Entries tagged with “mental motion sickness

Directions in the Anthropology of Contemporary Japan
Annual Review of Anthropology
Vol. 20: 395-431 (Volume publication date October 1991)
William W. Kelly
In lieu of an abstract, the publisher reproduces the first page of the article. (Link)

With reading “Directions in the Anthropology of Contemporary Japan,” I felt like I reached the goal I set back at the beginning of November of having the level of comprehension from my first read-through that I only got after a second read-through at that time.  The change came faster and more suddenly than I had expected.  I noticed a marked improvement several weeks ago, but it has taken me a little while to settle into the change.  With this review it hit me that I was once again reading in groups of words; I was seeing the written page differently.  I hadn’t noticed that I hadn’t been doing that until I started doing it again.  I think back to the feeling of mental motion sickness while reading, and of how I seemed to have vocabulary stored in my mind that I couldn’t easily access consciously; and I believe the fact that I was reading word by word played a big part since vocabulary is best learned and understood in context.  It was as if I was breaking apart sentences and attempting to reconstruct them when I saw a period.

I experienced a higher occurrence of that phenomenon where common words all of a sudden seemed very strange.  I would see a word like “door” and stop to wonder whether that were really the word for that thing.  I would mouth the word and say it out loud; and it felt strange and it sounded strange.  Maybe this is what comes from seeing words stripped of context whether it’s because the word is actually standing alone or because I’ve parsed out the word in my mind.

I remember back in elementary school when a kid had trouble reading, he would sometimes use a straight-edge to underline the sentence he was currently reading and to partially block off the rest of the page.  Perhaps having this image in mind led me to think on some level that reading in smaller bits was the way to go when rebuilding reading comprehension.  If I had said to myself, “Hey, stop reading in little bits,” would I have been able to do that… or is it that reading in small bits first is just how you learn and relearn to read.

I’ll say more about the actual content of “Directions in the Anthropology of Contemporary Japan” later in the week.  Some of the things Kelly had to say about  Shintoism clarified for me why I felt such a connection to Shintoism when I first learned about it in elementary school.

My intention is to read anthropology for a year. That’s the basic goal. I’m not an anthropologist; so from time to time, I may write heresy. That’s not to say that I won’t also write things that are just plain wrong. Feel free to proselytize and/or correct. Oh, the clock hasn’t started, yet, as far as counting down that year. I’ll start the clock once I feel that I’ve gotten going properly. I’m sorting and categorizing available reading material — year published, subject, subfield, area of the world…

I’ve started reading, grazing. I’ve been experiencing a lot of mental motion sickness. The reawakening of my literacy is getting in the way of my reading. Paragraphs are once again filled with bedazzled hooks, some dangling overhead, some already underneath the skin — The Lure of the Tangent Line. I’m being yanked and I like it. Yes, I did see the episode of SpongeBob with the hooks (“Hooky“).  My medicated mind had been impervious to hooks and yanking.  I expect discipline and focus to return with practice.

I started reading an article yesterday, “Anthropologist View American Culture” (Ann. Rev. Anthropol. 1983. 12:49-78) and I came across the word “particularistic” on the first page.  Probably I had heard mention of particularism, but it wasn’t readily familiar.  I visited Wikipedia for a quick reference.  I first looked at Historical particularism, an approach in anthropology and then I read Epistemological particularism, an approach in philosophy.   As to the latter:  “Epistemological particularism is the belief that one can know something without knowing how one knows that thing.”  I start thinking about learning, memory and cognitive development.  I remember how as a little girl I could not shake the picture of my great grandfather “driving” a horse and buggy.   My mother, with firm memories of riding in a car with her grandfather, said with bemusement that it wasn’t THAT long ago.  I started thinking of how children view the past, how it’s all a fairly compact wad of once-upon-a-time.   I recently reread Huck Finn.  Huck did remark quick a bit on the concept of time, didn’t he?  Are there similarities across cultures as to how children view time?  Didn’t I come across several articles concerning culture and concepts of time?  Should I scan some of those now?  I very recently started watching episodes of “The L Word“.   In season 2, episode 11, a biracial woman reads Huck Finn to her African-American father as he lies in his hospital bed.  I recognized the passage right away.  Were the writers/producers making a statement about race, language and literature?  Did people comment on this at time?  Should I do a search?  Hmm, I don’t think anyone experiences time linearly no matter how they speak about it.  I should at least scan the titles of the articles about time, shouldn’t I?  Didn’t so-and-so say something interesting about time? The name starts with an “L,” maybe?  I almost got it.

And before I know it, there I am hook-in-lip flapping around on someone’s boat.  I go back to page 1 paragraph 2 of “Anthropologist View American Culture.”   I’m scanning the section headings now… More on this tomorrow.  Yes, set a deadline.