Monthly Archives: March 2014

Japanese Diary of Mrs. Toshiko Jackson – 3

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。                                    

                                                                                                                                   

My Japanese classes/lessons included practices to develop skills of speaking/talking, reading, listening, writing, interacting, and constructing/performing students’ own dialogues by pairs/groups. As for the main textbooks and materials, the Beginner 1 usedTraining Manual and other handouts for vocab, grammar etc. From Beginners 2 onwards, Genki Book 1 was used for the main textbook.

Also, apart from Japanese magazines (e.g. Jenta, Nichigo Press), Japanese newspapers, The Australian (esp. for news/current affairs on Japan), Daily Telegraph (its travel magazines and pictures of cute animals etc to make sentences/application of grammar in Japanese) were used. At the end of courses of 10 weeks, the students had an exam or open-exam which included features of vocab., grammar, dialogues construction, translation and script. – One of Beginners 1 classes did so well with dialogues making and performing, i.e. linguistically and in making creative/interesting contexts of the dialogues and performing them in the front of classroom, that was delightful.

In a lesson for a 6-year-old girl, I taught her shuuji (calligraphy) (more formal name is shodo) to practise Hiragana in caligraphy, learn vocab and enjoy the special, peaceful (mind/heart calming and clarifying activitity). Beforehand, I prepared small, pretty pictures which were cut out from magazines and flyers; in the lesson, I sticked them to the bottom corner of each white sheet so that her Hiragana writing of Japanese words in the middle of the sheets will reflect the pictures. The words/pictures included ones of Mt. Fuji (in front of big beautiful green tea leaves fields), cherry blossoms, sushi dish etc apart from her name. She enjoyed that activity. She has mastered stroke orders of many Hiragana letters, so her hiragana words in calligraphy was just like a native speaker’s calligraphy and very good. It was very worthwhile exercise. I plan to do similar activity with adult classes too once in a course. I recall that many years ago I taught shuuji as extra activity in a pilot program of Japanese course at a primary school in Melbourne for half a year. It had about 7 pupils (both boys and girls) in class. When the pupils were doing shuuji, the whole classroom was amazingly “so” quiet for about 20 minutes. Shuuji or calligraphy are good for any ages.

In my last month’s Blog, I reported about the Tokyo Motor Show this month (Dec. ’13) and the major Japanese car makers’ models at the Show which were tiny electric cars, esp. all-electric tandem-seat three-wheelers. Recently I found an Japanese newspaper article (Nihon-keizai-shimbun, 21.10.13, p. 33, “Denki-jidoosha, ritoo –de koohasshin”) on the increasing sales of such electric car/vehicle (EV) esp. in small islands which are away from the major islands, such as Honshuu and Kyuushuu. The article informs great merits of use of such very small electric cars. (The articles particularly report about Nissan and Toyota’s models.) That is, the drivers can go through narrow roads with great versatility (compared to use of conventional cars), energy cost for driving such cars is less than half of the cost paid for driving fuel based, conventional cars.

Those EVs can’t be driven for a long distance. One EV can run for 299km at maximum after charging battery each time. Those EV have different models. Some of them can accommodate 4 people in the car; some others can 3, 2 or 1 person. Apart from individuals (including people who are older people), business groups, esp. those of tourism based ones, and public offices, like City Councils, bought or rented such EV and use them for business, tourism and daily life. There are even daily rental cars of such are increasingly used. e.g. in a small island near to Kagoshima prefecture (located the south of Kyuushuu Island) and an island near to Kagawa prefecture, they have rental EV cars especially for tourists. The latter’s rental EV cars cost ¥8400/day. For that, there are clients who wait for those cars as “kyanseru-machi” (waiting for the car cancelled by someone else). Another amazing and inspiring innovation for people’s better life and such society!

Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson

3.2.14

Japanese Diary of Mrs. Toshiko Jackson – 2

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

My Japanese classes/lessons included practices to develop skills of speaking/talking, reading, listening, writing, interacting, and constructing/performing students’ own dialogues by pairs/groups. As for the main textbooks and materials, the Beginner 1 usedTraining Manual and other handouts for vocab, grammar etc. From Beginners 2 onwards, Genki Book 1 was used for the main textbook.

