Here is where I would like to mention all the Japanese activities I have tried, and perhaps get suggestions on new things to try!
- Shodo (Japanese calligraphy) – Practising shodo is a great way to revise your kanji, and a wonderful way to clear your mind. I just hope I get better at it :p
*See my post on shodo filed under Study Tools
- Karaoke – It is one Japan’s favorite activities. I recently found out in class the meaning of “karaoke”. “kara” in japanese means “emptiness” and “oke” is short for orchestra, thus meaning “empty orchestra”. Again, the beauty of the Japanese language excels itself. The japanese style karaoke does not entail singing in a bar in front of an audience of strangers, as we may sometimes find in London, but is more personal. You book a room with family or friends, and can also have drinks and nibbles served in the room. Songs can be sung in english or japanese, and some karaoke places even have chinese and korean. Ranging from pop songs to anime and dramas. My all time repertoire of songs to sing would have to include, 崖の上のポニョ (gake no ue no ponyo), Arashi’s 言葉より大切なもの(kotoba yori mo taisetsu na mono), Kyu Sakamoto’s sukiyaki song and a few more. Below are a few links to some good affordable karaoke places in london:
- Writing a haiku – Haiku is a traditional form of poetry writing from Japan. This type of poem has only three lines. The first line has 5 syllables, the second 7, and the last 5. There are many famous haiku, but one in particular that I have had a closer look at is the ホトトギス(hototogisu) “cuckoo bird” haiku. Many have used the first and last line of this haiku to give new meaning and create their own haiku. The more famous ones that have done so include 織田 信長 (Oda Nobunaga), 豊臣 秀吉 (Toyotomi Hideyoshi) 、and 徳川 家康 (Tokugawa Ieyasu) who were all Japanese rulers at one time. I especially like Tokugawa’s haiku which goes like this: 「鳴かぬなら 鳴くまで待とう ホトトギス」. A rather simplistic translation of this would be ” If you do not chirp, let us wait till you chirp, cuckoo bird”. Sadly I am afraid my translations does not do it justice, but at least gives us some sort of idea! So although daunting at first, I too (somehow) managed to come up with 3 of these haiku!
鳴かぬなら 自分に鳴きます ホトトギス
鳴かぬなら もう死んじゃったかも ホトトギス
鳴かぬなら 静寂を聞こうね ホトトギス
- Cosplay – If you are into anime or manga, then cosplay is something you could not miss. Dressing up as your favorite characters of an anime is both fun and entertaining, and can be quite a hobby for the real cosplay enthusiasts, as you can either buy your costume or make it completely from scratch! Every year at excel in an event called London MCM Expo, many have the opportunity to showcase their talent. I may have attempted to do so myself (as Yoruichi from Bleach), but I was nowhere near as good as these cosplayers: