Sunday, January 31, 2010

How to Futon

Hello again, everyone! Before I go to sleep, I thought I'd post up my classes for this semester as well as show you how to put together a futon! It's really funny because the first night Melody and I arrived to the seminar house, we just wanted to sleep, but we looked at our futons and didn't know what to do. I'm here to further prevent futon frustration! (Or at least, I hope I did it right. . .)
First, there is this twice folded mattress. You just lay it out.
Next you put another thick, but soft mattress over it.
Cover it up with a sheet.
Next, you put the comforter inside of a sheet that has a hole in it. Why does it have a hole in it? I'm not really sure. . .
Finally, you stick a warm, soft blanket inside of the hole. I actually wouldn't mind just cuddling up with that blanket, but I think this is the way it is supposed to go. Add a pillow and some pajamas for optimal comfort levels.

The classes I have signed up for are different from the one's I thought I'd be taking. The culture class I wanted to sign up for wasn't available this semester, so I have revamped my schedule. After testing, I have entered Japanese Speaking 4 (sounds right) and Japanese Reading and Writing 4 (Might not be right, but I think I'll just go with the flow). I also got into The Body and Communication in Japan, Japan in Western Film and Literature, as well as the Sumi-e class that I really wanted to get into!!

Here are some course descriptions.

The Body and Communication in Japan
Dr. Steven C. Fedorowicz
Gestures, sign languages, postures and perceptions of the body are not
universal. So-called nonverbal communication, associations between the
body and linguistic meaning differ from culture to culture. A hand-shape in
one country can be very offensive in another. The image of an attractive body
in one country can be very different from that of another country and thus
convey very different intentional and unintentional messages. This class will
explore these issues in the Japanese context. Lectures, in-class discussions,
activities and readings will deal with gestures and facial expressions that play
important roles in interpersonal communication, rituals and entertainment.
Japanese Sign Language and its importance to Deaf culture will be a major
focus. Finally, the body itself, images of the body and how the body is
modified and decorated will also be explored. Objectives of this course are 1)
exploring the relationship between gesture and language, 2) gaining a better
understanding of the role of the body in communication, and 3) improving
cross-cultural communication skills.

Course Topics
1. Japanese Sign Language and Deaf Culture
2. Japanese gestures
3. Emotion and facial expressions
4. Japanese theatre and dance
5. Japanese martial arts
6. Mudra, gestures and dance in Japanese religion
7. Jan-ken and hand games
8. Japanese perceptions of the body and ideal body types
9. Molding the body – fad diets and exercise
10. Portrayals of the body in advertising and the media
11. Ornamenting the body – fashion
12. Ornamenting the body – tattoos and body pierces
Japan in Western Film and Literature
Dr. Mark Hollstein
Why come all the way to Japan and take a course on how foreigners see the
Japanese? The answer is simple. Whether you make interpreting Japan an
academic, journalistic, or artistic career, or just answer questions from
friends and family about your experiences here, someday you will be called
upon to explain Japan to non-Japanese. This course will help you understand
how those who have gone before you have both succeeded and failed at this
task from 1853 to the present day. A central concern of this course is why
filmmakers and authors have emphasized, exaggerated, distorted or ignored
various aspects of Japanese culture to meet the expectations of their
audiences, and the way in which images of Japan, constructed in response to
specific historical situations are often recycled to justify or explain later
situations. We will also consider how changes in Western class, gender and
race relations have influenced media images of the Japanese Other. By the
end of this course, you should have both a good understanding of modern
Japanese history and a clearer idea of how group identity is created and used.
You will also be a more aware and critical media consumer.

Course Topics
(Some films will be viewed in their entirety, other by selected scenes)

The Topsy-Turvy Alien Japan

Authors: Percival Lowell, Walt Whitman, Rudyard Kipling
Films: The Barbarian and the Geisha; Lost in Translation

Japanese as Artists, and Mystics

Authors: Lafcadio Hearn
Films: Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado; Topsy-Turvy;
Enlightenment Guaranteed

Japanese as Villains and Enemies

Films: The Cheat; Broken Blossoms; Know Your Enemy, Japan;
Why We Fight, The Battle of China; Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips;
Popeye’s You're a Sap Mr. Jap

Japanese as Victims

Authors: Marguerite Duras, Jeanne Wakatsuki Huston, John Hersey
Films: Come See the Paradise; Hiroshima Mon Amour

Western Images of Postwar Japanese Women

Authors: James Michener
Films: My Geisha; Sayonara

Japanese as Corporate Samurai

Authors: Ian Fleming, Michael Crichton, Amelie Nothomb
Films: Black Rain; Rising Sun; Fear and Trembling
Japanese-Chinese Brush Painting
Ms. Kathleen Scott
This studio course is designed to introduce students to the basic techniques
of Japanese-Chinese monochromatic ink painting. Material specific to this
medium are introduced and include various papers, inks, and brushes.
During the first half of the semester, traditional flower motifs (bamboo,
orchid, plum, and chrysanthemum) are used as points of departure. The
latter half of the course is devoted to the compositional principles and brush
techniques involved in Japanese-Chinese landscape painting, (J., sansui-ga).
Five hours of studio time are supplemented by a minimum of three hours of
individual work. Students are required to display one of their final works in
an exhibition at the end of the semester.
Classes meet three times a week, and one of these meetings is considered the
primary teaching day. New material is introduced and techniques applied.
Due to the importance of this first teaching day, in order to enroll in sumi-e,
students must be able to arrange their schedules to fit into one of the teaching
blocs. The remaining schedule will be arranged according to priorities.

