The University of Iowa

Tagged with "Japan"

4/10/2012

Paradox of Japan and African America

In this presentation, I trace the roots of Japanese reggae from the early 1970s until the present, focusing on the musical productive strategies through which “J-reggae” has come into being. Among these strategies are incorporation of Japanese musical traditions; creative use of the Japanese language (as opposed to patois); and in the way of artistic self-representation, male dancehall performers’ referencing of the figure of the samurai. I argue that these strategies invoke discourses of the traditional that are deeply interlinked with those of modernity in Japan, a modernity shaped by the specter of Western domination that Japanese, like Jamaicans, have long had to negotiate. I focus, however, on the link between these discourses of the traditional and a contemporary ethos of cultural internationalism in recessionary Japan, in which Japanese reggae practitioners imagine global southern countries like Jamaica as simultaneously signs of these artists’ cultural and sociopolitical cosmopolitanism, but also as tradition-bound and thus instructive symbols of Japan’s own potential rebirth.
4/6/2012

Enjoying the pleasures of international company

Thanks to a CIVIC program, my wife Mary and I recently hosted two female students from Japan for a weekend “home stay” during their university’s educational exchange visit at the University of Iowa. Mina and Mayu arrived at our house each with a suitcase nearly bigger than herself, along with smiles, curiosity, laughter and wonderment that filled our home like birdsong throughout their stay.
3/12/2012

UI student recalls Japan tsunami

Riding on a bus in China one year ago, University of Iowa graduate student Jameela Huq learned that Japan – which she considers like home – had been ravaged by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and massive tsunami. Huq said she had called her good friend Aya Hurley – a native of Fukushima, Japan who happened to be in the same city in China that day, wanting to meet up. Hurley delivered the devastating news, Huq said. “She said, ‘I’m looking for my friends and family,’” Huq said. “She was like, ‘Didn’t you hear? A giant tsunami wiped out Fukushima.’”
2/28/2012

Japan still rebuilding after last year’s tsunami

On March 11, 2011, a rising tide of dark water wrapped Japan’s northeastern coast. The world was gripped by Armageddon-invoking scenes from this highly industrialized nation in east Asia. After the visual impact of the unprecedented tsunami, there came news of nuclear meltdown in the Fukushima nuclear plant. Japan’s vast northeastern coast — the coastal villages as well as sizable inland areas — was nearly destroyed by the hand of the nature.
2/15/2012

UI community speaks about cross-cultural relationships

Yume Hidaka, the UI’s Japan outreach initiative coordinator, attended the university’s “Valentine’s Day: Dating and Courtship Across Cultures” Monday, in which UI students and faculty discussed how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in their cultures. The native of Japan, who moved to Iowa from Tokyo, said she was struck in her new home by how open Americans express themselves.
12/21/2011

Student Reflections on Disabilities: Visual Impairment

At the beginning I was very frustrated, I wish I would have been more prepared to answer questions. It was not easy explaining my impairments in another language. Also, I was not prepared for the doubt I would have to face from other people. I could see the worry in their eyes when I brought my bike home for the first time. The teachers would ask me everyday if the print in the book was too small. Looking back at it now, it was a tough first few weeks. I really had to give it my all in order to make people believe that I was fully capable of doing everything that a sighted person can do.
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12/21/2011

Student Reflections on First-Generation Abroad: Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima

Going to the different peace museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was one of the most interesting things I have ever been able to do. To see and hear the stories about what took place at Pearl Harbor and the atomic bomb was a great experience. Most people, especially minorities don’t think that trips like this are in their reach. Money is always an issue so they just give up on the idea. They just need to be told and motivated that there are ways to make things happen.
12/20/2011

Student Reflections on Race and Ethnicity: Global health issues

My name is Kolie Eko, and I am a third year Microbiology major and undergraduate research assistant in the Bradley Jones Laboratory at The University of Iowa. I was born in Nairobi, Kenya. My family is a multicultural family; my father is from Cameroon, Africa, and my mother is from Calcutta, India. My extended family communicates in English, French, and several Asian and African languages. As far back as I can remember, there were signs of poverty, disease, hunger, and poor healthcare facilities in Cameroon where my father is from, in Kenya, where we lived, and in India, where my mother is from. That reality did not personally affect my brother and I. My parents were able to provide a comfortable life for our family. However, I could not understand the huge gap between the very rich and the very poor in India and Africa. I wished I could do something to help the many school age boys and girls who never went to school but lived and sometimes died on the streets in Nairobi.
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