Paris Syndrome: Search For The Cure

What is the Paris Syndrome?

You may or may not have heard of the Paris Syndrome. This condition is rather odd but, it is alive and well. The Paris syndrome refers to tourists who’ve have gone to visit Paris and suddenly come down with an ailment. While it tends to impact the general audience of tourists the group that is most affected is the Japanese. In fact, The Japanese have a 24-hour hotline for any Japanese citizen that has been affected by this condition.

Japanese people crowded

Causes of Paris Syndrome

Japanese people are sometimes so confounded by Paris that they need to seek psychological help. We’re not sure but perhaps it was a bad bagel, croissant, or perhaps some Foie gras or spoiled duck fat. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be feeling too well either if I was subjected to eating Foie gras. Many Japanese tourists get the wrong impression that Paris, France is some sort of romantic Paradise. We tend to get this idea from the movies: where we see Paris as this romantic getaway that we all want to go to and swoon over the person that we love. While Paris can be a wonderful city, it’s still influenced by the daily city life surrounding it. There are rude people in Paris, people who will yell at you for not speaking French (or speaking it and butchering it), as this happens in ‘normal cities’.

Is Paris the cause of Paris syndrome?

Factors of Paris Syndrome

While you will find many wonderful people in Paris, you will also find rude people like anywhere else in the world. The Japanese are accustomed to being polite as this is a part of their culture and language. Therefore, travelling to France can be a real culture shock when you meet people with different ideas. This is the main reason that the Japanese, as well as some other tourists, suffer from the Paris Syndrome. If you happen to end up in Paris one day, don’t be surprised if some old French lady hits you over the head with a crusty old baguette (Okay, highly unlikely scenario, but it can happen) if you don’t speak French.

The Japanese are simply not used to people that might be rude or crass. Most other people in the world are used to people yelling at them in traffic, for example. We’ve become so desensitized to people being rude to us that we just brush it off our shoulders and get on with our day. It’s not really the city of Paris, it’s more of human nature responding to human nature.

The Cure For Paris Syndrome

The Cure For The Paris Syndrome

There’s no real cure for the Paris Syndrome. It really is just a massive culture shock. If you were a tourist, you can naturally expect some people to give you strange looks or they might even be rude to you if you don’t speak their language. There is only one real cure for the Paris Syndrome, it is to just stay home. There will always be some random nincompoop who is rude to you because they all exist in this world to some degree or another.


Here is an entire book about the phenomenon, give it a read! Paris Syndrome

The Reason Why Italy Has The Best Pasta In The World

Italy’s Pasta Fascination

When most people think of Italy, the first two things that come to mind are pizza and pasta. Italians believe that the way they cook their pizza and pasta is far better to what is served in restaurants and fast food places. That is why many Italians do not eat pasta anywhere except when they are in Italy. So what are the stories behind Italians and their fascination with pasta? Let’s find out.

The act of cooking pasta is almost a religious ritual for many Italians. Pasta cooking combines both tradition and art, and Italians take it very seriously, almost to the point of obsession. Have you ever heard the term al dente? Yes, Italians need their pasta to be cooked al dente, otherwise, the standards will not be met. Al dente means that the inner part of the pasta needs to be slightly uncooked. They are very specific about the exact time when the pasta needs to be taken out of the boiling water so that it doesn’t come out overcooked. The timing is so meticulous that if you read instructions behind a pasta pack sold in Italy, it will mention a different cooking time as compared to the same pasta brand being sold in the US. Of course, it is a matter of preference but Italians believe that pasta al dente is more easy to digest.

