Thursday, April 30, 2015

Two Moments on the Road (Whitman)

During this “golden week,” I must think and write on Whitman.

Yesterday, I linked the full text of the Song of the Open Road. I think there are two moments in this long poem.

The efflux of the soul is happiness, here is happiness,
I think it pervades the open air, waiting at all times,
Now it flows unto us, we are rightly charged.

This is the moment when “I” become “we.” Starting from monologue, “I” am passing by lots of strangers and “we” are charged with something good.
Here is “dry” adhesiveness.  

Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself?  Will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

This is the last scene. While sticking by each other, are “you” and “I” looking ahead to the open road?
Here is “wet” adhesiveness.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Before and behind Whitman

The poet is looking at the world, the long brown path before him.
What is there behind the poet?

The first section of the poem is his desire to abandon the past and start again.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Like a Street

The classroom is the place where students study.
The teachers’ room is the place where teachers work.
(All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.)

The corridor runs like a street between two rooms.
The street is the place where something unexpected could happen.

You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here. (Walt Whitman)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Books on the Street

Even if you cannot find yourself comfortable at school, you can meet a book to read.

We, English Teachers have talked about the free book space in front of our room. The corridor is not the classroom nor the teachers’ room.

It is like the street.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Terminal (Movie)

Starring Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Directed by Steven Spielberg (2004, US) 

A foreigner has arrived at the airport in New York. But he cannot pass through the door because his passport became useless due to his home country’s political situation. He cannot go out to NYC and stays inside the airport. At first, he almost cannot speak English and gets lost in big crowds.

But gradually he came to know workers in the airport. They have various backgrounds. Some are not “American” in the strict sense. Passing with strangers, he has found his small place in the big space.

People make another “America” in the airport, although it has no soil.

The Terminal (Movie)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

To Review

He said he had to watch a DVD to write a movie review. His monthly paper has lots of pages. I am following him. He is a native speaker of English and fluent writer.

To review something can be a good topic for writers. And I went to Tsutaya for the first time in months. Three things in front of me: a DVD, a CD and a book. What can I get from them? To review movies, music and books can also be a good practice for non-native speakers of English like me.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

John Lennon

In a different culture, you'll see many new things. At first, some may seem strange to you. But if you open your mind, you'll broaden your horizons. Now let's begin our world trek!

This is a passage from the textbook. There are two words corresponding to each other. Could you guess?

You may say I'm a dreamer / but I'm not the only one.

It may be better to use "Youtube" here, but I don't know how.

Two words, "may" and "but" are like a couple.     

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Not a Student Any More

Have you ever heard the songs, such as “Train-Train” or “Linda Linda”?
When I was a high school student, I was listening to The Blue Hearts, a Japanese band.
And recently I came to know another band called Dragon Ash.

The sound and beat of this band have reminded me of The Blue Hearts, one of my high school memories.

So, if you liked Dragon Ash I introduce now, you could have become one of my high school friends.

But now I am not a student.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


And today I asked the question:
“Green Eggs and Ham!” How many times do you hear this phrase?

I introduced the sound only. I didn’t show the text. Only listening for about five minutes. During the story, I went to the backside of the classroom. After the last phrase, I went back to the front, but I didn’t call upon students. I didn’t want to make it like a test.

After the class, a student came to me and said, “eleven times.” I said to her, “you have good ears.” I’m sure some other students did listen to the sound and counted eleven. But I’m also sure there were students who didn’t listen to. This is today’s classroom.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

English Listening

One of my students wrote, “I like eggs.”

Have you ever eaten green eggs and ham?
I’d like to introduce Dr. Seuss to my students. I have its audio book version. It is the sound of English, the music of English.

I’m thinking of asking a question like this:
How many times do you hear this phrase ― “green eggs and ham”?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Meet Different Cultures!

(Based on today’s newspaper, I made a reading material for students. I will use the picture in the classroom. But I can’t do here.)

Do you buy rice balls at convenience stores? Do you have some trouble in eating them? They are in our everyday lives. Here is a woman from Sweden. She had a problem with one rice ball in her hands.

A Swedish manga artist published the comic book of four-panel (yonkoma) manga, “Nordic Girl Asa discovers the Mysteries of Japan.” Her name is Asa Ekstrom. Her life in Tokyo is filled with mistakes and surprises.

For example, it took about six months for her to learn how to open the plastic wrapping on rice balls sold at convenience stores. How surprised she was when she found three numbers (1, 2, 3,) on three corners of her rice ball!

Many foreign people are living in Japan. They sometimes feel the culture gaps. The topic of Asa Ekstrom’s manga is the different cultures. Do you want to read her manga? I hope I could bring it to the classroom. But I have to say, “Open your textbook (L1): Meet Different Cultures!”

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Where is the Place?

Y-boy’s comment reminded me of Horiguchi Daigaku (Japanese poet).
He said that poetry cannot live its full life in the classroom.

Where is the place for poetry?

It’s the open road Walt Whitman (American poet) hoped to be.
I have to make the place by writing and living. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Like a Drinking Place

A teacher stand in front of students in the classroom. She or he thinks of them and designs everyday’s classes. I also think of my students and I want them to learn English. After classes, we go back to teachers’ room. And what do we do there?

