Bilingual Ballet

I found myself thinking of (and, of course, missing) my ballet class in Japan.

I was the tallest by a lot, and it was mostly older ladies (not old, but definitely older), and everyone was super sweet and happy and even a bit giddy every class.

And the teacher and I had an unwanted but accustomed distance-by-language-barrier, because my technical Japanese was utterly iffy, and her English possibly below that… that is, we had this distance until the night that we delightfully discovered that we both spoke French rather fluently… then we got on quite comfortably, and even more familiarly than I did with any of the others, because we could say so much to each other now.

I had always asked on occasion for the teacher to repeat something she’d said or done (in Japanese, of course), and I continued that…, but now I could and would ask for clarity at times when I still wasn’t certain what the goal or instruction was (if you’ve ever done ballet, you can understand how important it is to understand what muscles are doing what in a movement), and that part would be in French.

All in all, Monday nights at ballet class were always great, and I miss them now, especially with it getting cold outside (that was when I’d first started going to the classes).

Post-a-day 2018

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Stromae to Mosaert

After writing about Stromae the other night, I looked up to see if he had any tour dates in the US anytime soon.  Unfortunately, he does not.  However, I discovered that lots of his efforts have gone into his clothing brand lately, and that the brand is spectacular.  All of the clothes are unisex and super cool, are fair-trade, are made in Europe, have an emphasis on sustainable/organic fibers and eco-friendly sewing tactics (to waste as little cloth as possible), and are in limited numbers.  (The last part means that only a certain number, say 25, for example, are made of any one item.  So, for a t-shirt, there would be 4 XS, 6 S, 6 M, 5 L, and 4 XL made, and that’s it.  Once they are sold out, there are no more of that particular t-shirt made again.)  They also include a chart on the cost of production for many items, detailing how much money it actually costs to produce that specific item, thereby explaining why an item is being sold for its specific price.

Check it out.  Here’s the page all about their being an awesomely responsible company, from which you can click to the shopping area to see the awesome clothes, and here’s the page for the company as a whole, which is more than just a clothing brand – check out their About page found on that one.

I just wish I lived a life where it would be practical and affordable for me to get the cardigan 7, which is a sweater I loved when I first saw it in one of Stromae’s interviews (actually, the one I linked here the other night!).  The sweater was cool in and of itself, but it was made even cooler by the fact that Stromae himself actually wore it.  Alas, I do not live such a life (and am instead barely getting by financially as a crazy person doing full-time grad school and part-time-ish work), so the cardigans will go to those who do live such lives. 😛

Post-a-day 2018

 

Stromae (and my solo gelato dance party)

Last night, waiting for my dinner to finish baking, I was dancing in the kitchen while snacking on some pre-dinner gelato (because when else is gelato so satisfying?), jamming out to a Stromae (pronounced like “maestro” split in half, the second half said first) song, when I suddenly recalled how spectacular his music really is.  I haven’t listened to almost any music lately, and so haven’t listened to any of his either.  When I taught high school French, I listened to and discussed his music all the time with students.  They had to find a new francophone song every month that they liked, and each student and each class went in all different directions.  But, without fail, a single Stromae song would come up once in a class, and then his entire repertoire would show up the following months from different students in that class.  They regularly requested his music, whenever we played music during work time in class.

We listened to a lot of French language music, and the kids knew I loved lots of it.  But they also knew that I liked Stromae for more than just his voice, and, at some point, they decided that I really loved him and his music.  I remember one specific incident of Stromae coming up in casual chat during class, and a student said, “Oh, we know, Miss —: you would totally date Stromae if you had the chance.”  I’m almost certain that I verbally agreed immediately, and we all laughed.    It was great.  (So many things those kids never knew about me and my life, but they always remembered anything they ever heard about dating or marriage.)  😛

If you don’t know Stromae’s music, check it out.  You can start with this English interview he did, which is great.  He still sings in French, and even dances a bit (he’s a spectacular dancer, by the way, as can be seen in his music videos), but the discussion is all in English.  I find the themes of his music to be powerful, though regularly dangerous and tough, even scary – but, to me, they are real and honest.  What’s more, they make for a great dance party any day, because the musicality is tops (especially so if you don’t understand the lyrics).  When I first heard of him, it was from a German kid when I’d first arrived in France for school.  He mentioned that the only French song Germans knew was this “Alors, on danse” song that I wasn’t too sure I’d ever even heard, but definitely had heard of.  That was the only line I understood when I first listened to Stromae’s music (“And so, we dance”), but it didn’t matter – I still loved it all.  Now, I just love it even more, because I understand the words.

(“Dodo” is one that gets stuck in my head most often these days.  It’s a prime example of what I mean by a tough song – a difficult theme combined with beautiful music.  I recommend you watch the video first, and then look up the lyrics.)

Post-a-day 2018

Call me Ishmael

If another adult – recalling that I am, in fact, an adult myself – insists that I call him/her “Dr.”, because he/she ‘worked so hard for that degree,’ or because he/she is ‘so proud of having earned it,’ is that not quite comparable to my saying that people must converse with me in French, because I worked so hard to learn it and I’m so proud of being able to speak it?

(I’m not saying that it’s the same, but just comparable oddities with the same reasoning.)

It’s just a thought that came to mind today, and it has me a bit flummoxed.

I grew up in a world where we are all people, not classes or ranks, so I’ve never really been able to understand people’s required uses of name ranks (beyond someone’s voluntarily being respectful in addressing another, I mean [though even that gets me sometimes]).

Post-a-day 2018

French lawyers

Ever eaten an avocado like an apple?

(Actually, I eat apples in a very unique way, but I’m referring to the traditional way of eating an apple.)

I did today, and it felt wonderfully ridiculous… and a little messy…, but it was no messier than usual, actually, and it’s good for my skin, anyway. 😛

(It was also delicious.)

Give it a try sometime, but – and possibly more importantly – try out something old today, but in a new way… and feel free to get creative and extra ridiculous.

P.S. If you don’t get the title, look it up in French. 😉

Post-a-day 2018