2008 November 6 Thursday thru November 10 Monday.


During the weekend, I spent all of my time making 250 brand new laminated Question and Answer cards based on the 6W1H interrogatives 疑問詞. 

Namely; What, When, When, Who, Why, Which and How. 

This is the second edition of these such cards and they are based upon the 12 page textbook that I wrote about 2 years ago, that was designed for pair work in large classroom settings of between 20 and 40 students.

The first edition of these cards was made 12 years ago when we first opened our new classroom in June of 1996.   

At that time, I didn't even have a personal computer, so I used Ikuko's word processor to create and print out the A4 sized sheets of paper with 10 questions each on them.

Not only did I have to cut the A4 sized paper into 10 business card sized pieces, but I also had to cut the cardboard craft sheets into the same size as well.   

I even bought a big table top guillotine type paper cutter to help me get the job done.

After cutting the paper and the cardboard into their proper sizes, I used very wide transparent cellophane packing tape, to attach the printed question paper onto the cardboard, one at a time. 

They weren't pretty, but they worked rather well for that moment in time.

Nowadays, things are much different. 

Not only do I not need the thick cardboard to make these Q and A cards, but I can print out both the Q and A side of the card, as well as a  colorful backside to each card, that shows the level of difficultly, and my classroom's logo mark.  SBK

Because I spent the entire weekend making these brand new full color Q and A cards, some people might come to the conclusion that I worked overtime to get the job done.

That's only one way to look at the situation.

I look at it from a different perspective.

My classroom is the LOVE OF MY LIFE along with my wife.   

We are both TOTALLY COMMITTED to making this small business a big success.   

All of the time I spend teaching classes and making teaching materials for those classes, is the time of my life and the objective is to make our classroom, the best in this city.

In reality, it already IS.     The only competition I have, is with myself to make it even better tomorrow, than it is today.

What most people would look upon as overtime work, I look upon as PAYING IT FORWARD.

I am always prepared to do the best job I can do, on any given day.

That day was today, Monday November 10.   

For my last class of this day, from 19:00 to 20:00, I had a full house of 5 students, all of them of very different ages and all of them,  from very different backgrounds. 

Sitting around the same table with me, and using the Q and A part two cards, as the textbook for our lesson together, we engaged in very interesting discussions, of many different types. 

It was awesome.   The LOVE was so thick, you could cut it with a knife.

To say it went smoothly is an understatement.   

It was a most enjoyable and interesting lesson for all in attendance, because everyone became totally spontaneous in their conversations with me and all of the other students, by using the Q and A cards as a launching point.

What a blast it was.  The promised 50 minutes lesson became 65 minutes, and I finally had to call a halt to the lesson time.

Phuck Yeah!    話せる 使える 楽しい スノーマン 米会話.   

What you get is more than what was promised to you.   Who could complain?

Nobody.   Least of all me.





2008 August 25 Monday thru August 31 Sunday.

The last week of August, and autumn is just around the corner. 

My first gig on Monday was at the Chestnut Tree Kindergarten くりの木幼稚園 starting at 10:00.   

As usual, I was up on stage in front of about 220 noisy kids.   

See the photo above/left for details.   

This week I talked about summer vacation activities using big colorful laminated flash cards to make the English words easier to remember.   

One of the cards represented the word DRIVE.   

I even made up a new song the night before called MY CAR, that was simple and easy to remember for the kids.   

With my acoustic guitar in hand, we sang my new song, and a couple of other old songs that the kids already knew.   

Finally, all the kids came up to the stage one by one and we shook hands and said;  "Bye bye.   See you next time!"    

After my class, the kids got to go outside and play on the big lawn that the kindergarten has.  They even got served freshly sliced watermelons.    

My next class on Monday was the 神楽公民館で英会話を楽しむ会 from 13:00 until 14:30.   

This week, one of the ladies told us  about her family's 12 day trip to FRANCE, which started off on a bad note.    

After the very long flight from Japan to France, they arrived at their hotel, only to discover that the hotel had NO RECORD OF THEIR RESERVATION even though the family had a printed out copy of their reservation confirmation in hand, and showed it to the front desk clerk.   

