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March 31, 2002

Take Me Out To ...

The 2002 Japan Pro-Baseball League has begun! Actually, I'm not an ardent baseball fan. I can't watch the games on weekdays, even if I'd want to, because the "prime time" is when I'm writing "Hi, I'm Jim." things on the blackboard.

I was, like many others, a baseball kid vaguely dreaming of becoming a pro baseball player when grown up. I gave up the plan when I was a seventh grader, because I thought I was too small in stature to be one. Now I don't think I was talented enough to be a ballplayer those days, either, but it's kind of fun to think about "What If" from time to time.

It's amusing to see almost all the players are younger than I am - much younger. Oh, I have reached such an age. Come on! Ha ha. Wait, Rickey Henderson is forty-three, I hear. How great he is!

March 30, 2002

Is this a blog?

I'm new in the blogging world (if there is any), and I didn't know that there is a view that draws a distinct line between "weblogs" and "web journals".

According to this source, a weblog is "focused outside the author and his or her site", whereas a web journal looks "inward - the author's thoughts, experiences, and opinions". This opinion is based on the history of how differently online journals and blogs evolved. In that sense, it's very instructive to me.

My understanding of the term "blog" so far has been from Blogger. They define a blog as "a web page made up of usually short, frequently updated posts that are arranged chronologically -- like a what's new page or a journal".

Seems like the definition of "blog" has been, and is, getting broader.

March 27, 2002

New Year

Japan's school year is April through March. So another school year is just around the corner.

I plan my classes accordingly. There is a lot of stuff to do in March; accepting new students, composing classes, choosing textbooks, working out teaching plans, cleaning up the classroom and my office room (not done yet!), and on and on.

Hey, what the hell am I doing when I'm that busy? Yeah, when you are very busy, you will want to do other things - something pleasant, but, er, consequently your concentration power will enhance, see? ...

Anyway, my classes start on April 1, oh, April Fool's Day.

March 24, 2002

Blog Surfing

I like blog surfing these days. I usually do surfing in the morning (Japan time) via the homepage of MovableType, where recently updated blogs are constantly listed.

It's fun to find interesting blog sites that make me want to visit again. Onegoodmove is one of such sites. I find the blog very inspiring and informative.

And one more gem.

A couple of days ago, when I was browsing the list, the title "forty.something" caught my eyes. Does it refer to an age? Then, I'm also in my forties. Sounds interesting. -- So, I clicked on the link. Bingo! The author is forty-something and a mother of two. The subheader reads, "...old enough to know better." Oh..., yeah, I myself think so, too. The age of forty is described as "Fuwaku" in Japan.
"Fuwaku", from a Chinese classic, is the state of not losing your way - somewhat like "knowing better". Ugh!

The site is well designed (really cool and beautiful!), giving a relaxing atmosphere, and her blog is enjoyable. Oh, I have to drink a bottle of water!

March 22, 2002


Shortly after I started blogging, I got to know the existence of a cool cgi program for weblog publishing -- MovableType. I tried to use the program, when the official site announced that a new version would be released in "early March." So I decided to wait. Patiently. Though the "early March" turned out to be "the 20th of March", yay, the day has come! I installed the program, imported the log, arranged the page design, and did it!

This sure is a great program with great potentiality for managing a website. I'm thinking of rebuilding my Japanese website with this program. Trouble is, I need more time and knowledge. Aha!

March 19, 2002

Funny English

Hey, look at this March 19 entry on kristen's Japan. I enjoy reading her weblog because her English -to me- is beautiful and the contents are interesting.

It's a regrettable fact that ,in Japan, using English (or rather, English-like something) is only thought to be something Coooooool. You can find a lot of examples of funny English as in the ones printed on T-shirts, names of commodities, quasi deejays, politicians who want to show off their poor English in defiance of their interpreters, and the like. For such people, it's OK with them as long as the English they use just SEEMS to sound Cooooooooooool to them, regardless of how it really sounds or what it really means.

That's the Japanese trend.

English, I think, is not a superficial cheap fashion thing, but a tool to communicate. If you are learning English as a second language, you should try to get the basics as a matter of first priority. Even if your English sounds a little lame, it's far better than sounding silly. After all, we are not native speakers of English.

March 17, 2002

Romper Room

I found a shocking fact from the archives on WIL WHEATON DOT NET.

