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 :)
I just had the most delightful dinner tonight with the most generous people. More details later...I'm just really tired from the week, and think I might also have a long day tomorrow!
This pic is of a section of a screen (at the restaurant) that depicts a series of nearby waterfalls that begin in Omura and go all the way up to Sonogi, where we were. A map of these falls apparently looks like a dragon!
One of the guys on the Guardian apparently found my blog and told the captain about the other post I did about the change of command and renewal of vows ceremonies.
Fortunately, I guess I didn't give away any State secrets, and the good captain even sent me a few more photos of the big day. I can see why Skii wanted a second wedding ceremony. This one was on top of a mountain (albeit in-between raindrops), and, well, you can't just rent those nice white outfits and swords, now, can you?
Right, so I know some of you think all I do is play around here...and...well, that's probably fairly accurate. BUT, in my defense, English as a second language (when you are surrounded by Japanese speakers) is intimidating enough, so I don't have any regrets about "just playing around" here. All those years teaching at a, ah - challenging school didn't teach me nothing - I guess I just make this job look easy :)
The board on the right there has photos from our ichinensei "boot" camp that they do at the beginning of the school year (April). It's really all about discipline, but as you can see in the photos, it's not all about marching and singing the school song.
And, these are way overdue, but I thought some of these quotes were really cute (and evidence of what an awesome English teacher I must be...)
So - presenting some selected
New Year's resolutions
from last year's students (unedited):
I will continue to live energetically.
I will get the wisdom of English!
This year I will keep my room cleaned.
I will help with housework more than last year.
I will be legend.
This year I will make friends of normal classes. (she is in an advanced science track here)
This year I will become open straightforward and not at all pretentious!
I will get girlfriendS
This year I will not be a crazy boy.
This year I will remember a thousand English words.
This year I resolve to be SUPPLE! (since my students seem very 'innocent' this alarmed me - but I think she meant "obedient")
I want to make my parents happy!!
I will get up early!
I will make a girlfriend.
I will become a real hero with a love for justice. (This boy loves Kamen Rider)
This year I will spend smile everyday.
This year I resolve to have a pleasant every day.
This year I resolve to not sleep in any classes!
This year I will practice kyudo MORE HEAD. (Kyudo is Japanese archery. What he really means is that he will concentrate more and make intelligent, thoughtful moves.)
This year I will be a **princess**
This year, I will try to talk with more foreign people.
This year I will sleep as many as possible. (maybe he already started!)
This year I will go to the next grade and sail across the Pacific Ocean.
This year I resolve to keep smile ALWAYS.
This year I will enjoy English more than ever!
This year I resolve to believe in myself and everyone.
(gomen, ne! I'm sulking. After the drama I had to go through getting my back bike tire fixed, I come out today after school to find my FRONT tire completely flat. THEN, as I was taking off the tire - quick release - what happens? The bolt holding it on drops and rolls right into the hole in the bottom of a rusty pole...down into the murky-whatever-is-under-the-pole place...agh! So - you'll have to wait until tomorrow for more cute pictures and/or photographic evidence that I DO actually do serious work here sometimes )
ps - Dad, just let me know when you're connected to the wwworld again. Your mouse misses you I'm sure :) Your daughter does. Ganbatte, kudasai!
"Come to FRANCE...Exciting, Relaxing, Romantic...FRANCE!"
The kids had to make a commercial enticing people to visit a particular country. The funny thing was, since we didn't have access to any reference material, when the students didn't know something about the country, they were allowed to make it up!
We advertised a package that included a ski trip ("exciting"), followed by a trip to the Med ("relaxing"), and the tour finished with a romantic night on the town in Paris. The romantic gesture (seen below with me and the boy) really cracked everyone up, since this boy is apparently quite a character in the class. Of course all the other girls in the group were too shy to play this part, so that's why I was stuck with making this funny pose you see in yesterday's post. In case you're wondering what's on the girls' faces, it's candy. One of the things we made up about France is that it's sweet - literally. For instance, the Eiffel Tower (made up by me and another tall student) is made of candy, so after your romantic dinner there, you can just take a piece of the tower for dessert. So for that part of the skit, we were wearing candy, and well, apparently that was too good an idea to limit to skit time...
Late that night the female chaperones were chatting away in their room, so I went to the guys' room to finish making little USA souvenirs for my kids. It was all nice and quiet till the boys came in and crashed the party :) I mean - ahem - till the boys came in for some extra English tutoring - yeah - that's what it was.
Photos for these posts are credited to my 'Trinbagonian' brotha, Allen, a JET from Nagasaki (and also just barely visible at the very bottom of this photo!) Thanks, Allen!
Last week I did a camp with a bunch of students from a local high school. Though we were only together for two days, it seems we ALTs made a lasting impression on the kids. They all seemed to have a really good time with us and each other, all the while, speaking English! They were surprisingly good, too! We did some original skits (my group really hammed it up - more on that in the next post) and played games that encouraged communication. Fun fun.
After chasing the fireflies in the 'backcountry' on my bike a couple of weeks ago, I found my back tire soft. Pumped it up - fabulous again. It was a tease. After a whole day at school, the tire was so flat, that when tried to just walk it home, the tire was literally rolling off the wheel. Dame, yo ("bad"). Went to two gas stations and the guys were reeally helpful, but my little French valves were like nothing this little town (or any around here) has ever seen. I finally found new tubes in Fukuoka last week, but in the mean time, I needed wheels. I'd been wanting a folding bike because they're much easier to take on the train & bus, so this was a good excuse to get one. I did a bit of research and settled on this little Panasonic (yes! in fact it DOES come with a radio :) ), and traded multiple gears and shocks for a light load. It's definitely not for long stretches uphill, but it's not bad. And I just love the fact it practically fits in my pocket when I'm done!
Yatta! I got my camera back. It was a stowaway in the Pixmobile and apparently enjoying a vacation in Fukuoka. Must run to Japanese lesson now and then to class. But here's another classic 'public service announcement' from my corner of the world...