On the Japanese admiration of having “a small face” [顔が小さい]

I have been wondering about this complement for a long time. If you have been to Japan, or if you watch Japanese variety shows, you may hear this comment made on somebody’s physical appearance; “His/Her face is so small!!!!” or more frankly, “Kao Chissa!!” [顔ちっさ] which is a casual way of saying that you have a small head, which makes you look like thin, beautiful, and admirable like a model.

I do not watch other mainstream media in East Asia, so I do not know if there is any similar admirations going on in any other countries other than Japan. I have just never heard this phrase, “You have a small head” in any English speaking countries that I have been. If you have someone tells you this in English, wouldn’t that sound more like… your brain is too small to be smart or something?

I guess in Japan, there is a big admiration of having a good body proportion. When put a ruler right next to your head, if the length of your head is 1/9 of your whole body length, that makes your body look like a model. (Of course, you have to be super thin on top of that, in order to meet the conventional image of beauty in Japan.) So, let’s say if you are 182 cm (6 ft) tall, then your head length should be around 20 cm (8 in). So it is better to be born tall in the first place. And not many East Asian people get to be that tall.

In general, there are too many jokes made on people’s physical appearances in Japanese entertainment industry. For example, your face is too large, your chin is too long, your beard hair is too thick, and what have you. You may see that kind of comments made amongst Japanese stand-up comedians, and this type of comments are called kao-ijiri [顔いじり]. Not sure this atmosphere coincides with many people’s desires to permanently remove their hairs from their bodies (including men’s beard hair) or for cosmetic surgeries to have larger eyes and smaller chin bones. I am not saying there must be a causation. At least, making laugh out of one’s physical appearance is seen as childish and immature in the cultures that I am more familiar with, both in Japan and the North America. So I think this is not ill-minded as it may sounds to some people. Ijiri [いじり] can be just the expression of teasing, but yeah, there may only be a thin line between that from bullying and self-hatred.

So imagine yourself visiting Japan and having a conversation with local people. If you were told “you have a small face,” just take it as a complement. That would be one of those bit weird and potentially interesting cultural differences that you may expect while traveling abroad.

Thoughts on the COVID-19 Vaccination

There is so much nonsense happening around the world both globally and locally. I get that. Still, let me speak out my recent thoughts on the global vaccination because I cannot stop myself from thinking about that. The vaccines do not get distributed equally just like wealth.

A week ago, I had a video chat with my old friend back home. She is a medical worker in Japan. She has just recently received her first dose of Pfizer and told me that many medical workers in her region have not yet vaccinated. Media portrait nurses and doctors being vaccinated, but she said that is mainly happening in the nation-funded big hospitals in the hub of Tokyo, but not in a rural area like where she lives, although it is a prefecture right next to Tokyo. The hospital that she works do not treat COVID patients, but still. Many medical workers are living cautiously every day, not only when they are at work, because they absolutely cannot bring any COVID to their workplace, which will lead an horrible outbreak.

I think of my grandmas in Japan. They are both 80+ and I know that they can now resister for the vaccination, but I have not heard anything from them yet. Japanese government has only so far vaccinated 1% of its 1.2 billion population and still wants to have the Olympic Games this summer. According to the Prime Minister, not aged population will receive their doses next year, in 2022.

Everyone knows that Japan, especially in metropolises have a high population density. About 1 out of 3 people in Japan are older than 64. Many conservative companies still require employees to get on a super crowded trains to commute, which is the same for the students. Dear government – please fulfill your obligations to secure the safety of people’s lives. This is more than “concerning.”

I have been feeling so down after that conversation with my friend. This afternoon, I got an text message form the BC government saying that I can now book for my first dose. It will be early next month, on June 5th.

I thought of two podcast episodes from The Big Story that I have recently listened:

For South Asian-Canadians, two pandemics at once” [April 28, 2021]

Your complete vaccine rollout FAQ” [May 13, 2021]

If you currently live in India, Japan, or many other countries, you would not have a chance to even receive a vaccine. In the US and Canada, you are allowed to be picky. I am absolutely grateful and excited for receiving my shot, but you know what? I wish I could give mine to my family members who are much older than me.

My 61 year-old father is a high school teacher. He is a good guy. His school has shut down twice last year due to the outbreak. His students are often tested positive. I simply cannot believe my country for being so-called a developed country. Is it really?