Also, apart from Japanese magazines (e.g. Jenta, Nichigo Press), Japanese newspapers, The Australian (esp. for news/current affairs on Japan), Daily Telegraph (its travel magazines and pictures of cute animals etc to make sentences/application of grammar in Japanese) were used. At the end of courses of 10 weeks, the students have an exam or open-exam which included features of vocab., grammar, dialogues construction, translation and script.

One of the pictures, which I used in class to make Japanese sentences with use of adjectives and verbs (esp. ones of the past tense), was the very cute and adorable picture of a baby elephant. The elephant had fallen off at a small muddy cliff in a town in India, survived and looked so relieved/marveled by himself! (Daily Telegraph, 19.2.14) It’d be fun and enjoyable to make descriptive sentences in Japanese about such picture and the positive and happy-ending amazing event.

As for Japan and its culture, international relationships making news, I informed to all students about the Exhibition of Sogetsu Ikebana School & Ceramic Art, ‘Clay to Flowers’ (www.mitsuoshoji.com.au and www.sogetsu-ikebana.org.au) at the Royal Botanic Garden, Macquaries Rd, Sydney. It is open from Sat. 1 Mar. to Sun. 16 Mar., daily 10am – 3pm. Free admission. It is a big exhibition. On 9 Mar., the Garden will hold its Autumn Festival. It will take place, celebrating together with the exhibition of the above Japanese, exquisite exhibition of the flower arrangement of Sogetsu-school and well known ceramics arts which are also used for the Japanese flower arrangement. Seeing such an exhibition will be great and inspiring experiences to understand Japanese arts, art and tradition culture. (I said to one of my wonderful students, who respects and loves Japan, “You might be able to see beautiful Japanese ladies in gorgeous kimono if you go there esp. on the 9th!”)

During the week of 24 Mar., one of the NHK Japanese News shows at SBS2 (11:05am~) reported Japan and the US has launched a satellite which will detect changes of rain, snow and the climate, around the whole globe. The US Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy was at the location of the satellite launching on that day too. The satellite was built as the joint work with a Japanese well known university. The satellite will be useful for the future globe and for many good causes for the benefits of human race and environment.

The above TV program also reported/showed (4 Mar.) that there are gorgeous cherry blossoms opened in many areas in Japan. One was in Shizuoka prefecture and for about 500 metres on a big road, beautiful sakura (cherry blossom) are in full bloom (when the winter of terrible and trouble-causing snow falls is finally coming to the end!) Amazing and peaceful sights indeed.

During this March, Chatswood Concourse (409 Victoria Ave, Chatswood, TEL: 9411 8144) is showing brilliant and beautiful anime films of Hayao Miyazaki. worldly renowned animation film producer, on Tuesdays night or from afternoon weekly. It is for public viewing and free of charge. You can check the website for the events too. All the films are in English (if the setting is in Japan, you will see many Japanese culture, environment, names and traditional things and value). Miyazaki’s works have been being used in the Japanese HSC in the NSW Education for years. I personally adore H. Miyazaki, Osamu Tezuka (his famous series of Astro Boy, Tetsuwan-atomu went to many countries in the world and touched many people and youths’ hearts and minds) and Akira Kurosawa (who shouldn’t be forgotten even in the world’s history of film making together with acting by great actor, Toshiro Mifune for many brilliant samurai movies; Kurosawa was once invited to the Hollywood, Academy Awards and received an Award). Those powerful, thoughtful, passionate, creative film producers’ influence to Japanese society (for its value, cohesiveness, increase of compassion, technology and science and knowledge upon the universe in case of Tezuka, respect for virtues etc) and to the rest of the world are immeasurable. – I don’t know “how many” of my past students (both youths and adults) during my 30 years’ teaching in Australia said to me when they came to my courses and talked about themselves, “I love Japanese anime!”

