I can't believe it's already been one month since the start of our course. Time flies!!
Culture's Influence on Perception
In this week's class, we looked at how culture influences our perception. First, we looked at “sensing” plays a role in influencing our perceptions. Differences in our environment and culture can affect sensation. We also looked at how our senses are limited in the sense that there is too much stimuli for our senses to catch and up to 20% of what we see and hear doesn't get transmitted to our brains.
We then learned about the three steps of “perception”: (1) selection; (2) organization; and (3) interpretation. The key point is that our reactions are culturally learned interpretations. This was especially evident in interpretations of how dogs are treated in different cultures.
Writing Exchange Program
I collected your letters at the end of class. Your partner will get them this week. When we come back on May 12 after the short break, you'll get your first letter from your partner.
1. Reflection Topic #3
2. Blog Posting #4
3. Readings ch. 4 (pp. 81-102)
Blog Question #4:
What was something interesting that you learned about how culture affects our perception in our lesson today?
* Write 8-10 sentences.
* Use capitalization, punctuation & spelling correctly.
* Submit by Monday, May 4 by 6:00pm.
Reflection Topic #3:
In today's lesson, we reviewed stereotypes and prejudice. We didn't have enough time to look at prejudice in Japan, so you'll reflect on it as your journal topic this week. This topic may be uncomfortable for some of you to think about in our course. However, prejudice exists everywhere -- it is not limited to just one culture. In order to recognize prejudice, it's important to understand it in your own culture. Then, we can make comparisons to other cultures, and if necessary, make criticisms.
In 2005, the United Nations conducted an investigation of the treatment of non-Japanese (e.g. foreigners) living in Japan. The report concluded that Japan has "deep and profound" racism and xenophobia (=a strong feeling of dislike towards people from other countries).
After the report was released, the Asahi Shimbun was one of the only media outlets that ran an article on racism in Japan. Since this article, Japan still has no law against racial discrimination and non-Japanese are still excluded from society. Keep in mind that the majority of "foreigners" living in Japan are long-term residents, are married to a Japanese spouse, have full-time jobs, and speak the language.
For this week's reflection topic, read the Asahi Shimbun article "Opening the Nation: Time to Make Choices." You can read the original in Japanese or you can read the translated version in English.
When you write your journal entry, answer these two questions:
At the start of class, I collected your journals. I’ll review them this week and return them to you in next week’s lesson.
Subcultures and Subgroups:
We went through the differences between subcultures and subgroups, and you came up with your own subgroups in Japanese cultures. Subcultures exist within a dominant culture and include a large group of people who identify with a set of values different from the dominant cultures (e.g. Ainu, Ryukyu, Zainichi). A subgroup also exists within a dominant culture, but they are dependent on that culture. They often include occupation subgroups (e.g. gyraru, otaku, geisha).
Stereotypes and Prejudice:
We also leaned the difference between stereotypes and prejudice. Stereotypes are naïve images (often not true) of a group form through one’s personal value system. Prejudice, however, is a negative attitude towards a group, which is not based on objective facts.
Be aware that our cultural values and personal bias (e.g. stereotypes and prejudices) affect how we observe other cultures.
Cambodian Writing Exchange Project:
As part of the intercultural awareness component of our course, you'll be participating in a writing exchange with one of my Cambodian students who attend the Bayon English Academy in Siem Reap.
We had a short slide presentation on Cambodia and the challenges for students to get an education. We also went through the Letter Writing Guidelines. In next week's lesson, you'll have time to discuss letter #1 before you submit it to me.
1. Write Letter #1: self-introduction and lifestyle
2. Blog Posting #3
3. Reading, chapter 3, pp. 59-76
Blog Question #3:
How do stereotypes and prejudice affect intercultural communication? Include specific examples in your answer.
*Write 8-10 sentences.
*Use capitalization, punctuation & spelling correctly.
*Submit by Monday, April 27 by 6:00pm.