Tons of Questions ... No Answers ...

Talk about the culture and entertainment from Nihon.
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revenantsoul
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Tons of Questions ... No Answers ...

Post by revenantsoul » May 25th, '09, 23:22

Hey Everyone

I'm having a dilemma and I can actually say that I have had this same dilemma for several years now. Please bear with my explanation :D

Back in the early 90s I was heavily involved in the anime fan community and as anime grew in the U.S. I eventually became involved on the commercial end as well.

Throughout my fandom, though, I always had a TON of Japanese cultural questions that were often a result of intriguing things I had seen in anime. While a lot of the fansub groups did provide reference notes, there were some things that I really needed a native Japanese answer to.

The problem is that in all the time I have been a fan of, or working in, various Pop Asian arenas, I have never met a native Japanese or Korean person who actually watches anime or drama. Now that I have been consuming more and more drama over the past few years, I am running into the same problem. :crazy:

I do have a few Japanese and Korean friends but the majority live in the United States and are often unable to answer questions that deal with traditional or current aspects of the culture. (And frankly they find my interest in anime and drama to be fairly lame) The few friends I know who do live in Japan are people who are very career focused and, aside from not having time to be interested in such things as anime or drama, I feel reluctant to bother them with questions because I don't want to intrude on their busy lives. :unsure:

It has always been difficult for me to be able to fully enjoy Asian drama when I have no way of answering social, political, of cultural questions that are being referenced or brought up in the shows I am watching. I feel quite strongly about having as much of an education and understanding as I can and often I have questions about things that most people wouldn't even notice or find important enough to make reference notes on. But to me any question I have is important to answer because it expands my understanding. While surfing the web, reading books, and finding as much information as I can is helpful, some questions can really only be answered by someone with first hand knowledge of the subject.

Is there anyone out there in the wide world of d-addicts than can help me find answers to some of these questions and help me understand several concepts that have eluded me for easily the past 8 years? I would be forever in debt to anyone who could seriously assist me with this. :thumright:

Thanks for reading!

- Eli
http://www.adramaotaku.com
Giving you a lot to think about...

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Puppet Princess
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Post by Puppet Princess » May 25th, '09, 23:56

I don't see questions to answer....

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kuro570
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Post by kuro570 » May 26th, '09, 00:04

Omg your from CT too!
(sorry for not saying anything useful, but it is amazing to know ppl from my state that use this ><;}
VSS: Warui Yatsura

den4
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Post by den4 » May 26th, '09, 00:13

kind of hard to answer questions that aren't stated :)

Have you been to any of these Asian nations that you are fond of for their anime/dramas? If not, then perhaps that may be one of the possibilities to find some of the answers to your questions...

So what are some of the questions that you say you have? Those would help for starters :D

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reverend
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Post by reverend » May 26th, '09, 10:05

Hi revenantsoul

If you post your questions in detail I am sure we can get some answers from our collective Japanese family and friends, or more likely, opinions that will probably form the basis of debate!

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revenantsoul
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Thanks in advance.

Post by revenantsoul » May 26th, '09, 12:28

Thanks everyone for your replies ...

I have easily 8+ years of questions and posting them all here would be kind of impossible. I more or less wanted to know if anyone would be willing to help me with them or if anyone could. I don't want to bombard the forum with endless amounts of questions that have built up over the years including ones that I'm afraid, in my ignorance, might offend someone. Forums can be volatile places and I really am not looking to argue with people or offend anyone. I have read enough threads on enough forums over the years to know that sometimes people are just looking for someone to jump on about something. I cannot learn if I don't ask but at the same time I don't know who or how to ask certain questions. I am looking for someone who is understanding and really interested in teaching knowledge of this subject and is willing to both accept my ignorance and be patient about my many questions ... some of which may border on bizarre or accidentally offensive.

My questions range from clothing, medicine, and gender roles to policies, regional dialects, and host clubs. From profession specific terms to sociology and food, to cars, entertainment and religion. A good portion of these would require an answer from someone in Japan who has lived there long enough to make such observations with accuracy. I'm not looking for opinions or guesswork based on the very same fandom my questions come from. I'd really like actual answers but for years now, I have had no luck finding them.

As far as going to Japan or Korean those chances are fairly slim since I do not fly. But the idea of getting on a plane, going to a country where I have a minimal concept of the language and spending enough time there to have in depth, complicated, social, political, and even psychological questions answered about said culture would be ... a tad unrealistic. Understanding Japanese and Korean culture, from what little I do know, is quite complicated and I would never presume to think that going there on a vacation would begin to come close to scratching the surface. I have a lot of questions but dropping my life and moving my family to Japan or Korea to live for a decade to begin to find the answers is really not a viable or realistic option for me.

