Japanese

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

 

 

jap

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. Speaking practice sometimes used the use of the pictures, concepts or topics from the brochures of the Japan National Tourism Organizations, Jenta, Nichigo Press, Daily Telegraph etc. Also, I inform about Japanese latest news, traditional features, tourism related things etc.

Intermediate 1 began on 27 November (Thursdays’ class). It has learnt most of Unit 6, Genki Book 1, which has many verb –te forms and use of those in different grammatical usage and function/situations. Much of application practice with those took place too.

In the above class, I talked about traditional Japanese paper sliding doors, shouji (or shooji) which is made out of wooden frame and beautiful, sophisticated white paper. One of the students in the above class, who had stayed at Japanese rhokan on many occasions and just returned from the latest trip to Japan, mentioned softness/gentleness of sound which is heard when one opens or closes Japanese sliding doors. I strongly shared that point.  It is one of Japanese features for over a thousand of years. Just like its people’s behavior, language, verbal and written (and facial) expressions (and even economic reforms!), in general. One of internationally well-known, female fashion designers, who normally lived in Paris, said such too in a magazine many years ago, i.e. “In Japan, everything is soft!”            I think the sound of shooji can help you feel calm, peaceful and being close to nature, just like seeing beautiful Japanese gardens or other traditional things in that land.

Regarding the news on Japan, I said the following things. They are mostly from the NHK TV news (shown at SBS TV), Jenta magazine etc in the recent time.

The Japanese Emperor Akihito (also called the Emperor Heisei, Heisei Tennoo, 平成天皇) acceded to the throne in 1989. He is the 125 Emperor of Japan. His birthday is 23 December.  On that day last year (2014), about 29,000 people signed from the public at the Imperial Palace in the middle of Tokyo), for his birthday celebration. He is 81 and he is still so active (physically too), compassionate (and his wife, Empress too) and he speaks his inner thoughts and feelings for the benefits and needs of people (esp. those who were terribly hurt or disadvantaged due to natural disasters etc) esp. in Japan and the international peace and needs.

For the first two days in January 2015, 81,000 people visited the above Palace. On 2 Jan., 16,000 people of the public waved hands to or saw the Royal family that included all the Princes, Princesses and their children, for the yearly celebration for the public at the Palace, “ippan-sanga”. The Royals wave hands to the people at that (such) time to celebrate the New Year.

On 31 December, 14, the annual NHK TV “koohaku utagassen” took place. It is annual TV show and stage event at NHK Hall. It must have been on for nearly half a century. Every year, after the NHK News, the program and show starts and goes on until about 11:45pm, i.e. right before all the Buddhist temples throughout Japan starts making big “gong” noise to cleanse human sins of the passing/-ed year. This year, at the above “big” show, in total, “52” groups or individual singers sang and about 1100 people performed on the stage. When the singer can sing at the show, (just like Hollywood, Academic Award). the singer can have higher regard/status in the industry in the following or future years. There are some singers, who have been singing yearly for over 40 years or 40 times! Amazing. All the performers’ costumes (whether they wear western styled clothes or very attractive kimono) were outstanding ones. Same with their performance. At the end of the show, the highly recognized panel members decide whether male team or female team wins for the (that) year.

NHK TV reported the following. That is, the Japanese Emperial Palace began using LED which the Japanese Nobel Prize winners developed, due to the Emperor’s request partly for cost saving. Also, the world’s highest building in Dubai started using LED for its light of the building.

Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson,

4.1.15

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

jap

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.

My Pre-Intermediate 1 (that finished that level last week) worked with Unit 4, Genki Book 1 apart from Kanji learning with use of the Kanji learning pages located at the back of the above textbook. Also, for that class, I taught Japanese used for travel in Japan. Early in the course, I taught with some text for ordering foods at restaurants, currency exchange, buying train tickets, booking a hotel room (the text is originated from one I had edited for other organization of its online video course). Late month, I used with part of the material of other source and the situations of the language used were such as asking places or services at a hotel or ryokan, “Where is the bathroom?”, “Do you have room service?”, “I want to leave this in the safe?”, “Do you have more quiet room?” “I can’t turn on the heater.” etc. In that class, there was a student who had purchased the book which is for the preparation for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) 4-5. And I showed his book to the class. It appeared there are other students who are interested in the JLPT, so I said to the class that in future, including the next stage for them (if they will be enrolled), we might include learning time for Travel Japanese and the preparatory sessions of the JLPT with the agreement of all the participants of the class. That will be probably about 20~30% of the time to be spent of the 10 weeks’ course. All the students in that class seemed happy with that new element in the future course.

