Friday, November 10, 2006

Dilemma time! No complete sentences, just thoughts.

properly studying abroad is impossible. Properly would mean living like a member of your host country 24 hours a day which would take up all the time to study other things about that culture. You would of course learn something by living that way, but not as useful as studying just what you want
studying just want you want about the culture doesnt let you see the culture properly because everything is linked together and you wouldnt properly understand something unless you know all about something else, which would take a lot of other time but first you haveto study something else and so on and so on
I hate the people who just study what they want because they are ignoring everything else and thus they arent spending their time abroad properly, but arent they learning something too? they also look so happy which is really appealing to me.
I wanna meet people but I dont want to but I dont want it to be because I am foreign, I dont want to meet people with English, but I am so lonely.
Do I fight for what I thought I believed or do I fight for what they give me? Try to make a difference or change myself into something that, as of right now, I loathe?

do I need a reason to be here?

can anyone out there give me hand?


At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Nan said...

You can be right, and alone, or imperfect & happy. Take it from a chick from a perfectionist family: happy is better. I think you're in a tough culture for a westerner(or any other for that matter). But relax about your inability to be the perfect student of Japanese culture. You're tall, blondish(at least no longer pink!), and you will be by that measure always an outsider. So, let them laugh up their sleeves at the foolish gaijin(bad spelling attempt) who embraces other cultures "too readily---ooooo, one should be more cautious, blah, blah, blah". I got the same thing in Vienna, and even from my own family at times. Others trying to make you conform to what THEY think you should do & be(no Frank Sinatra do-be-do-be-do). So, the greatest thinkers/artists/folks in Japan historically: were they really pure conformists? I don't know enough about Japan. But NO changes would've been made. I know the great artists broke rules. I'm guessing this goes not just for the visual arts. Even in conform or be shunned Japan, there have been those who opened up themselves, & Japan as a nation. Not always the popular choice. But hey, you come from a gene pool FULL of travellers/non-conformists who fit in just enough to have a good time, give some of themselves & let other cultures experience them & take away some cool experiences/friendships and be richer for it. In most circles in Germany/Austria, you're supposed to use the formal language of address to your elders, or those higher up on the food chain UNTIL they give you permission otherwise. I think that system is collapsing under the weight of television & rapid communication. Japan will take a LOT longer. But give up on making them totally accept you, or fitting in. Vive la difference as long as you don't cause major international incidents, blow your schooling, or end up in Japanese jail. I think many folks will be forgiving, and the ones who won't NEVER will forgive you anyway. Pick your battles, but don't make everything a battle. I'm rambling now, & your folks may shoot me for saying "don't try to be so perfect" and be as forgiving as you'd like to get! Even if YOU'RE not forgiven for "whatever" in Japan, you'll come out being less uptight by forgiving those who are the pinheads. And it sounds like you've got some good cycling connections started there---the folks here obviously ADORE you. No small thing, that. Cold comfort in a foreign land, but better than a sharp stick in the eye? I send supportive long-distance hugs from another whose sat, totally lonely, in front of a computer in a foreign country before. I think that you're doing AMAZINGLY well, keeping totally busy, seeing stuff most folks like me will never see. How are those toilet sucker things, anyway? Do you live in place that gets "sucked" periodically? Do they still do that? I'm starting to freeze(temp is dropping, no socks & the cats are calling), so I'm off to nighty-nite land. Dream sweet, not-so-conformist & that's ok, dreams!!!!


At 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ditto from yr mom. Too much austerity makes a person miserable. Islamic art deliberately includes imperfections, right? As a reminder that NO ONE is perfec t, and shouldn't try to be.
so cut yourself some slack. Watch a movie in English. Pay $5 for a Baskin Robbins cone. Call an english speaker or other foreign friend and go out for a meal. Waste time with small children and animals.

I watched two more of your CD's last night. Wonderful pictures; I wonder where I was?

love, mom

At 2:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John says: I have no first hand experience when it comes to situations like this, so this is all essentially "in theory". Obviously one can not hope to learn every single damn nuance about a foreign culture, as that takes several lifetimes, and is impossible to make jive with the wonderful world of academia and such. As you are overseas to study, it seems a terrible waste to dismiss that opportunity.

My assessment: You will never truly fit in (physical differences alone), so don't try for 100% acceptance. Even with cultural gaps, it sounds like you are doing great over there, and that is not something you should give up. Study what you can of the culture, yes, but you did go there for schooling, and that too is an opportunity that should not be passed by. You may say you loathe what you might become, but you will grow to like/love it, as that is the only sane and healthy option.

At 2:01 AM, Blogger MasterTaco said...

Let me start by saying that you are definately taking your study abroad alot more seriously than I did(or am doing). That has good points and bad points about it. You're certainly learning a ton more about Japanese culture than I ever did, and are probably learning things that some JP people don't even know.
Like Nan said though, no one can be perfect. I definately fall into your "the people who just study what they want" group. For instance, when I was at my high school, they had Calligraphy classes, and although I know you love calligraphy, it wasn't my think, so I just started not going to the classes. Was that the right thing to do? Probably not. Did I miss out on learning how to better? Most likely. But, I had alot more fun not being stressed out about how I spun the brush on the top of each letter or whatnot. So, my advice is, find what you want to do, and do it. Although you may not learn as much overall, you may be more contented just because it's something you want to do.
As for your last question, as to if you need a reason for being here. WYS hated me for this, but I had no reason to be here. I just more or less came to Japan to have fun. Of course, I love the language and the culture as well, which is why I'm still here, but my primary motivation was just to have fun. So, although I think it's good to have a reason, don't obsess about, sometimes it's good to just chill and do something else.
Anyways, I don't know if my wierd, semi-unhelpful advice does anything.

On a completely(well almost) unrelated topic, I am having a school festival on the 19th, and since I am the president of the Karaoke Club, and am making BBQ Tacos... you are invited if you want! :D
Good luck man!


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