Monthly Archives: November 2009

Andean Day?

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     Sisay, the Ecuadorian band, appeared on a TV program on November 26th. I went to NHK, the TV station, because the program was a visual live show. There were already many people in the studio when I arrived. Some staff in the same bright yellow-green colored jackets was bustling around to prepare for broadcasting. I took only one photo there when I got to the studio because it was banned to take any photos and use cell phones during the show. The place was filled with tense and exciting feelings.

     “Three…Two…One…” The play-on began streaming. The host gave a pause and then started talking. The program was on. The monitor was showing scenery somewhere. The display switched and the host was closed up. One of the staff in yellow-green jacket raised a hand to urge audience to clap. A camera turned to the audience sheets. I took a beat.

     Then Sisay played a piece of music: El Condor Pasa. After the performance, the host introduced Sisay. Lewis, one of the members, introduced themselves and some musical instruments. After the interview, Sisay began playing a suite of music. All of the audience was clapping hands and everyone was excited. But one of the TV crew forced them to stop playing in the middle. The time was strict controlled because the program was a live show and had many things to give out, such as weather information. Besides, there were other guests that day. They came from Aomori Prefecture to introduce their town, products and culture.

     At the end of the program, the members of Sisay and Namahage, the devil which is famous in Aomori, appeared to say good-bye. Sisay and Namahage, the devil…The scene was strange and funny…TS3N0276-a

     After the show, I ran into a friend of mine. We had lunch together, and then the friend brought me a shop run by a Peruvian man. I’m wondering what shop it is…It sells South American CDs, DVDs, accessories, clothing, bags, beer, and musical instruments and so on, and also offers classes of Spanish languages and playing musical instruments such as quena and zamponya. Although I cannot play any Andean musical instruments, I played the bombo, or the drum, with my friend, who played the quena, and the Peruvian man, who played the charango. That was really exciting. I had a great time that day.

Farewell, ELS…

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     What? ELS went into bankruptcy?! All of the staff and the teachers lost their jobs suddenly?! ELS, an English language school, went out of business last month. That was sudden and sad news. I was a student at the school in Nagoya for a month last March.

     I hadn’t visited the school for a half year since I finished my course. I went there to see teachers and staff on next-to-last day. Most of the posters had already been peeled out from the wall, many books and DVDs were stacked on the counter, some rooms had many cardboard boxes and garbage bags, and the staffers were bustling about for moving here and there, when I arrived at ELS. The school wasn’t what it used to be… TS3N0265

     I got depressed to have seen the piteous state, but something made me feel much better. I heard that some teachers tried to keep having classes privately for their students, and most teachers and students didn’t look so down. In addition, I was able to see one of my ex-classmates and some people I have met before there, and enjoyed talking to them. Moreover, I got wonderful news that they were planning for having a self-directed learning English group at that time. TS3N0266

     They’ve invited me to the group. I promised to join them and was about to leave, when I saw a toy of an elephant at the window. The toy elephant moves its nose, ears, neck and tail slowly by the solar power. I used to have coffee in the morning and to have lunch seeing the elephant moving under the sunlight…I loved the place and the elephant…TS3N0271

     The self-directed learning English group was named Conversation Club. The organizers have decided to have the club on Thursdays basically. Thursdays!? Oh, no…I have a class at a university every Thursday…But one of them emailed me last Tuesday and they would have a meet next day. I was surprised to have heard the place where they were going to have the club. It was ELS! I thought it had already disappeared. TS3N0273

     I felt sad when I arrived at the school last Wednesday because the chairs were about to carry out. The movers were working hard inside. Every room was going to be empty and everything looked chaos.

     In the middle of the mess, I found the elephant! It was almost thrown away as a junk! I’ve rescued it and decided to bring it home. About ten people came to the club that day, (We had our ex-academic director, too!) and we enjoyed talking in English and a game. I was able to meet new people there and was stimulated by their motivation. TS3N0274

     ELS has vanished, but my memories of days at the school (until I got senile) and friendship of my friends and teachers will never disappear! By the way, the elephant is now relaxing at my home. I’ve named it Elzo!

The Tai Chi with Matcha Party

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     I was surprised to have seen the list in which there was a person whose name was written in katakana character and it sounded Western when I arrived at the hotel. That was an episode in an annual Tai Chi camp held at Nishiura Onsen hot spring last month.  (http://moshimoshimo.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!1D0F2197A6F55843!3756.entry) Although many people enjoy Tai Chi all over the world, the school I belong to was born in Japan and the style is a little bit different from traditional Chinese ones. 携帯から 043

     My school has not spread to other countries yet, and it is necessary to learn Tai chi for more than ten years to become a master. Nevertheless, the man, who is from England, has taken a test and has become a Tai Chi master! I’ve heard from a participant that he has done tai chi for nearly 25 years! Wow! He and I have become friends and he invited me a party for celebrating his promotion on November 8th. I had a wonderful time at the party. 携帯から 048

     The invitation has a title: Tai Chi with Matcha. Matcha is Japanese green powdered tea and people drink it at tea ceremony. Tai Chi, as you know, is a kind of Chinese exercise originally from martial art, and matcha and tea ceremony are traditional Japanese culture. The title sounded very interesting and I went to the party with gusto. I was amused at the building for the party because it was a lighthouse. It is not at the sea shore or in a rural area. It is in the downtown!  携帯から 051-mixi

     The party was held at the terrace, where I was able to forget to have been in the urban area. I helped to prepare for the party because I arrived there earlier. We even made a simple toilet! Although I didn’t know anyone there, I enjoyed myself preparing with other participants. They were very friendly.  携帯から 063-mixi

     The party began with the awarding ceremony. The English man’s Tai Chi teacher gave him the certification with congratulatory message. Then he, the teacher, and his classmates held a demonstration of Tai Chi. Most of them are Tai Chi masters! Their movements were so elegant and beautiful. I was really impressed. I’ve done Tai Chi for just four years. I thought I was going to keep doing Tai Chi while seeing their performance. After the demonstration, the participants enjoyed matcha green tea with some Japanese sweets. 携帯から 065-mixi

     In addition, there was a small concert at the party as well! I was very surprised to have seen the musician because I had just sent him a message about his concert schedule that morning! I sometimes run into him here and there, but I hadn’t known he is a musician for some times. I had wanted to listen to his music once since I happened to have found out that he often had concerts at bars the other day. 携帯から 073-mixiThe concert was really nice! I was able to listen to his songs with playing the guitar at last! (I’ve asked him whether he likes singing and plays the guitar before…)  携帯から 083-mixi

     Moreover, it’s revealed that the English Tai Chi master and I have many mutual friends, too. There have been many interesting encounters in my life. My English language world and my Tai Chi world have linked. I’m lucky because I’ve met many nice people. I had a great time at the party and thought about curious coincidence that day…

Chinese Martial Arts and Tai Chi

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     Have you ever seen kung-fu movies? You may have seen Bruce Lee’s or Jackie Chan’s ones before. As you see, kung-fu is one of Chinese martial arts. I had an opportunity to see many of those Chinese martial arts yesterday.

     There was a course entitled “Chinese Martial Arts and Tai Chi” on Miyoshi Campus of Aichi University yesterday on November 3rd. I took a class of Simplified 24- form Tai Chi with a friend of mine. There were 150 participants in the class!  TS3N0189

     I do Tai Chi, but the style is not the Simplified 24-form, which is common in modern China. I do Yang Ming Shi 24-form Tai Chi. Both of them have the same 24 forms, but the movement is different. It was a little bit hard for me to have followed the class because about 90% of the participants at the class had previous experiences. But I enjoyed the class and was able to learn many things for my Tai Chi movement. TS3N0188

     The course began at 9:30 a.m. and finished after 5:00 p.m. I was exhausted…I learned the 24 forms, some important points for the movement, and meanings of some actions as martial art. Tai Chi might look like an elegant dance, but it’s a kind of Chinese martial arts. Each Tai Chi action includes both of offence and defense.

     There were four classes in the course: 42-form Tai Chi, Taolu of Chuo Jiao (Poking Feet), Tai Chi Tuishou (Pushing Hands) ,and Simplified 24-form Tai Chi. All the participants and some college students performed at the end of the course. It was wonderful to have seen many different Chinese martial arts. That was so exciting. TS3N0193

     I experienced the resonance of Chinese martial arts and saw the potency of Tai Chi through the course. TS3N0194

Halloween Party at Mairo in 2009

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     Do you know what day October 31st is? Yes, it’s Halloween! There was a Halloween party at Mairo, the bakery shop, on October 31th night, and I took part in it. Halloween is never without crazy costumes. That’s why many people in fancy dresses gathered there. I enjoyed myself not only eating delicious food and chattering with my crazy friends but also talking to many new people and the atmosphere that night. 

     It’s difficult to express with words about the party…So, I put some photos here. I hope you’ll see joyful atmosphere at the party with them.

 

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Speak Greek?

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     Do you know about Japan in the 14th Century B.C? Me? No…I don’t…I’ve studied about Japan’s history on my school days, but I can’t tell you about it in detail…What I was astonished last Saturday was that a friend of mine D knows about her country very well and the presentation was really fabulous!

     D is from Greece. She now lives in Nisshin near Nagoya with her husband. She and I met at an international event last year. I went to Aichi International Plaza to see her presentation about Greece on October 24. 

     The event was held by two organizations: AGVS (Aichi Gogaku Volunteers Seminar – an NPO of volunteer interpreters) and AGGN (Aichi Goodwill Guide Network – an NPO of volunteer guides) for their members training. Although I’m not a member of either groups, I was permitted to take part in it because I know D, the speechmaker, and some AGGN members.  TS3N0150-a

     It was for those members to practice translating D’s speech into Japanese quickly. D gave the presentation in English. The participants were divided into two: interpreters and listeners, and the roles were sometimes switched. But I didn’t play a role as an interpreter, and became one of audience. It’s difficult for me to take note while listening to and to translate into Japanese at once… TS3N0152-a

     It was amazing to me that many people were taking notes frantically while D was speaking, and that began interpreting all at once what she talked as soon as she closed her mouth at a suitable interval. Moreover, I was really impressed by her presentation! That was wonderful.

     Her speech was well-organized. D began with episodes about ancient Greece and finished with expectation for rosy future of her country with lots of nice gestures. Her story was copious and chastity, and her expression was crisp. I didn’t know that she’s such a speechmaker! No. She’s not only a speechmaker but also great performer! The event started at 1:15 p.m. and finished after 5:00 p.m. D mentioned about Marathon, but her presentation was a kind of marathon! TS3N0154-a

     It was great to have taken such a wonderful lecture about Greece. I’m positive that D’s speech made all the participants want to visit Greece!