Weekly Logs Oct.28-Nov.3, 2019

I couldn’t write my weekly logs for almost one month because it has been too busy.


I taught in a class in the morning. That is not for Japanese course but for students who took Japanese test in entrance examination of the university. The class is small. After the class I went to the teachers’ room, worked there for one and half hours, but didn’t meet any other Japanese teachers. I took a lunch as usual. I made some audio data for listening course. It took three hours in the afternoon. Then I practiced two hours for Wednesday’s listening class.



I went to haircut in the morning. Other than that, whole one day was spent for making listening materials. I should not write what it is for. But the problem is that there is the minimum requirement as to time length. It is too long to make.



I taught in two classes in the morning. I went to a bank in the afternoon because I had to submit my mobile phone number as part of my bank account. One of third grade students took me to the bank. After that was four hours of audio data making for the listening course.



I was still making audio data in whole of the morning hours. I taught two classes in the afternoon. I asked the second grade students if they knew there were two types of Kanji pronunciations. It was surprising to me that they didn’t know there were On- and Kun-pronunciations for Kanji. Such a meta-knowledge may not help them learn Japanese. But it is second language learning by university students. I thought I had to tell them such basics of Japanese language some time in near future. After the composition class, I continued audio data making for three hours in my residence.



From 7a.m. to noon, I made audio data for the listening course. I took a nap after the lunch and added some slides to PPT for composition class. Those slides were for comparison between transitive and intransitive verbs of Japanese. Early evening was the composition class. Getting back at 5:30, I continued audio data making. I realized that my audio data was still short for time requirements.



I started evaluation and correction of compositions from two classes of second grade students. In the writing Japanese, a writer need to choose and stick to one writing style out of two. One is Desu-Masu style and the other is Da-Dearu style. Even though I told students to write in Da-Dearu writing style, some wrote completely in Desu-Masu style, and many students mixed two writing styles. I wanted to finish evaluation and correction of 51 compositions in one day; hopefully it was like one class in morning and another in afternoon. But I couldn’t finish in one day.



Audio data making was the only thing that I have done today. It was like from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. It was still short for the requirement, but I thought I could make it more than that. I went outside only for lunch. I took nap for 30minutes. Other than that, I had no time to rest.

Weekly Logs: Sep.30 – Oct.6, 2019


Went to the teachers’ office at 10a.m. Little people were there. I was even asked by a doorkeeper “Where are you going?” I spent two hours in the office. When I left the building, it was almost empty. It was the start of the holidays. After the lunch, I evaluated students’ composition until the night.

The task was to write a memo to his/her manager. Most of the students’ memo had the same kind of mistakes that were very interesting. I made the whole script. It was like; a person, company employee, got two phone calls in the afternoon. At 3:00, the person got a call from one of business partners and made a long conversation. At the end it, the business partner asks “Please leave a message to your manager so that he calls me back”. And then at 3:30, another call came from a school teacher saying “Your kid got sick. Please come to the school to take him back to your home.” Student wrote a memo for this task. Interesting thing was that most students just wrote about conversation with the business partner (unnecessarily in detail). But they just forgot to write why he/she had to leave the work place. They should have written two things; one was asking the manager to make a phone call, the other was reason why he/she was not there. Out of 45 students, only two wrote these two things. Most wrote the business partner’s message only. Two students wrote just “I gotta leave” without mentioning the business partner’s message at all, which was worst. In a Japanese company, what is most important is to inform, to contact, and to consult. Not only Japanese language, I also have to teach them those business skills.



I wrote a long email to one person in the morning. I have already forgotten what I wrote. I think that probably email has already been out of date as a communication tool. People here use SNS to exchange short-yes it’s really short!- messages. Actually I don’t like that short message SNS. Every time I got a message, I feel that I have to make a response within 3 minutes. It makes me stop everything that I am doing. Anyway after I finished writing email in the morning, I had just been evaluating and correcting students’ composition of Friday class. I finished it around 8p.m.



Since the evaluation and correction of compositions were ended in the night before, I started PPT making for the next class. Common errors were misuses of postpositions of “-wa” for “-ga” and “-o” for “-ni”. I made some slides so that student could understand why “-ga” should be used for the subject that is unique and why “-ni” should be used for the object that is targeted by the action.

I went outside at noon to go to a grocery store. I bought some vegetables and a half kilogram of jujube. When I asked how a jujube tasted to one Japanese, she told me that it tasted simply, lightly, and naturally (I am not sure if this conveys the meaning in English, though). It is not so sweet. But I think it is better to eat jujube for my health than to eat 0re0 when I feel I want to eat something. Besides, it is not so sweet that the harmful insects would not damage it much. I guess so from my experience of gardening, and I hope that farmers of this country don’t use pesticide much for jujube.



I just kept making PPT for the class. I finished it at 7p.m. It took whole two days. It made me tired.



I wrote another long email in the morning. For the rest of the day, I had been making a midterm examination for the composition class. For that class, I make the students write compositions as homework assignment. Writing takes time. I don’t want to waste time by making students write in the 90 minutes class. I do feedback in the first half, and give explanation the new homework in the last half. So students write their compositions where I cannot see them. Some students consult together, some use translation on the internet, and even plagiarize someone’s writings from somewhere. So I think it is necessary to do a midterm exam in order to measure the real writing skills of students.



