Railway Geeks’ Holy Place, JR Niitsu Sation

I had uploaded some pictures for these several weeks. They were the photographs that I used as background picture on PPT slides of my online teaching. But now I am reluctant to upload some of my best pictures here. Maybe I am a stingy guy, but let me say, this blog is so unpopular that no one comes. I don’t have time to waste here. I am busy now because of online teaching. I have to prepare for 70 slides for 90 minutes class. And I have to teach such classes six times a week that need five preparations (two classes are almost identical). I have to work through the night three times a week. I am exhausted.



It seems that  I will not be able to get back to a country where my university is, in near future. So I applied to citizenship in Niigata-city. I went to Niitsu where city ward office is.



Only a railway geek would be interested in this kind of photographs. Niitsu is a town of railway. Think it as letter of “K”. The vertical line is Shin’etsu line of railway. Stroke of upper right is Uestu line and the lower right is Ban’etsu line. Niitsu is the town these railway lines are connected. The town had been developed with railway in the past. But a huge motorization changed everything. The central part of Niitsu has been just going down over time. Still this is a town of railway, so you can see many railway geeks hanging a big and long camera lens in JR Niitsu station.



On the platform bench, they are occupying two of three seats.



Forty some years ago, my family went to Niitsu station. That was the last day of steam locomotives. As a young boy, anything moving was fun to me. But my dad once said that that day, my older sister got angry very much. She didn’t have any interest in such a black thing spewing dark smoke running and stopping. It was a thing almost a half century ago.



Time never stops. Spring has come after the winter as usual. This photo was taken not in Niitsu but in Niigata that is the prefecture capital. I had to go to a bank in Niigata for some cumbersome processes of national pension payment. Anyway, people are now having a different spring time all over this planet.

Online Teaching for Class 1837 (Conversation) on Apr.10, 2020

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

Course: Japanese Conversation 4

Used app: Streaming on DingTalk, Presentation by Powerpoint with 66 slides

Numbers of Students: 28

Fully attendant for 90min : 16,    Completely Absent : 5,

Shorter signing-in: 81, 80, 64, 44, 6, 2 minutes, and the shortest was 11 seconds.

Responses onto the BBS:

– Attendance check by a student his/herself: 25, but two students were recorded as completely absent

– 1st Quiz: 19 students responded. The quiz was to ask right connections between words and auxiliary verbs “-youda” and “-rashii”.

– 2nd Quiz: 17 students responded. The quiz was to ask a little difference of nuance between auxiliary verbs “-youda” and “-rashii”.

– Attendance check at the end: 16 students responded. This is also a quiz to ask differences among hearsay, guess based on hearsay, and guess by him/hersalf.


– Review of conversation using of the auxiliary verb “-youda” for guess.

– Introduction of the auxiliary verb “-rashii”

– Review of guessing using “-deshou”. There was not enough time for practicing for this. Some slides were skipped.

Homework Assignment: Completing conversation using guessing “-deshou”

Issues and Problems:

So many. But let me write them when I have time.

Online Teaching for Class 1837 (Composition) on April.10, 2020

Date: April 10th on Friday, 2020 from 8:00 to 9:30 (9:00 – 10:30 in JST)

Course: Japanese Basic Composition 2

Used app: Streaming on DingTalk, Presentation by Powerpoint with 57 slides

Numbers of Students: 26 out of 28

90 minutes attendance: 19 students

Shorter participation: 71, 48, 35, 35, 33, 4minutes, and the shortest was 52 seconds.

completely absence: 2 students

Responses to my requests like Quiz answers onto BBS:

Attendance check: 28. But two students were recorded as “Completely Absent” on the system.

Quiz 1 through 5: Students were asked to submit 5 answers in the form of text right after the class. Only 18 students sent me the answers. 9 students got 5 points and 9students got 4 points.


The same as composition class for 1836 on Tuesday. I wanted to change PPT slides for  part of the feedback because it used class 1836 students’ compositions. For this 1837 class, I might have changed that part from 1836’s  to 1837’s. However, I knew that I could not spend much minutes for the feedback, I just left that part. As I predicted, I couldn’t spend much time for that part in the class.


The same as composition class for 1836 on Tuesday. That was to write the second draft of advertisement of home electric appliance and to fill the quiz sheet with appropriate particles. I gave 1837 students a feedback a little for the quiz sheet. Even though I warned about use of Wa-ga in the class, still many of 1836 students filled the blanks with wa and ga in this order.

Issues and Problems:

The issue is how to check students’ participation during the class.

In other classes for listening and conversation, I ask students to write an answer on BBS for quiz during the class. This is to check their participation on the way of class because some students just leave a comment of “attendance” at the beginning and then leave the online class. This way of quiz and answering gives responses from the students to me instantly. However, there is a problem that most of students just type the same answer as first and second answers that are answered by the top level students. So, this can be a check for participation, but doesn’t work for quiz that should make students think of the right answer by themselves.

Last week and this week I took another method for checking in composition class. I asked student to have a sheet of paper with numbering 1 through 5. I gave them five questions during the class. And at the end of the class, I asked them not to write the answers on BBS but to send them to me as an individual message. In this way, students would not refer to other students answers unless they contact each other. But this way also has a defect that I cannot get an immediate responses from students.

Maybe it would be better to combine two methods, but I am afraid that that would be confusing for students which to write an answer on BBS or a sheet of paper. I am just trying to figure out the best way. Perhaps it would be case by case basis.