I agree with those who have pointed out that the real weirdness is the New York Times stooping to the level of this drivel. Unfortunately, it happens all the time with regard to the Japanese. There are certain kinds of articles that appear with regularity about how inscrutable the Japanese are, but almost always reporting things that I, as a long-time resident of Tokyo, have never even encountered. Sure, you can find anything in this city if you dig down deep enough. I'll bet I could find weird people in New York, too.
Sounds about right.
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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.