Thursday, January 27, 2011

R for "Resource pooling"

As I couldn't come up with the title with "r", I asked my friends to give me some ideas. Thanks to all my resourceful friends, now I can write an entry :) I got several words, so I'll try to use as many of them as possible in this journal. (Thank you, T, G, F, JC, JS, and S for brilliant words!!!)

Nowadays, my weekly routine includes more events. I've got two new tutoring students from this month, and I started to work on Saturdays. I found myself enjoying tutoring a lot. It is not very efficient to prepare for only one person, but you can focus on the student's development rather than maintaining the class atmosphere. My current challenge is a 6-year-old boy who doesn't really know ABCs. I teach young learners every week, but by the time I took over the classes from the previous teacher, they had already learned almost all the alphabets. Now I know how hard it had been to let them become familiar with all 25 letters. The boy I'm teaching is rambunctious, so I should direct his energy toward some kind of fun ABC game that he is willing to try. Since I forced him to do activities with alphabets for three lessons, I decided to introduce animal vocabulary today. He has known a lot of animal names already, so it was easy to let him remember ten words. Last night, I stayed up late to prepare a "monkey glove"(a brown glove that has a monkey face on each fingertip) and pictures of animals. My effort totally worked out. He enjoyed "Five Little Monkeys" song, tried to sing with me even though he didn't understand much of the lyrics, and liked the paper craft. Whew... I didn't spend much time on ABC today, but the most important thing is that he feels happy after the lesson. So I would call today's lesson a success.

Yesterday, I read a book about an educational method that was established by a Japanese day-care centre president. Although I thought not everything was true or effective to all the kids, it was very interesting. The president said that every children is a genius and has countless possibilities. I often see recalcitrant kids in my classes, but according to this book, it doesn't seem to be the kids' fault. Parents should never force their sons and daughters to learn. They should be strict, recognize their achievement, and let them think so that their children will learn by themselves. If you force your kids to study, they will hate to study. If you spoil them, they will never be independent. That is what the author says. This method solved one of my inner conflicts. I often lose control of my young students, but I didn't know how strict I should be. Now I know.

Now, I have to tell you about the English exam that I took the other day. I mentioned this some entries ago. This test is made in Japan and used by elementary school students to adults as a certificate of their English ability. I tried Grade 1, the hardest. (It starts from Grade 5, which is the easiest.) The Grade 1 test is famous for its maniac and impractically difficult vocabulary. When I first saw the vocabulary section, I thought it was totally ridiculous. Yeah, it was my fault that I didn't study much, but even my Canadian friend agreed that some of the words are not for everyday use. I could hardly understand any questions in that section, so I just believed my "sense." Considering that I took decent marks in the reading and listening section, my tasks for the next time will be vocabulary building and writing practice. Oh, and I should read newspapers to have my own opinions about social issues. By February 14th, I will know the test result. All I can do now is to keep my fingers crossed.

It's very cold here, but it might be nice to take a small trip to some part in Tokyo. I found very nostalgic looking cafes in the guidebook the other day. The pictures of old wooden floors of the cafes, redolent of good old days, drew my attention. I haven't explored the city for a while. It's about time I went out. It would make me feel rejuvenated and refreshed while so many things make me feel OLD these days!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Q for "Queer Dreams"

I have no idea why I often see very strange dreams. If I wrote a dream diary, it would be quite interesting, although most of the episodes make no sense. It started recently. This morning, I was moving into a new apartment with my family in my dream. I seemed to like the new room, but the dream itself didn't have cheerful atmosphere. The stories I see in my sleep are neither nightmares nor uplifting ones. I even got a dreamcatcher so that I can be free from those unexplainable dreams. Probably, it's working during the night, and I dream in the morning, just before I wake up. That's why those queer factors are not stopped by the catcher and come to my mind!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

P for "Photos"

I realized that I hardly put photos on this journal. There are some pictures that I took during my winter trip, so enjoy the scenery of Vancouver :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

O for "One Click"

Did you notice that I've changed the picture behind the title? This is a piece of Tarte Tatin that my mom made. I don't know how many times she's made this cake, but I remember her first try. She's improved to the perfection! Look at these beautiful amber coloured apples... It tasted good, too. A bit too sweet to be honest, but I suppose that's what it should be.

I've heard some people say Amazon is dangerous because you buy items just by clicking the icon without knowing how much money you are spending. So I'm trying to be careful when I shop online. But today, I finally decided to push the "Go to the Cashier" button after a good amount of consideration. The decision-making factor was a music of Concertino by Cecile Chaminade. This is a piece for flute that I really like. I know it's too difficult for me, but it's nice to have a visible goal, right? You can check out what it sounds like from the following link.
James Galway (The golden flute!!) Concertino for Flute and Piano by Cecile Chaminade

And I bought 8GB memory card and The Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. (New book for less than 300 yen!) See? My choices are use of money. Now I look forward them to arrive :)

I tutored a 6-year-old boy for the first time. I expected him to know all the alphabets since he had already learned English for several months in English classes. However, all he knew was A-E. OK, I'll launch an Alphabet Bootcamp for him for the rest of this month...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

N for "New Year"

As I mentioned before, I'm having trouble finding the topics that follow alphabetical order and inspire me to write journals. This time, it was a great timing to come to "N" today. Yes, it's a new year now! I spent great Christmas and New Year in Vancouver, the land of my dream, with my wonderful friends. I decorated a real (not artificial that is) Christmas tree, watched Harry Potter movie in the theatre, went snowshoeing, dined at a nice bar/restaurant, chatted with friends, got a dream catcher and an old ring, and made gyoza for Christmas Eve :) I was tired all the time because of jet lag and doing so much in a short time, but I think I managed to do most of the things I had wanted to do. On my way home, it was much easier than usual to fall asleep on that uncomfortable seat on the plane(and I was between two people).

In the new year, first, I have to cope with Eiken exam that I applied long ago.... Much more preparation is needed very soon.....!! That's why I'm writing again. These days, I really feel that my writing skills has become worse so rapidly. When I took IELTS, the writing score was the worst. So I need more work on it. For reading, I might be able to train myself by reading novels in English. I'm reading The Devil Wears Prada before I go to sleep. I hope it helps a bit.....

I don't usually make new year's resolutions because I know I will forget them soon. These are not resolutions, but let me tell you somethings that I want to do in this year.
-take up exercising regularly
-buy a new computer, hopefully Mac Book
-keep applying jobs in Canada
-trip to Vancouver in summer

The last one just came up yesterday. My visit to Vancouver was enjoyable, but not as emotional as I had expected. It actually made me think twice about going back to Canada. But after a lot of thinking and recalling the memories, I now feel like travelling to that city again, hopefully soon. Sad thing is however often I go back there, it won't help me to settle down in that country. A visit is a visit. If I wish to immigrate, I have to go through all process according to the law. No shortcuts. All I should do is to keep looking and applying for the positions in Canada.

I'm still tired from the trip. I have never known that my bed could look this comfortable...I want to dive in right away...zzz