Tuesday, August 31, 2010

K for "Knocked Down"

It's hot. TOO HOT!!! Tomorrow is the beginning of September. It's supposed to be getting cooler, but this year, it doesn't seem to be. Is this because of global warming or just El Nino does the tricks? The heat of this summer in Japan, probably not only in Japan, was very serious. So many people were taken to the hospital because of heat attack. Even this late afternoon, the sun was still scorching, and I couldn't do any of my work at home. I'm totally defeated by this harsh climate. Tomorrow, I have to walk to school from the station..... I don't think I can manage that! (@_@)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

J is for "Joy"

These days, I often feel lonely, empty, and don't know where my mind is. If I could be joyous because God loves you everyday, I might as well be in a religion. Kidding, of course ;p But still, my other half of my brain, probably the left side, is working and realizing the school is going to start soon, and I have to finish creating their exam. I might have too much time to think about the think that is not going well. I can't stand being ignored or abandoned, but looking at the bright side of everything might distract me from being negative! (Sounds like I'm deceiving myself :( )

Speaking of joy, I really enjoy teaching children. I'm getting used to their crying and fighting in the class, and they finally started noticing me as one of the teachers! (Hurray!) These days, I'm giving each elementary school student a level-check test, which casually measures their reading and vocabulary ability. Thanks to this test, I'm more familiar with students' names and their language levels. Most of them are returnees (who have lived in English-speaking countries before), but there is a gap among their reading skills. Some are excellent readers while others are not. Anyhow, all of them are having fun in the class talking to the teachers and friends in English. That's a good thing. The joy of teaching is definitely that you'll get to love your students and many of them will love you back. It takes time, but they'll eventually count on you and you'll feel like you have more friends. I know all of this, but how come I'm not attracted to be a (junior) high school teacher? That's the mystery...

I'll finish this entry with my favorite scene of the movie.
This is so great that I can't see it without tears!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I for "Internet"

I think I'm living pretty clean life; I'm not addicted to alcohol, cigarette, nor drugs. But my serious addiction is probably.....the Internet.

After so many hours of indecisive self discussion, I clicked a button to by an aroma diffuser which meant to be a present for myself. Pretty harmless, right? I'm not a heavy shopper, either in reality or on the web. The problem is, I'm spending too much time in front of PC every day.

It takes away so many hours in vain. Obviously, I should read more books instead. The main purpose of my Internet use is communication. Maybe that's what I'm addicted to. People don't usually send messages very often or update their Facebook. I don't need to check them several times a day. But what I do the first thing in the morning is to turn on my PC. I do the same when I come home from work. If I'm at home, I stay in front of this gadget almost all day. Sounds VERY unhealthy.

Since I found that I'm not using SNS wisely, I'll just take it easy and take a deep breath. I need a computer to make teaching materials and keep accounts, but it doesn't have to be connected to the Internet. Be wise and take advantage of this great network throughout the world :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

H for "High School"

September is approaching.... That means the start of the high school is coming up soon. Since I had too much fun at kids' ESL this summer, it's hard to imagine or make myself ready to work for the high school again. I have to prepare some answer keys, exams, and teaching materials on English grammar.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy teaching at high school even though my students are VERY handful. But still, I have this belief that the students should study English in fun environment at their own pace as much as possible. What I do at the school is cramming the students with grammar rules and making most of them hate this subject. It consumes lots of energy and preparation, and my effort becomes in vain too often. Generally, teachers at high schools want to be full-time teachers who can be in charge of the class and take care of their students. But for me, I've never dreamed of being one. Of course my parents and probably anyone would say I should try to get a job at junior high or high school because it'll give me better salary and status. However, what I'm trying to do is to quit the high school job and work more hours at kids' school. It sounds like a crazy idea which doesn't include good research and common sense, but the job I do with young children suits me better. Not only that, in the children's curriculum, I don't have to force them to learn grammar rules by heart blindly. There are many tasks that have to be solved and improved at this school, too, but at least, I think it's more interesting and true to what I want.

