Wednesday, July 25, 2007

America kaerimasu!

So I'm heading home to San Diego tonight - I leave on a night bus for Osaka, then get on a flight to Korea tomorrow morning and then after a short lay-over I get on an 11-hour flight from Seoul to Los Angeles. Curious thing about when I fly FROM Japan TO California - because of the time difference I arrive at about the same time I leave. My flight gets in at 10:25am on Thursday at LAX, even tho I left Japan at 9:40am on Thursday Japan time.

So I'll be home for about two weeks - should be a nice, relaxing time. And - I get to go to Comic Con!!! Woo-hoo!

So no updates for a few days perhaps, altho I have tons of new pics and vids to show you all - I've been so busy these past few days.

Sunday I went to Oda to watch my kendo team.
Monday I went to Gotsu to watch my girls' tennis team (and I got really sunburned).
Tuesday I went to Oda to watch my volleyball team, and then came back to Izumo to watch my Chorus club at a concert.
Today I had to go to Matsue to finish renewing my visa and re-entry permit, and then to Taisha to update my "gaijin" card, before going back to watch more volleyball in Oda.
So lots of driving! But I have some great new pics and vids and I'll try to post them while I'm in America.

To all my Taisha teams competing this week and in the coming weeks while I'm gone...

がんばって!!!! (good luck)


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Another TPMMH pic

Another TPMMH pic
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

I've decided on my Flickr site that I'm gonna start a new "tag" labeled TPMMH - which stands for "This Picture Makes Me Happy." So search that tag in a few weeks and you'll see a bunch of fun pics from my whole archive of over 2000 pics.

Walking around after lunch a few weeks ago I snapped this pic - it's very easy for me to get group shots like this now - I simply say "shashin" (picture), "issho ni" (together) - and wave my hands like I'm pushing the group together and the kids will form up and pose. Any shyness they have around me went away long ago, and if anything they're more likely to deny my picture request nowadays since they know I take so many over the course of a year.
But they still like me to take their picture, cuz they know I use them - I sometimes put them on display on the wall outside my language lab, I put them in the school newsletter I create, I use them in the year-end movie I make, and I of course add them here to my blog. So they get to see them - and that makes a big difference in their willingness to pose.

In this picture are my sporty 3nen sei - all them are in a sports club except Sayoko, who is in the Chorus Club, but is also a champion baton twirler - so she is sporty too. :)

First row - Miyuki (kendo), Saki (tennis), Momoko (kendo), Rina (tennis)
2nd row - Tomoka (volleyball), Namiko (tennis), Sayoko (chorus)
back row - Kyoko (swimming), Keiko (kendo)

I also posted some pics of my 3rd graders (9th graders) enjoying bento lunches at school. Some days they don't serve the school lunch that everyone eats, so the kids have to bring a lunch from home, called a "bento." So click here for more pics of the kids at lunchtime.

The Volleyball girls


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

One concert - Three schools

Monday was a national holiday - and I spent the day at a local music hall watching three of my school's Brass Bands perform.

I had simply planned to watch my Jr High band - so I arrived at around 11:30am to watch my "C" team - the new 1nen sei students perform as a unit in their first concert. When I got the concert program, I notcied that just after my 7th graders (1nen sei) perform, one of my elementary schools - Taisha Sho - was also set to perform. So I got to watch them as well.

I took a break for lunch (yummy ramen) while other local Jr Highs performed and came back to the hall at 2:30 to see my Jr High's "A" team (2nen sei and 3nen sei) perform. They did really well and I wish them luck at their upcoming competition. I then returned one more time to see Taisha High School perform at the end of the day at 5:40pm. Many of my Taisha Chu kids go to Taisha HS, and many of my favorite kids from last year are now 1nen sei (10th graders) at Taisha High School.

So it was great to see some of my former students, and see many of my current students all in the same day.

I snapped a few pics, so check em out by clicking on any of the pics below.

And "Yokoso" (welcome) to any of the students who are now checking out my blog. Enjoy!

All the high school kids in this pic were once my students at Taisha Jr High!

Taisha High School band members

Wacky 3nen sei from Taisha Chu

2nd attmept - a success!

The 6th graders in the band at Taisha Sho

Taisha Sho 6nen sei - band members - 1.jpg


Monday, July 16, 2007

Chatting with students - Band Girls (x3)

Hello All -

Today was a national holiday in Japan and I went to a concert in Izumo and it was great because I got to see all three Taisha schools - Taisha Sho (elementary), Taisha Chu (Jr High) and Taisha High School - perform.

So I got to hang out with a bunch of my kids throughout the day, and I took a lot of great pics. I'll post them to my Flickr site soon.

But first I wanted to post these three short videos I shot today - interviewing some of my current 8th graders (2nen sei) and some of my former students who are now 1st graders (1nen sei) {10th grade in America} at Taisha High School. It was great to see a bunch of my older kids again - and I gave out my blog address to a bunch of them, so hopefully they'll see these videos too. :)

Enjoy! And I'll post pictures soon!


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Happy Birthday to me

lunchtime with 5nen sei at Taisha Sho - 6.jpg
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

How did I spend my birthday this year?

I spent it mostly at two of my elementary schools - Taisha Sho and later in the day, Araki sho.

The previous day, Thursday the 5th, I actually taught 4 lessons at three different schools. I started the day with a Super English lesson with about 55 sixth graders at Taisha Sho, then went to Yokan sho for two lessons with the 4th and 5th graders - ate lunch with the 5th graders, and then back to my Chugakko for a 6th period lesson with one of my 8th grade classes. Long day!

On my birthday I was scheduled to teach 2 classes each of 4th and 5th graders at Taisha sho, and then race over to Araki sho for English club 6th period.

Despite the hectic schedule, I had a fun day, and I got to take lots of fun pics - many of which I've posted on my Flickr site.

You'll see pics of me drawing for the kids at lunch time, and me hanging out with them during cleaning time and then me taking pics of them after school as I try to leave but am beseiged with requests for stickers.

I've got some video from the day too, and I should have a link posted to my You Tube site soon.

So I'm 38 now - and some days I certainly feel it - but on days like my birthday when I'm busy and surrounded by genki young kids - I bet you wouldn't guess I'm a day over 25.

See ya,

Benefits of staying

So I'm staying a fourth year at my same job at Taisha Jr High.

Which means that kids that were 6th graders at elementary school when I first arrived in 2004 will graduate from my Jr High in March of 2008.

So I've seen girls like this:

kids at Araki Sho - 10.jpg

grow up into young ladies like this:

Sayoko, Kanako, Rina & Tomoka.jpg

Sayoko, Kanako, Rina and Tomoka above are all kids I first taught as 6th graders in shogakko.

What's even more mind-blowing in a way is that the first 9th graders I taught, who graduated from my Jr High in March of 2005, will graduate from High School in March of 2008 - I plan on going to Taisha High School's graduation and seeing some of them get their diplomas.

It's one of the benefits of sticking around for so long.