Saturday, April 29, 2006

One reason living in Japan really sucks!

I've griped here before about thr release dates for movies in Japan as compared to almost everywhere else in the world - here is another example that kills me -

X-Men 3 or as the studio is now calling it, "X-Men: The Last Stand," is coming out in America on May 26th.

But if you Click Here - and then click on the Worldwide Release Dates button you'll see a chart of release dates for every country set to show the film.

Notice that only ONE country is not opening the film in MAY - and that country is....


And it that wasn't bad enough - when will it come out in Japan you ask.....

SEPTEMBER!!!!!!!! I smell a Korea trip coming up....

Sunday, April 23, 2006

sakura at IzumoTaisha

sakura at IzumoTaisha
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

I just added 24 pictures from my field trip with the 9th grade class to our local shrine - Izumo Taisha.

Every year in April my whole Junior High leaves school for the day and goes off to draw somewhere. Last year I went with the 9th graders to IzumoTaisha and I had a great time - this year was no different. The 7th graders went to the local winery and the 8th graders went to an historic old station, but I chose to go with the 9th graders to the shrine.

Mostly because the shrine is really pretty this time of year and it's one of the best opportunities for me to walk around and chat with the students in a relaxed way. I had some really great conversations on everything from what teachers I like, to do I like girls with big boobs or no boobs to my favorite song at karaoke.

We left the school just after 9am, walked up to the shrine, then the kids picked out random spots to sit and sketch until lunch at 12:30. Then they sketched some more and we all headed back to school at 3pm. We got really lucky because it was crappy weather all week, but that Wednesday was GORGEOUS, and then it rained all day Thursday. So lucky.

I sat down by myself to enjoy my "sack lunch" when some of the 9th grade girls saw me sitting by myself and came over and asked me to join them. So cool of them - a really good group. Still so interested in my life despite having known me for almost two years now. But I seem to be able to get to know the 9th graders best each year - and this year's class will be a good class to get to know better. They'll be the last class I see graduate - but it'll be a nice full-circle type thing since they had just started Junior High as 7th graders when I arrived in 2004.

Anyway - click on the photo to see more.

See ya,

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


1-1 kyoshitsu
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

The calm before the storm - Nyuugakushiki means "entrance ceremony for new students." The first day for my new 7th graders is a big deal here - there is a whole ceremony with a reading of their names and speeches and songs and most of the new students' parents attend.

For me it's an interesting day - i get to see all my old 6th graders - some wearing a school uniform for the first time - all serious and nervous about starting Jr High. The cool thing for me is that they all know me from my coming to their elementary schools - so other than their friends who are upperclassmen - I'm the one familiar face. Great group of kids this year - I look forward to teaching them.

click on this pic to see many more from this day - i posted comments on Flickr this time instead of blogging about the pics.


Trivia for week of April 17th

In 2003, which American soap opera featured the first lesbian kiss in the history of American daytime television?

Last Week's Answer (highlight line below):
Liza Minnelli

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Konomi, me, Yuka & Kayo

Konomi, me, Yuka & Kayo
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

I send out pics to my parents in England and my sister in San Diego separately because neither of them read this blog - what'cha gonna do? :)

So sometimes I forget what I've blogged and what I've sent round in an email to my folks and sis.

I realized that I hadn't posted any of this set of pics I took back in early February since I had a pretty full beard at the time.

I kinda liked the beard but it grows really gray now, making me look a lot older and it's way too hot to have during the hotter months coming up.

Konomi (on the left) took great pleasure in explaining her last name, which is Okuma, to me in English one day - telling me it means "Big Bear." So after that day, every time I'd pass her in the hall and say "Hi Konomi" she'd point at herself and say "big bear," almost guaranteeing that she is one of the few students whose full name I will remember.

Chip Lips

Chip Lips
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

I've posted my last batch of pics of my just-graduated san nen sei at my Flickr site - just click any pic to see them all.

I think I get to know the san nen sei the best over the course of the year - so I hope I can get to know some of my new san nen sei as well as I did this super group of students.

Trivia for week of April 10th

Who is one of only a few artists to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, a Tony and an Oscar, and also the only Oscar winner whose parents had both won Oscars as well?

