Alice Padron: Volunteering at the Manga Museum

My CIP is working as a volunteer at the Kyoto International Manga Museum. I was told before going into it that it would not be a CIP that had as many opportunities to speak at length with Japanese people as many other CIPs, and for the majority of days I came in this has been true. Most days I worked around the main areas of the museum arranging bookshelves, but other days I worked in the back making files or labeling books’ spines. The people of the Manga Museum, however, taught me a lot about Japanese workplace etiquette – which mainly involves polite greetings. I think this created a workplace atmosphere based on respect and awareness of the work other coworkers are doing. These kinds of greetings tend to be much more casual in American workplaces, and are less of an expectation than here. The setting also gave me an opportunity to practice my keigo, which is something I definitely need to work on. Other than these days, however, volunteering at the Manga Museum gave me opportunities to speak Japanese at length that I did not expect to have. The fact that I am a Boston University student in Kyoto during the two cities’ 60th year of being sister cities resulted in me being interviewed by people from Kyoto City Hall about both cities, my time in Kyoto, and other related topics. I also have talked to Museum employees who are going to the Boston Japan Festival this year and wanted to know more about Boston and the average American person’s knowledge concerning manga. These opportunities really made me feel like I was helpful to people in Kyoto through my involvement during my time at the Museum. I have truly enjoyed my time at my CIP this semester.

2 thoughts on “Alice Padron: Volunteering at the Manga Museum

  1. Sounds like a chill job at one of the best places, the manga museum! And that workplace knowledge sounds useful too. It’s also a fortunate chance about the Boston-Kyoto events. How did your interviews come about?

    I think the difference between manga culture in Japan and the U. S. is really interesting. I think the U. S. only receives particularly popular works, and famous series that began in the 90s or 2000s can still be found on the shelves. It could be said that the U. S. is behind in the manga business, but maybe it is just different. After all, greater amounts of translated manga are filling bookshelves at major bookstores all the time. It’s a shame that manga is about twice as expensive in the U. S. and UK as it is in Japan though! What did you learn or tell the interviewers about manga culture?

    • Thanks for the comment, Mars! It was very chill and cool. I’m not actually 100% sure about how the interview happened. I think that people at the Kyoto City Hall involved with the Kyoto-Boston sister cities 60th anniversary stuff heard about me and thought it was a neat coincidence.

      I mostly told the interviewers about my own experiences with manga, and the fact that only more popular works get brought to the U.S. definitely influenced what I was familiar with at first!