Tuesday, August 22, 2006
FOSTERING NAO AND NOZUMI
Nao and Nozomi are Karate black belters. They are amongst the group of students of a renowned karate school in Gunma, Japan who are currently in Malaysia to visit the Karate schools here. The Gi Tokku Kai branch in Kuantan serves as the headquarters for the South East Asia region where my children Sofi, Aliah and Luqman are its students (although Sofi has long stopped attending its classes for obvious reasons.)
They stayed in my house for 3 days and my family and I, tried our best to make their stay a comfortable and memorable one. They managed to taste the local delicacies like Nasi Lemak, Nasi Dagang, Keropok Lekor and also the regular Thai spread which has also become part of our food culture. Needless to say, they enjoyed them albeit unable to withstand the hot and spicy ones, fanning their 'burnt' mouths with their hands!
I was excited to bring them to Cherating to meet Catherine Firdhaus Aoki, our Japanese-Hawaiian friend. It also doubled up as our 'compulsory' visit each time my girls are back here. We bought the girls some batik blouse and sarong from Cath's souvenir shop. And when they tried them on, they look splendid! Later that night we had a family barbeque and we enjoyed the balmy evening outside in the lawn.
The previous night we attended Sensei's Clarence's daughter's wedding at Vistana Hotel. Sensei Clarence leads the Gi Tokku Kai here and is a very respected Sensei. His daughter, Michele, got married to a malay and has converted to Islam and now uses the name Fatihaton Najah, I think. The wedding was an interesting melting-pot of Malay, Chinese and Westeren culture, blended together. Both the bride and groom wore traditional malay attires in resplendent dark red and marched into the hall to the sound of the wedding march. On entrance, they were greeted
by a girl executing the silat dance in a rather intriguing style, marked with head shakes and body writhes, which I thought resembled a bit like bollywood choreographed dance!
The wedding ceremony got more unique when several karate students belonging to the centre, performed their Kata. When the bride and groom were asked to conduct the 'champagne-pouring' ceremony, the lady opposite me, who happened to be the groom's aunt, stared at me with widened eyes and raised eyebrows! Quickly I reassured her that I am sure it wasn't champagne as Sensei Clarence should know better! True enough, the next minute, the emcee cleared the air by informing the guests that it was only sparkling water! It was a splendid night and the group of Japanese students had a fun time observing our Malaysian culture.
Communication with the girls is the biggest hurdle and our hands, legs and body language worked full-force to convey and extract information from them. Perhaps Mynn would have made a perfect interpreter with his 'polished' anime vocabulary! At least we have Aliah who is also a Japanese enthusiast to ease things out as she converses with them in fragmented Japanese phrases which include Japanese pop-stars and icons.
Sunday morning we sent them off at the Karate school. Nao was the sentimental one and she almost cried the river, along with Aliah who is also an emotional gal. I wish them both all the best and hope to be able to see them again in years to come, insyallah!
*Below is another video of them. The background song is sung by them- the Japanese national anthem, 'Kimigayo'. We wanted our kids to reciprocate by singing our national anthem but iFos quickly opposed as she feared the contrast of vocals! hehe*