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Archive for January, 2009

sexuality-shadow-grass

I can remember around the age of 4 or 5 looking at a book titled “Where Do Babies Come From?” My mother, a former elementary school teacher, believed in complete honesty about the human body and reproduction, and the book was meant to help me understand the answer to the question posed in the title. What she hadn’t counted on was that I was much less fascinated by the reproductive process, let alone the illustrations of female anatomy, as I was with the illustrations of the male anatomy. There were two illustrations in particular, an adolescent male and an adult male, naked I should add, that were so stunning to me that I can actually remember staring at the illustrations late one evening when I should have been fast asleep. I flipped back to the illustrations of the women in the book for comparison, but my heart didn’t race; no spark existed when considering women. After closing the book that evening to wonder about the human body, I re-opened it to the page featuring the adult male and slid the open book under my pillow. Why would I do that? In retrospect perhaps this was a way to influence my dreams that night, “Oh man in the moon, come to South Florida and visit me…and be naked.”

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jguy-logo

“Have you ever thought of the relationship between studying Japan and American queer identity (the same way you think about English learning and J queer identity)?”

That’s an AMAZING question, 働く犬. I think it may be one and the same phenomenon in that we see ourselves in each others’ struggles and successes. There may be similar factors as to why queer American (or English-speaking) individuals study Asia and why some queer Asians are motivated to study English. Sugoi omoshiroii deshou??

Additionally, learning about my second language identity has made me curious about others’. It was very cool to write about my experiences learning Japanese and living in Japan, and I find that writing about it allows me a different mode of expression than speaking; writing can often be therapeutic and help me make connections, etc. I wanted to see what that experience might be like for my Japanese queer friends, many of whom are still trying to figure out their own sexualities.

Even more significantly, and like myself, I think many people in America are currently questioning how we think about human sexuality and to help us think us through this issue, we are interested in other cultures. It’s a fascinating comment “I’m gay in English, but not in Japanese” because it can have so many possible meanings.

Finally, as I wrote in my proposal (which you can view at http://DiscoveringVoices.wordpress.com), there is something quite unique about Japan and its history and expressions of sexuality. For example, American is a young country and until fairly recently has never really had a “normalized” culture of male-male intimacy the way Japan had at one time. So many reasons, 働く犬.

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base-fuji

a

Here’s the skeleton…a lot of development to go. Ch 2 and 3 have both been started. I consider this my shitty first draft (although it’s more like my shitty 27th draft). The climb up the mountain has begun!

(at left, the base of Fuji-san)

Dissertation, Preface and Chapter 1

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