Monday, August 23, 2010

G for "Guitar"

Today at kids' school, one of the little ones, students from age 3 to 5, came with a small guitar. According to his mom, he is taking classic guitar lessons. I was very surprised! His hands are soft and small, but he can play an instrument with strings. Also I thought it was very cool. I tend to say "Wow, cool!" whenever I hear someone says that s/he plays the musical instrument (I also play one, but I don't think I'm cool enough), but in this case, I think it was a great idea to let kids start practicing musical instruments particularly when they enjoy playing them. When I was very young, I was forced to take music lessons and I hated them. But I really regretted that I had quit practicing piano at an early age. It can be said for anything that the start is always very important. If you take a good start, you will be able to continue it for long with fun. Even though I hated the lessons, I became familiar with music and able to read music thanks to that. So it was a pain worth taking :)

My brother's departure day is coming soon, but he hasn't even started packing. I've told him hundreds of times he should start organizing his stuff early enough to allow himself to make the last-minute changes. But apparently, he IS in the last minute now....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

F for "Flute"

Not as I used to be, but I still want to be a better flute player. I like to play the flute, but I suck. A person who has been playing it for 15 years should be much better. Probably because I didn't join a university orchestra or an ensemble group. Probably because I'm just an occasional flutist; I play only when the opportunity comes, such as annual concerts of the high school I graduated. Or I don't have the talent for flute?? Anyway. Since I have more free time during summer, I'm trying to practice more than usual. Long tones were my least favorite, but I realized that they are essential for better sound and breathing. Every time I play, I feel my muscles are now very weak to support my posture and the shape of my mouth. I get tired pretty soon. But the important thing is to be patient and keep doing.

I found some videos on YouTube that a girl is playing various songs on flute. Her sound is very beautiful, and she's pretty! That was very motivating. She wrote the website she found sheet music. And this is it:


They have back ground music, too! That's amazing. I had a lot of fun trying out some songs. The author of this web site lives in Canada and wants the viewers to write to her. I might do so :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

E for "Envelope"

"Here, there's a letter for you, very important. And it makes you more uneasy....hehehe"

As soon as I came in to the living room this evening after work, my brother told me. From the look of that thick white envelope, I understood instantly that it was a wedding invitation from my best friend and her fiancé. How rude, it doesn't make me uneasy at all! I knew it was coming, and I'm looking forward to their ceremony. Moreover, I'm going to give a speech representing the bride's friends. But yeah, I have to admit that people on "my side" are becoming less and less. Considering my friends' situations, which are not so different from mine, the "time" should have come to me as well long time ago! I didn't even dream of being unmarried till I pass my 20's when I was young. So these days, I'm confused if I'm being single by choice or I ended up missing the chance to be someone's wife.

Everybody says that finding a spouse is not the goal or safety net of your life, it's just one step forward, and I agree to that opinion. But I don't think I'm not determined or strong enough to accomplish my life till the end by myself. It would be much more encouraging if I had someone whom I could talk about my decisions with. He could support me, and I could help him, too. But people around me also say I'm enjoying the precious freedom which I wouldn't be able to gain if I were married, such as working abroad and going out on my own schedule. Yeah, I know. It might really be a matter of priority since you can't have everything you want. If I focused on just starting a family, there would be various ways to do so. I could use dating services, go to matchmaking parties, or ask my friends and family to find a nice guy for me (well, that's least likely to happen, though). But I'm not willing to try those. There are things that I can't give up even though I have the desire to have a decent living standard. My career, people I met in Vancouver, and the network and relationship I created there. It's hard for me to declare but those things seem to have higher priority so far than settling in a marriage. Wait, that sounds like I choose to live alone! Nah...

So now, what am I aiming at? Ahem, in conclusion, since I can't figure out which to give up, wedding bells or adventure, I'll try to get both!