Japan has forced its population to constantly overwork and sacrifice for the greater good. That is how my country with little natural resources brought up its economy to the 3rd largest in the world. It is impossible to overlook the safety and life of your own citizens. Please… Why would you…

Long troubled with my name’s spelling…

No one will imagine Japanese names can also be caught into the labyrinth of English romanization… Neither did I. But here I am.

When I stared learning English as a 4-year-old child in 1999, my teacher told us to spell our names in a system called Hepburn romanization or Hebon-shiki rōmaji. In this style, to write a long vowel, you have put a bar on top of that vowel, such as ā and ō. I have learned to spell my name as Asumi  Ōba, because my last name starts with a long O sound.

In 2004, When I learned Japanese romanization in grade 3, I was told that I have been doing things wrong. The textbook that my school used was based on a different romanization system called Kunrei-shiki romanization. The biggest difference was that in this system, the Shi sound is spelled as “si” and Chi sound is spelled as “ti.” This obviously would cause a problem to English speakers, and therefore this romanization system is rarely found even in Japanese train stations. Also, I had to use different symbol to show my long O sound; instead of putting a bar over the vowel, this romanization system recommends a mountain-like sign, such as ô. If you’re a French reader, I think you may be familiar with this as… a circumflex? I do not read French unfortunately, so feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

So in that class, I had to spell my name as Asumi Ôba just for a bureaucratic reason. But I knew this system is less correct than what I have been used to because I spoke some English.

AAAAnd…. because of all these mess, my secondary school English teachers simply abandoned all accent signs. So my name became Asumi Oba. I was fine with it, because none of my teachers called my name with a short O sound.

You might be wondering, why this matters so much? Well, I have always been teased for my last name; a short O sound Oba means an aunt or a middle-aged woman in Japanese. You do not want little meaners constantly calling you an old lady as young as you can remember.

Sooooo… I came to the North America in 2014, and no-one but a primarily Japanese speakers cared my name’s spelling. Then, I’ve learned that if you want to spell your long vowel without using any accent signs, you could insert “h” after your long vowel. For instance, I COULD spell my name as Asumi Ohba. And I have been using this spelling occasionally because I am tired of being asked “Wait, is this spelling of your last name correct? Your name cannot be Oba-san [Mrs or an old lady].” from Japan-born English speakers.

I made my passport under the name of Asumi Oba. This is my only legal name. If I really want to change my spelling, it would cost me some money. I have already published my MA thesis under this name. Now what?

Whatever accent signs were needed or not, my name has always been Asumi Oba, not Ohba. The latter does not resonate with me.

Well, that was my story.

Apparently, modified Hepburn romanization or a kaisei [revised] Hebon-shiki rōmaji which I first learned, is currently used as a standard romanization system if you are writing Japanese history or culture in English. According to Yamashita Yōko, at the point of 2006, there was no move to create a unified romanization system. (If you’re a researcher and reads Japanese, see 放送研究と調査 (MARCH 2006), 55.)

Brief Art History about Tiger Paintings in Japan- How Mere Cats Transformed into Fierce Tigers.

When art historians analyze Japanese paintings of tigers, they tend to say, “This tiger looks mere a cat, failed to become a tiger.” –What does it mean?


Tiger Family and Magpies, Tani Bunchō (谷 文晁), 1807, Los Angels County Museum of Art, Public Domain High Resolution image www.lacma.org

Tigers are not native to the islands of Japan–they have been inhibiting in China for thousands of years. Little wonder why tigers have been frequently depicted in Chinese art from the ancient times. Since Chinese art has always been very influential to Japanese society from the begging of the nation, it was natural to have a big demand for tiger paintings in Japan. Especially, Samurai warriors in the Medieval and Modern period (roughly 14C to 19C) loved artifacts that depicted tigers. Tigers, for them, was a symbol of strength, which they highly valued.

Responding to the demand, many Japanese painters studied the tiger paintings produced in China. However, painters in Japan have never seen a real tiger before. There is not a single tiger in Japan, and nobody dared to import that fierce animal from abroad. (As a fact, some monks and painters studied abroad in China, but I have never read about painters tried to see real tigers there. Maybe it was too dangerous to try out.) Painters modeled cats, instead, as the closest alternative of tigers they had. This is why, compared to Chinese tiger paintings, tigers in Japanese paintings look cuter and stiff, more look like “mere a cat, failed to become a tiger.”