Last Week's Answer (highlight line below):

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Man Utd vs Arsenal

This one is for my buddy, Mark M., who, despite being Irish, is a die-hard Arsenal fan.

I'm sure he really doesn't want to re-live this defeat, but they are impressive goals.

The video runs 2 1/2 minutes and the commentary is in Spanish.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Heidi & Ang at Hamayama Park

JET Fun on Izumo International Day - 5
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

I recently uploaded about 30 new & random pics from the past few months to my online photo album.

So hop on your nearest tiger and head over to my Flickr site to see some of the fun I'm having here in Taisha.

You can now simply click on the nifty Flickr Badge on the upper right at any time and be taken to my latest photos. (That idea and the YouTube site link stolen from my friend Nathan's blog - Cheers Nathan!)



For those of you "in the know" - the numbers above will not appear as a random sequence but immediately conjur to mind a specific date in film history - May 25, 1977 - opening day for a little George Lucas sci-fi film called STAR WARS. (back when it was just "Star Wars" and not yet "Episode 4 - A New Hope")

An independent film called 5-25-77 is set to open in America in, you guessed it, May of this year. Obviously I won't be there to see it. And despite other HUGE films opening in May, including X-Men 3 and The Da Vinci Code, I'd actually be more excited to see 5-25-77.

After you see the trailer and if you know me at all, you'll know why. Luckily, the film is not really about Star Wars exactly - it seems more of an American Graffiti - what happens to a group of friends on a specific day. And the short trailer is chock full of things that made me smile. I wasn't in High School when Star Wars first opened **I"m NOT that OLD!** but I did go see it on the big screen with my older sister and parents that summer.

So if you're in America and this film plays near you - give it a shot - it looks to be a charming little film. And the director made a great choice casting John Francis Daley in the lead. Daley used to be much smaller and younger when he portrayed Sam Weir on one of my all-time favorite TV shows - FREAKS and GEEKS, but he seems perfect for this role.

So check out the trailer below and save me an aisle seat....


ID4 with a Japanese accent

I just signed up at a site called You Tube so I can hopefully post a link to a movie trailer I want all of you to see.

But first I will test to make sure it's gonna work by posting this link

This is a short video of a Japanese man watching the movie "Idependence Day" and speaking along with the dialogue.

Maybe funny for some, but those of us teaching here, this is a daily occurence - and to be perfectly honest, the guy does a pretty good job - i would kill for most of my students to speak this enthusiastically and have this guy's pronunciation.

OK - see if this works....


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

How popular is your name?

I get forwarded all kinds of emails from friends asking me to take this survey or fill out this questionaire or go to this website to fill in my information - some of it is tedious, but some can be suprisingly fun.

I stumbled across this link when I was filling in my birthday info for a friend -

Find out how popular your first name has been over the past 100 years, just Click Here and enter your first name.

So I clicked and here is what I found out about the fantastic first name JASON...

It means healer - i think from the ancient Greek. Maybe my parents wanted a doctor in the family... Sorry Mom & Dad - didn't happen. :)

Jason was the 3rd most popular name for boys in the 1970s and the 8th most popular in the 1980s. No real suprise here - i knew many Jasons growing up. I was born in 1969, so I guess my parents got in early. I used to be the only Jason in all of Shimane, but this year two new ALTs named Jason came, so now it's just like being back in high school - Jason who? which one? haha

So i typed in my old girlfriend's name - Heather - because she used to always joke that Jason & Heather was the name of the uber-white Californian couple and she is probably right - Heather was the 8th most popular girl's name in the 1970s and the 10th most popular in the 1980s. Curious about Heather - doesn't even rank on the list pre-1940s - like it's a modern name.

I seemed to know more Jennifers and Micheles growing up - and they both rank a bit higher - altho you get diff results if you type Michele and if you type Michelle.

Anyway - how does your name rank? I assume this is mostly an American-generated list, so my apologies if your name is not widely known in America.

The Healer

Trivia for week of April 3rd

Mr. Rogers was ordained as a minister in what church?

Last question's Answer (highlight line below):
C. Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies