frellnik: (Default)

Ok, hit a snag with the workouts.  I need clothes! lol 

My clothes take forever to dry and since I only have one pair of pants to work out/run in, I can't workout or run as often as I had planned.  I went online and ordered a pair of shorts and another pair of yoga pants as well as 2 tank tops from Old Navy. Once they get here (in about 2 weeks?) I'll be able to work out every day (run one day and do workout routine the next day). But for now, I'm kind of in limbo. I did laundry on Sunday and it's now Wednesday and my pants are still damp! I even have a fan blowing air at my clothes and they still aren't dry.  It's just too humid here!

Also, the clothes cost about $90CAD but after shipping it was more like $150. Definitely won't be buying anything I don't really need! I just hope they get here in good time and that they fit! lol

I found my tax forms that I had misplaced...I misplaced them in my suitcase. Apparently I brought my taxes with me to Hong Kong back in April.  Why I brought them with me, I have no idea. lol But I have them now, and they are completed. All I need to do now is photo copy them for my files and print out a letter to send in with them. I figure I can use the school's copy machine on Friday and then mail them after work :)  YAY! FINALLY!!


At one of the schools I teach at (Kusano JHS) there are triplets in my grade 7 class.  They are from the Philippines and studied English there. I'm not really sure how good their English is, but it's definitely better than their Japanese.  Their mother speaks Tagalog with them at home. Apprently she can understand and speak Japanese but can't write it.  So these 3 girls have been in Japan since May last year and still can't communicate with their classmates.  Their teacher asked me for suggestions of Beginner Japanese Textbooks that are easy to understand (since their English is somewhat limited and their mom can't really help them with it) and geared towards young people. 

oh, dear god!
First of all, they need a teacher to work with them.  Their homeroom teacher says they have one, but the girls told me they don't. ...right.   Secondly, trying to find a good textbook that is geared towards kids and easy to understand is not easy!  I managed to find 4. One that I had used 15 years ago (Nihongo Kantan) and 3 others. I think the best one is a series of 4 books (only 2 are available right now) called Kisetsu. The website is very informative and has both a Japanese and an English version, , which I think is the best one.  It's really hard to learn a language when you have a few people who speaks your language to talk to.  These girls do everything together and don't really talk to their classmates much (mostly because they don't understand and don't know how to communicate with the other kids) and don't hear Japanese much outside of the classroom. 

Now I want to help, but I'm not sure I can do anything other than give them a list of books.  I'm not even sure they will understand the information enough to make an informed decision. Grrr! This situation is frustrating! They've been here 2 years and can only read kanna and basic kanji.  I learned that much in one year of Saturday school back in Canada.  They are actually living here and going to school in Japanese everyday! They should have been taught more than this. The system is not deisgned to help kids in this situation and these girls are getting left behind :(

I am hoping to talk to them a bit on Friday and see if we can't work something out. Maybe I can tutor them once a week or something.  I hate feeling useless.

1 more month and my second year contract will be up and my third year contract will be starting.  I can't believe how fast the year has gone by. I've been in Japan for just under 2 years already! 3 more years to go and then I'm off to England (hopefully) ! 

Lastly, I just found out today that the bank that I use to send money home (Go Lloyds) is closing and I guess it's being bought out by another bank (Shinsei Bank). Not quite sure what that means for us, but I think we'll be transferred over to Shinsei. There will be information sent to us in the mail.  I do know that Go Lloyds had the cheapest rates in the country and Shinsei is about twice the price to send money over seas :(  damn! It's always something.   Hopefully we will get a good deal or something for switching over.


Jun. 22nd, 2012 05:32 pm
frellnik: (Default)

Today something amazing happened!!

Last year there was this one student that I dreaded teaching because she was incredibly hard to be around.  She would come into the teacher's room and just stare at me sometimes, and she would refuse to talk in class. I offered to help her once and she said she didn't need my help because I wasn't a real teacher (I am positive I speak English well enough to help her even if I'm not a "real" teacher).

So I mostly just ignored her.

Well!  Today she was sitting front and center.  I always start my classes off with a game of Criss Cross where I ask a question and the students answer and when they get the question right, they can choose down or accross and that row sits down.  Today I asked the question "when is your birthday?" and she actually raised her and and volunteered to answer the question! Then she actually did it properly! Not only that, but she did the class activity (fillig out a worksheet and interviewed her classmates to fill in the chart) and was able to read her answer when asked.  I am absolutely amazed by this!  She still doesn't make eye contact with me for more than a second at a time, but she seems to be trying this year! 

Last year the other English teacher and I were both worried about her, but if she keeps going the way she is now, she should do alright!  So I'm hoping that this wasn't just a fluke and that it will continue for the rest of the school year.

frellnik: (Default)

Wow, it's been a while.  I'm not sure why I have so much trouble posting on a regular basis...I mean, it's not like I have a lot going on at any given time lol. 

Well I have stuff on my mind now.  I've made a decision and it's making me very excited and happy and at the same time it's making me sad and kind of depressed. 

I've always known I want to go to grad school and get an M.A. in Interpretation and Translation Studies for Japanese.  For a few years I really wanted to go to the Monteray Institute for International Studies (California, USA). They have a combined masters in Translation and Interpretation and it looks amazing!'s a 2 year programme and it will cost about $200,000 USD total (tuition, supplies, rent, transportaiton, food, living, ect.) and since I'm not American I would not be able to have a job while being a student (not that I would have time for a job with the work load I would have).

Sounds crazy, right?  Yeah. I was hoping that some company would send me to school and then have me work for them. 

I have been looking for other schools that offer the same type of program hoping to find one that is more affordable.  I found the University of Leeds Centre for Translation Studies.  They offer a 12 month programme in Conference Interpreting and Translation Studies.  The course also includes "study visits" to the EU, European Parliament, UN (Gineva or Vienna), ect. where we get to see first hand what it's like to work as an interpreter and we get to try out the interpreter booths :)  The programme looks amazing, it's only one year instead of two, and it's only going to cost me about $50,000 CAD. 

So, you can see why I'd be happy about this.  It looks amazing! And it's a year of school in ENGLAND! I've looked into accommodations and even picked out which residences I like best and so on. 

Now, the down side to all this... it's $50,000 CAD!!  If I put $600 aside each month, I will have $21,600CAD by the time I leave Japan in 3 years.  I am expecting to get about $10,000 back from money I paid into retirement while in Japan (since I won't be retiring here, I can apply to get it all back).  That will give me $32.000CAD and I can get a student loan from OSAP for about $10,000.  That still leaves me a bit short, but I have a few ideas about borrowing money from family members.  So I should be able to do it w ithout too much hassle.

So where is the down side?   The downside is that in order to pull this off, I can no longer do anymore travelling. I had plans to go to Bali next March, and Thailand and Hawaii before going back to Canada in 2015.  I also had planned to go home for Christmas at least once more before 2015.  Now I can't afford to go anywhere.  I have to be careful with how much I spend every week for the next 3 years.  All the plans I had now have to be put aside.  But, not only that, I have my little buddy, back in Kanata, whom I always look forward to seeing at Christmas. He's 12 now and growing up so fast!  It looks like the next time I'll get to see him he'll be 15!  I don't want him to forget me.

Also, I have to have a certain level of Japanese to get into the programme so that means taking an exam this December for level 2 and then having to pass level 1 no later than August 2014 so that I can apply in November of 2014.  That's a REALLY tight schedule.  I do not want to go home after JET. I won't be going back to my mom's house, and if I have to get my own apartment in Canada then I will have to use the money I've saved for school.  So that isn't an option if I want to have the money to pay for school. So I have to pass these exams ASAP!  That means studying! Studying like there is no tomorrow! And I am so sick of studying lol. 

I've burned myself out and now I'm trying to change things up so that I can get out of this rut.  I've gone back to practicing with the bokken again. I wish Eric was here to practice with me.  Sometimes I practice on the beach, other times I practice in the parking lot infront of my building. I really need to get back into shape. lol  Studying 9 hours a day just destroys the body if you aren't very careful. lol  I'm always tired too. I'm hoping that excercising more will help with that.

So that's where I am right now.  I want to go to grad school and I need to save up and study to get there...but I'm sick of studying and I am dissapointed that I can no longer travel because of it.  Grrrrr.  I guess I just need to remind myself what is at the end of the tunnel. I've always wanted grad school. I want to be a translator/interpreter and this is what I need to do to get there.  I just wish it wasn't so hard.

frellnik: (Default)

Today I remembered why grade 8s can be so frustrating. EVERYTHING is funny to them. It's almost impossible to get anything done because they are too busy laughing and snickering at everything to pay attention. Even during a game!

Yes, the number "SIX" when said in English, resembles the word "SEX" (especially when heard by Japanese kids who do not have an SI sound in their language) and yes the letter "W" when written fast on the black board does look a little like boobs.  Do they have to laugh EVERY time you see a W or I say the word 6?  apparently they do.  I had to resort to calling out the group number in FRENCH! lol  and even when I wrote my W pointy, they still laughed at it.  So I gave up. And just let them laugh, and called out the number SIX randomly really loud, just to make them laugh (towards the end of class).  And not just the boys!!! one class it was boys, the other class it was the girls! I mean...seriously? LOL 

Kazuko Sensei eventually lost her temper with the second class and screamed at the kids for about 3 minutes. Then that class went splendidly :)  poor kids.

I am having caffeine withdrawl because the corner store replaced their red bull with sugar free crap. I haven't had a red bull since Friday and it's hard to teach a bunch of laghing hyenas when your head wants to fall off your shoulders.  Today when I went to the store they had my usual red bull (NO ASPERTAINE!! THANK YOU!) so I bought some. I am going to slowly cut back and hopefully avoid the headaches.  I am at the point where I drink a can every morning. I'm going to get down to half a can and then eventually none. But I'm going to do it slowly so I can still function! No more of this cold turkey! They better not switch the drinks again before I'm off the stuff! lol

Other than that...I need to clean my summer bedroom. It's horrendous! I need the space clean by Sunday because my friend Jeff will be spending the night at my place before heading off to his next stop on his whirlwind tour of Japan.  I'm looking forward to seeing him :) 

And only 8 more days until my trip to Hong Kong. I'm going out to dinner with Susan and Sam tomorrow to figure out our itinerary. We need to decide what to do on which day so we don't waste time going back and forth between places. The weather this week in Hong Kong as been sunny and hot. Highs of around 28C and lows around 23C in the evenings.  That is a beautiful summer day in Ottawa! lol  It's gonna be HOT! I can't wait!! =D

pet peeve

Feb. 10th, 2012 08:54 pm
frellnik: (Default)

did I spell that right???

Anyway, yesterday in English class....  how much of my frustration starts with that phrase?

Yesterday in English class the JTE (the other teacher that teaches with me) decides to let the class watch a movie (since they have finished the text book and are just doing reviews now).  He brought "Despicable Me".  I like that movie. It's a good movie.  It's also an ENGLISH movie.  So being an English class and having an English movie, one would think that we would watch it in English with Japanese subtitles for the kids. That way the students can read along with the movie and still hear English spoken in a natural environment.  Makes sense, yes?

NO!!!  No, he puts on the video in JAPANESE with english subtitles.  These are grade 7s.  They can barely read English at all!  There is NO WAY in HELL that these kids would be able to follow along with the English subtitles even if they Wanted to.  Which, lets face it, they didn't.  So there was absolutely NO educational benefit, what so ever, in watching that movie in English class. 

The only good thing about it was that the kids laughed alot.  These kids don't laugh enough. so that was good.  But a complete waste of time!  I, on the other hand, got a good hour's worth of Japanese study in.  hahhaa.  I hadn't seen that movie in Japanese before. The voices suited the characters well.

But this sort of thing happens all the time in Japan. Engish is put on the back burner for more important things.  It really amazes me that the Japanese Government spends all this money for us to come here, live here, and work here and then when the students Englsih skills don't really improve (because English classes get cancelled, teachers don't want to use our ideas, we are not given opportunites to actually communicate with students, etc.) they are dissapointed with our teaching skills.  STOP BLOCKING US LEFT, RIGHT, AND CENTRE AND YOU'RE KIDS WILL LEARN MORE!!!!  How many times have I gone to school this year (by taxi, payed for by the BOE) only to find out that my classes have all been cancelled? And also, the amount of English homework and study that these kids do is laughable!

Ok, well I'm going to stop, before I actually get angry over this.  I'm a little frustrated, if you couldn't tell.  sometimes I need padding on my forhead because I bang my head on walls and on my desk. lol    I really need a WTF? stamp to use when marking lol.  I miss my elementary schools.

frellnik: (Default)

So Last Saturday  one of the schools I worked at last year, Izumi North Elementary, had it's annual bazaar.(sp?)   Susan, the teacher who took over for me, e-mailed me to let me know the day before.  I decided to go as I really loved that school and I miss those kids a lot.  Just as I was getting off the train at Izumi station I got another e-mail from Susan telling me to stay at the station.  She had decided to come to and was going to pick me up at the station and drive me the rest of the way to the school.

The parking lot was full so we ended up parking in the park behind my old apartment. There were ALOT of cars.  We got to the school and the place was packed!  Kids and adults everywhere!  So I decided I wanted to stop in at the special ed. class (hanatate) to see my special guys first.  When we got there, some of the parents (who knew me) were there and told me that the boys (Kaname and Shion) had gone "shopping". So Susan and I decided to go around all the stalls and buy some stuff too. EVERYTHING was 100 yen ($1).  There was caramel popcorn, cotton candy, chicken skewers, hotdogs, chicken curry, chocolate banana parfaits (no ice cream), and more.  I bought quite a bit of popcorn and cotton candy and I had chicken curry for lunch :)  It was so good!

We also stopped in at the teachers room and said hello to the teachers who were there. I got quite a few hugs and some handshakes and everyone wanted to know how I liked teaching at the Junior High level.  I told them that I preferred the little kids but the JH was ok.  Aside from one student who doesn't want my help because I'm "not a real teacher", I've had no problems.  (I am certified to teach ESL, I completed a 2 year program at my Uni).

Now some background info is needed here.  Kaname, one of the special kids, (My favourite little guy) has a hard time remembering new information. He's 6 years old and can't remember the hiragana to write his name and is terrible with names and new words and so on.  His favourite teacher is Mio-Sensei and so whenever a new person comes that he likes, he calls them Mio-Sensei.  I was Mio-Sensei for the first month.  The day he finally remembered my name I was so happy.    This little guy is super hyper, he litterally vibrates out of his chair sometimes lol. 
Anyway, I figured that after not having seen me in over 3 months that he would have forgotten my name. However, the second I stepped into the classroom he stood up and yelled (in Japanese ) Lisa-Sensei is here!!!  and he started jumping up and down and repeating it over and over. lol  I wnt over and gave him hug and a high five and poked him into finishing his chicken curry.  When I asked him if it was good, he calmly told me that it was "yummy".  We played games for about 40 minutes and then before i left I found Mio-Sensei in the teacher's room and told her how happy and surprised I was that Kaname actually still remembers my name and she told me that he talks about me all the time and is always asking "Why doesn't Lisa-Sensei ever come anymore?"  He doesn't understand that since I moved I don't teach there anymore.  He's been told lots of times and he just doesn't understand or remember why I'm not there.  I almost cried.  Kinda put a dampner on the day.  But I told him I would see him again but that I didn't know when.  He didn't seem upset when I left, so that's good too. 

