Sunday, January 22, 2012

Japanese childhood.

Monday, 23 January 2012 is Chinese New Year.  In celebration, Kate and I went to Four Seasons in Provo and ordered some dumplings and steamed buns.  When we returned home to eat our delicious stash of perfect food, we promptly finished it and realized we had not ordered nearly enough.  In the car again, straight out into the snow, we returned to downtown Provo to Chao's.

While there, I remembered a partially forgotten childhood in which Keiko Tapp, a Japanese woman, raised me in part on all sorts of food one could never find in the Playstead house.  I don't even know the names of these snacks and foods, but as I wandered the Chinese grocery store (for the express purpose of getting more steamed buns) I saw and remembered eating rice cakes, and cookies, and seaweed, Pocky sticks and Hello Panda's.  I could taste them on my tongue again--an odd idea.  And she probably didn't even think twice about sharing them with me, but I remember them.  And it became part of my culture.

It makes this job of a Field Study far too big for me, for not everything can be taken into account, which is always the case in life.  I think about how every time someone dies millions of pieces of information die with them: elements of who they were that no one knew, cared to ask about, or could even know to wonder.  We can't even figure out ourselves, let alone others.

People are not to be studied, or figured out.  They're to be enjoyed, cared about, talked to, shared with.  I'm really not interested in studying anything.  I'm interested in a good conversation.

1 comment:

  1. The idea of having conversation as the goal rather than a pursuit of knowledge or information is kind of resonating with me. While the world still values someone with a good memory, someone who can remember facts or recite poems from memory, we also recognizing that this isn't as important as it used to be. Information alone is pretty accessible even if we don't have it permanently preserved in our memories.

    We also have such a proliferation of information these days ... I was thinking in a church meeting yesterday how many talks have been given in similar church meetings all over the world in the history of the world and realized that preserving a word-for-word transcript of this particular talk would not be a very valuable project. The real value, I realized, was that as a particular congregation we were discussing these particular topics. The important thing was that we were still participating in this ongoing dialogue about important matters.

    So maybe for someone planning a field study in another country, the real concern is to develop the skills and plans that will help you to be able to participate in conversations with people?