Japan Bunch

Reblogging posts from Japan bunch members

Do you know…?

Have you heard of this website? www.renshuu.org or www.whiterabbitexpress.com ?? Comment on this post and others you love.
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Posted by Rahmeesha Reynolds.

HUCO 617 Week One: The Chrysanthemum and the Sword

The Chrysanthemum and the Sword’s place in Japanese scholarship about Japanese culture as described by Ryang is intriguing: she imputes that Benedict’s text has had so wide an effect on the Japanese perception of their own national character that it “helped give birth to Japan’s national culture” (“Chrysanthemum’s Strange Life”). This assertion is worthy of its own discussion, but for sake of argument I will take it for granted. Ryang attributes Benedict’s failure to discuss or examine Japanese imperial endeavour and their responsibilities to victims of these actions at least in part to the official historical narrative of postwar Japan—one that virtually erases any discussion of Japanese imperialism whatsoever. I find the assertion that Benedict is more or less singularly responsible for both the way that Japan frames its own modern history, and the western conception of Japanese culture, intuitively suspect, but further reading suggests that despite its manifold problems, it remains an influential and active nexus of discussion, both in and outside Japan: Ryang quotes Smith, who asserts that “there is a sense in which all of us have been writing footnotes to [it] ever since it appeared in 1946”. Prasol’s description of the tripartite cycle of Japanese imitation, adaptation and improvement of foreign ideas and technology (2) seems to support the dialectic around Benedict’s work, insofar as the decision to ignore or downplay imperial actions during World War II can be read as an adaptation and “improvement” of Benedict’s description of a “monolithic” . Ryang cites Nishi, a Japanese historian, who describes an American critique of Chrysanthemum which characterizes the Pacific War as imperials as “obsolete and laughable”. Ryang situates this revisionist historical narrative as arising more or less entirely from the influence of Benedict’s writing and as being codified by the ongoing relationship between Japan and the United States after World War II: “In the historical context of the U.S. military occupation of Japan, issues of Japan’s war responsibility and postwar reconstruction were reduced to a dialogue between Japan and the U.S. The rest — the Asian peoples Japan had colonized or subjugated — did not contribute(“Chrysanthemum’s Strange Life”).” The consistent thread I find in these texts is that of Japan-as-monolith, a singular entity with a massive inertia, as though it were not a nation of 126 million individual persons. Part of the point of Benedict’s writing, obviously, is to explain the interaction of self and society in Japan, but she tends to characterize “Japan”—and to some extent, America—as a homogeneous block. Perhaps this is more a critique of anthropological methodology on my part than of Benedict’s work particularly. A degree of generalization will be necessary in any wide-ranging examination of a group; it just seems that in the case of Chrysanthemum, especially with regard to the scholarship around and about it which has followed, the generalizations that Benedict adhered to ought to have been more thoroughly examined from the outset. Works Cited Benedict, Ruth. The Chrysanthemum and the Sword. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967. Prasol, Alexander. Modern Japan: Origins of the Mind: Japanese Traditions and Approaches to Modern Life. Singapore: World Scientific, 2010. Ryang, Sonia. “Chrysanthemum’s Strange Life: Ruth Benedict in Postwar Japan.” JPRI Occasional Papers 32 (2004): accessed 9 September 2013. (This is not good text analysis and I am not terribly happy with it; I’ll do better with the subsequent ones. It is merely rough sketches of thoughts about the texts and really poorly organized. To my followers: feel free to ignore/Tumblr Saviour these posts, they’re for school. They’ll all be tagged “huco 617”.) Comment on this post and others you love.
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Posted by Daniel McKechnie.

Why are so many Japanese men refusing to leave their rooms?

Interesting read Comment on this post and others you love.
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Posted by Andrew Sider.

Yo!

Aside from going to Japan is there anyone learning Japanese? Comment on this post and others you love.
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Posted by Rahmeesha Reynolds.

Hello

I’m new to this group (just wanted to say hi) Comment on this post and others you love.
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Posted by Rahmeesha Reynolds.

Any advice for my first trip to Japan ?

I’ll be travelling to Japan with my Husband this October ! I’m extremely excited. Any good advice ? We will be staying in Tokyo and Kyoto. Comment on this post and others you love.
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Posted by Julieanna Jablonski.

Looking for people to learn Japanese with

I’m learning Japanese and I was wondering if anyone else wanted a study buddy. I’m just starting N5 kanji.


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Posted by Renee Traylor.

Have you been to the Ponto-cho?

http://japlanning.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/kotoshi-dinner-in-the-ponto-cho/

I thought it was so enchanting :)


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Posted by Kally Whitehead.

To be honest, I only showed up in Kyoto because I wanted to see another Japanese city, and Kyoto was the most common one I’d heard of after Tokyo. But once I got here, I noticed that Kyoto had something I’d been meaning to see for some time: the Bamboo Grove.

This bamboo forest in Kyoto’s Arashiyama is certainly a site worth seeing, it’s just so surreal. That much you can glean from photos of the place, but actually being there is another world unto itself. The first thing I noticed was the smell: it was like a blast of amazingly fresh air, fresher than any mountain hike or other nature site I’d ever seen. Must be something to do with the bamboo.

