2013.7.27—Today, we had our first session for the Cross-Cultural Collaborative Project on gender roles in Japan!
Students were re-introduced to Nico, who will be leading this part of the program.
First, participants were asked to split into five groups and brainstorm lists of words that are gender-ed, that is, that are usually used for a specific gender, such as male or female. These words reflected the various backgrounds of the participants, coming from many languages, including Japanese, English, Polish, Khmer, and more.
Then, the groups shared the meanings and uses of three of the words from their lists with the class. This was followed by a discussion of some of the general themes that linked the words collected and what they say about gender roles and relationships.
Afterwards, Nico gave a short lecture about important gender terms to know for the purposes of the Cross-Cultural Collaborative Project. For example, he highlighted the difference between the words ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. Finally, students were presented eighteen statements that were mainly related to gender. For each sentence, they chose either ‘Strongly Agree’, ‘Agree’, ‘Neutral’, ‘Disagree’, or ‘Strongly Disagree’, based on their personal reactions to the statement. At the end, the five categories were placed on the board, and the response sheets were anonymously redistributed among the participants.
Students were then shown the statements again and stood in front of the category that matched the answer on their given sheet. In this way, they were able to see the distribution of the class’s reactions to each statement and to think about what each says about gender in their own countries and abroad.
After the morning session, students had lunch with students from the International Studies Department.
Participants then secretly signed a birthday card for Shayna Jackson, who turned 20 on Friday.
At 1:30 PM, everyone sang happy birthday to Shayna, in multiple languages, when she was presented with the card, as well as a cake of her choosing. Students enjoyed taking pictures of the festivities, including Shayna blowing out the candles on her cake. Everyone ate cake before being introduced to their homestay families and leaving Showa for the day.