I found this article in the NY Times fascinating.
The article puts a spotlight on the young Japanese (largely female) who travel to New York City for anywhere between 3 months to a couple of years on a quest to "find themselves". You can experience these excessively coordinated little things for yourself by visiting the East Village, particularly around St. Marks Place and Stuyvesant St.
What I find most fascinating about these women are the activities they participate in to "find themselves". As one woman in the article declares, her favorite pastimes in NY are "shopping, clubbing with hipsters on the Lower East Side and partying." I'm sorry but that doesn't really constitute "finding oneself" in my book. That just sounds like someone who's escaping the realities of life by flirting with hedonism.
Don't get me wrong here, I fully endorse the occasional appointment with hedonism (the $80 black suede Kenneth Cole boots I purchased this weekend are a very good illustration of this) but a lifetime of excess rarely serves anyone well - except for maybe Hugh Hefner and the guy who started the "Girls Gone Wild" phenom.
The article also spends a lot of time noting that these women are often in the pursuit of an "American Boyfriend". That thought makes me a bit queesy.