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Unit 3 (Cultural Geography)
Folk and Popular, Language, Ethnicity, and Religion
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61 Amazing Manhole Covers from Japan

61 Amazing Manhole Covers from Japan | Unit 3 (Cultural Geography) | Scoop.it

Manhole covers are ubiquitous in the modern urban fabric; they are typically drab and purely utilitarian.  In Japan, municipalities take pride in the this ordinary piece of the landscape and convert them into extraordinary works of art that reflect the local people, place and culture. 

 

Tags: book review, landscape, art, urban, culture, place, EastAsia.

 


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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, April 14, 2014 6:00 PM

This is a great take on art and the ways of celebrating Japan with touches of personal findings and ideas. These manhole covers are cheery and reflect a piece of Japan that not only tell stories, but embrace history.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 12, 2014 3:17 PM

While many would consider it silly to turn something as ordinary as manhole covers into pieces of art, I believe that it is an amazing way to represent the culture of a place. Different townships and neighborhoods in Japan have distinct designs that relate to that place. This acts as an artistic expression of the characteristics of that place, since the designs are often chosen and designed by the people of that place. Some covers show historical events, animals, and even religious symbolism. I would love to flip through the book and try to imagine why each place chose each design. 

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Burning Man

This annual arts festival with a strong counter-cultural ethos literally is an experiment in producing alternative urban and cultural geographies that reject normative regulations embedded within societies.  These geographies created last only about a week, as an escape from the regular strictures of society.  The ephemeral alternative geographies then fade back into the desert but not without creating a visually remarkable place.  A word of caution, it is a 'clothing-optional' event, so launching a Google image search live in class is not recommened.

 

I'll let the producer of the video explain: "It is an 8-day event which takes place annually in late August in the temporary city of Black Rock City located in a dry lakebed in northwestern Nevada, USA.  The radial streets are laid out like a clock face, from 2:00 to 10:00. I have marked some of these streets as well as some of the prominent and favorite theme camps and villages.  The attendees are all participants in a sense and are themselves the attraction. There is no corporate sponsorship or presence of any sort. Only ice and coffee are sold. Everything else is brought in under the concept of 'radical self-reliance' or gifted by others. Most 'burners' participate by finding the creative or artistic thing that they enjoy most and do best, do it to the fullest extent, and share it as much as possible."

 

Tags: art, culture, unit 3 culture, popular culture. 


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Nicholas Rose's comment, December 6, 2012 11:40 AM
Well, when I think of this festival called Burning Man it seems to violate the social norms that we have as a society. As for the previous video we saw, people can get seriously hurt at a festival like this especially at Woodstock in which that festival's been going on for years.
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Break Dancing, Phnom Penh-Style

Break Dancing, Phnom Penh-Style | Unit 3 (Cultural Geography) | Scoop.it
A former gang member from Long Beach, California, teaches break dancing to at-risk youth in Cambodia.

 

This video is a great example of cross-cultural interactions in the era of globalization.  Urban youth culture of the United States is spread to Cambodia through a former refugee (with a personally complex political geography).  What geographic themes are evident in this video? How is geography being reshaped and by what forces?


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Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 1, 2015 9:15 PM

I thought this was a good video because it talks about a person who was probably living in the u.s. all his life and got hooked on the wrong side of the track and now forced to leave the u.s. The good news is he is seeing a country he was probably born in and never saw. he is able to bring with him some American culture such as breakdancing, music, his tattoos his English language. At the same time he is going to learn his culture.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 12:08 PM

this is a wonderful example of someone giving back to their adoptive [if ancestral] home. this is a good way to keep kids out of trouble while also introducing them to a new culture and style of dance.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 4:03 PM

this is great, making the best of a bad situation and working with kids to make sure that they do not make the same mistakes as you did is a great thing. also the examples of cultural diffusion or great as well. everyone knows that there is nothign better for kids growing up than to be a part of after school programs where they can continue to learn different things.