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Japanese class wraps up

This Monday was the last Japanese class of the semester. To liven things up, we each had to make a short presentation to the class on some aspect of Japanese culture. I read to the class a folktale, Tsuru No Ongaeshi (Crane’s Requital of a Favor). It’s an all-hiragana children’s book that I picked up at Powell’s in Portland. Trying to understand it was a humbling experience; it’s a children’s book, with no kanji, for goodness sake! Some words were apparently too antiquated to appear in my dictionary. A lot of the grammar was unfamiliar to me. It’s a good thing it had lots of (beautiful) pictures. :)

Another classmate brought in a bunch of manga and talked about it. The shounen (boys') manga seemed to have detailed artworks and serious, gory plots. The shoujo (girls') manga seemed to have simpler artwork and more social plots. Our teacher said that in Japan, the shounen manga has more complex language than the shoujo, as if it's written for older kids.

One classmate brought in a few nonfiction books he got in Japan: a couple collections of jokes about gaijin (foreigners to Japan) and a book of pretty woodblock artwork depicting Kyoto landmarks. Another classmate talked about kirigami, the art of cut paper. And another simply read an article on Japanese gift-wrapping almost word-for-word.

Due to some misunderstanding about whether we were to bring food, only the teacher and the sisters who are into anime and manga brought food. The teacher brought inarizushi; the sisters, whom I mentioned back in July, brought a bunch of Filipino specialties: buko sa malamig (with flecks of coconut flesh floating in it), kutsinta, something with rice and ube, and a colorful layered dessert with a flan-like consistency.

Our teacher gave us little gifts: a handmade lampshade, handmade picture frames, and Hello Kitty cell phone charms. She's so nice! It made the bad news all the sadder: she found out last week that she has cancer. And she has no health insurance. She may have to return to Japan, which has a universal health care system, to get treatment. Stupid American health care system. We're all worried about her now.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 9th, 2004 06:04 pm (UTC)
For food, you should have taken natto. Bwa hah hah!
Dec. 9th, 2004 06:40 pm (UTC)
Ick! (Not that I've ever tried natto, but I can tell I wouldn't like it.)
Dec. 9th, 2004 10:16 pm (UTC)
Well, I've got some in the fridge, but I think there might be a riot if I opened it during Annacon. *lightbulb* But if con-funk should rear its ugly head (we've only one shower, after all), I could always bust out the natto to cover the stench!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )