Here I am with some of my favorite students
(From Left to Right, Megumi, Takuya, Takahito, Yoritoshi, Hiroko, Takashi, Maccho, Me, Masa, Jyoji and Asano)
No matter how bad a day I was having, as soon as I walked into the classroom and began teaching, I automatically felt better. My students were always kind and usually laughed at the appropriate moments. Once we got to know each other we were able to joke around and tease. It was great to hear my students being funny in English. (To be able to use humor in a “second” language is a good sign of language acquisition.)
Dance Dance Revolution, is a video game. There are four arrows on the floor, “front”, “back”, “left” and “right”. On the monitor are matching arrows that scroll up until they reach the top of the monitor. When they reach the top you must stomp on the corresponding arrow on the floor. This may sound easy, and it is, but only when the arrows are moving slowly and you only have to stomp on one at a time. Sometimes you must stomp on two arrows at once, other times the arrows are flying by at light speed. I was not very good at this game, and I got more pleasure out of watching other people do it than doing it myself. Would I try it again? Absolutely!
This is a picture of the phone that we had in our apartment. It was a pay phone, and yes, it was a rotary phone. Since it was a pay phone, it was very heavy, and the phone cord was so strong and short that we almost always ended up sitting on the floor while talking on the phone. Since the apartment was fairly small, this sometimes presented a problem if a roommate wanted to get something out of the refrigerator and then go sit down and eat. Unlike a pay phone in the U.S. that gives you unlimited time for a local call for $.25 or $.35, these phones charged 10 yen for every couple of minutes, and there was no tone to warn you when you were about to run out and should put in another coin. There were many times when I was talking to someone who lived in the same building that we would get cut off. I would get so frustrated that I would run up the five flights of stairs so that we could talk in person, even if what we had been discussing was whether or not we were going to do something that day/evening or not. So the phone was a bit annoying, but it was much better than not having one at all, and I think that some U.S. Parents might like the idea of a payphone for their kids. Of course it seems like most Japanese young people, at least the ones in the Tokyo area, have tiny little cell phones. It seemed strange to be in a country that is so advanced technologically in so many ways to have a phone that looked like this, but I guess that’s part of what makes it noteworthy.
Kathrine, our friend Steve, and I went on a trip to see the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. We walked a lot, then we walked some more. Then we saw the roof of the Palace, (we think), then we walked some more. We did see some really beautiful things, including this swan who struck a pose just as I was taking its picture. We never did get a good view of the Palace, but we had a good time anyway.