Monday, May 30, 2005

A quiet weekend

Nothing much to report this weekend, so this will be a brief post. As some of you noticed in class, I was feeling 'a bit under the weather' (a euphemism for 'sick'), and so I was able to acomplish very little this weekend. I went home after class, took a couple hour nap, helped with dinner, played with Naomi a bit, and then.... I think we watched a movie. Oh yeah! The first half of Star Wars3. Pretty sad: We are so old and tired we can't make it through an entire movie anymore... Saturday, I graded papers and blogs and such. It was a work day. We went out for dinner that night at a mexican restaurant in Makino called "El Moustache" It was pretty good, all things considered. I felt pretty bad that night so I had to take some sinus medicine. Naomi is also sick and she had a rough night sleeps, with lots of coughing so Temre didn't get a lot of sleep. Poor Temre. Sunday is today. I think I worked all day, grading more papers and stuff. I still feel terrible with a headache and stuffed up head and sore throat. No fair: I worked all weekend, took it easy and I am still sick! Hope you all had better times than I did.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Wednesday May 25th

In class today, meet with your story groups and continue sharing information about the stories. You will want to discuss as a group the possible meanings of the different stories. This does NOT mean that the story teller tells you the meaning of the story. This means as a group, after you have heard the story, you brainstorm and discuss possible interpretations of the overall text, and the message for the listener. Original story-teller, your job is to lead the discussion, to ask qeustion to help your group find the meaning, not for you to simple tell them the meaning. Help them create and find meaning as a group. Take notes. You will have about a half-hour to discuss this.

The remaining class time is for you to work on writing assignments. You have a paper due today, You had one returned to you last Friday. And if you hadn't guessed already, I am going to ask you to write yet another paper about this latest round of stories as well.

Japanese Fairy Tales Analysis, Final Assignment: Please choose one of the stories to write about. I want you to write a paper, at least two full pages of analysis of this latest story you chose that interprets the story and places it in context (explaining the meaning of the story and discusses why this meaning was important, helpful, useful, in teaching traditional cultural values to Japanese societies. You might also mention if these values discussed in the story are still relevant (necessary) in today's modern Japan. This assignment might require some research. We will have time to work on this in class, discuss your ideas with others, and even (hopefully) get to research and/or write a little on it. I will ask that by Monday you bring two copies of your writing to class for editing and that the final version of your writing will be due the following Friday. This is the final writing for this unit, so I am giving you time to work on it. I expect this to be a very finished piece of writing, with well explained ideas and understandable connections to traditional societal values. I believe that you will need a full two pages, maybe more (hopefully not more than 4) to do this.

Your paper should have an intro that briefly summarizes the story for your reader, a clear thesis that shows the message to society. This thesis will be explained in the body of your paper. Finally, you should also include at least a paragraph of explanation of the teachings value to traditional societies and possibly even a mention of the relevance (necessity) of these teachings for today's society as well. We will need a paragraph that wraps all this up as well. That sounds like at least a five paragraph essay! As second year college students, I assume you know how to write a paper like this, but if you do not, you should ask questions to get clariffication. We will have time on Friday to ask qeustions about the assignment. If there are no questions, we will being our new unit then. Please bring your other text book, World Folktales to class then.

Monday, May 23, 2005


Originally uploaded by skawt_p.
When i was at University in Arizona, there were quite a few Japanese students there. Most of the time, they would always be in a big group on their own, speaking Japanese and generally failing to mix with the other students, but there were a few who were very outgoing and curious to meet other people. I became friends with quite a few of these students, and still keep in contact with a couple of them. One of them brought her family to visit this weekend.

We had a nice visit.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Homework for Monday

You want to make a list of the teachings/messages form each of the five stories, then pick one of the stories you heard (not the one you read) and Analyze it, and write a short 1-2 page analysis of it, interpreting the story, it’s message, etc. Just like we did on our first paper. Bring your draft with your five teachings and one focused analysis to class on Monday. Remember your analysis should focus on analyzing the message of the story and discuss how this message was relevant to it’s intended audience of traditional Japanese society members (or you might choose to describe how it is/is not relevant to today’s audience).

Read the comments on your paper. Try to use my suggestions and comments to make your next analytical writing better, more focused and directed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

5/18 class post.

Please write a short paragraph that tells us your groups decision and the details of how you made your decision. What were the factors involved in your choice? How did you come to an agreement? What was the deciding factor in choosing this one over another? Finally, I want you to guess what will happen. Predict what you think you will find and why.

This writing should take you 10 minutes at the most and is due by the end of the day.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

may 15th: am i a torakichi?

Yesterday, some friends and I went down to Koshien Stadium to see the Tigers play. I should explain that I am not the biggest baseball fan, but I do enjoy a game, especially if the weather is nice and the stadium is appropriate (baseball should never be played in a dome). It was a beautiful day and the closer we got to the stadium, the more right the situation felt: lots of fans in their Tigers gear, lots of street vendors hawking their wares, it was a pretty site and reminded me of my visits to the handful of parks I have visited in the States. I was excited. My friends told me a bit about the history of Koshien. Built in the early 20's (completed in Taisho 13, aka 1924, I think) it is the oldest park in Japan. In 1934, Babe Ruth played in Koshien. Wow, now that is some interesting bona fides, that is. Unfortunately, the game was sold out, but I still had a great day getting lost in Osaka.

The stadium itself is... quaint in comparisson to the monster-sized venues now in fashion in the States and I was surprised to learn it could hold 55ooo people. My friend tells me the seats are very small. From the outside, Koshien is short, only about four stories tall with sliding windows lining the outside walls. These windows must open straight onto the seats, because there were plenty of fans hanging out of them as we walked around the stadium. I hear it is one of the few actual grass fields in all of Japanese baseball. If i wasn't a fan of the Tigers before, the fact that they play on grass would have been enough to convince me. Playing in covered domes, playing on astroturf... yuck! Baseball belongs outside. Because of it's age, Koshien shows a real lack of security. I think there were two or three places where a determined fellow coluld scale the wall, and hop a fence in under a minute. Not that I condone this sort of behavior, but it seems very possible. Also, the supply/storage rooms and entrance was open and only had a couple young people sitting around inside, chatting to themselves. Again, I think a determined fan could easily sneak in if they so desired. Good thing in Japan people would never do such things. :) As we walked aorund, we had been hoping to see people selling tickets (called scalping) but no such luck. We saw some shady people who seemed to be good candidates for illegal activities, but they brushed us off when we approached them. Maybe in Japan there are no scalpers, but I can't really beleive that is the case. It seems more likely that there is some sort of plan or ritual you have to follow to find the sellers and obtain tickets and chances are we just arent going to know how to do that. Anyway, walking around the stadium was fun. It seems that not many foreigners find their ways to Koshien though, since a few people expressed their surprise in seeing 'gaijin' near the stadium. ha, hearing people say 'oh look, foreigners! in Japan seemed very normal in the country, out in small towns in say, Aomori, Akita, or Toyama, but in a big city like Osaka, it seemed a bit strange to hear that.

After walking around the stadium. I don't really know what to think of Osaka. I have very infrequently walked around on the surface of it. It seems that everyone rushes to and from the subways to dash across town and pop up in a new area, which all looks way to alike. Because we are always bouncing from one subway to another, I can never get my bearings and thus the city feels mysterious and unnavigatable for me. I wish i had more time to explore it. When I am on the surface (Osaka really feels like a subteranean city or at least that much of the time we are underground, undercovered walkways, or indoors) I like the feel of the city, but I don't have th eopportunity to go often enough so I might never know.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

HW for Friday's class

For class Friday, you want to bring at least something similar to what i have below. You should be able to discuss your idea, to explain what you are looking at, where you found it in the story and how it is connected to Japanese culture (traditional or modern).
you will need a copy of your focused topic along with a list of links with commespecifci comments to class. This copy can be as simple as what I have below, or as elaborate as what I showed you in class on Tuesday. Be prepared to discuss your focus in class
Also, be prepared to discuss the concept of giri and its importance in Japanese society in class friday ( you don't have to research this concept, but you should be able to explain it a little bit and be able to add to the conversation in class. if you can't you might look at the links below!)

example of the paper you bring to class:

I focused on the concept of duty and responsiblity in the story. Urashima seems to be very honest and duty bound and I wonder why. His choices are all 'good' but i am not sure i would make the same choices in his situation and I wonder why he chose to do what he did.

Giri interesting info on samurai class and their role in the tokugawa period importance of social obligation to parents… somewhere in this reading explanation of giri giri a japanese indigenous concept – interesting. giri and its importance in society.

Filial Piety The Hidden Relevance of Japanese Historical Influences

HW for friday "Urashima Taro and the Turtle " Dictionary-like version of the story and protagonist, with a link to a longer version of the story. Short storybook like version of UT with pictures. short version of the story with pictures. kind of cute and fun. "Japanese Fairy Tales" Short version of the story -- not very helpful. Urashima Taro as a play -- photos here.

Wednesday May 11th


HW: Note down what you already know about the story.
Read p. 26-42 in Japanese Fairy Book

In class: Students will make two blog posts (one to our class blog, one to their own blog, They will share ideas with other students, they will do a short research project to collect information. Here are the steps in today’s class. You can work at your own speed, or follow along with class.

1. Free write on our class blog (15-20minutes)
“Summarize the story. Make note of any differences between your own version and the version you just read.” This writing should be a few sentences in length, 4-8 should be enough.

2. Discussion of story, differences, possible overall message and specific interpretations of meaning. (15minutes)
3. Ss should brainstorm (and take notes) on possible overall meaning AND on possible specific areas of focus (similar to what we did over the last two days with “The Tongue-cut Sparrow”) where you find something about the story that is interesting or intriguing that can be connected with culture/society of Japan. You are looking for an aspect of the story that might have deeper implication / meaning and relevance on Japanese society, or in other words: look for other messages and lessons about how to succeed, explanations of good and bad behavior or general commentary on society. You might find these sorts of ideas by looking deeply at one aspect of the story; a character, a specific action, or a common element found in many stories that you also see here. By focusing on this, you should then be able to focus on the commentary on society, as well as the story. (15minutes)
4. Pick one of these foci (one area of focus) and we will then do some simple online research, looking for information about it. (20minutes)
5. On your blog, make a new entry about Urashima-taro. In the post, you want to explain (briefly) what you will focus – what aspect of the story and how you will tie it to society in general. Add research you have found. Copy the URL links you find online into your blog post, along with a title for the link and any other comments you have about the specific URL (address). Comments will help you remember what the links are about later. (20minutes)

Good Luck! Ask for help, if you feel you need it, that's what I am there for!