Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Culture Shock, and...

Things here are insanely busy. Finals have arrived, and I as frustrating as they are, I welcome the reprieve they will soon deliver me to. I realize I never gave a part two, to my previous month (which was two months back). I'll try to catch up on that. Also, I know I have a few messages I need to return, and I have not forgotten, I've just been distracted.

Below is one of the papers I have just finished writing, perhaps I'll have more of them posted as well, if I feel they are worth reading. Could be fun. I hope you enjoy. I need to sleep, and then wake to finish another paper, and study for a Kanji final... Almost there.

At Gakugei

Culture Shock, and its Impact on Cultural Adaptation

Life on the planet Earth is incredibly diverse. As a result, it is no surprise that societies, around the globe, are as equally diverse. This diversity is showcased, though not limited by, varied histories, peoples, beliefs, and cultures. Which path, along the route of diversity, is the best to take? At a certain point, a moment of cultural shock will confront an individual’s sense of identity, forcing introspection on the self, and the culture of the self.
Culture shock, and the phenomenon of reverse culture shock, influences the process of adapting to a new culture by directly forcing an individual to challenge (or have challenged), examine, and create an understanding of their new environment, in relation to their worldview. How the examination of the new and shocking is approached will lead to either a positive or negative effect, under the control of the individual undergoing the cultural shock. With careful consideration and knowledge, a possibly frightening situation can be a more rewarding experience.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tokyo, the Megacity That Works

See, it's so not so bad living here. I hope everyone is having a good day.

Tokyo, the Megacity That Works

by Frank Zeller
Wed Jun 22, 3:48 am ET

TOKYO (AFP) – On a satellite image of the Earth at night, there is no brighter spot. Greater Tokyo, home to an astonishing 35 million people, is by far the biggest urban area on the planet.
The most amazing thing about it, say its many fans, is that it works.


Although Tokyo dwarfs the other top megacities of Mumbai, Mexico City, Sao Paulo and New York, it has less air pollution, noise, traffic jams, litter or crime, lots of green space and a humming public transport system.

American writer Donald Richie, who first came to Tokyo in 1947 and recently published the coffee table book "Tokyo Megacity", has dubbed Japan's massive capital and primary city the "livable megalopolis".

Many visitors marvel at the politeness and civility that, along with the nation's wealth, have helped Tokyo avoid the pitfalls of other big cities that have become polluted, noisy and dangerous urban nightmares.

Amid the neon-lit street canyons, thoroughfares for millions every day, small shrines and quaint neighbourhoods survive as oases of tranquility, largely shielded from blights such as graffiti and vandalism.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Understanding Cultural Identities

     As the semester begins its last half here in Japan, papers are being written. I've mentioned before the classes I'm taking in a previous post, but this is a paper, intended to be a short response of 300 words, that was to ask the question below. The question's response quickly ballooned into a much longer answer, but I feel I answered it better with 850+ words than I would have with 300. I've included links in the transcript below, so I hope some of you will watch the videos my response is referring to. They are all available on YouTube, and worth the energy.

Nerd In Japan

    What does it mean to be Japanese (and/or American), when these national identities form around an international component?

    Various forms of media have been used as a tool, and a means, to cross-culturally pollinate understanding and self-reflection between seemingly opposite cultures of the world. Media affords us the ability to use satire, comedy, opinion and various other formats to question the different perspectives that make up our understandings of ‘truth’ concerning the differences between cultures arbitrarily divided into ‘East’ and ‘West.’

    What it means to be of a particular culture depends on what parts of that culture you value, see as a valid demonstration of that culture, and understand as being vital for that cultures existence. Very few definitions of a single culture will adhere to all individuals living within, and identifying themselves as a member of the culture. The examination of an opposite culture (or a perception of an opposite nature) from your own has the ability to allow self-reflection on how you understand the supposed different culture from which you come. By approaching a cultural concept you feel as opposite of your own, you immediately begin to relate to the culture as being the things you are not, if it is truly opposite.