At the end of May I went to the Kobe conference for recontracting JETs. So for those of you who didn't get the previous memo - yes, I'll be here till at least Aug 2008. The conference had some really good bits, and I'm glad I went. I was really excited to hang out with some GIRLS for once (we're sadly lacking them in Isahaya!), and I met some really nice people from Fukuoka ken. I went to a great ws on using AV aids to make my experience more fun and engaging, and I attended a discussion about eikaiwa (English conversation) since I seem to keep getting invited back to the bar to teach. I'll have to take some photos of the bar eikaiwa peeps - they're really cool. I also went to a presentation by MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology) about meeting challenges in ALT-JTE (basically "foreigner" vs Japanese) communication. Wow - it was very enlightening - things getting "lost in the translation" is only the tip of the iceberg! Tatoeba (for example), one major difference: "Western" style for meetings - discussing and deciding; "Japanese" style - announcing and agreeing (the deciding goes on before the meeting apparently). !!! Anyway - I mentioned neat people from Fukuoka (remember that sounds like "who-coo-OH!-ka"), and we found a fantastic Greek restaurant downtown. Good thing there weren't more of us - we wouldn't have all fit in the restaurant. Afterwards we went to a great jazz bar, and much to the dismay of the snooty host, my Isahaya mates met up with us, too, so there was quite the gaijin contingent. The musicians didn't seems to mind, and the piano player's American English was spot on!
Unfortunately, we never got the renowned Kobe beef, so I really hope someone reading this (with some extra money to spend) will come visit and take me out for dinner :)