Saturday, August 19, 2006

Kendo practice tourney at Taisha Jr High

Kendo practice tourney @ TJH - 29
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

The boys kendo team from my school, Taisha Jr High, recently won the Shimane regional competition and will now go on to represent Shimane at the Chugoku regional competition. Go Team!

Click here for some pictures of a practice tournament my school hosted back in July to help the kids practice for the Shimane tournament.

I still pracitce with the team, but not as much as I used to. I usually don't get fully suited out - but I will a few more times before I leave next year. The players in this picture are girls from another school. My team has 5 female players, and about 16 male players spread out over the 3 grade levels.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Shout out to my buddy Chris

I'm getting old folks - nothing I can do about it - it's just happening.

Next year will be my 20 year High School reunion! Where did those 20 years go??

Luckily, I have stayed in touch with a few friends from Torrey Pines High School in Del Mar, CA, where I graduated in 1987.

One of those friends is my buddy Chris, who now lives near Los Angeles and works for Mickey Mouse.

Chris is perhaps the most creatively talented person I have ever known - and right now he's using a small part of his creative energy to build an eclectic blog site you can access by clicking Here.

It's a cool website highlighting interesting mixes of music created by Chris and old albums he's finding online and making available via the new net sharing downloading sites.

Chris was (and probably stil is) a rapid Old School, Kirk & Spock Star Trek fan, so I found this video online and I want to share it with him and all of you: Click Here (this link is for Quick Time)
go Here if you don't have QT and select the Jay Leno performance from Oct 22nd.

A digression: I can safely say I am the biggest Joe Jackson fan in Japan. Well, there are some extreme Japanese fans out there, so maybe I can safely say I am the biggest gaijin Joe Jackson fan in Japan. He was and still is an incredible musician and songwriter, a great live performer, and he is everything that was cool in the 80s for me.

I must say as well that one of the best CDs I've bought in the past few years has been William Shatner's album entitled "Has Been."
It's a collaboration with Ben Folds and features some interesting guest stars, and I've been playing it a lot lately - iTunes also has a live version of the song "It Hasn't Happened Yet" that you can download for $1 that is even better than the version on the CD.

So check out Chris' site and click on the links for some cool music and videos.

What do you think you'll be doing when your 20year reunion comes up? Will you go?


Trivia for week of August 14th

Wow - it's been a while since I've updated trivia. Sorry if you've been coming for a new question and not seeing one.

Here is this week's question followed by the answer for the question I asked way back on July 10th.

In which Bruce Springsteen video can a young Courteney Cox be seen dancing with The Boss?

July 10th's Answer (highlight line below):
Barbara Harris & Jodie Foster

Monday, August 14, 2006

Ichi Nen Sei girls - basketball sports day - 2

Ichi Nen Sei girls - basketball sports day - 2
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

What's interesting for me to watch is how the girls bond now that they are Jr High students. They seem to form friendships with the students in their new class and/or in their new club. Meaning that what elementary school they came from seems less important than if they are in the band together or on the volleyball team together or in class 1-2 or 1-5 together. Which makes sense since they will spend so much time with that particular group of students.

For instance, this picture represents girls from 3 of my local elementary schools who are all now in the same class at my Jr High.

And I'm already starting to get sentimental about these picture oportunities, despite the fact that I have an entire year to go before I leave Taisha. I know now that every event I attend will be my last - my last Sports Day, my last speech contests, my last time being Santa at the local Kindergartens, my last graduation, etc.

I really hope this year is my best yet!

an old softie

Ichi Nen Sei girls - basketball sports day

Ichi Nen Sei girls - basketball sports day - 20
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

click this pic for a bunch more of my 7th grade girls playing basketball and my 7th grade boys playing soccer on their class sports day in July.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Summer '06 regional T&F meet

Summer '06 regional T&F meet - 2
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

I joined some of my Track and Field kids out at Hamayama park on Wednesday morning to watch them try and qualify for the Chugoku regionals. Tuesday was the running events, and today was the field events, including two of my kids in the high jump - Wakiko and Yuma - both 9th graders.

