Train Ride under the Dark Sky

It was a day for me to get on a local train.


I had to go to four city halls to collect documents of family record for a person who passed away recently. It is the time that anything can be done online, but many systems in Japan are such out of date that require people wasting much time.



The top of Mountain Suganadake is hidden by the dark cloud.



The train went east toward Fukushima along Agano River.



I got of the train. Fukushima was still very much far. There were a few passengers getting of the train with me.



The office was at 10 minutes walk distance from railway station.



Just after 1 p.m. I went back the station. There were not many things even in front of the railway station because this was a rural area.



Actually I had to wait in the station for two hours. No one was there.



View from the train window. A highway running along Agano River was protected by concrete roof.



It was dark but not in the night. The train was running through a tunnel.



I had to still visit one more city hall at the time when I took this photo. This train trip was not an excursion for leisure. I was just moving under the dark winter sky in Niigata, JAPAN.

Online Teaching for Class 1939 (Listening) on Mar.18, 2020

Date: March 18th on Wednesday, 2020 from 8:00 to 9:30 (9:00 – 10:30 in JST)

Course: Japanese Listening 2

Used app: Streaming on DingTalk, Presentation by Powerpoint (73 slides)

Numbers of Students: 27

All the 27 students stayed with me online class from start to the end.

Responses to the “During-the-Class_Quiz”:

I didn’t much “During-the-Class” quiz this time. I asked only four students to get reactions. This wasn’t enough to get responses and to give them feedback. I need to improve the way to get students’ reaction.


1: Review of Homework: 24 out of 27 students sent me their answers of homework. Four students failed to send to me in time. All 24 got full scores.

2: Review of the last class; A lot of rote training. I am not sure but this kind of mechanical repetition would get criticized in current second language learning norm.

3: Noun predicate sentences that can mean existence of a person or things. Last time I taught them two types of verb predicate sentences that can mean existence of a person/animal and things that don’t have life.

Homework Assignment:

Drawing a picture by the direction of listening material. This is the activity that the textbook intended. It’s good to give it to students as a homework.

Issues and Problems:

Good balance between rote training and “meaningful learning”


Online Teaching for Class 1836 (Composition) on Mar.17, 2020

Date: March 17th on Tuesday, 2020 from 15:30 to 17:00 (16:30 – 18:00 in JST)

Course: Japanese Basic Composition 2

Used app: Streaming on DingTalk, Presentation by Powerpoint (74 slides)

Numbers of Students: 28

One student stayed 41 minutes but he left the online class. Other 27 students had been stayed whole through 90 minutes.

Responses to the “During-the-Class_Quiz”:

Q1: Of 28, 25 answered, 3 were silent.

Q2: Correction of sentences written by one particular student. Only 13 suggested his/her correction.

Q3: This was to ask types of  conjunctive particles. 23 students answered and all correct.

Q4: A series of 5 questions at the end of class in order to check if a student had been with class through the class. 26 submitted. Some got 4 points, some 5.


How can a composition class be done online? Actually my concern is just how to kill the time during an online composition class. Writing takes time. So if I made students write compositions in class, it would  be so easy to spend 90 minutes. But a big question arises; Isn’t it the same as homework? Is there any benefits to do it online?

So I had to think of how I teach during 90 minutes composition class. What I did was to show everybody how I correct one student’s composition. So the first half of time and slides were used for this activity. Corrections were a lot;

Verb Te-form, Inconsistency between a subject and a predicate, error on choice of conjunctive particles, speech style with spouse, Particles’ -wa/-ga problem, correlation between some type of adverb and sentence ending, better use of -teiru/tekuru, and so on.

In the last half of the time, I used the textbook which I don’t like much. Using it, I taught choices ko-so-a words and tense-aspect issue.


Writing a Composition about how the student was spending this winter break within 300 characters. And the Word file must be sent by email to the teacher.

Issues and Problems:

It was obvious that PPT slides that I prepared were short for 90 minutes. So I introduced a Japanese painter Mr. Ikuo HIRAYAMA in the middle of the class.