Today was the Chubu* Fulbright Alumni Association's lecture/reception thing, so I went over to Aichi University to join one other current Fulbrighter and about 20 former Fulbrighters. There were two lectures, one in English and one in Japanese (although it seemed that everyone except for one guy was bilingual). The one in Japanese was about Japanese American oral histories (specifically those having to do with the WWII internment camps) and the one in English was about the 2007-2009 financial crisis. Both were good, although the English one definitely won on the nerd index by comparing American banks to Lois Lane.
Afterwards we got free dinner, which was delicious but I don't know what 75% of what I was eating was. OH WELL. It's probably a bad sign when you're pleased that your food has a face because at least then you know what it is.
I also met lots of interesting people, including a gentleman who studied at Brown University as an exchange student! We swapped tales of College Hill, and he wanted to know what had changed and what was still the same. "When I was there, they called the cafeteria...they called it the Ratty."
"Yep, it's still the Ratty."
"Is the food still," he searched for the right word, "Ratty?"
"It definitely is."
Also, he described Brown as "really wild." And he went there before SPG.**
Also, I'm supposed to present at their next meeting, which will be in May. Given how long the lectures went today, that means I have FORTY MINUTES in which I have a room full of people at my mercy mwahahaha. I mean, OH NO, I HAVE TO TALK ABOUT MY RESEARCH FOR FORTY MINUTES; WHAT TO DO? (Although, I realized that I haven't given a presentation that long since the Tea Ceremony Presentation Epic. You mean I don't have to condense a year's worth of research into 10 minutes? THANK GOODNESS.)
Also, I find it interesting how many Japanese people try to convince me that Japanese religion isn't "normal" because it isn't exclusive. How are you defining "normal" anyway? Chinese religion is the same way, so it's not as though Japan is the only country in the world in which you can worship more than one religious tradition. (There's actually a saying in Japanese, "Born Shinto, marry Christian, die Buddhist.") But a gentleman I was talking to today was insisting that non-exclusive religious practices weren't "normal." I tried to get him to explain what he meant by "normal" (and subtly hint that maybe he was applying Western norms to very non-Western ideas), but he was not convinced. "Normal" people are religiously exclusive, like Americans. (Of course, when I explained that I have celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas and the winter solstice, sometimes all in a single year, he got very flustered and tried to get me to admit that I was secretly Baptist...? I don't know. It was kind of odd.)
Oh well. I will have FORTY MINUTES in May in which to convince him. BWAHAHAHA.
In completely unrelated news, this song is SO CUTE. It's about capybara in an ONSEN (hot spring, for the uninitiated). C'MON, you'd have to be HEARTLESS to not find this EXCESSIVELY ADORABLE. It also makes me really want to visit an onsen. Hmmmmm, onsens.
It's almost midnight here so I should sleep. G'night!
*Chubu (中部) is the region of Japan in which Aichi Prefecture is located.
**Sex Power God. It's a party. Don't look it up with small children around.