Really!!!-Pet Peeve of the Week #3

Filed under:2004,Rants — posted by JAWjaw on 7/11/2004 @ 9:36 pm

Why do some people think that grabbing or popping someone is going to increase the attacked person’s hearing capabilities? There are many situations where the noise level is so high that it is almost impossible to hear what a person who speaks softly or unclearly is saying. For a culture that is not suppose to be physical in their public communications, there are a large number of people who think grabbing the listener is going to help. For me, being popped or grabbed is a distraction from what is being said, because being physically assaulted draws my attention away from the speaker’s statement!

ShimaGaijin?

Filed under:☽2004,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on @ 12:52 pm

ShimaNaicha is a term used for mainland Japanese residents who decide to make Okinawa their permanent home, and is usually automatically declared when they change residence to the island. (It literally translates to island Japanese, but means transplanted Okinawan.) This is only one of many terms used in the local language to categorize people. Most Westerners romanticize the “noble reference” of the linguistic structure, declaring it as one of respect. However, it is mainly used to indicate what social position a person holds, having more to do with money and image (which equates to power over here because of the marketability) than age or accomplishment. This class system stems from a time when Okinawa was the Ryukyu Kingdom. In this system Westerners are merely declared as Gaijin (foreigners). After the Westerner has lived on island for a time and begins to go through the “islander” phase (a phase indicated by the person automatically responding to social settings in much the same manner as the locals) they are declared a HennaGaijin (strange foreigner). I have never heard any other phrase used in reference to a Westerner who has lived on island, even if it has been for an extended period of time. It is always the HennaGaijin term used by the locals to maintain a social class indication of how the person should be treated. Recently, I jokingly decided to declare myself, and a few other American women that have resided on Okinawa for more than 20 years, ShimaGaijin. Although the locals might not get the joke, most of the other resident Westerners do, and get a good chuckle at the inference.



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