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 It is the time that anything can be done online, but many systems in Japan are such out of date that require people wasting much time.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.

Online Teaching for Class 1939 (Listening) on Mar.16, 2020

Date: March 16th on Monday, 2020 from 9:50 to 11:20 (10:50 – 12:20 in JST)

Course: Japanese Listening 2

Used app: Streaming on DingTalk, Presentation by Powerpoint (72 slides)

Numbers of Students: 27

All the 27 students stayed with me on the online class until the end. They are the first grade student. It is different from the behavior of the second grade students.

Responses to the “During-the-Class_Quiz”:

Their responses are quite good. I also tried solo-questioning by calling name of a student. This worked well although it took minutes.


1: Use of nouns that mean position/location

To tell an existence of human/animal or things, some abstract nouns for position/location are used. I taught students how to make those abstract nouns concrete in the form of N1 no N2 which is a modification for noun2 by noun1. I have already taught in the last semester, about difference between the intransitive verbs “iru” for human/animal and “aru” for things without life. This time I put an emphasis on use of somewhat abstract nouns for position/location.

2: Particle “-ga”.

Issues and Problems:

Too much use of English. Controlling time.


Online Teaching for Class 1837(Conversation) on Mar.16, 2020

Date: March 16th on Monday, 2020 from 8:00 to 9:30 (9:00 – 10:30 in JST)

Course: Japanese Conversation 4

Used app: Streaming on DingTalk, Presentation by Powerpoint

Numbers of Students: 28

Of the 28, 21 students connected to the streaming, but 7 had left before the ending. The shortest participation was only just 2 minutes. The student typed his attendance on BBS when the class began, but left from the class quite immediately.

Responses to the “During-the-Class_Quiz”:

1st Q=18, 2nd Q=19, 3rd Q=17, 4th Q=19

Six students did not answer all four questions even though they were in status of participation.

Teaching:  V-te morau, V-te itadakemasenka. Abstract of Japanese honorific system

Issues and Problems:

In this online streaming teaching, I couldn’t pay attention to each student’s nature or tendency. It is like I am teaching toward one monolithic mass of students. But each individual student is different from others. I could know some small nuance by a particular student in particular moment in the real class room. And I could talk to one by one. I think the online teaching has a huge disadvantage in this regard.


Online Teaching for Class 1837(Conversation) on Mar.13, 2020

This is to record my online class of listening course for class 1837.

However, I haven’t had a concrete idea how to make a record of class activities yet, so this is a trial for making a record of online class.

Date: March 13th on Friday, 2020 from 13:40 to 15:10 (14:40 – 16:10 in JST)

Course: Japanese Conversation 4

Used app: Streaming on DingTalk

Numbers of Students: 29

The class lasted approximately 1hours 33 minutes. Most of students had participated all through the class, but one had just stayed 59 minutes.

Responses to the “During-the-Class_Quiz”:

1st Q=26, 2nd Q=19, 3rd Q=21, 4th Q=24

I made students write their answers onto BBS. This has a problem because students just refer to answers that were already shown on BBS. So this way is not good to make students think of the right answer by themselves. Actually my purpose is to check “Are you with me?”

Teaching:  V-te Ageru and V-te Kureru

< Actually I think this part is the most important for the record purpose. I would like to write more on this part, if I could.>

Issues and Problems:

Streaming my PPT presentation is just a one-way teaching. I cannot get students’ responses as I could get in the real classroom. I think that teaching to the students, getting reaction from them, and making feedback to them are so important to make a second language class interactive. I consulted this matter with the chief. He wrote that video conference would give me a quick reaction from students. I would like to try that function on DingTalk.


LQ Laoshi Plays BACH on Electric Bass

J. S. Bach, Unaccompanied Cello Suite No.3, Prelude on Electric Bass (4.22MB)


I know that my playing is slow and technically poor, but this is a kind of mourning for the deceased.

The original is Key-C, but I play in Key-A so that I can play with a four-string bass.

Bass:SR500 by Ibanez

Strings:D’Addario, Extra-Light of Balanced Tension

Amplifier:  Not a Bass Amplifier, but a cheap audio Amp.

I edited the recording around 2:24 because I made a mistake.