wonderlandlolita:

Ugh, to be frank, it bothers me when other JETs post pictures of their students on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and whatever. I’m pretty sure it’s in all of our contracts that we’re not supposed to so that. In pretty sure it says we’re not even supposed to publish any of their work (letters, class…

This has been brought up before during ALT conferences and in discussion with other JETs. Some people say don’t post anything, other people think it’s ok as long as faces and names are blocked out.

The long and short of it is you’re still a teacher in these schools even if you’re just an ALT. If you have to stop and edit a photo even a little bit, it probably shouldn’t be on your public blog in the first place. it’s not exactly like Tumblr is private or hard to find.

chanaeinehime:

So there’s another relatively American teacher here that I hate and he’s one of those entitles, condescending, know it alls that everyone hates like I could make a whole separate blog on shit he says

So anyway, a while ago we were talking about school lunch and he said that he was surprised that…

In the past year I’ve heard so many dumb generalizations like what this guy said about Japanese people and life here. If a sentence starts off with “Well, THE JAPANESE do this because…” or “THE JAPANESE think..” it should stop right there. Sometimes it’s just better to avoid most of the other expats.

'Drown' from Marika Hackman's forthcoming debut album, 'We Slept At Last'.

bagellovers:

This Winter Keep Warm With Grated Daikon Radish Sculptures in Your Nabe.

http://www.spoon-tamago.com/2014/10/07/this-winter-keep-warm-with-grated-daikon-radish-sculptures-in-your-nabe/

Good idea for this weekend’s nabe party. It’ll be interesting trying to fit 10 people in my living room..

(songswithoutamelodyから)

farfromthepacific:

It’s that time of year again where people think I’m obligated to answer their stupid questions about getting into the JET Program. The application process attracts so many crazies.

I see these questions a lot online, I worried about it too when I applied. People focus so much more on how involved they should be with Japanese language and culture before they get over here. It’s Japan. You’ll be able to get involved with cultural activities anytime so don’t worry about that.

In my opinion, the best piece of advice any aspiring JET should take to heart is this: get as much classroom experience as you can. Even if it’s just volunteering, even if it’s tutoring or working at a camp, look for opportunities to get familiar with teaching and working with students. If you don’t have the time or money to get a TEFL certificate, read up about how to teach a foreign language. It’s stating the obvious but it’s true: We’re not coming to Japan to teach Japanese people their own culture so please don’t make your prep all about making your CV scream ‘I love Japan’. With the government increasing the amount of JETs, a lot will be sent to elementary school. 9/10 of the time, the Japanese teachers will stand back and expect you to take the reigns. You learn as you go but coming into the program having skills like familiarity with teaching, working with different kinds of kids, even lesson planning and game ideas will be your strongest asset. 

Interest in Japanese language and culture is important but your main priority to prepare for life on JET should be focused more on the teaching and educational cultural exchange. 

And that’s my two cents. 

I participated in a social studies class with 5th graders at one of my schools. I learned two things: my Japanese is good enough to handle 5th grade social studies and just like my 5th grade self, I still misread statistics questions. 
4%…
I had fun though seeing my students in a different light sitting with them, going over answers and complaining about our bad hand writing. 

I participated in a social studies class with 5th graders at one of my schools. I learned two things: my Japanese is good enough to handle 5th grade social studies and just like my 5th grade self, I still misread statistics questions. 

4%…

I had fun though seeing my students in a different light sitting with them, going over answers and complaining about our bad hand writing. 

I feel like teaching has been getting gradually smoother as I play around with different games and have finally started to get a set lesson structure of warm ups and grammar. I know the focus in ES is supposed to be on speaking but my goal is to go over the basics, who what where, numbers, colors, and expressing things they like. In the 5th grade classes where I’ve been T1, my shyer students have started raising their hands since they’ve gotten more comfortable answering simple questions through games and repetition. I feel like the 6th graders have a solid base too. When I first came on JET, the idea of teaching entirely on my own was so overwhelming but I’ve gotten used to it and I like teaching on my own. Elementary school with upper grades is tricky though. I want to use pop culture and games to keep things light but I want to teach the grammar and meaning behind new phrases. If I push too much with grammar, I can see the kids slowly start to check out but if I do games the whole time, they get carried away and it’s 45 minutes of playing around when they should be studying. Since the new year started I’ve been getting closer to striking a good balance and I feel like it’s working. 

The toughest part is classroom management. For the most part the students are well behaved but for the ones who act up, it’s hard to know how to reel them back in. At first I wasn’t sure if the students in a particular class didn’t like me, didn’t like English, or didn’t like school in general.  In my free time though at school, I’ve tried spending it with them at recess and staying after school to sit in their 6th period social studies class. I’ve gotten to know all their names and I’ve gone from 先生 to ちゃん which I’m ok with. I’ve been asking other teachers for pointers and they’ve been good about giving advice and what things to fix. Little things like working on my intonation when speaking, giving kids space between points to give them time to think. I get nervous and rush and I need to remember to check myself. I’m frustrated but not discouraged. If anyone has any tips that work well in the classroom, feel free to send me a message. 

Looking down over Hibara Lake from the top of the mountain. We’d eventually drive our way down and pass the lake on our way to southern Fukushima. There were actually people out fishing in the rain and on the road leading to the lake, people selling giant cabbage and other vegetables, offering free mushroom soup as service for anyone who stopped to buy something. 

Looking down over Hibara Lake from the top of the mountain. We’d eventually drive our way down and pass the lake on our way to southern Fukushima. There were actually people out fishing in the rain and on the road leading to the lake, people selling giant cabbage and other vegetables, offering free mushroom soup as service for anyone who stopped to buy something. 

 We were up about 1900 m (6000 or so feet) and could see clouds moving over the mountains. 

 We were up about 1900 m (6000 or so feet) and could see clouds moving over the mountains. 

Leaving Yamagata, we saw rows and rows of stacked rice being left to dry. Apparently, the way the rice is arranged depends on the area.

Leaving Yamagata, we saw rows and rows of stacked rice being left to dry. Apparently, the way the rice is arranged depends on the area.

Caves outside the onsen. There was one you could walk down and through but most were blocked off for good reason. It was a little creepy walking out in the middle of nowhere with no one around and dark cave openings all over the place

With September being as busy as it was, I was glad to start off October with getting away for the weekend. My boyfriend and I decided to make the trip to Yamagata and check out Ginzan Onsen. Everybody who has been has been recommended it and now that it’s getting colder out, going to an onsen seemed like a good idea.

Luckily we went before the typhoon worked its way up to Tohoku so the weather was calm and cool. 

We had a late start since I went for a bit to a friend’s daughter’s sports day so instead of taking the scenic mountain route, we traveled up to Miyagi and over to Yamagata in order to make the 1:30 last call check in for the onsen. Thankfully I’m dating someone who drives for a living so somehow we made it up and over two prefectures with plenty of time in just a couple hours.

Apparently Yamagata is famous for a dish called 芋煮 Imoni, which is made of boiled potatoes, slices of beef, onion, konyaku, and mushrooms. It’s really good and super easy to make. I ended up making it from scratch for dinner last night and it came out great.

The next day, we took our time heading back to Fukushima and drove through the mountains. The trees in the mountains were finally starting to change color and though it was cold, there was practically no one on the road so we stopped a lot and took pictures.

Every time I tell people I lived in Kyoto for study abroad, they always talk about how nice it must have been but I’ve now been in Tohoku longer than I ever was in Kansai and the truth is I just love Tohoku a lot more. Driving up and around Nishi Azuma mountain we crossed over from Yamagata to Fukushima and it felt like coming home to a place that’s become really familiar to me.