Talk about JET program

Mr. Hiroshi Sasaki, the Executive Director of the Japan Local Government
Center in New York City, is coming to give a talk next Thurs, April 15 on
the internationalization efforts of local governments in Japan and also on
the JET program, which might be an opportunity to teach English in Japan for
Lafayette students.

Here are the details of his talk:

Title: How Does Japanese Local Government Respond to Globalization?
Date: Thursday, April 15, 12:25-1:00pm
Location: Kirby 104
Lunch provided

Japan's Princess Aiko 'bullied at school'
Princess Aiko has been absent from school since leaving early on Tuesday
Japan's Princess Aiko has been off school since early this week after complaining of being bullied, a royal household official has said.
The princess, eight, had come home from school in a state of anxiety and saying she had stomach pains, he said.
It was found she and other students in her class had been "treated harshly" by boys in another class, he added.
Princess Aiko, daughter of Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako, attends Gakushuin Primary School in Tokyo.
The royal spokesman, Issei Nomura, did not give details of when the princess, who is a granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, was expected to return to lessons.

The full article is here.

Extra Credit Opportunities

About the extra credit --

1) TONIGHT's opportunity --

7:30 p.m.
Jones Faculty Lecture
William Bissell
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology

"The Cinematic City: Global-Local Paradoxes in the Cultural Production of Zanzibar's International Film Festival"
104 Kirby Hall of Civil Rights

** Please note that I got the location wrong and it's in Kirby.

2) FRIDAY's opportunity --

Debra Schleef, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Mary Washington,
will speak on her new book, Latinos in Dixie, 
April 9, 2010 at noon in the Gendebein Room, Skillman Library. 

Here's more about the book, and please notice that the research is about Latinos in Richmond (VA) not Atlanta as I thought:

Samurai Champloo

Hulu added “Samurai Champloo” to their website, which is awesome. Samurai + hip hop. Well worth watching the first season, all of which seems to be here, when you might have time:

Too Cute Participants

This conference is going to rock! On Thursday, March 4, we can hear and talk with:

Laura Miller

10429 Bad+Girls+of+Japan+-+japlin

Christine Yano

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Amy Borovoy


Todd Boyd

young-black-rich-famous 513F2T7PAAL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_

Eric Hayot

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Eileen Chow


Yoshitomo Nara


More Kooky Japanese

Emanuel sends this in... He’s right to say that the bus isn’t Japanese at all -- it is covered in Chinese. (With thanks to Prof. Xu for translation!)

My Mom just forwarded this to me, subject line intact.  Those kooky Japanese...except in Japan the steering wheel is on the right side and I'm pretty sure those are Chinese kanji written on the side of the bus.  Just wanted to share.

-------- Original Message --------




Wed, 03 Feb 2010 12:45:23 -0500

thought you would get a kick out of this.


Textbook National Character

Kristyn sends this in:

Here's a picture in my social psych textbook. The caption says "Reflecting an interdependent view of the self, children in Japan are taught to fit into the community. Reflecting a more independent view of the self, children in the united states are encouraged to express their individuality." I'd say that's national character at work.

Pasted Graphic

Understanding Difference

This presenter uses Japan to make a broader point -- and, remarkably, doesn’t resort to static National Character images of Japanese people to do it! -- and a friend forwarded it thinking it might be helpful...

30 Rock makes an episode just for our class

As Megan mentioned in class, here is proof that the 30 Rock writers read the New York Times, at least. And maybe that they don’t have any problem with national character...

