I’m taking Taiko this semester and I’m super excited. Taiko is Japanese drumming and it is a combination of dance and synchronized drumming. The drums are so loud and powerful but the drummers have to also be really graceful when striking the drums.
For homework, we have to watch videos of other Taiko groups and so I will share with you all the ones I came across tonight. I don’t think they are the best Taiko videos out there but I have only just started looking for them. My arms are going to be so, so buff.
The video was in HD so that’s pleasing to the eye. The group is called Kodo and they are actually from Japan. The drums we play with at school are much smaller and we definitely play with shirts on. Every breathe they take seems like it requires so much effort and that’s so legit-it’s so hard to relax playing fast and strong that sometimes I forget to breathe.
This video is of the San Francisco Dojo, which I believe is one of the first Taiko schools to open in America. (I miss San Fran)
There’s also this group called TaikoProject based in Los Angeles and they seem to be a young and more contemporary group that infuses hip hop, dance and storytelling. They played at some awesome places…
Finally, my professor, Mark Rooney, is the executive director of Odaiko (One) New England Taiko group near Boston. He’s the bald guy on the right.
If I ever have kids, I will put them through Taiko lessons for sure. Come to my performance! It’ll be on December 3rd.
Already…goodness. I’m going to be a junior in about 5 months. I received part of my class schedule for next semester and would like to share it with the world because I’m pretty excited for it. Then again, when have I not been excited for class? 😛
The overall idea of picking classes for next semester was to chill out and challenge different parts of my brain.
Drawing: YES! Can’t wait to draw naked people. No, but I am looking forward to spending a minimum four hours a week, simply drawing and not having to think about words. First choice in classes.
Selected Topics: Nietzsche, Simmel, Foucault, Deleuze, Agamben Still But Why?: This is a social theory course that I am somewhat terrified of. I am taking it because the professor is supposedly one of the social theorist of our time and I also want to take sociology classes with a variety of professors. So far so good. From what I have heard, this professor will help me appreciate social theory and understand the foundation of sociology much more, which is something I think is important if I’m going to major in this.
Christianity and Philosophy: I was not going to take this class even though it sparked some interest when a friend told me about it. The professor is one of the three more prominently professing Christian professors on campus. Originally, I was going to take Civic Engagement but my advisor, who is going to be the professor of that class said that he might not be teaching it and since the class time of Civic Engagement and Christianity and Philosophy overlapped, my advisor told me to take Christianity and Philosophy instead. Spontaneous decision but still looking forward to this class because it will delve deeper into the area of philosophy and apologetics instead of the broad range of topics that the Apologetics Tutorial that I am currently taking touches.
Introduction to Asian American Literature: This was also a random class that I briefly saw in the English department and thought: Eh…looks interesting but I also have been wanting to take an English class at Wes because our English department is supposedly pretty rockin. After watching a lot of cultural shows last weekend, this class became more appealing especially since I find that my Chinese American identity is an important aspect in my life. Being at Wesleyan has both heightened my Chinese identity because I am constantly surrounded by Whites/non-Chinese people and at the same time, lessened my Chinese identity because I am also trying to fully embrace my American identity, whatever that means. Honestly, I have not read any of the books on the reading list and I hope that talking about and discussing Asian American books and authors will help me develop a greater understanding of who I am.
There are three other classes that I want to get into but I can’t register for yet:
- Ebony Singers: singing gospel music every Monday nights!
- Taiko Drumming: !!!! I WANT to take this class so badly. These drums are super powerful and just badass. No other way to describe it. I auditioned last semester but was wait-listed. (Poops!) This class is just way too popular.
- Guitar Lessons: time to get better in playing and maybe be a more legit guitarist!
COME WATCH VICIOUS CIRCLES PLAY ULTIMATE AND SCHOOL SOME SCHOOLS THIS WEEKEND!
GAMES: 10:40A, 12:20P, 2:00P AND 3:40P
SCHEDULE AND FIELD/DIRECTIONS HERE.
So this was the least scary picture I found of him…haha.
Like I said last post, I wanted to write something about the life of Francis Schaeffer after reading one of his biographies. The biography is titled Francis Schaeffer And the Shaping of Evangelical America and is authored by Barry Hankins. Hankins divides Schaeffer’s life into three stages:
- Staunch fundamentalist against modern and liberal theology and Christians. Basically there were “Christians” preaching about the Christian God without believing or mentioning sin or the resurrection of Jesus Christ, more or less. (That is a very shallow explanation but you get me) He led a lot of separationist movements and encouraged congregants to leave their churches if their churches believed in Christian liberalism.
- Establishment of L’Abri in Switzerland. I find this part of his life so fascinating because he basically became this philosophical, culturally engaged and loving thinker, teacher and preacher. He set up this school called L’Abri, where people could stay free of charge but had to work for half the day for food and board and then participate in either personal studies or theological and spiritual discussions for the other half. He would have long conversations that would end well past midnight that were incredibly stimulating, persuasive and engaging. In short, he was doing apologetics with hospitality by not simply arguing and debating atheists, agnostics or subscribers to different religions but deeply cared about their well being and stay at L’Abri. Most of the people who stayed at L’Abri were college and recently graduated folks. One of his most memorable teachings was the “line of despair” where he pushed his students to the brink of existentialist thought and challenged them to think and come to terms with whatever was beyond that.
