then I realized that I forgot the novel "Izu no Odoriko"
In my seminar session, my advisor Ikeda sensei and us exchange students would read Japanese literature and we'd ask questions and Ikeda sensei would answer for us. Since we have to read the novels out loud, the kanji can be really annoying since the literature that we read are mostly old Japanese language using Kanjis (Chinese characters) that are hardly used nowadays. Sometimes we'd get really embarrassed when we're trying to read some kanji that I don't even recognize in Chinese language. (note: I've had 15 years of Chinese language education from Taiwan)
Anyway, after the seminar session, Fu and I walked down to the Japanese class for exchange students. Today we had Kumai sensei for Speaking Japanese.
This is probably the hardest Japanese class I've ever had..
You're probably wondering... hey, Sandy LOVES speaking, and sometimes she couldn't wait for her turn to speak so she would yell and wave her arms to get everybody's attention so people would listen to her...
Well, for this class, you can't just speak about *whatever*. We'd read about some news article, or listen to somebody's speech, or watch a video. After that, we'd have to repeat what was in the article, speech, or video in our own words.
See, the thing is. All of the students in our class can speak our mind, but when it comes to summarizing and all that... our brains just turn into rocks. Actually, that's not quite true cuz there's this Czech guy who's really good and he uses big words for his variations.... but sometimes the big words don't work in some simple ideas... only more confusing.
So, today we watched a news clip about this Children Club for elementary and kindergarten kids to play with each other after school (in school...). After that we talked about the good things of having your grandparents around in your childhood.
For me, it was a good time...
Before I attended elementary schools, I stayed with my grandparents for 3 years as I went to the kindergarten over there. And after I started attending the elementary school, my sisters and I would still go back to stay with them for summer vacation and Chinese new year holidays.
It was a nice neighbourhood outside of Taipei city and I really enjoyed running around the streets in shorts and flip flops. I climbed the lamp posts and even got my foot stuck in the gutter once. Oh yeah, I remember that when I was riding the bike with my sisters and my cousins out for an adventure, somebody...(maybe me, but i'm not about to admit that...) dropped the house key into the gutter. Nobody was home and we REALLY needed the key cuz one of my sisters was desperately in need of a washroom. My cousin Ben came up with the idea of using wire to make a hanger so we can pick the key up by it's hole. (too much TV) It took us about a good half an hour to get that thing out. By the time, we got it out, my hands were all black and stinky... ech...nasty..
sorry.. now back to my grandparents...
My grandpa was a cool guy. By that I mean two kinds of cool. One is that he doesn't really tell you what he's thinking..., but he expects you to understand what he's thinking.. pretty typical asian man. The other one kind of cool is that he is REALLY smart. He can speak English, Japanese, and of course Mandarin. He used to work as an executive of the biggest radio station in Taiwan. Right now he's just a technical consultant in name since he has retired for two years or so. He is currently writing a book on radio broadcasting, and hopefully being published soon~
When I was little, my fondest memory with my grandpa would have to be the hiking trips organized by the radio station. Just the two of us since sometimes my grandma don't wanna come and my sisters are not big fans of mountain climbing. I was actually in it for the sushi and rice balls my grandma would make for the hiking trips. I LOVE those sushi and rice balls... I've had many sushi and rice balls (onigiri), but my grandma's was the best). Oh yeah, sometimes my grandpa would make sandwiches too. aaah... those sandwiches...*drooling* My grandpa was actually a very good cook, maybe even better than my grandma. But he doesn't cook that much...so only some rare time could we taste his fantastic menu... ooooh sorry tangent again.. geez, everytime when it comes to food :p
Okay.. so I would go hiking with my grandpa in some really nice mountains in Taiwan. Most of them in the Northern Taiwan. My grandpa loved showing me off... well grandparents tend to do that, and other people would just go "oooh what a lively granddaughter you have!" when I was yakking away and wouldn't shut up. I remember once that I was cheering and kept yelling "quickly quickly" in English (cuz I was taking some English lession at Joy English School at the time and "quickly" happened to be one of the few words stuck in my head), so one of my grandpa's co-worker showed his surprise that I could speak some English words. My grandpa couldn't hide his smile... :)
Now, my grandma... My grandma was a very *good* story-teller. She would tell us some folklores from Japan, like "Urashima Tarou" or "Momotarou", when we're about to go to bed. Everytime the versions are different, with different characters, different order, or different plots, but we never minded. It was nice listening to her telling us how the Momotarou gave a onigiri/sushi/ringo(apple)/candy...etc so the monkey would go with him to fight the monster (and save the princess--sometimes...).
My grandma was a firm believer of a good discipline, so whenver we were bad... here's the stick (that you would use to scratch your back) waiting for us. She wouldn't beat us to death or anything, but would just chase us around the house. My sisters and I would just run around or directly to my grandpa who would ask grandma to give us a break (which usually didn't work...). We'd have the merry-go-round thing for awhile, and then stop to catch our breathe. aaah.. good times...
I guess the battle often occurred with the whole air conditioner issue. My grandma believed that it was cool enough that we didn't need to turn on the A/C and we should just all sit down quietly and enjoy the almost non-existent breeze. Well, my sisters and I didn't agree with her, so sometimes we'd turn the A/C on secretly when my grandma was out or downstairs doing the house chores. Once, we turned on the A/C again and were playing in our room. We were playing with the Casio keyboard (that my sister Angela would use to practice since she was learning piano) and having a great concert. Somehow three of us got into an argument about who should play which part, vocal..etc. Things got wild and out of control, we were fighting... and then all of a sudden somebody was pushed against the window next to the A/C and the mesh window outside fell off, right to the yard. As we were still trying to recover from the shock, my grandma came up to see why the mesh window fell off. When she realized that we were fighting and that's why it fell off, and that we secretly turned on the A/C cuz the room was nice and cool... She was beyond mad... so my grandma grabbed the stick and started chasing us in our "concert outfits".. ooooh she was mad...