Thursday, September 06, 2007

They like typhoons

A typhoon is now coming to central Japan. When you turn on TV, you can't watch it without being informed where the typhoon is located now. We are very afraid of typhoons, because they sometimes deprived some people of their lives.

However, students are happy about a typhoon coming. Why? Because there will be no school when there is a strong wind alert. Today my students asked me again and again, "Isn't there an alert yet?" "When do you think it will go out?"

In this afternoon there was an alert in my area. Teachers were summoned to the staff room through the loudspeakers. Then our students noticed that there came what they had expected, and they shouted happily. We went back to our classrooms and told them that they could go home because an alert was raised.

Do they really go home straight? I don't know!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

It's over, and so is mine...

The track and field world championships in Osaka are over. I kept my mouth and eyes open in seeing how strong USA athletes are. Japan got only one medal. What a difference! Anyway, I enjoyed watching these world championships on TV every day, and I've found myself more and more fond of watching track and field. But at last they are over.

And so is my summer vacation. Today is the last day, and I have to start a new semester tomorrow. I'm even forgetting my students' names. And I've completely forgotten how to teach! Our second semester is too long: September, October, November and December! I can't wait for my winter vacation...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I'm back again!

I was away from this blog for a long time. But I've decided to restart it. Two things made me do so.

One is my travel to New Zealand this summer (I mean this 'winter' in NZ.) Due to my poor skill in English, I often failed to understand what people were saying to me. And I had difficulty speaking in English more often. English is not my native language, but I had thought I am a person who can communicate in English. This proved to be totally wrong! I reflected myself and decided that I would have to brush up my English.

The other thing that encouraged me is my 5-day seminar for Japanese teachers who teach English. This seminar was held for the purpose of training English teachers in terms of communicative skills. We were not allowed to speak Japanese, and had to give several presentations in English on how to teach English. I was very bad in my presentation, and I regretted it very much. How I wished I could speak in English more fluently! Another reason I couldn't speak was that I was poor at arranging my ideas in my mind. So I decided to write here again to improve my skill in expressing my ideas in English.

I don't know how long this will last, but I will try my best.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Give them time (II)

My students are now taking end-term exams. We restart usual classes next week. Then I can help them reply to your comments. Wait a moment, please!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Give them time

Thank you for leaving your comments in my students' blog. They are very happy to find out their blog is really read by foreign people. And they are eager to reply to each comment, but their reading and writing skills in English is not very high. I have to help them understand what is written, and it takes them some time to answer in English. So please be patient and give them time!

Monday, January 16, 2006

My students' writing

My students wrote something about Japanese culture. Please have a look. They are looking forward to someone giving them some comments or asking questions. I will be happy if your comments and questions encourage them to study English harder.

Please visit: Written by Japanese students

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Happy New Year!

2006 is a year of the Dog in the Chinese astrologic calendar. The Oriental zodiac signs are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar. Every Japanese knows which animal's year they are born in. I was born in 1960, year of the Rat. But I don't know about other years. I mean, I don't know which animal's year, say, 1980 is. This is cleverly used by the police. When they find a teenager smoking or drinking, they will ask him how old he is. He will, of course, say he is 20 years old, which is apparently a lie. He knows he should say he was born in 1985 when the police ask him which year he was born in. But the police will not ask him in that way, but instead they will ask which animal's year he was born in. He knows his own animal symbol, but he doesn't know which animal the year 1985 is. It takes him some time to calculate it, so he cannot answer it soon. This will reveal he is telling a lie about his real age. He will surely curse the Chinese astrology!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bo-nen-kai

In December you will see a lot of drunken men and women staggering in town. Everyone is on their way from 'bonenkai,' a big drinking party.

