Jane Drew (jane_drew_) wrote,
Jane Drew

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Yes, that's exactly how I plan my viewing strategy....

Like many people in the US who are anime/manga fans, and adults, and female, I don't tend to go around talking about it, especially if I'm in a work-type setting, any more than I talk about my other pop culture-type hobbies. Less, probably. Because.... well, I've had to deal with enough wacky misconceptions from family, including, but not limited to, the time I mentioned manga as a Christmas present and was greeted with baffled expressions and an annoyed/confused, "Where on earth would we find such an exotic and strange product?" (Me: In... a bookstore? In the manga section? With the big sign that says "Manga and Graphic Novels?"), as well as the extremely annoying experience of having spent a couple of years vainly trying to convey why anime and manga were worth liking, only to have my parents take the topic seriously when my sister's boyfriend (who runs an anime club at the school he teaches at) came to meet the future in-laws for the first time (he's fantastic! they are fantastic for each other! nonetheless: really? seriously? NOW you are willing to accept that anime might be worthwhile? *ahem*).

Anyway, long story short, I was getting some dinner with one of the other folks in the summer program I'm in at the moment, and since a trip to the ramen-ya was followed with a trip to the Japanese grocery store across the street, we were talking about Japanese culture-- specifically, she wondered how I knew some of the stuff I knew. She knows Japanese, she's been to Japan, I think (if I'm remembering rightly) that she in fact teaches Japanese. In short, she is a person who deals professionally and on a regular basis with Japanese culture.

Her: Wow, you really know a lot! Have you ever been to Japan?
Me: Oh, well, no, but I do watch a lot of anime, sub-titled, and you pick up bits of the language from stuff like that.
Her: Really?
Me: Yup! Basic stuff, numbers, greetings. Just enough to be confusing in language classes. Plus, you know, random cultural info.
Her: Woooow..... I had no idea you could learn about Japanese culture through something like that!
Me:... um. Yes, actually. I mean, you know, some of it's going to be more relevant-- if you have something set in contemporary Japan, it's going to be more informative than, say, something set in a fantasy past, or a future where there are giant robots.
Her: *very seriously* You know, in real life, Japanese girls don't show their panties that often, the way they do in anime.
Me: ...
Me: ...
Me: ...

I finally stammered out something about not all anime being like that, but now I'm wondering what on earth she thinks I mean when I say I watch anime. And, of course, I'm annoyed that I didn't raise an eyebrow and ask her what the heck sort of anime she thought I was watching, because... seriously? Really? (with a side of "How on earth can you be working with Japanese language and culture and education and still have that combination of clueless and dismissive?")

Tags: academia, anime, annoyances

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