Greedy?? ;)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

D for "Digital Camera"

Since my brother is going to go abroad to study, my sister and I decided to give him a digital camera. Now he has the newest camera in the whole family. Only thing I'm concerned is that if he keeps the habit of taking pictures at the places he visits. Because I wanted him to have the camera so that he can let us know how the country he's going to live look like. While we were choosing his camera, it was revealed that my sister and I have the same camera. I remember that when I got mine, she told me she likes that brand but didn't tell me specifically which model she had. I compared several types and finally decided on one I own. What a coincident! Although we were born as twins, we don't have almost anything in common. But now it seems "twin power" worked :)

Last year, and a few more years before, I left my brother alone with my parents at home. But now, I'm going to be the one to be left. I'm nervous because I perfectly well know that my parents will start worrying about me even more. They are never happy about what I'm doing and what I want to do. Worse than that, I'm not confident enough about my choice of life path to convince my parents that I will be able to support myself and have satisfied life. This feeling comes and goes occasionally, but again, I began to feel anxious about how I'm going to live. It's not a good sign. Whenever I'm occupied with negative thoughts, I miss or ignore any bright side around me. I'll try to keep my chin up and keep moving on.

My friends are going to visit me in October, and I'm going to visit Vancouver in December, though I'll have to start saving money. I just can't wait for those two heart-pumping events!!

The book I'm still reading and almost finish: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Friday, August 13, 2010

C for "Change"

My sister stayed with us for 3 days. She lives apart from us with her husband, but she managed to take very short summer vacation to visit us. Last time she came back, which was on New Year's Day, I was away. So we haven't seen each other for more than a year, though we sometimes "met" on Skype.

All of my family was looking forward to her visit, and we are all happy to have her. But it's strange and a bit sad to find out that we have grown apart. Each of us has spent a long time living in different surroundings, and that during that time, we have gained and developed some kind of characteristics that we didn't use to have. We are still close sisters, but something has changed between us. That is generally called "growing up", I suppose.

On the whole, we had great time with her. I wish her happiness, good health, and not being any skinnier :(

Monday, August 9, 2010

B for "Bon Courage!"

I can't remember how many times I have failed to learn French since I was in university. I took French courses for two years in vain, and learned almost nothing. Only benefit was I got the hang of how to read the combination of alphabets in French and became able to pronounce "r" sound a little better than before. When I first studied this language, I thought I really felt the limit of my brain capacity. I couldn't put any more conjugations or vocabulary. When I tried to cram another word, it just bounced back. So French was something that I was dreaming of learning but kept giving up studying. But this time, I've been listening to the radio program for 3 months. This is because; one, the teachers in the program is really funny and make things easy; two, NHK started streaming service so that we can follow the program even though we missed it live. Not wanting to be too serious, I try not to make much of what I'm doing. Once I start noticing that I'm achieving something that I haven't done, I'll probably fail. Just I'm keeping it my casual task to listen to the program at least on the weekend. This program is approaching to the end, which is in September, and the contents are getting harder. What I should do is to keep listening and enjoying. Bon courage!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A for "Audio Books"

The very first article of this blog is about audio books. The English school I'm working for is now trying to introduce a new method of teaching; have the students read tons of English books of appropriate levels for each student. There is an association which has established this method in Japan, and they have recorded very successful result. I read two books about this strategy and I'm very interested. They said it is also good if we have the audio so that learners can learn correct pronunciation and rhythm of English. That reminded me of e-book library in Vancouver.

I was worried that I could use that service only within Canada, but it worked! I have my account at the library in Vancouver, so that enable me to access to this on-line library. The only downside of this system is that you can find lots of books are already checked out by others. You can place a hold, but of course you have to wait. But this time, I luckily found "The Golden Compass", which I saw on the movie. I don't have the book, so I can't read and listen at the same time, but anyway I needed something that train my ears and brain to understand English. This must be a good start....if I find time to enjoy the whole story, which last for ten hours.

The book I'm reading: "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian"