Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Can't Go Native?

I have been hearing about this film for some time - it has been shown at several conferences I have been unable to attend. I finally ordered the DVD and am looking forward to seeing it. In the meantime, here is some info about the film and a link to the film's web site. There is a short trailer to see as well. Seems to portray some interesting research methods. Check it out.

In 1961 as a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Chicago, Iowa farm boy Keith Brown went to Mizusawa in northeastern Japan to gather data for a dissertation on Japanese kinship. Out of his immersion in village life grew friendships and family-like bonds that have endured for more than half a lifetime.

As the camera follows Professor Emeritus Keith Brown around the community we sample everyday life in regional Japan, an area of the country bypassed by world media.  Unlike Tokyo and Osaka and other megacities regional Japan must grapple with an aging population and infrastructure, with shortages of young adults and cheap labor, and with downtowns that are hollowing out.

In an era of short attention spans we come to sense the long-wave rhythms of human relations that anchor Japanese society in the currents of global change. And we glimpse Japan’s “greatest generation”---those who rebuilt the country after a lost war and who have opened their homes and made connections with the rest of the world on personal terms.

And in an era of Big Science with its pricey technology and platoons of investigators we get to know a researcher who uses ordinary tools---a bicycle, 3x5 note cards, a simple camera---instead of intrusive apparatus, who steps aside so that a way of life can reveal itself.

Link: http://www.cantgonative.com/

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