- Republican, conservative, right winged evangelical. This was unfortunate, not that he was part of the Conservative party but that politicians and especially his son pushed him into arguing and dealing with the political mess in America. I am not saying that Schaffer’s views were not incongruous to the Republican party; he certainly agreed on some points but he also vehemently disagreed with certain issues as well. The Republican party basically used Schaeffer to advance their political agenda and thus gain votes and the evangelical crowd. I will just say that it is very difficult to be on middle ground in the American political realm.
I want to visit L’Abri. They opened up many more schools across the globe and most stays now are about $25 a night including board and food. I really liked the way he approached evangelism in that it was a combination of apologetics and hospitality. It takes both reason and love for the other person in order for anyone to even begin to consider the truth that the Christian faith is preaching. And a disclaimer, Schaeffer simply engaged in conversations and dialogued with his students. If you feel threatened by any of this, it’s not suppose to be threatening.
For my Comparative Race Analysis class today, we had to read a chapter titled “Congested Terrain” in the book Race Rebels: Culture, Politics and the Black Working Class. This chapter focused on the local resistant movements between blacks and whites in the American south. It was a resistant movement for both the blacks and whites because blacks were fighting to sit at the front of the bus, among many other inequalities, and the whites were resisting to protect their jobs and themselves from the perceived threat that if blacks were equal to them, they would lose something.
Four thoughts I have:
- Even before class, I can already imagine the conversation we will have during class. My peers, including myself, will state how heinous these violent acts were. Indeed they were heinous, hateful and horrible, I do not deny that at all, but I feel that in some ways we will try to separate ourselves from the aggressive white supremacists who mostly come from a working class background. We might think that we are different, smarter and would never ever spit at a black women or make blacks or anyone else for that matter pay at the front of the bus then ask them to board at the back. In my conviction, I feel that if my job, in other words my means of survival, was threatened, I would be angry and perhaps even violent towards the individual or group who threatened “my right” to live. Which leads me to my next point.
- What are my rights? Is it really my right to say that that is my job and so no one can take that away from me? As a Christian, I must say that I have to constantly remind myself to submit my rights to the God of heaven and earth. That is my choice and I do that willingly.
- Now to say something about my school and my generation or at least something about the “northeast intellectual elite.” We, including myself, have this “sense of entitlement.” I say things like I want this, I want that. I definitely notice this when I am in a group setting and I try to outdo the person before me to say something that I want that is unique, special or would make me feel awesome. Back to my first point, the north was fortunate that there were not as many poor whites who were trying to get jobs that blacks were also trying to get in order to sustain themselves. We see less local battles (granted that there were riots in urban areas in the north, midwest, and west) because some of us are pretty wealthy. No one is competing with us for survival and so the ugliness that was visibly displayed in the south was simply internalized. I want versus I need.
- I can make the statement in the second to last sentence of my third paragraph because there are still racial problems everywhere! Racial reconciliation is still a huge problem at my school, a “liberal, open-minded, loving to everyone, don’t want to offend anyone” school. The worst part is that we are so damned PC. Talking about racial issues either silences people or makes everyone feel like crap. Here is where I think Jesus comes in and the promise that He will “reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1.20) Freak, I said “Jesus,” “blood,” and “cross” all in one sentence. And that’s not all, in Revelation, “nations, tribes, people, and language” are the things that God redeems on earth into heaven, thus ethnicity/race is indeed beautiful to God.
- So do we want to experience the fullness of peace and reconciliation? To actually be able to celebrate and rejoice differences and not use our differences as sources of self-entitlements and rights?
I understand that I certainly am not the first person or Christian to ever right about faith and reconciliation and this perhaps is simply a reiteration and less comprehensive or intellectual post of what many have written about before. But thank God for the many who have deeply wrote about this before me.
Yesterday, I was reading a biography on Francis Schaeffer, one of the greatest evangelists in America/Western Europe. He was definitely labeled as Conservative, evangelical, right-wing whatever else but he can definitely also be considered intellectual, very cultured and progressive. So what the freak is he? Why the heck is society so concerned with categorizing people, especially Christians? The God I believe in supersedes and transcends all labels and stereotypes. I wish I visited L’Abri, the school he opened in Switzerland, when he was still alive. (I would still like to visit there now anyway.) I really admire him a lot despite what critics say of his theology and intellectualism. I will probably blog about him soon too, when I have time.
Oh and it’s April Fool’s Day and Maudy Thursday.
I am so excited to get:
1 head of Califlower, 1 Head of Romaine Lettuce, 1 Kent Mango, 1 Bag of Pink Lady Apples, 2 D’Anjou pears, 1 bag of yellow onions, and 1/2 bag of garlic.
Time to be creative with the bag of onions and half bag of garlic!