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I have a bit over a week left here, and a week left in the Institute I am doing.  Here are a few notes I have about studying with other faculty and the topic of Japan (big topic, interesting topic, but not one I knew anything about coming in, or so I had thought).  Follow me below the orange squiggle.

1.  Even faculty should not be encouraged to bring in phones and computers in a lecture class.  Arrrrggghhhh.  The temptation is too strong.  I have been seeing searches for hiking trails and email conversations and hearing skype ring tones, and such.  There was a discussion on the Inside Higher Ed website from a faculty member who, like me, does not allow computers in the classroom for note-taking.  It is a challenging thing to sit and take notes by hand, and he acknowledged that it was not as easy for him as it used to be.  But the temptation to do things other than focus on the content of the class is great, and even when faculty who have come from all over the country to here to study can't say no to distractions, why would I expect 18 or 19 year olds to focus any better.  And it is really distracting to the others who are trying to concentrate around them.

This is a long term concern of mine, and this program has just completely confirmed my policies.

2.  When we are adults, all grown up, in our fifties, we never lose the person we were in college.  There is the person who has to contribute to all discussions, the one who already knows everything, the one who has done all the reading and the one who has done none(!), the person for whom in-class discussion is horribly painful, the ones who are insecure even when they do understand something, and the ones who just can't get something.  In a way this is rather comforting.  Generally the people here are really interesting and pleasant, and the annoying traits are not horribly obtrusive.  But it is absolutely clear who they were in school.  I am finding this amusing as well as reassuring.  And it was nice that we had none of the absolutely horrible English majors that I had a class with in college and that made me do an extra year of science to get out of a second semester of literature (the fact I loved Geology also had something to do with it, I must admit.

3.  Textbooks always read better when you are lying on a sandy beach listening to the gentle roar of the ocean.  However, it is best to carry a plastic sack in case it starts raining on you.  Even a soft light rain can soak and warp a textbook.  Don't ever take someone else's book (or one from the library) to the beach for just this reason.  I'm just saying...

4.  Don't ever close yourself off to opportunities.  Try new foods.  Bring a swimsuit (no matter what you look like in one!).  Say "sure I will come along" even if you don't think it is something you really would be interested in doing.  You just never know.  

5.  Don't not do something just because no one else is interested.  I fully expect no one to be interested in going up to the Bishop Museum on our free Tuesday afternoon this coming week.  They will be beach-goers, which will be fine.  I might join them later.  But the transit of Venus (not to happen again for another 120 years) is happening on Tuesday and the best place in the world to view it is from Hawai'i.  There are events to celebrate this all over on Tuesday, but the Bishop Museum will have astronomers and has a planetarium, etc.  I will also go and see some newly reinstalled galleries and enjoy seeing it again.  But even if no one wants to go, that is fine.  I want to, and the astronomy geek in me says YAY!!!

6.  I am very much a product of my parents, who grew up in the 1930s and 40s.  My dad served in the navy late in the war.  Even though he has Japanese friends, and loved his two visits to the country, their attitude toward Japan as I was growing up must have been more ambivalent than I remember specifically, as my attitude is more ambivalent.  I feel unsure when I am told it was all the military's fault and the emperor was not involved at all.  I know there was discomfort when Hirohito came to the US and was welcomed by the president, and there was no mourning when he died.  My parents would have had no issues with the Japanese on an individual basis and had a wide variety of nationalities and ethnicities at their dinner parties when I was growing up. But I do have this vague impression of lingering anger at the emperor.  This is a really interesting thing to me and one I really wish we had had more opportunity to explore in this program.  I suppose my parents are the last generation to feel this way, but it is something that has been niggling at the back of my mind the whole time I have been here.  It is an oddly ambivalent feeling toward Japan and Japanese culture, not one my parents share (my Dad loves Japanese movies and my Mom read Japanese novels -- neither of them is particularly fond of sushi, but they love noodle soups!).  So is something wrong with me that I feel there is an elephant in the room?  Yes, we went to Pearl Harbor yesterday, but we never talked about how it really fits in with the whole experience we have been having.

