Shougakko Japanese Class Doodles

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Clearly I learnt an awful lot of Japanese attending a 2年生 (2nd grade) Japanese class my shougakko this morning (≧∇≦)

10,000 Page Views! 一万 ページビュー

So earlier today Nihonomnom passed its 10000th 一万 page view.

I put quite a large amount of time into updating this blog each week so it’s really great to see people are actually reading my rambles.

Thankyou to all my frequent readers I really appreciate your comments and support, here’s to the next 10000 (^∇^)

Here To Stay (^∇^)

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Well until August 5th 2013 (^∇^)
Today I received, signed and promptly sent off my JET Program re-contracting documents. As I was an early arrival I was offered a short 3 month contract to bridge the gap and bring me in line with Group A arrivals contracts next year!

Now that I think about it, the idea of not re-contracting hadn’t even entered my mind. I certainly miss my friends and family, however honestly the only things I long for at the moment are a properly furnished apartment and a best friend here, the kind who’s thoughts run into mine!

Anyhow in short life in Kobe is awesome and it looks like I won’t be headed home anytime soon \(^o^)/

Sketch in Tits Park

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When I was hangin out in tits park (the congregation spot for the youth of Kobe) in Sannomiya last night, having a couple drinks with some friends, some random dude sketched a picture of me, thought it was pretty sweet! \(^o^)/

Natsuyasumi 夏休み (Summer Holidays in Japan)

So tsuyu 梅雨 (rainy season) has come and gone and natsu 夏 (summer) is upon us in Japan.
Along with it came the beginning of Natsuyasumi 夏休み (Summer Holidays), now you be mistaken to think ‘oh that awesome, as a teacher you don’t have to work for a couple months’
NO JUST NO!

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For both students and teachers, summer holidays mean something very different than their western counterpart.
This is in the same vein of thinking of how the Japanese seem to love to work 4 hours of overtime everyday and work the weekends. Thus in Japan all teachers and most students attend school on a daily basis even during summer break! At my JHS which students come to school for half days either in the morning or afternoon to train with their respective clubs. The teachers tend to spend half a day supervising club activities and the other half siting in front of their computers repetitively fanning themselves and mumbling atsu atsu (its hot), I presume this is what they regard as junbi 準備 (preparation time).

Fortunately as the token gaijin I’m pretty much exempt from working such ridiculous hours if I don’t want too.
That said I regard the opportunity to watch my students sports club tournaments on a Saturday more of a perk of the job than a chore.
However it does mean that during the summer there are several thousand ALTs across Japan, that find themselves sitting at work awkwardly twiddling their fingers for a couple months with nothing to do.

Now I think I’m particularly fortunate, as I work at a school where I can do pretty much anything I want. No matter how crazy they are my ideas are, they have yet to be shot down! My OTEs (other teachers of english) have been nothing but amazing at accommodating my imagination, which has a tendency to run wild at times.

In addition as one of my OTEs is in charge of the kendo club I have been watching them practice often and training with the ichi-nen sei on a daily basis. God I now understand how Japanese people are so skinny, these kids do like intense workouts for 4 hours a day on the school holidays!
It’s actually really fun training with the kids as it gives me a chance to interact with them in a situation were we are equals instead of sensei 先生 (teacher) and chuugakusei 中学生 (student).

Last week I spent had the week designing Halloween lessons and then 2 days making this epic Australian money poster.

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This week I’v shifted my ambitions to claiming some wall space in one of the hallways to make an ‘English wall’, to aid in such a pursuit I have recruited half the members of the kendo club to aid me in some arts and craft! Alas after raiding the stationary room I have been teaching aboriginal dot art, having students create me a giant collage in the shape of Australia and decorating didgeridoo’s.
Bwahahaha my own personal army of Japanese children (who are also all ni-dan 二段 at kendo), the first step to my goals of global conquest and pretty much what I always wanted \(^o^)/

Still at the end of the day I’m not complaining, I am rather enjoying all the free time that has been thrust upon me after having such a busy first 2 months.
If anything it has endowed me will all the time I could ever want to read, study, play on my phone and get to know my students (^_^)☆

Akashi 明石 Day Trip

Last Sunday I decided to embark on an epic day trip to Akashi 明石, which is the closest city west of Kobe (around 20km), to see the ruins of Akashi Castle 明石城 and check out the town.

As I have become quite the avid cycler, of course I undertook the trip via bike.
Since I live in Gakuentoshi which is a western suburb of Kobe the round trip was only about 25km or so with sightseeing stops which was nothing major for my iron buttocks XD

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My first stop was Akashikoen 明石公園, the center of which stands the ruins of Akashi Castle 明石城.
This castle was constructed by Ogasawara Tadazane as his own castle from 1617 to 1619 to watch over the western lords.
The castle was built in Akashi, which was an important strategic point between Osaka and western Japan, where many major tozama daimyo had their feudal estates. Akashi Castle was expected to play the role of a key staging point to stop a hypothetical invasion of Osaka.
The castle was deconstructed by the Meiji Government in 1874, however two yagura 櫓 (watchtowers) and a small portion of wall still remain standing today.

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This monk statue and partial moat stand at the entrance to the former castle.

