On the morning of April 29th, 42 teachers and students from the senior high school and vocational school of Taipei School for the Visually Impaired and 75 teachers and students from its junior high school and elementary school came to visit the Department of Japanese Language and Culture and the Department of German Language and Culture at Soochow University. With the guidance of the faculty and students at Soochow University, students of Taipei School for the Visually Impaired wore Kimonos, studied Japanese tea ceremony, tasted German cuisine, and listened to German music and fairy tales, immersing themselves in exotic Japanese and German cultures.
The director of the internship program at Taipei School for the Visually Impaired, Ji Nai-qin, said that it was the first time for his students to visit a university. Through the state-of-the-art facilities at Soochow University and faculty’s explanation, students could not only have a better understanding of foreign cultures but also experience them mentally and physically. Ji Nai-qin also pointed out that in the past his students could only learn about foreign cultures such as American and Thai cultures at Taipei School for the Visually Impaired. This time after students found out that they were going to visit the Department of Japanese Language and Culture and the Department of German Language and Culture at Soochow University, they were so excited and full of joy that they even got up earlier for this trip.
As visitors, students from Taipei School for the Visually Impaired were divided into 2 groups. Senior high school and vocational high school students experienced Japanese tea culture, getting down on their knees on tatami and listening to the details about Japanese tea ceremony. Students from the tea culture club at Soochow University demonstrated the ways to enjoy tea. Firstly, use silk to scrub tea bowls to show respect for customers, and then wipe tea spoons six times at the front, back and side. Secondly, put tea bowls in front of customers’ knees one after another and use bamboo spoon to ladle boiled water into bowls. Put one third of a tea brush into each bowl for three times and then check whether each tea brush has fallen into a bowl. Finally, wipe the hot tea bowl and make sure the tea is ready to be served. After customers take the tea, they need to turn the tea bowl clockwise twice and make the totem point outwards so as to show respect for the host. After doing this, customers can start to enjoy tea. Teachers and students from Taipei School for the Visually Impaired listened to the details about tea ceremony carefully and then experienced the tea culture themselves. Then they wore kimonos and felt the way they should be worn. The visually impaired students used their bodies and minds to experience Japanese culture.
On the other hand, the junior high school and elementary school students visited the Department of German Language and Culture, listened to the story about Easter Day and shared Christmas gifts. SCU students played the violin to perform German classic music and told the stories about German musicians and festivals so that those visitors could experience the German culture. Besides, Lin, Ai-Hua, an associate professor in the Department of German Language and Culture, and Lin, Chun-Fan, a teaching assistant, planned some cultural activities for the visiting students to engage in. Moreover, German majors baked cakes for the visiting students and teachers. The Department of German Language and Culture also prepared German tea and desserts for the visitors. They were impressed and went home with a better understanding of German culture.
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