Saturday, June 02, 2007

A taste of Japan

My little sister doesn't think I'm cool anymore. My life is over. She downright refused to hang out with me (and my mom and brother) on Friday night. Can you believe?

We did cool stuff, too. She refused to join in on the fun. Oddly enough, some members of Andrew's sisters have been suffering from the same syndrome. The I'm-bored-but-don't-want-to-do-anything syndrome. They've been out of school for about 2 days, so I have a feeling this is going to be a long summer.

Anyway, Friday night Andrew had had to work late, so mom and David came to campus and we all took advantage of some free, but fun, activities.

First, we went to David Dibble's "The Barn Project" reception. He is doing a mural on his family's barn for his master's project. I think it's really quite cool--but then, I grew up thinking that the "smiley face" barn was cool.

David Dibble's family barn will be so much cooler than this. Trust me. Plus, there was also free pie at the reception--even Andrew came down to enjoy some pie.

Next we went to see some of Japan's Hakuho performing troupe in concert. They had three people performing on the koto, shamisen, and the drums. I thought it was really cool.

When I was a little girl, we had a Japanese exchange student. I learned a lot from her--okay, mostly I learned how to make some knotted bracelets, how to count to 5 in Japanese, and how to eat with chopsticks. That's pretty much all I learned, but not bad considering she didn't live with us very long and I was very young. Her name was Akiko, and I adored her.

I also took Japanese in high school. I learned a little bit more of the language there, but...not very much more. I had a pretty bad attitude about the whole thing. It might have something to do that most of the sentences we learned were lame-o and I didn't agree with the teacher's method of teaching at all. I endured drills, such as the following:

Mr. Park: I am a bicycle.
Class: I am a bicycle.
Mr. Park: I hate cats.
Class: I hate cats.
Mr. Park: Cats are stupid.
Class: Cats are stupid. (Me, in my head: Class is stupid)

In short, I thought our homework was stupid, the class was stupid, and the teacher, I'm sorry to say, I simply could not stand. Had we learned more about the language and less about his mission--and how he hated cats--I think that I would have enjoyed the class more.

However, I can now successfully count to 10 in Japanese (which means I can also count above 10), and have a few other phrases that I thought were helpful and have held onto over the years. I can also still remember some of the alphabet, but certainly not all of both katakana and hiragana. I'll always regret not applying myself more...but I suppose it's not too late. I can always take it up again.

Anyway, the concert was very good, I thought. The auditorium was packed. People were sitting all over the floor; I'm sure it was rather against the fire code.

My mom went to the workshop that they did the day before so she could tell us some very interesting things about the instruments and music. They had to replace the ivory bridges on the koto with plastic ones because, although you can bring ivory into the US, you can't take ivory out of the US. They had to replace the leather on the drums with synthetic material because it is just too dry here in Utah. (Their poor voices were also suffering from the low humidity here). The largest koto has 80 strings but is now kept in a museum because it is too difficult for anyone to play.

I can't imagine playing the koto with only 13 strings. I have a hard enough time with 4 strings, I don't think I could add anymore. To me, it sounds like the koto is a whole bunch of instruments being played together--I'm not sure how one person keeps track of it all!

Anyway, Josie, here is a video clip for you to see the utter coolness you missed out on. Sorry it's so random but my camera batteries were shot so the clips lasted only as long as my camera would stay on, which at times was only a few seconds.


  1. Konban wa! I blame senioritis on my experience in Japanese. I didn't care how bad it actually was, or that I didn't retain anything, because I was just there to have fun and get the Sterling Scholar thing. But, it's still fun to have a few phrases to pull out from time to time. :)

  2. Hey Amanda!
    Nice picture. Hope all is well. Did you get the scholarship?

    Oh, and Nancy, nice post. Love Mom :o)

  3. Hi! Thanks! I didn't, at least not this year. :( But I was accepted into the grad program! Hooray!

  4. Wow, that would have been an awesome concert to go to!

    Those sentences are really lame. That is why you should have done spanish. ^^