Another inspiring and intelligent comments were spoken by Rick Wallace, who was the newspaper The Australian’s Tokyo correspondent for 4 years until recently in his article, “Feeling blue: The fruity language quickly returned after four years working in polite Japan” (24.2.14, p.14). In the article, he said he hardly swore during 4 years’ stay in Japan and he had never swore with Japanese people. However, after returning to Australia, Wallace got back to swearing habit quickly (as his wife says that). He says it is normal that at his local post office in Australia, the employees swear on duty. He says even during commuting on train in Australia, some people talk on their mobile phones loudly and overbearingly while people in Japan behave very cooperatively with good manner and quietly on trains (Wallace says “sweet and blissful silence in Japan (i.e. Japanese trains). – I know what he is talking about. In my case, I can’t stand awfully noisy and rudely speaking people on the train and sometimes I move to the different carrier or seat esp. when I feel tired. Same with those who illegally keep their feet or shoes on the seat which is facing them. You don’t see such awful and immature behavior in Japan where if you left your belonging on a train and ring the station’s Lost & Found office, they keep your thing until you can come to pick it up. (That point was spoken on a weekend radio program in Sydney, “George and Paul”, esp. with Susan Kurosawa some months ago). Such reflects value and consistent practice of peace, order, respect to others and human decency in Japanese society.

Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson

How to use Korean public spa (찜질방: jjim jil bang)

안녕하세요. 애슐리입니다. Hello everyone, it’s Ashley.
I would like to talk about Korean spa (i.e. jjim jil bang). If you have any plans to visit Korea in the near future, I believe that this article could be help.
When you go to Korea as a tourist, it is very common to visit some famous tourist spots (mainly some famous shopping destinations). However, it can’t be called “real trip” unless you visit the real local people’s places that are a lot cheaper, fun and vibrant.

Today, I would like to share my favourite place to enjoy (especially in the cold days) whenever I visit my hometown. It is called “jjim jil bang” in Korean which means “hot massage and sauna room”. Perhaps you have heard of it from some other people who have already visited this place or even on the travelling booklets.
How to use “jjim jil bang” could be slightly tricky for those of you who visit here for the first time. I will teach you how to act like “local Korean people” at Jjim jil Bang.
First, you should pay your fare at the reception. You can choose whether you use only sauna room or use the whole venue. Prices are various (very cheap compare to Sydney!) between $5(sauna only) and $15(the whole venue). They will give you two towels and t-shirt plus shorts.
Second, you must wash your body at sauna room prior to going to the main spa. The Sauna room is strictly separated for female/men use since you must take off your clothes before you use the sauna.
Third, if you got the jjim jil bang package, you can wear the t-shirt and shorts that you have received at the reception then enter the main spa common room. From now on, you can use the differently themed room (e.g. aroma room, hot stone room and icy cold room etc.).
After you finished the spa, you should go back to sauna and wash your body again. After the bath, you can change into your original clothes and return the jjim jil bang clothes.
Most of the venues have different kind of entertaining facilities such as Karaoke, restaurant/dessert place/bar and nail shops.
Not very hard to use jjim jil bang, isn’t it? I hope you enjoyed the experience and get your health / beautiful skin back!

Written by Ashley Jang (Korean language teacher)

How to deal with long listening tasks when you take TOPIK

여러분 안녕하세요. 애슐리 입니다.

If you have ever taken TOPIK (Test of proficiency in Korean: i.e. an official Korean language proficiency test) before, you may have come across the situation where you did not have enough time to finish listening test or you had problems to remember what the listening contents were about.

Actually, it is very common to have those problems in relation to the listening module since human’s brain has limited capacity to keep the contents what you listened to (especially when it is very new things) due to the limitation to the short term memory.

So what should you do? Here are some tips to overcome your listening issues when you deal with long listening passages. All tips were tested by me when I learned English and Japanese.

1. Do not waste the recording breaks

Did you know that you have at least 4-5 seconds between each group of questions? 4seconds seem very short but actually it is critical since you can prepare for your listening and pre-read the key words.

2. Write tiny memo on the test paper’s empty spaces

When you listen to the passages, you must write the key words, important information such as time and date that they say. It could be the simple solutions when you forgot the information

3. Oops, you missed it! Then just let it go.

It is very frustrated when you missed the contents. However, it happens to everyone. Just let it go and focus on the next passage because if you keep thinking about your mistakes that you have missed already and cannot focus on the following contents, you may lose the rest of the questions.

Good luck with your TOPIK!

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