It was really hot! So I have a hat (which says Taisha 'natch), a sweat towel, and off camera I'm holding a fan. Gotta be prepared!

Wakiko & Yuma both missed qualifying, but they did their best.

taking the new ALTs to Hinomisaki

taking the new ALTs to Hinomisaki - 11
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

So the new Izumo area ALTs have arrived and we got a bunch of new people this year.

Without going into too many details that would only interest a fellow ALT - Izumo increased its amount of teachers so that each of the 6 Izumo area Jr Highs now has its own ALT.

Lisa left, so that leaves third-year Rusty and second-year Chris to be joined by (left to right) Angelo from South Africa, Eric E. from America, Ewan from Scotland and Hannah from Wales.

We also got two new ALTs (Eric N. & Ivy - both Americans) out in Hirata, which is about 20 minutes away but technically part of Izumo now, a new ALT out in Sada (Sam from New Zealand), a married couple taking over Zach's High Schools and two new CIRs - Pia (from Finland) and Judy (from California).

So lots of new folks in and around Izumo. I spent a few days acting as tour guide to some of the local sites like Izumo Taisha shrine and the lighthouse at Hinomisaki.

They all seem like decent folk and I look forward to getting to know each of them over the coming year.

Enjoy the pics!

Ni Nen Sei Sports Day - Girls' Basketball

Ni Nen Sei Sports Day - Girls' Basketball - 7
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

Click on this pic to see a whole bunch of pictures of my 8th grade girls playing basketball in a super hot gym.

The boys got to play soccer outside where it was equally hot, but at least there was a little breeze.

Our main gym is on the 2nd floor (the kendo and judo dojo are underneath on the first floor) and I made a joke with my kendo coach (seated in the background of this pic) when a ball went out onto the balcony that it went over the railing and smashed the window of his car parked below. He was not entirely amused.
But the next day he was calling me a "gifted fortune teller" since that exact thing happened when the 7th grade girls were playing and he had to have his car towed to a nearby glass shop to get the windshield replaced. I felt really bad, but you can't say I didn't warn him sortof.

Every year the 8th grade class takes a 3-day field trip to Osaka and Kyoto in September. Last year I asked to go, but they basically made up excuses why I couldn't. This year tho I'm sitting with the 8th grade teachers for the first time, so it'll be interesting to see if they invite me to go along. I would like to go since the kids get to go to USJ (Universal Studios Japan) in Osaka and I would have a blast riding the Spider-Man and Jurassic Park rides with them.

Anyway - I hope to post a bunch of pics in the next few days, but I'm jumping all around time wise.


Monday, August 07, 2006

class picture day with 3-4 class at IzumoTaisha

class picture day w: 3-4 class - 12
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

I tagged along with 3-4 class as they walked up to our local shrine - IzumoTaisha - for their class picture for the san nen sei yearbook they'll all get when they graduate in March.

It was July 11th and it was HOT, but the kids never mind getting out of school for a few hours, even if it means having to pose in the hot sun for pictures.

As you can see, IT makes a pretty nifty backdrop for a class pic. The other 4 homerooms in the 9th grade go to various locations around Taisha, like the old JR station and the Winery, but I think IT is one of the best locations.

You can also see that boys outnumber girls in this class - which is true across the board in my Jr high classes.

Click on this pic for more pics from the day.

Class 3-3 Pencil Cases

Class 3-3 Pencil Cases - 1
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

more fun pencil cases - this time from class 3-3.

I hope to upload MANY pictures this week, so check back from time to time for more fun pics.

I've been taking tons of pictures lately too. I just passed the 4000 picture mark - i can't even begin to think about what that would have cost me if I'd had to get all that film developed and printed. Thank god for digital cameras! :)