I appreciate the responses and I am very thankful for everyone's time and understanding.

- Eli
http://www.adramaotaku.com
Giving you a lot to think about...

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revenantsoul
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Post by revenantsoul » May 26th, '09, 13:10

reverend wrote:Hi revenantsoul

If you post your questions in detail I am sure we can get some answers from our collective Japanese family and friends, or more likely, opinions that will probably form the basis of debate!
Debates on forums aren't really things that I want to see. They easily get out of hand and become places for people to just rant and I don't really want to see that. Once too many people get involved in Q&A it becomes difficult to discern what is fact and what is opinion, especially in any public forum. I am really just looking for the occasional virtual sit down opportunity with a person or persons to whom I can say ... hey ... I'm kind of interested in understanding this more, or I have never understood why this happens in Japan, or help me with understanding filial piety (not just in concept but in practice) ... things of that nature. I don't want to spark debates or anything like that. People are often looking for reasons to argue etc and I don't really want that. I just want to learn something and gain knowledge where I was missing it before. I want to understand things so I can better appreciate what I am watching or experiencing.


- Eli
http://www.adramaotaku.com
Giving you a lot to think about...

ethidda
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Post by ethidda » May 26th, '09, 13:33

revenantsoul wrote: Debates on forums aren't really things that I want to see. They easily get out of hand and become places for people to just rant and I don't really want to see that. Once too many people get involved in Q&A it becomes difficult to discern what is fact and what is opinion, especially in any public forum. I am really just looking for the occasional virtual sit down opportunity with a person or persons to whom I can say ... hey ... I'm kind of interested in understanding this more, or I have never understood why this happens in Japan, or help me with understanding filial piety (not just in concept but in practice) ... things of that nature. I don't want to spark debates or anything like that. People are often looking for reasons to argue etc and I don't really want that. I just want to learn something and gain knowledge where I was missing it before. I want to understand things so I can better appreciate what I am watching or experiencing.


- Eli
I recently watched a documentary on host clubs called The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief (2006). It was... enlightening.

I do that with my best friend, since I'm Chinese (grew up there for about half of my childhood) but know enough American culture to explain the differences and she's interested in Chinese culture. However, for me, culture is a very personal thing. It's about my personal beliefs and the corner stone of why I do the things I do and why I live life the way i do. I would not feel comfortable talking to strangers about that, especially one who doesn't know my culture, since 1.) I might be judged and 2.) I feel like if I say something bad, I'm demaning my whole culture to "the westerners".

My point was that any potential talker person who actually cares about their culture might also feel this way and not contact you.

This is also a big time commitment. As you said, you have 8+ years of questions. And answers often lead to more questions. For example, filial piety might lead to philosophy, history, and social welfare, which might lead to mythology, religion, government structure, city development, taxation, etc... And even if this person(s) is willing to put forth the time, he might not know everything.

Basically, I'm trying to encourage to post up your questions. Yes, you will get trolls, but you can just as easily ignore them. Or start a new thread with a new question. As for what is fact and what is opinion, there isn't one correct answer for cultural questions anyway. (For example, if people asked what is the main/real Chinese religion? It could be ancestor worship, since that's the one from the earliest time period. Or Buddhism or Taoism, both of which have been widely practiced. Or maybe atheism since that was the official policy during the Cultural Revolution. Or maybe it's even Christianity since I'd be talking to a westerner and many Chinese immigrants become Christians. Or I can even refer to Chinese mythology and talk about the woman who had to repair the hole in the sky.)

This is a discussion board, after all, and I think it's great if people would post discussion topics when they have them.

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revenantsoul
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Post by revenantsoul » May 26th, '09, 14:45

And therein lies my problem ...

As a psychologist one of the main focuses of mine is cultural competence and in trying to educate myself more fully on culture I am open to all kind of information and sensitive to how personal culture is to people. The problem is, as you've nailed on the head, many people are reluctant to discuss, share, or want to involve foreigners in such personal topics. The result is that foreigners who are already ignorant stay that way and perpetuate more ignorance .. and ones that are open to learning are afraid to ask or not considered approachable. I have had this problem for 8+ years and it seems impossible to overcome until someone wants to put some trust and faith in others and also recognize the importance of sharing something that is both personal and vital for the sake of cultural awareness.

I absolutely understand these concepts, these fears, and the reluctance. As an African American I have experienced my fair share of strange, insulting, and interesting questions all my life ... but I have never once been offended by a genuine and honest interest that someone has in understanding something that they didn't previously. I cannot speak for all African Americans and certainly don't presume to do so, all I can do is offer my insight on things that are more personal and offer my first hand knowledge of what I know of African American history, which is some cases is more extensive simply because of my upbringing. I am always willing to share what I know or do my best to find out what I don't know. Yes, it's personal to me, but I have no problem sharing what I know with people who want answers nor would I ever presume that doing so is in any way devaluing my personal experience. I learn more by sharing than I do keeping it to myself.

