Saturday, October 24, 2015

Media Connection (Sarah)

Over the past month, I have become a regular at a number of places near my university. Almost everyday or a number of times a week, I will go to the 7/11 that is across the street from the front gate of the school. When I have limited time to eat lunch I go and buy almost the same thing every time: an Indian curry meat bun, a fruit cup, and sometimes the occasional added bread (with any number of interesting fillings). However, I never got much of a reaction. Perhaps because it’s right in front of the university and nothing about the interaction is particularly interesting or memorable. I also became a regular at a ramen restaurant further away from the university that can only fit about eight people at once, but over time I’ve found that isn’t entirely unusual. The most reaction I got there was the first time I went. I was talking to the man who ran the restaurant, by himself, and his initial reaction was the usual ‘you speak Japanese so well’ reaction that I was used to getting when starting a conversation in Japanese. But after that, when I returned multiple times with other friends there was never much more of a reaction except perhaps that he assumed using Japanese was okay and didn’t try to use English. So maybe the lack of a reaction was a suggestion of familiarity?

However, overwhelmingly the most interesting thing I participate in as a regular is watching the same news channel at breakfast every morning and comedy shows at night. Every morning. My host mom will watch the news, so everyone (the two kids, me and sometimes my host dad) will watch it as well. As the days went by and I got more used to the routine and flow of the program, I found myself being included by my family in conversations about the news and being able to make comments on it myself. They would include me in comments and conversations. For example after the short cooking segment, Moco’s kitchen, where the cook tries his own food and says that it was delicious and everyone at home should try making it themselves, they would say “he always says that doesn’t he?” and then laugh as they imitated the cook’s favorite closing line. Or my host mom would talk with me more about a news story that just came out, sometimes explaining things I didn’t understand.

At night they would watch TV while eating dinner, but unfortunately for me my family members aren’t the biggest fans of dramas, so what we often watched were comedy/variety shows. And like the news, I found that over time I came to be included in more and more of the talk that went on while watching. And through watching variety shows, where famous singers and groups were often featured, my host family has come to learn my taste more and more. Since I’m often excited to see certain singers come out on shows my host mom or host dad (who likes music) will make an effort to put on the music station. And when there was a special program that was showing one of my favorite band’s (ONE OK ROCK) two most recent concerts, they recorded it on the TV for me so I could watch it when I had time. My host dad also offered to copy it onto a CD for me, so I could watch it on my computer too.

So, though I’ve become a regular at many places (conbini, restaurants, TSUTAYA…), I think regularly watching the same shows with my host family has been the most rewarding. It lets them learn more about me and it is a way that I can connect more with them.


Reid said...

Originally, I had also thought about becoming a regular at a food place for this blog post, and do go to the same bakery a couple of times a week. However, I chose not to write about it because I didn't notice any difference in the way I was interacted with the first time versus the most recent time. I wonder if it could be because it was a busy bakery, just a cultural difference, or a sign of familiarity like you mentioned.

Sarah said...

Yeah and besides I think your discussion of you club was much more interesting!