Sēn Lín Hú Chinese Summer Camp!

My daughter (a rising 7th grader) and I will be attending the Concordia Language Villages Chinese Family camp in July! This camp is so popular they just added a second week for families to enjoy learning Chinese together.

When I was younger, this was my camp of choice, I went to Mori No Ike Japanese camp the first summer and El Lago del Bosque (Spanish camp) the next. My favorite was the Japanese camp. I remember donning a kimono, trying my hand at brush painting, learning judo, and so much more. I can’t wait to come back with my daughter!

These camps, situated across northern Minnesota focus on cultural immersion. You only speak that language, only eat that culture’s food, use the currency to buy  and so much more. The CLVway is the method of immersion at Concordia Language Villages, and reflects the Asian concept of 道 or the “way” to excellence through practice.

Practicing writing

Satori and I will get our own room and attached bath. When we first arrive, Satori will take a proficiency test and get placed in a specific group so they can teach her at an appropriate level. I’ll hang out with the parents and learn as well. We will get to do activities together too! I’m so looking forward to this!

If I can swing it, we might hit up their huge International Day (I-Day) at their German camp. Here is where all the camps get together and celebrate the cultures with dance, food, art and more.

Dance at International Day


I’d love to go back to Mori no Ike again, this year of 2017 is their 30th year of Japanese Language camp. (Come to think of it, I actually did attend their very first year opening.)




Japanese food


Language groups

All pictures and the YouTube video are from the Concordia Language Villages website. Maybe I’ll dig up my old pictures from when I attended too, but for sure, I look forward to sharing the new pictures we will take this summer!

Kanji and Hanzi Writing Practice Day

It’s Hànzì and Kanji Day! You may have remembered that my daughter is in her second year of learning Mandarin Chinese at her school. One of the things that makes it so much fun is that we can study our characters together! They pretty much look exactly the same and even have mostly the same meanings!

So I thought once a week we’d sit down and practice writing together. I know most but not all the hanzi that she writes, and she knows maybe half of my kanji. To make things more fun, I spread out some fun colorful pens and papers; if you haven’t noticed yet, you will soon — I have a serious pen addiction. We gathered in our loft, which is all spacious and bright and set about our work.


Satori’s Mandarin teacher gave her this writing practice book, and so that is what she’s using to write her characters today.

Satori practicing her hanzi character handwriting

Satori practicing her hanzi character handwriting

Look! I see the characters for mouth, eye, ear, hand, and day! Wait… one of these things are not like the others…


Across the table, I start off with some katakana handwriting practice. Although I’m pretty good at writing katakana,  I still have a few characters I forget sometimes or just don’t have the stroke order memorized. So practicing kana once a week or so is very beneficial for me.


Next, I took the time to write down my new Kanji characters I learned this week. With the WaniKani app on my tablet, I do my best to write them down, just guessing at the stroke order. Writing them down helps me remember. I choose some black paper and Uni-ball Signo Angelic Gel Pens to set off the characters.

WaniKani App and writing Level 6 kanji

WaniKani App and writing Level 6 kanji

According to my daughter, I have “rookie” handwriting. She says in her class all her classmates painstakingly write their Mandarin Chinese han zi all neat and precise. Then Miss Yang Lăoshī (her teacher) writes on the board and her characters are written all hasty and well… maybe not quite sloppy, but just not-so-neat. So apparently, anybody who writes all slow and carefully are “rookies”! Which is probably quite true…

WaniKani Level 6 kanji

WaniKani Level 6 kanji

Message for Mom

Before she left, I asked her to write me something in Mandarin. Right now she mostly just knows how to say things and not write whole sentences down, but here she tried her best to write “Mom eat rice.” And I recognize the kanji for woman and rice!

Daughter's message

Daughter’s message

This was our first time practicing together, I hope we make a habit of it, even if it’s just for a few minutes of bonding. Eventually we may get into writing Chinese and Japanese calligraphy together, I know at least I plan to learn shodo and maybe Suibokuga!