'Sitting Tiger' by Maruyama Okyo, 1777, Minneapolis Institute of Art

 Maruyama Ōkyo (丸山 応挙), 1777, Minneapolis Institute of Art, public domain

The first Japanese painter who is known for depicting realistic tigers is Maruyama Ōkyo [丸山応挙] (1733-1795). He was the earliest master who valued sketching from the life. (Prior to him, copying from past masters was more valued than the life drawing in Japan.) Although Ōkyo still did not have an access to the real living tigers, he acquired a full body skin of a tiger and measured all proportions out of it. As a result, People at the time found Ōkyo’s tiger looked scarier, more realistic, and more full-of-life than any other tigers painted before.

After Ōkyo passed away, one of his disciples, Ganku (岸駒) became to known as one of the big Japanese realism painters. Besides getting a tiger’s skin, Ganku acquired four legs of taxidermied tigers and a scall of a tiger. Ganku examined them closely; he counted the numbers of fangs, the numbers of knuckles in the legs, and all those anatomic details, which Ōkyo could not find out. His close study of tiger’s body enabled Ganku to paint the most realistic tiger than anybody before him in Japanese history. In fact, he is still known as the greatest tiger painter in Japanese art history.

Tiger, Ganku (岸駒), 1790-1838, the British Museum

What researchers point out, however, is the limitation that Ganku faced while he painted tigers–which is most obvious in the eyes of Ganku’s tigers. The eyes of Ganku’s tigers are closer to what the ones that cats’ have, not those of tigers. Eyeballs were something painters could never paint realistically unless they had an access to the real alive animal.

Ganku was so successful and skilled as a painter, which lead him to start his own painting school called Kishi ha (岸派). This school lasted until the end of the 19th century. The fourth and the last leader of this school, Kishi Chikudō (岸竹堂), interestingly, had a strong association with tigers as well. He is known as the first Japanese painter, who sketched from the real living tigers.Chikudō saw a real tiger for the first time when a circus visited Kyoto from a foreign country. He was shocked. Real tigers looked aloof from what he had known of from the past masters’ paintings. He became obsessed with painting tigers–the real tigers he saw at the circus. One source says that he almost became mentally ill, seeing hallucinations of tigers from his own painting that he was working on. He was maybe haunted by the beauty and ferocious of real living tigers. His painting of tigers was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago 1893 and received a blonde prize.

スクリーンショット 2018-07-07 午後9.52.06

detail from Tigers by Mountain Streams [right of a pair], Kishi Chikudō (岸 竹堂), 1892-1895, Minneapolis Institute of Art, public domain

A century after Ōkyo, Chikudō draw realistic tigers, which did not look like cats at all anymore.

Sources: artscape: 岸駒《猛虎図屏風》未見の虎へ挑む──「石田佳也」written by 影山幸一本間美術館 コラム 「虎描きの名手 円山応挙と岸駒」written by a curator 須藤 岸竹堂 – Wikipedia

Summer After College Graduation…

Hello again! I am still alive and well. How do you do everyone? 

While I have not written anything, I have submitted my undergraduate senior thesis about one of my favorite contemporary artists, Wenda Gu. Also… I finally, successfully, graduated from my college! Yay!

So, what is up now? My life after receiving my not-so-cheap Bachelor’s degree in the US.


Last April, I got accepted to an summer internship position in the Asian Art Curatorial Department at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in the Newfields’ complex–which has been truly an amazing experience for me. My friends often ask me, “What does museum curators do??” Here is a quick answer; museum curators acquire artifacts to enrich the museum’s collection, conduce research on the artifacts, and plan the exhibitions using artifacts from, in the aim of telling a certain story to the museum visitors. I learned how to read classic Japanese scrabbly handwritten in paintings. I learned how to hundle hanging schools. I practiced how to write art labels. I do so many different things everyday, which never makes me feel bored from working in this museum.

I am in love with the idea of working as a Curatorial Assistant, which is literally an assistant of curators, part-time workers in the museums. (Please note that 99% of the museum intern positions are unpaid. Most of the art museums are so tight in money, even though they do not seem like it when we look at the clean splashy façade of the museum buildings.) If you want to get a Curatorial job in any country, almost unquestionably, you need a Master’s degree at least. So, here I am. I started looking up Art History graduate programs, once again, the ones in overseas from my home country, Japan.

We will see how the things goes. I gave up application process to the graduate schools last fall. At the time, I was simply not ready both mentally and logistically. But, now I believe that I am much more prepared than the last time I tried. I will start writing more about Japanese Art in this blog because, one; I need to be more knowledgeable in Japanese art history, and two; simply because I think Japanese artworks are so cool and beautiful, and they deserve to be seen and known more.

Please leave a comment if you have any type of artworks or artists from Japan that you favor–please, though, keep the range within Fine Arts. Artists from Pop culture is not the area where my research interest belongs. Thank you for reading!

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16年間学校に通い続ける日々を送ってきて、大学を出たあとの人生がどうなるのか、あまり予想がつかなかったけれどーー、いま、とっても楽しいです。大学を出たら、お金の心配する以外は、うんと楽になるよ。半年前の自分にそう伝えられたらいいのにと思います。Let’s see how it goes!

にほんブログ村 海外生活ブログへ

Sometimes, It’s Okay to Be Vulnerable. —弱くてもいいんじゃない?と思ったり。


I have been busy with school for the last couple of weeks. (What a typical excuse, right?) I feel like I am finally back to my daily routine as a U.S. college student.

I finished up my comps (Major Comprehensive Exam, 学部の卒業試験 in Japanese) last weekend, and now I am handling my Art History senior thesis (卒論) and other stuff, which mostly about the life after graduation.


Whenever seniors gather, we often talk how it is getting harder for us to focus on our normal school work. We are trying to figure out our jobs and graduate schools after we leave here. Having no idea what is going to happen is stressful. We keep telling each other, “Everything will be fine.”

If you are being anxious thinking about your future, let yourself feel in that way. It is okay to stressing out. Give your busy brain a short break–play a video game, go on a  walk, do your workout or anything you enjoy doing it. As long as you did not intentionally harm somebody, you are having a great control over yourself.


Many of us struggle with self-acceptance. We never think we are doing well enough. I could not get this internship because I did not do well enough in the interview, or I was not good enough…etc. But, are we really, though?

Whatever you do, there is always somebody who loves you, no matter what. And by thinking about it, I think people can be less critical towards themselves.


People whom I look up to once told me, “A friend whom you will spend the longest time together is yourself. Whenever your best friend is getting upset, I am sure you will let that person to feel vulnerable in front of you.” Can we possibly treat ourselves in the same way? Can we accept ourselves to be vulnerable?


We do not have to always act like a flawless superhero. You do not have to try to be anybody else. There are always people who get your back no matter what.
…I just thought it might be a good reminder for both some of you and me in the middle of this busy week. 🙂
























にほんブログ村 海外生活ブログへ

Japanese TV Shows’ Influence on Foreigners’ Images of Japan — 海外が持つ日本のイメージって?[テレビ番組から考えてみた]

japanese-2596879_1280(日本語は英語の下にあります。)When I first came to the US, I was surprised that many students around my age could name at least one favorite Japanese TV show. The same thing happened when I studied in Belgium too. Even though some people criticize that Japanese comics and anime do not represent the reality in Japanese society, at least, Japanese TV shows definitely have a strong influence on foreigners’ images of Japan. I listed four aspects of Japanese culture, which I think tend to be emphasized in Japanese TV shows:

1.  “Japanese Food Looks Great!!!”

There is a Japanese slang, “Meshi-Tero (飯テロ),” which became popular in social media a short while ago. The word can directly be translated as “food terrorism” although it does not mean anything harmful. When somebody uploads a really good picture of food on social media, people who saw that picture may start to crave food. In that context, the action of posting such picture of food is called “Meshi-Tero.” My college friends often tell me that any Japanese dishes appear in Japanese TV shows look so good and make them want to visit Japan to try the food there.There is a TV show called “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (深夜食堂)” on Netflix. That one is the most influential Japanese Meshi-Tero show according to my friends. (A link to the trailer is below.) I have watched one episode and it had a heartwarming good plot…besides dazzling pictures of Japanese food!Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (深夜食堂)


2. Harajuku Fashion Everywhere??

My friend once asked me how liberal Japanese society is. After I explained to her that I think it is fairly conservative, she rolled her eyes and said, “But, I thought you guys can dye your hair with any crazy colors!! I thought Japan must be so liberal!!” I guess Harajuku culture, which media often focus, might have contributed her images of Japan.