I had just kept working in this one-week holiday. I sent some emails to my friends in the morning. So it was a kind of the first thing that I did other than job. After taking a lunch in my apartment, I went to a supermarket to buy 5 kilogram of rice. Actually I don’t like a supermarket in the basement. If a fire happens, many people would be killed because there are not enough exits and fire extinguish facilities will not work properly. So I just avoid going to such a supermarket. But I cannot find rice in nearby grocery stores. I have to go to the supermarket in the basement. Anyway, the rice here has a flavor that is rarely smelled from the rice in Japan. Probably if Japanese smell that flavor of rice, he/she wouldn’t like it. But I like it, not bad. It smells like very old time rice.



Yes, it is today. I tried making PPT of composition class which would be of the second week from now. I ate a lunch in the university restaurant, and then went to a grocery store. I bought tomato, onion, green vegetable, garlic, ginger, green bean, and 0re0. Perhaps I am an 0re0 addictive. But I am sure that I am not the only one who is 0re0 addictive. Anyway, when I got back my apartment, I felt I no longer keep working. Did I sleep on the bed one or two hours? I got up from the bed and started PPT making again. I couldn’t finish it but stopped at 6 p.m. I cooked my supper and ate it, and now I am writing this. Coming week will be a quite tough one to me. Until the start of classes for the first grade, only two days remain. I am a Japanese teacher with almost zero experience. How can I …….

Weekly Logs: Sep.23 – 29, 2019


I draw a draft of four pictures on sheets of paper with pencil. They were a kind of comic of four pieces that I wanted to use in my Japanese composition class. So far, I made my students write Japanese compositions with the following titles; Self-introduce, Things that I like, What I will be in ten years from now, Travelogue, E-mail to the teacher, and Memo to the manager. The first four are just writing about him/herself. Students could write just what they think about themselves. The last two compositions had functions for communications to others, especially persons who were in higher position than students. Now I am thinking about compositions to describe anything in this world. It can be a description in chronological order, a description with spatial configuration, or a description of commodities like vacuum cleaner. Not only for description, I want my student make a story. So I was preparing a draft of four pieces comic. I had made a draft by pencil. The next step is to write it with pen and scan to make digital image.

I went to the teachers office at 10a.m.. I talked to the teacher who was of this country there. Yes I am a foreign teacher here. Ate my lunch in the restaurant for the teacher, and then got back to my residence. Whole of the afternoon was spent for evaluation and correction of my students’ compositions



In the early afternoon I had finished the evaluation and correction of compositions of two classes. And then I started to make PPT slides for the composition class for Thursday. I stopped working at 8 p.m. Cooked my supper, ate it, then went to bed.



I finished PPT making at around 3p.m.. Then I wrote a long email to a young person who I met recently. Once I sent the email, I started proofreading and correction for a student’s draft that was to be submitted to Japanese composition contest. I was asked to do it for three students. Each has two thousands letters of Japanese. I finished the first one spending three hours on Wednesday.



I tried to finish the second composition draft. It took more hours to finish because there were a lot of things to make comments on it. I spent the whole morning hours for that. After the lunch I practiced for my class. I use three voices when I prepare and practice my Japanese class. One voice is, of course, me as a teacher. The second voice is pseudo Tohoku dialect for students. The third voice is, also for students, counter tenor with Kansai accent. This Thursday I found another –the fourth- voice that sounds like an Englishman speaks funny Japanese. If neighbors listen to my voices while I am practicing, they would certainly think that I was crazy.

My Thursday composition class starts on 3:30p.m. Every time I start my class with shouting “Do not use your mobile phone during the class. Put it in your bag”. But this Thursday, one of the students on the first row seemed to be reluctant to put it into her bag. She put it down on the sheet of next chair. Her phone was on a hard disk. I understood that she wanted to record my voice. I thought they don’t have much opportunity to listen to spoken Japanese in the real situation, although there are a lot of video clips on the internet. So I just let her do that.



I proofread and corrected the third draft for Japanese composition contest. I started it as soon as I got up from the bed in the morning and finished it in early afternoon. I had the same composition class for the second grade as Thursday, but it was for another class. In the evening I went to a restaurant to join a party of the student group who write monthly Japanese newsletter. All the dishes on the table were oily. Students ordered for me several vegetable dishes with less oil because I looked I couldn’t eat anything. Went back to the resident around 10:30 p.m.. Probably it was midnight when I fell asleep.



I got a problem with proofreading of Japanese compositions for the contest. But I should not write about that in detail here. One thing is certain that there are always some people who exploit others hard work.

Funnily enough, another Friday class would be held on coming Sunday. I got twenty and some Japanese compositions that were submitted on Friday class. This Saturday was the only day for me to evaluate and correct those homework assignments. It took whole day.

In the beginning of this semester, I worked in my room sitting on a chair. Soon my hip started aching. I change the chair, I sat on a sofa and worked. Since I have sit on it for so long, the cheap urethane of the sofa was soon squashed by my hip. My thigh was aching too much to sit on the sofa whose wooden frame directly pushed my thigh. So this week, I started working standing. It looks funny. I put a chair on the table and put my computer on the chair sheet. I checked twenty-some Japanese compositions and record scores on my computer. I had been standing all the day. But it was better than sitting on the sofa.



Yes, it is today. I made some minor correction on my PPT for the class in late afternoon. And then I started evaluation and correction for Thursday class. It couldn’t be finished by the class. In the class I made students do pair-works to compose seasonal greeting so that they could use them in the letter composition that is a new homework assignment. I revised and put those greeting on this blog. It seems like endless work and teaching. So far since the beginning of this semester I just have done two classes a week. But in October it will be nine. How can I get through the semester? I am not sure.