金曜日, 4月 01, 2005

Hurrah for Spring

    The cherry blossoms will bloom any day now. The weather is nice. Yay spring.
    Interesting news at school today. We got a new principal and vice-principal. The previous principal retired (to everyone's relief) and the vice-principal was promoted to principal of another school. The vice-principal was hardworking and friendly to me, but he watched my arrival and departure times with an eagle eye to make sure I did not go home early even in the case of major natural disaster. Because he has been distracted lately and the new vice-principal only arrived today, I got off scot-free again for arriving at work late and leaving early. I've done this all week long!
    Even better, I got my wish for another class. A teacher I've never taught with before (but he seems nice) will team-teach a writing elective for the third years with me. We still don't know how many students will choose to take the class, or what textbook we'll use. It's pitched as "English composition with (butterflyblue-sensei)". I've helped some third-years with writing (actually translating) before so I know the kinds of convoluted and vaguely worded Japanese sentences they have to try to wrestle into passable English for the university entrance exams. Although I have no experience teaching this, nor any clear idea how it will be accomplished, I'm thrilled to be entrusted with something meatier than OC1.

    Another thing that didn't happen last year is that three new teachers at my school came up and introduced themselves to me in English while I was in the computer room. All were male and two were math teachers. They were so friendly...which makes me wonder why the new teachers last year totally ignored me. Oh well. This year: I need to make more friends among the teachers. Having no one around to talk to sucks.

    The Zompist article of my last post suggested joining an Internet community in your target language. I think that's a sound idea. Ideally you would join real life communities that are monolingual in your target language, but it's hard sometimes for an English teacher to get into monolingual no-English territory. So joining Internet communities can be a good first step. You can set up the expectation that you communicate in Japanese before you meet them. Then, if you ever meet the people in real life, they'll expect to speak to you in Japanese. I made some posts and messaged someone I hadn't met before in Japanese yesterday, (someone in Osaka whose dream is to open a board game bar, so I need to befriend this guy) and he sent me back a nice reply, so I'm encouraged about the possibilities of this approach. For all my time on the Internet, I usually spend shockingly little of it on Japanese sites, probably because I'm endlessly diverted by all the fabulous English language content on the web. I must post in Japanese more often, even if they are grammatically flawed and stupid little comments. Then the peer embarrassment factor will work for me to help to refine my Japanese. Like when I posted a comment misspelling series しりーず しーりず. That was embarrassing. But now I'll remember.

Note: those words should be katakana, but my computer is being weird. The correct one is the first one, shiri-su. It's funny that katakana spellings are so nonintuitive for English speakers. I have a hard time hearing them since I "know" the correct spelling of series is s-e-r-i-e-s. Learning two correct spellings for the same basic sound-meaning pair messes with my head. Likewise, I "know" apron is spelled with an "a" so I had a hard time grasping the katakana spelling for that one (it starts with "e").


  • At 6:41 午前, Blogger dodjem said…

    hello there

    i was searching for the 'roam china trip with intrepid' on google, as i will be going on it from May 9th. thats how i came across your blog and started reading your account of your travels, which is fascinating.

    i live in birmingham uk, i'm going to chinese embassy in london on monday to do my visa. i feel i've got most things ready- just need to buy some shoes and bags. what sort of bags do you recommend for the trip?

    G Auddy


  • At 9:25 午前, Blogger Matt said…

    So true! In my Japanese blog I kept talking about ポーストs until someone was like "Matt, what ARE ポーストs? You mean ポストs?"

  • At 11:38 午後, Blogger butterflyblue said…

    Yes, I can't remember where to put those long vowels for the life of me sometimes. It doesn't bear much resemblance to the way I think about pronouncing things in English. I would think 'post' would have a long 'o' too, based on the English pronunciation.



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