My 3rd day in Japan was a Sunday. I had organized with a friend, Phill, who is a pastor in Tokyo to look after my suitcases while I travel throughout the country, and also that I would love to attend his church whenever I was in Tokyo. So with their church service starting at 2pm, I made the 4.5km walk from hotel, stopping at parks, a cafe and a restaurant for lunch before the service.
The church is located on the 3rd floor of a building, in which McDonalds occupies the 1st and 2nd floors, right outside the train station. I arrived early and met with Phill and his wife Kelly and a few other members and guest of the church. The service had maybe 20 people, but can have up to about 50 (a fair bit smaller then FAC). The service kicked off with a few songs that I recognized (10,000 reasons, and revelation song). However, the songs we half English and half Japanese, a verse and a chorus in English, and then the next verse and chorus in Japanese. It was interesting and a very good experience to hear songs I knew the lyrics for in English getting sung in Japanese. The sermon was done by one of the pastors (an Japanese woman) in Japanese, but after ever couple of sentences, it would be translated by Kelly in English. Followed by communion, again getting translated in both languages.
After the service, there was afternoon tea and fellowship, in which I met a few more people, including a lady from the Philippians, an American man and his Canadian wife, as well as a Japanese man who I spent about 30 minutes discussing soccer/football. After we packed up the room, I caught a train back to Phill & Kelly’s place, whilst having dinner at Mcdonalds along the way. After a short stay at their place, and packing what I needed in my hiking bag, I caught a train back to Shibuya.
That night, and the next I had spent sleeping in an internet cafe, while the first night wasn’t very comfortable, the second was considerably better.


The following day consisted of checking out the shops, using the free wi-fi at starbucks, and figuring out where to go from Tokyo. In Shibuya there are 2 main shopping buildings (called 109, and 109 Men’s), 1 for women, 1 for men. There are both about 8 stories, with numerous shops on each floor, and could easily spend a lot of money there.

I had lunch at a BBQ place, where you get given your steak in small raw pieces, and you cook it as your about to eat it using a small grill built into the table. It was amazing, and for a decent lunch it was about $10.

The next day I went to Electric Town (actually called Akihabara), where you can buy anything from anime, to neon lights, as well as numerous arcades. I went to a bunch of shops, won some anime figurines and some junk food at an arcade, went in to an anime shop, went down stairs to realize that down stairs was in fact a hentai shop, so I quickly turned around and went back up stairs. I also found a batting cage (base ball) and hit most of the 56 balls for $6.

Then in the afternoon I left Tokyo catching a bus east, and slightly south, to Hamamatsu.

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The stakes of interaction.

I found Ross’ article about online interactions somewhat interesting, atleast the part on staging was interesting. He says, “This online zone of safety offers a powerful tool to counterbalance the stresses of the high-stakes frontstage….almost zero risk of damage to members’ all-important performative, frontstage selves.” While the interaction is frontstage, it doesn’t have the same ‘stakes’ as normal face-to-face interaction

This stood out to me, because from my experience, this was true. I have experienced many times the low-stakes ability of the internet medium, and have actively chosen that medium because of that ability. Due to the low-stakes, users are able to interact with more honest opinions, than if they were in a face-to-face interaction. In one of the presentations in our tute, the presenter made note of the language used in the twitter feed to a talk show, and how brazen it was.

After reading caitlinwestsoc250 blog ( Another factor stood out to me that we could add to the low-stakes of online interaction: the ability to mould ones identity through use of the information they put up (photo’s, about sections etc). As said in their blog, “People use documentary evidence, such as the information used to construct an identity online, to gain an understanding of others and how they intend to present themselves to particular people, groups, or the wider online community.” This provides another avenue of which to lower the stakes of interaction, where as in face-to-face interaction you can’t mould your identity in the same way, its just you…the real you.

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What does the word ‘bloody’ mean to you?. While I don’t use this word a lot, I know what it means, and it is a symbol of the country and society that I grew up and now reside in, Australia. As Weirzbicka says, “I believe that we discover shared ways of thinking by studying ways of doing things, including ways of speaking; and further, that the study of social practices, including linguistic practices, is best seen not as a goal in itself but rather, as a path to the understanding of a society’s attitudes and values.” (p.g. 1169).

From growing up in this culture, ‘bloody’, doesn’t stand out to me, even though I was taught not to say it as a child. However, for an outsider to this culture/society, the use of such a word can be shocking and frowned upon. This can be clearly seen in the tourism advertisement that was used in many other countries using the line, ‘Where the bloody hell are you?”. This line, while clearly identifying the Australian culture, had caused a stir in other countries. Although understanding the word ‘bloody’ as an Australian does helps to understand the attitudes and values of the Aussie society.

As Weirzbicka says; ‘In Australia, bloody, while regarded as a mild swearword, was never seen as ‘‘foul’’ nor restricted to the ‘‘mouths of the lowest classes’’. Its use in contemporary Australian speech spans a wide range of genres and registers’.(p.g. 1173). This is furthered in the fact that all strands of the Australian culture have used the word, from advertising to prime ministers to the guy on his boat who lost a fish. This word is as much a part of the culture as the words; mate, fair dinkim, true blue.

