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Mori no Ike Beginner's Guide [Feb. 4th, 2010|12:50 pm]
Mori no Ike Community
mori_no_ike
[midnitesaboteur]
[Current Mood |hopefulhopeful]
[Current Music |Touhou - Bad Apple!!]

はじめまして、皆さん! I'm Midnight, and I'll (hopefully, if nothing goes crazy-wrong between now and June) be attending the first gakusei session this summer at Mori no Ike. It's my first time at any Concordia village, and honestly my first kind of sleepaway camp that lasts longer than like five days.

So! I am the kind of person that wants to know everything about everything before getting into it. I've looked up every youtube video, every google link to ten pages, every flickr and lj entry I can find. (I don't mean to sound stalkerish ^^; I'm just voracious for info! MnI sounds like the most amazing thing ever, and I'm just bummed I didn't know about it years ago!) Anyway, I've found out a bit, but the info's mostly piecemeal. So I thought I'd revive this community with some questions! :D

First of all, I want to know all about customs. What's it like picking the name and getting the nafuda and all that? They let you pick from a list or your own choice, right? Also, how is the placement test set up? What kind of questions are on it? And about how many gakusei are there per session/how many people are there at one time, usually?

Of course, the shops are interesting too. Does anyone have any pictures of the shop or bank? What kind of stuff does the shop sell? (I heard pocky? :9 I hope they stock coconut pocky, my favorite~) And it's true the bank only gives out 500 yen a day? Also, what about working at those places? I heard you can...

Schedules: what are classes like? I read in a comment here that there's kanji class and grammar class and... culture class, I suppose? (Nihonjin o narou? Read that from a youtube vid...) And the meals - do you really have fish and rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner? :P What are the skits like before the meals? And nerupro, and merodorama, and dance practice... all that fun stuff! :D

Some miscellaneous things... What to bring, of course - is it legal to bring JP CDs? (I read it wasn't because of problems with them being lost or stolen, but considering I'd just be burning them, I really don't care...) What about English learn-Japanese books? :x What's the weather like? I live in south Texas, so there's no way I'd think of wearing anything but shorts past, like, May, but I guess I should pack some pants... Bedding material? I think that's on the pack-list too, right, bring your own pillows and blankets...? (self it is /february/ don't even think about starting to pack now.)

How are the uchi set up? How many people are in each cabin/room? (Anything I should know about the bunks? :p) What about Nihongo no Tatsujin? How difficult is it; have any of you completed Extreme Nihongo no Tatsujin? Oh yeah, what do you do regarding midway and final projects? I have a few ideas, but it seems every time I think of something, I read more and find it's already there or already implemented.

Um. Yeah. In case you couldn't tell, I literally want to know everything <3. I don't care about having every question answered, just... Consider this entry a beginner's guide to Mori, I guess. Is there anything you wish you'd known when you went? That sort of thing. (I hope there are still people reading this comm :x) So yeah. ありがとう; じゃまたね!
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[User Picture]From: cxrdevil
2010-02-04 08:04 pm (UTC)

Part 1

I was just a seito this year, but I had a blast and I'll answer what I can! Leave the gakusei answers up to a gakusei...

What's it like picking the name and getting the nafuda and all that? They let you pick from a list or your own choice, right?
1) There's a list you can pick off of, or you can choose your own. Just say "I'd like to be ___" politely, etc.
2) You get your nafuda a little later (I was at Dent and it was in the Tokyo Dome with the craft supplies, but it depends on which site you're going to where everything is...) and you can decorate it however you want. A lot of people just write their name and colors or decorations at first, and then come back during midday break to paint theirs or spend time in their uchi decorating with markers/colored pencils they brought, etc.

Does anyone have any pictures of the shop or bank? What kind of stuff does the shop sell? (I heard pocky? :9 I hope they stock coconut pocky, my favorite~) And it's true the bank only gives out 500 yen a day?
1) Depends on the site. If you have friends who went ask them for pictures?
2) Pocky, yes, Mori no Ike-branded souvenir type stuff, pens, chopsticks, disposable cameras, flags, dictionaries, fans, Ramune, Hi-Chew, Coke, Ramune candy, Hello Panda, etc. Normal popular anime fan snacks plus other doodads and typical souvenir/useful around camp stuff.
3) Yes. Moreover, you couldn't spend more even if you withdrew it and waited, as there's a limit on how many snacks you can purchase a day, and you aren't supposed to can't bring food back to the uchi.

