Asian Guru

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 

An asian guru, I have become
Category: Blogging

Perhaps it is because I am Japanese, or that I lived in Japan for a year, as an exchange student (or a student of the Japanese culture), or it simply that I know random things, but in any event, I have become the local expert on Japanese culture. In the last week or so, I have been asked several questions about Japanese cutlure. As such, I will envoke my Japanese culture guru status, and set about dispelling some myths and provide some explanation concerning Japanese culture. 1) Sushi is raw fish. This perhaps is one of the most promenent myths concerning Japanese culture. I would guess that it came about as silly Americans found out that there are certain sushis that do have raw fish. Then, they got over excited about it, and began this horrendous and untrue rumor. Sashimi is the Japanese word for raw fish, and it is a seperate dish entirly. Sometimes, you will see sashimi in a sushi roll, or on top of a rice ball. However, more often than not, sushi has vegitables, shrimp, eel, cooked fish, and rice. The main part of what makes sushi, is the rice, not the fish, seeweed, or anything else that might be in it. 2) In Japanese culture, everyone has the word “san” added to the end of their name. This came from the popular 80’s movie series The Karate Kid. Mr. Miyagi called Daniel, “Danielsan”. Actually, he should have been calling him Danielkun. The actual meaning of the title san is Mr. or Mrs. However, those of the female persuation can always be called san. Kun is the title that is given to boys. Men of a higher status or same status (such as peers) call refer to other men as kun, so I would be bradkun (with the Japanese acent I would actually be buradokun, but who cares?) 3) Those of eastern (by eastern I mean asian, even though they are west of us???) decent are orientals, because it was called the orient at one time. Though this myth is not Japanese culture specific, I thought I might hop on my soap box for a moment and dispell this one. Just as we do not refer to this region any longer as the orient, so we do not refer to its people as being oriental. We are asians. Objects can still be oriental, but the people are not. We take offense to being called oriental, just as much as, well, you can choose your anaylogy. 4) I would love to dispell rumors about Japanese culture that have been started by the movie Memoirs of the Gaisha, but I have yet to see it, and thus, cannot do so. Perhaps after I see it, I could do something, but until then, I will let those ideas circulate around and leave it up to someone else to dispell them. Meanwhile if you have any geisha related questions, feel free to ask… Well, this has been fun, but all good things must come to an end, so that homework can begin… Until next time, ~Shim
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