Friday, September 28, 2012

Expressing "Yes" and "No" in Greek

The basic "yes" and "no" words in Greek are pretty simple to pronounce
"yes" is "ne" while "no" is "ohi".
Exactly as the nice lady is explaining in the videos bellow.

What no language course prepares you for is how Greeks really use them because here body language is most of the times more important then verbal expression. According to statistics only 35% of the communication is verbal, the rest consists in gestures, face expressions, body language in general. In general, Greeks tend to be expansive when they talk, their hands are restless while their faces very expressive.

Now, getting back to our sheep...Expressing "yes" and "no" in Greece is a bit more complicated then just saying it. This might sound a bit like "Twister" to you because I didn't find any videos to go with my explanation but I hope I'll manage to make myself understood. 

Yes - is pronounced "Ne"- but in a conversation agreeing will probably be expressed by a slow downwards movement of the head on one side while closing his or her eyes. The person might also say "ne" but it's not necessary, the meaning is implicit. 

No - is pronounced "Ohi" - In a conversation though the gesture accompanies or even replaces it. Saying "no" implies a short and quick upward movement of the chin, leaving your head to lean a bit on the back. The movement is sometimes accompanied by the rising of the eyebrows and a short "tz" or "tzouk". This movement may be so quick that you won't even notice it so pay close attention.

P.S Don't forget about the on going contest on the blog
Contest - Choose a T-shirt for "It's all Greek to Me"

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Greece is Boiling Again

Today in Greece there is a national strike. While I admire their sense of unity I can't help but wonder what effect is this going to have on the internal policy, if any. 
You see, it took me a while to understand this but I think I finally got it. Greeks in general are of rebellious nature. They feel the need to protest loudly when they think their rights are being stepped on. 

So, with the current situation, demonstration became a very frequent fact. The sad thing is that the more they demonstrate the less they are heard and the more violent the protests get, the more they lose the support of people from outside the country who were siding with their cause. 

In Thessaloniki things didn't get out of hand, yet, even though they were expecting more protesters here in the north then in the south but in Athens...Athens is a totally different story. There the blood is boiling.


I wish I could tell you that this is not as bad as it looks. I know that most of the times these are just isolated incidents that the press catches on tape and are spread like wild fire all over the world because violence sells but these look pretty generalized.

The videos sources are taken from

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Greek Jedi Priests

Today I decided to write another article and I started researching a theme I've been wanting to write about for a long time BUT I stumbled about this picture and I just couldn't help it. I had to post it.

Greek Jedi Priests
 Greek Jedi Priests!
On the holly war of defending their right to not declare or pay taxes since the dawn of Christianity

This picture is taken from

P.S Don't forget about the on going contest on the blog
Contest - Choose a T-shirt for "It's all Greek to Me"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pankration the Ancient Greek Martial Art

The Spartans were never known as being the most friendly nor the most welcoming of people but they were known for being the best fighters among the Greek tribes. Their own existence evolved around wars and warfare in general so training for battle was their main activity. 

Pankration was called the martial art the they created that was later on introduced in the Olympic games. But since Spartans didn't know the meaning of "play" or "sport", their only aim being to kill, they weren't accepted in the Olympian fights. 

Don't think that the Olympian games were in any way soft. Death was part of the routine there also. There have even been a player who won the Olympic games post mortem. His opponent got him into a strangulation that he couldn't get out of, giving up was not an option since pride was a man's best value, so with his last strength he broke his opponents fingers. Pierced by the pain of broken bones the fighter gave up and the winner was declared... post mortem. They realized later on that, because of the suffixation, he died. 

So the Olympic games were a pretty serious thing, still, Spartans were not allowed. They had the general tendency of not playing well with others. 

The things we know today about Pankration are taken from literature sources or from paintings and sculptures. Unfortunately there is no continuance to Pankration to these day. Pankration was forbidden from practice by Emperor Theodosios in 393 along with the Olympic games. Most probably it hadn't been practiced ever since then.

The one who reintroduced Pankration to the world in the 1960' was Demetrios Arvanitis. He studied the techniques and introduced it as the first Mixed Martial Arts.

I found some youtube videos that I think is going to help you make an opinion about Pankration far better when whatever I would say.

This could also be interesting to see.

P.S Don't forget about the on going contest on the blog
Contest - Choose a T-shirt for "It's all Greek to Me"

Monday, September 10, 2012


On Saturday I went to an open air music festival organized in Thessaloniki. My expectations were not very high since I'm nor very keen on Greek music in general but I thought of giving it a try anyway. 

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by this band (I never heard of before) of particularly nuts people that appeared on stage wearing kilts, being as loud as loud can be but most of all enjoying what they were doing so much that is was contagious. I found later on that they are called Koza Mosta.

Balkan rhythms started filling the thick evening air and along with it rose tones of dust from people of all ages dancing, jumping, singing, some even dancing barefoot. At some point the dust was so thick you couldn't breath but that didn't seem to bother anyone since the music was so intense and the rhythm so electrifying.

I made a few videos, I'll post two from the beginning of the concert and another one close to its end with a pogo "demonstration".
I hope you'll enjoy, I know I did.

For those interested I saw a poster today in the city saying that they'll have another concert in Thessaloniki on the 18th of September. 

P.S Don't forget about the on going contest on the blog
Contest - Choose a T-shirt for "It's all Greek to Me"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Business of Begging

The other day we were in the center, waiting in the car for a traffic light to turn green. At some point, a gipsy kid comes and starts cleaning the windscreen. I doubt he was older then 10. His cloths were all dirty and almost turned to shreds.

In the middle of cleaning the windscreen he stops and starts looking for something in his small bag. Then, he takes out a phone and starts talking while passing impatiently in front of our car. When he finished, he put the phone inside his bag and continued cleaning the window. We were both watching him stunned...

Digging through my old emails I found a short movie with a similar situation. The only difference is that the scene takes place in the subway, in Bucharest.

If I had any doubts before now I'm pretty sure that there is such a thing as the business of begging and they must have international conventions because the strategies and the approaches are always the same no matter the country. I guess it's safe to call it the most blooming business during crises.

An incredibly realistic movie about this business and how well organized the whole system is, is Philanthropy. You might have a rough time finding it since it's a Romanian movie but if you have the opportunity to see it, don't hesitate. It will really change the way you think.

P.S Don't forget about the on going contest on the blog
Contest - Choose a T-shirt for "It's all Greek to Me"

Monday, September 3, 2012

Contest - Choose a T-shirt for "It's all Greek to Me"

I was thinking of making an official t-shirt for the blog and I got so excited about the idea that I made lots of designs. Finally I managed to make a short list of 4 design but I'm gonna need your help to decide. 

To make this more interesting there is also a price. You get to win the t-shirt you chose and liked (even if that t-shirt is not the winner of the contest). 

The whole idea is simple.  
1. Comment at this post  - only comments added at this post will be considered as part of the contest
2. Your comment should contain the following elements:
                      a. your t-shirt preference
                      b. a number between 1 and 1000.

Why a number? Because I only have one t-shirt to give and I will give it to the lucky person who chooses the closest number to the one I've already posted on a different site.
The models are the following: 

1. Logical Schema

2. Maze

3. The Mixed Writing

4. Twisted Roads

The contest will end on the 15th of October 2012. The announcement of the winner will be made at the latest on the 20th of October 2012.

It is advisable to make the comment while logged in your account or to leave some kind of contact info in the comment so I won't find myself in the situation of not being able to trace the winner. If that happens the second runner up will get the t-shirt.