the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Send Off Party Schedule

See my schedule for my last month or so in Japan here or below.

If you want to schedule sometime to see me. Schedule a time soon. ^_^

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the first of the lasts

my last bible english class will b july 14

my last chapel service will b july 17

Monday, June 22, 2009

冷し中華 hiyashi chuuka is what u eat when its ungodly humid. like it is today

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flower Day

Every UCCJ church had "Flower Day" 花の日 this Sunday.  Everyone brings flowers to church, we bring them upfront and bless them, and then we send the flowers out to people in the community who are less fortunate. 

Although I've never heard of it in the States, evidently this tradition started in Massachusetts sometime in the late 1800's.

Today at school, chapel was also "Flower Day" 花の日礼拝.  Students brought flowers to chapel in the morning.  After school, students went out to the community and delivered flowers to people.

The junior high chaplain, three students and I went to an assisted living home for the elderly.  On the way there, the chaplain quizzed the students on what they would say when they delivered the flowers あいさつ.  Basically the students were going to say, "We're from Seiai.  We appreciate you.  Here are some flowers for you." 

I asked the chaplain what the purpose of Flower Day was 先生、花の日礼拝の目的は何ですか?  He said to thank (God) and thank our neighbor.  やっぱり、感謝します。そしてほかの人を感謝します。I said, wouldn't it be nice to tell the people that we thank God for them.  じゃあ、その人たちにそのことを教えばいいでしょう。He said no, religion is still a scary thing in Japan, so we should just be vague about it.  There's a Bible verse on the card.  まあ、やっぱり、日本の中で宗教はまだ怖いものですからあいまい法がいいです。カードで聖書があります。

If we can't even say the name of the Lord to other people, we have a problem.  If we are depending only on a Bible verse that is written on a card that people will probably glance at and throw away, we have a problem.  And if we follow that line of reasoning, we shouldn't even talk about God to the students because it might still be a scary topic for them too.  And we shouldn't even teach the Bible, we should just give them one and hope they read it. 

Any one can deliver flowers.  We should be able to TELL people WHY we are delivering flowers.  We should be able to tell people WHY we are different.  This is one of the reasons why no one is coming to our churches or schools - because we never tell them about it!  But it's easier this way.  Just take away the meaning and keep the formalities. 

Some Christians from other churches tell me my school is just Christian form with no meaning.  And I try to tell them that's not true.  But on days like this really make me wonder if it's not true.

How do I type Japanese on my computer?

I just had another friend ask again. So here you go:

You can type Japanese on your Windows computer by installing the "Japanese IME with language pack".

Instructions here.

Download here. Choose "Japanese - with language pack".

(After you've installed the IME)

Short cuts:
toggle English and Japanese = Alt + Shift
Katakana = Alt + Caps Lock
Hiragana = Ctrl + Caps Lock


Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Blind Artist

What the blind man sees!

(first shared by my friend Ramone.)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Studio Re:

Studio Re: has made some films about life in Japan. I found them thought provoking. Have a look:

じてんしゃ Bicycle

My Story 恵

Mujo no Kaze

Friday, June 05, 2009

Do you have much time left?

A quick recap of a response to an email from one of my friend's mothers at church at home:

I still have about 2 or 3 months left here.  Summer vacation starts in here in mid July (American summer vaca is really long).  And technically, I have from then until August 14 (when my visa expires) to stay here.

But in between then I have a lot of things coming up.  I'm working on grad school applications.  Seems like I'll just make it in on time.  Soon I'll be prepping for final tests, then there's the school festival.  There's my going away party too.  My supervisor at school is already asking me to choose the place and write a speech. 

Then I should smooth the transition over for my successor.  He says he thinks everything will be ok, but I'm not so sure.  I think my job is a little complex.

There's also an English camp I helped out with last year near here the first week of August, and a VBS program at Yokohama that also finishes around Aug 14. :)  Since we're still smoothing out details about when my successor will come, I'm not sure if I'll do all that.  There are so many chances for ministry in Japan!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

sukiya goes eco

they quit using disposable chopsticks! o(^-^)o

A Cultural Misunderstanding?

This weekend, the cheerleaders had a retreat.  Cheerleading parents cooked their food.  On Monday (yesterday) more than half of them were sick.  It looks like some sort of food poisoning.

So yesterday we bleached all the surfaces in that entire part of the building.  Students were encouraged to wash their hands.  This is understandable.

Here comes the cultural misunderstanding:

This morning there was going to be a Student Council broadcast.  But because of the food poisoning, the principal had to tell the students what they should do.  Because he is on the top of the chain of command, this necessitated hurrying to the gym and standing while the principal was talking.

During the talk, the principal told students they NEED NOT wash their hands with SOAP!  Using ONLY WATER will be JUST FINE!  While I know this is a common misconception in Japan, I couldn't believe the principal was lying to the students! 

And to top it off while he was giving this lecture on "health and hygine" a senior girl fainted and fell down.  Does anyone else see the irony?

After this, students returned to their classrooms for the student council broadcast.

In my opinion, a broadcast would have been more healthy for everyone.  And it would have saved time too.  We went to the gym to listen to the principal lie about health issues that he doesn't know about anyway.  I don't know why we went to the gym in the first place.

When I told this opinion to a few teachers, only one agreed with me.