And the meals - do you really have fish and rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner? :P What are the skits like before the meals?
1) Yes lots of fish and rice. You're also sharing with your table and it is not some amerikajin restaurant, so expect to have a very small serving of fish with a proportionately large serving of rice. Breakfast is usually fish, rice, miso soup, water/milk/soymilk, orange juice. Occasionally there were bagels. There isn't fish at every meal, though, because we mix it up with beef or tofu some nights and there's a vegetarian option at every meat-or-fish-based meal. There were hotdogs and hamburgers during the dance...haha. They try not to let picky eaters starve, so more typical American stuff is sprinkled though. Beware of Gohanstipation, though - changing your diet so rapidly to so much rice gives a lot of people bowel troubles about halfway through the first week... Drink plenty of water to help with that and also to keep you hydrated whilst tramping about.
2) THE SKITS ARE VERY FUN. That's it. Anything can be the theme of one of them. Your kotoba will do a couple and/or one of your classes. this applies to the melodrama too. In my session, memorable highlights included a Captain Falcon skit, a Pokemon skit, and a Dora the Explorer skit.

Edited at 2010-02-04 08:04 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: akaneko
2010-02-05 02:03 am (UTC)

Re: Part 1

This year, all the summer credit sessions are at the Dent campsite, so the Dent campsite's the one to get pictures of. ^_^
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[User Picture]From: cxrdevil
2010-02-04 08:04 pm (UTC)

Part 2


What to bring, of course - is it legal to bring JP CDs?
Electronics ja nai'd, but if you want it for the bus/plane home or something go ahead. You turn in your electronics and your English books on the first day.

What about English learn-Japanese books? :x What's the weather like? I live in south Texas, so there's no way I'd think of wearing anything but shorts past, like, May, but I guess I should pack some pants... Bedding material?
1) That's fine, I think. And books or manga in all-Japanese are good too. It's alright to have a dictionary.
2) Warm to hot during the day! sometimes it's cool if it rains/is overcast or because of the will of the gods idk but you'd best bring at least one pair of pants in case. It gets much colder at night.
3) Bring your own bedding. You live on a bunk bed in a cabin. You will need your own sheets, blankets, pillow and case, and whatever else your sleeping requires.

How are the uchi set up? How many people are in each cabin/room? (Anything I should know about the bunks? :p) What about Nihongo no Tatsujin? How difficult is it; have any of you completed Extreme Nihongo no Tatsujin?
1)Like a summer camp cabin. Usually it's 8-10 people I think, but I know we had one cabin that had 16 because it wasn't with the others. Bathrooms are in the same building but you need to leave your uchi and everyone shares; one for boys, one for girls, and the boy and girl cabins have plenty of space between them. I think that's true for every site xD Bunks are cool, they're just bunks, they're close together so you'll need to be able to fit your suitcase underneath or come to an agreement with your neighbors. afaicr it was first-come, first-serve as to who got to sleep where and top/bottom bunks...but it might be planned out. You're welcome to decorate your bunk with pictures or whatever as long as it's nothing that'll permanently damage them, I think. We certainly had posters here and there as seito and the sensei were homey in their bunks. Kind of a small place but you'll all feel like a cozy little family so you won't feel like it's small.
2)It is a blast and it's not that hard - people help you out and if you slip up like, once or twice, the sensei don't jump on you or anything. You tend to learn a whole lot from even a day of it! Never did extreme but I hear it's fun, although frustrating to not be able to talk to your friends or explain yourself in your own language. I definitely wouldn't do it the first week. The reward (read: ENHANCED JAPANESE SKILLS! \O/ oh and beads or a stuffed animal w/e) is probably worth it though.

I really really loved Mori no Ike. I got homesick when I went home. I'd love to come back as a gakusei, but I don't think I can (financially) afford to return at all this year. You will have a blast and you will make friends and you will LOVE it. And you'll come home knowing a ton more Japanese and accidentally speaking in Japanese for days or even weeks afterward. You'll have the time of your life! :D
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[User Picture]From: hidekodahlia
2010-02-04 09:52 pm (UTC)
Hi there! I'm hideko-sensei; I was a gakusei once upon a time, and have been a sensei for many years now.

That's a whole pile of questions, there. Let's go in order...

Nafudas, names, and placement: Yes, you get to pick your name; there is a list there for ideas, but if you have a name that you are very attached to, you can suggest that, too. However, to keep confusion to a minimum, if someone else already has that name, you won't get it. Also, you get to name your own nafuda. It's a lot of fun. As to placement, it depends on whether you are a two-week villager or a four-week/credit villager. The placement activities are different. (They are NOT tests, they are activities; you don't get graded on it at all.) We were very sardine-squishy last year at Dent with (including staff) about 150 people on site first half. That's about the most that will fit on site.

The camp store: There's only the one store there, and it's not so much as "store" as a camp canteen. It's only open on opening/closing days and during free time. They sell snacks, drinks, and various CLV/Mori no Ike realia (shirts, mugs, fans, etc). The bank only gives out 500yen a day because you can pretty much only buy snacks with it and you only have an hour to eat it. There is a "check" system in place where you can buy specific more expensive items, though. If you want to know more about that just ask me...

The schedule: The schedule at camp is VERY intense. How classes are set up is dependent again on whether you are a credit villager or not. Credit villagers have three classes a day, non-credit have two. A lot of what is actually offered as far as clubs and activities is highly dependent on what staff are there. If no one knows how to work the kiln, then there's no pottery, for example.

Meals: Yes, there's a lot of rice, and a decent amount of fish. However, the kitchen staff work very hard to ensure that every meal is balanced. There are a lot of great Japanese dishes and a few more familiar dishes with a Japanese twist. Cereal has been known to appear on occasion for breakfast.

Bringing things: It depends on the dean and the staff. Some years they allow CDs to be kept with sensei and played for the whole cabin, some years, they aren't. If you bring them, the worst that can happen is that you don't get to listen to them for a few weeks. Usually, if you ask your cabin sensei nicely, they can find Japanese CDs that are around camp and bring them in for the cabin to listen to for a treat. As for books, if it is a dictionary, it's fine. Past that, the rules get subjective. English manga are generally a no-go. Books in Japanese are usually okay, and sometimes manga in Japanese is allowed. Sometimes it isn't; it depends on the dean and staff.

Packing: Early summer in MN is generally fairly warm, but it gets cool in the evenings, so a sweatshirt is advisable to at least have around. Shorts and t-shirts are the standard for mid-day temperatures. Yes, bring your own pillows, blankets, and sheets. And BRING BUG SPRAY. You will need it.

Uchi: Depending on how many people there are in the camp, cabins can be anywhere from 10-16 people, including sensei. There are top and bottom bunks; they're standard camp bunks.

Nihongo no Tatsujin: FUN TIMES. It's hard sometimes, because you may want to converse with friends in English, but if you pay attention to what you're doing/saying it's a great thing to do. As a sensei, I do Nihongo no Tasujin every day for at least six weeks... It's so much fun!

Projects: Credit villagers do a mid-term and final project. In the current curriculum, the mid-term project is a community project done with your class. The final project is an individual or small group (2-3 people) project that benefits the Mori no Ike community in some way. That can be taken a lot of ways, however; I've seen Mori no Ike zombie apocalypse survival plans done as a final project.

Wow. That's a hugely long comment. If you have any other questions, feel free to send me a message or reply to this, and I'll answer anything I can!
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[User Picture]From: akaneko
2010-02-05 01:49 am (UTC)
Hi midnitesaboteur! Mori no Ike e youkoso! (^____^)

Oh yeah, what do you do regarding midway and final projects? I have a few ideas, but it seems every time I think of something, I read more and find it's already there or already implemented.

The exact requirements for projects vary a little bit each session, but generally, the most important thing is select a topic you enjoy and find a way to use Japanese to talk and/or write about it. Gakusei often do things like make oral presentations about cultural topics, create picture books or manga, write stories, put together plays or make videos with their classmates or friends, write songs, et cetera. It all depends on what your own personal interests and talents are, and how you can use the language that you know to do cool stuff with 'em. It's okay if a final project topic has been used before, as long as it's not an exact copy of anyone else's work.
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[User Picture]From: akaneko
2010-02-05 01:56 am (UTC)
Also, it's totally okay to not be sure what you want to do just yet. There's a bunch of project planning time available during class time during the session, so you'll have some help from your sensei and credit facilitator and classmates in thinking up project ideas and how to make them work once y'all have all been given the particular project requirements for the session.
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[User Picture]From: hidekodahlia
2010-02-05 09:49 pm (UTC)
holy crap you've got a livejournal. XD;
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[User Picture]From: akaneko
2010-02-06 07:29 am (UTC)
lulz, yeah.
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