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Here’s a picture of yours truly hott and sweaty after riding a good 10km, taken the style of a 15 yr old girl in front of the castle ruins.

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The park itself is also very scenic and pretty, although filled with steep slopes and steps was a great cross country bike ride, thank god I have a mountain bike!

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This little tea house is used for sadou 茶道 (tea ceremony), however as they weren’t running on that Sunday there were a couple ojii-chans chilling under its balcony enjoying the shade.

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Finally there was this awesome robotic taiko drummer who switched between drumming and doing a fan dance.
どもありがとうmr.robato!!

Such plentiful adventures began to take their toll on my stamina, so I headed out of Akashikoen towards Akashi Station 明石駅 in search of edibles.

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What I stumbled upon was an awesome Tako themed shopping arcade called Uontana 魚の棚 (literally: fish-shelf) where local fishermen sell seafood (primarily tako) that was caught nearby. As I have quite the affinity for anything tako related (hence my name) I was certainly in my element \(^o^)/

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The specialty of Akashi is a Akashiyaki 明石たこ焼き a variety of Takoyaki たこ焼き (octopus filled dumplings). When I came across this shop, it seemed criminal not to stop for some in the city that is famous for it!! Especially since they were a bargain at only 480¥ for 15 pieces!! Nomnomnom (^∇^)
Although similar, akashiyaki contains a higher amount of eggs resulting in a texture softer texture than takoyaki. They are eaten by first brushing them with Takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) before being
and will be dipped into a broth of dashi出汁.
When visiting Akashi however if would like to order a round of Akashiyaki, keep in mind locals refer to it simply as tamagoyaki 玉子焼き (grilled egg).

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Here are a couple more pictures of sights around Akashi city, it’s crazy how Japan can change straight from urban sprawl to harbor at an instant. I knew the ocean was nearby soon as I entered the city since there was a subtle saltiness to the air. The last photo however I found quite comical, I was nothing short of amazed watching families relaxing on the seashore at a beach that was completely covered in cement!
The Japanese seem to have an affinity for covering most of their coastline in asphalt.

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Before heading off home however I did make my way to a real beach (as real as beaches get in Japan at least XD).
Maiko beach is quite nice as it overlooks Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge 明石海峡大橋 (also known as Pearl Bridge), the worlds longest suspension bridge. Despite the crowds and visible cargo ships on the horizon, it really was the perfect place to relax with a beer before embarking on the epic bike ride to return home :).

Natsuyasumi 夏休み (Summer Holidays in Japan)

So tsuyu 梅雨 (rainy season) has come and gone and natsu 夏 (summer) is upon us in Japan.
Along with it came the beginning of Natsuyasumi 夏休み (Summer Holidays), now you be mistaken to think ‘oh that awesome, as a teacher you don’t have to work for a couple months’
NO JUST NO!

20120805-162259.jpg

For both students and teachers, summer holidays mean something very different than their western counterpart.
This is in the same vein of thinking of how the Japanese seem to love to work 4 hours of overtime everyday and work the weekends. Thus in Japan all teachers and most students attend school on a daily basis even during summer break! At my JHS which students come to school for half days either in the morning or afternoon to train with their respective clubs. The teachers tend to spend half a day supervising club activities and the other half siting in front of their computers repetitively fanning themselves and mumbling atsu atsu (its hot), I presume this is what they regard as junbi 準備 (preparation time).

Fortunately as the token gaijin I’m pretty much exempt from working such ridiculous hours if I don’t want too.
That said I regard the opportunity to watch my students sports club tournaments on a Saturday more of a perk of the job than a chore.
However it does mean that during the summer there are several thousand ALTs across Japan, that find themselves sitting at work awkwardly twiddling their fingers for a couple months with nothing to do.

Now I think I’m particularly fortunate, as I work at a school where I can do pretty much anything I want. No matter how crazy they are my ideas are, they have yet to be shot down! My OTEs (other teachers of english) have been nothing but amazing at accommodating my imagination, which has a tendency to run wild at times.

In addition as one of my OTEs is in charge of the kendo club I have been watching them practice often and training with the ichi-nen sei on a daily basis. God I now understand how Japanese people are so skinny, these kids do like intense workouts for 4 hours a day on the school holidays!
It’s actually really fun training with the kids as it gives me a chance to interact with them in a situation were we are equals instead of sensei 先生 (teacher) and chuugakusei 中学生 (student).

Last week I spent had the week designing Halloween lessons and then 2 days making this epic Australian money poster.

20120801-101221.jpg

This week I’v shifted my ambitions to claiming some wall space in one of the hallways to make an ‘English wall’, to aid in such a pursuit I have recruited half the members of the kendo club to aid me in some arts and craft! Alas after raiding the stationary room I have been teaching aboriginal dot art, having students create me a giant collage in the shape of Australia and decorating didgeridoo’s.
Bwahahaha my own personal army of Japanese children (who are also all ni-dan 二段 at kendo), the first step to my goals of global conquest and pretty much what I always wanted \(^o^)/

Still at the end of the day I’m not complaining, I am rather enjoying all the free time that has been thrust upon me after having such a busy first 2 months.
If anything it has endowed me will all the time I could ever want to read, study, play on my phone and get to know my students (^_^)☆