I like good things

Originally I had planned on blogging about current goals and such but 2 things of note happened today at work that are much more worth a blog post today.

The first came when I was looking over my village monthly flier.  In it among other pictures was one of some young girls, somewhere in their mid-late teens (it’s impossible to tell with Japanese people.  Or is it because I’m getting so much older…?) giving what appeared to be some presentation to another group of people.  It was similar to a picture or YouTube video you might see that might be titled something like “Japanese exchange students talk about Japan in class today”.  There was nothing out of the ordinary about it, at least not in the sense that it was taken in Japan.  Just teen girls standing in front of some people wearing teen clothes.  Some were laughing, others were smiling.  Really, it was one of those pictures that mega-Japan-nerds back home point to and say “isn’t Japan so weird!? God I want to go there.”  The girls had on their short jean shorts with black stockings underneath, almost to the person wearing some sort of vest/flannel type garment, and loud, colorful shoes.  Japanese through and through.

However, the only thing that ran through my head was “oh, some teenage girls giving some kind of presentation.”  That was it.  It wasn’t until several minutes later that the thought occurred to me that this was actually a very different scene than the same exact picture would be if taken back in the States.  That is, if this particular picture would have ever been taken.  There is definitely a “Japaneseness” to pictures in Japanese publishings.  Something about the camera angle, timing and such that strikes you as Japanese.  It was one of the first things I re-noticed when I came back.  So, there I sat thinking about how this scene and picture was completely normal to me yet was so foreign to my native culture.  I immediately started thinking about the person back home exclaiming their desire to go to Japan because it looks so strange/weird/fun/interesting/DIFFERENT.  Suddenly, it dawned on me:  “I’M in Japan.  I’m that person, except I’m actually living it!  Whoa.”

Acclamation is a funny thing.  Everyone does it on almost everything in their life.  I remember when I was working at a very successful academic school back in the states last year.  I got used to those students and when I would hear stories about other high schools it was difficult to wrap my  head around “oh yeah.  MY school is the strange one.”  Maybe it’s just that I’m an ungrateful person but I don’t spend very much time thinking about how great it is that I live in Japan.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, because I do.  To me, living here is just life.  Yes I have a culture clash almost every day (wait until the next blog post on this one; today was a doozy of a culture clash) but actually existing in Japan isn’t something that crosses my mind very often.  It was nice to be confronted with it and to be able to view it from the outside perspective of an imaginary person residing in my head.

I’m one of those people who bolts out of work right when my shift is over.  It’s not that I dislike my job that much because I don’t.  Rather, I just find it more comfortable to be in my apartment.  By the end of the day I’m kind of needing a break from being in the presence of other humans.  I’m a fairly solitary person.  Also, I equate work with “have to”s and home with “freedom” (despite the fact I’m pretty much left alone at work.  Something about location really changes my moods).  I love me some freedom; so there is that, too.

I ran across this website and couldn’t help sharing it.  It’s a fascinating read.  So much so that I stayed after work a whole, count ’em, 15 minutes past my shift!  Just to read the article.  Anyway, here it is:

http://neuroanthropology.net/2010/07/21/life-without-language/

As a warning it is fill of some sciency babble, if that’s not your thing.  If you ooze geek like me you’ll just enjoy it that much more.  Either way if you are interested in language or learning at all it’s more than worth the time to skim at least.

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