Weekly Logs: Aug.3-9, 2020

Photographs on the week (Another blog of mine)

August 03, Monday

I went to a branch office of the city hall in the morning to get some verifications of my stamp. Still we Japanese have to use a stamp for signing an important document. A stamp is an out-of-date habit to verify a person who agreed on a document. I think it should be taken place by signature. But anything in Japan is slow to change, lagging behind to be better. And then I went to city library to make my card to borrow the books in the library. I took a log nap in the afternoon, went to a convenience store in order to pay some equivalent to 160 USD for Japanese National Pension (in fact, it was for April), and went to a supermarket to buy food for supper.

August 04, Tuesday

I worked all day. I checked how and where the important grammatical items appeared in each section of reading book that is part of Minnano Nihongo series. That reading material is so well organized. For example, one grammatical item appears in repeatedly in several sections so that a learner can understand, learn, and use themselves the item. So it is important for a teacher to know how, where, and what a grammatical item appears in the reading material.

August 05, Wednesday

I worked all day doing the same thing the day before. I assumed that I would teach 16 sections in the reading book in the coming semester. So I analyzed 16 sections in two days.

August 06, Thursday

I lost the memory of the day. Nothing is recorded on my business diary. I think I started preparing for another subject that I was going to teach in the coming semester. That was the class to teach business manner that can specifically be applied to Japanese working place.     

August 07. Friday

I went to a ceremony for the families that lost loved ones in this year. That was in the morning hours. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, there was no lunch at the noon;  the ceremony was ended within an hour. When I went to the venue in the morning, I got on a taxi from the railway station. That taxi costed 2,790JPY. So I wanted to save money, walked back to the station. Actually it took two hours! I felt tired but I was okay, because I had been just sitting on tatami for this half year. I just wanted to walk by my legs.

August 08. Saturday

It was just yesterday, but I have almost lost my memory about yesterday. It was rainy. So it was like the rainy season had come back again. I went to the nearby library to pick up a book that I asked the library to get from other library through the web site of Niigata city library. Other than that, I had just kept working all day for the business manner class for the coming semester.

August 09, Sunday

It was almost like yesterday. I got an email from the library saying that other five books had delivered to my nearby library. So I went there as yesterday to pick them up in the morning. Other than that, I had just worked all day for making PPT slides for business class.

Although it is now summer break, I assigned homework to the 1734 class students. That was to explain their name in Japanese Kanji so that a Japanese person could tell the Kanji(s) for his/her name. Today is the deadline for the assignment, but still 10 students have not sent their homework to me. Actually the class 1735 is even worse. Many of them have not yet registered to the group on Dingtalk. So I cannot give them the same homework assignment as 1734.

I am going to teach three subjects in the coming semester. All the three is new to me. One year ago, I was going to teach listening for 1st grade students, composition for 2nd grade, and intermediate Japanese for other departments’ students. The last one was contingent, actually. But anyway, if I will teach the listening or composition class, I mean, just one of them, I could have taken a little rest during this summer break. Now I have to prepare new three subjects, I cannot have even one holiday. I need to continue to work every day for preparation. No progress from the last year.

Currently my wordpress blog does not get viewers. Almost no one visits here. The reason is obvious; I just write one post a week only these days. So sometimes I feel I want to write a post. But now it is not the time for it. I should not waste my time for blogging; rather, I need to spend my time for preparation for the classes. And I feel, after all, I think it is difficult for me to write English. For these four years, I have just tried to learn how to teach Japanese. I am a native Japanese speaker, but being a native and teaching the language well are different. I devoted so much for Japanese for so long, now my English has almost disappeared from my brain.   

Weekly Logs: Jul.27-Aug.2, 2020

Photographs of This Week

July 27, Monday

I actually lost the memory about the day. I always write some record about a day on my notebook that is a kind of business diary. But I left nothing on the notebook. I just remember that I ordered a textbook from a book retailer in that country. It was 1857JPY. The textbook itself was 857yen and shipping costed 1000yen. The shop usually sends their books by EMS, however, this time the book cannot reach me in the speed of EMS because of the pandemic.

