05 July 2011 @ 02:45 pm
been pretty short on time lately (note to self: next time you have to write a paper about some aspect of japanese culture IN JAPANESE, pick something easy, like food, instead of trying to explain the historical origins of discrimination against minority groups in japan and how that has permeated modern society, using a second grader's level of japanese), but i do want to get back into the habit of writing regularly. not just because i feel antisocial, but also because i don't WRITE enough. used to write long, detailed entries EVERY DAY in middle school about anything at all and i don't know what happened but i can't seem to do that anymore. (i'm sure being bombarded with japanese 24/7 hasn't exactly helped my already-not-so-great english, either.) it's just so easy to put off posts for one more day, one more day, one more day, and suddenly it's been a month of nothing but a half-written draft.

but to start, thanks for the comments on the previous entry! i feel a bit bad because i haven't been reciprocating, but hopefully once i ease myself back into using lj regularly i'll get back into commenting as well. i've just been pretty terrible at this whole thing, haha.

anyway, not going to get into gender issues right now. instead, some amusing stories about cultural/linguistic misunderstandings (i haven't had much trouble with my own family, but i've gotten plenty of stories from other students):

something i'd been vaguely aware of before, but had never given much thought or seen firsthand: japanese humor tends to be very different from american humor. namely, sarcasm doesn't translate very well.

HOST PARENTS: so there used to be this really popular aquarium in koube, but recently it's lost some of its popularity.
TRISTAN: what, did all the fish die?
HOST PARENTS: ......... no?

[when first meeting host parents]
HOST PARENTS: by the way, we have a really large dog. are you okay with that...?
NURI: oh yeah, it's fine. i only eat small dogs.

been watching variety shows basically every day at dinner, and japanese humor definitely tends to be much more slapstick/situational. i mean -- i knew this already. it's easy to get a sense of it from most types of japanese media, and i'd also been told by [livejournal.com profile] nanaryuu on multiple occasions that it's much more difficult to be sarcastic in japanese. i didn't, however, realize this meant that people just wouldn't GET sarcasm. i do find this particularly interesting, since japanese tends to rely heavily on unexpressed/implicit meaning, which you'd think would naturally end up being more sarcasm-prone. or perhaps because implicit meaning is so necessary in ordinary conversation, one can't afford to cause misunderstandings by using it in humor...? not to say that sarcasm doesn't EXIST -- i've been told that it does, albeit in a somewhat different way. i have yet to actually see it, though.
location: kanazawa, japan
mood: sleepy
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