Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Chinese New Year greets Japan

We're celebrating all things Asian at our house at the moment! 
We're in the middle of our Melbourne Chinese New Year festivities and our Docklands has a humongous dragon to celebrate. It is over a 100 metres long and the head is 10 metres high. It is illuminated by 2000 light globes every night and cost $140,000 AUD. 

Last week we had three Japanese students move in for a month. A gaggle of teenage girls, all nervous smiles and bright suitcases. None of them had been to Australia before and so we are keen to show Melbourne off in it's best light. We reckon a couple of thousand light globes should do it, and we encourage them to take a look!

Docklands Dragon Corner of Bourke Street and Harbour Esplanade, Melbourne
The dragon is certainly a colourful talking point in the Docklands area, snaking along with six arches each 6m high. We spot the dragon from our friend's Dockland rooftop garden and rather bemused they explain it wasn't finished when the Lord Mayor came for the official launch, which involved just the dragons head. 

Then no doubt someone got a right rollocking as initially just the head and tail was lit before someone found all the 'on' switches. Or maybe that was when Melbourne was in meltdown and we were all told to converse energy and keep air conditioners off, otherwise the whole city was in danger of suffering electrical outages... Who knows but thankfully it all came good, as it is rather spectacular!

This dragon is part of a longer term plan to strengthen Melbourne's Chinese New Year celebrations and position the City of Melbourne as a popular Chinese destination and an Asian friendly city. I'm pleased all the lights came on, otherwise those from Hong Kong would be rather unimpressed!

Kung Hei Fat Choi Melbourne!

Our Japanese students are here to learn English and for the first time ever when I pick them up, I am handed a sheet of paper outlining their homework requirements during their four weeks in Melbourne.
It is from the Department of English Communication from the 
Women's Junior College that they attend in Tokyo.

For the host family: 

Japanese students find it difficult to produce the w sound. 

There is a tendancy (sic)that Japanese students 
don't make their lips round 
and project forward. 
Do you mind reminding the students 
to round their lips with the sound w?

Wound, woman, wood, woke, wove, way, awake
What a wonderful wedding it was!
Wren was weeping wildly...

The Docklands Dragon is the largest purpose built dragon in the Southern Hemisphere.
At our first dinner, the girls bring a selection of beautiful Japanese souvenirs, including ornate paper fans and chopsticks for every member of the family. 
'Wow, wonderful thank you'! 
I exclaim, hoping that my lips are w w w rounded... 

We're in the middle of a heatwave here, these are perfect and thoughtful gifts. I happily tuck a new paper fan in my handbag. Luckily we had a couple of nights of reasonably cool temperatures before a long run of 35 degrees + days and horribly hot nights.
When is hurt you in pain?

For the host family: 
Japanese students find it difficult to produce the ou sound. 
There is a tendancy (sic) that Japanese students 
don't drop their jaws 
and just lengthen the oo sound. 
Do you mind reminding the students 
to drop and quickly raise their jaws with the sound ou?

Rope, robe, note, node, gross, grows, post, posed
Old Wren grows cold just thinking about this

The girls bring us chopsticks, sushi is one of my favourite foods
We love hosting the Japanese girls, and will usually have 4-5 groups a year.
They are always so polite, always say my food is delicious... 
Well nearly always. 
We did have one girl who struggled with various foods. 
She who spent ages consulting her Japanese translator machine 
before declaring

I is prejudice against beans...

They are so neat and tidy, 
apart from a few long black hairs around 
we would never know they have been here. 

They are always very appreciative of all we offer. 
We generally host students who are either Nurses or Teachers on study tours. 
I thought our current students were teachers but my daughter tells me they all want to be Air Hostesses. 
Sometimes things do get slightly lost in translation. 
I need my wonderful Blogging friends Orchid Miyako and Minoru closer to help!

Every night we get homework. Tonight's homework was questions following on from their earlier English lesson about health.

When is you badly sick and in pain?
Luckily as I explained I have never been badly sick or in pain 
"touch wood*' I said. 
Silly me, whatever made me say that? 
Thirty minutes later I am still trying to  explain "touch wood*'. 
The word 'superstitious' has now crept in to my explanation and 
my jaw is being quickly raised and we are all making lots of ouuuuuu noises.

My DH walks in, he is asked 
When is hurt you in pain?
'I am lucky I have never been in real pain', he said, 'touch wood'
Ohhhhh we all cry!

*touch wood  (British, American & Australianalso knock (on) wood (American)
something that you say when you want your luck or a good situation to continue It's been fine all week and, touch wood, it'll stay fine for the weekend. We haven't had any problems with the car so far, knock on wood.

Thank you to all the hosts Arija, Gattina, Lady D, Sylvia, Sandy, Jennifer

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