Anyway, I had a wonderful time and lots of kids came up to me to say hi.  Lots of kids also called my Kasey-Sensei too. LOL  I just can't get out of her shadow!  lol  They all laughed when they realized what they done and then corrected themselves. But I still find it hilarious that after a year I am still being called Kasey lol. 

That being said, Poor Susan is constantly being compared to me since she is also Canadian.  My kids have asked her if she does things because I did them. Also, on my birthday, most of my students took care to tell her it was my birthday and ask her if she knew that and if she had wished my happy birthday! lol Some of them even e-mailed me! LOL  Awesome :)

frellnik: (Default)
Today was the Iwaki Inter-Junior High School English Speech Contest.  It went from 9:30 until 4:30.  I had 4 students participating in the contest. 3 in the recitation section and 1 in the original speech section.
There were 35 contestants in the Recitation section.  My 3 students all placed in the top 6.  Toko came in 4th place with her piece "Miss Evans on the Titanic".  Ayane came in 3rd place with her piece, "Fly Away Home".  Kanna came in 1st place with her piece, "Tom is Eating Jam in the Kitchen".  
I am so happy and excited for them!  Kanna will be going on to the Prefectional stage. I will continue to work with her until then. 

Some hilarious bloopers that were heard today:

African American  pronounced as "A Freakin' American"   and
Factory pronounced as "Fuck Tree"
It was an awesome day! Lots of fun.  I can't wait for next year! :)

1 year!

Aug. 3rd, 2011 06:26 pm
frellnik: (Default)

It's been 1 year, to the day, that I arrived in Iwaki. And it's been one hell of a year, both good and bad.

So let's see. 

The GOOD!!

- I moved to Japan! Came to the town of Izumi in Iwaki City.
- I got my first apartment! and what a nice apartment it was!! 2 rooms, livingroom with kitchen on the back wall.
- BEACH PARTIES!!!!  Fireworks!! Fun in the Sun!
- Started teaching at Izumi Elementary School and Izumi North Elementary school.
- Got involved with the SGI group here and made 2 really good friends and another friend I didn't get to see all that often, but really helped me out a few times.
- Met another 30 ALTs in Iwaki from all over the world and made some really good friends in that group too!
- Did lots of travelling around Japan (all over Tokyo, Fukushima, Koriyama, Aizu Wakamatsu, Sapporo, Kyoto, etc)
- Had a great surprise visit home at Christmas!
and now I've moved to the town of Yotsukura in Iwaki City.


The BAD!!

-Was sick...ALOT. More than I was ever sick in Canada.
- Melted at work in 30C+ weather with no AC.
- Ended up in the hospital for 15 days in Feburary with a herniated disk in my lower back. ($100 a day, roughly) Thank god for national health insurance!!
- 3 days after getting out of the hospital...the sky fell
- shindo 6+ (M9.0) earthquake hit at 2:46pm Friday March 11th. I was at home alone...talking with[ profile] ninja007 on msn video chat. I have never been so scared in my life. 
- Then the tsunami came. I was ok in Izumi, but where I live now was hit pretty good, I'll have to get some pictures of how it looks 5 months later.
- Then we were told the power plant blew up...or something.  It's about 40km from where I live now... the stay clear zone is 30km radius.
- Then I got evacuated from my home. My town had no running water for 5 weeks and lost power a few times.
- Then I started fighting with my family and eventually gave in and went back to Canada for a month.
- Slight case of PTSD which is slowly getting better.  [ profile] ninja007 has been helping with that :)  At least the nightmares have stopped.


- I have moved from Izumi to Yotsukura last week.  I will no longer be teaching elementary school, but will be teaching Junior High School. 2 of my schools were damaged by the tsunami and fires and are not safe to use yet.  One of the schools is inside the 30km zone as well as being damaged by tsunami and fire. So those students have been relocated to other schools. One of the schools will be fully usuable again by the end of March next year. I have no idea about the one inside the 30km zone. 

Yotsukura is a nice place. It's in the middle of nowhere. lol  The walk to the train station takes about 12 minutes and it's like something out of  a movie. Beautiful green everywhere you look and houses, of course.  It's peacefull.  Although, there is construction everywhere!  People fixing their homes, the roads, shops, etc.  But there isn't much to do here, except go to the beach...which is closed for the forseable future.  I'm a 10 minute walk from the beach I need to watch for tsunamis...where I didn't before.  We had a 6.4 last Sunday morning at 4am. That freaked me out. But no tsunami, so I guess I won't have to worry too much about them if it's under a 7.  I'm hoping there aren't any more of those.

So I get introduced to my new school on the 19th of August.  I hope I like JHS.


one more bit of good news:  My uncle is coming to visit me next week.  He gets here on Sunday and will stay for 10 days. So we will stay in Iwaki for 5 days and then go to Tokyo for 5 days! I'm looking forward to this! It's going to be fun!

frellnik: (some days) Kodama Sensei and Takahama Sensei came to have a meeting with my Principle and with me. I didn't know about it until this morning.  First I was told it would be at 3pm and then I was told it would be moved to 2pm but since I had class until 2:15 I should go to the principal's room right after class.  

Then the VP asked me if I knew my schedule for August and I said that I would probably get it on the 12th at the monthly BOE meeting.    ok.

So classes went well. I taught 1 grade 5 class and 2 grade 6 classes and we did presentations and I gave out a lot of stickers.  Then I went to the Principals room to have the meeting and the look on their faces made me want to turn around and leave.  They looked guilty! Like they didn't want to tell me what they had to tell and I had no idea what was going on.  

I knew there was a possibility that I would be moved to another town because I'm the only ALT in Izumi and if something happens there isn't anyone around to help me. I've already had a few problems with that this year.  So I thought maybe I'd get moved to Onahama and then I'd keep my schools and have a few others added to my list to make up the difference in classes.

NOPE! not the case.

I am no longer teaching Elementary school at all! I'll be moving to Yotsukura which is 5 stops away from here (about 30 minutes on the train plus one transfer and wait time).  I'll be teaching Junior High School and basically taking over for Justin who is going back to Ottawa in August.  I'll be teaching at his 3 or 4 schools and my base school will be Yotsukura Junior High school which is closed right now due to Tsunami damage as it is right near the beach.  The 1st nd 2nd grade students are going to school at Yotsukura Elementary school and the 3rd years are going to school at the high school? I think.   So I will go to my base school (Yotsukura Elementary, for now) and then take a taxi to which ever school I'll be teaching at that day.  One of my schools is inside the 30km zone by the Fukushima plant, but I'm not too worried that. The other one will be in Kusano and there may be a 4th but I'm not sure.

The only upside in all of this is that I'll be in the same building as [ profile] syuria and we are friends.  I'm hoping that since I'll be in the same building as her that my apartment will be as nice as hers is.  Yotsukura is even farther out in the boonies than Izumi and I'll be leaving behind my SGI friends that I made here...and my chapter.  I'll have to find a new chapter now. Lots to think about.

The BOE will have someone come and move me but I still need to pack up all my stuff. I will have to talk to Justin to find out what the apartment will have and what I will need to bring from mine.  I know he has a bed, which I won't need, so he'll have to get rid of it...but if he has a couch then I won't need to bring mine.

A thought just occured to me...Yotrukura has no grocery store right now...but they are building one. I wonder if it will be finished by the time I move there lol.  

On top of all this, I am sick again.  Just a cold I think.  can't breathe through my nose and my eyes are puffy from my sinuses and my throat is a bit sore.  no fever though, so yay! I don't feel like cooking or anything today....I wonder if I have anything simple I can make.  My plan was to make fajitas and watch a movie.  OH!

I was in Tokyo this weekend and I found Season 2 of SG: Atlantis for 75$ and all three TOY STORY movies boxset for 69$ so I bought them both! lol  YAY for impulse buying! hahaha.  

