Japan: Sterotypes

Kaety and I are heading to Portland tomorrow and then on to Japan to the Marine Technology/Oceans Conference in Kobe.

We are jazzed!

We’ve never been to Japan and I’m excited to dive into a completely different culture. I’ve been reading the Fodors Guide to Japan all month and as I flipped through the bible paper thin pages of microscopic text I realized that just about everything I know about Japan comes from movies and TV.

Today I started making a list of the pile of stereotypes I’ll be carrying with me.

I’ve got a lot of stuff floating around in my head from Shogun. I’m not sure what to do with any of it but I do know I don’t want anyone to pee on my head.

I saw Memoirs of a Geisha 10 years ago which left me with vague memories of a culture filled with complex social rules. I don’t remember any of them.

Karate kid was awesome and I’m carrying a lot of good feelings about Mr. Miyagi around in my head. I’m sure those feelings will guide me in productive ways.

John Wu taught me that Japanese people are all super spiritual and super criminal at the same time, dress in dark snappy clothes, own a prolific number of guns which they all shoot sideways.

Some scraps of anime/manga I’ve seen makes me super confused and concerned about…well…a lot of things. The cute maids are vaguely attached to the anime clump of brain information and I’m mostly confused about them as well.

I have some great memories of Benihana of Tokyo as a kid and loved the food.

My work at Oregon Sea Grant gave me lots of information about the radioactive tuna scare and of course the Japanese Tsunami Dock is still vivid in my mind.

Most of my list is kind of ridiculous and is probably a pretty typical of what most people carry around when it comes to understanding a different culture and its people only through popular media and period dramas.

I’m looking forward to replacing my odd collection stereotypes and fallacies with real experiences with real people.

I also love traveling with Kaety – this trip will be a great change of channel for both of us.

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