Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Be Arisa, be International

Arisa is my name. My parents chose this name for Japanese and non-Japanese to pronounce it easily. The "r" sound seems to make my name "international." My sister name also has the "international r" sound.

They obviously wanted me to be international. I can now easily imagine that what they expected from me was to become fluent in English and to merge into the western world. I don't know if they included Asian, African or the Latin American countries when they said "international."

They also expected or expect me to be "Japanese", too. It meant to be ( in their point of view) fluent in Japanese( can use Keigo fluently), respect the parents and the older, be conservative, be a "girl", and stick with the flow. Those are really difficult to achieve once you have experienced the outside world. Being international in the means of communicating with non-Japanese cannot connect with the idea of being  Japanese at the same time.

So whenever I introduce my name to someone mostly to non-Japanese, because I rarely introduce my First name to a Japanese when I met him/her the first time. Look at their eyes, stretch my hand to shake their hands, and clearly pronounce "Arisa" with a big smile. They will sometimes say if it is a English name which some Asians have. I say no. Other times they tell me Arisa is a common name in their own country, Italy, Indonesia, France(well, may be the name of the sauce, "Harissa") and so on. At the same time,

 I feel "who am I?" International, Japanese, or neither or both.

I actually love my name including my surname because in the end it doesn't define me at all. It is my name. And that is all.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Long time no see...

Hello, I knew that my blog would not continue constantly, but his frequency was horrible. So I will start o write bits by bits so that there will be no pressure on me to continue this.

Today I will write about what kind of courses I've decided to take.

Introduction to Global Forced Migration- I've always wanted to take a course about migration and refugees, so his was a perfect course for me. Although I have to write 5000 words essay in the end of the course, I thought this would be my chance to deepen my knowledge.

Chinese 1- Yes, I've taken Chinese already for a year, so it would be really easy for me at first but I couldn't fit Chinese 2 in my time schedule so I had to take this course. But hopefully SOAS is really famous for language so it will take to a much higher level.

People, States, and Power in Asia and Africa- In Hitotsubashi University, I did a lot of theoretical studies, so  this time I wanted to take some courses specified on fields, and topics. This is a basic course for political department but I liked the fact that it focuses on every region and do it for 3 weeks on the topic.

Ethnography of South East Asia-I was always interested in Southeast Asia since I was brought up in Indonesia and my family is now living in Burma. The approach is from an anthropological point of view which  differs from other courses.

These are my courses for the year. Very different from my Japanese uni, in each unit, it contains lecture and tutorials which is like Zemi in Japan. So I have a very good opportunity to widen my knowledge with friends and professors. The members also look very interesting for having different backgrounds.

I will talk about the contents of these courses later.
So finally my school year began!!!!!

My favorite phrase from my professor
"Knowledge is not neutral. It is a product of power and it can be used as power."