the penis is not the issue

So, as mentioned previously, last week and this week in classes, the theme has been "going to the doctor." Last week we studied from the (stupid) textbook (and i hate it) and i told them about my experiences working in my father's pediatrics office.

Then, I decided to mix it up this week by playing HUMAN BINGO and then screening Grey's Anatomy. I was really excited because we got to host class in the AV room which has a giant screen and a cool projector and booming speakers. Last night i was up late screening all the episodes and making my selection. As i mentioned, i was extremely concerned about how the JTE's and students would react to to the omnipresent SEVERED PENIS that they kept returning to in the episode.

Well, to my surprise, everyone--the teachers, students, etc--were completely unfazed by the recurring penis throughout the episode. In a typical, rowdy, American class, the students'd be on the floor laughing and joking, but my kids made hardly a peep! Just a few honest chuckles at the smattering of dick jokes.

One part of the show, however did ellicit gasps, and it was a scene that i never would've expected. It's here, in the opening. Watch:



Can you guess what was shocking?

It's the feet! The freaking feet! At 0:20 where you can see two anonymous people cuddling in a hospital bed and you see their bare feet touching, it was like everyone was shocked! There where oohs and ahhs like when someone gets in trouble and lots of whispering. When i asked the Japanese teacher what she thought after class, she asked me to skip it in the next class because "...the students are under 18." Later i had class with the cool, young JTE who explained that

"...Japanese people rarely touch, so..."
"ahh... i see."
"Yeah, probably asian people don't touch very often, so it's unusual for the students to see."

I was surprised that she explained it as an "asian people" phenomenon. A lot of people in Japan like to write off cultural differences that way.

Anyway, I have been here now for 4 months, so i should be used to expecting the unexpected, but I am still still surprised by Japanese culture every day, and i love it.

2 comments:

Brandon The Unqualified Critic said...

I thought I had a good sense of what Asian people were all about because I watched a good amount of Dragon Ball Z in high school. Apparently, I haven't the slightest clue. Ashley and I noticed a bizarre social phenomenon while living in Boston. It seems that Chinese immigrants or pretty much anybody chilling around Chinatown is fucking obsessed with plastic grocery bags. They'll carry like thirty grocery bags filled with random shit they found -- usually more plastic bags. Yesterday I saw Chinese girls drinking bubbleteas in plastic cups with straws encased in another totally unnecessary plastic bag!

What is going on here!?

Mike said...

yeah everything is plastic wrapped here. Even individual bananas in convenience stores.

in some ways japan seems super environmentally conscious, like in my office we arent allowed to use heat until december and aircon in the summer is restricted too to save electricity. And cars are generally greener and smaller here too.

But they dont insulate their homes which loses sooo much heat and costs much more in electricity and gas, and then of course everything is covered in all kinds of packaging.