Interesting...

Originally posted to annetteboardman on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 12:50 PM PDT.

Also republished by Teachers Lounge.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I will be able to check in (12+ / 0-)

    off and on, but I am now going to wander down to the zoo, to see art on the fence there.  Then off to Chinatown to look at galleries (I missed first friday, but though there might still be nice stuff to see the day after!).  Anyone want to join me for lunch in Chinatown in a few hours?

  •  wandering thru ancient Irish archaelogy (6+ / 0-)

    It has been an interesting education in many ways. My background in archaelogy has been primarily focused on North America, so this is really a new area for me. I'm thinking about having a student tour on Irish archaelogy in the spring.

    Learning to drive on the other side has also been interesting.

  •  Enjoy your time in Hawaii... (6+ / 0-)

    They are trying to improve the zoo.  Bishop museum should be fun, but you may get clouds.  And try to get to Serg's Mexican food, either in Manoa or Waimanolo.  There is something about excellent Mexican food served through a window, and eaten under an open air tarp in the tropics that is to die for.  :-)

  •  Looks like you lucked out on Bishop Museum (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annetteboardman, Aunt Pat, Uncle Moji

    I read that the Bishop Museum is usually closed on Tuesdays, but because of Venus' transit it will be open.  I am not sure if the whole museum will be open.

  •  There is nothing wrong with you. (4+ / 0-)
    So is something wrong with me that I feel there is an elephant in the room?  Yes, we went to Pearl Harbor yesterday, but we never talked about how it really fits in with the whole experience we have been having.
    You've actually hit the nail right on the head.

    The defining experience of present day Japan is defeat in the Second World War and its subsequent occupation by the United States and its continuing inability to reach an internal consensus on asserting its independence from the US.

    Lots of folks involved in Japan studies would like to sweep that little fact under the rug and I think that tendency is becoming more rather than less pronounced lately.

    If you are interested in Pearl Harbor and will forgive me for pimping an old diary, I wrote about it here.  If you do decide to check it out, be forewarned: it is on the long side.

    Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

    by journeyman on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 02:09:42 PM PDT

  •  Finally a new post by you! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annetteboardman, Aunt Pat, Uncle Moji

    Thanks. I hope you will diary about what you learnd about japanese arts, culture & language, soon!

    "This isn't America" - Zenkai Girl

    by mythatsme on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 03:01:23 PM PDT

  •  I am curious about your feelings about (0+ / 0-)

    Hirohito, and what you think is unsaid in Hawai'i.  

    I have found that mainland people have more of an issue with Japan and Emperor Hirohito, than do those of us who grew up in Hawai'i, and whose island was attacked, and who sent our sons and brothers and uncles and fathers to war in both Europe and the Pacific.  

    Do you think you could flesh out a bit more of what your questions or discomforts are?  I am intrigued and confused by your paragraph, and perhaps I am not a good reader but I don't quite get what you are getting at.

    "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 07:36:31 PM PDT

    •  Ummmm (0+ / 0-)

      I appreciate your comment, but it does not come across in the way I think you meant it.  Just an example:

      who sent our sons and brothers and uncles and fathers to war in both Europe and the Pacific.  

      This comes across as a "we suffered more than you" comment, which is really inappropriate as you don't really know anything about what my uncles did, only to select one part of your statement.  

      •  I am not sure why you would interpret (0+ / 0-)

        my comment that way.  Again, you seem to skirt around something that you describe as "the elephant" in the room but seem unable or unwilling to explain what that is.  I am clearly dumbfounded by your comment, and asked for clarification.  Your response is umbrage.  