3. School Uniforms are so “Kawaii.”

Media tend to exaggerate some aspects of the high school life to make it looks more interesting. Some of my female friends mention that they adore wearing school uniforms, which the secondary school students in Japan typically wear. Not all, but many of the schools in the US do not have school uniforms. Sometimes, it is true that school uniforms can be a huge deal for the female prospective students when they decide which high schools to apply. They would like to wear prettier uniforms for their own sake. pexels-photo-710743.jpeg

4. Became to Like How Japanese Sounds

Although watching the dubbed versions of foreign TV shows and movies are mediately popular in Japan, it is not often the case in other countries. In some countries, a subbed version of foreign shows is often the only available option. Or, many people even prefer watching subbed version for different reasons; some say that the dubbed voice does not match with the character in the Japanese show, which sometimes bothers them. Those people who watch Japanese shows in subs often start to associate positive feelings to the sound of Japanese. Some of them even become interested in learning Japanese.

On a Side Note…

It seems that there are some regional differences in which anime and comics win the most popularity. My friends from Zimbabwe said they enjoyed watching BLEACH, and guys from Brazil liked Hunter×Hunter… and so on. I do not have enough sample to collect data from, so I just speak from my general impression.
Anyways, as long as I have heard from my friends so far, NARUTO and DRAGON BALL seem to be ones the best knowns in foreign countries. pexels-photo-356269.jpeg アメリカに来て最初の頃に驚いたのが、私と同年代の学生たちの多くに、お気に入りの日本のテレビ番組があったこと。ベルギーに留学した時もそうでした。 アニメや漫画の描く世界は日本の現実とはかけ離れているから、海外の人にそのイメージばかりを売り込むのは良くないという意見も耳にしますが、少なくとも、日本のテレビメディアが、海外の方に強い影響力を持っていることは確かなようです。私が海外の友達と話していて、よく言われる日本のイメージが、以下の四つ。

1.  「日本食って、おいしそう!」

どの日本のメディアを見ても、日本のご飯は全て美味しそうに見える!といろんな方が言ってくれます。少し前に飯テロという言葉も流行りましたが、実際に現地で日本食を食べたことのない方にも有効みたいです。「深夜食堂」というNeflixから配信されているドラマがあるのですが、私の友達曰く、これが一番、日本に行って日本食を食べてみたい!と思わせる番組みたいです。下のリンクからNetflixのページで番組のトレーラーを見ることができます。Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (深夜食堂)

2. どこでも原宿系ファッションが見られる?

「日本社会ってどのくらいリベラルなの?」と友人から聞かれたことがあります。私が「正直、けっこう保守的だと思う…」と自分の考えを伝えると、彼女は目を丸くして一言。「ええ、そうなんだ! 日本の若い人はいろんな色に髪を染めても許されてるから、とても自由な国なんだと思ってたよ!」彼女が目にする日本に関するメディアでは、原宿文化がよく取り上げられていたのかもしれません。確かにあれも日本文化の一部ではあるけど、日本全土があの文化というわけでははないからね…。 pexels-photo-427747.jpeg

3.  可愛い制服で登校するのに憧れる!


4. 日本語を耳にするのが好きになった!

また、吹替え版の声やセリフだと、キャラクターの印象が変わってしまうのが気になるという理由で、字幕版を好む方もいます。字幕で邦画や日本の番組を観る機会の多い人は、日本語の音に好意的な印象を持ちやすいみたいです。それがきっかけで日本語を勉強し始める人もいます。 mt-fuji-sea-of-clouds-sunrise-46253.jpeg


子供の頃に好きだった漫画やアニメの話しになると、人気になった作品にお国柄が出るのでは?と思う時があります。ジンバブエの兄弟はBLEACHが好きだったり、ブラジルの子達はHUNTER×HUNTERが好きだったり…。もちろん十分なデータが手元にあるわけではないので、話していて、なんとなく人気になった作品に地域差を感じる、というだけですが。(年代の差とか、どの作品がどの言語に訳されたか等のファクターもあるとは思いますし。)地域にかかわらず、いろんな人が挙げる作品はNARUTOとドラゴンボールなので、もし好きな方がいらしたら、海外で友人との話題に困った時、その話題を出したら意外と盛り上がるかもです。 Thank you for reading!にほんブログ村 海外生活ブログ 海外留学(アメリカ・カナダ)へ