So maybe I will make fajitas and watch toy story. I could use a good laugh. :)


Jun. 9th, 2011 07:50 pm
frellnik: (Default)
Today is day 4 with no earthquakes!!! YAY!!!  I'm still nervous when I think about it, but I've looked online and the surrounding areas have had small ones so it isn't like they just suddenly stopped, they just aren't right under me.  So maybe it's just finally slowing down.

Today has been interesting.  I taught all 4 of my gr. 5 classes before lunch and they all went really well, except the last one. We reviewed the months and dates again and then did "When is your birthday?" and "My birthday is ... , ..."
Then we played Hot Potato with 2 balls - one being the question ball and the other being the answer ball. I played the song, Jumpstart by These Kids Wear Crowns, and the kids all seemed to really enjoy it.

Then 4th period I had a class of chatter boxes. Their teacher told them to be quiet at least 4 times. They were fine when the music was playing and they were passing the balls around, but they kept on talking and laughing when the 2 students who had to do the dialogue were trying to say their parts. Some of the kids had to repeat themselves 2 or 3 times to be heard.

Finally I yelled at them.  I told them to Stop talking when the music stops! Then the teacher told them that now both teachers were mad at them! lol  Things were better after they realized that I was mad and not just that their teacher was annoyed.

I decided not to give stickers that class and the teacher agreed with me.  The kids were dissapointed.

So, just as I came back to the teacher's room from eating lunch with some of the staff in the principal's room, ALL the kids from that class came into the teacher's room and formed a line at my desk, that went all the way to the door, and appologized to me one by one.  I'm talking formal appology: name and class introduction and what they were sorry for and that it wouldn't happen again and they will listen the first time I say something, etc. I just stood there and said ok, and thank you for each of them for their appologies.   Wow.

Later the teacher stopped by my desk to tell me that the kids had asked to come an appologise to me and that after they got back to class they were all relieved and happier.  :)  I've only gotten mad in class a few times (twice this year and different schools) and I've been appologized to before, but this was a bit different.  The kids always seem to realize they went too far when I get angry because I'm usually so happy and bubbly in class. I make the kids laugh alot....

DAMMIT!!!   BIG EARTHQUAKE!!!! so much for day 4!! shit.  ok...not sooo big, but big enough that if I had been sleeping I would have freaked out. again.  We were doing so well too!!!!  going to go turn on the tv to see what that one was.  .... and another one 45 seconds later.... M5.7 no Tsunami.  

Well, that was the end of my update so I guess I'll stop here and watch tv for a while.


frellnik: (Default)
Thursday was my first day of real teaching. I taught grade 5 and during 5th period the parents came into class to watch the classes being taught.  I had a rather large audience.  The class went well, we all had fun, and at the end Iito Sensei asked the class to give some comments on how they enjoyed the class.  What we got was 3 kids telling everyone (parents included) that they really enjoyed having English class with me again after so long and that the class was a lot of fun and that they missed me.  So then Iito Sensei asked them " So you prefer having Lisa Sensei here?" and the entire class said that it was much better with me there.  <3

After class I went back to the teacher's room to wait for the end of school and watched the thunderstorm that was raging outside.  It was Amazing!  The thunder shook the entire building; it felt very much like an earthquake. It lasted for nearly 2 hours which meant I had to walk home in it. lol

Friday was a holiday so I spent the day at home and went to the store to buy some cups and mugs to replace the ones that broke during the earthquakes.

My fridge is making really weird noises....

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about the bats that live in Izumi.  My town, or at least my part of town, is full of these small, adorable bats.  They fly in circles around the buildings and in the parking lot outside my apartment. They have never tried to come inside and are so much fun to watch.  They are so cute!  I kinda love them, just a little bit.

Tonight when I went to the 7/11 to pick up a few things I noticed that there are bats everywhere.  From the moment I step out of my door right up to the parking lot of the 7/11 I can see bats flying around.  They must be fruit bats or something because with that many bats there shoudn't be nearly as many bugs as there are!

on a small note, Iwaki went a bit crazy today throwing more than 5 earthquakes at us in about  2 hours time.  lately the earthquakes have been happening early morning and evening, but today they happened in the afternoon.  Started with a 5.3 just around the corner from me and then within 30 minutes there were two more small ones and then another small one 20 minutes after that.  There have been a couple more small ones since.  I hope that tonight is quiet.  Last night I left my phone in the other room for the first time since March 11th and apparently my earthquake alarm went off at 2am and I slept through it. That probably means there was no earthquake in my area and had the phone been in the room with me I would have panicked over nothing.  So now I'm torn as to whether I should keep my phone in my room with me or not....

I guess that's about it for now.

frellnik: (Default)
Today was a long day.  A good day, but a long one.

Today was the first of my Christmas lessons and when I got to school, nothing was ready. Shock.  The teacher who had promised to get the stuff ready for me got it done on time, but she had forgotten.  She promised to get the rest of the stuff that I need (stickers, mostly) for Friday's classes.

Classes went well today.  I explained how Christmas is in my family and how Christmas cards are used the same in Canada as New Year's Cards are used in Japan. 

Then I had the kids make their own Christmas card using coloured pencils and markers.  I had stickers for everyone as well (bought with my own pocket money).  The kids had a choice of white, red or green paper.  Most of the kids chose white lol.  While the kids were making their Christmas cards I played all kinds of Chrismtas songs (Alvin and the Chipmunks, Disney, The Muppets, and more traditional stuff like Nat King Cole).

The big lesson of the day was:

When to write FROM and when to write LOVE.  Some of the kids wrote both, even after the explanations. lol

After school I chatted with [ profile] race_the_ace  for an hour before taking off to meet Mr. Sakamoto to join his singing group for practice.  What it actually ended up being was Taditional Japanese Folk Singing lessons LOL.  On the way there we went to see what is called "Illumination".  Lots of Christmas lights set up in designs and Chatacters and all kinds of stuff. Here are some pics taken with my cell phone:

At the group lesson there were two teachers, one played the Japanese guitar type instrument with only 3 strings (can't remember what it's called) and the other (her husband) palyed the Shakuhachi!  I love that instrument and really want to learn it.  I was invited to learn to play the Shakuhachi.  They give lessons on Friday nights and he says he has an extra that he will lend me for now.  I can come and have a lesson and see if it's something I want to pursue.  I will have to save up to buy one of my own, they are not that cheap (although he says they are not that expensive lol)  

He invited me out this Friday night but I have a birthday party to go to so I can't make it.  Then he suggested the 24th but I'll be in Tokyo.  He laughed and said Next month is fine too and not to worry.  He said to let Mr. Sakamoto know when I want to come so he will bring the extra Shakuhachi with him.  

I'm really happy!  I've seen a couple of Shakuhachi performances and I really like the sound.  I tried Mr. Sakamoto's Shakuhachi and couldn't get a sound out of it.  So it will take some work.  But I think it will be fun and definitely worth it to learn!

At 9pm I got dropped off at the 7/11 (where I got picked up) and I walked home.  As I was in the parking lot of the little fire station next to my apartment I happened to look up and....what a site.  It's a very clear night and the stars are so bright here.  Right over head is Orion.  I can see the stars so clearly! It's quite amazing!  It's definitely one of the perks of living out in the boonies!  Perfect for star gazing!!

Now I'm back in my apartment and I'm trying to heat my bedroom up enough so I can sleep.  It's currently at 15C.  Too cold to sleep. So I've got my little heater turned on high and I've got the timer set for an hour.  I hope that will be enough time to heat the room to 18C or so.

Tomorrow I'm teaching my intercultural lesson to the Grade 6s.  It's focusing on the similarities between Japan and Canada as well as some of the key differences.  The teachers all seemed to like it yesterday when I went over it with them. Now i need to remember to bring my laptop to school tomorrow!
Tomorrow I'm only teaching 1st and 3rd periods so I have double classes for both.  I have to leave school early tomorrow to go to the bank and hopefully fix everything once and for all! 
frellnik: (Default)
If I didn't already know that my visit school likes me, then I certainly do now!

