I am Risa Takenaka, a senior here at PC, and I will be blogging about my research experience this summer. Between my unique sense of humor and lighthearted writing style, I hope my posts can emulate that of a professional blogger – an unlikely goal considering the two sentences above took me a few hours to formulate, but I will keep my spirits high for the time-being.
Before I tell you about the nuts and bolts of my research in philosophy with Dr. Arroyo, here are some things you should know about me. I’d call them fun facts, but they’re truly not that fun:
- I was born in Japan, raised in Missouri, and, somehow, ended up here in Providence, Rhode Island. I visited Tokyo this winter break where my entire extended family still lives and had the time of my life.
- I am majoring in applied physics and minoring in philosophy and math. I know, this screams “I am really indecisive and couldn’t fully commit to one thing.” Not surprisingly, this seems to be a recurring theme in other areas of my life.
- My sister is a Friar, too! She claimed all throughout high school that she would not even consider going to college with me. Then she followed me here – all the way from Missouri.
- I was in Ghana last week. I went on the Maymester trip despite a rocky start – my passport and visa were MIA until 10 days before my departure, and I was also told my malaria medicine would come in on time – and made it there and back safely against all odds. It was amazing, and I could not have asked for a better beginning to my summer.
- I really love to eat. I am one hungry girl, and I somewhat pride myself in how much I eat, except when I am at dinner parties eating my eighth plate when everyone else has already moved on to dessert.
That’s probably enough for now. So now the real question: Philosophy research? What does that even mean?
I have an answer! Kind of. As I explained above, I am a Japanese citizen who has been living in America as a permanent resident for the past two decades. During my childhood spent in Missouri, I had a rich exposure to American ideologies and culture from my peers and community, and this has continued on with my college education here in the States. But, I have also had my fair share of a Japanese twist on my upbringing.
Growing up, I couldn’t help but notice the contrast between my parents’ teaching philosophies and those of my American counterparts. This fascination resurfaced when I visited Japan this winter and noticed the immense differences in early childhood education as well. What is the reason for this – why do America and Japan nurture and teach their young children so differently? My ongoing curiosity for this concept has prompted me to take on the challenge of answering this question this summer. Working closely with Dr. Arroyo from the Philosophy department, I will be researching how the collectivist and individualist tendencies of Japanese and American culture, respectively, inform values and normative standards regarding the “correct” way to raise children in each country.
With this research opportunity, I will analyze what specific values are at work in each ethical framework and how these translate to practical differences in raising and teaching young children. Additionally, I hope to write a piece that can bridge some of the gaps in knowledge of the ways in which culturally influenced value systems influence, simply put, “the way things are done” in different areas of the world.