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LETTER FROM THE CULTURE EDITOR

Culture can be at times an intimidating force, and at other times a source of comfort. One truth about culture is that it is a deeply complicated topic. I have chosen two articles from this past year that I felt best highlight important cultural moments in Japan tied to current events within the past year: “At Home in the World” by Connor McCleod, about the Kansai Pride Festival, and “Terrace House: A Window into Japanese Dating Culture” by Yoshika Wason. Connor McCleod is originally from Aotearoa, New Zealand, where he worked with schools and communities as a rainbow activist. In October 2019 Connor attended the Kansai Rainbow Pride Festa, and wrote about his experience for CONNECT. The festival happened just a few weeks before the much-criticized ‘We’re in Japan!’ season of the popular show ‘Queer Eye’ was released, sparking discourse around what it means to be queer in Asia, and Japan specifically. Read Connor’s article to learn how pride parades in Japan differ from other parts of the world. Terrace House is a Japanese reality TV show loved by many. Foreign audiences especially enjoyed the show for it’s diverse cast and the insight it gave into Japanese culture, a culture well-known for a distinction between public and private behaviour. Earlier this year however with the sudden and tragic death of housemate Kimura Hana, the remainder of the season was canceled. Since then fans and Japanese officials have been grappling with how to prevent cyber-bullying within Japan. Yoshika Wason is such a fan with a special connection to the show’s diverse cast through her half-Japanese heritage. Read Yoshika’s article about what initially drew international fans to the show and how cast members’ love stories played out onscreen. De-stigmatizing mental health is an ongoing issue in Japan and moving to and thriving in a new culture does not always come easy. Finding the right help can be difficult. That’s why I chose ‘A Guide to Counseling for Foreign Residents’ by Caroline Allen as an article from another section that I would like to spotlight. It’s a comprehensive how-to for finding counseling in Japan but it’s Caroline’s personal touches and writing style that really make the article shine. Navigating culture is never an easy task but with a little effort we can begin to understand ourselves and others a little better. Tayler Skultety (Nara)

74 Photo: Megan Luedtke

Profile for AJET Connect Magazine

Connect Magazine Japan #95 July 2020  

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