2 weeks ago my VP came over to my desk with his notebook and told me that we were switching two of my days around.  Instead of teaching at my base school on January 24 I will be teaching at my visit school and the day will be switched with the 26th.  Ok.  Then he tells me that this is because the someone from the BOE (Board of Education) will be coming to watch me teach that day.  Great. So now I have over a month notice that I will be teaching in front of people who will be deciding if I will stay in Iwaki next year.  Then he tells me that I will be teaching grade 5 that particular day and that I will teach with A sensei.  Cool! Thank you for the heads up!

So last week, A Sensei comes over to my desk with a print out of the lesson we will be doing on January 24th.  Now the school schedule for next semester hasn't come out yet, so I have no idea what I'm teaching when and probably won't until the week before I am supposed to teach.  So this is really unexpected.  So we went over the lesson and decided that we are short on some of the needed materials. I decided I would make some of the cards that we will need.  I told her I would do this over Christmas break. She was surprised at the offer because she knows I'm going to Tokyo to visit my host family and my friend for Christmas. I told her that my friend will be a teacher starting in April and she needs practice making school materials! lol  She laughed with me over that.  I plan on getting Aya to help me make these school cards. I think it will be fun.  So my school wants me to have a good class when the BOE comes and are going out of their way to help me prepare. That makes me so incredibly happy!

On saturday I went shopping in Taira with Chelsea.  We went to Moss Burger and I decided I really like their onion rings! Then we went to the third floor of Saty and spent the next 2 or 3 hours wandering around. I bought a small Christmas tree complete with decorations for 20 bucks. :)  Just before leaving the store we found desks. I want one so bad.  I found a nice one that would work perfectly in my place and I could put my Butsudan on the top of the bookshelf/headboard part of it.  It would be perfect. It's about 350 bucks and it comes with a chair and light and everything.  It's awesome!  So I think I might just have to get it.  Chelsea ended up buying one of the desk chairs.  It took a little time because we had to wait for the store clerks to run around and pull boxes out of storage to see if they had any in the colour that Chelsea wanted.  She had just decided to order one when the store clerk found one the right colour. So we took turns carrying the box with the chair in it back to the train station :)

This morning I sent in a paper declaring to the JET programme that if for some reason next year I cannot stay in Iwaki, due to lack or available space, that I am willing to move to another city in the prefecture.  I requested Koriyama or Fukushima city. I also clearly stated that I would prefer to stay in Iwaki and that moving should be a last resort.  I quite like it here in Iwaki.  If I move I will end up further from Tokyo and I don't really want that either.  Also, I love my schools, the kids and my friends, not to mention my apartment. I really want to stay here. So I'm going to focus on that.

Today at lunch time we had a rather larger earhquake. it was a 6.9.   Thankfully it wasn't centered in Iwaki. It actually happened in Chiba which is next to Tokyo about 3 hours away from here. Half the country felt this one.  This was definitely the strongest one since I got here. It was also the first one I've had while out of the apartment.  Usually I'm in bed or sitting at my computer when an earthquake hits. Today I was at school.  We turned on the tv to get info on it and it took a few minutes for the report to have all the info. It started with just telling us how far it was felt, then after a few minutes more info came in.  Then the tv was turned off and everything went back to normal.

I made a one my kids cry today.  She cried for a whole 10 minutes.  We were playing a game (hot potato) and she couldn't get the answer so burried her face in her hands and cried.  Then sat down again and cried for the rest of the game, refusing to play.  Fun.  Grade 6. The teacher then told me that last year she used to do that a lot, but this was the first time this year....nice.  I feel special. lol  I'm not going to let it bother me.  It wasn't a hard question and it was review. I gave her a sticker in the end, even though I had to sick it on her because she still had her head burried and wouldn't look at me.

Bought strawberry short cake (2 pieces) on the way home from school today. Going to eat a piece tomorrow.
I'm tired. I'm going to bed now.

Good night everyone! (or good morning, depending where you are :) )
frellnik: (Default)
November 11th

 3  very cute 2nd graders came to the teachers room to see me.  They had made me an invitation to their small festival that was this past Monday.  The invitation was hand written, in a hand-made envelope that was beautifully coloured, and also contained 5 "coins" for me to use at the festival.  Needless to say, I made an appearance. Unfortunately because I was teaching all day, I couldn't stay for more than the opening ceremony.  I got to see the grade 2s dance! They were amazing, as always; but I didn't get to spend any of my coins at any of their shops and stands.

I also got invited to go to dinner with all the teachers at my base school last Friday at an Italien restaurant called Momma Mary's.  I got invited to my other school's dinner too, but it was also that Friday. The food was amazing!!! But I'll talk about that later.

I was running late Thursday (the 11th) morning with everything! I was still throwing my lesson together as the first period class kids came to get me.  Despite being hastily done, it went really well. I even had students who never volunteer for anything come up at talk in front of the class!!!  Everyone had fun! I just felt relieved. lol

Onoda Sensei pulled out a textbook at one point, and one of the pages had a picture of a Tolberone bar.  The class wanted to know if I knew what it was and how to say it properly.  Then Onoda Sensei offered to buy some for everyone because he had seen them at an American food store near his house.  I asked him to get me one too.

On the 10th I went to an SGI meeting and we watched a video about SGI and how it is divided into three sections/goals.  Peace, Culture, and Education.  The section on Culture was amazing and by far my favourite!  It was like watching a festival performance or theatrical performance on video! It was amazing! All I kept thinking was, I wish my mom could see this because she would love it!  Also, I want to do that too!!!!  If I can get my hands on a copy I'll bring it home to show people!!

November 12

I love teaching the Izumi class!!  Today we did big/small and long/short as wells as colours, faces and lots of singing!!! 
The 2 kids who took me back to the teacher's room left without me and then, when they put my bag on my desk, they started talking to me.  When their teacher came to get them a few minutes later, she had to pry them away from me.  They had literally latched on to me! haha!
That poor teacher had to pull one of those boys off of me earlier this morning too. She keeps apologizing to me, but I don't really mind.  The kids are too cute and they just want to make sure they have my attention so they can ask me over and over again to tell them what "everything" is in English.  He literally pulled me around the classroom pointing at things and waited for me to tell him what they are in English.  When I told him I had to leave to get ready for class, he wrapped himself around me so I couldn't leave. lol  Most of the kids don't want me to leave once we start having fun.  I really need to learn their names.  I'm so terrible. lol

After school I went home to change and get ready for dinner. I walked to Mamma Mary's. It took about 25 to 30 minutes.  All the teachers were there.  Dinner was expensive..but worth it.  $50 for the evening.   It was all you could drink and there was so much food.  We started out with a cheese fondu with bread. There was also a platter of thinly sliced raw pork (I didn''t have any of that).  There was also another plate of cooked meat and vegetables. There was chicken, ham, duck, and various veggies.   Now all of these plates are large for sharing.  So we take a few pieces for our plates and pass the big one around.  4 people per plate. 8 people per table so about 2 plates of each on the table at a time.

Next up was these rice ball things. I thought they were meatballs...but they were rice and cheese inside some kind of batter and covered in tomato sauce.  They were really good.   Then we had pizza! 6 slices per pizza, 3 pizzas total.  Half the pizza was plain cheese and the other half was very japanese (although they didn't seem to know that! lol) It had miso and cheese and spinich and squid. It was ok but I much preferred the cheeze half.  I had 4 slices of pizza over the evening. Also one of the teachers at my table left early so there were only 3 of us per dish instead of four.