"Too Cute" conference

Too Cute: American Style and the New Asian Cool Conference

Image courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
Wednesday and Thursday, March 3 - 4, 2010 Prospect House, Princeton University Keynote Address by Eric Nakamura in McCormick 101, 4:30 p.m. on March 3rd Artist's Presentation by Yoshitomo Nara in McCormick 101, 4:30 p.m. on March 4th Conference Organizer: Anne Anlin Cheng, Associate Chair, Department of English

Too Cute Schedule

Artist's Presentation by Yoshitomo Nara in McCormick 101, 4:30 p.m. on March 4th Yoshitomo Nara ( 奈良 美智 ) is a contemporary Japanese Pop artist. He currently lives and works in Tokyo, though his artwork has been exhibited worldwide. Nara received his B.F.A. (1985) and an M.F.A. (1987) from the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music. Between 1988 and 1993, Nara studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, in Germany. Nara has had nearly 40 solo exhibitions since 1984. He is represented in New York City by Marianne Boesky Gallery, in Los Angeles by Blum & Poe, and in Tokyo by Tomio Koyama Gallery. Nara first came to the fore of the art world during Japan’s Pop art movement in the 1990s.

... And here’s an image from Nara Yoshitomo that might give you a sense of what he does.


More is here.

Comments on 2-D Love

Notice, please, how many people accept this story as factual, actual, possible, and believable:

My perception of Japan is a country which developed at an amazing rate, which had some strange consequences for the society, making it , (despite the generally traditional "Asian Famnily Values") very insular and lonely. It has come to the stage that people take take to substituting realy, healthy human companionships to devoting themselves to 2-D characters. Needless to say, the worst part is that some of these characters often prepubescent...! Another irony is the fact that these "lonley" men and women fall in "love with these characters whose physical features almost entirely unrepresentative of the Japanese population, or for that matter any other ethnicity on earth. Makes you think what just a few years of media influence can do to an entire population's body image...

Highly disturbing as it is (makes you think if most modern, globalized societies are heading this way), I hope it is a very small bunch of people who are part of this sub-sub-culture. I consider myself fairly liberal, but I think somethings are plain wrong, unhealthy for the body, mind and soul!
Recommended by 53 Readers


New York
July 24th, 2009
8:04 am
It's fascinating the author has nothing to say about the fact that the 2-D objects of affection here are cast as children 10 - 12 years old. That seems like a significant aspect worth exploring--why these men would cast their lovers this way, what it means, any conclusions to be drawn--but no, absolutely nothing here.

Recommended by 85 Readers


Tokyo, Japan
July 24th, 2009
10:10 am
Answer to Scott-it may be because in Japan, the feminist/economic revolution did a very simple thing-it put a meat cleaver (or maybe sword is more appropriate for Japan) straight through male-female relations. So instead of men and women evolving their roles (say men becoming more in touch with their softer side and women gaining autonomy WITHIN the family), the hyper-capitalist society of Japan completely split off the sexes-didn't reconcile them. So single women (young and not so young) make money, go shopping, travel, etc., quite happily without men (marriage is just a trap of servitude) and disenfranchised men become these otaku creatures who never learn about real sex and relationships. The child imagery in the porn is quite disturbing, but fits, because people were/are completely naive about adult relationships before marriage (capitalism also aborted the system of pre-arranged marriage where boy-men were married to girl-women in order to produce children and keep society orderly and productive). So instead of getting married and having to subsume themselves to adult responsibilities they didn't want, the single people are now so many ways.

More are here. By my count 3 of 45 challenge the generalizability of this one particular strange guy.

Japanese English


As I mentioned in class, there seems to be almost infinite American appetites for “bad” or “incorrect” English in Japan, as here, on:

The funny-ness of these examples are, it seems to me, premised on the idea that “The Japanese” don’t get the jokes. The jokes have to be on them to be funny. In this way, these kinds of jokes -- or Americans taking pleasure in these items -- is more about reinforcing a feeling of American superiority. Could we imagine how (some, many?) Japanese people might be in on the joke? Is there any way to imagine that we (the American, English-speaking audience) might not be the only ones with knowledge that makes this funny?

Explaining the See-through Skirt hoax

Printed panty skirts revealed as a hoax
Images flooding e-mails are creation of computer program But Japanese porn could become new Western fashion trend
NICK MCCABE-LOKOS STAFF REPORTER – THE TORONTO STAR You’d think people just wouldn’t buy into a prank as transparent as see-through skirts.
But buy they did, or at least they tried.
Images of skirts purportedly printed to look a whole lot more breezy than they are have been widely e-mailed, written about online and the subject of at least one newspaper story in recent weeks.
They have become the latest trend that never was.
“They (the pictures) are quite common in Japan. There are a lot of cheap porno magazines that use them,” Kjeld Duits, 43, says in an interview from Ashia, near Osaka, Japan, where he works as a journalist and runs a street fashion/trend Web site called
“The only time you see these scenes are in photographs in porno magazines. There’s nothing like this in the street,” Duits says.
The magazines use a computer graphics program to combine the image of a skirted woman with another wearing just underwear. The end result looks as if the skirt is see-through.
According to Duits, the magazines will usually claim to have taken the pictures using a special camera lens that allows them to shoot through clothes.
The pictures popped up in e-mails in Canada in their non-porno context accompanied by the following message: “What you see below are not see-through skirts. They are actually prints on the skirts to make it look as if the panties are visible and are the current rage in Japan.”
That explanation was evidently enough for the Sunday Mail newspaper in Queensland, Australia, to run a story headlined, “A Cheeky Skirt” that claimed the garments were all the rage in Tokyo.
Adding confusion among fashion followers are several eye-popping precedents, notably by Britain’s Vivienne Westwood and France’s Jean Paul Gaultier.
Westwood is famous for printing nipples and pubic hair on fleshtone catsuits while Gaultier’s repertoire includes trompe l’oeil T-shirts with rippling abs for men., a Web site dedicated to picking apart doctored images and other urban legends, had this to say about the Japanese hoax:
“We have yet to find a Japanese source … containing information about – or even mention of – these supposed `see-through’ skirts,” the Web site says.
“In all the example photographs provided … the images of the panties line up perfectly with the actual positioning of the skirt-wearers’ derrieres and legs, indicating at the very least that these pictures were very carefully posed,” according to
Duits agrees. “It’s very obvious that they are not printed.”
An enlargement of one of the images shows the curves of the woman’s bottom extending through the strap of her handbag. The knuckle portion of the woman’s index finger is also cut off. Both suggest that the image was altered.
Duits says dozens of people wanting to import the skirts have approached him for a connection to the manufacturer. That’s left him the task of explaining that the skirts don’t exist, not even as a kink item.
“I get so many e-mails from all over the world,” he says.
Pedro Orrego, producer of Citytv’s program Sextv, has seen the skirt pictures and draws a connection between people believing they exist and the Western stereotype of the oversexed Japanese man.
“I think we tend to think of Japan as kind of the exotic `other.’ And for some reason they have this reputation in the West of being over the top kinky people,” says Orrego, who in September travelled to Japan to do a story on the phenomenon of pornographic animation and sex comics.
He says there are a number of factors that play into that stereotype.
Japan’s censorship laws prohibit the depiction of pubic hair.
“In order to titillate they have to go about it in a different way,” Orrego explains.
The absence of the Judeo-Christian conception of sin also contributes to the view that sex is natural, he says. It also allows a freer sense of fantasy.
“But the stuff that gets imported is the crazy wild stuff, which is actually a very small fraction of the over-all output of Japan,” says Orrego.
All of that contributes to an atmosphere in which pictures of Japanese women wearing fake see-through skirts would be accepted as the real deal, he says.
And Duits, the trendspotter, just may have heard the first bit of proof that the fascination surrounding the skirts will eventually boil down to Western demands and tastes.
After explaining they were a hoax to an Israeli importer, that man decided to just start making the skirts himself.
“Who knows, maybe after this they will become the next big thing,” says Duits.

From here.

All the Rage in Japan OR Why Gender is Integral to American Understandings of Japan

November 9, 2006

my uncle sent me these photos which claim to be the latest style in Japan.  Do you believe it?


Note: forwarded message attached.
Subject: Coming to WalMart????

What you see below are not see-thru skirts. They are actually prints on the skirts to make it look as if the panties are visible and these are the current rage in Japan. They'll be the rage in Norway soon. .....and eventually in the US












I forward this as a public service, so you won't have a heart attack when the rage reaches the USA.