I bought a new camera and mike mainly for the purposes of making vlog type videos and it took me a while to actually make one and post. So I made one about why it took me a while.
It’s pretty bad in a number of ways, but honestly, I think things will improve as I get used to it. If you have advice I’d love to improve.
A lot of the posts on this have been pretty specific. About particular events, topics and so on. Mainly because I document the mundanity of daily life on facebook so meticulously that I am not convinced it is worth typing in a longer form. However, we have hit about three months of living in Japan, so I guess it is important to do some self reflection, and hopefully this will be of some use to a JET somewhere out there trying to find out something…
So, in a small class recently, I was using a game of Guess Who! the classic boardgame by Hasbro, which the school had in English. We were using it to practice expressions like “Do you have Blonde hair?” We have played it multiple times with this group and it usually serves as kind of a warm up activity. Despite playing it about 3 or 4 times with the group previously, it was only this time that I had never really thought about the gender balance in the game, but it is rather startling! We usually expect less women in these games than men. So in a game with 24 or so faces, we could maybe hope for maybe 8-10 women right? Then, just as I was thinking of how in the next round I might explain how to optimize question asking a student asked what should logically be the best question for this, the student said what should be one of the best questions in the game…
“Are you a boy?”
“No I am not,” was the response.
So, she flipped down all the women on the Guess Who board. All 5 of them.
Recently, Saijo, the town I live in, had one of its largest events, the Saijo Matsuri. Many workplaces give people time off, or expect most staff to take the two days the festival runs for off. While I was able to attend most of it, and watch very closely, I must admit I am not aware of the intricacies and so this is mostly what I learned from observation and a few conversations.
The Saijo Matsuri revolves around these massive objects called Danjiri, massive ‘portable’ shrines that require at least 20 people, usually more to lift. They weigh over 500 kilos and are about 5 metres tall. Many of them have intricate carvings on them. Each part of the city has its own danjiri, and some of these sections can be pretty small, the area around the shopping arcade is home to three separate danjiri teams.
Inside the danjiri are drums, which if you live in Saijo, you will know the rhythm well before the festival. People were practicing soon after I arrived in July, so the constant beat soon was tuned out as a distant sound. But come the festival, when dozens of these shrines are carrying the drummers around town it is a very different feeling.