Archive for October, 2006

The Culture Festival

October 25, 2006

I was going to write this post on Monday evening, but I had a sudden change of plans. My old Japanese/English conversation partner from the U was in town on business (he’s a lawyer in Tokyo) and we met to grab some dinner and catch up. He’s doing well, although he reports that his 4-year-old son has already lost all the English he’d picked up. He still has the phonology, though, and that’s not bad at all. But I’ll restrain myself and not digress into linguistics. On to the Culture Festival.

The Culture Festival was a two day affair. On Friday, we had a chorus competetion between the classes. Each class sang two songs; one that every class in their grade had to sing and one of their own choosing. The teachers judged the performances and the winning classes sang again on Saturday.

Ah, but the teachers didn’t just stay in the audience. We sang, too (divided by grade, like the students). I’m officially a 2nd grade teacher, since that’s where I sit in the teachers room, and we weren’t too bad. Especially considering that the first time we practiced was Tuesday of that week. That was also the only time I practiced with the others, due to my irregular schedule (ward meeting on Wednesday and at my other school on Thursday so that I could attend the festival on Friday). But anyway, we did okay, all things considered.

Then, on Saturday, we had the actual Culture Festival. This was the schedule: three opening speechs (they love speeches here); performances by the winners of the chorus competition; a play, written and performed by the student council; lunch; an audio drama, written and performed by the broadcasting club (which naturally, also provided the announcing during the festival); the PTA chorus (they were actually quite good); dancing by the PTA (we all could have done without that bit); a long set of songs from the exceptionally good school band; and a short closing speech. All this tookplace in the gym. Meanwhile, two floors of classrooms were filled with art projects. But unlike some schools, we didn’t have any class-run food stalls, or things of that sort. It was really more of an all day assembly than a festival. Nevertheless, it was (mostly) a lot of fun.

But I didn’t take a single decent picture.

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A Quick Post

October 18, 2006

Man, I’m busy.

The Kobe Board of Education JET Program Supervisor is currently visiting each school to observe a class. Today was my turn. After the class, he talked with the Japanese teacher for at least forty minutes and then with me for about thirty minutes. The talk was constructive criticism and advice regarding team teaching, plus general questions on how I’m doing at the school. In the end, it wasn’t so bad, but the teacher and I were both pretty nervous before the evaluation. (She’s a new teacher, by the way. I think this is her second year.)
Then, after the talk, I had to go eat a quick lunch and head out for a mid-term JET ward meeting (ward = district or neighborhood). All the JETs in my ward (8 or 9 of us) met at the ward leader’s school. We participated in an English class and then had the actual meeting, where we talked about upcoming events and deadlines, how classes and teacher relations are going, and that sort of thing.

This Friday and Saturday will be my school’s culture festival.
Last Sunday I harvested rice.

More on these later, but right now I’m off to bed.

Sports Day Pictures

October 7, 2006

Here are a few pictures from the Sports Festival. I’ve got some videos, too, but I need to figure out how to handle them.

The students marched into the sports field for the opening ceremony. This is the school flag. The orange character inside the symbol means middle, as in middle school (“中学校”, which I usually translate as “junior high,” since the grades are 7, 8, and 9).

tik-flag

You’ll notice that the field is bare dirt. That’s standard for schools in Japan. The track, baseball, and soccer clubs all use the same space, chalking in lines as needed. But what’s also standard is that every school has its own swimming pool, so it’s not all bad.

Anyway, the kids were organized by grade, class, and sex. These are the third-year students as they come to a halt. Each class has a different color headband.

tik-march

I wasn’t able to get a good shot of the flag dance, but this is better than nothing.

tik-flag-dance

As for the boys’ performance, I only have a shot of them assembling.

tik-boys-assemble
I had to help make sure that no one broke their neck, so I couldn’t take pictures of the performance itself. That’s also I why I don’t have any pictures of the horse battles. Oh well.