5 Things Mexicans Say to Avoid the Word “No”

Excellent article by Susannah Rigg

MEXICANS ARE VERY POLITE and can seem downright formal compared to residents of other Spanish-speaking countries. People greet each other in elevators, on buses, and shared taxis almost always with “con permiso,” — “with your permission,” — and “propio” — “you may grant your own permission, as you don’t need mine.”

I love all this about Mexican culture. However, it took me a long time to realize that, because of all the politeness, Mexicans really struggle to say “no” and will find any number of ways to avoid the accursed word. Here are just a few examples.

1. Yes

It’s very common in Mexico that yes means no….

Read more here

The Mexican Crafts Artist, Pedro Ramirez

A guest blog post by Rossana Miranda Johnston, Tatyana Fertelmeyster and Carrie Cameron

During our recent Cultural Detective Tenth Anniversary meetings and celebrations in Mazatlán, Mexico, some of those attending used a free hour in the program to walk out into the community to conduct short ethnographic studies—to practice their detective skills. Below is a summary of what interested one group. Click here for a link to the instructions for this activity; you are most welcome to adapt them for your own purposes!

Just think how frequently we travel to very different places for work, and how often we don’t take the time to interact with the local people in ways that help us get to know them as people. The same can be said for the beautiful places we travel as tourists. Let’s make a point of practicing our Cultural Detective skills wherever we are, building cross-cultural respect, understanding, and friendship!

TF, CC, RMJ 1 With no specific destination in mind, our group wandered down the street and away from the hotel. Trying to avoid the “tourist traps,” we were delighted to visit a local Mexican crafts store, thanks to the discerning eyes of the Mexican member of our group.

The store featured many types of handmade crafts, most of them displayed by the artist who was on-site working on his/her wares while waiting for a sale. Among the several craftspeople working, we found the artist in the photo, Pedro Ramirez—in a corner of the shop working on a new creation. We watched him as he worked and struck up a conversation.

He told us, “Each piece takes several hours to a few days to be made. It depends on how complex or elaborate they are; each piece is unique.” Over the years, Pedro told us, he had tried making different items, but they didn’t always sell. Now he only makes crosses because they are popular and generally sell any time of the year. Perhaps this reflects the Mexican reverence for the Roman Catholic Church? Many tourists are probably Christian, and crosses are an easily transportable souvenir or gift item. TF, CC, RMJ 2

Pedro has been experimenting with different materials and hardware for the crosses, from old doors to windows and tables. Using mainly recycled materials has a few advantages. For one, raw materials are free—it does, however, take creativity and imagination to see what can be done with what others see as scrap or trash. In addition, using recycled materials appeals to tourists who appreciate seeing materials being reused in the form of art. For some, we surmise, this adds to the attraction and appeal of his crosses.

Pedro was warm, cordial and circular in his verbal description, demonstrating a common tendency in conversation in Mexico—Cantinflísmo (Affable circular communication) as he chatted with us. Our small group did have the advantage of a native Spanish speaker and another member who is fairly fluent. This allowed us to communicate easily and help put Pedro at ease. Once he understood our purpose, he talked more freely with us. He is proud of his work, dignified in his self-presentation, and seemed to exude a sense of Sentirse agusto (feeling good about someone or something). It seemed he was comfortable sharing information because he understood we respected his work and were genuinely interested. Our interaction with him was very pleasant, reflecting a low key effort to Caer bién—to be liked or to like others, being or finding someone pleasant—and it is an integral part of Sentirse agusto.

Meeting and talking with Pedro offered us a small glimpse into the life of an artist dependent on the tourist trade. He offered a good example of the creativity we saw in crafts and art in Mazatlan. Mr. Ramirez’ art and livelihood intertwines two salient Mexican cultural themes impacting personal economics: applying innovation/creativity to traditional religious symbols in order to create vibrant new decorative art pieces. We only wish we had more time to explore and enjoy the visual feast of goods in vibrant colors and rich textures we saw in the shops and among street vendors. Hasta la próxima, or “until next time!”

A Streetscape in Mazatlán

A guest blog post by Carrie Cameron

During our recent Cultural Detective Tenth Anniversary meetings and celebrations in Mazatlán, Mexico, some of those attending used a free hour in the program to walk out into the community to conduct short ethnographic studies—to practice their detective skills. Below is a summary of what interested one group.

Click here for a link to the instructions for this activity; you are most welcome to adapt them for your own purposes! Just think how frequently we travel to very different places for work, and how often we don’t take the time to interact with the local people in ways that help us get to know them as people. The same can be said for the beautiful places we travel as tourists. Let’s make a point of practicing our Cultural Detective skills wherever we are, building cross-cultural respect, understanding, and friendship!

image002The two portals of this private building reflect traces of a couple of Mexican values, and provide a thought-provoking contrast. Located in the Centro Histórico district of Mazatlán, these differing window images on the same building grabbed my attention due to their stark contrast and my reaction to them.

In the eyes of many US Americans, the window on the right has an ornamental grate that is “obviously” there for self-protection. This may be due to the prevailing norm in most historically Anglo communities in the US, where the point is to organize the exteriors of houses, and the land surrounding them, for maximum street appeal—to look nice to the public. With this cultural lens, the iron grating over the window appears forbidding, almost like a jail gate.

Looking inside this window through the bars, however, one sees a lovely interior courtyard. With a different cultural lens, one can appreciate that the beauty is saved for the inhabitants inside rather than displayed outside for the passers-by. This tradition is, of course, very ancient and not specific to Mexico, but is alive and very visible in the Mexican environment. Earlier in the day, we had been on the top of a hotel looking down into the Centro Histórico, and were able to see many other lovely “hidden” gardens surrounded by buildings and/or walls.

In the photo above, the window space on the left, which has been plastered over, has a graffiti-style painting of a whimsical robot-like character, full of bright colors, dynamic angles, and high energy. These sudden and unexpected bursts of playful creativity, color, and often-humorous social commentary, seem to appear frequently on the Mazatlán streetscape.

The Mexican sense of design, decoration, ornamentation, adornment, and use of color and music appear to be a prevalent part of everyday life, even in the poorest neighborhoods or circumstances. On another level, such whimsical images as the one in the graffiti above often convey biting social commentary in an apparently lighthearted and ironic way. Other examples of this are the Día de los Muertos images and figurines, with charmingly dressed skeletons wearing flowered hats, jewelry, dancing shoes, etc.

Investigating Cultural Detective Mexico core values using this image provides many possibilities. The value of Tradición (Tradition) is evidenced in both the old window and the new graffiti. The stability and sense of history provided by the old window is a subtle reminder that the past had value, and remains as the base upon which to build—even to build expression of an artistic nature!

The bright colors of the graffiti echo the traditional colors of clothing, weaving, and handicrafts by many of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. So, in a sense, this newer form of artistic expression has a connection with the past, also.

Another core Mexican value reflected in the photo is that of Posición social (Social position). Peeking through the grate on the window into the garden, one can only imagine its original splendor. The family who built the home had to be of some means, and the house reflects their social position. And now, a street artist has seen the plastered-over window as a canvas on which to display his/her work, a statement of her/his position in society as an artist.

Of course, an interior garden may add to one’s ability to Sentirse agusto (feel good about someone or something) by providing a serene setting in contrast to the outside world. And dare we imagine that the artist also felt good about his/her creation—had a sense of Sentirse agusto upon completion of the work?

Our New Friend, Roquillo…

A guest blog post by Basma Ibrahim DeVries and Tuula Piispanen-Krabbe

During our recent Cultural Detective Tenth Anniversary meetings and celebrations in Mazatlán, Mexico, some of those attending used a free hour in the program to walk out into the community to conduct short ethnographic studies—to practice their detective skills. Below is a summary of what interested one group. Click here for a link to the instructions for this activity; you are most welcome to adapt them for your own purposes! Just think how frequently we travel to very different places for work, and how often we don’t take the time to interact with the local people in ways that help us get to know them as people. The same can be said for the beautiful places we travel as tourists. Let’s make a point of practicing our Cultural Detective skills wherever we are, building cross-cultural respect, understanding, and friendship!

Rogelio 1It was a beautiful sunny morning as we set out to experience Mazatlán. Shortly into our walk, we turned down a side street, heading towards the beach. We were immediately attracted by vibrant colors and a handsomely dressed man. While most shops were not yet open for the day, he was diligently setting up his table of lovely beaded goods.

We approached his “table-shop” and began admiring the tiny-bead necklaces, bracelets, earrings, decorative boxes, bowls, and charms. Striking up a conversation, we learned that this artist and businessman, Roquillo, moved to the Mazatlán area two years ago after living in the mountains all his life. His description of life in the mountains sounded very communal and free of tourists and outside influence. He now lives on La Isla de la Piedra with his wife, Christiana; 4-year old daughter, Adrianne; 3-year old son, Damian; and 8-month old daughter, Lulu. We talked about how Basma’s two children are the same ages as his oldest and youngest.

Roquillo mainly sells his goods in Mazatlán, where he said it is busy most of the year. He told us that July and August are the slowest months—perhaps fewer tourists from colder areas come to Mazatlan in the summer? Roquillo also spends a couple months each year in Puerto Vallarta, where he said there are many cruise ships, making for good business there. We related his willingness to travel to sell his goods to a very strong value on providing for his family. Our guess is he may even send money back home to his extended family and community, though we failed to ask him that question.

Roquillo told us that his whole family is involved in making the beaded goods, and each contributes based on skill level. He said it takes about one day to make a pair of earrings or a necklace. One person can make two bracelets per day. His wife, Cristiana, also does embroidery, and he showed us some beautiful traditional children’s clothes that she had made. Basma was disappointed he didn’t have any sizes that would fit her children. However, she did purchase lovely jewelry for her nieces, and an iguana key chain for her nephew.

We thoroughly enjoyed meeting and talking with Roquillo—despite our less-than-stellar Spanish skills. We were impressed by how he emphasized the importance of the family involvement in the business and by his desire to keep this traditional beading craft alive and accessible to others. (Click on any photo to enlarge it or view them as a slideshow.)

Of course, the first Cultural Detective Mexico core value to stand out was that of Familia y relaciones (Family and relationships). As we had learned, in Mexico the family is generally the core network and main nucleus of affiliation and obligation. No wonder Roquillo was proud that they all worked together, each contributing according to his or her ability! And the sacrifices he made, including moving his family to the city, were decisions to support and better his family’s opportunities.

Tradición (Tradition) is also important to Roquillo, as evidenced by the fact he is proudly holding onto a craft from his village, and passing that knowledge along to his children. Traditions provide stability and help maintain cultural identity—a big challenge amid the rapid growth and change in Mexico today. Helping children understand and preserve their cultural heritage is not easy.

Roquillo’s amiable manner and gentle way of interacting may have reflected his value of Sentirse agusto (feeling good about someone or something). This feeling allows people to preserve their dignity, a self-image of worth, and pride. Caer bién (to be liked or to like others) means to be pleasant or to find someone pleasant, and it is part of Sentirse agusto. Roquillo was most cordial, answered our questions patiently as we struggled with our limited Spanish, and he even wanted a copy of the pictures we took of him. Sentirse agusto is also at the core of the great Mexican hosting tradition, with a strong value placed on making the guest (in this case, us) feel comfortable.

Roquillo is obviously a member of an indigenous group, most probably Huichól. No doubt, then, and as with each one of us, there are layers of cultural values beyond the Mexican national values that permeate the way he was brought up. We only wish we had had more time to visit with Roquillo, better Spanish language skills with which to do it, and that we would have thought of all the questions we were to be asked by our fellow authors upon our return!

How are You Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month ?

national-hispanic-heritage-month(or do you even know it is happening now?)

September 15th to October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage Month in the USA.

I’ve always been interested in the application of intercultural communication concepts to domestic diversity issues. Perhaps this has to do with where I was living when I first learned about intercultural theory—a racially mixed neighborhood where people of good intentions occasionally had minor misunderstandings.

Working with the Cultural Detective: Latino/Hispanic package renewed my interest in the link between USA diversity and intercultural, specifically about Hispanic issues and how they impact USA society today. Latinos are a vital and dynamic part of the country, yet many in the USA do not know much about the underlying values that may influence Hispanic world views and behavior.

The Pew Research Center recently published an article in their FactTank, “5 facts about Hispanics for Hispanic Heritage Month.” It inspired me to prepare the following short quiz, to see how much you know about Latinos and Hispanics in the USA. Check your answers in the original article.

QUIZ

1. More than half of the USA’s Hispanics live in three states. Which three?
    • New York
    • Florida
    • New Mexico
    • Arizona
    • California
    • Alabama
    • Texas

Latinos are moving to all parts of the USA, and are no longer only living in the areas where they have more traditionally settled. A comprehensive report by the Pew Research Center, based on analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, shows Hispanics residing in every state: Mapping the Latino Population, By State, County and City.

2. How much did the Latino population grow between 2000 and 2011?
    • 22%
    • 36.4%
    • 57%
    • 47.5%
    • 63.5%

Not only did the number of Hispanics grow tremendously between 2000 and 2011, Pew found that Hispanics account for more than half of the nation’s growth in the past decade. The human resource potential is enormous, and understanding the underlying values of this group will allow organizations and communities to be more inclusive and utilize these resources more effectively. Cultural Detective: Latino/ Hispanic explores the important core values that may guide behavior and influence decision-making among Hispanics.

3. The terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” embrace a wide variety of backgrounds. What percentage of Hispanics/Latinos trace their heritage to Mexico?
    • One-half
    • Two-thirds
    • Three-quarters
    • Seven-eights

In the USA, people who trace their heritage to over 20 nations consider themselves to be (or are considered by others as) of Hispanic origin. Statistical information on the largest groups are examined in the Pew report, Diverse Origins: The Nation’s 14 Largest Hispanic-Origin Groups.

4. Over the last decade, college enrollment has increased among Latino high school graduates. Can you match the correct percentage of USA high school graduates who enrolled in college in 2012 with their ethnicity?
    • Hispanics                                                  • 45%
    • African-Americans                                    • 49%
    • White Americans                                       • 47%

What are the current educational trends? Latinos now make up one-quarter of all public school students in the USA, the rate of Hispanics dropping out of high school continues to fall, and more young Latinos than ever are preparing to go to college. In fact, among recent high school grads, Hispanic college enrollment rate surpasses that of whites.

5. According to the USA Census bureau, how many of the nearly 52 million Hispanics (age 5 and older) speak Spanish at home?
    • 47 million
    • 35 million
    • 25 million

Spanish is the most frequently spoken language other than English in USA homes, and it is also spoken among non-Hispanics. Among Latinos, most agree it is important for future generations to learn Spanish as well as English, even though a growing share of Latinos get their news in English.

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s take a fresh look at our organizations and communities. Are structures and policies in place to facilitate the contributions of Hispanics? Do we respect a different point of view, and can we incorporate it to better our communities for all members? How can we get from “here” to “there”?

If you are looking for a resource that can be easily woven into existing training to learn about Latino/Hispanic culture, Cultural Detective: Latino/Hispanic is your answer! By exploring the core cultural values and using the Cultural Detective Method to analyze real-life situations, you can offer practical skills to build bridges within your workplace and community.

World Epidemic of Domestic Violence & India’s “Abused Goddesses”

Durga: domestic violence goddess

The Hindu goddess Durga in an ad to end domestic violence in India

According to the World Health Organization, violence against women is a worldwide epidemic. Findings from the first extensive research of its kind, published in August 2013 and conducted by the World Health Organization, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the South African Medical Research Council, show that 35% of women worldwide experience either domestic or sexual violence! Globally, as many as 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners. And this, despite a 1993 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This unacceptable reality is not limited to any one region of the world, as you can see in the map below.

Domestic violence by world region

From the report, “Global and Regional Estimates of Violence Against Women,” World Health Organization, London School of Hygience & Tropical Medicine, South African Medical Research Council.

Both men and women are victims of domestic violence, though worldwide statistics show that four-out-of-five victims are women. I know this epidemic first-hand: domestic violence knows no boundaries of ethnicity, socioeconomic level, or education. While physical abuse is against the law in the USA, thankfully for us, mental abuse is not and can be far, far worse.

Save Our Sisters, an initiative of the NGO Save the Children India, recently returned to my attention when they released a dramatic series of ads designed to stem the tide of domestic violence. The ads show three bruised and battered Hindu goddesses (Durga, Saraswati, and Lakshmi), along with important statistics—68% of women in India are victims of domestic violence—and a helpline number. The campaign, blending hand painting in the traditional style with photography, was created by the Mumbai-based advertising agency Taproot, and it has already won several awards. You can see the three ads in the slideshow below, along with another closeup.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Recent reports show that one Indian woman is killed every hour just in dowry-related crimes! Most people that I have spoken to in India find the “abused goddess” campaign highly effective: it grabs one’s attention, it is culturally appropriate, and it seems to be raising awareness and reporting. In sharing the campaign on social media, however, I especially found one response (from Darshana Davé—who has given me permission to use her name and asked that we link to her email) insightful:

“It’s a good, effective campaign, but why must it be that only goddesses, mothers, sisters and daughters be treated well? Why can’t Indian men treat all women with respect? Those questions remain unanswered… A powerful campaign, but it also is guilty of perpetuating the goddess versus whore stereotype, where the woman is either a goddess, sister, mother or daughter, who should not be abused, or if not those, a whore, who can be abused.”

