I talked in Japanese about this period in Spanish history for almost two hours, from the most general things to the most feminine facts. We had a great conversation and learnt a lot –of course I did learn too.
In case you’d like to download it, here’s a document written in Japanese with an outline of the talk and some pictures so that you can get into the context: La mujer en el franquismo.pdf.
Background for the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Falange and its female auxiliary
The Catholic Church
Morality and thought at the time: the angel in the house
Thanks a lot to all attendants and organizers! I hope we can meet again soon.
This week I made public a new service I called Japoneschan. It lets you convert Spanish words into Japanese characters (keeping the Spanish pronunciation), get translations through the Google Translate API, and many other things. I made this service in order to connect the Japanese and Spanish languages in both directions. For more information on how to use it, please read the Japanese or Spanish help pages.
The design and mascot character for Japoneschan are the work of Koga Takahiro
For the service to be comfortable and fast to use I’m using AJAX, but when you access a URL where you get the conversion results from the beginning (as the ones shared on Twitter, etc.) I’m reducing the number of AJAX queries, caching on the server side, etc. Many things I had never had the chance to build from zero.
I had a blast developing Japoneschan. Have I managed to get you curious enough to look up the Japanese characters for your favorite Spanish phrase? I hope I did!
It’s been a while since I last wrote about the international education classes I do at some schools (I wrote about it here and here). Today I’d like to share some experiences and pictures. But not many pictures, as Japan is very protective of their children’s privacy and likeness.
I have talked to elementary, junior high and high school students, and the image they have about Spain and how the world or the people are outside Japan is quite limited and stereotyped (as one could expect). Also with all due respect, most teachers don’t have deep international knowledge or much experience. But this is not a problem and it’s what the Kokusai Hiroba program I work with is all about and I’m very happy to help with this.
Tenpai Middle High School
I spend a fair share of my time with the kids trying to break their preconceptions, maybe attacking directly the most common ones or giving them uncommon information to increase their field of view. For instance I usually stress the alphabet not being a character code strictly associated to the English language, but being shared by a number of languages (English and Spanish among them). So the fact that a word is written in Latin characters doesn’t always mean it is an English word. This is obvious to most English or Spanish speakers, but note that most Latin characters a Japanese person sees in her life are English words and also they have a thing for mixing the character set and language concepts (Chinese heritage, I would guess).
I also like sharing some music and dancing or playing with them some game where they can move their bodies. I’m not that confident about traditional music, but my rendition of España cañí played with a Game Boy is usually well received. Students often research or think questions for me, too. Sometimes they even have presents!
The kids at Tenpai Junior High School gave me this Maneki Neko.
And at Onga High School I got to taste some varieties of jam made by the students, with fruits they made themselves. I love this job!
I’m very happy because last month I got two chances to teach children. Today I’m writing about the first one: an international culture class at a High School called Fukuoka Joshi Kōkō, where I had 30 middle school girls between 12 and 15 years old. The teacher who called me asked me to do something where the girls could move, so I thought about singing a well-known song with Spanish lyrics. Using a song they already know, I had them singing my lyrics in no time.
The teacher suggested I used the song Matsuken Samba. It’s a strange Japanese samba song and, while the samba genre has little to do with Spain, the original lyrics already included some Spanish words. The song itself is a product of international culture! So I got ready my Game Boy to play Matsuken Samba karaoke, and thought the following words:
¡Olé! ¡Olé! Quiero ir a España
¡Olé! ¡Olé! Quiero ir a España
Olvidemos todo y
Vamos a viajar
España, viva España
Quiero ir a España… ¡Olé!
I also thought some simple dance, and I talked a little about Spain and the world while the girls were practicing the lyrics. Although the girls were from all middle school years, the general mood was great and everyone was following. Also, when the class ended, some girls came to ask many questions. Thank you everyone!
Last week I spoke at Kokusai Hiroba, a space for international activity in Acros Fukuoka. My lecture was for a program they have for fourth-graders to understand the international world.
What I did here is explaining the multicultural world using three axis: the space axis, the language axis and the culture axis. For instance, if you take a look at the space axis you’ll figure that Spain and Latin America are far, but share a language and some common spots in their culture too.
A not very serious graph for you to picture the axis
To understand the world as a whole, I think one has to understand there are spaces which hold several languages or cultures. Japan, the Japanese language and the Japanese culture, however, are in a very unique position and don’t overlap in a significant way with any other regions on any axis. I think it’s important for Japanese children to understand this, as they have no examples in their own environment.
But this time it had to be explained for fourth graders (10 years old) so I couldn’t use the axis expression. I spoke about this without using the “a word”, and mixing in pictures and stories about Spain so that the kids had tangible references.
And when one explains things about far places, it’s better to do that through comparisons with things they all know. For example, if we tell the children Spain’s area in square kilometers they will ignore the information. But if we tell them Japan’s area is 3/4 of that of Spain they will get an idea. Actually, I like explaining things this way for adults too.