Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Before Mistakes

Tomorrow, I’ll see new teachers as the chief of English department.
Based on my post on March 6, I say to myself three things:

1) Don’t be afraid of humans and mistakes.
2) Move your body and soul.
3) Just express yourself.

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Small Space in Our Room

The new ETs' room will have a small space for students. They probably don't like teachers' room, but we want them to come more often. So we put colorful English books such as comics and picture books at the new space.

Comics are One Piece and Slam Dunk. Picture books are Elephant and Piggie series etc.

Our dream might not come true soon, but our small space has a chance to become a clean, well-lighted place.

Human interaction will make space into place. I will make an action.  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tadoku Festival

My wife and I went to “Tadoku” festival at Bunkyo Gakuin Jr. and High school in Bunkyo Ward.

We got lots of (“Ta” 多 means “many”) English books. Of course I chose books I want to read, but we also got books for students to read (“doku” 読 means “read”). Most books are written in simple English with colorful pictures.

Japanese high school students have the English Textbook in the classroom. Whether they like it or not, they study it. School is a place to study and as an English teacher, I need to show my students how to study English.

“Tadoku” is not the way of studying. It is a way of life. If there are lots of books, students can have a chance to enjoy reading.

I am just an ET, so I cannot make a library building. But I can create a library box with various and colorful books.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

New ETs' Room

Today is Saturday, but I went to our high school. From this spring, our English department will move to another room. The day of moving is March 30, and today I took my personal things to the new place.

I don't like to go to school on Saturday, but I felt good because changing place refreshed my mind.

My wife and I dropped in at a Chinese restaurant. Gyo-za and beer tasted good after moving things to start the new school year.

Friday, March 27, 2015


If an ET means an English teacher, I am nobody because I am not teaching English now. I am just an ET in Japan.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Be Tough and Kind

Toughness. Kindness.

I have been thinking that they are opposite to each other and that they are even antonyms.
Toughness "or" kindness. I have been thinking like that, A or B.

But one of my comrades has told me that they could go hand in hand.
Toughness "and" kindness. She encouraged me to have both of them.

And now I will be tough and kind.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What Can I Do?

I made an oral presentation on Song of the Open Road at Walt Whitman society in Japan last October. And I have been wanting to write about the poem. But I'm busy as a public high school teacher in Tokyo. What can I do?  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On the Graduation Day

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.

This is Whitman's line.

Monday, March 23, 2015

New School Year

The schedule of English teachers has been decided.
My charge is:

English Communication Ⅰ(basic) 4 credits × 3 classes = 12 hours
English Communication Ⅱ(basic) 4 credits × 1 class = 4 hours

16 hours per week. 2 subjects. BASIC.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Book for You

Nine students are going to graduate from my class on March 24.

An idea came to me and I went to a bookstore. I chose eight titles for each student. Eight titles for nine students? One student hasn't brought me back a book I lent him. I will give the book to him. I will give the other eight students eight books with a word for each student.

During selecting books, I was thinking of each one, their high school life and nine futures. It must be a meaningful way to spend last Sunday before their graduation day.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Flowers: Play and Pray

Today is called “Shunbun no hi” 春分の日 in Japan. The day is said to be with equal time for day and night. And then daytime becomes longer day by day. Sakura will bloom soon in Tokyo. People gather under cherry trees, feel flowers and play.
This time of the year is also called “o Higan” お彼岸. “Higan” literally means the other shore to which people go after passing away. We can see people having flowers in their hands. They visit their family graves, offer flowers and pray.

Friday, March 20, 2015

What's New?

I like newspapers. Every morning, fresh paper and coffee make my favorite time.

Old newspapers, however, could be a problem. Old newspapers are not "new" things any more. They have been piled up in my room and office.

Toward the end of March, I have to clean my place.

I like newspapers. And I want to start a "new" life from April.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sony's Walkman

Music has rhythm. When people listen to music, the rhythm in their body wakes up. We can realize our heartbeat through music.

Sometimes I'm afraid to forget my heartbeat because I'm forced to work like a machine these days.

My Walkman is like a charm (omamori) against evils.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Music and Memory

During a restless workday, I got out and walked around a little. Listening to the Unforgettable Fire, an album of U2, I felt like running again.

Music has memories. When people listen to music, various memories come to people.

To me, for example, Bono's voice, Edge's guitar have brought a junior high student running around the Sumida River in the 1980s.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Life and pride and love.
Three words in a poem reminded me of a song by U2.

One man come in the name of love

Early morning, April four
A shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

This song was my first record (not CD!) I bought when I was a junior high student.
At that time, I didn't know this song was about Martin Luther King Jr. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Thou Reader

Thou reader throbbest life and pride and love the same as I,
Therefore for thee the following chants.