        I don't really care what your uncles did in WW2 unless they were at Pearl Harbor or Wheeler or Schofield, your comment was about Hawai'i, not about Kentucky, or Ohio, or Alabama, or California.  Pearl Harbor is in Hawai'i.  It was my island that was attacked by the Japanese Imperial Navy and Army (Air Corps).  My families homes that were machined gunned by Japanese fighters, my father who was shot at while driving to his Sunday job by a Japanese fighter pilot who passed close enough that my old man could see his face.  It was my uncles (soldiers in the Territorial Hawai'ian Guard) who raced down to Pearl Harbor to rescue men from the waters, who raced them to hospital, who gave succor to dying men.  And then, by nightfall were suddenly rounded up at gun & bayonet point as 5th columnists by white American soldiers from the mainland.  Those guys, my uncles, then volunteered to serve as cannon fodder in Europe in the most decorated unit in the history of the United States Army (442nd Infantry Brigade and 100th Battalion, look it up).  One of my uncles served in unit that began at one battle with 100 men and by its end was one of 17 left, this happened battle after battle, again and again. That's an 80% casualty rate over and over again. Those guys, my uncles, also served as interpreters in the Pacific, with white Americans and white Australians who called them "Japs", and Japanese military who would shoot them on sight as traitors (even though none of them had ever set foot in Japan in their lives).  Then came back to the mainland USA where white people spit on them, and refused to serve them as the "enemy Japs".  

        Though it was never my intent to suggest Japanese AMERICANS in Hawai'i suffered more than your uncles, you went there, and now you have my reply.  

        You seem to indicate you have some lingering mistrust of people from Hawai'i for not sharing your anger at Hirohito, because of Pearl Harbor?!!?  Even it was our home and our families and our islands that were DIRECTLY attacked by that Emperor (not the racist xenophobes on the West Coast who rallied FDR to incarcerated Japanese Americans because of fear not fact) and our kama'ainas of Japanese ancestry who volunteered for to fight in segregated units for a country that was simultaneously imprisoning our grandparents and family on the mainland for no just or lawful cause.  

        I still don't get the root of your issue, and frankly, now I don't care.  Harbor your unarticulated fears, your suspicions, your anger.  That's up to you.  It is 60+ years after Pearl Harbor.  We dealt with the actual attack on Pearl Harbor on our homes and loved ones, and we survived December 7, 1941 (and by we, I mean, my family, and the large and diverse Hawai'ian 'ohana, not fearful Californians or Texans), and it's true, the only elephant we care about is in the Kapiolani Zoo.

        Mahalo

        "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation -9.75 -6.87

        by Uncle Moji on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 04:30:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •   wow --I am really sorry (0+ / 0-)

          I certainly did not mean to offend you.  I was surprised that you said "who sent our sons and brothers and uncles" to fight in the war (and I took it as hyperbole, as it was not your son, but perhaps your uncle and even your brother).  That was what I was surprised by.  My uncles both fought in the south Pacific, and both came home with Purple Hearts.  I had three uncles on the other side who served in the war, and built ships and my father served in the navy.  We are lucky that they did come home.  Your text came across as "We fought." with the implication "We suffered and you didn't" -- it was unclear that you were specifically referring to Nisei and that was why I responded the way I did.  I was confused at what you said.  I apologize for taking it that way.

          Our Japanese teacher's father was in the 100, so I don't need to "look it up" to see what you are talking about.  I was not looking to confront you.  Again it seems unfortunate that I have caused you such anger which has resulted in a very nasty confrontational tone.

          I was indeed trying to piece together why I have been confused by the treatment of the war among the Japanese.  I do believe by discussing things it is working things through.  The only framework I have had for this is through comparison with German dealing with their own issues in the war.  The Japanese have not paid any compensation to the Korean Comfort Women, for example.  These sorts of things bother me, as does the attitude (which I am sure I get at least in part from my parents, who lived through the war) toward Hirohito -- he was the head of state of an enemy during wartime.  I am trying to work through this and I have generally found Daily Kos a pretty supportive place to do so.  I am really disappointed you feel this was a personal attack on you.  It really was not meant to be.

  •  ps Chinatown has great food, cheap prices, (0+ / 0-)

    and an incredible variety of stuff impossible to get anywhere else, both edible and not, for sale.  It's a great place to wander.

    It also has a seedy side, so don't wander alone at night, please.

    "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 07:38:46 PM PDT

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