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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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?