Welcome to the life of an ALT (assistant language teacher) in Nagasaki. I started this journal when I visited Japan in 2004 with JFMFTP, then continued it when I returned as a member of the JET Programme in 2006. Enjoy!
I just got some new fish for the summer season. At the summer festivals, children play a game called "kingyosukui" -they try to catch goldfish with a paper scoop! You don't have to work too hard to have fun with my fish, though - just move your cursor over top of their pond & click to drop them some little treats :)
We were fortunate to be able to meet with sereral influential people at Nagasaki University. The American teachers (after taking off our shoes before we entered the meeting) spoke with the Dean of Education and several other teachers, students, and administrators about perceptions of American and Japanese education. Some points I found interesting to note: in general, education is seen as being VERY important to Japanese parents and students; low birth rate in Japan is providing for fewer teaching positions; students who are falling behind have to attend "cram schools"; schools don't have guidance counselors (but some will be getting some in January); immense pressure for students to succeed on entrance exams (for high school and college); Japanese are implementing environmental education based on their observation of such programs in the U.S. At the conclusion of our visit, the university presented us with a gift of a little ceramic cup made by special education students.