Monday, April 21, 2008

JETs annual visit to Taisha Sho

JETs annual visit to Taisha Sho - 13.jpg
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

Every year, the new 6th graders at my local elementary school take a school trip in April and visit the Peace Park in Hiroshima (about 4 hours away by bus).

While at the park, they are assigned to talk to any visiting foreigners, speaking English with them and asking for their autograph.

So every year, I invite other ALTs and CIRs from my area to come to Taisha Sho and help the kids practice their English.
This helps cuz these kids are so used to me, I'm not "scary" anymore, so meeting new foreigners, even tho none of my friends are scary, is a better simulation of what they might encounter.

And we had a good range of countries represented - Angelo is from South Africa, Hannah is from Wales, Nicola is from New Zealand and Eric is from Texas, which is big enough to be its own country. :)

My thanks to them from helping me out - I know they kids enjoyed meeting them.

Click on the picture above for more pictures from that day or watch the short video below to see my kids practicing the sample dialog without looking.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring in Shimane - soccer, sakura, sports and Super Mario

soccer in Matsue - 32.jpg
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

Hello All -

The above picture was taken a few weekends ago in nearby Matsue. I went to Matsue 4th Jr High to watch my Taisha kids play soccer. By lucky chance, they happened to be competing against my other school - Hamayama JH. So I got to see a bunch of my kids play. It was a great day weather wise and as you can see in the picture, the sakura (cherry blossoms) were in full bloom, lending a very nice background to the action.

I've been spending quite a few weekend hours watching my kids compete lately. This past weekend was Baseball, Volleyball and girls tennis on Saturday, and then shogakko soccer and boys tennis on Sunday. This coming up weekend is track and field.

I also went to a concert recently and watched some kendo. I really do get around.
I have no life, so I channel all my free time to cheering on my kids and supporting their club activities.
Occasionally I see another ALT at these tournaments and concerts, but not often enough in my opinion.
Seeing the kids outside of the classroom is the best part for me, so i really enjoy hanging out with them between matches and chatting, etc.

I uploaded tons of pics from my recent sports watching, and the video below is more to show off how pretty it is here in Taisha than to showcase my kids playing tennis.

My FLIP camera is still broken, so no new vids for a while perhaps. I will try to get another new camera soon. I got an iSight camera for my laptop - basically a webcam, so I should be able to do some more vlogs soon - they've been pretty popular on my YouTube channel.

The reason I mention Super Mario is because I also bought a 2nd hand Nintendo Game Cube from a JET that is leaving Japan soon.
When he mentioned that the game system would include 4 games, one of them being Super Mario Kart, I was sold.
I used to play SMK for hours with my friends Chris, Pat and Scott back in San Diego on the original Super Nintendo system. It's one of the few modern video games I'm actually good at.

Anyway - enjoy the pics and vid and i should be posting more soon.

See ya,

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

2nen sei Viking Lunch

2nen sei Viking Lunch - 9.jpg
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

Just added pics from last March. Every year, the PTA mothers host a "viking" style lunch (buffet) for the 2nen sei students who are about to become 3nen sei students and enter their final year of Jr High School.

It's a nice change from the ordinary school lunch, and I always eat lots of good food.

This year I ate with class 2-1 and had a great time.

You can also watch this short video I filmed outside the classroom in the hall where they set up the tables of food.

Also - you can now see my YOUTUBE channel in Japanese:


Sunday, April 06, 2008

2008 Spring sumo tournament - Osaka

2008 Spring sumo tournament - Osaka - 4.jpg
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.


I've posted some pics from my recent trip to Osaka, where I got to watch live sumo!

I'm a huge sumo fan, so I love going to see the action in person.

3 other Shimane JETs (Eric, Hugh and Janelle) and I bought box tickets for the final Saturday of the two-week tournament.
We were treated to some awesome bouts - and all my favorite wrestlers won.
I didn't really take any other pictures while I was in Osaka, but I had a great time even though I only stayed for two days.

I shot a ton of video - about 50 minutes of short clips - but when I got home, my FLIP video camera stopped working on me, so the videos are trapped on the camera - I can't get them to download to my computer. :(

But if you go to my YouTube site, you can see some Sumo vids I just happened to shoot using my digital camera and plenty of other videos about sumo.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Richie Havens at Woodstock

I was an American History major in college. I took an interesting class on the 60s in America. I had to write 5 papers for the class - one about every two weeks - demanding but challenging and the prof was a really good guy.

One paper I wrote was about America's entry into the Vietnam War - why it happened and what it meant for the country.

I prefaced my main points with a digression about Ritchie Havens and his song about soldiers marching off to war, and eventually to fight for civil rights in Birmingham, Alabama.

Watching the film "Woodstock" - a documentary about the 3-day music festival that took place in 1969 was part of the syllabus. I consider myself fairly knowledge about American popular music, so I knew all about Jimi, CSNY, The Who and other greats who made an impression at Woodstock. The revelation for me was watching Havens' performance, which opened the whole 3-day concert.

He sings with such passion and soul - it's not about fashion, or selling records or being popular - it's about pure music trying to transport you and tell a story.

I came across the above clip while surfing around YouTube - I hope you enjoy it.