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‘The Code’

This week in Soc250 we learnt about ‘The Code’. Essentially the code is what directs individual behaviour, or a set of rules that help guide our behaviour depending on the context we are in.
The code outlines the right and wrongs of certain actions in a certain situation. These rules can vary greatly depending on the situation or context that the individual is acting in. For example one would generally be more conscious of their actions at work or around children than they would be at the pub or at the footy (the different codes for different contexts). The context that people are acting in can also give a clue as to what the maxims are for that particular situation.
In his example, Wieder also gives clear examples of how the code is enforced in that context (with being called a ‘snitch’, and then some worse consequences depending the level of which the code is broken).
An example that I can relate to and one in which most (if not all) people can relate to, is that of being a student at school. The code includes; neat presentation of self (shirt tucked in etc.), homework completed, listen/respect your teachers etc. These ‘codes’ are enforced with consequences, and, in a similar way to Wieder’s prison example, they can come with differing levels of enforcement. E.g. naughty corner, detention, suspension, expulsion.
A personal example of ‘the code’ and its enforcement is when I was school, I fell asleep in one of my classes (breaking the code), in which I received a detention for my act (enforcement of the code).
What example can you give of ‘the code’ and its enforcement?

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Documentary Method of Interpretation

This week we learned a number of different terminology within ethnomethodology. The main one that stood out to me is the ‘documentary method of interpretation’. Garfinkel, in his text ‘The Morality of Cognition’, quotes Mannheim in saying it as ‘the search for “an identical homologous pattern underlying a vast variety of totally different realizations of meaning”’.
In layman’s terms, the documentary method of interpretation is realizing the rationalizations we give to ourselves/others for our/their actions, appearance, speech etc. These rationalizations can vary dramatically depending on the situation or from who is making the rationalizations.
The best example I can think of is from a movie i saw recently, where a man takes off his wedding ring. This could be rationalized in many different explanations for his actions. He could be recently widowed, he could be recently divorced, he could be operating machinery, he could be trying to pick-up in a bar. Each of these rationalizations vary greatly and some can be made in different situations (e.g. he is in a garage, so he takes off his ring to operate certain machinery). They also can differ depending on who saw him make the action (he takes his ring off in a bar; a girl sees him do it and thinks he is trying to cheat on his wife, a friend sees him do it and realizes he is finally moving on after his divorce).
The previous example is shown where other people rationalize our behavior, however, we can also rationalize our own behavior to ourselves, in fact this is the most common. We all rationalize our behavior in someway or another. For instance, I rationalized being 10 minutes late for my tute this morning for the fact that I would get paid for an hour of work to do so.
What sort of rationalizations have you made?

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From what I have understood, this week our learning was based on dramaturgy, the study of social interactions in terms of theatrical performance, i.e. people live their lives similar to the way an actor plays a role. This ‘performance’ involves three stages; front stage, back stage and off stage. Each of these stages can alter the way in which we act, for example; we act differently where there is an audience (front stage), from where there isn’t an audience, and different again where there are no other performers (off stage).

I think this is quite an accurate simile to compare the way we interact with different people. Following on from last week, I can think of another Carl Baron stand-up joke, this time he discusses about being on a date, and having the desire to fart. He expresses the he always need to fart when he is on a date (front stage), yet he cannot while in the presence of his date (otherwise he will create negative face). However, he expresses the idea that when he isn’t on a date (back/off stage), he doesn’t need to fart, but hints that he would if he had needed to.

This example of being on a date, in particular a first date, is a great example of a place where everyone initiates maintenance of expressive control (controlling the impression they’re giving off to others; i.e. their clothes, their cleanliness etc.). One aspect of this that we discussed in our tute was the use of perfume/cologne, and that we use it because we want to give off the impression of smelling nice, which in itself adds a sense of cleanliness and character to our identity. This cologne is used to save face, you wear it for others, but as a way to aid them into moulding their perceptions of us, in to an image we are trying to portray.

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Erving Goffman’s Rules on Social Interaction

This week our lecture and readings we based on Erving Goffman work ‘The Nature of Deference and Demeanor’. I found it interesting, when learning about Erving Goffman and to see how he came to be able to define the rules of everyday, normal, social interaction. Commencing his research in a mental institution, where he was able to define the rules, by witnessing the blatant breaking of them by the patients he was examining.

This set of social rules links in to Pierre Bordeau’s work in ‘Belief and the Body’, in where he mentions social interaction is like a game, with clearly defined rules and a referee to keep us in line. Playing along with this ‘game’ simile, we can witness sportsmanship like behaviour, in what we do to maintain a positive face for us, but of those we interact with to.

The best example I can think of is a bit of stand up comedy by Carl Baron. Carl asks what do you do when your having a conversation with someone and a bit of their spit lands on your face, without them knowing it happened. Do we let them know what just happened? – that would make things awkward and embarrassing, do we just accept that a bit of their spit landed on my face, and don’t mention it as to not make the situation awkward and embarrassing, by doing this you are ‘saving face’ of both the person who spat and who got spat on.

What would you do in this situation? Would you let them know they spat on you? or would you try to discretely wipe their spit off your face without them knowing?

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