Next we had salad.  A really big salad with lots of stuff. I didn't have any.  I was getting full...and salad should really come at the start of the meal, not the middle. lol  After Salad there was pasta!  2 kinds of pasta. One was tomato meat sauce, large pieces of tomato and large kurds of Mozerella cheese.  So good!  The other pasta was good too! I'm not sure what kind of sauce it was, but it really didn't look like there was sauce, but I could taste there was.  It had some veggies and shrimp in it.   Then finally we had dessert!  2 kinds of pudding (mango and some chinese thing that tasted like medicine) and sponge cake with some sort of whipped cream.  I didn't like the pudding but the bread and creame were great!  We got to take stuff home too! (that's unusual in Japan).

Dinner lasted 3 hours.  We socialized lots and played a few games! There were also the mandatory speeches.  I did one as well, in English, and when I finished, Onoda Sensei jumped up and came over with a piece of paper and told everyone he was going to translate for me.  lol  Yeah, his paper was completely blank! lol  He started off saying what I had said, about how I live in Canada and it's cold...then he went off and said how much I like him, and that our Principal is a very nice guy, and that Kondo Sensei is a terrible, no good man (Kondo Sensei and Onoda Sensei are actually really good friends) ...meanwhile everyone is laughing like I grabbed his paper and flipped it around so they could see it was blank and that I hadn't really said any of that...  Then he turned to me and asked very nicely if he could have his paper back. So I gave it back, he said thank you and then continuted on with his speech of things I didn't say LOL!!   Yeah, it was a good night!

I got a ride home, which I was happy about, and then I watched a movie.  The Friday night Road Show played Twilight. But they cut out huge parts of the movie...and continued into the 2nd movie.  So I got to watch the first 2 movies in just over 90 minutes.  THe first movie only took about 30 minutes to get through and the rest was the second movie....interesting.  Also, it was in Japanese. I had fun.  

next post:  November 16-17 Fukushima Mid Year Conference.

frellnik: (Default)
Yesterday was my day off. I got up at 8 and I talked with mom for a bit.  Then I left to get the train to Taira.  I had to go to the BOE to pick up the box the moms sent me. I figured that while I was there I would go do some shopping, so I made a list of places to go and things to get, and off I went.  I got to Taira at 9:15 and went to the first place on my list. It was closed! lol   It didn't open until 10, so I didn't bother waiting, just headed off to the next place on my list that was open.  I picked up some groceries and cleaning stuff at Saty and then headed over to Kojima.  Kojima opened 5 minutes before I got there so I didn't have to wait.  I got a can of condensed air to clean my key board and I got the Season box set of Tru Calling.  I used my points to buy them so it didn't cost me anything.

Next stop was the BOE. I went up to the 3rd floor and politely announced myself and asked if I could get my mail.  Kodama Sensei helped me unburrry my box and I put my Kojima bag down so I could pick up the box.  Then I thanked her and we chatted for a few seconds and then I headed to the train.  I still had 20 minutes until the next train so I stopped at the library to return the videos I had borrowed last week.  Then I caught the train home and realized I had forgotten my kojima bag somewhere - most likely the BOE.  So when I got home I called the BOE.

Kodama Sensei found my bag and I told her I would catch the next train back to Taira to get it.  Frell.  I got home the second time just after 2 pm and the rest of the day was spent relaxing.

Today I finally figured out who one of the teachers at my base school reminds me of ... Snape!  Not in the looks, but in how he acts.  It hit me in the face today and now that's all I see him as.  Kinda freaky.

Classes today went well.  I finished the day off with my least favourite class but we played a game for the last 15 to 20 minutes (until my hacky Sac died) and then kids smiled and had fun (All of them!!).  So I feel good - especially since I only had to help a few of them and this particular class has the worst English skills in the school.  It was fun.

Tonight Kiyoko came over and we made dinner together.  I bought all the fixings to make MaboTofu (Mabo-don). It's a meat sauce and you add vegetables and tofu and it thickens..and you eat it with rice. It's so good!  Kiyoko brought Shrimp and a slightly spicey sauce and enoki mushrooms and we made that as well.  Dinner was amazing. I ate way too much and I have enough left overs for dinner tomorrow and maybe the nigt after too!  She showed me how to make both dishes so I will be able to make them for myself.  They were quick! I had the rice ready when she got here and I had cooked the carrots in advance because the take a few minutes to cook.  But we had everything finished within 15 minutes of her getting here!  

Tomorrow There is an SGI meeting at 7pm at the Peace Centre.  I'm looking forward to it!  Kiyoko will be there as well. :)
frellnik: (Default)
Yesterday I taught the 4th graders at Izumi North.  We did big and small and short and long.  We also did the body, focussing on the head and face.
We played Pictionary.  6 groups (that's how many rows of desks in the class) and they have to draw what I tell them to on the board.  So each team has a circle on the board to serve as the face. Then I tell them to draw ... 3 small eyes, 1 small mouth, 1 long tongue... and the most accurate face wins.  

At the start of the class we were talking about today being a holiday and not having to go to school.  Then one of the kids pipes up and says " if Lisa Sensei taught English all day tomorrow I'd come to school".  That really made my week! The weeks only half over but I'm not sure what can beat that comment.

Today was Culture day, no school!!  So I slept in today which was a blessing because the wind woke me up this morning at 4am howling outside my window and wrattling the fan above my stove.  The wind in Izumi is amazing! I got back to sleep around 5 and slept until almost 8am.  I got up at 8:30 to put the guarbage out and then I decided not to go back to sleep. So I made breakfast and read for a while.  

At 10am I went online to chat with Dom.  And while we chatted I cleaned my appartment.  I finally got all my luggage stowed away and all the little things that I had left in them put away.  The room that I have designated as my office is now ready to use! I just have to put the rug down and buy a desk :)  Kiyoko and Rie have both offered to help with that.

Today I went to a concert in Taira at Alios.  Amaral Vieira, from Brazil, performed today.   Iwaki is the 8th stop on his 10 venue tour!  He is amazing!!!  He is a famour pianist and he played for almost 2 hours for us! And he's had peace talks with President Ikeda (SGI Buddhism) and he performed three SGI songs in his performance.  I swear to god, there were grown men crying in the audience.  The gentleman beside actually took his glasses off to wipe his face more than once.  It was amazing! I can't stress that enough.  I loved it :)  You can watch his performances on youtube. Check it out :)

Anyways, Kiyoko got tickets, not sure how, but her entire family went.  She had an extra ticket and asked me if I wanted to go.  I said, yes please!!  So today she picked me up at my place and drove us down to Taira and gave me my ticket ($40.00!!) and then we found our seats and enjoyed the 2 hour performance.  Just Amaral on the stage and he played beautifully with no sheet music.  Amazing. It started at 2 and was overy 4. 

Then Kiyoko took me to the Butsuden store to look at Butsudens and they have some really nice thin ones (that will fit in my suitcase) for about $25,  and even slimmer ones that are more expensive because they are so thin ($80).  They didn't have an of the super thin ones in stalk so we are going to go back to seem them next week. I'm not sure which I'll buy yet, but I will need one.  We also spent quite a few minutes talking with the shop owner. She was really nice. I bought 2 little bobbles to hang on my cell phone (or key chain, or back pack zipper) and they were 300 yen each ($3), but she gave me the two of them for 500 yen ($5).  That was nice of her :)  She made me promise to come back and talk with her again. I'm looking forward to it!

Next stop we went to a bread shop.  I got a piece of pizza (potato and cheeze and some sort of ham) and two sweet breads.  Then we drove back home and I had a small meeting in my house.  Kiyoko and Rie were there and two of the ladies from the women's group (the Tamatsuyu leader, where I live, and the greater erea leader).  They stayed for about an hour and we talked about all kinds of things and I was invited to a meeting on the 10th at Junko's house (The tamatsuyu area leader). (I live in Izumi, and my area is called Tamatsuyu.  For those of you in Ottawa area, Tamatsuyu is like Glenn Carin in Kanata).  Junko offered to lend me a butsuden for while I'm here in Japan and when I move back to Canada I can return it to her.  That way I don't have to spend any money.  It will depend on what kind of desk or book shelves I get. Her butsuden is quite wide so it may not fit.  If it does then I'll gladly use hers while I'm here :)

Rie took the two women's group members home and then came back to my place until 7.  Kiyoko took at look at my heater for me and found that the filter needs to be cleaned. That seems to be why it isn't working.  But it may need to be changed completely.  My place is really dusty, no matter how often I clean there is always dust everywhere. 

So tomorrow is back to school.  I've started the Japanese course that JET provided. I'm half way through week 2.  My VP at Izumi North set up a computer for me to use so I can listen to the CD that came with the textbook.  He's chained it to my desk so that no one can move it :) lol

Going to Tokyo on the 20th with some friends. We've got tickets for the Ghibli museum!!! I can't wait for that!! And a bunch of us are getting meeting up at Tokyo Disney land on the 27th!  It's going to be a busy month!  It's going to be a lot of fun!!

frellnik: (Default)

You know you go to a store too much when one of your students asks you if you work there.  Yesterday one of my grade 5 kids asked me if I work at 7/11.  I explained that no, I don’t, but I do go there pretty much every day and sometimes I go twice a day, especially this week as I didn’t do groceries last weekend lol.

Yesterday was Dan’s birthday and he asked Baba (a Indian restaurant owner in Taira) if we could have a party there.  Baba has lived in Japan for about 25 years and he’s had his restaurant for about 20 years.  Apparently his place has THE BEST Indian food you can get in all of Iwaki.  He loves all the JETs too.  He brags about how for the past 15 years or so his restaurant has been a hot spot for JETs.  If you like spicy food then you’ll love Baba’s.  He told me there was no spice in any of it and it was too spicy for me lol. 

Things I learned about Baba last night.  He is a very sweet, blunt, dirt old man! The things that came out of his mouth had all of us laughing and turning beat read at the same time.   It was a lot of fun! Even if I don’t like spice I would go there for his salad and his breads! Oh, his bread is amazing!

There were about 40 of us there last night for Dan’s birthday and Baba opened the place just for us.  He is usually closed on Wednesdays but agreed to open so we could party!  He took lots of pictures so as soon as I get them I’ll be posting them on facebook.

After we had eaten Mathew (The Rev.) wanted to make a speech.  He gave a hilarious speech that had nothing to do with Dan’s birthday.  He wrote a terrific piece of fiction that referred back to the space camp in Koriyama.  No one, except Mathew, was able to keep from laughing throughout the entire thing.  I was laughing so hard I had my head down on the table. That had to have been one of the highlights of the evening. 

Then Baba said that all of us should say something about Dan so we decided to tell our most impressive memory of Dan.  This is something that we do at our monthly meetings so it was pretty easy to do on the spot.  I was first.  So I said that Dan and I are both from Canada and that we met on the plane.  He was the first person I met that would be in the same city as me and he was funny.  And that I came to his party because hanging out with Dan and other ALTs is the only time I get hugs here.  I also tacked on to the end that we Canadians have to stick together.

Clarence shared a hilarious story about one of the cab rides down a mountain from one of their schools back to Taira.  Clarence implied that Dan was Gay and the taxi driver was VERY interested.  By the time they got back to Taira (an hour later) the taxi driver had pretty much told Dan that he wouldn’t mind hooking up. LOL  Dan was not impressed! lol

Catlin told us about the time she slept over at Dan’s place without his realizing it.  He got up the next morning and saw her in his apartment and didn’t freak out or anything.  The first thing out of his mouth was “Where did you sleep???” LOL  Catlin was expecting something more along the lines of what are you doing here? lol  That’s Dan for you.


Once all of us had said our piece, Baba got up on a chair and talked about Dan and his restaurant, the change in the economy from when the restaurant opened 20 years ago to now, how hard it was to open the restaurant…to how he spends his evening watching tv and his days off doing things I don’t think I’m allowed to write here…complete with actions for our benefit.  It was rather shocking. There was lots of shocked laughter and I had to turn my head away and laugh and just stare blankly at the table in shock a few times.  It was different.  Fun. 

Then towards the end he told a story about Peter that had Peter hiding in the kitchen and beat red…and the rest of us laughing so hard we couldn’t move!  Poor Peter. LOL

Baba’s is a good 30 minute walk from the train station.  Me, Sam and Chelsea walked there but Chelsea got a ride home from Lenny so Sam, Kim, Xan and I shared a cab back to the train station.  It ended up costing 10.40 total so we each paid under 3 bucks for fare.   It also took less than 10 minutes to get there.  Much nicer!

Last night it was cold.  It was about 5C when I got home and when I woke up this morning it was only 3.  I added a thick blanket to my bed last night (I’m up to a sheet and three blankets now) and I ended up getting up around midnight to get the portable heater to bring into my room.  I turned on the timer for one hour and then when that hour was up I turned it back on for another hour.  My apartment was at 17 degrees last night and this morning.  Just cold enough that the bit in the air (my ears and nose) was keeping me awake.  Looks like I’ll be using the heater from here on out.

The only down side is that I have to close the bedroom door for the heater to actually heat the room which means that I can’t hang my laundry to dry in the door way…now I need to find somewhere else in my apartment to hang my clothes to dry.  The only downside to having an open apartment is that the walls are too far apart for a laundry bar. 


Today I have only 2 classes.  4th and 5th period.   2nd and 3rd periods are going to be spent outside watching the kids have a sports festival of some kind. It’s cold today. About 3C right now.  I don’t want to go outside. LOL   mind you, I’m the only teacher here wearing only a t-shirt (inside) and not complaining it’s cold.  I guess I’ll be ok.

frellnik: (Default)

I’ve been teaching Halloween for the past week and I’ll be teaching it tomorrow and Friday too.  I’ve taught grade 3s and 4s and this week I’ll be teaching grades 5 and 6.

I start the class off with a history of Halloween and explain why the name changed from All Hallows Eve to Halloween and then explain how it used to be known as night of the dead and why.  Then I talk about Jack-O’-Lanterns and how they were used to ward off evil spirits and how they are used today.

Then I go through all the various symbols of Halloween and show pictures of each. I get all the kids to repeat the words in English and tell me what they are in Japanese.  They all have fun with Mummy because it is so close to Mommy. lol

Then I talk about Halloween in Ottawa.  I tell them all about the Ottawa Zombie Walk,


The Haunted House, Haunted Hey Ride and Haunted Mazes at Saunders Farm in Munster (which is pronounced Monsta- in Japanese) and about how we all decorate our houses to make them scary because everyone knows that the scary houses are the popular ones!  By the end of the first half of class (about 20-25 minutes) everyone wants to go to Canada for Halloween!

The last half of class is spent colouring Halloween pictures while listening to Halloween music that I put together on a CD. I’ve got Michael Jackson’s Thriller, The Ghost Buster’s Theme, This is Halloween from Nightmare Before Christmas, and What’s this from the same movie. The songs take about 20 minutes to get through so they usually finish just by the end of class. 

While the kids are working I tend to walk around with home-made spiders and drop them on the kids’ heads or stuff them down the back of their shirts.  The kids find it hilarious.  Much laughter ensues.



When they are done I tell them to bring their pictures home and put them up in their windows.

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Friday I taught 3rd grade Halloween.  I dressed up and had a great time. I will be posting that separately with some pictures from my two schools.

Friday night Kiyoko came to get me and we went to the Peace Centre in Izumi to watch a video of an SGI meeting to commemorate the 80 anniversary of the Soka Gakkai. President Ikeda gave a small speech as well which was special because he hasn’t been going to the meeting because he is preparing everyone for when he is no longer around.  He’s getting very old now.  But for this occasion he came and presented his speech instead of having someone else read it.  The video was about 90 minutes of various people talking about their life experiences with Soka Gakkai and giving words of encouragement.