Another thing that Italians love about their pasta is that it has to be made fresh. Most restaurants have one or two boilers and cook the dish only when the order is placed. That will certainly make you feel that you are eating in an authentic Italian restaurant. And god forbid that you try to order something different from your mates because cooking each dish separately will take so much time that the waiter will simply refuse your wish. Even the restaurant manager cannot help you here!

close up food indoors pasta
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com Pasta in a Spoon Bowl

You might have heard that to test if the pasta is ready, you pull a strand of spaghetti and toss it against the wall. The Italians consider this an utter sabotage of food, not to mention the kitchen walls. Their alternative is much simpler and less messy. Simply take the pasta strand and break it into two halves, that will tell you if the pasta is ready or not. And for the novice chefs, just take a small bite and you will know when to stop cooking. Italians also condemn the practice of rinsing pasta after it is cooked, let the sauce take care of the stickiness problem. The pasta chef also suggests that when the food is ready to eat, do not waste time twirling with a spoon. Simply dig in your fork and get going with that yummy pasta before someone else comes to share it. It is no secret that Italians eat pasta frequently, so much so that even Italian doctors do not mind such eating habits. In fact, a new study actually proved that eating pasta is not as fattening and heart clogging as most people think it is. Pasta is packed with carbohydrates, and rich in vegetable nutrients and proteins. Who can complain when nutritious food can be so yummy?

The next time you have a craving for pasta, either invite an Italian friend to cook or visit an authentic Italian restaurant to understand the true fascination with pasta.

 

Italy


https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2017-10-16/youre-eating-pasta-wrong-this-nutrition-pro-says

Click here to see my favourite brand of Italian Pasta! 

A Brief History of Carnival in The Caribbean

The History Of Carnival In The Caribbean

Caribbean carnivals are a series of activities that happen before the beginning of lent which is towards the time the Christians observe their fast. The Caribbean carnival has a complicated history. The French and Spanish slave Lords, the European Catholic Priest along with their slaves settled in the Caribbean in places like Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Haiti and many other Caribbean Islands. The lent period marks the beginning of their abstinence from meat which lasts through Lent. Exclusively, only the slave Lords celebrated carnival. However, after the emancipation of slaves and the end of the slave trade, most of these slaves settled in the Caribbean to carry on the carnival tradition to mark the end of the slave trade.

Junkanoo Carnival
Junkanoo Carnival in The Bahamas, Man dressed in his costume shaking the cowbells

The “recent time” Caribbean carnival started in Trinidad and Tobago around the year 1783. Due to the migration of Caribbean’s and the mixture of cultures and traditions, the carnival has moved to many parts of the world. Carnival has been celebrated in Europe, North America and even in some parts of Africa.

These annual events are held on Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday of Lent. The event is usually colourful and filled with people clothed in beautiful attires, dressed with masks and painted faces. This occasion is usually carried out with, Calypso and Soca music, and masquerade performances. Calypso music started in Trinidad in the 17th century from African slaves that settled in Trinidad. The music originated from Kaiso and Canaboulay music.

Carnival in Guaeloupe
Guadeloupe winter carnival, Pointe-à-Pitre parade. A young woman, a performer wearing traditional carnival head-dress(close up outdoor portrait).

Every year there is a music/dance competition. The winner of the competition gets a large sum of money along with other awards such as cars, vacation trips etc. The winner also gets endorsement deals and many contracts. Due to the multicultural structure of the Caribbean, diverse cultures contribute to the kind of music used at the carnival. The Caribbean has many people who are descendants from different parts of the world. In the Carribean, you will find Africans, Indians, European and Middle Easterners. Carnival time is definitely a time to visit any of the Caribbean Islands.

Carnival has many names, in Dominica, it is known as “Mas Dominik”. Many believe that Dominica is one of the few islands that still uphold the tradition of carnival. Similar to what happens in Trinidad and Tobago, the carnival happens before lent time. Many citizens living in different parts of the world come home to partake in this event. Competitions occur before the two-day events on the streets. The 2-day events are usually opened with an official opening parade. Bands come up one after the other with specially designed costumes and facial paintings, taking turns to show their creativity in art, dance, music and costumes.

Weeks before the Carnival, the children get to have their “little carnival” where they get decorated in facial masks and different kinds of physical adornment. It would be lovely to visit one of these Islands during carnival. A visit will leave you thrilled.

In conclusion, most Caribbean islands celebrate their carnival before the Lenten period, nevertheless, it is an occasion perfect for any celebratory day. The main aim of the people here is to express themselves. Eat as much as they want, showcase their talents, creativity and beliefs.

Carnival Headpiece
Carnival Headpiece

The Top 4 Tribes Of Africa

Tribes Of Africa: WHO ARE THEY?

