Lack of updates

Today is a crappy day – dreary, overcast, and worst of all, i`m in a bit of a funk. *sigh* can`t be arsed to write anything, just didn`t want to leave my xanga un-updated for so long.
I spent a good 35 minutes with the adult students last thursday pouring over the american conceptualisation of “hero” as a societal “loner” archetype – the rugged individualist, unfetteredly pensive, uniquely emancipated – the quintessential anti-hero thrust into circumstances above which he rises, inspiring and gesticulating the populace about him, dispensing his own brand of justice, maybe getting a little bit of lovin`, before moving on, wandering forth in his life, refusing the chains of societal conventions. The james deans, wyatt earps, the “easy riders”, clint eastwoods, john waynes… and a rather detailed explanation of how, at least superficially, this can be constructed as a projection of american values and idealised virtues.
A brilliant summary! A socio-cultural dissection that would make even my evil 7th grade comm arts teacher ms. brudah pause and marvel for a moment. A well thought-out (albiet slightly cliche`d) dissertation on those unique qualities that lie at the essence of the construction of the american paradigm, and the gaze with which it regards the world!
Having thus finished my little diatribe, I take a step back, and then ask my students: “So who, or what, would you say is the quintessential Japanese hero?”
Silence as heads look at one-another, nervous shifting of dictionaries, a clearing of a throat. Finally, brave Takako timidly raises her voice… I sort of sit on the edge of my chair, head racing at a million miles-an-hour. Tokugawa Ieyasu, legendary shogun who outwitted and outlived all his peers? The 47 ronin – masterless samurai who selflessly gave their lives to avenge their lord`s dishonour? Natsume Soseki, pensive author who explored the suffering at the heart of the human condition? I could barely wait to glean some hidden perspective into the core of the Japanese spirit.
“ummm…. momotaro…?”
Instantly heads start nodding around the table in assertion. I sort of blink stupidly.
“Uhhh, momotaro, as in momotaro, the peach boy….!?” I inquire incredulously. My students beam in pride at the fact that I know who momotaro is.
“What,” I ask somewhat hesitantly, “is so particularly appealing about momotaro as a hero…?”
A pause as they consider the question. Finally, from the corner, one of my students raises her hand.
“Well,” she begins, “he was born from a peach, you know…!”
So there you have it. Characteristics of quintessential Japanese “hero” construct – “must be born from peach”.
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Now listening to “The Future Sound of London – Papua, New Guinea (Hybrid Remix)”
(Whenever I`m down and it`s raining, I always pull out this track. As an aside, Hybrid`s new album is coming out tommorrow. I`ve made up my mind to bite the bullet and spend the damn 3500 yen to buy it here rather than wait for someone to hook me up from home. Guess I won`t be eating for the next week…)
4:04 am

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