Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why Japanomie?

1. Because I like making up fake compound words.

2. I previously thought "anomie" meant a sort of dissociative depressive state, but thanks to I discovered it can also mean

a state or condition of individuals or society characterized by a breakdown or absence of social norms and values, as in the case of uprooted people.

which sounds a lot like what I'll be going through upon arriving in Japan. Not in a bad way necessarily, though the unfamiliar etiquette concerns me. Everyone says the Japanese will be understanding of the cultural faux pas I will most certainly commit, but honestly: if you were serving a Japanese guest dinner, and they were very loudly and ostentatiously slurping their soup, wouldn't your reaction be more, "What's the deal with THAT guy?" than "Oh, it must be because they have some sort of custom in Japan in which slurping your soup is a compliment to the chef," the latter actually being the case?

That is to say, I am worried about the limits of folks' open-mindedness with regard to my inevitable brash American trampling all over their way of life. But! I'm sure my humiliation will be tempered by the ensuing comical blog posts I get out of these experiences, for your (all my hundreds of readers, har har) benefit.

Wish me luck!




  1. Good luck, Alanna! I know that you will make many friends across the cultural divide, and I can't wait to read all about it.


  2. Japanomie is not a fake compound word. It is a portmanteau.

  3. Your MOM's a portmanteau.

    What's a portmanteau?

  4. Best of luck, Alanna. To employ a colloquialism that probably won't fly even at all regarding American-Japanese relations: Knock 'em dead!

  5. You have a blog! The title could also be read as Japan Omie, which means like "the honorable charm of Japan"