At the end of the video, next year’s theme was introduced.  I haven’t translated it exactly but it is basically international friendships.

After the meeting I bought a book.  The book was written by president Ikeda and has to do with Buddhism and the universe.  I love this theme. It’s also in Japanese so it will take me a while to get through but I am looking forward to it!

That night I went home and watched a movie….I have no idea what it was called but it was an animated movie about a girl who saves a cat from getting hit by a truck. The cat turns out to be a prince from the Cat Country and his father wants to marry the girl (he’s crazy!) and so has the girl kidnapped and brought to the cat country where she starts to turn into a cat.  It was a fun movie.

Saturday I got up early and went to my base school to watch the kids perform in the school recital.  I think all the schools were given a theme for each grade because my base school’s recital was very similar to that of my visit school’s recital.  I’ll have a separate entry for that too, complete with pictures.

After the recital I went to Taira to meet up with Sam and Susan and Chelsea.   Chelsea was really late so I didn’t hang out with her as she got there as I was heading back home.  Sam, Susan and I all went Saty to get some Baskin Robins ice cream and we each got a Halloween Sunday. It was about $6 for 2 scoops of ice cream, a white chocolate ghost, a mint chocolate bat, about 6 pieces of brownie, a cookie pretending to be an ice cream cone and a bit of whipped cream and chocolate sauce.  It was so good!

Then we went to Kojima so I could once again check if my points had come in.  I was promised about $200 worth of points for signing up for internet there.  Everyone else got their points over a week ago.  I planned to use my points to buy a Pioneer BlueRay DVD player.  My points still aren’t in. So I went to get the money I needed to buy the DVD player instead of waiting.  Good thing too because I got the last on in the store.  They had none left so I asked for the floor model.  There was no box for it so they guy just wrapped it up in bubble wrap for me and put it in a shopping bag.  He put all the cords and booklets in a separate bag and then put them all in a big bag for me.  It all just barely fit into my schoolbag.

I got it home and managed to get it hooked up to my tv ok and turned it on to find everything in working order!  I got a pretty cook DVD player that also has a USB port in the front that I can hook up to my computer and stream youtube and netlix videos through to my tv!  That makes me pretty happy!  I can also watch American/Canadian BlueRay DVD’s on it since they are the same region as Japan.  All for the low price of $180.80.  I got no tax because it was the floor model.  Apparently this model is going for about $240 on

Sunday I didn’t do anything.  I got hit by the lazy bus and took and nap and read and watched tv.  That was about it.  So because of that I didn’t get any groceries done.  So I went to 7/11.  I bought enough food to get me to Wednesday because for some reason I thought I had this Wednesday off…I don’t.  I have next Wednesday off.  SO I will have to go back to 7/11 soon and buy more food!  Tonight I think I will have Spaghetti and Edemame beans and maybe some carrot sticks.  I have no I might buy some juice from the 7/11.

Tomorrow night I am going to Dan’s birthday down in Taira and a restaurant called Baba’s.   Baba loves all the JETs so he often stays open late for us and will make stuff more or less spicy for us upon request.  I like no spice so I’m happy about that!  So in exchange for having a birthday party in his restaurant we have to help clean up afterwards, but that’s it.  We get the place to ourselves.  It will be fun!!

Today I only had 3 classes so I was finished teaching by 11am.  Thursday I only have two classes, 2nd period and 5th period.  So I will be bringing my laptop to school to keep me busy….for as long as the battery lasts. I can’t plug in my laptop without an adapter and there isn’t room on the power bar to plug it in. lol 


I came in to school today to find a bag full of sweets and sembe crackers.  Apparently they are from last year’s teachers…or maybe from the teachers this year who won’t be here next year.  The English was  a bit funny so I’m not exactly sure.  But there is quite a bit of stuff for me to eat throughout the week J  and an energy drink…not sure I want it…will take it home and put it in the fridge.

I think that’s it J

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On Friday I taught grade 5 at Izumi.  I taught a class that I had already taught a month ago at Izumi North, so I had no preparations to make.  I also taught the Special Ed kids in the izumi class.  I really like teaching those kids!!

I wore my padraid slippers to school that day instead of my white indoor shoes. So when the izumi class kids came to get me and bring me to class, they commented on my slippers before taking my hands in theirs and leading me to class.  I love how tactile those kids are (hand holding, high fives, and even hugs sometimes).  Well at one point, one of the kids litterally pulled my slipper off so he could try it on himself, which led to half the kids lighing up to try on my slippers!  I let them.  That started a conversatin about how big my feet are :)

After that I read them a story, " Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?" and we sang some songs to end the class.

That night, Kiyoko called me to tell me that Yokubenimaru was having a sale and everything was on sale. So she picked up me and Sayaka and we went grocery shopping and I picked up a few other necessities.  She promised to call me whenever she hears of a sale day.

On Saturday I went to the Izumi School Recital!  Each grade had a 20 minutes performance.  The grade 6s had a 35 minutes performance.  It  started at 8:30am and finished at 11:40am.  It was amazing!  All the kids and teachers worked really  hard for this and it turned out wonderfully!! The gym was FULL of spectators!

I got pictures of each performance and a few videos too of the kids singing and playing their intstruments! For a bunch of elementry school kids they are really good! I'm really glad I got to go!

The grade 1s told the story of these little woodland creatures who protect this treasure. But they don't know what's in the treasure chest.  The birds of the forrest want the treasure for themselves and they fight over it.  Then when I fire breaks out in the forest they must work together to put the fires out and in the end the lock on the box is broken and they look inside to find the words NAKAYOKU which means to get along.  That is the treasure they must protect. Friendship.

The grade 5s were up next and they did dance and taiko and stuff.  They were all really good too!

Next up was the grade 2s with their rendition of Peter pan!! They were so cute!  Also very clueless about real native it was almost offensive...but they really don't know any better here.  And have I mentioned cute?

Next up were the grade 4s!!  The grade 4s are an amazing group of percussionists, xilophone players, accordian players, recorder players, and these little nifty instruments that you have to blow into to get sounds but that you play like a keyboard....sideways! lol  I've never seen them before i came here. 

The grade 3s did a comedy stint and played music by hitting bamboo! It was really good!

The grade 6s were last and they did a piece about war.  They told three stories of war and how it impacted families.   A lot of it was too dark to get good photos of but i have a cast shot from the end.  It was really good. Reminded me of Rememberance Day Ceremonies back in high school.

It was an awesome performance!! I am really proud of all of them!!  All the kids at Izumi have today off because they had to go to school on Saturday. I unfortunately wasn't at Izumi today so I had to go to work.  Izumi North has their recital next Saturday and I'm looking forward to it!!

Sunday I slept a lot!! I called a few people in the morning after being woken up at 6:00am by what I thought were drums but were actually fireworks. I didn't realize it but, Izumi had a festival going on all weeknd just on the other side of the train station.  Ithought it was next week so I missed it. lol  Although, that definitely explains all the fire works throughout the weekend! lol  I had a nice relaxing weekend where I read, slept and talked to friends while preparing for this weeks lesson on Halloween!

Today I taught my lesson on Halloween to the grade 4s at Izumi North.  I got a simple version of the history of Halloween and Jack-O'-Lanterns and a whole tone of pictures together and made a cd of halloween music.  After my explanation and pictures I had made for them while they listened to the halloween cd.

All the classes seemed to really emnjoy the class. I'm happy for that because I'm using the same lesson all week.  Tomorrow my classes have been cancelled so I have nothing to do until lunch and then I have to go to Taira for a meeting at the BOE.  After that I am going to Kojima to buy a DVD player because I have heard from other ALTs that our points have come in.  I get $200 worth of points that I will use to buy my DVD player! I can't wait!!!!

Momoth post from hell is finished!!!! thank god.


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December 2016



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