July 28, Tuesday

I stopped preparing for Japanese teaching from this day. Although I had been doing that since the spring semester ended, I have one thing that I have to do now. That is succession of property that my dad left. At first I spent a lot of hours to understand the way of inheritance tax by looking at the web-site of National Tax Agency. It seemed to me that the process was too complicated. But I realized that I didn’t have to pay the inheritance tax because what my dad left was less than the amount that needed to pay tax. However, even if it is small amount, I have to reach an agreement with other heiresses and need to write a document to show banks. I carefully made the document so that it would not contain any errors in it.

July 29, Wednesday

So the anything in Japan is complicated and difficult unnecessarily. People always waste their time to do anything with irrational procedures. I was still continuing to write a document that would be an agreement among heir (me!) and heiresses. I went to the office of Farmers Association (JA) in the morning to check my dad’s  bankbook. My family has nothing to do with agriculture, though, this area used to be nothing but a farmland in the old days. So the Farmers Association is still an important financial institution here. They gave me good information about succession of property. Since I have no one to consult with, I appreciated their help.

July 30, Thursday

My room, or my office, is a 8-tatami room. Since the beginning of May, I have been sitting on the Tatami for so many hours, working hard to make hundreds or even thousands Power Point slides for my online Japanese teaching, and teaching Japanese language beyond the national border. On Thursday, I cleaned just a little part of this tatami room on the second floor (by US way of counting floor, not by Britain way. This house is just two-story building) And then I took a rest on the bed in the afternoon.

July 31, Friday

I am not sure if I will be able to back to the University before the first semester starts. If not, I will have to continue online teaching. I will teach “new” classes in the coming semester. So I started preparing for the semester by organizing new groups on Dingtalk for class 1938, 1734, and 1735. Making these three groups has not been finished as of Sunday. Probably no teacher used Dingtalk in the last semester for the class 1735 because the 1735 students are slow to join in the group. It was not the thing to hasten; still we have one month by the start of the semester.

August 1st, Saturday

I started making the teaching plans for the reading class. Its textbook is a reading material of part of Minnano Nihongo series. I made the plans from section 26 to 33. In the afternoon, I went to a supermarket to buy some foods for supper. I bought two slices of salmon for the day and chopped chicken for the following day. After the supper, I ordered 24 cans of non-alcohol beer and Chinese-Japanese dictionary to Amazon.co.jp in the night. They were about 15,000JPY (140USD).

August 2nd, Sunday

I got up at 5 in the morning and cut the weed in the garden. Then I took shower and had breakfast. I uploaded my blog post on the goo in the morning hours. Now I just want to upload my digital photos not to wordpress but to goo because it is a little difficult to upload a photo image to wordpress blog post. It is easy for me to do that onto “goo”. In the afternoon, I worked in the air-conditioned room to make my teaching plans for the reading class. I started with the section 34 of the textbook and got to the section 41 that would be the last in the coming semester. But my teaching plan is still simple. I want to make it more elaborate, but I need to move on to preparation for another class that is for business manners. I cannot spent much time for reading class that is for second grade students. Actually the business manner class would be a tough one even to me who had worked for 22 years as a company employee. Anyway there is one thing that I have recently decided. I should not waste my precious time to write a blog post. If many people come and read my posts, it would be good to use my time for writing. But my blog is not that kind. The fact is that only very few people come very occasionally here. So 99.5% of viewers is actually, ME. This blog is exclusively to record my daily life as a less-experienced Japanese teacher. And now it is a summer break between the semesters. I need to use my time wisely for the better teaching in the coming semester.

Weekly Logs: Jul.20-26, 2020

Photographs of This Week

July 20, Monday

I typed what was in the conversation textbook from the section 5 to 7 whole day. This was a preparation for the coming semester. I have to prepare as much as I can before the semester start on August 31st.

I opened my new blog in “goo” after the supper. That was not “google” but “goo”.

July 21, Tuesday

Getting on a local train around 8:30, I went to Niitsu for shopping in the morning market. The morning market in Niitsu is held only on the day with 1 and 6 for the first digit of the date. When I came back to my parents’ house, I uploaded photos that I took in the market, to my new blog. Uploading photographs onto wordpress is cumbersome, so I decided to upload photos onto the goo blog. After that, I finished typing sentences in section 8 of the conversation textbook. Section 1 through 8 will be taught in the first semester, so I had already had text data of what is written in the textbook.

July 22, Wednesday

I made “LQ Laoshi” mask in the morning. That was the second one. The mask was not against corona virus but for hiding my face. After that…I was just taking a rest on the bed for the rest of the day.

July 23, Thursday

I sent some documents of national health insurance and property taxes from a post. Other than that, I spent most of the time on the bed. I was so tired because of the hard work in the spring semester. I didn’t feel well.

July 24, Friday

I went DIY shop in the morning. I bought a saw that was for trimming stems of trees. Since I have worked hard for online teaching since March, actually the trees in the garden are now chaotic. I have to cut them short. But I didn’t have a good saw for cutting branches of the trees. After I came back from DIY shop, I recorded my bass playing. The music was “SOEUR MONIQUE” by F. Couperin. I went to haircut in the afternoon.

July 25, Saturday

It was just yesterday, but I have already lost my memory about yesterday. I uploaded “How to Make Origami Crane” on this wordpress blog with many photographs. But I decided not to upload many digital photos here. It is very difficult to insert photographs onto a post. I have to try several times until I successfully insert a photo.

July 26, Sunday

Yes, it is today. I got on a local train and visited my relative’s house in the morning. There are many blueberry trees in the garden. And. you know, it is July that is the season of blueberry. I thought I could make some blueberry jam in the afternoon. So I prepared glass bottles that were suitable to pour jam before I left home. Actually no one lives in that relative’s house. There are so many empty houses in Japan where the society got aging. When I got to the house, I saw there were no blueberry fruits on the trees, almost nothing. If the birds had eaten blueberry, there should have been white droppings on the ground. But I didn’t see any bird feces on the ground. I remembered that the same thing had happened last year. There was no blueberry fruit on the trees in the month of July. So my conclusion was that someone took blueberry without permission. I was disappointed by that, and just came back home by the earliest train.

In the afternoon, I went to a supermarket. After shopping, I dropped by a flower shop in order to buy some flowers to offer to my dad who passed in February. While a lady was cutting and binding some chrysanthemums, I found small sunflowers in the glass case. Then I thought I wanted to add just one sunflower to the flower bundles. Now it is the end of July, that means the season is summer, sunflower is the flower of the summer….. But I missed the chance to ask her to add sunflower. After all, my dad wasn’t a person who cared about such a little tiny thing (whether or not there is a flower of the season in the flower bundle). I thought it was okay. And I paid 1100 JPY (10USD), then left for home.

Weekly Logs: Jul.13-19, 2020

July 13, Mon.

I had to grade students’ performance in the second semester. I taught 3 subjects for 4 classes. In total, I calculated 111 students’ scores. I had already graded the class 1837’s conversation course and the class 1939’s listening. I input those onto the university’s system on Monday, and I tried to calculate scores for composition classes for 56 students of the class 1836 and 1837. I was just doing that all day.

July 14, Tue.

Actually the deadline for reporting students’scores was on that day. But actually I couldn’t make it. I input scores temporarily onto web form, but did not fix them.

July 15th, Wed.

In the afternoon, I decided to repot the scores and submitted them. I cleaned the room after that. Since March, I had continued to work day and night for preparing online teaching with a lot of PPT slides. So the Japnese style 8-tatami room had become quite dirty. I just threw flush cards for verb conjugation because I didn’t think I would use them again.

July 16th, Thr.

I took a rest many times on the bed because I was tired for the hard work I did in the semester. I continued cleaning the room in the morning hours, and in the afternoon, since the sky was clear with sunshine; I took digital photos of pictures in the conversation textbook. So I had started preparing for the coming semester. I know that it would be better to use a scanner than use a digital camera for that purpose. But actually my scanner is 200 miles away, I mean, my scanner is in Kanto region. If I went there for scanning, thickets for high speed railway would cost much such that I could buy another scanner. And the second wave of corona virus infection is now hitting in Kanto region. So I don’t want to go there now.

July 17th, Fri. and 18th Sat.

I had just processed the image files that I took in the form of digital photos.

July 19th , Sun.

I finished the image processing in the morning. The number of pictures for one semester was about 280. Those were to be used on PPT slides. And then I started typing the Japanese sentences of the textbook so that I could use them also on PPT slides. These works should be done during summer vacation. Once the semester started, it would be disastrous for me to do such works as preparation for the class. In the afternoon, I went outside and paid money for the national pension. I forgot to pay for April and May because I was so concentrated on making online classes. It was about 300 USD, which was a cost of living in this country, JAPAN.

Online Teaching for Class 1837 (Conversation) on July 3, 2020

Date: July 3rd on Friday, 2020 from 13:40 to 15:10 (14:40 – 16:10 in JST)

Course: Japanese Conversation 4

Used app: Streaming was used at the first, and then Video conference was used i n the second half of the class. Both are the functions of DingTalk. Dingtalk’s BBS is also used to show the students some images.

Numbers of Students:

 – Attendance check by the students’ self-claimed input of “Shusseki” onto BBS : 26

  – Attendance check at the end of the class by the names appearing on the streaming show windows: 21

Class Activities:

(1) Review of the last class by PPT slide show streaming

  – The listening material taken from section 12-1 of “Dekiru Nihongo” in which Park-san says that she doesn’t feel well to her friend Yamaguchi-san.

  – The students repeated some practices for several expressions included in the conversation like the particle “-mo” for emphasizing how much it is, another particle “-shika” for emphasizing how less it is, suggestion “-tara douka”, and doing something A without doing something B “-naide,”

(2) Learning the new part of the conversation between Park-san and Yamaguchi-san.

 – Using Dingtalk’s function of video conference, the class learned the new part of listening materials that follows what we had learned. It included “-trashii” and “-naide,”

Homework Assignment:

– No HA.

Issues and Problems:

 This was the last class in the second semester.

Online Teaching for Class 1837 (Composition) on July 3, 2020

Date: July 3rd on Friday, 2020 from 8:00 to 9:30 (9:00 – 10:30 in JST)

Course: Japanese Basic Composition 2

Used app: Streaming of Dingtalk to show PPT presentation.

Numbers of Students:

  – Self-claming attendance on BBS by inputting “Shusseki”: 25

  – Attendance check by the submission of 60-question quiz at the end of the class: 23 

Class Activities:

 – Almost identical to the composition class on Tuesday for the class 1836. What was learned during the first and the second semesters were reviewed in the form of quiz with each having four selections.

(1) Speech/writing style of Japanese

 Japanese speech/writing style varies from situation to situation. You use honorifics to elderlies and teachers, polite expressions in public,  and casual expressions to your friends. Foreign Japanese learners often speak and write Japanese with mixing those different speech style. Further more, writing Japanese has clear distinction between “desu-masu” style and “Da-dearu” style. “Desu-masu” is also used in spoken Japanese but “Da-dearu” is usually only for writing.         

(2) “Da-Dearu” writing style for composition.