Wow!  How is that for a laid back attitude about running a business.    

Actually, I have heard this same horror story before from other students who traveled to Spain and Turkey, arriving after a long hard day of traveling, only to discover that the hotel they thought they had reservations at, didn't have any reservations for them.   

I seriously doubt if something like this ever happens in Japan or Germany.   

Anyway, despite an uncomfortable second rate hotel room on the very first night, the 12 day trip turned out to be a wonderful experience for her and her family.   

Other students talked about various things, and we never got around to the printed hand out that I gave to them last week.   

No, problem there.  We can use it anytime.   

I have a thousand more that I can prepare on a moments notice for any class.

Tuesday through Friday was a regular school week at my little classroom.   

On Saturday afternoon around 13:00, I drove out to Shibinai to visit Charles Hamel and family.   

They live in a farming community, and even have their own little garden plots.   

Despite the rather small area that they had to grow in, they had an amazing abundance of tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, red hot chili peppers, carrots and corn.   

When I first arrived and walked in the front door, I smelled something delicious on the gas stove.   

Turns out that Charlie was making a big pot full of   TEXMEX   (Texas/Mexico)   SALSA  サルサ  with fresh off the vine ingredients from his own garden, and the farms of his neighbors as well.   

I don't know about you, but I just love Mexican food with a big dish of salsa on the side.   

It was a lucky day for me too, because Charlie has so many tomatoes, that they are beginning to rot on the vine.   

Not all of them, just some of them.    There are still lots of green tomatoes that will become edible in the very near future as well.   

As a result, Charlie let me pick as many of the edible tomatoes as I could, and I picked a lot of them.   

After I got back home from Shibinai, I got out a big aluminum pot and started making a huge batch of my own fresh salsa.   

It was so good, I even surprised myself.   Fresh ingredients really do make a big difference. 

I hope I will be doing this again, in the very near future.

On Sunday, Ikuko and I took a long drive to Biei, Shirogane and Tokachi Dake Observation Area.   

The weather was perfect, and I brought along my video camera and new tripod.   

I got some excellent video of the active volcano, the surrounding mountains, the sunset and myself in a natural outdoor hot tub in the dark with a chemical light stick, making light drawings in the water.   

When these videos have been edited and finalized, I will put them on the Private Hokkaido channel on YOU TUBE.   

Please check it from time to time for new videos that will be COMING SOON.   

Tomorrow is the start of my favorite month, SEPTEMBER.   

The Autumn Appetite 食欲の秋 is now upon us.   Harvest season in Hokkaido is something everyone should see for themselves.   

Please come and visit some time.





2008 August 18 Monday and 19 Tuesday.


It's back to school for me an my students today.   

Even though the public schools don't  open until Wednesday, all of my elementary school and junior high school students came to my classroom today and yesterday.   

Some of them don't even live in Kagura or Kamui, so they had to make a special trip to get here.   

Thank you so much.   

On Monday from 13:00 until 14:30 I had a class with the 神楽公民館で英会話を楽しむ会, for the first time in 4 weeks.   

The students had a lot to talk about, and so did I.   

One of the young ladies told us about a trip that she and her husband took to MEXICO.   

She also brought along 3 photo booklets with lots of really nice photos. 

I felt very nostalgic when I heard her story and looked at the photographs, because I myself have also taken this same trip when I was about 16 years old.   

Of course, I was traveling with my parents and my skinny little sister at that time, but I remember that vacation very well. 

The route we took was to fly down to Mexico City and stay there for 2 nights.   

In Mexico City, we got to see the very impressive pyramids built by the Aztec Civilization.   

After that, we went to the Yucatan Peninsula and looked around at the various pyramids of the Maya Civilization at various places.   

I distinctly remember skin diving with a mask and snorkel off of the coast at Merida and other locations.   

I will never forget how clear the sea water was.   

It was like entering a whole new world, as soon as I put my head underwater.   

The young woman and her husband who went to Mexico during this year's summer vacation really enjoyed their time there.   

She told the class how much she loved Mexican Food (me too) and that she loved TEQUILA as well!!!   

