Posted by: balladofyoko | June 23, 2008

New Things

Some new things I’m trying out:

Alexander Technique– I started taking weekly “classes” (really one-on-one sessions) to help with getting back to my normal levels of playing clarinet (the progress of which I really should write more in detail sometime). Although I remain a little skeptical of the practice, I have to say that being aware of where I hold tension in my body has been a revelation to me.

Livemocha– thanks to an invitation from Quiconque, I’m taking a couple self-directed language classes for free. The beginner Spanish units seem to be very well organized; the intermediate Japanese units seem to be good but still in development. But I’m enjoying the classes. The unique aspect of this online program is its community– there are tutors who will help with the languages available, but the feedback you get from your progress comes largely from others who have signed up who are native speakers of the target language. In return, I’ve sent feedback to people who are learning English. It’s an interesting idea, to be sure, and so far, I’ve gotten constructive criticism. However, I keep getting requests from young Spanish-speaking guys to be their friend. I forgot about how “English teacher” is a turn-on for some folks. yikes.

If you’re interested in trying it out, let me know, and I’ll send you an invite.

Aikido classes- okay, this isn’t new, but I’ve finally figured out that I will return to my normal schedule of 2 classes per week as of this week. I’m just going on different days. I feel like I’ve been beating this dead horse for days on end, so if you’re interested in hearing the whole process of how I came to this decision, write me and I’ll tell you.


  1. I’m a fan of Alexander Technique. I’ve never learned Alexander Technique per se from a certified Alexander Technique teacher/practitioner, but Alexander was one of those early somatics pioneers whose work informs my field of study/practice at a fundamental level; he was required reading in the first semester of my Somatic Psych grad program, and his theories and techniques make a lot of sense to me. I look forward to hearing more about your work in this area as it develops.

  2. Nick– I intend to continue with the Alexander Technique for the rest of the year (or until I run out of money, whichever comes first). I’ll write more about the work when I can.

  3. I’m glad to hear good things about livemocha’s Spanish program. Quiconque hipped me to it and I’m eager to give it a try.

  4. Yoko! I was chatting with a Venezuelan woman on livemocha, ostensibly to help her with her English. After 20 mins, right around when I was ready to move on and get back to my German lesson, she went into her family situation, how lonely she felt, and how sad she was. I tried to extricate myself gracefully but she kept putting up “crying” emoticons. So, yeah, be careful with whom you chat. You can end up with more than a language lesson.


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