Saturday, August 25, 2007

My Adventures in Japan Part 1: Nikko and Kawagoe

As you can see by the map above, I have been to many places in Japan.

This is a picture of Tosho-gu Shrine.
The first place I went to was Nikko. I went in October. The leaves were very beautiful.

You can see the beautiful autumn leaves in this picture.

I went to Yokohama to celebrate my first New Year's Eve in Japan. First I went to China Town. I ate Yaki soba. Japanese traditionally eat soba on December 31st.

Then I went to a countdown party on the Hikawa Maru.

After the countdown party, I went to Landmark Tower. I saw the sun rise. It was very beautiful. The picture below is Landmark Tower.

On New Year's Day I went to Kawagoe. Kawagoe is also known as "Little Edo" (小江戸) because it is much like Edo (Tokyo's name during the rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate).

As you can see, many people come to pray for good luck in the new year.

This a good example of the mixture of traditional and contemporary culture that you can see everywhere in Japan.

In this picture I'm standing next to a stand selling daruma (達磨).

This is a picture of one of the many interesting shops in Kawagoe.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Tenth Anniversary of My Arrival in Japan Part 3 My First School

My first school in Japan was NOVA Ageo School. Many people criticise NOVA but NOVA Ageo school was great. The staff was great, the teachers were great, and the students were great. In fact, four of the ten teachers that I worked with at NOVA Ageo School are still teaching. Three of us have got Masters Degrees (修士号) specialising in Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL, 他言語話者に英語を教える).

Let me tell you about some of the great teachers I worked with at NOVA Ageo School:

Craig Stevens is the Academic manager at OISE Bristol and Academic Co-ordinator for the OISE Group. Thanks to Craig I became a member of the Japan Association of Language Teaching (全国語学教育学会).

Chris Foskett owns a company called New Leaves. Chris coaches Japanese businessmen and entrepreneurs through English.

Adam Murray teaches at Tokyo Denki University. Adam and I will be presenting at the JALT National Conference in Tokyo in November. Also, an article we wrote together will be published in English Teaching Professional soon.

I wish I could post some more pictures. Unfortunately I can't contact the students in order to ask them for permission (許可) to post their picture on this blog. So, all I can do is say that they made me very happy.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tenth Anniversary of My Arrival in Japan Part 2: More Mizuhodai Memories

This is the view from the balcony of my first apartment in Japan. The balcony was huge!

This is my bedroom. One of the first things that surprised me about Japan was that the sun rose very early - 4am! As you can see there are no curtains or blinds on the window. When the sun came up, I woke up!

This is the living room. We had a kotatsu (炬燵). Sitting at the kotatsu in winter was great. This apartment was very very cold in the winter.

This is the kitchen. There was a small table there. We used the table for writing mostly. We usually ate our meals in the livingroom.

This is the bathroom. This bathroom was very troublesome because the water was heated by a gas heater. Also, as you can see, the wall has tiles. Tiles get very dirty and are difficult to clean. However, I learned some Japanese culture from the experience of cleaning this bathroom. I learned about Tawashi (たわし) and Kabi Kiraa (カビキラー). "Kabi Kiraa" means mold killer. Japanese bathrooms can get very moldy,

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tenth Anniversary of My Arrival in Japan

Today is a very special day. On the twenty-first of August, nineteen ninety-seven I came to Japan. I arrived at Narita airport and took the Narita Express to Shinjuku. At Shinjuku, I was met by Ogasawara-san. She took me to my new home, the Folute Building in Mizuhodai.

At the Folute Building we met Jim, my first room-mate and my first friend in Japan. Ogasawara-san took us for dinner at Fujiya.

My first meal in Japan was negitorodon (ネギトロ丼). It was delicious.

My room was on the third floor. On a clear day I could see Mount Fuji. I was very happy when I saw Mount Fuji. Mizuhodai is in Fujimi City (富士見市). "Fujimi" means Fuji view. Fujimi City is in Saitama prefecture, just north of Tokyo. 

The first sentence I learned in Japan was "みずほ台駅はどこですか?”, which means "Where is Mizuhodai Station?" Mizuhodai station was the railway station nearest to my apartment. While I lived in Mizuhodai, I used Mizuhodai Station almost every day.

