Saturday, January 31, 2009

日本の英語の習い方の問題 Problems with Japan's English Program

This one is for my students:

Do you agree with Koichi or disagree? Why?

Someone asked if I can summarize what Koichi is saying in English... Not really, but maybe if Koichi stumbles by and sees this he will leave a comment.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mステ HY 366日②

HY have over time become my favorite Japanese band. I listen to their CDs more than any other J-pop that I have.

They're also very popular with my students, and their new album, which this song is from, has been a big hit, but I have yet to get it. CDs are really expensive here - averaging about $25 or more. So I usually wait until they are available for rent at my local DVD shop. I can rent a new CD for about $4 and then upload it into my iTunes and iPod.

Anyways - enjoy the tune.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Learn Japanese from Yoda

My buddy Koichi of has a fun introductory Japanese lesson for all of you just starting out.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Applying to JET - vlog #101 - The Interview - Part One

My new series of JET Vlogs starts here. I'll discuss the interview process for JET over the next few vlogs. I've already done parts two and three as well, so go to my channel page to see those.

As of today, this vid has already had over 650 views in about three days. That's amazing to me, but very rewarding - it's great to know that many people are interested in what I'm saying and perhaps the info is helpful to them.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Star Wars - retold by someone who hasn't seen it

My brother, Paul, sent me a link to the video below, which is easily one of the best homemade vids I've seen in a long while. Watching it brought a huge smile to my face, and I laughed out loud many times.

Kudos to the guy who recorded the audio and then edited it all together.

Simply fantastic!

(And thnx to Paul for sending me the link - how did we survive before the internet??) :D

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jason's DVD Collection - Movies I Like - part #4

this is part four of a series I'm doing on my 2nd YouTube channel currently.

I'm going thru my huge binder of DVDs that I brought with me to Japan and recommending films I like.

click on the YouTube icon above in the lower right corner of the video to be taken to my TaishaJason channel if you want to see more in this series.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Japanese trailer for Watchmen

Ahh... Watchmen. Easily my most anticipated movie of 2009, and surprisingly, I found out that is was set to be released in Japan the same month (March) as in America. BUT.... there is current litigation between FOX, who claim to own the original distribution rights and Warner Brothers, who produced the film.
Fox actually won an early court case, and they may block the release the of the film. Which would be an enormous shame, since everything I see online about the movie looks incredible.

If you've seen the domestic trailer, then you might be interested to see the Japanese trailer below, since it features some new footage and turns the focus of the movie into a political realm mirroring today's society, even tho the film is set, as was the original graphic novel, in the mid 1980s.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

RJL Vlog #6 - IzumoTaisha at Midnight - New Year's Eve 2009 - Part One

Part ONE of three vlogs I'll make about my New Year spent at IzumoTaisha shrine in my town.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Winter and Spring - same location

New Year's Day at IT - 4.jpg
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

a little experiment - the pic above is "small" size from my Flickr account, and the pic below is "medium" size (and from 2006, while the pic above is from last week).

Does the medium pic throw the design and layout of my blog all out of whack?

pretty Cherry trees at IzumoTaisha

Happy 2009!

New Year's Day at IT - 7.jpg

I spent New Year's Eve and New Year's Day at my local shrine, IzumoTaisha.

It was nice to go again, since I didn't go last year due to bad weather and two years ago I was in America for the holidays.

It was crowded, as you can see in the picture above, but not too bad.

I walked around and took a bunch of footage which I'll edit together for my YouTube channel soon.

To be honest, I'm not really looking forward to 2009. Unless something unusual comes along, I'll most likely be going home in late July. After 5 years here in Taisha, I've come to think of it as "home." It's gonna be really hard to leave.

I won't be so sad to leave the job - 5 years of being an assistant makes one long for their own classroom where they can have more influence over the course of study. But I will be sad to leave my kids - the students that I've come to know over the past four and a half years. And I've gotten very used to my solitary life - a lifestyle I now am very comfortable with. Going back to a big American city, living with other people, having to go back to school to get my teaching credential even after 5 years of in-class experience - these are all things I'm not looking forward to.

But I knew this time was coming - in fact, I thought I was going home in 2007, after the end of my third year. But in late 2006, JET changed the rule about allowing ALTs to stay on a 4th and/or 5th year, and I decided to stay. It's an easy decision (at least for me) to stay - it's much tougher to leave.

