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Archive for the ‘Narratives’ Category

Rika’s 1st Draft

First Draft, Participant #1: English Language Learning History

Why and How I studied English and How it Affected my Sexuality

“The most comfortable thing in speaking in English was that I call myself “I”. In Japanese, there are so many words refer to yourself and it differs by their sex and age. For instance, women usually call themselves “ Watashi ” or “ Atashi “ or sometimes “ Uchi “ (Osaka dialect) and men call themselves “ Boku “ or “ Ore “ or “ Washi “( older men ). When I was in Japan, I hated and refused to call myself “ Watashi “because I did not recognize myself as a girl. But I did not want to call myself “ Boku “, either because it was too weird. In Canada, the problem was easily solved. I just call myself “ I “. Everybody call themselves “ I “ regardless of their sex or age.”

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Is Okama Okay?

it is through language that a person negotiates a sense of self within and across different sites at different points in time[1]&

I met Minori where else but at karaoke. Having always loved to sing, especiallykaraoke around others who enjoy the hobby just as much as I do, Japan was a great place for me to put to good use all those years of classical voice training. Another friend of mine, Hiroe, told me that she had invited some friends of hers to join our karaoke party, friends who she said “really want to meet you.” I was flattered, but I just assumed that these friends were eager to meet Hiroe’s crazy English teacher and quickly forgot all about the additional guests that night. That is, until Minori walked in. My first impression told me that Minori was a lesbian. With short, spiky hair, no make-up, jeans and a men’s shirt, my experience in the gay and lesbian community helped me identify possible allies. Of course, there is no guarantee that my judgments are always correct. (more…)

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Correspondence with a professor in Japan:

I am not sure how I can help you. I am straight, and I do not have any Japanese friends whom have confided that they are homosexual, so I do not have any insights into language and how one’s sexual identity is affected or expressed or restricted through language, but I intuitively feel that you are onto something.

I grew up in and around San Francisco where I worked with and developed friendships with people of all sorts of backgrounds, and as a young child I learned that my favorite cousin is gay. As a result, I believe that all love is good love, with the exception of abusive love. I want everyone to be happy and to be able to freely express their love. When I express this in my classes, I notice that some students seem to become more interested in the class or to listen to me more carefully.

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Tomonicity

Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events which occur in a meaningful manner, but which are causally un-related. In order to be ‘synchronistic’, the events must be related to one another temporally, and the chance that they would occur together by random chance must be very small.” – Wikipedia

“Meaning is where you put it.” – Marlen

So last night I went to dinner with Denise. Before meeting her I sat on the corner of Karasuma Shijo and pondered a) why can’t I stop sweating? and b) will we be able to find something to talk about after all this time?

Silly me, a) I sweat therefore I am, and b) it’s Denise!

Needless to say, we had a wonderful dinner and Denise’s energy and creativity always inspire me. Moreover, it makes me happy, no, actually, it moves me when I find friends in calm, healthy places. But here’s the amazing part of the story, for truly, isn’t life a maze? And we never know who will be walking the same labyrinth…

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Boku no Tenjin

Two weeks ago I went to Gunma prefecture to present my manuscript about critical composition pedagogy and the power of “no”, the first time to present this manuscript to an audience. I like the term “audience” because to my surprise, about half of the presentation turned out to be a performance (but really, aren’t they all?).

What I didn’t expect while discussing the power of “no” was that there would be an angel present who would say “yes”.

Having never met Michele before, there was a great space of unfamiliarity to cross. During the lunch that preceded the presentation, we got to know each other better and by the end of the day a warmth emanated from her gaze. During lunch I had mentioned Barbara Summerhawk’s collection of stories, Queer Japan, and to my surprise, Michele explained that she actually knew Barbara and would introduce my work to her.

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June Reflections

I started writing a post yesterday entitled “Headspin 2.0” because since arriving at the Tokyo airport, I feel like I’ve been all second glances and confusion…but it’s a happy yayakoshi yo!

I guess I have to start with Kamakura…You see, about 10 or so years ago I took an art therapy class at George Washington University in which one of my projects was to create an image of my adolescent ego ideal. Slightly unsure of what exactly I wanted to create, I found myself flipping through a Conde Nast Traveler one evening and settling on the image of a large, weathered buddha.

Why buddha? Easy enough question to answer, but for that, I have to go back even farther.

I’m not entirely sure what originally brought me to Buddhism (using a capital “B” here seems slightly incorrect), but I remember being about 13 or 14 and reading Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, a book which made great sense to me. I know that I then re-read it a couple of times and even bought a copy for my friend Alyson – I wanted everyone close to me to experience the same sense of enjoyment from Hesse’s story…if I remember correctly, my enthusiasm even brought the book to my mother’s eyes, though I am certain she had already read it once herself. Anyhow, around the same time, I also picked up a collection of writing by Lao Tzu, a little book entitled “Tao Te Ching”. Something was compelling me to look East.

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A few weeks a go a Japanese female friend of mine (T) emailed me asking if she could bring a Japanese male acquaintance (K) by my office to meet me. I happily agreed and so I met with T and her friend. At first I was a bit puzzled about why he wanted to meet me – he was an exchange student from Osaka who was preparing to leave the US and return to Japan. When I asked him what I could do for him, he simply smiled and said that he heard about me from some of my doctoral program colleagues and was curious about who this guy was who had lived in Osaka and could speak a little Japanese. At that, I was still unsure what exactly our visit would accomplish, but I began to get a feeling that T knew exactly what she was doing and that perhaps she had brought this guy to my office for a very different reason.

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