Thursday, September 04, 2003

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Wednesday. Today was a day of much running around, carrying heavy books all day, and attending several classes.

First off, Chinese language. I still don't have the book -- Shaman bookstore ran out, and they're re-ordering. Today a few people volunteered to read over the lesson. Not being conceited, but I don't volunteer for this stuff because I think my accent is pretty good. I'm proud of my Beijing/Tianjin accent. Aftterwards, we volunteered answers to the discussion questions. I came up with some answers, but I didn't speak out. I probably should, there is a Korean guy in the class whose level is around mine who spoke. That's it, tomorrow I'll speak out in class. Besides, it'll make Deng laoshi happy -- she's having a hard time getting people to speak right now, but she's a good teacher: she lectures us about how it's best to be thick-skinned to learn a language, and you can tell she means it. And she's from Beijing, which scores bonus points.

Modernism and Modernity in East Asian Fiction is a small class. Six people came today, and I'll likely be dropping it. That's too bad, because it sounds like a great class: it tries to answer what modernism/modernity are through works of fiction from China, Japan, Korea, and as an experiment, two Asian-American writers. Coincidentally, I recently read a short summary of the principles of modernism. While we were dropping my sister off at Wheaton, I leafed through a friend's copy of A Primer on Postmodernism by Stanley J. Grenz, which argues that Christians should judge postmodernism by its cover and discard it, but examine it for its valid criticisms of the modernist view and examine what one Amazon review calls the good parts of postmodernism, the parts that speak truth about God and the world we live in. I could probably write a big review on this, but I'll probably do that after a more careful reading (I've ordered it).

Class ended early, so I dropped my stuff off in the CCS office with Peggy. Greeted Dr Lee, back from doing research in China and now heading the CCS at Michigan. Talked to Mary Ellen about FLAS details. Walked across the street from the School for Social Work, to the busy corner in front of Ulrich's bookstore where there is a hot dog stand. A college student with a large Insane Clown Posse tattoo on his arm served me up two beef hot dogs and a Sprite for three bucks. Nice! A little ketchup, spicy mustard, relish, no onions, and lunch was set.

At 4pm, CCS 501 started. CCS 501 is an interdisciplinary China seminar intended for CCS Masters students. The first semester will be co-taught by Albert Park, of the econ department, and James Lee of sociology. The course will cover topics from both of their fields, which is supposed to be an interesting idea: almost all schools frown on cross-disciplinary co-teaching like this. The syllabus is 19 pages long -- 19 pages of references to articles and books that we'll be reading over the semester. That's insane. Nonetheless, it should be enjoyable. This class is nice in that it has no big papers besides a weekly 1-2 page reaction to the reading, and in that all of the CCS MA's are gathered together in one place, including the second year students.

Back home for dinner and bed. Gonna try this early to bed and early to rise thing.

I've got a mix of soft Japanese ballads on right now: Naotaro Moriyama, Kimura Yoshino, Mr Children, Oda Kazumasa, Southern All Stars, and Tamaki Koji. Bad news on the drama front: Wizzywig, which rents a ton of anime videos and DVD's, does not do dramas. Something about distribution rights. I'm very disappointed. I'm still following up a lead on a Japanese supermarket north of the River. Times like this, I miss having a car.

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