Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Omoshiroii Undoukai

Omoshiroi does not mean interesting. Look in any Japanese to English dictionary and you will find something similar to this: Omoshiroi (面白い): amusing; funny; interesting. Japanese people think of something omoshiroi as laughable; something that is silly. Interesting is quite the opposite. Things of interest engage the mind rather than the emotions.

Mathematics is interesting because the numbers, shapes and formulas are logical and involve brain activity. But maths is definitely not something we enjoy laughing about. Acts of nature are interesting because they are so very different from what we experience in the course of our normal human existence. It is this uniqueness that makes them interesting. But more often than not they are not funny in any way.

Japanese humour also differs to ours. What we find to be clever, witty or punny may not incite a humoured reaction from someone here. And things such as strange slapstick comedy or saying silly, redundant things that we would find inane and pointless, Japanese would laugh and say the situation is omoshiroi.

Don't let this word get lost in translation. Never apply it to something serious. Just remember that for something to be omoshiroi you have to be able to laugh about it. So next time a colleague does something weird, laugh quietly to yourself and whisper "omoshiroi".

A couple of weekends ago, we had Eddi's undoukai (school sports day). Undoukai is something that parents look forward to all year. The kids put in weeks of practice to make sure the whole day is perfectly memorised.

The weather was nice. Mika packed up enough lunch for us, Eddi's grandparents and her uncle and cousin. The kids had a lot of fun, with various running races and a lot of activities involving their parents. Mika and Eddi did a giant pants relay together, and there were other fun games that the various grades did, such as pushing a giant ball, firing water rockets into the air, and balloon popping.

[Video] Giant Pants Relay

I have decided to try and recap my shougakkou classes by posting blog entries. This will allow me to reflect on and critique my own classes, and will create a record of successful activities for future reference. Feel free to take ideas, as a lot of the things I do are ideas that have either been taken or adapted from other people's experiences. I will do my best to tag English class summary entries as accurately as possible for future reference and may even add an extra menu section for better searching.




Natalia said...

interesting, but I do not agree with this part of your post about mathematics.
I am maths teacher and I often laught with my students in the class.
Funny maths is simpler maths; so I think maths is omoshiroi.

PS I thought that 面白い has only one い at the end(?)
面白い = omo+shiro+i (?)

Timotheos said...

You're right, I mistakenly put an extra i on the romanisation of the word. To most people, mathematics is not fun or funny. I chose it as an example because it was the most boring thing I could think of!