).
Almost 350 years ago on another continent, the absurd situation was also noticed by Ihara Saikaku:
So, this was the capital. People in Kyoto had eyes and noses like everyone else it seemed, and even though this group hailed from Osaka their arms and legs were attached in much the same way.
However, Saikaku failed to make the last step and break the vicious circle of bourgeois hate:
As he crossed the crmbling bridge at Shijou, he was spotted by a most unusual-looking man who could not have been more unmistakably from the north country if he had worna sign around his neck announcing the fact.
Well, that might have well been 350 years ago, but what’s the excuse in 2010?
(Ihara Saikaku, The Great Mirror of Male Love, translated and with introduction by Paul Gordon Schalow)