Tuesday, June 30, 2015

a reading material

Even a high school student could read the following article if you know the meaning of “amazing.”
The word “but” has an important role, so I underline them. Please read each “paragraph” as a unit.

AJMER, INDIA ― Ajmer’s famous 13th-century Sufi shrine draws millions of pilgrims from around the world every year. The city recently launched a new Web site called “Amazing Ajmer.” But life in this ancient city of 550,000 in northern India is anything but amazing.
Running water is available for just two hours every two days. Only 130 of 125,000 homes in the city are connected to the sewage system. Dirty water flows in open drains in cramped neighborhoods. Stepwells and lakes have become garbage dumps. Illegal buildings and slums dot the city. And only two traffic lights work.
But soon, Ajmer could be transformed into a 21st-century “smart city” ― an urban-planning term for the gleaming metropolises of the future that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to create by 2022.
(From The Washington Post)
(1st paragraph)
Amazing→Not amazing
(2nd paragraph)
Not amazing
(3rd paragraph)
Amazing

Monday, June 29, 2015

between machines and humans

 If Doraemon (ドラえもん) gave you the time-machine, what time and place would you want to go? I will ask my students this question. Of course, time travel is impossible. This is just an example sentence of the subjunctive mood.
 Why do we love Doraemon? Doraemon, the cat-shaped robot has inspired our imagination. His time-machine is a product of human imagination.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

at a rental dvd shop

I was surprised to see the automatic cashier machines at Tsutaya. Seeing me at a loss, a staff came to me and guided me to use it. There was more conversation than usual.
Machines and humans could be a topic for writing.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My letter was published on The Japan News today

Preference for paper endures
I bought a tablet PC last December. At first, I was planning to get a device exclusively for reading digital publications. The shop clerk led me, however, to a model that can be used as a portable PC. The clerk’s assurances that you can also read e-books helped make my decision.
Six months have passed. How many digital books have I read so far? The number is far less than I had expected. Around the New Year holidays, I downloaded some e-books on my new tablet. I enjoyed the new reading experience at first, but gradually, net surfing replaced reading.
Am I not an ardent reader? I like reading. I am someone who feels uncomfortable without something to read on the train.
I go to work every day with a newspaper in my hand. Literally, I hold it in my hand and walk. After I got the tablet, I came to know the comfort of paper again. Even in the rain, I can hold it when outside without worrying about a breakdown. I can even write something on it.
As for reading books, digital screens make my eyes dry. Paper books are easy on the eyes, and I feel I am reading printed letters not only with my eyes.

(the first draft was posted on June 14)

Friday, June 26, 2015

What can be updated?

According to a book, it is Buddhism.
(Ver.1.0) traditional Buddhism in Japan
(Ver.2.0) systematic methods practiced in foreign countries
(Ver.3.0) based on previous versions and organized into universal Buddhism

Thursday, June 25, 2015

a reading activity

I introduced the topic with a picture to my students at first. And I read the first paragraph of the article.
After that, I divided my students into groups and gave a card to each group. There were six cards. That is, there were six paragraphs remained. One card, one paragraph.
A group of two or three students tried to get the picture, talking with each other or using dictionaries.
“What is the second paragraph?” “Which card seems to be the final one?” I asked to my class, walking around the classroom and giving some hints.
After a while, students came to the blackboard and put the card on it. Finally, there were seven cards, paragraphs, right in order.
This is today’s “reading” activity.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

For Free

The corridor is a place where not only my students, but also other students who don’t know me walk through.
I’ve put my materials there.
Please take me home.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Who learns?

I want my students to learn English, so I would disappear from students’ view. I need to see them without seeing.

Monday, June 22, 2015

I can say that . . .

わたしではあかんみたいですわ (ある介護スタッフのことば)
You and I don’t seem to get along well. (a nursing staff)

Even if I nurse you with great care, you might not accept me. It’s human relations that matter in this field.