She said that she had purchased 3 bottles of tequila and brought them back to Japan with her .   

I have to admit, I used to love tequila also.   

The really good authentic tequila is very delicious, and easy to drink.   

Therein lies the danger.   

Tequila is at least 40% alcohol, and some folks say that it has an extra hypnotic effect as well.   

In other words, it is easy to drink too much, too fast.   

Behavior which can lead to a loss of memory, and odd behavior in public places.   

I haven't drank any tequila in about 10 years, and have no plans to try it again, anytime, ever.     Unless,........

On Tuesday, there were two new persons who came to take a look at my classroom.   

Both of them have a definite goal in mind for their personal lives, when it comes to being able to speak English freely, and accurately.   

MOTIVATION is the KEY word here, because motivation gives birth to ENTHUSIASM  and enthusiasm gives ENERGY to DOING, and doing creates RESULTS.   

In Japanese, they call it SeiSeki  成績.   RESULTS.   

Literally, the "the becoming, piles up upon itself"    

That is how I read these two Kanji when used in this combination.   

Even dust, can pile up to become a mountain, is another way to say it.





2008 April 21 Monday thru April 30 Wednesday.


The third week of back to school, and the end of the first month of spring.   

April is an interesting month.   

One day it will be very warm, say up to about 17 degrees Celsius and then on that very same day, during the nighttime, it can get down to -5 degrees Celsius.   

That is a rather large change in temperature for just 24 hours, don't you think?   

Not only that, but April has its fair share of cold and rainy days as well.   

If you live closer to the mountains, you may even see some snowflakes falling out of the sky, from time to time.   

For some folks, April 29 which is now known as ShoWa No Hi 昭和の日, is the start of Golden Week for 2008.   

In fact, on Wednesday April 30, I was absent minded enough to drive all the way out to the Kosei Nursing School, in order to teach my English class to the first year students, only to discover that there was almost nobody at the school.   

When I got to the teacher's lounge, and opened my folder, I discovered that today and tomorrow and every day after that until May 7, is an extended holiday for all of the students.   

Imagine the surprise of the very few staff members who were at the school on that day, when they saw me walking around in the building.   

I was surprised too, but I shouldn't have been.   

After I got back home and looked at my own personal schedule book again, I was amazed to discover that I had NOT written down that a KNS class was scheduled for April 30!   

Even though I should have double checked my schedule book the night before, for some reason I did not, and had ASSUMED that I did indeed have a class on April 30.   

You know what they say about the word ASSUME;  "It makes an ASS out of yoU and ME."   

Yeah, it sure did that today.   

Jeez, what an idiot I was.   

However, being located all the way out in East Asahikawa 東旭川, and not far from the Asahiyama Zoo 旭山動物園, I took advantage of my huge blunder and drove over to take a look at the zoo, from outside of the gate. 

Apparently, they open the zoo at 9:00, because there were a lot of guardsmen standing around directing traffic, as people were lining up to get into the zoo.   

A lot of tour buses were also heading for the East Gate of the zoo. 

Being rather cold and overcast today, is not the best day to visit the zoo, but if you have come all the way from Taiwan or Korea to Asahikawa, it's a good day, because it is not raining.   

Say hello to all of the friendly animals for me.   

I'll come back again, on another day.





2007 September 3 Monday.

The cold rains of autumn are starting to fall.   

A sure sign that summer is over. 

However, there will be some warm and sunny "Indian Summer Days" 小春日和 still to come. 

These will be some of the most beautiful days during the year.  My first gig of the day started at 10:00 at the Chestnut Tree Kindergarten くりの木幼稚園 with a performance in front of 212 noisy kids. (^m^ )

When that was finished at 11:00, I drove back to my classroom, through the rain, and got ready for my next class at 13:00 at the 神楽公民館で英会話を楽しむ会. 

This was the second to the last class at this old building.   

Starting on October 15, we will be moving this class to the newly refurbished building, which was formerly the Forestry Management Agency 営林局.   

This newly remodeled building will open on October 9, and is called the Kagura Citizens (Information) Exchange Center 神楽市民交流センター.   

It is much larger than the other much older building, and will also have a big public library as well as other useful facilities, along with the local government offices.   

I am really looking forward to making good use of this new facility.   

This Kagura Section of Asahikawa City is so much different now, than it was when I first came to live and work here more than 17 years ago. 

The longer I live here, the better I like it. 

You will too. 





2007 July 5 Thursday.

My first class of the day started off at 10:00, here in my own classroom, with the mother of one of my younger students.   

Her husband is a doctor at the National Medical College here in Asahikawa, and the three of them have just come back to Japan this April, after spending nearly 4 years in Vancouver Canada.   

Naturally, the whole family can speak English very well.   

This family is not from Hokkaido, they are from Honshu, so when they found out that they would be coming to Asahikawa for the next 3 or 4 years, they got onto the internet to see what kind of English Conversation Schools there are in this city.   

They found a link to this website on the top page of their search engine, and promptly came by to take a look.   

Shortly thereafter, they enrolled for weekly lessons.   

Her young son who just turned 7 years old, can speak English better than Japanese, and is having some difficultly learning how to read and write the Japanese language. 

The most complicated written language in the world today.   

He his making rapid progress however, and should be in full swing by this time next year.   

After that class was finished at 11:00, Ikuko and I drove over to her mother's house for a short visit, and then we went on over to the AEON Shopping Center to take a look around.   

Then, it was back to our classroom for straight lessons from 15:00 until 20:00.   

The photograph you can see above/left, is of the 4 lovely elementary school girls who come to my classroom every week at this time.   

They are quick learners and a pleasure to teach. 

Today, one of the girls was gazing at a photograph of a young boy, so I said to her in English; "Who is that?"   

She replied in Japanese; "Take a closer look.  I think you know this boy."    I took a closer look and sure enough, I did recognize the boy.

He used to come to my classroom, and he also attends the same elementary school as these 4 young ladies.   

One of the other girls said;  "She is in love with this boy."    

How sweet it is!    Puppy Love.   First Love.   

Oh! What a feeling!   

It is moments like this, that keep me young at heart.  Grow Old?!?!?    Body yes, Mind no.   

Life is what is happening now.  Everyday is today.





2007 June 20 Wednesday.

Another photo taken on my private beach, during last Sunday afternoon's mini vision quest.   

Summer vacation starts in about 5 weeks.   

Then I will have more time for this sort of thing.   

Almost one month to be exact.   

At 8:50 this morning, I had a class with 40 of the first year students at the Kosei Nursing School.   

The first thing I did was write the words FLUTE and FRUIT on the blackboard.   

Then, I reached into my bag of tricks and pulled out three plastic flutes, held the blue one in my right hand and said;  "This is a FLUTE.  Can anyone play it?"   

No one volunteered right away so I started walking down the aisles between the rows of desks, with the three flutes held in both hands and spread out like Neptune's Fork.   

After about 30 seconds of this, one of the girls raised her hand, and I gave her the blue flute.   

I said; "Do you know how to play 'Frogs' Chorus?  かえるの合唱 Let's play that one."   

So, we did.   Well, we sort of played it. 

Everyone in the classroom including myself couldn't stop laughing long enough to complete more than one round of this very well known children's song.   

Yeah, I get paid to teach this class.   

Anyway, after that we did pair work in small groups of 2, 3 or 4 students, using page two of my original text book Q&A, for the rest of the class time, as I hovered around and watched the students interact with each other.   

I sat down with each group to check what they had all written down as answers to the questions, and corrected any spelling mistakes that were there.   

There were quite a few.   

One girl even wrote 90% of her answers in Japanese.   

I did a translation job just for her, right there on the spot. 

When that class was finished at 10:20, I drove back to my classroom to eat brunch and get ready for straight classes from 15:00 until 20:00.   

Being an English teacher can be fun.































 就活のために「いい写真を撮りたい」というニーズは高いようだ。実際、就活と写真(顔)の関係はどうなっているのであろうか.......... ≪続きを読む≫













お水系の可愛い子が採用されたといいますΣ( ̄□ ̄;)!!





思ったくらいです。メラメラパンチ! 爆弾