The good old days. I don’t mean freshman year. I’m talking about a few hundred years ago, well before they invented freshman year. This was the chronological focus of our day trip we took last Saturday, the first in a series of excursions sponsored in an effort to turn us into cultured dudes, and thereby be able to show up history majors. (That’s what it says on the website! It’s not? No? Never mind.) Our trip took us out to Arashiyama, which comes from the characters 嵐 (arashi), meaning storm, and 山 (yama), meaning mountain. Yeah, now you’re starting to get good at Japanese, guys! Out near Kyoto, Arashiyama is home to about a million shrines, temples, and, yes, a monkey park! We had a nice, lengthy tour of a few different train lines from Osaka, but only once we stepped off the train did it hit me how far we’d traveled. Where I had concrete, wood, or carpeting under my feet twenty-four hours a day in the city, I suddenly found myself surrounded by broad swathes of grass, a late-summer lush green, swift rivers and calm ponds, and low trees scattered as though they were a herd grazing in this enormously open space. I took in the profusion of raw nature around me as we walked to our first destination, a temple called Tenryu-ji, or–wait for it–the Temple of the Heavenly Dragon. It was founded centuries ago to venerate Buddha. Let me tell you something: if I were built a temple like this one, I would not complain. The premises featured numerous outdoor walkways from which one can view more of abundant and gorgeous flora as well as meticulously-cultivated rock gardens. There’s also a large pond where the monks who maintained the temple in ancient times would reflect upon and unwind. In short, it was not a bad place to kill some time.
We did lunch in the town nearby, then hopped another train to go to our afternoon activity–making candy! Specifically, we made wagashi, a treat that’s been around since about 1500 years ago. This tasty stuff is made by molding red bean paste and mochi, or rice cake, into assorted shapes–basically like Play-doh you’re actually supposed to eat. We were instructed to replicate the professionally-made examples in front of us, a persimmon and a flower. Needless to say, you could’ve figured out who made which ones, but both were equally delicious and sugary, and by “sugary” I mean to say you will really start to feel like standing up and walking around and maybe running all the way home and back again.
The rest of the weekend was pretty chill–more sushi, more homework. This is the way life is, more or less. Things have started to fall into a normal routine. I’ve picked all of my classes; unfortunately, none of them are Ninjutsu 101. The first is Japanese healing and psychology, which mandates one meditation session per class and promises a field trip to a location of our choice. Our instructor for that class is a Buddhist reverend and a doctor in psychotherapy, and is about the most mellow teacher I’ve ever had. Next is business practices, which is all about learning business and social etiquette, a topic that is fiendishly complicated; I’ve already taken pages of notes and accepted tons of handouts about the proper way to exchange business cards and seat clients and staff members for meetings. But this too looks like it’ll be a fun time. Lastly is a class preparing me for level 3 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). This is gonna be a trip for sure; the practice test was pretty tough, but
then I guess it was supposed to be. And if I pass the test in December, I’ll get a shiny certificate for it! There’s levels one through five; level one is a pain for even native speakers, whereas level five, I assume, is how to write your name in Japanese. Level three is all right; I wouldn’t be able to get a job with a company in Japan, but I still have a lot of stuff I want to do with Japanese before I start a career in Asia, so it’ll be nice to be able to prove
that I’ve still got some skill.
Also, my roommate finally moved in! Tatsuki had been at rugby camp
for the past while, but he finally made it out to the apartment. So far we’ve both been pretty busy–he caddies at a golf course and cooks at an Italian restaurant, and I’ve been perpetually bent over, Atlas-like, under the weight of homework–but we’ve still had some time to chill. To my impressment, he’s been studying English for a while on his own, and will be studying it in in a classroom for the first time, since he’s a rising freshman! So yeah, there’s been a few conversations that’ve trailed off, but all in all we get along well, especially when he brought over his PS2 and loaned me some of his old Naruto manga volumes.
So yeah, things are chilling out on the whole. Next week, I only have
three days of school; Monday is off because of a national holiday whose name I totally forget, and Thursday is also a holiday because of the autumnal equinox. Nice!
Posted by Kim Strozewski, the Director of Prague Programs
The Central European and Jewish Studies students just returned from their study trip through Poland, Moravia and Austria. Highlights from the trip include:
- Lectures on Antisemitism, Polish-Jewish relations and Women under Communism
- Meeting with a member of the Righteous of Nations
- Tours of Kazimierz (Krakow Jewish Quarter) and of Nowa Huta (a Socialist steel city)
- A study tour of Auschwitz and meetings at the Auschwitz Jewish Center with local Polish students
- A tour around Jewish Oswiecim
- Visit to the Roma Museum in Brno
- Meetings with the Viennese and Krakow Jewish community
- Art historical and architectural walks around Vienna and Mikulov
CET Prague Programs incorporates the study trip into the curriculum by organizing activities that compliment the courses we offer. The students had pre-departure lectures and readings to prepare for the trip. Throughout the trip, the students reflected on their experiences with the study leaders.
Posted by Kim Strozewski, Director of Prague Programs
After finishing the Lighting Seminar, the FAMU film students headed to the Barrandov Film Studio for the Telecine transfer of the footage. Their film professor, Michael Gahut, also gave them a tour of the film lab as he explained the process and lessons learned from the assignment. The students will return to Barrandov once again after the shooting of their own films for the final transfer.
Students start shooting at the end of November…..please watch for updates on the CET blog!
Posted by Diana Bowen, CET Prague Photo Program Fall 2010, (American University)
We recently went to Professor Miroslav’s personal studio so he could teach us how to use his large format camera. Well, he made us each espressos first (coffee is very important to all of us). Then it was on to the lesson. He arranged the still life– ananas a paprika (pineapple and a pepper)– and set up the lights. Proving that the best tool is the one you have, he softened the light on one side of the pineapple with a piece of plastic bag clothespined to a stand. After that came the light meter lesson, and with it, mass confusion. Though I’ve told him a hundred times I’m terrible at math, he remains having too much faith in me. He tried to teach us a complex equation for calculating the proper exposure… about ten minutes and a dozen nerozumím-s (“I don’t understand”) later, we halfway understood and moved on.
We exposed three negatives of the scene, developed, and later made contact sheets. There’s one negative for each of us to keep and we all have plans to frame it when we get home.