Welcome to Five Minute Friday! We’re an eclectic group of writers and bloggers who gather each week to free write for five minutes flat around a one-word prompt.
Sound like fun? We’d love to have you join us!
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After you share your own post below, be sure to visit your link-up neighbor to read their post and leave an encouraging comment! It’s a great way to meet new blogging friends.
This week’s prompt is: CULTURE
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Setting my timer for five minutes, and . . . GO.
A year ago at this time, my family and I were packing for a nine-week visit to South Africa. It was our first time back in five-and-a-half years, after leaving Cape Town in January 2013 to move to Michigan.
On our way back to South Africa, I read Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah.
It was the perfect book to ease the re-entry after such a long time away from the country of my heart. My only disappointment was the amount of bad language included in the book. I really wanted my kids to read the story, but I didn’t want them exposed to the language.
You can imagine my delight when I saw that the book had been adapted for young readers into a YA version called It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood.
As soon as this version released in April this year, I ordered it from my library and made my younger two mixed race kids read this story about a mixed race South African-born man that takes place in the country of their birth.
Earlier this year, a South African friend asked me to read an early copy of her debut YA novel, Alex on the Edge.
Besides the enjoyable story and characters, my favorite part was reading a South African author write about places I’ve visited, including the country of Lesotho.
Whether you can travel there or not, books and stories are such an enriching way to immerse yourself into the perspective and place of another culture.
Which books have you read that helped you better understand a culture other than your own?
Other Recommended Books:
Once We Were Strangers
by Shawn Smucker
A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging
by Kate Motaung
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And now it’s time to write! Share your own five minute free write on the prompt, CULTURE, below — then visit your link-up neighbor to leave an encouraging comment!
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You’ll find the culture different here,
with guns and dogs and tools;
Lord Of The Rings, Pilsner beer,
and contempt for sissy rules.
Refinement is now vain pretense,
and vanity’s gone by the boards
because I have the awful sense
of the fate I’m headed towards.
I wish the time were still at hand
to appreciate the finer things,
and I hope you understand
the strictures dying brings.
Fare thee well, world most wide;
I’ll see you on the other side.
I can’t think of the title off the top of my head. I did read a lot of books about different cultures that I loved during a college class on childrens literacy a few years ago.
My husband and I both read Trevor Noah’s book. We discussed the book at length. I agree with you that the profanity was not necessary. I was shocked to read about the discrimination Trevor had to endure. I could also relate to him on many levels. I’m glad they came out with a YA version.
Books do open the door to other places and peoples. I love that about books, and also languages.
Other books I’ve enjoyed – The Good Immigrant (it’s an anthology written by various British authors) and The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is a book about an Indian family that migrates to America in the 1980’s or 1970’s.
Oh, I loved Trevor’s book (despite the language)! Having lived in South Africa, I found myself nodding, laughing, crying throughout its pages. He managed to find a good balance between hard truths and hilarious stories – as colorful as South Africa itself is! I hope it helped your kids to bring their history alive.
I have been focusing a lot on my culture over the past few years. My mother was from Hiroshima Japan. She met my father(white American in the Air Force stationed near Tokyo), married him at US Embassy in Tokyo, and moved to the US in 1959. She faced a lot of prejudice and heard many racial slurs directed at her. So much so, that she never told people where she was from or what happened to her family. My mom was 12-years-old when she lost her family and home to the atomic bomb dropping on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Instead, she told people she was from Tokyo. My mom focused on improving her English(thankfully never losing her accent), becoming a US citizen, and dropped a lot of her customs because she wanted to make the home as ‘American’ as possible for when I came along several years later. I didn’t even know she was from Hiroshima until I was 9. Since, I was the only Asian in my school, I also had racial slurs slung at me. I never felt American enough, and I did not know very much about my Japanese culture. I only learned the full story of what my mom went through when I was 30 and recovering from a serious illness. When my daughter was born, I began to learn more about Japanese culture from my mom. I now, visit schools to discuss what my mom went through as well as the book I wrote about it. I have finally found my voice and realize that embracing my Japanese culture doesn’t mean I’m rejecting my American heritage. Both can coexist and even complement each other. My mom always said God doesn’t care what country you are from. We are His, we are loved, that’s all that matters.
Wow, Kathleen, you have quite a story! Thanks so much for sharing! I love that last line you wrote about the fact that we are His, and that is what matters most. Blessings to you!
How your culture is important to you is question of your own identity and how your identity fits into your culture. How is your entire way of life important to you?Take some time to think about it.Then you will know how important culture is. Culture is what we learn religious tradition, holidays,music,art,poetry.Culture defines us, shape our thoughts,beliefs, attitude, actions,feeling, relationships,and to sum it up who we are.