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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Culture Course and Foodz

The US culture course seems like it's going to be interesting overall if today is any indication. The man teaching it seemed very into it, and that always makes it more interesting to learn. The topic was about the Japanese mentality/psychology, and that influence on Japanese culture. He made us play a little game: 7 people stood in in a circle, and first one person would step into the center and step back. Then two people. Then three. All the way until everyone was moving to the middle of the circle. The catch was we weren't allowed to speak to communicate or set up a "system" and instead had to rely on nonverbal clues. The interesting and relevant part comes when he explained how the Japanese students he coaches performed this exercise. Whereas we US students were more aggressive, made explicit eye contact to try to figure out who was going in, and actively searched for nonverbal cues the Japanese students instead used their periphery and tried to "read" the atmosphere of what everyone else was doing. Both the Japanese students and us had an equally difficult time not screwing up, but our methods for figuring it out were different, and he used that to accentuate the cultural differences. The Japanese are fairly adept at judging the "feel" of the group, and often function in a group-orientated fashion. This leads to a larger focus on the group rather than the individual. This is a direct reversal of how the US functions in which the emphasis is always on individuality rather than group harmony. He went a bit deeper than that brief summary, but it's a complex topic upon which dissertations can be written (and I've written papers on it, so there's a lot to it) but that's a good touch at the surface of the topic :)

Also! Dinner:
A whole cooked fish; some sort of... fried rice I think, with fish, egg and delicious things in it; salad; and soup. The fish was yummy but complicated to eat. You've got to pull the bits of meat from the fillet areas on both sides with your chopsticks, pull out the pin bones, and eat the meat. He was gutted before cooking, so you don't have to worry about that. The fried rice stuff was excellent, but I ended up having to ask the dorm manager lady to show me how to best eat the fish XD She gave a bit of a pitying look, but helped. Turned out to be that I was the only one signed up for dinner tonight so I ended up eating dinner with the dorm manager, her husband, and a woman that I assume is either her daughter or daughter-in-law.

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