Darshana also shared this provocative (though challenging to wade through) article, entitled, “No more goddesses, please. Bring in the sluts,” which I feel makes some valid points—and I do love the title.

What do you think? Have you seen culturally appropriate campaigns to eliminate violence against women where you are? If so, please share!

Violence against women is both a major world health issue and a human rights problem, as indicated in the diagram below, from the same WHO report.

Health effects of domestic violence

From the report, “Global and Regional Estimates of Violence Against Women,” World Health Organization, London School of Hygience & Tropical Medicine, South African Medical Research Council.

In Mexico, where I live, we suffer an epidemic of “lost women,” women who just disappear one day, never to be seen again, victims of sexual violence and murder. Violence against women is a systemic problem, a societal and cultural problem. We need to stand up, to speak up, each of us, in our families, with our friends, neighbors and colleagues. We need to use our cross-cultural skills to help people realize, in ways that make sense to them, that violence is never appropriate.

“There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.”

—United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon (2008)

Today as this blog post was published, I happened upon this particularly powerful and discouraging article from the Harvard Gazette. If this topic interests you, be sure to read it and let me know what you think.

Also, do not miss this just-released UNDP study on preventing violence against women in the Asia-Pacific region.

Tango! Kabuki! Bollywood! Jazz! What Do They Have in Common?

TangoKabukiJazzBollywood(English followed by Español, 日本語版 and हिंदी संस्करण, below)

Tango! Kabuki! Bollywood! Jazz! You have to admit they all sound exciting—full of life, excitement, drama and…culture. Each is currently the basis of a hugely lucrative industry, and many of us greatly enjoy at least one of these art forms.

But what do the histories of these four forms of entertainment—from such divergent places on our planet—have in common?

Each has its origins among the poor, underprivileged and marginalized of society. And each was, at some point, much maligned and considered improper and lacking decorum. Several of these now-popular forms of entertainment were banned, some more than once, before they grew in popularity and finally gained respectability.

  • Tango, born in the latter part of the 1800s amidst the docks of Buenos Aires, was originally played and danced by poor immigrants. The middle and upper classes were first exposed to tango in bars and brothels. While we can easily imagine they secretly enjoyed it, tango wasn’t something one openly listened to or danced in “polite company.” Given such humble roots, I was shocked at the price of a “tango show” ticket when in Buenos Aires recently!
  • Kabuki, perhaps the most famous form of traditional Japanese entertainment, began in the 1600s among the common people, and was originally performed outdoors on a riverbed. Kabuki was invented and performed by women, often prostitutes, and later by adolescent boys, many times prostitutes as well. Prior to that point, theater in Japan had been for aristocrats only, and primarily involved the very slow-moving noh. Kabuki has come a long way, baby.
  • Bollywood, the Hindi film industry based in Mumbai, rose to prominence during the 1900s, and is only a part of the huge Indian film industry. It has long been seen as a caricature, as melodramatic and unrealistic—not to be respected like classical Indian dance and theater. Yet, these days, you can travel anywhere in the world and enjoy a Bollywood film. The industry has introduced Indian culture to the world, while it speaks to universals such as love and loss.
  • Jazz began in the southern USA from African American roots. Its beginnings can be traced to traditional African music turned into work songs and “field hollers.” The music evolved amidst the injustice of slavery, spirituality that provided the hope of redemption, and courage to face adversity on the quest for freedom. What was to become jazz moved from the fields to the brothels and bars, and eventually was “discovered” and is now respected, admired and played worldwide.

Why are these seemingly very different topics on my mind? If you read this blog regularly, you know that I recently had the pleasure of visiting Argentina, and there I learned about the history of the tango—the first thread. I know about the history of kabuki from the years I lived in Japan, and the similarity of histories intrigued me. Pondering the history of jazz, I noted three similar threads. Then, just yesterday, Lord Meghnad Desai’s article about Bollywood crossed my desk, and it occurred to me that perhaps these threads weren’t just coincidence; I’d better pay attention!

In my academic discipline, intercultural communication, some refer to the concepts of “big C” and “little c” culture (Bennett, 1998). Culture with a capital “C” usually means the objective aspects of a culture, that which is visible and overt. This includes the art, music, dance, etc.—the artifacts of culture, if you will. It also includes what it is that people say and do, the observable ways culture is expressed through its members’ behavior in daily life. This idea correlates with the “Words and Actions” section of a Cultural Detective Worksheet.

In contrast, “little c” culture refers to shared customs, norms, communication styles, values,  assumptions, etc. This subjective part of culture is generally hidden, expressing itself in the verbal and nonverbal behavior of its members. Subjective culture is what lies beneath the behaviors, that is, why people do what they do, and correlates with the “Values, Beliefs and Cultural Common Sense” portion of a Cultural Detective Worksheet.

In some way, I reflected, each of these four art forms derived from an expression of “little c” culture that morphed into “big C” Culture, usually over some decades. Could this be the way of the world?

I first moved to Mexico in the 1970s as a foreign student, and was thrilled to live in Coyoacán, home to both Frida Kahlo and “La Malinche”! I was saddened to learn, however, that both these facts seemed disturbing or embarrassing to my host family; to me it appeared that there was little pride in national traditions or “things Mexican.” People with money purchased European designer brands and housewares; handmade and “artesenal” were looked down upon as signs you couldn’t afford “better.”

How happy I am to be living in Mexico again, and to find that now traditional arts and crafts, and local heritage and traditions, are much more celebrated. This perceived change would seem to echo the question I’d begun asking myself about if and how “culture” evolves into “Culture.”

What, if any, are the characteristics shared by these initially despised but now-celebrated art forms? Each involves overacting, melodrama, emotion, and exaggeration. Usually their themes revolve around the pain of injustice, and, frequently, love spurned, often due to class differences.

While researching these four forms of entertainment for this blog post, I realized the best part: each is a product of the creativity that comes about when cultures begin mixing and changing! Perhaps those often viewed as marginal and on the outskirts of a culture can have a powerful influence on the evolution of the culture. And, just maybe, this intermingling of different peoples in similar difficult circumstances can spark enormous creativity.

As The Jillbrary tells us, Bollywood is an intentional hybrid. It does “not speak to just one religious group, language, geographical area, or caste (as unrealistic as that may be)… The music incorporates styles from various traditions—North Indian and Carnatic classical, light classical, religious, and folk music, Hollywood, Latin, Chinese, and reggae. In Bollywood films, Muslims marry Hindus, Hindus marry Christians, and people from different societal classes can succeed and collaborate.”

Likewise, jazz is a hybrid, born out of African Americans living a marginalized experience, straddling two or more cultures, and dealing with powerlessness. What creativity and power that combination brought forth!

Tango and kabuki both rose to prominence alongside (or inside) brothels, and involved bending and blending of gender identities—in tango men teach men the dance steps, and in modern kabuki male actors play all the roles regardless of gender. Needless to say, these innovations emerged from the margins or edges of the culture; they were not initially activities of “mainstream” society (and thus, were not regarded as “art”)!

I find this tapestry intriguing. There are so many art forms, “Culture,” that originated with those living on the “fringes” of society. Often poor, underprivileged, and lacking resources, it may take time for mainstream culture to recognize such artistic contributions. When I grew up in the US Southwest, “Indian jewelry,” pottery, and weavings were not generally perceived to be worth much more than the materials involved in their creation; they were certainly not popularly considered the prized possessions many are today.

How does this view of “culture” morphing into “Culture” fit with your experience? Let’s continue the conversation! Please share with us some of your favorites, with links, if you would. Many thanks!

TangoKabukiJazzBollywood¡Tango! ¡Kabuki! ¡Bollywood! ¡Jazz! ¿Qué tienen en común?
Traducido por Maryori Vivas

¡Tango! ¡Kabuki! ¡Bollywood! ¡Jazz! Usted tiene que admitir que todos suenan emocionantes  — llenos de vida, emoción, drama y… cultura. Cada uno es actualmente la base de una gran y lucrativa industria, y muchos de nosotros gratamente disfrutamos al menos una de estas formas de arte.

¿Pero que tienen las historias de estas cuatro formas de entretenimiento — desde lugares tan divergentes de nuestro planeta — en común?

Cada una se origina entre los pobres, desfavorecidos y marginados de una sociedad. Y cada una fue, en cierto punto, muy difamada y considerada impropia y con falta de decoro. Muchas de estas ahora populares formas de entretenimiento fueron prohibidas, algunas más de una vez, antes de que ganaran popularidad y finalmente se ganaran el respeto.

