Film: “La Noire de…”
Also known as “Black Girl” is a 1966 film by the Senegalese writer and director Ousmane Sembène, starring Mbissine Thérèse Diop.
The film centers on a young Senegalese woman who moves from Senegal to France to work for a rich French couple. It was the director’s first feature-length film. It is often considered the first Sub-Saharan African film by an African filmmaker to receive international attention.
You can watch the whole film via DynamicAfrica
whoa! just watched this on netflix
thank you, i was trying to remember the title. it’s a great movie. very deep.
Oh this movie. You should all watch it.
How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains.
In Japan, people often refer to traffic lights as being blue in color. And this is a bit odd, because the traffic signal indicating ‘go’ in Japan is just as green as it is anywhere else in the world. So why is the color getting lost in translation? This visual conundrum has its roots in the history of language.
Blue and green are similar in hue. They sit next to each other in a rainbow, which means that, to our eyes, light can blend smoothly from blue to green or vice-versa, without going past any other color in between. Before the modern period, Japanese had just one word, Ao, for both blue and green. The wall that divides these colors hadn’t been erected as yet. As the language evolved, in the Heian period around the year 1000, something interesting happened. A new word popped into being –midori – and it described a sort of greenish end of blue. Midori was a shade of ao, it wasn’t really a new color in its own right.
One of the first fences in this color continuum came from an unlikely place – crayons. In 1917, the first crayons were imported into Japan, and they brought with them a way of dividing a seamless visual spread into neat, discrete chunks. There were different crayons for green (midori) and blue (ao), and children started to adopt these names. But the real change came during the Allied occupation of Japan after World War II, when new educational material started to circulate. In 1951, teaching guidelines for first grade teachers distinguished blue from green, and the word midori was shoehorned to fit this new purpose.
In modern Japanese, midori is the word for green, as distinct from blue. This divorce of blue and green was not without its scars. There are clues that remain in the language, that bear witness to this awkward separation. For example, in many languages the word for vegetable is synonymous with green (sabzi in Urdu literally means green-ness, and in English we say ‘eat your greens’). But in Japanese, vegetables are ao-mono, literally blue things. Green apples? They’re blue too. As are the first leaves of spring, if you go by their Japanese name. In English, the term green is sometimes used to describe a novice, someone inexperienced. In Japanese, they’re ao-kusai, literally they ‘smell of blue’. It’s as if the borders that separate colors follow a slightly different route in Japan.
And it’s not just Japanese. There are plenty of other languages that blur the lines between what we call blue and green. Many languages don’t distinguish between the two colors at all. In Vietnamese the Thai language, khiaw means green except if it refers to the sky or the sea, in which case it’s blue. The Korean word purueda could refer to either blue or green, and the same goes for the Chinese word qīng. It’s not just East Asian languages either, this is something you see across language families. In fact, Radiolab had a fascinating recent episode on color where they talked about how there was no blue in the original Hebrew Bible, nor in all of Homer’s Illiad or Odyssey!
I find this fascinating, because it highlights a powerful idea about how we might see the world. After all, what really is a color? Just like the crayons, we’re taking something that has no natural boundaries – the frequencies of visible light – and dividing into convenient packages that we give a name.
I hope Orihime and Hikoboshi are having a lovely meeting right now. Lord knows she’s the only one who’s getting some in this joint.
Also, make a wish. I wished all my crap would sort itself out. Apparently that doesn’t look so good written on a card and tied to bamboo.
Also also, my staffroom stinks of bamboo.
I just found out that an old college friend died. I guess I should say passed away, that sounds nicer but it still is so surreal to think someone my age, or around my age, is gone. I believe in an afterlife so I don’t think he just disappeared but I am just not any good dealing with death. I feel stupid writing about this, I am not family, or even a close friend. I guess I am just in shock. So I am on Tumblr having just downed a bottle of sparkling wine. I don’t know how to deal with death. Throughout my life I have only really “experienced” death twice. The first time I was a kid and a man was murdered in my grandmother’s building in D.C. I think I had met the man but I am not sure. I heard he was bound and shot. I was in the lobby when they brought the body down in a stretcher. That image has never left my memory. I could see blood seeping through the sheet covering him. I remember thinking that I was staring at something that used to be a person. I just can’t understand it. Someone lives and breathes, goes to work, eats cereal, watches TV, plays sports, and all of a sudden they are gone.
I just got back from Taiwan. On the flight back I sat next to a little old Chinese lady. Every time I looked at her I would tear up. She was so old and fragile that she needed help getting out of her chair. Maybe it’s because my grandmother passed away while I was here in Japan that I got so emotional. I haven’t really had the opportunity to grieve and seeing this adorable lady struggle with the most basic of actions that I couldn’t help to feel sad. Now I learned through Facebook of all things that an old college friend passed away. I admit that I didn’t know him that well, but he was a sweet guy. One of my very first Facebook friends back when it was called “The Facebook.” How could someone around my age pass away?
I pray for his family, and hope… well I don’t know what I hope… I hope that even though he is no longer alive that somehow he is ok. Happy Easter everyone.
For those who don’t know April is the beginning of the administrative year in Japan. So this is the season of the annual employee shuffle. For those of us in the education it means that some of our colleagues will move to new schools and we all have to do some readjusting. There will be speeches, ceremonies, and black suits. It’s the way things go. Speaking of ceremonies I was one of the MC’s for our farewell party. The Gaijin who can barely speak Japanese was one of the hosts for a major school event! WHAT?! Anyway, back to the topic at hand.
Of course I will welcome our new teachers with open arms but I was feeling really sad today about the teachers who are leaving. There is one teacher leaving from the English department, Yoko Sensei. She’s been described as an angel, and a mothering sweetheart. I will really miss her. She taught me about kimono, and was a darling with my mother. She’s just awesome! Even though I don’t know Komine Kyouto Sensei, Kinjo Jimuchou or even Senaha Koucho well I will miss them and Sayaka San, Megumi San, and Kazumi Sensei! It’s so strange to have this annual rotation. After almost 4 years it’s still jarring. I guess part of the reason I was so sad today is the knowledge that I will be leaving this job in a few months and I really don’t want to. I love my school and my awesome coworkers! This has been my best year and I wish I could extend! I will have this bittersweet taste in my soul for a while I’m afraid.