Come on! Was Romper Room originally an American TV program? No kidding? Oh, brother, I didn't know that! I would often watch the program when I was a kid -- so, a Japanese version. I wondered why the hostess can see the kids (Taro, Hanako, Ken ...) through the "Magic Mirror"... . Good old days.

March 14, 2002

Running a school

It's another enrollment season! I accept new students about this time of year, distributing my school ads in the form of newspaper inserts. I don't know why, but things have been going well these years.

I once went through a hard time. Very hard time. That was five or six years after I started this business. Yeah, I made a good start setting up my English school in my hometown. With the help of my aquaintances, and because it WAS my hometown, a fair number of students applied for my classes from day one. I, then a happy-go-lucky youngster, took students for granted. It took about five or six years before I realized that it was wrong -- totally. That was when I started thinking about "running" my school seriously.

Well, perhaps, even now, my happy-go-lucky nature hasn't changed very much, and I'm not quite sure what is coming next --- but that's the life.

March 11, 2002


It's become my morning routine lately to go visit WIL WHEATON DOT NET and check the weblog and comments. Wil Wheaton is an actor, starred in Stand By Me and Star Trek -- neither of which I have seen, to my regret. It's his personal website written and maintained by himself.

It's always so much fun to find cool websites, English or Japanese. His weblog is full of jokes (sometimes I can't follow them, though, dude) and wits, making me have fun, touched, give some serious thought, reflect on myself, have sympathy, jump, and such. Reading his weblog makes me feel like being an American isn't that bad.

While reading his archives a couple of days ago, I came across these lines:

Do not ever take anyone for granted, for even one minute. If there's someone in your family who you love, pick up the phone, and call them, right now, to tell them.

I love you, Aunt Val.

-- The passage he wrote after the loss of his dear aunt. I was moved. So moved that I was about to call my aunt to say "I lo..." ... W,Wait a minute. There is no expression equivalent to "I love you" in Japanese! Um...er...there sure is a seemingly definitive translation of "I love you" in Japanese. The fact is, we have no custom of expressing our "I love you" feelings to others directly IN WORDS -- except for married or loved couples. (Well, if I said the translated "I love you" to my aunt, that could mean ...ugh) I can't say I'm 100% sure about it; some may like to say "I love you" in their everyday lives. I can say the lines like Wil wrote can hardly be seen in the, say, weblogs written by Japanese in Japanese. That doesn't mean we are in a loveless society. The Japanese show their "I love you" in other ways. Using other expressions or , mostly, indirect manners. Such as your attitudes -- the attitudes to the extent that the other person "feels" that you love them. Or some kind of "telepathy" -- Really?? Things go well that way in Japan. Trouble is, there's no handy way to know that you REALLY know that I REALLY love you. haha.

March 9, 2002

Enemy Lines

"Enemy Lines" --- Gene Hackman's cool, yeah, but ...

March 6, 2002


The HTML class has entered the final week. --- Eh? It's the end? Oh, I, by mistake and for no specific reason, believed it would last eight weeks! Well, well, in any case, it was a nice class. It was worth taking. I learned the basics of HTML in a systematic way and created web pages without resorting to an HTML editor. Very simple pages, but that's what I want them to be. Simplicity is beautiful. Simplicity is the key -- to what? ...Um, OK.

As an -kind of- English teacher, I know the importance of getting the basics firmly. You should at times go back to basics. Looking at my school site (Japanese), there must be a lot of pointless or needless tags. Besides, I hear XHTML will be the next standard. I don't know what it's like, but thinking of rewriting my school site with XHTML gives me a headache. Phew.

March 5, 2002

Entrance Exams

Today is the day of the public high school entrance exams in Hokkaido. Students take English, Japanese, math, social studies, and science tests -- pentathlon, kind of. I teach English only, so my main concern is how well my students will do in the English exam. The questions in the English exams used to be heavily grammar-oriented, but the trend has been altered gradually these years -- toward a better one. There are three short stories presented, and most of the questions are pertaining to the contents of them. Also, a couple of questions letting the students make their own simple sentenses and some listening comprehension quizes.

The trouble is that, in spite of these small improvements in the English entrance exams, students are, in many cases, still subject to taking old-fashioned grammar-oriented tests at school.

March 2, 2002

The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings --- Magnificent! Can't wait to see the next one.