  • Tango, nacido a finales de 1800 en medio de los muelles de Buenos Aires, fue originalmente interpretada y bailada por inmigrantes pobres. La clase media y alta fueron expuestas al tango inicialmente en bares y burdeles. Mientras podemos imaginar fácilmente que ellos lo disfrutaran en secreto, el tango no era algo que alguien bailara o escuchara abiertamente “en compañía cortés.” Considerando estas raíces humildes, quedé en shock al conocer el precio de una entrada a un “tango show” cuando estuve en Buenos Aires recientemente.
  • Kabuki, quizás la forma más famosa de entretenimiento tradicional japonés, comenzó a finales de 1600 entre la gente común y era originalmente interpretada en las afueras en el lecho de un río. El kabuki fue inventado e interpretado por mujeres, frecuentemente prostitutas, y más tarde por chicos adolescentes, muchas veces en la prostitución también. Antes de esto, el teatro en Japón había sido únicamente para los aristócratas y principalmente involucraba el muy lento movimiento noh.
  • Bollywood, la industria fílmica Hindú con sede en Mumbai alcanzó posiciones de prominencia durante los años de 1900, y es solo una parte de la enorme industria fílmica India. Durante mucho tiempo se ha visto como una caricatura, melodramática y no realista — no para respetarse como la danza clásica india y el teatro. A pesar de todo, usted puede viajar a cualquier lugar en el mundo y disfrutar un film de Bollywood. La industria ha presentado la cultura india al mundo, mientras envía mensajes universales como el amor y el duelo.
  • Jazz comenzó en el sur de Estados Unidos con raíces afroamericanas. Sus comienzos se remontan a la música tradicional Africana transformada en canciones de trabajo y “gritos en el campo”. La música evolucionó en medio de la injusticia de la esclavitud, la espiritualidad que brindaba la esperanza de la redención, y el coraje para enfrentar la adversidad en la travesía hacia la libertad. Lo que se convertiría en Jazz se trasladó de los campos a los burdeles y bares, y eventualmente fue “descubierto” y ahora es respetado, admirado e interpretado alrededor del mundo.

¿Por qué estos temas, aparentemente muy diferentes, en mi mente? Si usted lee este blog regularmente, usted sabe que recientemente tuve el placer de visitar Argentina y allí aprendí de la historia del tango — el primer sorbo. Conozco de la historia del kabuki de los años que viví en Japón, y la similitud de historias me intrigó. Ponderando la historia del jazz, me dí cuenta de tres historias similares. Luego, sólo ayer el artículo de Lord Meghnad Desai sobre Bollywood llegó a mi escritorio y pensé que quizás esas historias no eran simple coincidencia, ¡debería mejor prestar atención!

En mi disciplina académica, comunicación intercultural, algunos se refieren a los conceptos de la cultura de “C mayúscula” o de “c minúscula”. Cultura con “C” mayúscula usualmente se refiere a los aspectos objetivos de una cultura que son visibles y evidentes. Esto incluye el arte, música, danza etc. – los artifacts  si prefiere. También incluye lo que la gente dice y hace, las maneras observables de la cultura expresadas a través del comportamiento de sus miembros en su vida diaria. Esta idea se relaciona con la sección “Palabras y Acciones” de la hoja de trabajo de Cultural Detective.

En contraste, la cultura con “c minúscula” se refiere a las costumbres, normas, estilos de comunicación, valores, supuestos, etc que son compartidos. Esta parte subjetiva de la cultura está generalmente escondida, expresándose a sí misma en el comportamiento verbal y no verbal de sus miembros. La cultura subjetiva es la que se esconde tras los comportamientos, esto quiere decir por qué la gente hace lo que hace, y se relaciona con la sección “Valores, Creencias y Sentido común cultural” de Cultural Detective.

De alguna manera, reflexioné, cada una de estas cuatro formas de arte se derivan de una expresión de la “c minúscula” que se transforma en “C mayúscula”, usualmente luego de varias décadas. ¿Podría ser esta la manera de ser del mundo?

Me mudé por primera vez a México en los años 70 como estudiante extranjera, y estaba emocionada de vivir en Coyoacán, la tierra de Frida Kahlo y “La Malinche”. Yo estaba muy triste de saber, sin embargo, que estos dos hechos parecían molestar o avergonzar a mi familia anfitriona; a mí me parecía que había poco del orgullo por las tradiciones nacionales o “cosas mexicanas”. La gente adinerada compraba marcas de diseñadores europeos y artículos para el hogar; las artesanías y lo hecho a mano se veía con menosprecio por ser una muestra que usted no podía comprar algo “mejor”.

Qué feliz me siento de estar viviendo en México nuevamente, y de encontrar ahora artes tradicionales y artesanías, y herencias locales y tradiciones, ahora son mucho más celebradas. Este cambio perceptible parecería hacer eco de la pregunta que me había hecho acerca de cómo la “cultura” evoluciona en “Cultura”.

¿Cuáles, si algunas, son las características compartidas por estas formas de arte inicialmente despreciadas y ahora valoradas? Cada una involucra sobreactuación, melodrama, emoción y exageración. Usualmente sus temas se desenvuelven alrededor del dolor de la injusticia, y, frecuentemente el amor desdeñado, usualmente debido a la diferencia de clases.

Mientras investigaba estas cuatro formas de entretenimiento para esta nota del blog, me di cuenta de la mejor parte: ¡cada una es producto de la creatividad que llega cuando las culturas comienzan mezclándose y cambiando! Quizás aquellas que son percibidas como marginales y en la periferia de una cultura pueden tener una poderosa influencia en la evolución de la cultura. Y, tal vez esta interrelación de diferentes personas en similares circunstancias difíciles puede detonar una gran creatividad.

Como nos dice The Jillbrary, Bollywood es un híbrido intencional. “No haba únicamente a un grupo religioso, idioma, área geográfica, o casta (tan irrealista como esto puede ser)… La música incorpora estilos de varias tradiciones — del norte de India y Carnática clásica, clásica ligera, religiosa, y música folclórica, Hollywood, Latina, China, y reggae. En los films de Bollywood, musulmanes se casan con hindúes, hindúes se casan con cristianos, y la gente de diferentes clases sociales puede triunfar y colaborar.

Del mismo modo, el jazz es un híbrido nacido de afroamericanos viviendo una experiencia marginadora, horcajadas de dos o más culturas, y lidiando con la impotencia. ¡Qué creatividad y poder originaron de esa combinación!

El tango y el kabuki los dos llegaron a ocupar un lugar de prominencia junto a (o dentro de) burdeles, e involucraban la participación y mezcla de identidades de género — en el tango los hombres enseñan a los hombres pasos de baile, y en el kabuki moderno los actores (puros hombres) pueden representar cualquier papel sin importar el género. No hace falta decir, estas inovaciones emergieron en el margen o bordes de la cultura; no eran actividades de la corriente principal de la sociedad.

Encuentro todo esto fascinante. Hay muchas formas de arte, “Cultura” que se originaron con aquellos viviendo en al “borde” de la sociedad. Frecuentemente pobres, desfavorecidos y con falta de recursos; puede tomar tiempo para la cultura principal reconocer sus contribuciones artísticas. Cuando crecí en el suroeste de los Estados Unidos la “joyería india’’, cerámica y tejidos no eran generalmente percibidos con un costo mucho mayor que aquel de los materiales usados en su creación; ciertamente no eran popularmente considerados las preciadas posesiones que muchos de ellos son hoy.

¿Cómo esta visión de “cultura” transformándose en “Cultura” se ajusta a su experiencia?  Sigamos con esta conversación. Comparta con nosotros alguna de sus experiencias favoritas con enlaces, si le es posible. Muchas gracias.