Each African native belongs to a tribe. Even though it’s very challenging to understand, tribes are distinctive attributes of the continent. The size and young age of the continent’s population are two aspects that single out the African continent. But then, it’s the existence of tribes that have led to all of these. In all African nations, each native somehow distinguishes himself/herself on the basis of their tribes. For this reason among many others, tribes have had a great impact in the African society. Until date, even though the effect has dropped, they still play a great role in the community. African tribes are at the heart of the African history. Thus, knowledge about African tribes is one of the prime ways to appreciate the continent. Yet, before anything, we first need to define what we mean by a tribe. We shall then proceed by describing why the tribes we have selected are among the top four of all. So, are you interested in Africa? Or do you need a refresh about your African history? Either way is sure to get some valuable insight about some special African tribes.

What’s a tribe?

We believe it’s important to remind ourselves or clarify what’s meant by a tribe. There’s usually a confusion between a tribe and ethnic group. Mafeje in the article “The Ideology of ‘Tribalism”  gives a definition of a tribe. Thus, quoting Mafeje, a tribe is, “self-contained, autonomous communities practising subsistence economy with no or limited external trade” (Mafeje 1971). In the same article, others define a tribe differently. For them, it’s a group of persons who due “exclusive rights to a given territory” and manage “its affairs independently of external control” (Mafeje 1971). To break it down, we define a tribe as thus. A tribe is a human social group sharing a common ancestral blood link, land, culture, language, and history.

In Africa, a plethora of tribes exists, with over 3000 tribes believed to exist across the 54 nations. They have been there way before the states or governments ever came to exist. So coming up with four top of them is quite a struggle. But our choice is made based on striking distinctive attributes of the tribes that render it more popular among others. So what are those top four tribes?

1.    The Zulu tribe.

UBUNTU, have you ever heard of that word? If you’re fun of computer operating systems, or an IT software guru, you must know this word. However, do you know it’s an African word? Indeed! This comes from the Zulu language and indicates two words: togetherness and humanity. Shaka Zulu, that’s a name you equally must have heard of, especially if you love African or discovery movies.  Shaka Zulu was the legendary chief of the most famous land of Shakaland in the Zulu Kingdom. Both of these, Ubuntu and Shaka Zulu have contributed to providing the reputation of the Zulu tribe. Moreover, Zulu is the largest and most popular tribe in South Africa, with about a population of 11 million. The Zulu’s occupy regions principally in Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa.

Zulu tribe
Zulu Reed Dance

The Zulu language is isiZulu, and Christianity is the dominant religion. The tribe is quite modern in its lifestyle. Individuals regularly dress their traditional clothes for distinct cultural events. A respectable number of important people (politicians and scientists) originate from this tribe.

2.    The Maasai Tribe

Where the Maasai originate remains a debate (John L. Berntsen, 1977). Yet, we know them to dwell in distinct regions in Kenya and Tanzania. Their population is estimated to be close to a million (GOVERNMENT OF KENYA, 1999). The Maasai people distinguish themselves by their intense embedded tradition and cultural beliefs, although many of them are still open to embracing a modern lifestyle. Among their particular traditional characteristics, is their nomadic lifestyle, moving around with large herds and cattle for a living. They even believe in the god of cattle. Their cultural wear consists of exceptional beaded jewels. This aspect of their culture is highly valorized in foreign countries and cultures.

Enter a caption

According to recent literature, an intricate relationship is believed between Maasai and Elephants (Kangwana K, 1993). For instance, fields studies have revealed that elephants are capable of understanding Maasai language and sounds.

 

3.    The Berber Tribe

If there’s tribe you must know about when interested in North Africa is that of the Berber. As the second most populated tribe of North Africa, Berbers have occupied the Maghreb since the start of documented history. That is, they live in dispersed communities across Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and even Libya. They communicate in several Amazigh languages that belong to the Afro-Asiatic family and linked to Ancient Egyptian. Berber literature was written orally as most of ancient history. Yet one important aspect of the Berber tribe is its language. But then, many different varieties of the Berber languages exist, meaning along with their geographic dispersion, no one literature exists. Hence making its history difficult to retrieve. Between 30 to 40 million Berber speakers are estimated, thus Berber languages have strongly impacted Maghrebi culture.

Berber woman and her child

 

4.    The Fulani Tribe

Among the most dispersed tribe of West Africa, the Fulani tribe must be mentioned. The tribe is equally known as Peul or Fulbe. It’s the primary Muslim population dispersed all over several regions of West Africa. In fact, the span that they cover in Africa overlaps the size of the United States entirely. They are found mainly in Nigeria, Mali, Guinea, Cameroon, Senegal, and Niger. The Fulani speak Pulaar, orignally from the Fula people of Senegal, Nigeria and Cameroon.  The Fulani tribe is known to be a nomadic tribe, herding cattle, livestock and simply living off the land. They practice a strict code which teaches moral fortitude, things such as : respect, responsibility, sense of duty, patience and spirtuallity are all high valued amongst the Fulani Tribe.  Spiritually, the Fulani are associated with the Islamic religion, and deligintly devote themselves to the Islamic traditions. The outerappearance of both Fulani women and men preach the practice of modesty, there is no distinct dress code, however women who are married wear a veil to symbolize their union.

Fulani Woman With Tribal Tattoo
Fulani Woman With Tribal Tattoo

With all the exodusse, annexation, technology and the ever-changing world, African tribes are still there. They are still a huge source of knowledge and very interesting media to know about Africa.

Reference:

 

  • GOVERNMENT OF KENYA, 1999 CENSUS (Provisional Rep.).
  • John L. Berntsen, Maasai and lloikop: Ritual Experts and Their Followers (1977) (unpublished paper, University of Wisconsin at Madison).

 

 

Taiko: The Japanese Drumming Tradition

Taiko’s History

Taiko, which means “fat drum” in Japanese, has a long-standing tradition in Japanese history. While percussion instruments and music existed in many cultures across the world, from the very beginning, we can trace the taiko drumming style to around 6th century CE. Its influences are said to have come from ancient China and Korea during the great cultural exchange in the middle of the first millennia. The playstyle of the drums is vibrant and lively, and it creates a connection between the soul and the instrument. Through the iemoto system, performance groups have specific styles which are passed down to them (this is no ordinary method of drumming). The traditional teaching of Japanese art can only be obtained through devoted disciple and compassion for the art itself.

Uses of Taiko

Initially, the main use of the big drums was for military purposes during the (Sengoku Jidai) warring states period. Different combinations of rhythms signalled different war signs – there would be a different combination of beats for “retreat”, “advance”, “reinforcements”, etc. Nonetheless, progressively taiko music has effortlessly blended itself into the celebratory Japanese culture. Edo period Japan also emphasized the use of taiko in dramatic performance shows such as Kabuki, Noh and Bunraku. The drumming would intensify the scenery, amplify emotions and accompany dancers, all of these things added a sprinkle of uniqueness to the Japanese theatre.

Religion has also included the use of Taiko drums, mainly Buddhism and Shintoism in mainland Japan. Even today one can routinely see taiko drums used in Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, and the majority of cultural festivals.

Taiko Drums

Although Taiko literally means “fat drum”, they do in fact come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Reason being, each size and variation of drum delivers a different impact and sound. There are four types of Taiko drums, each with their own perks, specialities and uses.

Daiko DrumShime DaikoHira Daiko

Odaiko

This would be the biggest of the four, and its meaning translates into “a big drum”. Its scale can go from anywhere between 35- 48 inches, however, due too ceremonial and ritual practices BIGGER Odaikos have been crafted. The sound that reverberates from the Odaiko is a loud, explosive beat packed with intensity.

 

Hira Daiko 

The Hira Daiko is meant to be played similar to that of a gong. Its name translates into Gong taiko for a reason. Both sound, shape and the way it is to be played resembles a gong.  It is, however, a much less used type of Taiko in the modern era of Japanese culture. Finding one can cost a pretty penny.

Tsukeshime Daiko 

The shime daiko is the equivalent of a snare drum in the Kumidaiko Jazz ensemble. It is the timekeeper behind the entire ensemble, thus it is considered to be the most essential part of the entire “SHIBANG”. They are much smaller than their big brother Odaiko at a mere 13-15 inches with a height of 6-9.5 inches.

Okedo Taiko

This is the lightest drum out of the entire ensemble due to the fact that it is constructed out of wood staves instead of the typical hollowed out trunk. This, in turn, creates a lighter that also gives off a lighter sound.  It is extremely portable allowing for users to play it in several positions.


Fun Facts

The drums are typically made out of the same wood as your everyday bonsai tree. (Keyaki Wood)

bonsai tree
Taiko drums are made out of the same wood as a high-quality bonsai tree

In Japanese mythology, Raijin, God of Lighting wields 4-8 taiko drums as weapons

Raijin wields 8 Taiko Drums In This Depiction
Raijin vs Fujin

The Modern Comeback of Taiko

The resurgence of this ancient music style is contributed to one man during the 1950’s. Daihachi Oguchi, the founder of Osuwa Daiko and creator the Kumi-Daiko style was actually a jazz drummer. The story goes, “One day, he was asked to interpret an old sheet of taiko music for the Osuwa Shrine. With a little bit of help, he performed the tune and got an idea of how to modernize the style.” He put several different taiko styles in one setting and created Kumi-Daiko, a group taiko ensemble that consists of various taikos.

With time, several important and famous groups emerged, whom would further develop the style and introduce it to the world. One such group, whose members emphasized rigorous physical training to develop their music, famously performed a piece of Kumi-Daiko after running the Boston marathon and left the audience breathless. The modern take on the style is famous for its very fast, rhythmical drumming and vibrant shows.

 

Please enjoy this rendition of Kodo, a famous Japanese taiko group playing on 3 O-Daiko!

 

Famous Taiko Groups (There Are Way More)

Kodo

Ondekoza

Tao

Kanto Abare, Matsuriza


http://www.taiko.com/taiko_resource/groups_j.html

https://www.japan-talk.com/jt/new/iemoto

3 Things To Do After The Duolingo Esperanto Tree

3 Things To Do After The Duolingo Esperanto Tree

Congratulations! You’ve finished the Duolingo Esperanto Tree! You, along with countless others are probably thinking of your next move. Esperanto, unlike other ‘real’ languages, doesn’t have a designated country *although there are native speakers*. So, you can’t just pack your bags and say “I think I’ve got a good grasp on the language, maybe I’ll head over to Esperanta where the people speak Esperanto. However, there are some alternative methods whether you decide to stay in at home or travel. (Don’t worry Esperanto unlike other languages possess a global potential for connection and communication.

Duolingo Esperanto Completion Certificate

Here are some enjoyable ways that you can maintain your Esperanto skills post-Duolingo,

Evil DEA – If you haven’t heard of Evil DEA in the Esperanto community you must have been living under a sxtonego. This guy is like the modern Esperanto godfather of comedy, adventure and life itself. He has an entire YouTube channel dedicated to his Esperanto adventures and it’s mostly conducted in Esperanto. He also just recently became active on his Facebook page and continues to post about Esperanto occasionally. If you ever become bored and want to LOL in Esperanto, then Evil DEA is your go-to guy.

The Esperanto World Congress – Esperanto has a what? Yes, that’s right Esperanto, the conlang has a world congress. Better yet, it has a world congress that is well attended, and has been held for a consecutive streak of 113 years (minus WWI). The largest congress to ever be conducted was held in the birthplace of Esperanto, Poland in 1987.

What Happens At A Congress?

Okay, apologies. I made it sound just a bit more serious than it actually is, but the Congress is a time of excitement and celebration for the language. There are prizes, friendly speaking contests, singalongs, dinner parties and much more. The truly fascinating part of this is that since Esperanto belongs to no specific country, you’ll be faced with people from all four rounded corners of the globe. Imagine that – a language capable of such of thing…remarkable.

Become A Tutor Esperanto is by no means a difficult language, but like any languages, it requires considerable focus and long-term motivation. If you possess both of those things, then chances are that you’re liable to become an Esperanto tutor. Many learning platforms such as Italki, Wyzant, and Udemy has a variety of opportunities for those wanting to teach Esperanto. I’ve come across some decent tutors on Italki in my days of learning Esperanto, and the experiences were always informative and pleasant. So, become the change that you wish to see in the online language learning environment, and take your shot at becoming an educator.