Welcome to the blog!

Hello readers,

Now that you’ve found this blog you probably have a few questions about what exactly it is. This first post will attempt to answer any queries you may have.

You might be wondering, “what is ‘A Japanese Vancouver’?” The aim of this blog is to discern between the Japanese representation in Vancouver’s consumer culture, versus realities of Japanese lifestyle and culture in modern Japan.

“So what exactly can I find here?” This blog will review different aspects of Japanese influence in Vancouver’s commercialism, including but not limited to restaurants, markets, dollar stores, and general stores. I will be exploring the origins of certain Vancouver-based Japanese products and companies, in order to examine how the merchandise has deviated from it’s original marketing in order to sell in Western culture. By examining the marketing’s originality, I mean that I will be looking at the authenticity of Japanese consumer culture, in relation to how it is presented in the context of modern-day Japan, and how it is done here.I’m interested in how things, particularly in a consumerist context, change when they are marketed to Japanese people who are conscious of the history, authenticity, and beginnings of the companies and products, as opposed to when they’re marketed in a Western society. Overall, I’ll be examining how Japanese culture is depicted and thought of in Vancouver, through the products and experiences Japanese companies aim to sell here.

“Who are you and what inspired you to make this blog?” Time to introduce myself! My name is Leah, and I’m a second year student at UBC. I plan to major in English literature, however, this blog was created as a project for my GRSJ 230 class – Gender Race Sexuality and Social Justice in Modern Asia. I’m originally from Toronto, and only moved here in 2014 to start studying at UBC. Although I’m white and my ethnic background is Israeli / Eastern European, I’ve always been enthralled with certain aspects of Japanese culture (particularly Japanese cuisine – yum!), and one of the first things I noticed when I moved to Vancouver is that it was far richer in Japanese influence than Toronto. With a healthy abundance of sushi restaurants, teahouses, companies like Daiso and Yokoyaya, and of course Japanese architecture and agriculture such as UBC’s own Nitobe garden, I was amazed and overwhelmed by the representation here compared to back home. This led me to wonder, if Japanese culture differs from one province to the next, how does Japanese representation in Vancouver differ from its origins in Japan? Also, why is there so much Japanese influence in Vancouver?

To conclude, I will leave you with this link to Tourism Vancouver’s guide of Japanese culture, aspects of which I will likely be discussing in further posts:

http://www.tourismvancouver.com/do/explore/sightseeing/vancouver-japanese-culture/

Sayonara,

Leah

 

2 Comments

  1. Hey Leah! As a word geek, I find myself intrigued by the word “original,” “origin” and related ideas. For example:

    – “merchandise has deviated from it’s original marketing in order to sell in Western culture”
    – “Japanese representation in Vancouver differ from its origins in Japan”

    In perhaps a different but intriguingly resonant way, even:

    – “I’m originally from Toronto”
    – “representation here compared to back home”

    Can you say more about what the idea of an origin means in this context? I’m looking forward to future posts.

    1. Hi Ray,
      I’m glad you asked about this! To me originality / origins is linked back to authenticity, and how things are done / presented in the context they originated from, in this case in modern-day Japan. I’m interested in how things, particularly in a consumerist context, change when they are marketed to Japanese people who are conscious of the history, authenticity, and beginnings of the companies and products, as opposed to when they’re marketed in a Western society.

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