SHI to the SA – The way Asians Think (or maybe it’s just me)

My university in Japan has really interesting classes. By interesting, I mean frickin’ awesome ! because in most classes, not only that I get to do lots of field trips, but also hands-on experiences. Amazing, right? No? Okay, moving on…

I took Okinawan Culture class this semester, and I finished this class last week. This class was very cool since I had many field trips, and I tried on many things that Okinawans do. Field trip to Pottery village, Haebaru Museum, Okinawan Dance, Eisa Performance, and of course: the making of Shisa.

So for those of you who don’t know, Shisas are seen as guardians. They are in a shape of lions (or sometimes foxes) and are put in both ends of rooftops, in front of doors, or on the garden. Shisa always come in pair; male and female shisa, whose job is to scare away evil spirits and to welcome the good ones.


my own Shisa !!

Back to Okinawan Culture, I personally love shisa-making class. First of all, I was able to make my personal shisa. Which means my shisa will be one of a kind, the only one in the world. On top of that, I made it in the land of the shisa, Okinawa. The ability of making my own shisa gave me both pleasure and pressure. Pleasure, because I really enjoyed the whole process, from the making of the structure to decoration. I made the shisa a little bit more modern, giving it a bowtie and straight hair. It was also a pressure because of the very same reason. Everything was up to me, which gave me pressure because the good or bad of my shisa was depending on me. How to shape the legs, what kind of mouth I want, should I make it fat or skinny, where should I draw the belly button, should I make it cute or badass, and so forth. Decisions after decisions had led me to be temporarily insane.

This class got me thinking and re-evaluating myself. Because sometimes, well, most of the times – when I do something I tend to look for opinions of others. In this case, even though I think my shisa look good, I still asked my friend what they think about it. If they say it was not good, I would ask them which part needs improvement and if it makes sense for me, I will change the shape.

I wonder why I would do that, is it because I am Asian? Asians are taught to endorse the social norms applied in the society one lives in. Well, maybe not all Asians, maybe just Indonesian. Then again, it may not be all Indonesian, maybe it’s just me *lol* But seriously, I believe it is hard for Asians (especially those who are living in Asia) to not care about what others are thinking. Since we are little, we were taught how to value other’s opinions. As a result, it became a habit to seek for opinions and hope that the society agrees with what we have in mind. I am not saying that it is a bad learning process or anything, since this teaching is also the reason why Asians are nice 🙂

In some circumstances it is important to listen to what others are thinking but some other time it is more important to just listen to yourself and take a leap of faith. When I decided to write a blog, I want to write whatever I wanna write. Which is why at first, I didn’t want any of my friends to know about this blog. It was really scary to expose myself. But then I thought, what’s the point of writing a blog when no one can see it? I know my writings may be grammatically incorrect or sounds weird, or even considered lame. But I don’t really care. I’ve learned not to.

I can get easily influenced by a blog, a video, or a quote. Influenced in a good way, btw. Therefore I hope these little postings I wrote from my heart would someday influence or motivate someone. Take a look around, don’t go too fast with your life. What do you think ?

You can check other postings with similar topic here.


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