Funny Flight Stories from International Students — 留学生あるある:国際線でのクレイジーな体験


If you have taken multiple international flights before, I am pretty sure that you have at least one funny episode from your flight experiences. Not necessarily such occurrence makes you feel comfortable during your flight, it is always fun to share your crazy travel stories with your friends and families after you come back. Here are some of my favorite stories that happened to my friends:

1. Stuck in Between Babies for 12 Hours
The last time my friend saw her grandmother in Korea was almost two years ago, she said, before she left the campus. A day later, I opened the Facebook and saw her post, which said she was stuck between two babies from different two families, and those babies took turns crying for the entire 12 hours flight. She could not sleep at all. Ever since I read her story, I always try to book the seat on the aisle side when I travel internationally.

2. A Stranger Asked to Marry Him and That Was Not a Prank
When one of my friends was on the plane traveling back to her home country, a stranger guy sat next to her. After they had a normal nice conversation, he proposed marriage to her out of the blue. Even though he had no rings for her, he was dead serious. She thought he was weird and cut out the conversation. After she made her first flight connection, she realized that weird guy was on the same flight again. Then she started worrying what if she and he were going to the same destination… What if he decided to follow her from the airport and find out where she lived. Luckily, it did not happen. When she changed her flight for the last time, she did not see him anymore. She is technically from a loyal family in her country, so I feel like her family would hire an SP if any suspicious person started to stalk her…

3. A Famous Actor Gave You Cash out of His Pocket
This story is too well known among my Hanover people. Last May, a group of the students was waiting for their fight to London at the airport. One of them saw Bill Murray, who played one of the main characters in the movie, Ghost Busters. She walked up and talked to him. She told him that they are going to see theatre productions in the UK. Then he said something like “Watching a play is a good thing.” and gave her 160 dollars in cash out of his pocket. (This is called “Okozukai おこづかい” in Japanese, by the way.) I wonder if that student kindly offered food or drink to her fellow students on the trip… Who knows?

Anyways, you never know what will happen during your long trip to somewhere. Most of the times, as long as you can make it to your final destination, any stories will turn into a laugh!










当時婚約者がいたこともあり、その気の全くない彼女、会話を終わらせましたが、二本目の飛行機の中でも同じ男性を見かけます。「もしも最終目的地の空港まで一緒だったら…? この人に自分の家がバレたらどうしよう」と心配したそうですが、最後の乗り換えをした時には、彼の姿はどこにも見かけなかったので安堵した、とのこと。








