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    2 servings of humiliation + a side of trip

    By John Tubles
    Nov 8, '09 11:52 PM EST

    So this past week I had an amazing trip sandwiched between two presentations…

    I guess I will talk about the presentations firsts…

    First serving of humiliation…
    Thursday was the day I presented my “Design for Play Project” for my Industrial Design Class…I might say it was short and sweet but it felt like forever… So students were supposed to present for about two minutes and then we turn in our booklet… So I was a bit nervous because I haven’t slept / ate and I had this thought that they would ask me to present first just to get the foreign kid over with… but later on I figured out that they go in order of the roll sheet… which I’m last on the list… pencil-ed in… but I go up there with my A3 size booklet and started presenting… it was pretty funny presenting in front of people who speaks a completely different language than yourself… since I’m the only foreign student in class I could tell that they were a bit surprise that I’m presenting in Japanese. And since I prepared for my speech, my sentences although they were very simple, I made sure they were grammatically correct so I don’t confuse them even more… basically the entire class was paying attention which made me more nervous.. So yeah, I forgot some of my sentences and so I started presenting off the top of my head.. Which was a lot of “kore wa” (= this is) and talking in katakana... then I heard the buzzer rang which was comforting because I’m pretty sure I embarrassed myself enough already… then they clapped but one girl stood out of crowd with her overly excited clap… the kind of clap that you give to a puppy after successfully doing a simple trick… I thought that was funny and cool… and kawai desu…

    … on a side note, you know there is always an over-achiever in the class, well that over achiever and I had similar concept using the idea of maze.. She normally pays attention to other people’s presentation but when she heard that we had the same ideas… she immediately started doodling and didn’t care to whatever I say… I thought that was funny too..

    Who’s up for a second serving of humiliation?

    Saturday was the second my second presentation day… this is our studio class and we were presenting our 1st project with the jury composed of town people… there were many great projects and it was really nice to see different styles of visual presentations… the style was completely different than what I am accustomed too. The boards were pinned up in a sort-off make shift gallery space and students present 4 or 5 at a time then the panel talks about it if they want to or just moves on the second set of presenters if not… my friend Sketch summed up in a line what both him and I thought after finding out that critiques were not mandatory… “Is it still architecture school when your feelings don’t get hurt?” which was pretty funny, ironic and true… the whole architecture practice is filled with sadistic people that had a good amount of experience with heartaches and shattered dreams… anyways, all the Gaijin are in the last… I was number 44 out of 48… I was the first one that presented amongst the Americans… I presented in Japanese… the first half of my presentation, I was reading from my notebook… and this should come out perfectly since I re-wrote this speech multiple times… But no… Immediately made a fool of myself when I said “I am from America, California, Los Angeles I went.” So everybody laughed and I guess lightened the mood a bit.. but yea… anyways after the written speech I bravely spoke off the top of my head explaining my project and what it has and stuff… which again speaking in katakana… my friend Eddie is somewhat mocking my katakana speaking skills because he thinks that I’m over enunciating my syllables like I’m “dumbing-down the Japanese Language” but oh well as long as it gets my ideas across and not offend people… I’m good. So yeah I was so excited that I finished my presentation that I wanted to do the overly cheesy high-five jump but nobody wanted to do it with me :( so I did it in my head… I feel very accomplished after presenting in Japanese with the speech that I wrote and my professor didn’t have to translate my presentation! But in the end the panel was too shy to ask questions or at least make a comment about our (exchange students) projects… so that was a little bit disappointing…

    Now it’s time to share my amazing field trip...

    Last Friday I went to Nagasaki to visit Gunkan Jima… this is the island is about a 30 min boat ride off the port of Nagasaki… Weeks before this trip my tutor Nakamura sensei and my laboratory professor Fujihara sensei told me that this is very important site to Japanese history + architecture + culture. And after hearing other Japanese students talk about this island and how much they want to join the field work but they could not apply… I knew it was going to be great…


    Gunkan Jima is an island which had a coal mining facility + coal factory + workers housing which was owned by Mitsubishi. This island and the Mitsubishi Company is very important to Nagasaki and the whole of Japan because according to my tutor this is where the Japanese industrial revolution started… the development of this island started in the early 1890s and according to my professor this site has the first Reinforced Concrete building in the world… this island has a mining tunnel that reaches about 1,100 meters below sea level. And during its heydays it had a school, movie theatre, barbershop, shrine etc. plus it was once the densest place in the world… Sadly in the 1970’s the island ran out of coal so Mitsubishi demolished the factory, because it is top secret, and relocated the plant in Nagasaki which turned this once thriving coal mining island community to practically an island of ruins…


    I felt very lucky because I got to inside the island and my tutor, Nakamura Sensei was very very informative… well he is the premier Gunkan Jima expert and he gave a boat tour of this island to Rem Koolhaas and Michael Rotundi a few years back.


    • great post john. the island is amazing. you deserve a standing ovation for relentlessly trying to learn a foreign language. don't give up. you'll find yourself speaking easily very soon.
      i am going to cal poly today to give your classmates crits.;.))

      Nov 9, 09 1:45 pm  · 
      John Tubles

      Domo Arigato Gozaimasu Orhan Sensei! good luck on giving everybody crits!

      Nov 10, 09 2:05 am  · 

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