It was helpful this week to see how the readings as a whole provided a fragmentary narrative of an economic world power, and the forces that made it so. Since these fragments came from such disparate sources, I was struck by how the different approaches complimented each other, but also exposed the missing pieces. For instance, Simon Partner provided an abbreviated discussion of class by discussing the difference between two girls, one of whom came from a more well-to-do family and half of whose income was discretionary, and the other of whom was responsible for supporting her disadvantaged family. I wish Kenichi Fujimoto would have provided a similar discussion. Instead, in his article, Japanese consumers appear to be uniform, and the contestation of power takes place between the school-girls and oyaji. But what is happening within the new keitai wielding school-girl culture?
That being said, I was fortunate to run into a friend today who spent a semester living in Japan. It was rather surreal that she not only described keitai culture in Japan in terms similar to Fujimoto’s (without, I think, any prompting from me), but that she emphasized how distinctly different it is from American cell-phone use. One point in particular she made, which parallels Fujimoto’s, was that American’s still use cell-phones primarily for communication. In Japan, she seems to believe, they are used for something else. Humorously, as we talked, she said, “I can hear her on her phone now, ‘click-click-click.’” The pressing of buttons that was the sonic element of her witnessing keitai use! I guess, as the first one to post, I have the easy job of pointing out the obvious connection between this phenomenon and Hoskoawa’s secret theater.
I’ll look forward to tomorrow’s discussion!