Many of the stores I went to were in the station building, including the Tobu Store. I usually bought my groceries at the Tobu Store.

My favourite place in Mizuhodai was also near the station. My favourite place in Mizuhodai was "Big".

"Big" is a yakitori restaurant (焼き鳥屋). However, "Big" also serves sashimi and other Japanese food as well. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of my arrival in Japan I went to "Big" today and took some pictures.

This is one of Japan's famous red lanterns at the entrance to a Japanese tavern (居酒屋).

Amazing! Yakitori is still only ¥80!!! Many people think that Japan is expensive but this is an example of zero inflation (インフレ) in Japan over the past ten years.

I'll write another post about my first days in Japan tomorrow.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The American School in Japan Summer Day Camp

From 23 July to 17 August I taught English to ten and eleven year old Japanese students at the American School in Japan Summer Day Camp. It was a great experience. It was great to teach children again. My students at ASIJ were great. They had so much energy. They also were very interested in learning English and playing with English. They made jokes in English! They made me very happy.

The experience was also good because I got the chance to meet more teachers. Many of my new colleagues (同僚) came from the United States and Canada to teach at the ASIJ Summer Day Camp. Therefore, some their ideas about teaching were different. I got some great new ideas from them.

Another reason I enjoyed working at ASIJ is that it is the alma mater (母校) of Utada Hikaru. She is one of my favourite singers. It was great to know I was in a place where she spent a lot of time. ASIJ has some other famous alumni (卒業生) including Edwin O. Reischauer and Joan Fontaine.

I hope I have a chance to work at ASIJ again.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

My Hometown: Tengzhou
by Zhang Lu Wen, Takushoku University

Photo by and copyright 2007 Derek Ramsey

You should visit my hometown of Tengzhou. It's a great place to go for a vacation. First, I'm going to tell you its location and it's history. Then I'm going to tell you what it's famous for.
My hometown is southwest of Shandong province in China. It's near Qingdao. The city occupies an area of 1485 square kilometers. The population is one million, five hundred and sixty-eight thousand, one hundred and fifty-six.

Now I'll tell you the meaning of Tengzhou and the history of Tengzhou. Teng in Chinese implies that the water rushes forward. During the Qin dynasty, Teng county was set up. In 1988 this place was named Tengzhou City . You can get there by train or bus and if you come from abroad, first you can go to Qing Dao by airplane and then take a bus to go to my hometown Well, now you know where my hometown is. Next I'll tell you what it's famous for.

Tengzhou is famous for lotus flowers. There is a river across from my hometown. The river is full of lotus flowers. When the lotus flowers open it is very beautiful. If you want to see it, you must go there in summer.

Photo by Shin

Another thing that makes Tengzhou famous is that there are many very old temples there. Many were built for Mozi. Mozi was a native of Xiaozhu in the ancient Lu state where Mushi town in Tengzhou is located now. He was a great thinker, statesman, educator, scientist and social activist. When you visit the Mozi temple, you can learn his period's culture.

Finally, I'll tell you two more things about my hometown. First,"Sha" soup is very delicious in my hometown. Second, my hometown abounds with peanuts. I really like it. I hope you visit Tengzhou soon.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My Hometown:Dalian by Lu Lin (Cathy), Takushoku University

You should visit my hometown of Dalian. It’s a great place to go for a vacation. First I’m going to tell you where it is. And second I’m going to tell you what it is famous for. Finally I’ll tell you about the food.

My hometown is a young city with only a 100-year history. It is in Liaoning Province. Dalian is situated between the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea. Everywhere seems to have a beautiful view: blue sky, blue sea, green trees and various flowers. The other scenic areas are Bangchuidao Scenic Area , Laohutan Scenic Area , Jinshitan Scenic Area and Xinghai Square. According to, “people say Dalian is a city built in gardens”. Next I’ll tell you what Dalian is famous for.

Dalian is famous for business and fashion. It is a trading and financial center and it is called the “Hong Kong of Northern China”. The Dalian International Fashion Festival is held in my city every year. Dalian is one of China’s most important tourist cities.

