Friday, 30 July 2010

Your Japanese word of the week is...

"seiko" 成功 which means "success".  And the big success this past while was the PSWK Summer Karate Camp 2010 which ran from July 5-23rd, every Monday - Friday 3-5pm.  We had hoped for about 6 kids to register which was the minimum we needed to make the rent and we got almost double that.  The picture below was the class on the second last day, minus one family of 3 and Sensei Erica.

One of the best parts of the camp was that every student had at most one year's worth of lessons.  This meant we could have the whole class working together on lots of stuff and that just makes it more fun.  And for the slightly higher ranking belts, I had a team kata project to work on for the three weeks which turned out GREAT!

Of course, summer = fun as well...
It was also a great chance to introduce lots of new students to karate and to PSWK so here's to hoping that they all show up again in September!  And make sure to scroll down for more pics.

In the meantime, school is winding down and I've got a few more neat little outings with pictures I'll be posting in a little bit.  Til then... =)

Friday, 16 July 2010

Your Japanese word of the week is...

"kimoii" which is slang for "gross!".  It's actually "kimochi warui" 気持ち悪い which literally means "feeling bad/gross", but then people (teens usually) just take the first two syllables and the last and shorten the phrase to make it easier to yell.

To be honest, I don't really use it that much because, for some reason, it really seems (and sounds) to me like a word only high school girls use.  Maybe that's because I spent a year in a high school and those were the people that used it.  It also lends it self to high pitched, dragged out versions of "kimoi~~~~"...

Now, this (sort of) connects to this week's topic in that at Science World, one of the workshops I taught was called "Grossology".  As you can see, I finally secured some pictures of me leading the workshops and while it may seem a bit "lecture"-esque, the workshops really do use a lot of very simple, very cheap props to help the students along the way.  Here we're talking about the digestive system and in a few moments, the TV beside me will show clips of a real, live endoscopy.  It's great fun listening to the kids' reactions as they watch the camera slide down a person's throat and into the stomach.

Another part of the workshop includes the making of fake blood, again with really simple, cheap materials.  And because it's made with corn syrup and cocoa powder, it's edible! 

The best part of all this is that by using real items as examples, the learning becomes that bit more experiential and that make it all the more useful.  They may not remember all the names of all the body parts, but if they even remember that I had put water into the "corn syrup blood" to make it thinner and easier to pump, then that's learning in itself.

I'm actually in the middle of a PSWK Summer Karate Camp and I try to make sure that I don't overload the students with "explaining" and instead have them "doing".  And it seems to work because they're all having a great time, they feel like they're getting "more" out of it, and I still have chances to tweak them as they're going along.

Nothing gross about that... =P

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Your Japanese word of the week is...

"tesou" 手相 which is "palm reading".  Yes, like astrology or tarot cards, the type of palm reading that is supposed to decipher the mysteries of your life.

Now, I certainly don't think that palm reading is something exclusive to the Japanese (and it's not) but I do distinctly remember one time when I was intrigued by it...

I was riding the train home from a karate training when, out of boredom, I was reading the many ads on the train.  One on the window beside me was about a palm reading service and included a handy (no pun intended) chart describing some basic palm lines and what they mean.  Of course, that's what I can only presume since, at that point, I couldn't read any Japanese.

I'm reminded of this because yesterday, again out of boredom, I was flipping through the channels and stumbled upon a Chinese show which had invited a palm reader (or "palmist") to explain some of the finer details of palm reading.

Now, I should point out I don't believe in any of this stuff.  I even find Wikipedia is overly kind in calling it a "psuedoscience".  But I do find it interesting what they read into.

For example, on your dominant hand, the one line that goes from the edge of your palm (between your thumb and index finger) and arcs down towards your wrist tells tales about your life.  One thing I remember hearing about was how the "choppier" the line was, the worse your health would be.  And that the closer the "choppiness" was to your wrist, the later the onset of said disease.

This, to me, is pretty hard to believe.  How would a palm crease tell of illness as a child or as a senior?  I suppose MAYBE if you were sick as a child and you spent a long time clinching your fist, perhaps the line would be less smooth.  But to be able to say that you'd be sick LATER in life?  Right.......

Anyway, just a funny story I thought I'd share.  In other news, Happy Canada Day!!

Perhaps someone can read Canada's lines and creases and figure out what kind of future it has...

Oh wait, that's geology isn't it?...  and that IS real... =P