Some might say it'll be good for me to have a change. Certainly I've been in a rut lately. I don't really talk about it much on this blog or in my YT videos. I've mastered the bi-polar front: well-adjusted, cheerful and engaged on the outside - the side I show to others, while inside I'm really quite depressed and very lonely.
I'm just not the kind of person who wants to talk about it. I know the reasons for it - some of the reasons are in my sphere of control, others are not, but my laziness and social misanthropy certainly don't help the situation.
I will say that it sucks to be poor in Japan - most JETs will never have this problem, but for me, staying a 5th year has turned out to be a mistake in financial terms. I just had 11 days in a row of vacation and I rarely left my apartment. I have no money to travel or do anything beyond rent DVDs and sing karaoke and go out to each occasionally. To have a little bit of money to take advantage of my upcoming business trip to Tokyo will require some tricky financial wrangling, but I'll manage somehow.

I'll be going home in July with almost no money saved, and a monthly debt in America that won't care that I'll be unemployed. I'll be 40 years old, single, and living with my parents. Not exactly the optimum situation. I might be able to come back to Japan in 2010, but by then I might have re-adjusted to life in America and the urge to move again might be gone.

I would love to get a job here teaching in a high school, to continue my adventure and have some experience at the only level of Japanese education I don't know much about. I've got a few leads, so who knows, but I doubt I'll find something that doesn't mind me starting in mid summer (The Japanese school year starts in April - at odds with the arrival/departure of JETs) and pays as well or better than the JET programme.

I don't usually mention this type of stuff. While I want this blog to be informative for potential ALTs, it would be disingenuous of me not to mention some of the rough spots involved with living in a foreign country and out-staying all the other ALTs you arrived with. I'm the only 5th year ALT in Shimane, so everyone that I knew and befriended when we all arrived as newbies back in 2004, has since left Japan, or gone on to other work.

Which I guess is a big reason I've embraced YouTube so much in the past year. It's given me an outlet and "someone" to talk to when I often go a whole day without having a conversation in English or about something other than teaching.
I'm very happy that many people have found the vlogs helpful and informative and I hope to continue making entertaining and insightful vlogs in 2009.

I do get to watch my hometeam - the San Diego Chargers, play in their first playoff game tomorrow night. NHK is showing the Saturday game against the Colts during prime time tomorrow at 6pm. And I'm gonna cook tacos - so a little taste of home and what I hope will be a good game on TV - a nice way to end my holiday. Tuesday I'm back at work, altho I'll spend most of the day cheering on my school's volleyball team in their New Year tournament, so I hardly call that work.

Wednesday I'll spend the day decorating my Language Lab and designing a new English board at Taisha JH, and then the 3rd term officially starts on Thursday, and I'll be at Hamayama JH to start the New Year.

Even tho I'm pessimistic about 2009, I am looking forward to various aspects of the coming year. Of course, many of the upcoming events, like graduation will be tinged with sadness for me, as I know it will most likely be my last of each event in Japan. But I hope to make the best of it.

I hope you have a wonderful 2009, and if you're in America, perhaps I'll be seeing you later in the year.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Request - Cooking dinner in Japan - Part Two

Cooking with Jason!

I've had some interesting requests for videos from my subscribers, and more than a few have asked to watch me in the kitchen cooking something.

This vid is actually part two - for part one click on the "YouTube" icon above and then you'll be able to see the line to click on for part one.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

cat stevens

So I often think about what singer's voice/talent I would have loved to have been born with... (am I the only person that does this?)

And even tho you may think my answer would be John Lennon or Colin Hay or Joe Jackson (all excellent choices), I have to say that I just love Cat Stevens voice and delivery. It's so unique and memorable and melodic.

If you only buy one CD this year, make it "The Very Best of Cat Stevens." I play it at least once a week - it's an amazing collection of songs.

who turns 40 this year and will never have a son, but would like to think they could have listened to this song together.

Greg Laswell

My favorite cover song of 2008 (at least that's when I first heard it).

I keep playing it over and over in my iTunes.


Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees (ACOUSTIC)

My song for January 1st, 2009.

Happy New Year.

If I could be who you wanted
If I could be who you wanted
All the time All the time.

(My favorite Radiohead song of all time, and in my top 50 songs of all time)