Thank you for reading! See you soon.❤️

にほんブログ村 海外生活ブログ 海外留学(アメリカ・カナダ)へ

Inflation of the Word “Love?”—「愛」を言葉にする国としない国

(日本語は英語の下にあります。)As I grew up watching American TV shows, I have always wondered, “Why American people always say ‘I love you’ before ending their phone calls??” It is just something we never do in Japan. “I love you” in Japanese (Aishiteru) sounds too serious and embarrassing to say on a daily basis. Girls in Japan say “I really like you!” (Daisuki) occasionally, and I would say that can be the equivalent to saying “I love you” in the US.Spending my years in an American college, I realized the word Love here has a larger range of meaning than the word Love (愛 ai) used in Japan. Among friends, we say “I love you” to each other on daily basis. This is one way to show our appreciation. The feeling that “I am so thankful for having you in my life.” or “Your existence brightens up my days, and I am grateful for that.” is, I think, definitely included to the word Love we use in the states. No wonder people in America say “I love you” often since almost everybody has that feeling of appreciation towards their family, pets, and friends.In Japan, we do not say those expressions on a daily basis, but we do show our appreciation to people by giving small gifts. For example, if you go on a vacation, it is a social norm to buy nice snacks there and hand them out to your co-workers once you come back to your workplace. (It is called Omiyage, meaning souvenir in Japanese.) You will also see this phenomenon in schools on Valentines’ day. Girls in secondary schools in Japan bake a large amount of cookies and cupcakes to give those to their friends, classmates, club members, and teachers. Giving small gift is another way of saying “Thank you for being a part of my life.” or “Thank you for supporting me every day.” in Japanese culture. Thus, I think that act is almost equivalent to saying “I love you” to the people around you in the US.In any case, it is nice to have a day that remind us of appreciating people you have in your life. And it means, at the same time, there are always people who feel thankful for having met you. :)子供の頃、アメリカのTVショーを見るたびに、「どうしてアメリカの人は、電話を切る前に『アイラブユー』と言うのだろう?」といつも不思議に思っていました。日本で普通に生活していて「愛してる」と言い合う光景は滅多に見ないことですし。日本の女の子たちが言う「大好き!」がアメリカの「I love you」にあたるのかなあ…。なんて思ったり。アメリカの大学で何年か生活して、友達同士で「I love you」と言い合うのは全然普通のことになりました。この言葉には、日本語の「愛」というよりかは、感謝の気持ちがたくさん含まれているような気がします。「あなたと日々を過ごせて嬉しい」「あなたが私の毎日を豊かにしてくれているから、とても感謝している」と言ったような。誰しも家族や友人、ペットにこの気持ちは持っているから「アイラブユー」を日常の中で何度も口にするわけです。日本では、この気持ちを言葉にするかわりに、普段から小さいおくりものをよく贈り合うなあ、と思います。旅行に行ったら職場にお土産を買って帰るし、日本の学校のバレンタインも、告白するイベント化してる面もあるけれど、どちらかというと女の子たちが手作りしたお菓子を交換したりお世話になっている人にあげたり…という雰囲気なような。アメリカのバレンタインは、自分が大事に思う女性に花を贈る行事なので、日本の母の日に近いというイメージです。日本のバレンタインにチョコレートを贈り合う習慣はユニークかもしれないです。贈り合うのが言葉であれ物であれ、感謝の気持ちを伝える日が定期的にあるのはいいことだと思います。それは同時に、誰もが他の誰かから、出会えたことに感謝されているという意味でもあると思うから。Thank you for reading! See you soon.❤️にほんブログ村 海外生活ブログ 海外留学(アメリカ・カナダ)へ

This is How I Got to Perform in the Feminist Play in College. — 大学でフェミニズム演劇に出た話し



I wonder how many of you have heard of the play, “The Vagina Monologues” before. I know hearing or reading the word vagina makes some of you uncomfortable–I totally get it. (Trust me, I grew up in Japan, where the people tend to be more conservative than the US and some other countries.) But, let me talk about this play, which I performed with my fellow students last weekend.

Quick history about this play: during 1990s, a Tony award-winning American play writer, Eve Ensler interviewed more than 200 women about their views on their body images, relationships, and their experiences of living as females in the society. And, she wrote this play based on those interviews. Ensler and her companies later established a non-profit organization called V-Day, which allocates funds to the world-wide organizations and programs that try to stop violence against girls and women.

This play was translated into 48 different languages and have been performed in over 140 countries including Japan, Belgium, and some Muslim countries.

In the US, many high school and college students perform this play to fundraise the organizations like V-Day. That is also what we do in my college every February.

The first time I saw this play was three years ago. I was a freshman, and I saw my upperclassmen friends performing the monologues on the stage. Some monologues were happy, funny, moving, sad…, and all of them were so powerful. My most memorable monologue was called “My Vagina was My Village,” which I got to perform this year.

My monologue was one of the saddest ones among all 17 monologues in the play. It was based on the interviews with Bosnian women refugees during the war in Yugoslavia. Whenever and wherever a war conflict occurs, everyone there suffers. Violence against females also happens, and victims could never get a chance to claim for the justice. (Just in a case if you are interested in watching the monologue, I attached the video clip of it performed by Ensler at the end of this page.)

Luckily, I never had an experience of being sexually abused. Thus, I can never fully understand the suffering which those refugee women went through. However, I hope everyone who sees this play becomes more supportive toward females and willing to understand some struggles they go through in the society–just like I first became aware of those issues by watching this play three years ago.





An interview on Ensler followed by her performance of “My Vagina was My Village:”

Sources: About Eve Enslter / About V-DayAbout The Vagina Monologues and Non-exclusive list of the countries where this play was performed.

If you wanna read more about: Interview with Ensler (from ELLE, online published on Feb. 8, 2018,).

Thank you for reading! And hope to see you soon. ❤️