My Room

Alas, Nikki has moved out of our room and will be moving in with her homestay family today. The amount of freedom she will have may be limited, so maybe sometime we'll be able to hang out again. This also means that I moved all of my stuff into my room and organized everything! ^o^-
Ta-da! Here is our room! My side is on the right.
This is a shoe box at the entrance of our room, but I also utilized it for my bathroom things, since I can just grab them and go. You have to carry your shoes downstairs though. Don't wear them in the seminar house! だめ~ブーっ。
When you are not sleeping, you fold up your futon and put it inside the closet. (My poor clothes). Underneath is a place for clothes, although not much. And you only get five hangers. I'll post a picture of my futon later tonight.
On the other side of the room is this mysterious wall. . .
We get both heating and air conditioning! We also have a vent fan that I pretty much keep on all the time so that it doesn't get stuffy or stinky inside.
Mystery revealed! There is another door that leads out to a small balcony. I like this because I can check the weather for the day before I get ready.
Here is my work desk. I keep most of my electronics in the second drawer from the top and the one under that holds all my make-up.

Honestly, everything is a lot more convenient than even at Mount! I actually have room for my computer on my desk (haha) and there are plenty of drawers and I even get a mirror. I really like this place. The Air conditioner/heater is controlled by a remote control. I am glad for this. It was cold the day we got here. It also has a 1 hour timer if you don't want to shut it off yourself. *thumbs up* b^_^d


Today, I woke up early, but not because of school. I woke up to go out to Osaka! More specifically Shinsaibachi. (A shopping district). We left at about 10:00 to catch the bus and meet up with Nikki's friend. We took the bus to the train station and rode the trains to Shinsaibachi. It was very exciting.

Our first stop was lunch. You can't shop on an empty stomach, after all. Nikki and her friend, Sarah, introduced us to a really super cute cafe called "Sweets Paradise." I kept calling it "Sweets Party" and "Sweets Parade." I don't know why. It's mostly girls inside. This isn't really a place you should go to all the time, though, because they serve mostly sweets.

Don't worry. . .I had some fruit and rice to balance it out?

Running around Shinsaibashi is fun. Apparently, at night time, it's where lots of yakuza types come out. Here I am ringing a bell for good luck. :)

Another Kabuki theater!! And some Japanese people staring at me.

After we went shopping, we stopped at a cafe so that Melody and I could have our first Parfait. I got strawberry. It was very sweet with tangerines on the bottom. I also have Melody's Cherry. She didn't want it. *_*

There was an arcade called SEGA (yeah, THAT sega) and on the second floor, there were many machines that girls go into and take all these cute photos. We had some made! It was only 100¥ too. I decorated the bottom right picture.

Out of all of the shops we passed, I was a good girl and got only what I had my heart set out on. (But I tell you!! I'm tempted to throw away all my clothes and buy a whole bunch of new things from Japan. *_* It's all perfect for me.) The longer one's are black, the shorter one's are brown. I'me excited for them.

Don't forget to check out my previous post on my trip to Kyoto! (part 2 with amazing pictures) Tomorrow, I'll be able to finally get pictures of my room. :)


Saturday, January 30, 2010


I realized that I didn't have anonymous posting available for my comments. Now, I do! So even if you don't have an account, you may still leave messages. Continuing my Kyoto adventure:

But first, some information about the shrine.

I took two photos, and I couldn't really decide which one's I liked best, so I'll let you choose! Please, don't forget to click on the pictures to see larger versions. My camera takes quality pictures!

Here, there were some very heavy things. You had to use all your might to try and lift them up.


Yes, I snuck in on the picture. Hehe. So silly. *^^*

We all were wondering if these were Japanese graves, but they are just names of trees. Haha.

This is a popular activity at the shrine. You catch the water (水"mizu") with a ladel and then you can purify yourself or I think I saw people putting some in a water bottle. It looked a little fun, but I didn't do it. Lots of people. . .

So, I heard from Naoko Takeuchi (The creator of Sailor Moon) that Kind Endymion's (The prince of the Earth in her comic) cape is supposed to be the color of a lavender sunset. I think I captured it! 美しい。。。

Nothing but fans! I want some!!!

I feel like I really got an opportunity here! Look at that beautiful full moon! Right above the gate too.

After the trip, we all went out to eat! (This isn't everyone). I ordered カツカレー(Katsu Curry, Pork.) It was pretty tastey. I don't think Japanese girls like spicey food, because the girl in front of me who ordered the same thing kept saying it was hot. It was a little spicy, but nothing we couldn't handle.