Anthropology has always been something that has interested me, though I didn’t know it at the time. As a child I devoured books on practices of Ancient Egyptians, Incans and Chinese peoples. My family supported my love as best they could by taking me to museums, constantly dropping off library books, and occasionally allowing me to stay up past my bed time to watch documentaries. As I grew older, my supporters also became focal points of cultural interest as I started to notice the differences between my mother’s American family, my father’s Austrian-Italian family, and my Thai/Indonesian coworkers when I started working at a Thai restaurant. I became fascinated with how cultures interact and influence each other.
My interested expanded as my education progressed. In middle school I was introduced to two interests that I never thought would ever coincide: Japanese anime and food. My first day of middle school was an interesting I was very quiet and shy since I had just moved to the area. I was assigned a seat next to a small girl with long, brunette hair and sparkling eyes. She looked at me and waited for me to introduce myself. Seeing as I was too shy, she broke the ice, “Do you like Yu Yu Hakusho?” Not knowing that she would become my best friend (even to this day), she introduced to me all kinds of anime and foreign culinary delights. I would come over to her house on the weekends where we would stay up late watching anime or movies while munching on Japanese candies or gorging ourselves on her mother’s homemade Indonesian cooking.
I am (and always have been) a huge foodie. I love eating good food and I love even more to share good food with people that I care about. Food was special to me, but I didn’t understand how until I went to CNU. I took a class called Food and Culture class, and I began to understand why food was so important, as well as different. I learned that food affected everything in our lives: our health, our politics, our culture, and our very lives!
It was no surprise that when I learned about a certain anime, Toriko, that I had found my missing link. An anime that depicted a society where food was in the forefront (instead of hidden behind the scenes like ours), Toriko was a show about “the world’s manliest heroes questing for yet undiscovered culinary delights.” Finally! Two nerdy loves wrapped into one!
I love eating good food and I love even more sharing good food with people that I care about.
The depth and breadth of anthropology never ceases to amaze me. Who would ever believe that two weirdly different hobbies could be brought together to not only be an interesting study, but a socially relevant one?! Only through anthropology can one take a look at America’s foodways and see patterns that resemble those in a random Japanese anime.
Strange, different, and at times difficult, anthropology really opened up new worlds for me. It has always been interesting and I feel that there will always be new things to learn. Though I have no idea of what life holds for me, I am sure that anthropology will continue to play a part, big or small.
Katharine Freisitzer is a recent CNU graduate in Sociology with a concentration in Anthropology. She currently resides in Northern Virginia where she works full time. She hopes to attend Graduate school for Cultural Anthropology in the next few years.
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