le cahier de kev

le cahier de kev

adventures fresh off the press

Throwback Origins

The weather has been seesawing between hot and cool which isn't too bad.  It's actually refreshing to walk outside in cooler weather after experiencing blistering heat.  On another note, I've been able to meet people from around the world through Wordpress.  I'm been really enjoying the conversations I've had from people there.


A few days ago, I was organizing and transferring files from my old computer, and I stumbled upon a bunch of pictures and documents which I completely forgot about.  They brought back a lot of memories and I couldn't help, but smile.  This was an inspiration for this entry where I will discuss the origins of my work and interests.  Of course, I won't be able to cover everything, but I will share relevant stories that stood out as I looked through the files.


One interesting folder that I found dealt with Para Para videos.  Para Para is a choreographed and synchronized dance popular in Japan.  The choreography focuses on complex movements of the arms and hands instead of the legs.  Many songs used in Para Para are styled in Eurobeat.


I actually did a presentation on Para Para for my Intermediate Japanese class which was fun.  I was a little nervous performing the routine at the end after my presentation, but it worked out well.  I remembered wearing a black bucket hat (the type of hat worn by Gilligan on Gilligan's Island) and dancing for the last two minutes of the presentation.  My classmates and I were laughing, but we were all in a good mood since it was the end of the Spring semester and we just wanted to enjoy our summer (although I did take a summer class that year haha). 


Here is the song and routine that I performed for my presentation.  As you can see from the dancer's routine, the main focus are the on arm and hand movements above the waist.  As you know, most dance is focused on the legs' movements, but here the leg movements are limited to the left and right motion while staying in position.




When I was in graduate school, one of my statistics students asked me about the origin of how I designed handouts.  I was inspired by one of my professors, Virginia Bower, when I took her East Asian Art class as an undergraduate.  The class surveyed major works in Chinese and Japanese art (paintings, sculptures, and architecture).  She was an intelligent and kind woman who made our class interesting (the class was four hours long twice a week...we certainly gave her kudos for being able to lecture us from 6 - 10 PM).  I always loved talking to her during the break.  She spoke with everyone and got to know us personally.  It was really refreshing and made class even more enjoyable.


Before each class, she would give us a handout pertaining to the lecture of the day.  Since it was art history, there was a LOT of information to learn and absorb.  The handouts were very comprehensive.  She had the title of the work, the date/time period it was created, the history behind the work, and what the work was composed of (oil painting, marble, etc.).  The handouts were very detailed and also cross referenced the image in our textbook when we needed to study.  We were a small class and there were around 20 of us.  The handouts helped us follow along with lecture while writing our own notes on the side.


Professor Bower was indeed an amazing and sweet woman.  She even spoke to us in Mandarin since she lived in Taiwan for a few years.  She knew that the material was difficult since the names of the pieces were non-Western and concepts can be easy to confuse such as the different statues of Buddha. 



I miss Professor Bower!

(Courtesy of Smithsonian Journeys)



But that really helped jumpstart my approach when working with undergraduates during my graduate studies.  Math and science is difficult so I applied her approach when helping undergraduates understand concepts in mathematics and public health.  I put my own spin of writing handouts, drew diagrams, and asked students for their input.  By engaging students in this learning process, they ended up working on the problems and the material.  Just as Professor Bower knew that the Chinese characters could become confusing, I knew that students would become overwhelmed if the concepts were all thrown in haphazardly.  The meticulous and organized approach when presenting information was crucial in this regard.


Thank you to Professor Bower for being such a wonderful instructor!  I only wish I took a picture with her.  There weren't any advanced phones like the touch screen phones now when I took her class so I would've had to drag my digital camera haha  But she taught me so much that immersing yourself in the subject (like when you was a tour lecturer in China) can bring insight into teaching.  This is what led me to my work with Dr. Cowart where she put theory into practice in terms of health literacy and understanding various culture's approaches to healthcare and medicine.


On a final note, one of my entries wouldn't be complete without at least one food picture.  This month I made a Philippine dish called "Embutido."  It's a steamed meatloaf that's a popular dish for parties.  It's made with ground pork (or you can you chicken or beef), red pepper, green pepper, raisins, egg, sweet pickle relish, carrots, breadcrumbs, hot dog (to name a few of the ingredients!).  It's similar to making a meatloaf, but instead, you wrap it in aluminum foil and put it through a steamer for about an hour.  It comes out really soft and delicious!  You cut it up and serve it as an appetizer.


Above: Diced vegetables for the embutido
Below: Finished steamed embutido



I also made homemade cinnamon applesauce as a light night time snack.  The only thing that took some time was peeling the apples, but once they simmered in the cinnamon, brown sugar, ginger, and a bit of lemon juice, everything was set to go.  The aroma filled the kitchen with the sweetness of the apple along with the spices.  It certainly brought a pleasant atmosphere as I was writing late at night.



Above: Apples boiling in the cinnamon, brown sugar, lemon, ginger, and spices
Below: Finished applesauce after putting it through a blender



Fourth of July, my birthday, and other events are coming up so it should be an eventful month!  Hope you all enjoy the festivities (if you're going to barbecue or travel).  I hope you all have a safe and relaxing time, however you may celebrate!

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