 So the important thing for the students to learn is that they learn to use another type of Japanese language style that is different from what they usually learn in their textbook. This has been continuing to be a quite big issue in the composition classes. Many students were sticking to “Desu-masu” even if I told them to write in “Da-dearu”. It seems that changes in language style to adapt the situation are beyonf imagination to the students. In order to measure how well or bad he/she operates “Da-dearu” style writing, all the parameters were taken into the quiz;

Past/non-past for tense, Positive/negative, and four predicates: Noun, Na-adjective, I-adjective, and Verb predicate sentences. 

And several sentences ending with auxiliary verbs were added. Those were of conjugation type of I-adjectives (ex. -tai) or Na-adjective (ex. -youda)        

(3) Proper uses of conjunctive particles

It is so important to learn many conjunctive particles in order to write a complex sentences. But most students can use only “-kara” and “-te/de”. Several other conjunctive particles were examined if the students could choose them.   

(4) Sentence ending to describe changes in time sequence

Expressions “te-iru”, “te-kita”, and “te-iku+guess” were reviewed.

 

 Homework:

  – No HWA.

Issues and Problems:

 The first class that I had as a Japanese teacher in university was the one for this composition class for 1837 class. Through the first and second semeters, I have learned a lot of things. I know that I haven’t had enough experience to teach Japanese language yet.   

Online Teaching for Class 1837 (Conversation) on July 1, 2020

Date: July 1st on Wednesday, 2020 from 15:30 to 17:00 (16:30 – 18:00 in JST)

<This was a supplementary class that was done in irregular hours>

Course: Japanese Conversation 4

Used app: Video conference on DingTalk. 16 png images were uploaded on BBS in order for the students to look at. In the meantime the teacher was using power point only on teacher’s computer screen. The PPT slide was used to show the teacher some scripts and to make it easy to play mp3 audio for listening activity. 

Numbers of Students:

 – Attendance check at the beginning

   : 20 students input “Shusseki” on BBS as their self-claiming attendances.

   : 24 students were confirmed to be connected to the video conference.

 – Attendance check at the end

   : 17 students sent me four sentences that were a task given to them.

Class Activities:

(1) Listening and comprehension

  This class used a listening material from “Dekiru Nihongo”. This activity was continued from the Monday class. It was taken from the section 12-1 on the beginner-intermediate book (Yellow) of Dekiru Nihongo. The conversation between Park-san and Yamaguchi-san included the following expressions:

  -1: Use of particle “-mo” to emphasize the extent that is big, many, frequent, and so on

  -2:  Use of particle “-shika” that is always followed by negative expression behind: This was also emphasizing, however, “-shika——nai.” emphasizes the extent that is small, little, less frequent, and so on.  

  -3: Suggestion “-tara doudesuka”

  -4: Doing something A without doing something B, “V1-naide, V2 suru”

The listening materials were segmented for these four expressions. In each segment, I did my teaching as follows:

  <1> Asking a student to describe the situation looking at a picture shown on BBS.

  <2> Listening to audio by playing mp3

  <3> Asking a student several questions to confirm his/her understanding

  <4> Rote exercise of the new expression (one of four listed above)

  <5> Listening again with showing the script of the conversation.

(2) Writing four sentences using the expressions of the day

  The students were told to write four sentences using four expression learned today. They sent them to me at the end of the class. 

Homework Assignment:

– No HA.

Issues and Problems:

  Of course the improvement is necessary for the above procedure <1> through <5>. This was not the best for students’ learning.

Online Teaching for Class 1939 (Listening) on July 1, 2020

Date: July 1st on Wednesday, 2020

– 1st and 2nd sessions from 8:00 to 9:30 (9:00 – 10:30 in JST)

– 3rd and 4th sessions from 9:50 to 11:20 (10:50 – 12:20 in JST)

Course: Japanese Listening 2

Used app: Video Conference and Streaming on DingTalk. Powerpoint were also used only on the teacher’s computer display. An excel spread sheet was distributed to the students.