Additionally, the bamboo I’ve seen in the West must be relatively new growth, since the bamboo here in Japan is on a scale I hadn’t thought possible. The bamboo stalks tower, some 5 or 6 stories tall, and with massive girth, like I couldn’t even get both hands around one of them.

If you’re ever in Kyoto, definitely make a point of visiting the grove, it’s hands down the coolest thing I’ve seen in this city. When you’re over there, you should also stop by Tenryuji Temple. This temple has one of the most renowned zen gardens, which is one of the many UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kyoto. I don’t normally get too excited about touristy things like that, but the temple is literally right next to the Bamboo Grove, so why not?

Also, you can get a really good vegetarian zen meal in the garden of the Tenryuji Temple. It makes for a fantastic view and a really unique experience with wonderful food. I’d highly recommend it.
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To be honest, I only showed up in Kyoto because I wanted to see another Japanese city, and Kyoto was the most common one I’d heard of after Tokyo. But once I got here, I noticed that Kyoto had something I’d been meaning to see for some time: the Bamboo Grove.

This bamboo forest in Kyoto’s Arashiyama is certainly a site worth seeing, it’s just so surreal. That much you can glean from photos of the place, but actually being there is another world unto itself. The first thing I noticed was the smell: it was like a blast of amazingly fresh air, fresher than any mountain hike or other nature site I’d ever seen. Must be something to do with the bamboo.

Additionally, the bamboo I’ve seen in the West must be relatively new growth, since the bamboo here in Japan is on a scale I hadn’t thought possible. The bamboo stalks tower, some 5 or 6 stories tall, and with massive girth, like I couldn’t even get both hands around one of them.

If you’re ever in Kyoto, definitely make a point of visiting the grove, it’s hands down the coolest thing I’ve seen in this city. When you’re over there, you should also stop by Tenryuji Temple. This temple has one of the most renowned zen gardens, which is one of the many UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kyoto. I don’t normally get too excited about touristy things like that, but the temple is literally right next to the Bamboo Grove, so why not?

Also, you can get a really good vegetarian zen meal in the garden of the Tenryuji Temple. It makes for a fantastic view and a really unique experience with wonderful food. I’d highly recommend it.
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Visiting Osaka has been one of the most pleasant surprises of my visit to Japan. I didn’t think I’d take to this city so strongly, and now I’m regretting that I only have two nights here.

I’m sure my sentiments towards Osaka are partially to do with feeling disappointed in Kyoto and its overwhelming amount of tourist BS. Additionally, it’s nice to be back in a big city (Osaka is the second biggest in Japan).

But really, I think my esteem for Osaka has more to do with lifestyle. It reminds me a bit of Hamburg, in that it doesn’t really have a ton of tourist stuff to go see, it just seems like a great place to chill out, and a great place to live.

I’m also really liking the AirBnB place I’m staying in here. It’s really clean and nicely decorated, with a great balcony in my room. It just felt sort of like home when I got here. Plus the people I’m staying with are really nice, and it’s in a hip semi-industrial area. If you’re ever in Osaka, you should definitely stay here.

I mostly just relaxed and walked around in Osaka, but there are also a few things that are worth seeing. First, the main reason I came here was to visit the National Museum of Art, Osaka. Besides having a remarkably cool structure, I read that its permanent collection features a ton of artists that I like, including my favorite Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. They didn’t actually have any of her stuff on display, but the contemporary art I saw there was really top notch.

Also, Osaka has a really cool aquarium, which I guess should be no surprise in a country so obsessed with fish. It’s a bit overrun with kids, but the massive main tank has a whale shark, and the whole place is worth a visit.

I’ll certainly make a point of spending more time in Osaka the next time I’m in Japan (and I’m definitely coming back, because I really love this country).
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Visiting Osaka has been one of the most pleasant surprises of my visit to Japan. I didn’t think I’d take to this city so strongly, and now I’m regretting that I only have two nights here.

I’m sure my sentiments towards Osaka are partially to do with feeling disappointed in Kyoto and its overwhelming amount of tourist BS. Additionally, it’s nice to be back in a big city (Osaka is the second biggest in Japan).

But really, I think my esteem for Osaka has more to do with lifestyle. It reminds me a bit of Hamburg, in that it doesn’t really have a ton of tourist stuff to go see, it just seems like a great place to chill out, and a great place to live.

I’m also really liking the AirBnB place I’m staying in here. It’s really clean and nicely decorated, with a great balcony in my room. It just felt sort of like home when I got here. Plus the people I’m staying with are really nice, and it’s in a hip semi-industrial area. If you’re ever in Osaka, you should definitely stay here.

I mostly just relaxed and walked around in Osaka, but there are also a few things that are worth seeing. First, the main reason I came here was to visit the National Museum of Art, Osaka. Besides having a remarkably cool structure, I read that its permanent collection features a ton of artists that I like, including my favorite Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. They didn’t actually have any of her stuff on display, but the contemporary art I saw there was really top notch.

Also, Osaka has a really cool aquarium, which I guess should be no surprise in a country so obsessed with fish. It’s a bit overrun with kids, but the massive main tank has a whale shark, and the whole place is worth a visit.

I’ll certainly make a point of spending more time in Osaka the next time I’m in Japan (and I’m definitely coming back, because I really love this country).
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