Monday, May 19, 2008


1D class was practicing in pairs, and I was writing on the board preparing the next part of the lesson, when a boy got up and came to the front. A few students had already started giggling before he leaned over and whispered (loudly) in my ear something in Japanese. I didn't understand all the vocabulary used, but I recognized "~aite imasu" ("~is open") and looked down to see that my fly was indeed open.

By that point, most of the class had become aware of it, and there was no point in trying to be discreet. I faced the class and made a surprised face, told the boy "thank you!" and tiptoed out of the classroom in an obvious manner. I zipped up and strutted back in like nothing had happened (though really, I was making it very clear), and I whispered loudly to the boy, thanking him once more. They all thought it was a riot.

I really do love when these little unexpected things occur. It can be great for livening up a class, especially on a Monday.

On the same topic, today I explained the English phrase "XYZ" to some students, and was amused to learn that the Japanese euphemism for the situation is "shakai no mado" which means "window of society" or "social window".

Monday, May 12, 2008


I've been pretty busy lately and so there haven't been any new posts for a long time. I've mostly been adjusting to my classes for the new school year (which began in March) and working on creating dance music for a side-project I'm doing (more on that later). Anyway, sorry for the lack of updates.

Rather than write a lot of summary of what I've been up to, I'd like to just post a bunch of pictures from our cherry-blossom-viewing trip to Hirosaki. But first, a little explanation:

Hanami ("flower viewing") refers to the annual nationwide celebration of the sakura ("cherry blossoms") coming into bloom. They first appear in Okinawa in January, and move north through the main islands during spring. In Akita, they tend to bloom in early April. Japanese love them for their beauty and their impermanence (they were hardly in Akita City for a week before they began to fall).

Unfortunately, they were a little too impermanent for me and I wasn't able to do hanami in Akita City. Then, Caito had the idea of taking a trip up north where they were still in bloom, and that's how we ended up in Hirosaki with Casey and his wife, Chie from Odate.

Basically, hanami consists of getting together with family and friends and having a picnic in the shade of the sakura.

Before finding our own plot of land, we stopped to admire Hirosaki castle.

We then found a lovely spot directly under a willowing sakura. It was like a small room surrounded by curtains of flowers. Plus, we had a great view of the castle.

And in the distance, we had a clear view of Mt. Iwaki.

I was glad that I got to do hanami after all, especially in such a nice place and time. We were a little worried that it would be too late, even in Hirosaki, but we were pleased to find that there were plenty of full blooming sakura, and most of them had just begun to fall, like snow- which, they say, is the best time to view them.