Wednesday, May 13, 2009

NEW INTERN v5.0 - Louise Speaks up...

Carl here,

In as little as five weeks, the TWO new Interns Louise Fisk (from New Zealand) and Erica Ip (from Canada) will be arriving in Japan to take over from the British Intern Tag Team. So, us Brits thought it was about time to get to know the replacements a little bit better...

Amy interviewed Louise and I've been given the job of posting the answers (Amy was busy at work!).

Please tell the readers a little about yourself……

I’m 23 years old, and I was born and grew up in the 'raging metropolis' of Hamilton, now the fourth largest city in New Zealand (not that that is saying much in global terms). I like to eat chocolate cake and go wandering in the mountains, preferably at the same time. Sometimes I’ve been known to do monkey impressions, usually after several hours of walking without the benefits of chocolate cake.

When I’m not eating cake, falling off cliffs or dragging my knuckles along the ground, I earn a bit of money measuring trees, digging holes and boiling soil in acid (don’t treat soil like dirt by the way: your life depends on it).

I also occasionally become respectable and sit in front of a computer and produce serious, mature scientific reports.

Fig. 1: Working hard or hardly working?

When did you first start karate and what grade are you currently at?

I started karate in my second year of high school (where did that decade go?). I’m currently a 3rd Dan, having graded only a month or so ago.

Why did you start karate in the first place and why did you stick with it?

I thought that karate would be good for self-defence (not of course that I intended to get into situations where I’d need it). By sheer chance, Sensei Robbie Smith was running classes at my school. I didn’t find learning karate easy, and had to work hard at mastering techniques. I found there was and is always something more to learn and as I don’t want to miss out on anything, I’m still training.

Fig. 2: Garrr

What do you believe is your greatest achievement in karate and why?

Learning how to teach. I remember my first classes attempting to lead a kata, explain a technique or keep kids interested, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done (luckily the kids didn’t possess rotten tomatoes with which to give feedback). Now I find that, on a good day, teaching is one of the most rewarding things I do, and I believe that it is one of the most important things we as karate people do: passing on what we have learned.

When did you first think of coming to Japan?

My mother has at times told me that I’m disgracefully nosey, and at primary school I always dreamed about travelling the world and assuaging my curiosity about how other people in other countries lived. I can’t honestly say I specifically wanted to go to Japan then, but as I learnt Japanese at high school, Japan definitely became one of those exotic places I had to find out about for myself.

Please describe your image of Japan.

At the moment I imagine a very technologically advanced nation, with lots and lots of people packed together on whatever flat land there is available, and consequently with many social conventions allowing them to live together in such close proximity. I also imagine that beneath the modern world-wise surface there are depths of tradition that leak out all over the place, though possibly not always where a foreigner would expect.

Fig. 3: Me and my turpentine bush

What do you hope to achieve in your year as intern?

I would like to become part of the Shiramizu karate family, make friends and achieve world peace through a judicious application of martial arts training.

How do you think the karate training will differ from your own country?

I suspect that it will be more regimented, more focussed on perfecting basic techniques, possibly by repeating them over and over again. Hopefully it will have less of hitting people over the head with big sticks.

Where do you hope to visit in Japan?

I’d like to visit mountains. Mountains with lots of trees, mountains that smoke and blow up, mountains with sparkly rocks and mountains near the sea. I’d also like to visit small villages and towns. Out of the way places.

Is there anything specifically Japanese that you would like to learn while in Japan? i.e origami

I’d like to learn how to survive on trains in rush hour. It would also be cool to learn taiko drumming and kenjutsu, however they seem to be things that require a lot of time and dedication, time and dedication that I devote instead to karate.

Fig. 4: Morning commute, West Coast, NZ

What do you think you will miss the most while you are here in Japan?

I will miss my karate classmates making fun of my height. I will also miss having my brother around to explain why my computer is making funny noises.

Is there anything else that you would like to say…………………..

In a nutshell: ooga booga, mimble wimble, raarrrr.

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