Last Day at JaLS and Summer Fireworks

Friday is grad day at JaLS

We couldn’t have picked a better day to end our 4 weeks of classes at Hokkaido Japanese Language School. It was our last day and we would be going to see fireworks in the evening. However, along with fireworks, comes yukataYukata are traditional Japanese clothing similar to kimono, but they are much lighter and less complex to put on. However, to us, the uninitiated, we needed help to put on these wonderful traditional pieces of clothing.

backside of a woman’s yukata

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Kimono Experience

What a way to start my third week at Hokkaido Japanese Language School, or JaLS. We had done taiko drumming the week before. Now on this Monday in July, we were heading off to our next cultural activity of the summer program – the kimono experience.

We headed out as a group to Tanukikoji, a busy covered shopping arcade in Sapporo. It was only a 15 minute walk from our school to a little kimono business, Mitsuki Sakura (美月桜), on the 5th floor of an office building just along the shopping arcade.

walking down Tanukikoji in kimonos

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Cultural Identity Among Chinese – 2

Part 1 of “Cultural Identity among Chinese” introduced the idea that there is more than one Chinese cultural group.  In fact, there are a whole host of sub-cultures within the larger one. Part 1 introduced us to three larger umbrella groups within Chinese culture – Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. What is each group’s identity? When it comes to identity, the three groups are … Continue reading Cultural Identity Among Chinese – 2

Cultural Identity among Chinese

Questioning cultural identity seems to be a strange exercise for people who are clearly “Chinese” to an outsider, but Chinese is very much an umbrella term.  Somebody may think of Chinese as one big, monolithic, homogenous culture.  In reality, it is quite heterogeneous. Recent events and a new academic survey have highlighted differences in identity of Hong Kong Chinese and Mainland Chinese.  There now seems … Continue reading Cultural Identity among Chinese

Transit Culture in Vancouver

A few weeks, I posted a tweet about The Atlantic Cities article on why Germans ride five times more transit than Americans, and I’m sure, more transit than Canadians too.  Then a friend responded back and said that he’s encountered a lot of people locally “who refuse to take transit because they feel it’s beneath them.” I started to wonder about that statement and wonder … Continue reading Transit Culture in Vancouver

Julia Baier’s Japanese Bathhouse Photos

JULIA BAIER – Sento – the Japanese Bathhouse, 2005 Many years ago, I had come across an article on the now defunct PingMag website, an online English-language Japanese design magazine.  They featured photos about Japanese Bathhouses known as sento.  I’ve talked about my personal experiences in Japanese sento and onsen back in 2009. While cleaning up some of my old posts, I re-stumbled upon my … Continue reading Julia Baier’s Japanese Bathhouse Photos

Monday Links

Here’s a few readings from the past week.  I think this week was a bit lean because of busy weekend with work. Fun and transport related Jarrett strikes blogging success with a post on public transportation made into Lego!! It looks totally fun and I would definitely look for these new kits in the Lego store the next time I’m in the States (way cheaper … Continue reading Monday Links

No criticizing my own people

Recent encounters with certain Chinese individuals has revealed an interesting mindset.  Some Chinese are of the mindset that one cannot politely critcize their own people.  It’s not the first time I have encountered such thinking. Back during the Beijing Olympic Torch Run’s leg in Hong Kong, much commotion was made of a young female Hong Kong University student demonstrating for China to free Tibet.  In … Continue reading No criticizing my own people

Hong Kong: Cultural Heritage Conservation in a City of Change – Part 3: from tangible to intangible heritage

Intangible Heritage: UNESCO-CULTURE As Lynne and Ho Yin continued their talk, they turned to the UNESCO definition of heritage.  They didn’t quote the UNESCO website directly, but it captures the essence of what they were expressing. Cultural heritage is not limited to material manifestations, such as monuments and objects that have been preserved over time. This notion also encompasses living expressions and the traditions that … Continue reading Hong Kong: Cultural Heritage Conservation in a City of Change – Part 3: from tangible to intangible heritage