“Aimlessness is advisable.”

A quick quiz before reading:

  • What are the 5 senses? Can you name them all in English?
  • What’s the 6th sense? (not the movie)

This article from Quartz describes the concepts of biophilia (the affinity humans have for the natural world) and 森林浴 (shinrinyoku・literally, “forest bathing”).

‘Japanese “forest medicine” is the art of using nature to heal yourself—wherever you are’

When I was reading this, I read “bibliophilia” (the love of books/reading) instead of biophilia. I think reading has just as much power to heal as forest bathing, and you can certainly read wherever  you are.

Here’s some forest bathing I did in Kyoto a while ago. Definitely sublime.

Today’s post title is from this section of the article:

“To experience soft fascination, it’s necessary to meander through the woods. Forest bathing isn’t the same thing as hiking or brisk walking.Aimlessness is advisable. The tree tonic works best with minimal effort. Let your gaze be drawn wherever it wants to land.”


🌸🌸🌸

And on that note, I’ll be taking the rest of our spring break off from posting, to recharge my batteries and prepare for the new year.

The academic year begins again in April. I’ll be back then with more topics.

In the meantime, there’s plenty in the archives, if you’re looking for something to read, watch, talk or write or think about, in English.

🌸🌸🌸

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A study about kissing

This article from Sapiens (“Is romantic kissing a human universal?) explains that kissing (romantic kisssing rather than the kind of kiss a parent gives a child) is surprisingly uncommon around the world. You’d never know it if you went by most movies (see, for example, “Most iconic movie kisses of all time” from InStyle, or tons of YouTube movie clip collections titled “Best movie kisses of all time”).

Iconic movie kiss #6: from “The Lady and the Tramp” (Japanese title: 「わんわん物語」

A few excerpts from the Sapiens article:

“In Melanesia, the Trobriand Islanders regarded kissing as ‘a rather silly and insipid form of amusement’

“even chimpanzees and bonbobos kiss”

“In fact … less than half of the (168) cultures we sampled engage in the romantic kiss.”

“Societies with distinct social classes are usually kissers; societies with fewer or no social classes, like hunter-gatherer communities, are usually not.”

And there are two theories about how romantic kissing originated. Try skimming the the article to find them.

Jianbing

Yesterday I mentioned the phrase “It’s like watching paint dry.” This video of a street vendor making jianbing (煎饼・Chinese breakfast crepes) is like watching socks go around in a clothes dryer.

Compare that method with this one:

I’m sure there are as many ways to make this as there are street vendors in Beijing.

A funny account of someone addicted to jianbing: “Let he who has turned down a delicious jianbing first call me fatty” (from Roads & Kingdoms).

Also: “Why Jianbing is China’s Most Popular Street Breakfast” (from Serious Eats)

And if you want to try making it yourself: a recipe (from Genius Kitchen).

Another recipe, with a slightly different take on it, called Jidan Bing (from The Woks of Life).

Or wait four years and make a plan to go to the next Winter Olympics in Beijing.

 

It’s *not* like watching paint dry.

When English speakers say, “It’s like watching paint dry” it means that it’s really, really boring. And that’s what many people say (and I used to think) about curling.

But it’s really actually interesting to watch, once you know what’s going on. Here’s a “Beginner’s guide to curling, the world’s best sport ever” (from Sports on Earth), which explains it in a way that’s very easy to understand.

And then there’s Norway’s team with their crazy pants. Read about why they’re wearing such colorful pants — and they even had hearts on them for Valentine’s Day.

Also on the World Curling Organization’s site, you can find quotes by athletes and coaches, all the latest news, and videos, like this one about the history of the sport, which started in Scotland as far back as the early 1500s.

More videos on the World Curling TV YouTube channel