Now I want to tell you about the food . There are numerous restaurants in the city providing a wide variety of top-quality seafood at very cheap prices. If you come my hometown on holiday, you must eat at them, please .

Today I told you three things about my hometown .First I told you about the location. Second I told you what it is famous for. Third I told you about food . I hope you visit Dalian soon .

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My Home Province: Fujian by Liu Ke Feng, Takushoku University

You should visit my home province of Fujian. It is a great place to go for a vacation. First, I am going to tell you where it is, and second I am going to tell you what it is famous for .

My home province is Fujian in the south of China. It is near Taiwan and touches the sea on the south. Fujian is more than ninety-percent mountains. You can get there by airplane from Tokyo. People in Fujian speak Mandarin, the central language. People in Fujian can speak Taiwanese too.

Now you know where my hometown is. Next I will tell you what it is famous for. The famous places are Fuzhou, Xiamen, and Quanzhou. Fuzhou is the capital of the province. Xiamen is a small but developed city. There is a large international airport there. Fujian Oolong tea is famous in Japan. Oolong tea is mainly planted in the Wuyi Mountains. The Wuyi Mountains are very very beautiful. Many people go to the Wuyi Mountains every year.

Today, many people like to drink Oolong tea in Japan. I hope that people all over the world will like to drink Oolong tea in the future. And if you have a time, you should go to the Wuyi Mountains. I hope you visit Fujian province soon too!
That is all I have to say today. Thank you for listening!

Monday, August 06, 2007

My Hometown : Sayama
by Yuta Mashiko, Takushoku University

You should visit my hometown of Sayama. It is a great place to go for a vacation. First, I am going to tell you where it is, and second, I am going to tell you what it is famous for. My hometown is in Saitama prefecture. It is near Tokorozawa. You can get there from Tokorozawa in 10 min. Now you know where my hometown is. Next I will tell you what it is famous for.

First, Sayama is famous for green tea. It has a nice smell. There are many tea fields in Sayama, and much greenery remains there.

Now I will tell you about the star festival. The star festival in Sayama is very famous. Irumagawa star festival is Kanto’s biggest festival. The sight of a lot of shops in a long straight line is very beautiful. The first highlight is “Hanabi”. Hanabi means fireworks. About 2,000 are launched in sequence.

The next thing I’ll tell you about is sports. My hometown baseball team is “Seibu Lions”. Lions is a very strong and famous team. In the past, Daiske Matuzaka, who played an active part in the Lions organisation, is now in the Major Leagues, I went to a match sometimes.

Today I told you three things about my hometown. First, I told you about green tea. Second, I told you about The Irumagawa star festival. Finally, I told you about sports. Please remember the Irumagawa star festival because it is unforgettable. I hope you visit Sayama soon.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

My Hometown: Seoul by Hana Lee, Takushoku University

Good afternoon ladies and gentleman. I’m Ha-na. Let me introduce my hometown Seoul. Seoul is the capital of Korea. Korea is the small country that is located between China and Japan. Seoul is the center of everything and the most populated city in Korea. This city has a population of nearly 11 million. Now you know where my hometown is. Next I’ll tell you what it’s famous for.

Kim-chi is famous Korean traditional food. It is very important food to Koreans. Kim-chi is very hot but it is very healthy. Many people all over the world enjoy it recently. You can buy Kim-chi at foreign food super markets easily. Kim-chi has many nutriments for health and good taste. It is known as a diet food. So, many Japanese like to eat it.

Seoul is also famous for its landmarks. The 63 building is one of them. There are restaurants and an aquarium in the 63 building. It’s the place that the country people are sure to visit if they can go to Seoul just one time. Another famous landmark is the Han River Bridge. The bridge’s lights are turned on at night. It is so beautiful. Finally, I’d like to recommend Insadong. Insadong gives you the impression of a street museum. At Insadong, you can imagine special things. Also, you can have many kinds of Korean traditional food and tea. If you go there, you can see a lot of Korean things. Isadong is a really good place to visit if you go to Korea.

Today I told you about my hometown.

Thank you.