TangoKabukiJazzBollywoodタンゴ ! 歌舞伎 ! ボリウッド ! ジャズ ! すべてにつながっていることは?
翻訳:幸田隆

タンゴ ! 歌舞伎 ! ボリウッド ! ジャズ ! これらのすべては人をワクワクさせます。活気、興奮、ドラマ、そして、文化。それぞれのアートは今や、私たちに大きな富をもたらしてくれるものです。これらの中で、少なくとも1つは大いに楽しんでいる人も多いのではないでしょうか。

地球上の様々な場所で広がった、これら 4 つのエンターテイメントの歴史に、共通していることとしては、どのようなことがあるでしょうか。

それぞれのエンターテイメントの原点は、貧しい、恵まれない、疎外された社会にあります。これらすべてのエンターテイメントには、社会で、多くの非難を浴び、不適切で、品性に欠けていると考えられていた時期があります。今や日常的な娯楽となった、これらのエンターテイメントは、社会で、人気を博し、よいものとして認められるまでに、少なくとも一度は禁止されたことがあります。

  • タンゴ: 1800 年代の後半、ブエノスアイレスで生まれ、貧しい移民が演じ、踊ったもの。タンゴは当初、バーや売春宿で、中流、上流階級によって楽しまれたものでした。タンゴを聞いたり、踊ったりすることはマナーのある人が公然とすることではありませんでした。秘かに楽しまれていたタンゴの様子は想像できると思います。このようなひかえめなタンゴの歴史を考えると、最近ブエノスアイレスへ行ったときに見た、「タンゴショー」チケットのあまりにも高い値段にショックを受けました!
  • 歌舞伎: おそらく、日本の伝統芸能で最も有名なもの。1600年代に大衆の間で広がり、もともと、野外の河川敷で行われました。そもそも歌舞伎を始め、演じたのは女性で、その多くは売春婦であったと言われています。しばらくすると、男性によっても演じられましたが、その多くは水商売にかかわる男性でした。歌舞伎以前の演劇は、貴族だけが楽しめるもので、ゆっくりとした動きの能が主なものでした。歌舞伎はこんなにも長い道のりを歩んできたのです。
  •  ボリウッド: 1900 年代に広がり、ムンバイに拠点を置く、インドの映画業界のこと。ボリウッドは、巨大なインドの映画産業の一部です。ボリウッドの映画は、風刺、メロドラマ、非現実的なものとして長い間考えられていて、インドの古典舞踊や演劇のように尊敬を集めるものではありませんでした。でも、今や世界中のどこへ旅をしても、ボリウッドの映画を楽しむことができます。ボリウッドは愛や悲しみという普遍的な価値を伝えながらも、世界中にインド文化も紹介しています。
  • ジャズ: アメリカ合衆国南部、アフリカ系アメリカ人により始められたもの。そのルーツは、仕事をしながら歌う歌、「畑の叫び」に関係した伝統的なアフリカの音楽につながっています。ジャズは、奴隷制度は不当であるという思いから広がりました。自由を勝ち取るために逆境に立ち向かう勇気、いつかは救われるという希望を魂で訴える力から広がりました。ジャズとして確立される前のものは売春宿やバーで表現されていました。それがやがて注目され、今や、よさが認められ、たたえられ、世界中で奏でられるようになりました。

どうして、一見してあまりつながらないようなこれらのエンターテイメントが、私の頭に同時に浮かんだのでしょうか? 定期的にこのブログを読んでいただいている方は、私が最近、アルゼンチンを訪ね、タンゴの歴史(最初の投稿)にふれたことをご存知でしょう。歌舞伎の歴史は、私が日本に数年間住んでいたときに学び、とても興味をもったものです。ジャズの歴史に関しては、ブログで3つの投稿をしています。そして、昨日、メグナッド・デサイ卿のボリウッドに関する記事を、自分の書斎で偶然読みました。これらのことは偶然ではない。深く考えた方がいい。このように思った次第です。

私の専門である、異文化間コミュニケーションの領域では、“大きなC”の文化と“小さな c”の文化という考え方があります。大文字のCで始まるCulture、つまり“大きなC”の文化は、文化のはっきりと、目に見える客観的な側面になります。芸術、音楽、ダンスなど、人間が生み出した工芸品が“大きなC”の文化になります。“大きなC”の文化は日常生活で表現される人々の言葉や行動でもあります。この説明は、異文化間コミュニケーション教材「Cultural Detective Worksheet(異文化の探偵ワークシート)」の「言葉と行動」の章に書かれています。

それに対して、“小さな c”の文化は、習慣、行動規範、コミュニケーション・スタイル、価値観、当たり前と思っている常識などを意味しています。“小さな c”の文化は、文化の主観的な側面で、通常、言葉や非言語の表現の中に潜んでいます。主観的な文化は、行動の背後にあること、つまり、どうして、人はそれをするのかという理由と関係しています。このことは、教材「Cultural Detective Worksheet」の「価値観、信念、文化的な常識」の章に書かれています。

ある意味で、これら4種類のアートであるエンターテイメントは、それぞれ、長い間、“大きなC”の文化に形を変えてきた“小さな c”の文化の表現なのかもしれません。世の中には、このようなことが、よくあることなのでしょうか?

1970 年代、私は留学生として、初めてメキシコに行ったことがあります。私は、メキシコシティのコヨアカンで暮らしました。ここは画家のフリーダ ・ カーロと「ラ マリンチェ」の故郷で、毎日ワクワクした気持ちで過ごしていました。でも、私のホストファミリーにとって、これらの話題は何となくはずかしくて、避けられているものだということを学びました。当時の私には、メキシコ人が「メキシコらしいもの」や自分の国の伝統に、あまり誇りというものをもっていないようにも思われました。メキシコのお金持ちはヨーロッパのデザイナー ブランドや食器類を好んで買い求め、手作りの伝統工芸品は、お金に余裕のない人が買うものとして、避けられているような気がしました。

私は幸運にも今また、メキシコに住んでいます。そして、今は、メキシコの伝統工芸品や地元の遺産や伝統が、人々によって大切にされるように変わったことが感じられます。メキシコで、自国の文化に対する見方がこのように変わったという、この体験が、自分の中で、エンターテイメントの話とつながりました。“小さな c”の文化は、どのように、“大きなC”の文化へと形を変えていくのでしょうか?

初めは人々に軽べつされていても、今になると芸術的なものとして評価を受けているもの。そういうものには、どのような特徴があるのでしょうか? それには、大げさな演技、メロドラマ、感情、誇張表現が関係しています。格差社会によって生み出されることが多い、不公正な現実へのつらい気持ち、拒絶された愛がテーマとなっています。

このブログの投稿のために、これら 4 種類のエンターテイメントについて調べていて気づいたことがあります。それぞれのエンターテイメントは、いくつかの文化が混ざり、変化し始めたときに生まれる創造性の表れであるということ。文化の発展に大きな影響力をもっているのは、そのときの主流の文化からはずれていて、社会の境界線上に住んでいると考えられる人々なのかもしれません。同じ困難な境遇におかれた、様々な人たちがかかわり合うことで、創造性の大きな花が開花していくのではないかと思いました。

ジルブラリィの記事によれば、ボリウッドは、意図的なハイブリッド文化です。ボリウッドは、1つの宗教、1つの言語、1つの地域、1つのカースト (非現実的ではありますね) という枠を超えたものです。ボリウッドの音楽は、北インドの音楽、南インドのカルナティック音楽、ライトクラシック音楽、宗教音楽、フォーク、ハリウッド、ラテン、中国、レゲエなど様々な伝統やジャンルを統合したものです。ボリウッドの映画では、イスラム教徒がヒンズー教徒と結婚したり、ヒンズー教徒がキリスト教徒と結婚したり、様々な社会階層の人が成功したり、力を合わせて働いたりもします。

同様に、ジャズもハイブリッド文化です。社会の本流からはずれる体験、2つ以上の文化にまたがる体験、無力感を味わった体験をしてきたアフリカ系アメリカ人から生まれました。こうした体験が混ざり合って、創造性とパワーが生み出されたのです。

タンゴと歌舞伎は両方とも、売春宿に関係したところ(あるいは、その中)で発展していき、男女の性別が変わったり、混じったりしながら演じられてきました。タンゴでは、男性が男性にダンスのステップを教えていたし、現代の歌舞伎では、すべての役を男性が演じることになっています。これらの革新的なスタイルは、境界線上にある文化に表れたものです。当初は、社会の主流ではありませんでした。

私は、このようなタペストリー (つづれ織り)に心を惹かれます。社会の片隅に暮らしている人々によって創り出されるアート、つまり“大きなC”の文化は、世の中に実にたくさんあります。貧しくて、差別を受け、恵まれない人たちの芸術的な貢献に、そのときの主流の文化の人たちが気づいていくには時間がかかるのかもしれません。アメリカ南西部で育った私は当時、アメリカインディアンの宝物、焼き物、織物が素材以上の価値あるものとしては社会に認められてはいないと感じました。でも、今は、たくさんの人が、それを好んで求め、価値あるものとして認めるようになりました。

いかがでしょうか? “小さな c”の文化が“大きなC”の文化へと形を変えていくという、この考えは、みなさんの経験に当てはまるでしょうか? 話を続けていきましょう。このブログを、みなさんのお気に入りに登録していただいたり、リンクを張っていただければうれしいです。ありがとうございます。

TangoKabukiJazzBollywoodटैंगो! काबुकी! बॉलीवुड! जैज्ज़  ! क्या इनमें कोई समानता है?
मृदुला दास द्वारा अनुवादित

मानना पडेगा कि ये चारों नाम सुनने में काफ़ी मज़ेदार और रोमांचक लगते हैं I  ज़िन्दगी से भरपूर, रोमांचक संकृति के प्रतीक, ये  कला के रूप अपने आप में भिन्न भिन्न  देश और भाषा के लोगों द्वारा तैयार किये गए हैंl  प्रत्येक  रूप अपने  आप में  वर्तमान  में एक बेहद आकर्षक उद्योग का आधार है, और हम में से कई इनमें से कम से कम एक  कला रूप  का आनंद तो लेते ही हैं ।

पर क्या ये चारों  मनोरंजन के अवतार- जो कि  इस धरती के भिन्न भिन्न देशों के उपज हैं- के जन्म और  इतिहास  में कोई समानता है?

प्रत्येक मनोरंजन – टैंगो, काबुकी, बॉलीवुडया जैज्ज़ – का जन्म किसी गरीब,अल्पाधिकारप्राप्त, और  मार्जिनलाइज़ड देश में हुआ हैl प्रत्येक  रूप को किसी न किसी समय में निन्दित और अनुचित एवं असंगत माना गया हैl आज के ये चर्चित मनोरंजन के रूप कभी न कभी, इनके लोकप्रियता में वृद्धि से पहले, समाज और समाज के ठेकेदारों द्वारा  एक बार नहीं, बल्कि अनेकों बार  प्रतिबंधित और वर्जित किये गए हैंl ये और बात है की इन रूपों को अंततः  प्रतिष्ठा  और लोकप्रियता प्राप्त हुई  हैl

  • टैंगो की पैदाइश   ब्यूनस आयर्स (Buenos Aires) के नाव घाट के बीच १८००  के उत्तरार्द्ध में हुई हैl  टैंगो, मूल रूप से  गरीब आप्रवासियों द्वारा नृत्य किया गया और खेला जाता था.मध्यम और उच्च वर्गों के रसिक  टैंगो से  पहल पहल मदिरालय और वेश्यालयों में  परिचित हुएl  हम आसानी से कल्पना कर सकते हैं कि  ये वर्ग के लोग इस मनोरंजन का चुपके से मज़ा तो ले रहे थे लेकिन उसे सभ्य समाज में अभी तक कोई मान्यता प्राप्त नहीं थी और लोग उसे खुलकर सबके सामने नाचने और मज़ा लेने की जुर्रत नहीं करते थेl इस अत्यंत ही गरीब  कला का हाल ही में जब ब्यूनस आयर्स में एक ” टैंगो शो” के  टिकट खरीदने गयी तो टिकेट की कीमत  देख कर  मैं  अचंभित हो गयीl
  • काबुकी, शायद सबसे प्रसिद्ध  परंपरागत जापानी मनोरंजन का रूप हैl यह  आम लोगों के बीच १६०० सदी  में शुरू हुआ था , और मूल रूप से सड़क पर या नदी के  सूखे  ताल पर प्रदर्शन किया  गया था। काबुकी का आविष्कार और प्रदर्शन मूल रूप से महिलाओं और कभी कभार वेश्याओं द्वारा की जाती थीl  आगे चलके इसका प्रदर्शन सिर्फ किशोर बालक और वेश्याएं ही करने लगेl  इसके पहले  जापान में रंगमंच  केवल  संभ्रांत श्रेणी के लिए था और इस पर अत्यंत ही धीमे गति वाला नोह का प्रदर्शन होता थाl  काबुकी अपने आदि रूप से काफी आगे पहुँच चूका है और आज हम सब को रोमांचित करने में कोई कसार नहीं छोड़ी हैl
  • बॉलीवुड ने, जो की  मुंबई स्थित  हिन्दी फिल्म उद्योग का हिस्सा है , १९००  के दौरान प्रमुखता प्राप्त  की l  इसे  लंबे समय तक एक कार्टून, नाटकीय और अवास्तविक  कला के रूप में देखा गया और इसको शास्त्रीय भारतीय नृत्य और थियेटर की तरह सम्मान नहीं  दिया गया l फिर भी, इन दिनों, आप दुनिया के  किसी भी कोने में बॉलीवुड फिल्म का आनंद लें कर सकते हैंl  इस उद्योग  ने दुनिया को  भारतीय संस्कृति से परिचित  कराया है जबकि इसमें अन्तर्हित सार्वभौमिक प्रेम और वियोग कथा सभी दर्शकों के लिए सामान हैl
  • जैज्ज़ अमेरिकी अफ्रीकी जड़ों से दक्षिणी संयुक्त राज्य अमेरिका ( साउथ अमेरिका) में शुरू हुआ। इसकी शुरुआत पारंपरिक अफ्रीकी संगीत को कर्म क्षेत्र गीतों,यानी काम के साथ साथ गाये गए गीतों) के रूप में  हुई l यह संगीत गुलामी से मुक्ति  और आजादी की  खोज करने वाले बंधुआ मजदूर को विपरीत परिस्थितियों का सामना करने के लिए  साहस  और आध्यात्मिक शक्ति प्रदान करता रहा l धीरे धीरे जैज्ज़  खेतों से निकल कर मदिरालय और वेश्याघरों में पाया जाने लगा l अंततः इसकी प्रतिष्ठा  स्थापित हो गयी और अब जैज्ज़ को सम्मान और प्रशंसा के साथ दुनिया भर  में बजाया  और गाया जाता है l

अब प्रश्न यह है कि  इन अत्यंत अलग दिखने वाले विषयों को क्यों मैं एक कड़ी में बाँधने की कोशिश कर रही हूँ?

अगर आप मेरा ब्लॉग नियमित्ग रूप से पढ़ते हैं तो आपको पता होगा की हाल ही में मैं अर्जेंटीना गयी  थी  और वहां मुझे जैज्ज़ के इतिहास का ज्ञान हुआ— इस प्रसंग की पहली कड़ीl  जापान में रहते हुए काबुकी के इतिहास के बारे में मैं पहले ही जानती थी l इन दोनों कलाओं के  इतिहास की समानता मुझे काफी कुतूहल कर रहा हैl अब जैज्ज़ के इतिहास के बारे में सोचते हुए मुझे तीन सामान कड़ियाँ मिल रही हैंl कल ही मैं लार्ड मेघनाद देसाई ( Lord Meghnad Desai) की  लेख पढ़ रही थी जिसमें बॉलीवुड के इतिहास का ज़िक्र हैl  अब मुझे इन सभी कड़ियों को जुड़ने और इनके समानता का आभास हो गया हैl

मेरे अकादमिक डिसिप्लिन, “इण्टर्कल्चुरल कम्युनिकेशन”  (Intercultural Communication)में बिग C ( Big C) और स्माल c (Small c) कल्चर ( संस्कृति) का ज़िक्र उठता हैl  बिग C  कल्चर का मतलब है  किसी भी संस्कृति का वस्तुनिष्ठ  पहलू  जो की  दिखाई देता है और लोगों  को उपरी सतह पर नज़र आता है, जैसे की  नृत्य, संगीत इत्यादि– जो की कला के प्रतिकृतियाँ हैंl  इस केटेगरी में लागों के बोलचाल और व्यवहार भी सम्मिलित है जो प्रत्यक्ष रूप में किसी भी दर्शक के लिए उपलब्ध है यह विचार  कल्चरल डिटेक्टिव कार्यपत्रक ( Cultural Detective Worksheet) के “शब्दों और कार्यों”  (“Words and Actions” ) अनुभाग के साथ सम्बंधित है l

इसके विपरीत, “छोटी सी” संस्कृति  लोगों के रीती, रिवाज़, बोलचाल के ढंग,  मूल्यों, मान्यताओं, आदि को दर्शाता है l संस्कृति का  इस व्यक्तिपरक भाग  आम तौर पर अपने ही सदस्यों की बोलचाल और हाव भाव में अव्यक्त रूप से  छिपा हुआ  रहता है l व्यक्तिपरक संकृति ( सब्जेक्टिव कल्चर ) लोगों के व्यवहार के पीछे छिपे अर्थ को उजागर करता है l  यह ये बताता है की लोग जो करते हैं या कहते हैं उसके पीछे क्या कारन हो सकता है और वो ऐसा क्यों करते हैं l  कल्चरल डिटेक्टिव  कार्यपत्रक (Cultural Detective Worksheet )के  “मूल्यों, विश्वासों और सांस्कृतिक सामान्य ज्ञान”  (“Beliefs, Values, and Cultural Common Sense” ) अनुभाग  में इस बात का ज़िक्र है l

काफी चिंतन के बाद मुझे ऐसा लगता है कि ये चारों कला के रूप का अविर्भाव  कहीं न कहीं स्माल सी कल्चर के बिग सी कल्चर में  सम्मिलित और परिवर्तित होना दर्शाता है l किसी भी संस्कृति का उभर के आना कोई एक या दो दिन का काम नहीं, इसके लिए सदियाँ लग जाते हैं. शायद यही दुनिया कि रीत है l

मैं पहली बार मेक्सिको में  एक विदेशी छात्र के रूप में 1970 के दशक में  गयी , और कोयुआक्न (Coyoacán ) में ठहरी, जो कि  फ्राइडा  काहलो (Frida Kahlo) और “ला  मालिंचे” (La Malinche) का जन्म स्थान था l मैं तो बहुत खुश थी , लेकिन मुझे ये बात सता रही थी कि मेरे मेजबान, जिनके घर मैं ठहरी थी, इस बात से काफी शर्म महसूस करते थेl  मुझे ऐसा लगा कि अपने राष्ट्रीय परंपरा और हस्त कला पर  यह लोग कुछ ज्यादा गर्व महसूस नहीं करते हैं l पैसे वाले लोग यूरोपीय डिसाइनर ब्रांड्स और घर का सामान खरीदते हैं  स्थानीय हस्तकला या मेक्सकन चीज़ों को इस्तेमाल करने से कतराते हैं क्योंकि यह गरीबी का सूचक है l

अभी मैं फिर से मेक्सिको में रहती हूँ और यह देख कर खुश हूँ कि आजकल यहाँ स्थानीय  हस्त कला  और और पारंपारिक वस्तुओं को बहुत मान्यता दे रहें हैं l यह जो सोच में बदलाव आया है,यह मुझे मेरे मूल प्रश्न को दुबारा दोहराने पे मजबूर करता है कि अगर  स्माल सी  कल्चर बिग सी कल्चर में बदलता है तो कैसे बदलता है ?

ये चारों कला  के रूप आपस में कई समानताओं के कारन जुड़े हुए हैं l चारों के चारों शुरू में निन्दित और तिरस्कृत थे, लेकिन अभी अपने अपने संस्कृति के अभिन्न रूप बन गए हैं l चारों  में ओवरएक्टिंग, भावनाओं कि अतिशयोक्ति और मेलोड्रामा शामिल है l आम तौर पर उनके विषयों में  दर्द, अन्याय, ठुकराइ हुई प्रेमकथा, वर्ग भेद के कारण  किया हुआ अन्याय का प्रदर्शन है l

इस ब्लॉग पोस्ट ( Blog post) के लिए मनोरंजन के इन चार रूपों पर शोध करते हुए, मुझे यह एहसास हुआ कि हर एक रूप अपने आप में भिन्न भिन्न  संस्कृतियों  के मिश्रण और वृद्धि के समय उमड़े हुए रचनात्मक उबाल का परिणाम है l शायद  लोग जो  मार्जिनलाइज्ड, और  समाज के उपांत में है उनका संस्कृति के विकास पर एक शक्तिशाली प्रभाव है. और शायद इसी तरह कठिन परिस्थितियों में  रहने वाले अलग अलग लोगों के मिलने जुले और एक दुसरे के संस्पर्श में आने  से एक भारी रचनात्मकता चिंगारी  उत्पन्न हो सकता है ।

जैसे कि ” द जिल्ल्बैरी” (The Jillbrary) में कहा गया है, बॉलीवुड एक सुविचारित  मिश्रण है– यह किसी जाती या धर्म विशेष, भाषा या भौगोलिक क्षेत्र को  संबोधित नहीं करता है l  बॉलीवुड संगीत  विभिन्न परंपराओं का सम्मिश्रण है- इसमें  हिंदुस्तानी और शास्त्रीय संगीत, धार्मिक और लोक गीत, हॉलीवुड, चीनी, रेगे इत्यादि सभी का इस्तेमाल होता है l बॉलीवुड सिनेमा  में हिन्दू, मुस्लिम, ईसाई सभी एक दुसरे से शादी कर सकते हैं और समाज के उच्च और निम्न वर्ग मिल जुल कर एक दुसरे के सहायता से सफल हो सकते हैं l

ठीक इसी तरह जैज्ज़  भी एक सम्मिश्रण है. अफ्रीकी अमेरिकियों के मार्जिनलाइज्ड होने का अनुभव से  उत्पन्न यह कला उनके दो संस्कृतियों के बीच बंधे रहने कि बेबसी से निपटने कि अनुभूति कि पैदाइश है l  इस रचनात्मक  शक्ति  का प्रदर्शन अतुलनीय और  अत्यंत ही प्रभावशाली है l

टैंगो  और काबुकी दोनों कि प्रसिद्धी  वेश्यालयों के प्रसिद्धी के साथ (और वेश्यालयों के अन्दर) ही बढ़े l दोनों कला रूपों में पुरुष ही नृत्य प्रदर्शन करते हैं और एक दुसरे को सिखाते भी हैं, भले ही पात्र नारी या पुरुष का हो l आधुनिक काबुकी में पुरुष अभिनेता ही  पुरुष एवं नारी दोनों भूमिकाएँ निभाते हैं l  ज़ाहिर है कि इनका आविर्भाव समाज के  मुख्यधारा के बाहर हुआ है;  वे शुरू में “मुख्यधारा” समाज की गतिविधियों नहीं थे!

मुझे यह चित्रपट लुभावना लगता है। यहाँ  कई कला रूपों, “संस्कृति” ( Culture)( बिग सी) का उत्पन्न समाज के “किनारे” पर रहने वाले लोगों के साथ हुआ है l  अक्सर गरीब, वंचितों और कम संसाधनो द्वारा  सृजन किये गए इन कलात्मक योगदान को पहचान देने में मुख्य धारा संस्कृति काफी समय लगाता है l US Southwest में, जहाँ मैं पली बढ़ी, इंडियन ( Native American) गहने, मिटटी के कलात्मक वस्तुएं, बुनावट, आदि का मुल्यांकन अपने सृजन में शामिल सामग्री से अधिक  नहीं किया जाता था; आज के जैसे उन वस्तुओं को  निश्चित रूप से लोकप्रिय, बेशकीमती संपत्ति नहीं माना जाता था l

आपके  हिसाब से यह स्माल सी और बिग सी का सम्मिश्रण क्या आपके अनुभव के  साथ ताल मेल खाता है? इसे पढ़ने के बाद, अगर आपको सही लगे तो, कृपया आपके अनुभव हमारे साथ बांटिये. अगर आपने इसे  किसी किताब या नेट आर्टिकल से लिया है, तो उसका रेफेरेंस और  लिंक भी भेजना मत भूलियेगा. धन्यवाद!

Cantemos las mañanitas

(English follows the Spanish)
Para muchos de nosotros los que hemos pasado alguna temporada de nuestra vida en un punto geográfico de América Latina, escuchar Las mañanitas nos hace brincar el corazón. Las hemos tomado prestadas de la tierra azteca, de México lindo y querido y nos hemos apropiado de más de una versión para celebrar el día de cumpleaños.

Pues bien, cantemos hoy Las mañanitas al unísono para este blog y el proyecto que Cultural Detective ha emprendido con el fin de llevarnos de la mano en el camino de la interculturalidad. En uno de sus versos dice  “despierta mi bien despierta, mira que ya amaneció, ya los pajaritos cantan la luna ya se ocultó”.

(Una versión con un personaje italiano que conocí como argentino, el Topo Gigio)

Que salga el sol entonces para todos y podamos seguir enriqueciendo este espacio, este encuentro de mundos, ideas, sabores y colores. Que podamos entretodos establecer el entendimiento de las mentes que puedan traer juntos a los pueblos.

Felicidades Dianne, Felicidades Cultural Detective.

Let’s Sing Happy Birthday

For many of us who have passed a portion of our lives in the geographic area that is Latin America, hearing “Las Mañanitas” brings joy to our hearts. We have received the song on loan from the land of the Aztecs, from “Mexico beautiful and beloved,” and we have appropriated more than one version of it to celebrate our birthdays.

So, today, we sing Las Mañanitas in unison for this blog and for the Cultural Detective project, which has been undertaken to promote our journey towards interculturalism. In one of the song’s verses it says, “Wake up my dear, wake up, look what has risen, the birds are already singing and the moon has disappeared.”

The above video is a version of the song with Topo Gigio, an Italian personality that I thought was an Argentino.

I trust the sun will come out for everyone, and that we can continue enriching this space, this meeting of worlds, ideas, flavors and colors. I hope that together we can establish an understanding of the minds that brings people of all communities together.

Congratulations, Dianne, congratulations Cultural Detective.