The nursing staff’s saying is not the statement of defeat. On the contrary, the staff has saved both of “you and I” by saying like this.

Nursing someone is a big challenge. Not trying to get over the problem of human relations is a kind of wisdom.

Is it possible for school teachers to apply the wisdom?
I can say that you and I don’t seem to get along well.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Cats and Dogs

Cats are independent. Dogs are faithful.
We have read about cats and dogs in class.
But wait a minute.
How can I know that “we” have read the same textbook?
You and I are different persons.
Students are not so faithful to me.
I just hope they will be independent readers.


In Myanmar 2014

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Our nurturing side

Cats may have found a way to bring out our nurturing side just by their charming voice.

This is a sentence in our English textbook.
I said to my students, “What is our nurturing side?”
I may have made this sentence difficult for them.



In Myanmar 2014

Friday, June 19, 2015

could, would and might



What if everybody could fly?
The sky would be pretty crowded.
We might even need traffic lights up there!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

On ~

I’m on the street
gonna go where the bright lights
and the big city meet
with a red guitar
on fire.

(Desire / U2)


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

For ~




I took three pictures on the train. "for Train" "for Drink & Food" "for Shopping"
This penguin is using the card for these things.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

With ~

They have a pyramid-shaped social structure
with a leader
at the top.

This is a sentence in our English Textbook.
And I introduced a phrase in Dylan’s song.

With silver bracelets
on her wrists
and
(with) flowers
in her hair.

And I drew a picture on the blackboard.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Do-Re-Mi

I took my trumpet out to the music room.

I started practice for the first time in about 20 years.



Sunday, June 14, 2015

I prefer paper to digital

I bought a tablet PC last December. At first, I was planning to get a device for reading digital publications exclusively. The shop clerk led me, however, to the model which can be used as a portable PC. The clerk’s word that you can read e-books also made my decision.

Six months have passed. How many digital books have I read so far? The number is far less than I had expected. Around New Year holidays, I downloaded some e-books on my new tablet. I enjoyed new reading experience at first, but gradually, net surfing replaced reading.

Am I not an ardent reader? No, I like reading. I am the one who feel uncomfortable without something to read on the train. I go to work every day with newspaper in my hand. Literally, I hold it in my hand and walk. After I got the tablet, I came to know the comfort of paper again. Even in the rain, I can hold it outside without worrying a breakdown. I can even write something on it.

As for reading books, digital screen makes my eyes dry. Paper books are easy to the eyes and I feel I am reading printed letters not only with my eyes.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sentence structure

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. (Joseph Addison, an English Essayist. 1672-1719)

Based on this quote, I made an example sentence:
The textbook is to a teacher what the instrument is to a musician.

Friday, June 12, 2015

To be better

Our goal is to improve our students’ English skills and cultivate their minds. We teachers aim to reach that goal. We have the same textbook, but each one has each teaching style. If it was forced to be the identical, we would be like a machine.

I’m trying to reach our goal, but sometimes I’m not sure my style is going well. If I were a machine, I could just keep it going on and on. I’m always thinking of my English classes because I’m not a machine. I want to stand in front of my students as a human being.

How about talking with other teachers? Yes, I should talk with them more, but it is difficult for us to get enough time for talking about our English things.

My idea is to make use of the PC we use at our school. We can use it as a bulletin board. We can post materials on it anytime. We can see them anytime without disturbing colleagues.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Shelter from the storm

“Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm.” (Bob Dylan)


Who is she?
Where do you come in?
“Like a rolling stone,” is a simile. Is “the storm” a metaphor?
What is shelter?
Is it she herself?


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? (Whitman)


Examples of “I give you something.”


She said she’d give you shelter from the storm.
Again I ask you:
What is shelter from the storm and who is she?

We listened to this song in the classroom.

video



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What is your favorite book or manga?

