Don’t Trade In Your Culture — 3 Comments

  1. I’m conflicted about this one. I have a hard time relating to my classmates outside of my Asian Studies major, because I honestly don’t know much about my country’s pop culture. It’s not interesting to me. I don’t want to fake an interest in it just to get a conversation started with a Japanese person either. However, I think enough Japanese people are interested in their own culture, from my experience, that it makes it not much of a problem to not know your own culture’s pop media.

    Of course, I’m coming from a different perspective. I started the immersion method four years ago while a junior in high school who since childhood has been interested in Japanese culture. I never understood why people are going towards the Japanese translations of English books to learn Japanese, because the heart of the culture is not within those books. But for people who don’t want to let go of their own culture, it must be a relief to know they don’t have to.

    As for the last word of advice, it’s really useful. I should start reading Japanese newspapers about American news, because whenever I take a trip to Japan or am too focused on Japanese to listen to the news, I end up so out of the loop.

    • Just to add to this, I’m not a complete isolationist from American culture, even though it may seem like it to my peers because I don’t now all their pop references. I’m American, and I could never become fully Japanese. I think it’s good for everyone to realize that it’s okay to like American shows, books, etc. I love watching The Office and Being Human, and was surprised to find out there’s a following of Supernatural in Japan. Though, I don’t know if I’d watch these things in Japanese. Just as much as I don’t like the idea of watching something Japanese in English. But some people are perfectly fine with it.

      I used to be the kind of person that actually puts down her own country because of their love for another back in high school. But I’ve realized that every country has their dark sides.

  2. Great post. I ran into a few gaijin during my study abroad in Japan that bashed anything non-Japanese. Most Japanese I meet are fascinated by America, so I can see it being a conversation killer if one were to say American culture sucks as a conversation starter.

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