Japanese Course at SLS

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

My Japanese classes/lessons included practices to develop skills of speaking, reading, listening, writing, interacting, and constructing/performing students’ own dialogues by jappairs/groups or by oneself and learning Japanese used in travelling in Japan. Speaking practice sometimes used the pictures, concepts or topics from the brochures of the Japan National Tourism Organizations, Jenta, Nichigo Press, Daily Telegraph etc. Also, understanding and analyzing Japanese culture are important part of the course.

My Intermediate 3 is studying with Japanese for Busy People Book 2 (currently the middle of Unit 2). Also, I give handouts to increase vocab and simple sentences with use of the vocab for practical language learning for travelling or staying in Japan with use of other relevant books. Their Japanese linguistic level is improving progressively, so it is exciting to see that. For example, in discourse writing of homework, such as dialogue with a particular situation for travellers (the situation was at a restaurant and the dialogue was to start with a courteous waitress’ customer service phrases that were from the handout we had gone through in class), the students wrote their own impressive and distinctive dialogues and read them out in class. That was delightful.

As for my students for weekly tutorials, they have been studying and exploring the learning with their deep interest and creativity. So, teaching them is very fun too! One of them, who is a company executive, wishes to take a 2 weeks’ Japanese course in Tokyo a few months later and he is very excited about that plan too. For his lessons in my teaching, we use Japanese for Everyone (currently, its Unit 2). He enjoys using that book as the main one for the tutorials. Similar to the above Intermediate 3, I give and use materials of other books, esp. ones for travel or life in Japan based reference books for practical, realistic and often natural language teaching.

Another tutorial student too, she is studying very actively and keenly. With her preference, we use Genki Book 1 (currently its Unit 4) for the main textbook. As the above teaching, I give her other reference materials for the increase of vocab (with simple sentences making by applying such vocab) and other sentence making exercises for creative and real-life like language learning and Japanese language usage. She has many ideas about the learning and Japanese culture/society and takes the lessons in creative ways with her self-motivation.

As for the culture/society and news reported from Japan in the recent month/weeks, I spoke about the following in class/lessons. Most of the information is from NHK TV News (shown on SBS TV):

Regarding the electoral voting rights, until the recent time, the age that people can vote for elections was 20 years old in the Modern Times. However, recently, through the Diet, it legally became 18 years old (just like the case of many other advanced countries).

Japanese share market price was continuously improving and about 2 weeks ago, it reached the level of the one that was 18.5 years ago. Similarly, the prices of land esp. the big cities such as, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya went up too as the main examples. The highest area among rises was 14% higher than before.

(NHK TV News – ) For Japanese economy, foreigner/overseas visitors/tourists have been a great source for the economy. Recently the number of duty free shops have sharply increased and in some area, it made 50% increase to encourage above tourists to buy things during the trips and stay in Japan In addition, instant noodles (raamen) shops are very popular with such tourists and at a particular shop, there are times that the shops are packed  with foreign visitors instead of Japanese locals!

Japan has been absolutely excited with the brilliant performance of its Nadeshiko team at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. It continuously won and went to the semi-final against the US in Canada. However, it lost and went to the second at the end. In spite of that, the team’s determination, full of brave leadership in each player and great competence was out of question. The delegate of one of the other countries that played with Nadeshiko and lost against the latter said something like the following. – The players of Nadeshiko team are shorter than his team’s players physically, but Nadeshiko’s athletes have many more skills and their own strategies that they used during the match. –  That comment somehow reminded me of Japanese major car manufactures in essence!

A newspaper, Daily Telegraph (30.6.15, p. 18) reported an article about an amazing cat in Japan with the picture of the cute, gentle, patient cat. The cat died last month at the age of 16. In the picture, the cat, Tama was wearing his special Stationmaster hat of Kishi Station located in western part of Japan. The station that is in a quiet rural area and had a great difficulty with its business and nearly bankrupt. However, the cat saved the business and economy of the city by causing the a great number of passengers and tourists to the sity, station and railway. People loved the cat. The station and community adored the late cat as one of the Goddess (that comes from Shinto religion). Her estimated contribution to the local economy was 1.1 billion yen, i.e. $11.6million! Another story of great harmony and successful relationships between humans and animals in Japan that are commonly seen in that land.