Numbers of Students: 27

   – At the beginning of 1-2 session, all the 27 students input “Shusseki” on BBS as self-claiming attendance.

   – At the end of 1-2 session, 26 students submitted an excel spread sheet which was to fill the blanks and complete the table for basic verbs’ conjugation.

  – At the beginning of 3-4 session, 27 students input “Shisseki” on BBS.

   – At the end of 3-4 session, all the 27 students were confirmed their attendance by checking their connection to Video conference. After all, this day’s class was a kind of final examination. So no one dared to be absent.

Class Activities:

1-2 session:

– Oral examination: A student was called one by one to video call in reversed order to their student ID number. He/she pronounced some Japanese words. The teacher recorded audio. It was thought that this oral test could be finished in 1-2 session. But it didn’t. Only 17 made it in 1-2 session.

3-4 session:

– The rest of the oral examination: 12 students were called to the video call. One student was asked to do it again because the teacher had lost the audio data.

 – Teaching: The oral examination ended at around 10:40. The class continued to learn using video conference. The teaching was about expressions “V-te ageru” and “V-te morau”in order to know how to use “give and take” transitive verbs that needed not only particle “-o” but also “-ni”.      

Homework Assignment:

– No homework was assigned.

Issues and Problems:

– The issue is, you know, how to evaluate 27 audio recordings of oral test.

Online Teaching for Class 1836 (Composition) on June 30, 2020

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

Course: Japanese Basic Composition 2

Used app: .Streaming of Dingtalk to show PPT presentation.

Numbers of Students:

  – Numbers of attendance by self-claiming onto BBS: 25 students left inputs of “Shusseki”. Three students came late.

  – Numbers of attendance at the end: 26 students sent their answers for 60-question quiz.

Class Activities:

 “60-question quiz” : Since this was the last composition class in this school year, what we had learned was reviewed in the form of quiz. The quiz was to ask the following items:

 – Speech/writing style of Japanese

 – “Da-Dearu” writing style for composition. Questions covered the most of pattern of sentence endings for Noun-, Na-Adj, I-Adj, and Verb predicate sentences with parameters of past/non-past and positive/negative.

 – Proper uses of conjunctive particles

 – Some sentence endings to describe cahanges in time sequence like “te-iru”, “te-kita”, and “te-iku+guess” 

Homework:

No HWA. The students need to prepare for the alternative test for final examination on coming Tuesday.

Issues and Problems:

This kind of test should have been done not in the last class, but in much earlier so that the students could get a good feedback to improve their weaknesses.

Online Teaching for Class 1836 (Composition) on June 29, 2020

Date: June 22th on Monday, 2020 from 13:40 to 15:10 (14:40 – 16:10 in JST)

<This was a supplementary class on irregular time>

Course: Japanese Basic Composition 2

Used app: Video Conference on DingTalk. BBS was supplementary used to show PNG images that was the instruction for procedures of 1-minute speech and QA session.

Numbers of Students: 28

 – At the beginning:

     – Self-claiming attendance by the means of input “Shusseki” onto BBS: 28

     – Attendance check using the video conference monitor: 26

– At the end by sending photos of composition: 25

Class Activities:

  Each student made his/her one minute speech about tourism in a particular prefecture in Japan. This was done in the order of student ID number.

  There were question and answer times for each speech when it was ended. A student to ask a question was assigned randomly so that other students would try to listen to the speech. It is important to know how to ask a question in a conference where many people are gathering. So the teacher instructed the students at the beginning of the class about how to make a question in a conference.  

  The teacher controlled the progression of speeches. In order to give every students chances to speak, the time that one student could spend was getting shorter and shorter towards the end.

Homework:

No HWA

Issues and Problems:

 Most of students wouldn’t like to listen to other students’ speech. So I assigned a questioner randomly. All the students just made the same question that I prepared for them as examples. Some questioning students didn’t know what prefecture was talked. I should have recorded such an incident and reduced his/her score for grading.