Always loving to explore different things in the world, I had a great chance this semester in KCJS to do a Boxing Training Class and 和食料理 Japanese Cooking Lesson Community Involvement Project in Kyoto.
I do my Boxing Training class in a small gym nearby Doshisha University every Friday. All the coaches, students and even the own of the gym are very friendly. Knowing my Japanese isn’t good at the first day, they try their best to slow down every single sentence they speak with me. Moreover, in order to make my training more comfortable, they try to use the way of training in USA instead of Japanese way: In Japan, the basic boxing terminology and words such as straight ストレート, hook フック. And there are eight different basic movements for the Japanese Boxing system. But the boxing training way in US, all those movements are places by number from One to Six and there are only 6 movements in US. Therefore, it was hard for me to change my habitual training way from US to Japan directly. Instead of forcing me to learn the Japanese way, they combine the Japanese training methods and US training methods together to form a new training way. In this case, there are still six different types of movements, instead of eight in Japan. But when they train me, they use Japanese terminology. It is a cool experience!! Only after several time, I feel my punching and dodging speed increase to a different level.
Not only on physical, but also on culture, I learnt a lots by talking with different people in the boxing gym, from young students who are 11 years old to someone who is around 40. People in Japan prefer Cardio better than the muscle training. But boxing, which is Cardio but also requires a great amount of power, becomes more and more popular among people who want to both increase their power and lose weight. Therefore, many of the people coming to this gym just because they want to keep good fit while gain a little bit of muscle. This is very different from my reason for going to the gym. Moreover, by talking to several middle school students, I learnt the high pressure situation Japanese middle school students are facing as well as what young people in Japan love to date ( Do not ask me why we discuss where is the best place dating a Japanese girlfriend). But anyway, it is very interesting because I learn different aspects of the countries through conversations with different people.
Another CIP I do is through the La Carriere. This is a great place to learn not only Japanese dishes, but also French and Italian dishes. OMG, this 7-floor building with luxury decoration is amazing! The teachers here are all Japanese. Even though they speak so fast and I barely caught what they say, the equipment in the classroom such as the big screen with automatically focusing and zooming in cameras show me clearly all the steps for making the dishes. Moreover, those teachers and assistants are so nice when you actually cook yourself. They always stand right next to you to help you. Sometimes I feel embarrassing asking them so many times, but they will offer me help before I even ask them. Therefore, during this semesters, I learn more than 8 different Japanese dishes.
Besides my improvement in my cooking skills, I also learn many about the family culture in Japan. Most of the students who attend this class are female staying at house or retired male who wants to learn more to cook for their wives. By talking to them, I feel like I can understand their purposes and get more familiar with the culture in the society. For instance, the reason why one 53 years old male wants to learn how to cook is that he wants to treat her wife back who has been cooking for him for more than 25 years. This is cute! Moreover, by talking to those people, I feel like in Japanese society, they value the Italian and French food expensive food while Chinese and Indian relatively more average in terms of price, even though they are super delicious too. Therefore, if cooking a delicious meal, they will choose Chinese food, but if they want to make a romantic meal, their first choice is either French or Italian food.
All in all, CIP is so meaningful. On one hand, it provides me great opportunity to meet more Japanese people outside the school which can make me understand more about the Japanese society; on the other hand, the CIP I choose definitely improve my skills sets. So by the end of this semesters, I am not sure whether my Japanese language ability will increase a lot, but I am pretty sure I will have a much better understanding of the Japanese cultures and the whole society.