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April 22, 2004


Believe me, I'm not in any way happy to hit penguins. But these games are addictive. Beware.

April 20, 2004

Dinner Time

A boy student after class yesterday:

"Are you married, Sensei?"
"Yeah, I am. Why? Don't I look married?"
"Um...I just wondered when you have dinner."

.....What does that mean?

April 14, 2004

New Classes

It's been two weeks since the new school year started here. I've been having hectic days, in many ways.

I have fairly long experience of teaching English. Oh incidentally, my private "after-school" English school marked the 20th anniversary this March. Now, you may wonder why I italicized the word "fairly" in the sentence before last. If you guess it right, you are absolutely a master of Japanese ways of communication. I'll give you the answer at the end of this post. Well, I don't mean to brag about the length of my teaching experience here. Actually, I think I have kept my tiny school just awkwardly, just so long, in this small town, without hiring anyone but my wife. That's what I chose to do long ago.

So, where was I? Year, in spite of my fairly lengthy teaching career, I have one thing I never seem to feel comfortable about - to teach at the very first lessons for new students. Whenever I have to have one, I get cold feet. Shorty before such a class begins, I get so stressed out that I feel like running away. As any teacher would do, I guess, I get more or less nervous before *every* class, but that's never compatible with an entirely new class.

A reason behind this nervousness of mine comes from my hope that my new students can have a very fun time at their first lesson. There are all kinds of students. Some may come with high hopes, some may come reluctantly, and some without thinking anything. In any case, I want to give motives for learning English to as many students as possible. That's easier said than done. What I fear most is the scene where my students show no reaction from the beginning, possibly out of their shyness, nervousness, or apathy. Fortunately, I seem to have gotten away with the worst scenario up to now, but the idea always haunts me. Maybe I'm not yet confident about my teaching style, even though I'm kind of confident that (most of) my students will begin to enjoy learning English after a few classes.

Funny enough, usually it's my new students that are more nervous than I. One of my students once said to me, with an air of nostalgia, that she got so tense at the first class that she felt like crying. Oh, did I look so severe? New classes tend to be filled with a tense atmosphere at first. I don't like it. That's why I must not make my nervousness known to my students.

Don't worry, actually most of my regular classes are lively. But that all begins with my hidden nervousness.

Oh, the answer of the question? Well, the answer is, I dunno. That depends on your guess. And that's the name of the game in Japanese ways of communication. Really? Ah, I'm not sure. Guess what. Guess not. ;p

April 1, 2004

Spring of Dreams

OK, it's April at last. Spring! Yay! And the new school year begins today. So, let me say Happy New Year to everyone.


It was undoubtedly a great spring present for baseball fans in Japan that the New York Yankees and the Devil Rays played the season's first two games here. Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui hit an impressive home run to add more excitement to the series.

And the big leaguers went home, leaving behind a lot of shells of sunflower seeds in the dugouts, and spit on the fields.