Get in Intercultural Shape for the New Year!

New Year Collage

Welcome to the New Year — at least for those of you following the Gregorian calendar! Are you ready? Is your organization poised and equipped to make significant positive contributions to this planet of ours? Do you have organizational traditions to kick-off the new year and encourage employees to strive towards new goals?

Most cultures of the world have very special traditions for sending out the old year and bringing in the new one. In Mexico where I live women wear special undergarments on New Year’s Eve — either red for love or yellow for gold or money — symbolizing what they most want to receive in the year ahead. Those who would like to travel carry a suitcase out into the street and around the block.

In Japan where I lived previously, the end of the year is a time to clean the house, purging it of things from the past that are no longer needed. We cook osechi foods, the beautiful make-ahead kinds of delicacies that will feed family and visitors through the first few days of the new year, and allow everyone — including the cook — to enjoy a respite.

What are your traditions for saying goodbye to the past year and greeting the future? Do you make resolutions, set goals, or make plans to learn something new?

My absolute favorite New Year’s was spent with good friends nearly two decades ago. On New Year’s Eve, we wrote down the hurts we’d experienced, the negative habits or memories we continued to carry and wanted to get rid of, the qualities about ourselves that no longer served us, the visions of ourselves, others or our businesses that were not constructive. We made a big bonfire, and we had a field day burning these no-longer-wanted items. Oh how liberating it was! We all felt so light, so energized!

On New Year’s morning we woke before sunrise. We had written, on paper we’d folded into origami boats, the qualities we wanted to receive and nurture in the new year. The positive habits and qualities we wanted to cultivate, relationships and moments we wanted to consciously treasure, and healthy visions of ourselves, others and our businesses that we wanted to hold close. We launched these items into the ocean, setting them into motion.

The beginning of a year is a good time to reflect on our cross-cultural successes (Cultural Effectives) as well as to learn from our mistakes and misunderstandings (Cultural Defectives) and decide what kind of year we want in 2013. Back in October we published a post about intercultural fitness. In November we reiterated why such fitness is so important, why organizations need intercultural fitness.

Maybe reading these posts has helped you to decide what to throw in the fire and what to set out into the water? If your fire is full of cultural missteps and your boat contains a desire to expand your intercultural competence, maybe it’s time you took action!

Cultural Detective wants to encourage you to get fit, too — interculturally fit! Much like committing to an exercise plan or a sensible nutrition plan, committing to prioritizing intercultural competence in the coming year will serve us well personally, in our families, as well as in our work lives. Also, just like a gym, it can be fun. We can spend as much time as we like and we might meet some really interesting people.

The new year is full of special offers for gym memberships, exercise classes, and diet programs — ways to encourage you to get fit in 2013. Just as gyms and diet programs offer incentives this time of year, the Cultural Detective Online intercultural competence gym is offering complimentary three-day subscriptions to help get you focused and motivated!

Here is how to get yours:

  1. Log on to http://www.culturaldetective.com/cdonline/orders/trial before January 31, 2013.
  2. Enter your name, email address and the promotional code: NewYearFitness
  3. You will receive a verification email from cdonline@culturaldetective.com. Be sure to clear it in your spam filter! Click the link in the email, follow the instructions, and explore a new way to improve your intercultural fitness 24/7!

We hope you will take advantage of this special offer to learn how Cultural Detective Online can assist you at home and abroad, with colleagues and friends, in your community and in your organization! Feel free to share this offer with those you care about — we think the world could benefit from a little more intercultural competence on everyone’s part!

Best wishes for a peaceful year ahead from the Cultural Detective team!

Want to Feel Ukiuki, Pichipichi and Pinpin? Japanese Food Onomatopoeia

I have been quite ujiuji (melancholy) in recent weeks, feeling uzu-uzu (a burning desire) to hear and speak Japanese. Living in a small city in Mexico, zenzen (almost never) can(‘t) I hear Japanese, and my heart gets shoboshobo (sad).

Joe’s recent blog post on the French food fixation only fueled more tsukuzuku (heartfelt thinking) on my part. As you may have already figured out from my wazawaza (purposeful) language, I’ve been thinking about Japanese sound symbolism, particularly in the context of food.

Whether you eat gatsugatsu (gobble or devour) or potsupotsu (little by little), if you want to talk about food in Japanese you will be using words that mimetically represent feelings and senses. As the originators of the concept of umami (pleasant savory taste — one of the five basic tastes), Japanese tend to mokumoku (munch) the way they listen: with all their senses. Taste, texture, and temperature, sound, smell and sensation… all are important elements that combine to keep people ukiuki (cheerful), pichipichi (young and vigorous) and pinpin (in good health).

While many people think of Japanese food as the 
tastes and textures of sashimi or sushi, a typical meal may also contain iroriro-na (a variety of) food including boiled, broiled, fried or pickled dishes, a soup and hokahoka (warm) steamed white rice. Is your stomach starting to guuguu (growl hungrily)?

For the fresh or raw component of your meal, would you like something shakishaki — crisp as in veggies or fruits, e.g., lettuce washed in cold water? Or would you prefer something more korikori — crunchy and crisp, as in fresh raw abalone? Be sure to rinse the abalone well, so it doesn’t taste jarijari (gritty) or zarazara (coarse). Maybe you want something sharishari — tangy and juicy, like an Asian nashi pear or sherbet? Or is your tongue like mine, and craves the piripiri (sting) of wasabi or fugu (blowfish)? Any of these dishes will require chokichoki (cutting with a knife) preparation.

A boiled dish in our meal might include pumpkin nimono, stewed hokuhoku (steamy and dense but not soggy), or something more furufuru (soft and jiggly) like boiled eggs. Maybe we should make some chikuwa (fish paste roll) for oden till it’s buyobuyo (swollen and soft) and fuwafuwa (fluffy)? Oh that sounds good! There are just so many possibilities! So many tastes and textures!

There are madamada (still) ippai-ippai (lots) more onomatopoeia to consider. What about a main dish? Shall we eat something sakusaku (freshly cooked crisp and light) like tempura shrimp? I could fry it till the shrimp inside are puripuri (crispy with a nice resistance) and the breading is poripori (quietly crunchy). Perhaps you are really craving the shikoshiko (chewy, elastic firmness) of some udon noodles? Never over-boil the pasta so it becomes betobeto (sticky and gummy); rather, you’ll probably be wakuwaku (trembling with excitement) to eat your tsurutsuru (shiny and slurpy) noodles and gabugabu (drink heartily) a beer!

Instead of your normal bowl of rice you might enjoy something a bit more mochimochi (soft, sticky and chewy) or netoneto (glutinous and gummy) like sticky rice. Maybe rice that’s a bit more pasapasa (dry), like jasmine rice, sounds appetizing? The kunkun (smell) is so nice! Tabitabi (once in a while), though, I like the parapara (moist but loose) of fried rice.

Even though by now you are panpan (full), pukupuku (swollen), and maybe even kokkurikokkuri (nodding off), a karikari (hard and crispy) biscotti, a fukafuka (soft and fluffy) cream puff, or even some purupuru (wiggly, jiggly) kanten (gelatin) for dessert might refresh your soul. Maybe just a handful of something punyupunyu, like some gummis?

After such a big meal your throat may feel karakara (thirsty). I’d definitely recommend a chibichibi (sip) of a kachikachi (ice cold) shuwashuwa (sparkling) beverage over a betabeta (sticky) dessert wine. It can help settle any mukamuka (queasiness) you might have.

What if you’re not really that hungry, and you just want to mushamusha (munch)? You might want the paripari (thin and crispy) of nori (toasted seaweed) or chips. Sometimes, though, we crave a louder pachipachi (crispy snapping sound), like the baribari (loud crunchiness) of sembei (rice crackers) or the kachikachi (crisp firmness) of arare (another kind of rice cracker).

For those of you interested in this subject, I found a really cool study conducted by a cross-disciplinary group of students (information science, engineering, medicine) from the University of Tokyo. They “harvested” online food reviews in Japanese to find the most common food-related onomatopoeia. How cool is that — a terrific application of science to language and culture studies! Below is one of the tables from their report, detailing the most commonly occurring onomatopoeia for food.

I also found several online dictionaries of Japanese onomatopoeia. The first is Nihongo Resources, where you can search in English or Japanese. The second is Giongo Dictionary, where you can sign up for a daily email to keep learning. A third one, if you read Japanese, is Onomatopedia. I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Japanese speakers: Please share some more of your favorite 擬音語 (giongo) and insights with us! There are of course regional (and personal!) variations of many of these!

Speakers of other languages: We’ll be happy to publish it if you send us your post about unique features in your language. Thanks!