What I am looking for is an education in culture ... and that absolutely has to come from someone who has a strong sense of, or is immersed daily in, that culture. Because, as you so aptly said, it is personal and it is something that is derived from both first hand knowledge and interpretation of that experience. I'm not looking for the CORRECT answer to anything, unless its something that actually has an A, B, or C style answer, what I'm looking for is an EDUCATION. This is about knowledge seeking. And while there may be fact seeking involved, when it comes to the intricacies of culture and what it means to every person who experiences it, I am more interested in what people have to offer on an insightful level. However, an African American persons insight on Japanese culture is not going to be as helpful as a Japanese persons first hand knowledge and personal opinion of their own experiences. An African American person who lives in Japan for example is going to have VASTLY different opinions on the culture - I know a few - and in some cases I need accuracy, not opinions. I have no problem with bias, but I'd rather have bias from the actual "direct recipient of that culture" than an outsider who only observes the culture.

Because of the personal nature of culture, I would be remiss if I didn't consider how such a topic could become a relative slaughterhouse of useless and dangerous discussion on a public forum. I have participated in and moderated plenty in my years online and I know when a train wreck is on it's way long before the screeching metal and warning whistles. A forum is a great "concept" but it often fails in it's proper execution and purpose because it's almost too open and too free form. Too many things become misunderstood, misdirected, and sometimes purposely skewed when too many people get involved. If possible I'd like help from a few understanding and open people privately rather than thousands of people publicly on something so potentially volatile.

- Eli
http://www.adramaotaku.com
Giving you a lot to think about...

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Puppet Princess
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Post by Puppet Princess » May 26th, '09, 22:57

First off... there are very few NATIVES lurking about. Most people who speak the languages here are immigrant families.

Also, you are basically asking someone to be your personal encyclopedia without much to offer back and also get ONE point of view. While a race may all share a culture I'm sure they see it a little differently in places.

A lot of people on DA DO have family and friends and have been to or studied such areas a lot more than you have. I honestly don't think you will get one person who would just love to sit down and answer every one of your questions. They would be insane to think "wooo 8 years of questions! Bring it... I have nothing better to do for months." However I do think there are enough people with enough knowledge here to explain things that you don't get.

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revenantsoul
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Post by revenantsoul » May 27th, '09, 00:01

Puppet Princess wrote: Also, you are basically asking someone to be your personal encyclopedia without much to offer back and also get ONE point of view. While a race may all share a culture I'm sure they see it a little differently in places.
Clearly ... already ... I am being misunderstood. I have not said what you suggested at all ... and for you to suggest I won't be offering anything back also assumes things I haven't even mentioned. This is why I don't think forums are best for certain discussions. It doesn't take much for things to get turned around and assumptions to be made in communication of this nature.

I appreciate everyones time for reading these long posts. I know everyone is pretty busy as is, fans and subbers alike, and there are more worthy discussions going on in other threads so I'm very thankful for the time spent on mine.

I will keep searching for answers and continue to enjoy the wonderful dramas available here at d-addicts by all parties involved.

- Eli

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Puppet Princess
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Post by Puppet Princess » May 27th, '09, 00:57

I'm not assuming anything. I'm just assessing what you have stated. You haven't stated any benefit to taking you up on your offer. And you are refusing to say even one of your questions. Not ALL of them could be misinterpreted, could they?

Plus I'm sure you are not the only person with such questions. It would be beneficial to other people to see such questions and answers.

I know what you WANT is a friend who will just answer you questions when you have them. I know that the reason know as much as I do about Chinese culture is because I have friends who are Chinese and don't mind humoring my cluelessness. However, these were friendships formed through a more natural way. If I had approached them with the ulterior motive of needing hints into a complex culture they would have realized I was being their friend not (just) because I liked them but because I liked the fact that they were Chinese. We talk about things completely unrelated to China. We read the same books and watch the same non-Chinese shows. Our relationships are not founded in the fact that they are Chinese. So, when I do have questions they don't care so much. If I only ever talked to them when I had questions I don't think hey would like me very much. lol

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Kathstandsalone
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Post by Kathstandsalone » Jun 3rd, '09, 09:20

lol, i was really looking forward to your questions when i started reading your introduction.
but no questions were posted, and after all these long ass posts, i was wondering, "for what reason did you start this thread?"
Keep it clear and simple! :D

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