(As an example of free writing for my students)

It is a difficult question. Some students wrote that they couldn’t choose one book or manga. Me too. The “favorite” thing is the one that you like the most. There are many books (not so manga) in front of me. Every book has something to say. So I can choose any book. Each book can be my favorite book.

I’d like to talk about a Japanese book because I’m an English teacher. Here is a book titled “My Bukkyo” (My Buddhism). Miura Jun, a Japanese illustrator, is the author. Taking it out from my book shelf, I see his profile. It reads: Born in 1958 in Kyoto. An illustrator etc.

ETC! It means this guy is not only an illustrator. It indicates he has lots of things to do besides illustration. He might not be a genuine illustrator, but in his case, “etc” is a meaningful word. Miura Jun has various “my booms” (things in which he has been absorbed). The phrase “my boom” won Grand Prize in Japan’s Keywords Contest in 1997.

Buddhism is important for him, but at the same time, it is just a thing for him. He is not a serious Buddhist. He enjoys watching the statues in temples. He is not caught by the doctrine. I feel the spirit of freedom from his writing, his attitude or looks. That’s why it is my favorite book today. I don’t know what it is tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What do you want to do this summer?

(As an example of free writing for my students)

I want to go to India. I have never been there, but I’m sure there is something wonderful there. I don’t have so much experience of traveling abroad. I heard even veteran travelers had troubles in India. And this year, a severe heat wave hit the country and lots of local people passed away. So, I’m thinking of changing the plan. If I have a chance, I might go to India this winter.

This summer, I will stay in Japan. I will go to my high school in Tokyo. For work? No, I don’t want to work during summer holidays. (I have to work a lot, of course.) I want to go to the music room at our school. For what? Trumpet practicing!

This April, I became an adviser of Jazz club. A Japanese high school which has a club called “Jazz” is not usual, I think. And I took my trumpet out from the closet in my house. For a long time, my trumpet has been sleeping there.

When I was a university student, I started it. It was difficult for me to make the sound. Listening to Miles Davis and playing the instrument were completely different things. And now, a 43-year-old man has a new challenge. It is music, but it’s also like physical exercise for him.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Challenge

It’s easy to say “challenge,” but without actions, you couldn’t be even a challenger.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Opinion Poll

My wife told me not to take a newspaper to the bathroom (toilet).
I think it’s a good place to read.

We have different opinions, so we’d like to hear from you.
Do you take something to read there, or not?

Friday, June 5, 2015

When is your happiest day?

Today is Friday. It is the previous day of the weekend.
Is it the happiest day of the week?
When is the happiest day of your life?

“Congratulations, my boy!” said the groom’s uncle. “I’m sure you’ll look back and remember today as the happiest day of your life.” “But I’m not getting married until tomorrow,” his nephew replied. “I know,” said the uncle, “that’s exactly what I mean.”

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Test

I was just standing in the classroom, sitting a little. Looking around the room, I was hiding my presence as much as possible.
Students’ eyes were down on a paper in front of them. They were thinking and writing their answers on it.
I felt like having communication without spoken words.
Today, I did a test in English class at our high school.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Model

I was just sitting on a chair. Looking out of the window, I was keeping my posture as much as possible.
Students were looking at me and drawing the lines on their sketch book.
I felt like being tickled by their pencils.
Today, I did a model in Art class at our high school.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Somewhere along the line

All you can do is to read what you can read in English.
Is it true also for those who are going to take university entrance exam?
I think it is basically true.
Even if you cannot read difficult English at first, all you can do is to walk with it.
Walk with it. Walk and read. Again and again.
Don’t just sit there. Walk and read the line.

Somewhere along the line I knew there’d be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me. (Jack Kerouac)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Walk with English

英語を読めるようになるには英語を読むしかない。かわりに英文を持ち歩く。それを読む。(村上春樹)

All you can do is to read what you can read in English.
Walk with English in your hand and just read it.

What are you walking with?
With your smartphone?
What do you see on the screen?