 

Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson

6.7.15

Some Stories About Our Japanese Course 22

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 dialogues. As for the main textbooks and materials, the Beginner 1 used Training Manual and other handouts for vocab, grammar etc. From Beginners 2 up to Pre-Intermediate 2 used Genki Book 1 was used. The Intermediate 1 used Japanese for Busy People Book 2. Also, I used pictures (including those from tourism magazines of Daily Telegraph etc), many ads especially of Japanese magazines, e.g. Nichigo Press, Jenta, children’s story books, magazines, CDs, videos, DVDs, songs etc. At the end of each class of 10 weeks, an exam was given (if the student wishes to have it as an open exam, it can be done in that way.) Late in each course, every class has to make a dialogue with partners with use of vocab. and grammar introduced in the latest unit introduced.

The Intermediate 1, who finished the course in the middle of last month, went to a Japanese restaurant, Sakae located near to our SLS, for dinner after the exam. In advance, I asked the waitresses to speak to our students in Japanese when we go there. We had a great time there, having lovely food and lots of chats. Unfortunately, the class can’t go on to the Intermediate 2. Three students out of that class were those in senior stages of secondary education. They are not taking Japanese course in their school subjects at the school. They are getting busy for the school and they stopped our Japanese course at this stage (likely for a while).

Regarding news about Japan, I informed my classes the following.

  1. There are wonderful or exciting Japanese films will come to Australia (its major cities) as the event of the 17th Japanese Film Festival. In Sydney, that will be shown at Events Cinemas, George St, from 14.11 – 24.11. Many films are award winning one domestically and even internationally. Very worthwhile to watch for both linguistically and culturally/human and society based learning. More info: www.japanesefilmfestival.net.
  2. There was the progressive Japan-Australia Summit Meeting in Brunei early last month. The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe and Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott had the talk about security, bilateral trade etc. And on the later day, the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop visited above PM Abe in Tokyo.

 

Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson

2.11.13

Some Stories About Our Japanese Course 21

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

My Japanese classes/lessons included practices to develop skills of speaking, reading, listening, writing, interacting, and constructing/performing dialogues. As for the main textbooks and materials, Beginner 1 used Training Manual and other handouts for vocab, grammar etc; from Beginners 2 up to Pre-Intermediate 2 used Genki Book 1; and Intermediate 1 began using Japanese for Busy People Book 2. Also, I used pictures, many ads (esp. of Japanese magazines, e.g. Nichigo Press, Jenta), children’s story books, magazines, CDs, videos, DVDs, songs etc. At the end of each class of 10 weeks, an exam was given (if the student wishes to have it as an open exam, it can be done in that way.)

Late in each course, every class has to make a dialogue with partners with use of vocab. and grammar introduced in the latest unit introduced. Previous Beginners 2 and current Intermediate 1 did well and also some of the students memorized some parts for the performances.

The new class that began this week, Pre-Intermediate 1 has 4 students, who finished Beginners 2 last week, and 2 other students, who were in my course some time ago and had a break and came back to join the class. That was delightful.

The Japan Foundation kindly gave me many video tapes of its library for my teaching (since many daytime schools do not use VCR and borrow such tapes from the Foundation any more). Those tapes include a language teaching (long) series though they are a kind of old ones but the quality of the contents is excellent including the language taught and ways it is taught and presented throughout the series; it is one of my favorites from time when I often used them at a big TAFE in Melbourne. Also, they included many video tapes of children’s, Japanese, well known and beautiful or cute fairy tale stories in Japanese. They are all wonderful resources for teaching the Japanese language (both polite forms and plain forms), culture and values.

Regarding news on Japan, I informed my classes the following.

  1. (The Australian, 12.9.13, p. 25, originally an article from The Wall Street Journal): The Prime Minister Shinzo Aze’s economic policy (i.e. Abenomikkusu) has been working for Japanese economy, share market and business sectors very well. And the government will raise the sales tax, i.e. from 5% to 8% from April next year. The current economy is growing at an annualized pace of 3.8% from the figure a month ago. That is much bigger percentage than the US and Eurozone. A senior politician and the former Finance Minister, Mr Takeshi Noda commented to The Wall Street Journal that the package will probably include corporate tax relief steps that are aimed at spurring investment as well as raising salaries.
  2. (The Australian, 12.9.13, p. 16): There is (was) Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom at beautiful and educational Cowra Japanese Garden Festival on 28-29 September for the 24 year’s annual event. There are (were) many activities taken place for the visitors, such as traditional tea ceremony, ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement), calligraphy, bonsai, kite flying and marshal arts.  (Reported by Susan Kurosawa)

 

Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson

5.10.13

Some Stories About Our Japanese Course 20

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

My Japanese classes/lessons included practices to develop skills of speaking, reading, listening, writing, interacting, and constructing/performing diaglouges. Also, we used textbooks (Beginner 1 uses Training Manual and other handouts vocab, grammar etc, other levels use Genki Bk 1 for the main textbook), pictures, ads, children’s books, magazines, CDs, videos, DVDs, songs etc. At the end of each class of 10 weeks, an exam was given (if the student wishes to have it as an open exam, it can be done in that way.)

As for the textbook, the current Pre-Intermediate 2, who will finish the course this week and will likely continue and take Intermediate 1, will use Unit 1 of “Japanese for Busy People, Book 2” this week as a trial. If the class feels happy to use it for in Intermediate 1, we will use that book in that course as the major textbook. The reasons of that change of the main textbook are: “Genki Book 1” is (very) slow in teaching the linguistic contents esp. for those who finished Beginners’ stages and conjugations of verbs and adjectives and who can read/write Hiragana and Katakana; it has too many paragraphs in English for explanations on grammar/language use; topics and situations of each Main Dialogue of that book are for university students rather than adults and working people (one student of that class said the same comment about that book, who taught English in Japan for some years and who is very keen student in the above class). (However, we have 3 students in that class who are lovely and diligent high school students who do not take Japanese at their daytime school!)

In my classes during the recent weeks, I talked about a film “Wolverine: Samurai” since it is highly talked about and the sales of tickets around the world are reportedly an amazing extent. The film shootings of that film were heavily in Japan. Apart from Australian media, Japanese magazines in Australia reported the details about the film. Apart from having Japanese actors and actresses in the film, the places appeared in the film included the famous Buddhist temple in Tokyo, bullet train, pachinko parlor (for a short time!). And Hugh Jackman (who must be fond of Japan and many things of its culture) played amazingly in the film. In a movie magazine, Empire (Aug. ‘13), he said Japan has the history of (maintaining and practicing) family, code and honour. (I totally agree.) Also, he said at recent “Late Show with David Letterman”, he went and bathed in onsen (hot spring) in Japan. (He also climbed Mt Fuji with his son around earlier this year.)

In the above film, a very popular and highly recognized Japanese actor, Sanada Hiroyuki plays the big role. He appeared in “The Last Samurai” played by Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe some years ago. Also, it is reported that Sanada began learning Shorinji Kempo (self-defense and training) since around the age of 11. And Sanada is a long time friend of Jackie Chan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroyuki_Sanada). Sanada will play in the coming new film, “47 Ronin” (Hollywood film). This trend is the new phenomenon going in the recent years, which we never saw to this extent from Japan/its people in the past, Japanese actors and actresses are taking important/active roles bravely and creatively in Hollywood movies. That seems very interesting and hopefully good for Japan and its relationships with the international community.

 

Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson

5.8.13

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