Monday, June 1, 2009

NEW INTERN v5.5 - Erica's Interview

Carl here to post Amy's interview with Erica....

The two 'replacements' will be here in less than two weeks (at the time of writing this post), and since we've already introduced the world to Louise (Intern v5.0) we thought it was about time to introduce Erica Ip (Intern v5.5) who hails from the same dojo as Lawrence (Intern v3) in Vancouver, Canada.

University Graduation with my mom

Erica, please tell the readers a little about yourself……

I’m 22 years old, just graduated from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, with a bachelor in Science for Food Nutrition and Health. I was born in Vancouver and I speak English, Cantonese and Mandarin. Before university, when I had time to myself I played volleyball, was in a band, enjoyed a good book and loved baking. In a nutshell, I’m somewhat of a nerdy athletic type all rolled up into one. Currently, I have started to learn the art of appreciating wine after a wine course that I took and TA-ed for (TA= teaching assistant). It really is a matter of exposure.

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

I first started karate when I was 12, but at the time the dojo I joined, we (Pacific Spirit Wadokai) were with Shintani (the Shintani Karate Federation, which is a non Wadokai group in Canada) so I didn’t start proper Wado with Norma (Norma Foster, head of the official Wadokai Canada) until 5 years ago. I am currently a brown belt and was hoping to get my shodan before arriving in Japan, but the exam date got pushed back so perhaps I will grade when I get there...

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

Karate was an afterschool program at our elementary school and my sister really wanted to take it, but she wasn’t allowed to unless I went with her. She talked me into it and that’s how I started. After taking it for some time I found that I really enjoyed it, not so much the fighting part, but the exercise and self discipline. There is always more to learn, more ways to improve and that is why I think I chose to stick with it.

A very old picture of when I first started Karate.
I'm the orange belt in the back row.
Hey! Lawrence is in this too.

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

I think my greatest achievement would that I have stuck with it for so long. Aside from my education, I don’t think I’ve done anything for more than 10 years. There have been times when my attendances in class were a little shady, but I have always been there and ready to learn, even with the transition in style.

When did you first think of coming to Japan?

The World Wado Karate Championships in Vancouver summer of 2008. I was a volunteer at the event and got to see all the amazing kata and kumite from all these people who had travelled to the event from different countries. I thought to myself that it would be amazing if I were half as good as they were. At that point, Lawrence and I were talking and he told me about his experience as an intern in Japan and told me that I should consider applying. A couple of weeks later, I decided that going to Japan on the internship would indeed help me along the road of becoming better at karate and more. So here I come!

Please describe your image of Japan.

My image of Japan is quite a mosaic. The initial thought is that Japan is very traditional with their rich history, rituals and beliefs, but then it is currently known for its advances in technology and the fashion scene. Then it goes to random images of cherry blossoms, geishas, Harajuku girls, tea ceremonies, samurai, sumo wrestlers, anime and the bullet train. Like I said random.

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

I hope to learn as much as I can in karate to take back to Canada, but also the Japanese language and culture. Japanese was one of the options as a second language at my high school, but I chose to take French instead, which is the second official language in Canada. Little did I know back then that Japanese would have been far more beneficial to me today seeing as how half the population cannot speak both of the official language.

Aside from learning karate from its origin, I do hope to contribute any way I can. I’m not sure how I will be able to help, but I see this internship to be a dynamic equilibrium and not just a one way relationship where I am the only one who is taking from it.

Making it to Peak 2 on a hiking trip (Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, BC, Canada)

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

I have no idea aside from the fact that it will most definitely be way hotter (in the summer at least). I was training at Norma Sensei’s club in Burnaby where she likes to crank the heat up to around 30 degrees Celsius while we train, leaving all of us drenched by the end of the class. She comes up to me at the end and says, “You think this is bad? Wait until you get to Japan!” Aside from that, I think I will be training more in Japan than if I were in my own country because in Canada, I have many distractions such as work, school, friends and family, but in Japan, all I see myself doing really is training and working...and training.

Where do you hope to visit in Japan?

Definitely Tokyo, it looks like Vegas and Hong Kong put together! Think of all the awesome places for shopping!! I can’t visit all of them, but some of the shrines look so beautiful, though I am not spiritual, they are still captivating. I also want to visit Kyoto and Gion for its history because I’ve always been interested in the more traditional side of Japan. Who knows, maybe I’ll even try to learn the tea ceremony, although I hear that’s not too good for the knees....

costume party: Geishas

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

Oops, I jumped the gun there, but aside from the tea ceremony I would also like to learn how to put on a Kimono. Those things are magnificent and apparently if put on the wrong way, it can signify deaths.

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

I will for sure miss my family and friends, but the thing I will miss the most would be familiarity. To be able to just know where you’re going and how to get there and knowing that even if I get lost in Vancouver I am capable of finding my way. But in Japan..well...that’s a completely different story...

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

Ready or not, here I come eh?

No comments: