Monday, July 14, 2008

Intern V3 outgoing interview...

So Lawrence, you're Intern V3. Why don`t you tell us all a bit about yourself?
My name's Lawrence Liang and I'm a 25-yr old Canadian from Pacific Spirit Wadokai in Vancouver.

How and when did you get started in Karate?
I started karate back in the summer of 1996 through a summer school program my Sensei offers every year. I just thought it'd be fun to try it out and, as it turns out, I'm still training......

So, why did you originally apply for the internship?
I had planned to come to Japan just to get out into the world and see someplace new. I also was quite sure I wanted to be a teacher as a career and I had applied and I was accepted to start my teaching degree. But then I heard about the internship and thought it'd be perfect- I'd get to travel, I'd get to teach (English), and I'd get to do karate.

So after staying here for a year, what has been the best thing about this whole experience?
I think the best thing to come out of it was the relationships I've built with everyone. Even though I've only known these people for a year, already it's hard to imagine leaving them. Be it support for each other's training, good times at dojo get-togethers, or even simple after-practice joking around, the Shiramizu atmosphere is something I'm very glad to be a part of.

I`ve had a taste of the Shiramizu atmosphere, it really has to be experienced first hand to truly appreciate it. So, what's been the worst/most difficult thing about this experience?
It'd have to be the competing. I never competed in Canada so the learning curve was very steep when I got here. And that wasn't helped by (what I realise now were) rather unrealistic goals for myself. But I readjusted my perspective, got my nose to the grind stone, and just kept pushing.

That's usually the best way forward... I know you're staying around for a while longer, but how do you plan to use what you've learned when you go back to Canada?
Broadly speaking, I've learned that I really do enjoy teaching both having taught English and now at my current job, so it's helped me see my future goals more clearly.

In terms of karate, it's renewed my interest in it. I'm more driven than ever to try and pass on to my own dojo the feeling of hard work and fun that I've experienced at Shiramizu.

So, what about any lasting impressions of Japan...
"What?! You're not Japanese?!" haha........ but really, Japan is a really interesting place steeped in historical culture while openly embracing the modern world. I may not agree with everything about it, but having lived it has helped me broaden my senses.

That and being elbowed by old ladies on the train......... good times!

and lasting impressions of Shiramizu...

Shiramizu Summer Camp, August 2007

Chiba Dan Grading, February 2008

Mr. Mike Spain's 2nd visit, February 2008

Need I say more?? =)

It seems a bit pointless asking after the great time you've had but, would you recommend the internship to other people?
In even-less-than a heartbeat. I thought my past year really immersed me in both a new world/culture and a good example of strong karate without overwhelming me. But even for those not in the karate world, not able to devote a year to something like this, or desiring to travel some place other than Japan, I think "living" something new is a chance to be taken.

...interview by Carl, Intern V4.0

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