Bonenkai is held only in the end of the year, because 'bonen' means 'to forget the year' and we are supposed to drink in order to forget all the bitter memories of the ending year. Bonenkai is a drinking party not among friends but with co-workers. In my school, for example, several guys are designated as 'kanji.' Kanji are people who are totally in charge of the party. They must prepare everything. They decide the place(usually a big restaurant or hotel), ask everyone whether they will join or not, ask for a bus to take them to the place (we will be fined $3000 for drink driving). Once the party has begun, everyone asks kanji to order beer, sake, or soft drink. Kanji have to count how many people want beer, how many sake, and how many orange juice...

In our party, the principal and the vice principal sit in front. Other teachers' seats are decided at random by lot. If your principal is a disgusting guy(fortunately mine is not), no one wants the seat next to him (or her, very rarely). Before you give cheers and start drinking and eating, usually a long speech is made by your principal. And at the end of his speech, he will say "Drink as much as you like. Talk as freely as you like. This party is a 'bureiko.'" 'Bureiko' means that you don't have to keep polite in this party. Japanese people are required to be polite to their elders or bosses, but today you are told that you can be frank or sometimes even rude... Hey, don't believe what your boss has said! Even if he looks very drunken and keeps smiling when you complain something about your job, he will remember every word from you, and will never forget it. If you believed in the word 'bureiko' and performed a naked dance just in front of him, pouring beer on to his head, you would certainly be fired the next day.

I don't like bonenkai. Everyone starts to talk to me with alcoholic breath, "Matsumo, you are a bit too permissive to your students..." or "I think we had better change our school curriculum..." What I hate is they say this sort of things only when they are drunken. Why don't they speak out when they are in school, not at a drinking party. At school they would say, "Matsumo, I respect your way of treating your students," or they would never complain about the curriculum. You may wonder why this happens. It is because Japanese have 'hon-ne' on one hand, and 'tate-mae' on the other. 'Hon-ne' is what you really think in your mind. It is not presented easily on usual occasions. Japanese try to hide their hon-ne as much as they can, because being too frank is considered somewhat rude. So usually they protect themselves with 'tate-mae,' their public position on the surface. Japanese don't think of this as a lie, but they believe it a necessary strategy to make their social relations smooth. But of course you will be tired from hiding your hon-ne all the time, so the power of alcohol lets you free to give it out. 'Bureiko' actually means that you can state your hon-ne to your heart's content.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

This is why

I haven't written for such a long time that a reader asked me if 'noni' juice made me ill. No, I'm fine, thanks. It's just the juice made me forget how to write in English!

Now I'm recalling my acquired foreign language(that is, English)...so wait a moment!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Noni Juice

Aichi Expo is over. I visited it twice, and the best thing I found there was "noni juice." I entered the pavilion of Tahiti or Samoa (I don't remember which) and bottles of noni juice were sold there. I had not known what it was, but I was curious and bought one.

Noni juice turned out to be the most revolting drink that I'd ever had. It smelled terrible, like shit or sewage! The label of the bottle recommended that you had better mix it with other kinds of juice if you could not drink it straight. I don't think there are a lot of people in the world who can drink this noni juice straight.

At first, I regretted having bought such a disgusting thing. But I started drinking it because I thought it would be a waste of money if I threw it away. I added some fruit juice each time I drank it. What happened to me was, to my surprise, that I gradually got used to it! I started to feel it was not so bad, or even delicious.

The bottle of 500ml I bought at the Expo was emptied in a short time. What do you think I did after that? I ordered two more bottles on the Internet! This time the bottles were of 720ml. Now I drink noni juice every day. One of the two bottles was emptied in a few weeks.

Why do I keep drinking it? The main reason is for my health. A lot of people say that noni juice is very good for health. I think that people in Tahiti started drinking it, and they are very healthy both physically and mentally. That was why people in other parts of the world also began to drink it.

I was very busy for several weeks, preparing for my school festival. But I didn't feel so much exhausted. I don't know whether this was due to noni juice, but I still keep drinking it. Have you ever tried noni juice? If not, why don't you give it a try? You must be interested, aren't you? I don't know if it really works, but I recommend it to you, although I can safely say that it is revolting in smell and taste! (On our TV show, drinking it was used as a kind of penalty for the loser of a game)