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2006 October 17 Tuesday.

A dark windy and rainy day.  It made my drive over to Asahikawa University all that more slow and somewhat dangerous.   Driving in the rain, especially at night, is my least favorite of all driving conditions.  It is just to difficult to see clearly in front of and all around you.

  When I lived in Seattle, it rained a lot, and as a consequence, I did a lot of driving in the rain.   Fortunately, I never had a traffic accident while I lived there.   By the way, it very rarely snows in Seattle.  Even if it does snow, it will only stay on the ground for a few days at the most.

In Asahikawa, the city is completely covered in snow for about 5 months of the year every year.   How do I like driving in the snow?  I like just fine.  Especially at night when it is very easy to see the roads and other traffic on the roads.  The only thing to keep in mind is that you must drive more slowly than during the season of no-snow. 

Don't get me wrong, it is very easy to drive fast on snow covered roads, and it can even be fun.  The problem comes when you try to stop.   It takes a lot more distance to come to a complete stop and especially at intersections, which tend to get very very slick and slippery because of all the cars that stop and start there. 

The auto insurance companies are very busy during each winter, processing the claims of many a "fender bender",  meaning a very slow speed collision.   Anyway, today's class at the university was very interesting and enjoyable as it always is. 

Today I used page two of an original textbook that I am writing called; Q&A, meaning question and answer.  The instructions at the top of each page read; Ask a Question, Listen to the Answer, Write down what you Hear. 

The rest of each page has a list of 30 questions, divided into 6 groups of 5 questions each.   All of the questions start with a 6W1H interrogative word 疑問詞.   Most of the questions are quite easy for the students to answer in English, but some of them are more difficult such as;  Why is it dark at night?    Why does the wind blow?   Why do rivers run to the sea?  etc. 

Of course, most of the students can answer such questions in Japanese, but many do not know how to explain it in English.   As a result, they ask me how to say it, or they simply answer "I don't know."   Either way is OK. 

When that class was finished at about 12:10, I went back up to professor Sugawa's office for a cup of green tea before leaving the campus.   There was a 4th year university student in his office, who had a thick packet of papers that he was studying.

Mr. Sugawa explained to me that it was a sample test, for seeking employment at the Asahi Newspaper branch office, here in Asahikawa.  I took a look at the pages and was overwhelmed by the complexity of the questions.   If you don't keep up with the mass media news, you would have no hope of correctly answering any of these questions. 

There was even a section in English.   I took a look at this too, and was disappointed to discover that the news in English had been deliberately rewritten to make it as twisted and convoluted as possible.   What a crock of shit.   Reporters in the real world use the simplest language and sentence structure that they can get away with, and still accurately report the news. 

This is also true of Japanese language newspapers.  I know because I can read Japanese language newspapers much more easily than any other type of Japanese language publication.  However, newspaper editorials and commentaries are much more time consuming for me to read, because the vocabulary and sentence structure are much more complex.

Therefore, I don't try to read them very often, unless I am extremely interested in a particular topic.   At about 12:40, I left the campus of Asahikawa University and drove back to my classroom to eat lunch and get ready for straight classes from 15:00 until 20:00. 

At 15:00, Mr. T., the retired high school English teacher came for coffee and conversation.  Today, we both drank tea.   He told me about a junior high school class reunion 中学校の同期会 that he attended last Thursday.  The event was held at the Higashi Kagura Shinrin Koen 東神楽森林公園 Mori no Yu Hana Kagura 森の湯花神楽 Hot Spring Spa Resort Hotel.  Mr. T.  mentioned how interesting it was to see and talk with his former classmates, most of which he has not seen for many many years.  They all agreed to meet again like this, in another two years.





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