The classroom is the workplace for us. And what is teachers’ room?
Imagine it could be like a drinking place. I got the image from tonight’s drink meeting.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thank You, Yamabuki's Boy

We humans tend to do what we want to do. We want to eat, sleep and communicate with people. These are what we call "three basic desires."

Here, I add another desire: reading.

We can feel the joy of reading. But I think it's hard for us to feel the joy of studying words and grammar.

If there is a good material to read, we could be satisfied. The best textbook is different from person to person.

You should look for your own textbook. It might not be the high school textbook. I want to help you find IT.      

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Lyrics

「the unforgettable fire」の画像検索結果

We can check the lyrics of a song on the Internet. But there are a little bit differences among sites.

The lyrics of “PRIDE” by U2 sound like as follows to my ears:

One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come here to justify
One man to overthrow

In the name of love
One man in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resist
One man washed on an empty beach
One man betrayed with a kiss

In the name of love
One man in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

Early morning, April 4
A shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

In the name of love
One man in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

And how about you, to your ears?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why ET?

“Lemon” by Kajii Motojiro was in the Japanese textbook. When I was a high school student in 1989, I met this short novel in the classroom. His words broke my image of school textbooks and struck my teen-age heart.

This is the reason why I became an ET.

Japanese literature and English? Of course, there is a long story between “Lemon” and English teaching. But at least I can say that I believe in the power of words.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Millions of Blue Mondays

I am an ET in Japan. But I have not had English classes for more than a month. And tomorrow is my first class of this school year.

"There are millions of suns left," said Whitman.

I am just an ET. Millions of Blue Mondays are piled up in my heart. My feeling is like that now.   


Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Song

Other than the English textbook, I want to introduce songs. For example, “Blowin’ in the wind” by Bob Dylan.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Not only the alphabet letters in the textbook, I want to introduce the sound of English and I want my students to get the picture of the colorful English world.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

How to Study Languages

If you are supposed to choose THREE things among six, what are they?

1) Words
2) Grammar
3) Reading
4) Listening
5) Speaking
6) Writing

So many heads, so many minds. Give me your own comment.

Friday, April 10, 2015

On Foot

Where do you think this man in sandals is walking?

And do you know how to be the best persons?
"It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth," said Whitman.

Can we feel the earth here in Tokyo? 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Why am I learning English?

Because it's there.

And I want to ask you, whoever you are.
"Why are you learning English?"

Give me your comment.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April in Tokyo (not Paris)

April snow (mizore) in Tokyo.

New students met their seniors for the first time at our high school.
And their first school dinner also.

Do you get today's post title?
Please look at my profile, my favorite music.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Night and Day: Sleep and Move

It's easy to say, "don't be afraid of making mistakes," to my students. But it is difficult for me not to be afraid of mistakes. So, what can I say? All I can do is (to) move. 

It's night now and I cannot move. All I can do now is (to) sleep.

Don't think. Just sleep and move tomorrow. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Two Dogs and a Boy

Our ALT said to me, "You should use pictures on your blog!"

And this is the first picture on my blog.

"On the road in Myanmar, 2014, summer."

Sunday, April 5, 2015

English Textbook in Japan

Based on the English textbook, World Trek, I've rewritten the text. My challenge is to draw pictures.

Lesson 1, Meet Different Cultures!  

1. (with a picture of the sun)
What color?
2. (with the same picture)
Red or orange?
3. (with the same picture)
Different colors?
4. (with the same picture)
It is yellow in Europe.

5. (with a picture of a dog)
A dog's voice.
6. (with the same picture)
In Japanese, "wan-wan."
7. (with the same picture)
In different languages?
8. (without a picture)
In English, "bow-wow."
In French, "ouaf-ouaf."
In Korean, "mung-mung."

9. (with the two pictures)
The same thing.
    (with another picture showing different expressions)
Different expressions.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

What Color is the Sun?

It’s dangerous to look at the sun directly. But you can see the newspaper. Its weather forecast section has an image of the sun. Today’s Asahi Shinbun says Sapporo, Sendai and Osaka will be fine with the sun’s picture.
What color do you think it is? This question sounds nonsense if you are Japanese. It is a common sense that the sun is red for us.

According to the English textbook (World Trek), however, the sun is not red in other countries.

(there are millions of suns left,) Walt Whitman

Friday, April 3, 2015

Who are "we"?

According to a grammar book, there are two kinds of "we".
Exclusive “we”: We’ll take care of our business, and you’ll take care of yours.
Inclusive “we”: We are all part of God’s great family.

Whitman’s Open Road has these lines:
The efflux of the soul is happiness, here is happiness,
I think it pervades the open air, waiting at all times,
Now it flows unto us, we are rightly charged.

What do you think of this “we”?
Exclusive or inclusive?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Manly Love

A man was walking with two water bottles in his hands. And I saw him throwing one of them to another man. He caught it with both hands. They seemed to be moving company workers. It was a scene on the road around lunchtime.

Walt Whitman could have made a short poem of manly love.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 1

I didn't get off at Waseda 早稲田 station on Tozai 東西 Line and went to the last stop, Nishi-funabashi 西船橋 station.

I didn't work today. I skipped my job. I went to Nakayama 中山 Race Track to see running horses.

It's April Fool's Day.