Mar. 5th, 2009

wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (muramatsu-writing-me)
Okay, so now that I've seen a book aimed at Japanese people that instructs them not to tell visiting foreigners "You're good with chopsticks, aren't you!" or ask them "Can you eat sushi?" when the person is eating sushi already, where's the book aimed at Americans that instructs them not tell visiting Japanese people "I thought Japanese people didn't like cheese" when the visitor is in the middle of eating a piece of cheese...?

I'm pretty sure there must be some other things that Japanese expats in the US and other places get irritated by (other than "Your English is so good!"). I just don't know what they are. I know about the cheese one because I blurted it out to someone (I think [ profile] applechailatte) and then realized that it was probably the third or fourth time I'd said it and OH HEY EVERY JAPANESE PERSON I KNOW LOVES CHEESE I'M AN IDIOT. (I mean, other than the glaring idiocy of any statement that starts out with "I thought [nationality]/[gender]/[ethnic group] ..." yeah. Duh. Talk about essentializing! And then she informed me that she had heard that basically every time she ate cheese in front of an American and she was pretty well tired of hearing it, and it might have been true in 1949 but it was certainly not true any more. Eep.

It's so easy to spot the things that annoy us and so hard to spot the things that we do in earnestness. When I pointed out the bit about "Things You Shouldn't Say to Your New Native English-Speaking Partner" to my Japanese friend, he was sincerely astonished.

That kind of leads me to the next topic.

Here is a good post on why you should not throw up your hands regarding writing non-white characters, and why the "damned if you do, damned if you don't, guess we shouldn't try" complaint is a cop-out. An excerpt: "A few of the people voicing this complaint are sincere, because for various reasons they haven't yet realized something very basic: that racism infects the thinking of everyone, in a racist society. Everyone, including PoC themselves. [...] This is not some kind of intellectual-property race war, nor is it a game with winners and losers. It never has been, and the sooner everybody realizes that and gets on the same page, the sooner we can make some progress." Please go to the link to read the whole thing, by [ profile] nojojojo, if this is something that's been bothering you.

I am still thinking about other things, but I am very, very tired (mostly physically, I mean).

Meanwhile, Justine Larbalestier has some good points about online and offline behavior.

I am extraordinarily sleep deprived.

Oh, [ profile] tammylee's musings on RaceFail just now were succinct. I'm just going to adapt what she said:

1. Discussion is important (and as someone said in one of the zillion links I read previously, it doesn't end with happymaking catharsis so people can go away smiling benevolently having Learned Something; it often ends with everyone feeling more uncomfortable than when they started, kind of like when I read that poster about human gestation in my doctor's office, but you know what? TOO BAD.).

2. Don't stop drawing or writing; do engage in self-examination and questioning.

3. It isn't about me; the people it is about deserve our support (uh, when they want it; sometimes support means staying out of other people's conversations).

4. I welcome more conversations about what's going on with race in sf/f, both in terms of characters in fiction (I'm pretty much always thinking about race and gender issues, particularly when I watch visual media, because it's pretty much all really fucked up) and in terms of actual people attending conventions and so on. We need a lot of change here.

5. Please call me on my crap when you feel so moved. I know I was raised with racist attitudes; that's part of growing up in North America. I will try to take a deep breath and attempt to do something about it. However, I also acknowledge that is is my crap to work on and it is NOT your job to teach me.

(EDIT 3/5/09 6:50 PM Pacific: One thing this post is NOT is your opportunity to argue about Race Fail 09 in the comments. Please don't. Thanks.)
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (HP-Tonks)
Multi-fandom "One Girl Revolution" video, and you can even DOWNLOAD it so you can watch it over and over when you need a boost. Featuring 155 female characters from American & British film and TV. I think the thing that I like about it the most is that the characters aren't all shown beating people up; some of them are *gasp* reading. Or painting. Or dancing like idiots. And they're different ages! (They're also not all heroines, I should note. haha.) It rocks. [ profile] arefadedway must have put a ton of work into this.

EDIT: Oh here. I have mustered juuuust enough brain cells to embed.

(I dug it up originally because I wanted to paste it into [ profile] toratigris' Facebook page as a "Welcome to Korea; go get 'em!" kind of thing, you see.)
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (chii-crazed-me)
I may not be able to figure how to write my friend's new home address in romanized letters so I can send her a letter*, but I can damned well find a shop in her satellite city that sells Pumas (it's around the corner form the Popeye's, FYI, and very near a Starbucks). Or a Citibank. Or tell you that the ice skating rink is across from the police station.

(Method: Friend had been looking for a map of city where she'll be working, but hadn't been able to find any, and Google Maps et al have gotten up to speed on Japan but still suck for Korea. Want to help friend. Through sheer force of weirdness will, find Korean map site. Look up Korean for name of satellite city. Attempt to enter that into what looks like a search box. Realize that search box doesn't work as expected. Realize map probably starts in middle of Seoul. Scratch head. Go to city's official website. Find mini-map that just shows what subway stop to take to go toward the city. Return to map. Zoom out. More. More. Find subway lines. Follow right color of subway lines. Count back subway stops. Look for correct Korean letters. Go "oooh hey, there's that mountain she climbed!" Zoom in a lot. Snicker at sight of logos for Puma, Popeye's, and Starbucks. Weep at thought of tasty Asian Starbucks pastries. Write incoherent LJ post & realize you've only had a few hours of sleep and need bed, now.)

*She was only given it in an e-mail in typed Korean. Apparently the conversion of Korean addresses to English is a difficult matter. I don't think copying the Korean writing and writing KOREA in English will be acceptable to the USPS, even logically I don't see why that wouldn't work.


wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)

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