Apart from the above course, I weekly taught two students for their tutorials. One was for the JLPT N1 and the other was the JLPT N3. Both were lovely and very interesting students. One of them has to have a break due to his other commitments and the other will continue. To the former, I talked about my favorite and the Japanese, profoundly great business leader in the Modern Times, late Konosuke Matsushita, apart from other things on Japan. The student enjoyed and appreciated such information. Also, to my class/tutorials, I informed about the article of Escape, Sunday Telegraph, 20 July, ’14, pp. 28-29, “Bullet trains take the cake”. A big and fascinating article/report! It includes information that Japan celebrates the 50th anniversary of its Shinkansen that began running in 1964 prior to the Tokyo Olympics.

The above report says the first Shinkansen, the Tokaido Shinkan took 4 hours to run between Tokyo and Osaka when it started running. Currently its Nozomi (the super-high-speed) makes the journey in 2.5 hours. It is the world’s busiest high-speed rail line, carrying more than 150 million passengers a year! There are 3 types of trains on the line, i.e. Nozomi (fastest), Hikari and Kodama.

The above article says Japan developed SCMAGLEV. It states “It (SCMAGLEV) stands for Super Conductive Magnetic Levitation. The MLXI Maglev prototype on display holds the world speed record for rail vehicles at an astounding 581km/h.” “By 2025, Japan aims to put commercial maglev trains into operation, which could shorten the Tokyo-Osaka trip to one hour.”   (- Sounds amazing!)

Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson

5.8.14

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

Some Stories About Our Japanese Course 16

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

My Japanese classes and lessons included the usual kinds of activities to develop speaking, reading, listening, writing, constructing and performing dialogues or speech apart from cultural, society-orientated, technology, industry, and travel in Japan.

As recent delightful news, several students, who took my Beginners 1 late last year, informed me their latest news by email. For example, they have been to Japan, greatly enjoyed Japan and could read and understand words that were written in Hiragana etc, and thanked our course (and will come back to our Japanese course this year). Very nice indeed.

In my recent teaching, apart from using the textbook, reference materials for vocab and grammar, video, DVD, flash cards for vocab, pictures and words esp. from Japanese cooking magazines, ads of shops (Harvey Norman or supermarkets to talk about prices of things) etc, I used the method of singing Japanese songs as before. I included some gestures for a few songs. Some adult learners are shy and they tend to hesitate at first, but I try to encourage to do gestures, eg. use of fingers for a song, “My Fingers” and “Cha-Cha-Cha with Toys” (“Omocha no cha, cha, cha”). For teaching a five-year-old girl every Sat., she is very good at singing and performing gestures (almost no fear!) and she enjoys colouring the pictures of the song sheets. Very active learning attitude. Including gestures in singing is very effective and human brains and emotions will be more effectively learning and acquiring the language and culture at the same time while singing. (I mentioned such a thing in my publication in “Australia Language Matter”(ANU) in the past, as one of teaching methods in Japanese and with its cultural concepts.

As for information related to Japanese society (and culture), I showed an article of recent Jenta, which had news of a tuna of an amazing price at Tsukiji Fishmarket, Tokyo, the world’s biggest fish market. Also, articles about Japanese politics, security issue/international relation, i.e dispute with China about the Senkaku Islands, etc. The sources/articles for are:

1. About the newly elected Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe of Liberal Democratic Party,   www.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinz%C5%8D_Abe

2. About the Senkaku Island, dispute with China, (1) “China-Japan dispute has wide regional implications: Beijin would be wise to leave the Senkaku Islands alone”, The Australian, editorial, 10.12.12, p. 13. (2) ”Islands must not come between Japan and China: Beijin should take its claim to the ICJ (International Court of Justice), by Masahiro Kohara, Consul General of Japan, Sydney, The Australian, 3.1.13, p. 6 (in the article, Mr Kohara says Japan has spent the post-swar era as a peace-loving nation in line with its peaceful Constitution and has long been the world’s biggest Overseas Development Assistance donor to assist developing nations and in Asia, China was the biggest recipient of Japanese ODA. (3) “Peaceful way out for China and Japan”, by Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, originally article in The Wall Street Journal, The Australian, 7.1.13, p. 6. (4) “Manufacturing dreams won’t take us closer to Asia”, by David Uren (economic editor), 24.1.13, p. 10. It’s about future Australian major industries that should be sustained and strengthened for Australian international trade and its economy, in the article Uren says that til now, Japan was the source of the highest technology in Asia.  –  All of the above articles and comment seem impressive, sensible (for democratic and peaceful international relationships) and useful.

Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson

5.2.13

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