Life and pride and love. Walt Whitman. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Happiness in the Air

According to Walt Whitman, there is happiness in the open air.
Let's get it, I think to myself, at the beginning of a day.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Soy Sauce in the Air

My wife and I ate out tonight. We went to a Yakiniku restaurant near Mitaka high school. It was nice and cozy place. One of the fun thing of eating out is hearing others' conversation.

A man said, "When foreigners have come to the airport in Japan, there is the smell of soy sauce in the air."

We Japanese cannot tell whether it is true or not, so please tell us what you smell in Japan, you foreigners.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Night

I came home from work just now. Though it's Friday night, I'm sober. And now I take my first drink. Good night.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Met an OB

You became a high school student when I came to this high school four years ago. You spent three years at this school and graduated a year ago.

You suddenly came to the classroom today. I’m glad to see you. In the same classroom, there were three students of my class. You are one year their senior.  
While my students look childish, I’m sure you are going to be a man. You said you would start a job from April. You said also you would meet your classmates tonight.

You can talk to your friends in your life longer than your high school days.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

You Two

I saw you two talking on the road. You are among my students who graduate on March 24.

I don’t know what you are thinking at the bottom of your heart. I just hope you two will remain friends.

There are only a few days left until the graduation day, but you can talk to your friend in your life longer than your high school days.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Until the Day

Your graduation has been decided at Ts' meeting today, but your graduation ceremony or commencement day is March 24.

I don't know what I can say though I feel I have a lot of thoughts in my mind. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hard Rain

It is raining now. Sometimes it became hard today.

What will this rain bring upon us? Good news? Bad news?

I’m sure Spring is coming. 
Nine students will graduate from my class. That will be good news for me tomorrow.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Holy flowers . . .

Holy flowers floating in the air, were all these tired faces in the dawn of Jazz America.

This is an English sentence, but for me it sounds like a sound, so I can type it without looking at the text of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

Before reading Whitman, I was absorbed in jazz and came across On the Road.

Thinking Japanese high school which has the jazz club is not usual, the phrase beginning with “holy flowers” has floated up again in my mind.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Open Road

“Song of the Open Road” is one of Walt Whitman’s long poems.
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
From this first line, it goes on beyond 200 lines.

Why did Whitman say “open” to describe the road?
Are roads essentially open? Roads may be closed sometimes, but closed roads are not roads. The combination of “open” and “road” sounds too natural like red apples, hot coffee or cold winter.

I imagine Whitman’s open road as a place where people become open.
Around the middle of this poem, in line 107, we are rightly charged.

This “we” are strangers on the road. Each one walking on Whitman’s open road becomes open to each other and “I” become “we.”
The Open Road sounds great because it changes “me” into “us.”    

Friday, March 6, 2015

After the Mistake

Don't be afraid of human beings. 
Move your body.
Just express yourself.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

On and Off

I live in the Mitaka City. My town has a famous park, Inokashira Park. 

I walk through the park to go to work from Monday to Friday, but I don’t walk in and around the park on Saturday and Sunday.

I want to live “On and Off” life. No more “On and On” life.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Advice for Students (3)

Busy days. I might not come home before midnight, so I post it in the morning.

Advice for students (3)

Enjoying English is more important than studying it.

Reading: Look for something you want to read, your “own” textbook. You can read.
Listening: The sound of English makes the beauty of its culture. Listen to songs.
Speaking: Even if you don’t have a chance to talk, you can read aloud by yourself.
Writing: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Move your hand. Just write.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Advice (2)

Two straight nights of taxi after work. Busy days, so I write.

Advice (2)
The most essential is to enjoy English.

The word "enjoy" consists of "en" and "joy."
"En" means "give."  So, I can tell you how to enjoy.
You give yourself joy.
Joy does not come from heaven. It comes from your attitude.

(to be continued) 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Advice for English Learners

Memorizing words and understanding the grammar might be necessary to be a diligent student in the classroom. But you don’t have to be diligent when you use English in your life.

(to be continued)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"The Night"

Ozaki Yutaka’s debut single “Jyu-go no yoru” 15の夜 was released in 1983.  It is called “the Night” officially in English.

In this song, a 15-year-old boy steals a motorbike and runs away during the night.   ♪盗んだバイクで走りだす♪
He protests against school and home, teachers and parents. He fights against them.

Even now, there are many students who don’t want to go to school, but I think the way they protest has changed. Now “hutoko” or “hikikomori” (withdrawing in one’s room) is a problem of Japanese school.

Ozaki caught the hearts of teenagers in the Showa era. I was one of them. (Of course, I didn’t steal a motorbike!)

The time has changed. Now’s the Heisei era.

How does it feel to listen to “the Night” for you, one of many 15-year-old boys who hate school now?