A series of Green

31 03 2010

A friend and I are doing a photo challenge where each month we take 8 photos of a particular topic.

Green was the topic for March. Here are my photos:

1. Green Tea

2. Green Frog

3. Candle Holder

4. Pencil

5. Leaves

6. Cactus

7. Things that come in the mail the day after we start the photo challenge

8. Kiwi

And there you have it. We’ll see what happens next month this photo challenge (see last month’s challenge on my flickr page).



25 03 2010

Kids are gone. Today’s the first day of vacation. And I’m stuck in at my desk at the High School. What do I do?

  • List books on the new HAJET goodreads account (I’m the new Librarian)
  • Have a snack
  • Look at my schedule
  • Discuss my Golden Week plans with a teacher
  • Clean my desk a tad
  • Talk to Ros
  • Eat lunch
  • Read a couple of online magazine articles
  • Chat with Ros more
  • Plan a few lessons for the next semester
  • Search englipedia and several books for lesson ideas
  • Ask Ros for ideas about my lessons
  • Help Ros plan lessons
  • Make tea
  • Suggest that rather than teaching Ros’ kids like as in “I like cats” teach them valley girl style use of like
  • Proceed to have an entire conversation using like
  • Study my Japanese flashcards – very much avoiding the textbook that would take some real work to study with
  • Flickr

In the midst of all of this, go to the bathroom quite a few times as an excuse to be out of my desk.

. . .

And then this evening I’m listening to the radio and hear these lyrics:

“Yeah… gotta start

lookin at the hand of the time we’ve been given here

this is all we got and we gotta start pickin it

every second counts on a clock that’s tickin’

gotta live like we’re dying

We only got

86 400 seconds in a day to

turn it all around or throw it all away

we gotta tell ’em that we love ’em

while we got the chance to say

gotta live like we’re dying”

~Live Like We’re Dying by Kris Allen (lyrics)

And this song, Blink by Revive, which has a similar call to love. (lyrics)

What am I doing with my time? Am I making it count or am I just wasting it? I don’t want to be someone who just wastes her life.

What actually counts in life? Love.

1 Corinthians 13:1 says “If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.”

How do I get from passing my time at work to making it worthwhile? This is the hard question. Why? Because when I answer it, I have to take action. Action is where God meets me and provides, action is where scary things are.

What if I leap and God doesn’t catch me? That’s always the question, but he has shown himself faithful again and again in his word. And his word also says that he’s the same yesterday, today and forever. Why would he suddenly quit being faithful? I guess I need to move, trusting God to hold me up when I fail.

What action is God calling me to? Love those around me. So easy to say, so much harder to actually live.

More English learning laughs!

9 03 2010

My first year high school students are currently working on skits. Today, they were working on them during class. I was helping a group of four girls. We were chatting a bit (with very limited Japanese/English). All of a sudden one of the girls reaches into her pocket (she’s wearing a skirt). I tell them I’ve never had a skirt with pockets (might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s been a VERY long time if I have). This is one of the reasons I hate dressing up, is the lack of pockets. The girls were amazed and one asked the others (in Japanese, so this is my understanding of the conversation – mostly from gestures) where you carry your handkerchief. She considers the pocket in their jacket, but can see that I’m obviously not wearing a jacket (and rarely do). Then they think of the bathrooms that have automatic hand dryers (not at school). They continue with this line of thinking to decide I must blow on my hands to dry them. When I showed them that I just dry my hands on my pants, they were utterly confused.

After school, I was invited to practice with the badminton club. When I arrived, they were stretching. One of the girls started pushing on her friend (apparently to help him stretch). He started screaming, “Ahhhh! Ahhhh! Ahhhh! Scream! Ahhhh! Ahhhh! Ahhhh!” I’m sure they thought I was the worst ALT ever, laughing while a kid is screaming, but I could tell he was not seriously hurting. He then wanted to know if he had used the wrong word and I had to explain that we don’t usually stop screaming to say “Scream.”

Wednesday’s crazy language encounters

5 03 2010

The day started with my JTE getting some coffee. Her coffee cup has writing on one side and Mickey Mouse on the other. Having not seen the other I was surprised when one of the lines of text said “I can be anything even a hot dog vendor.” Who has ever said they want to be a hot dog vendor? We had a bit of a laugh at that, and then one of the teachers said to her (in Japanese) that his tee shirt had funny English. It contained the phrase “cool as a cucumber.” I had to explain that we really do use that phrase in English and that it means someone who is not fazed by anything, though I said it in better terms for someone who’s not fluent in Japanese. Usually it’s me telling Japanese people that the English wording on things is funny. This time they thought it was and it really wasn’t. It was a strange turn of events.

At lunch time, it was taking FOREVER to get started setting out lunch, so I decided I’d start setting out trays and plates and things like that. I asked my vice principal how many people are eating lunch. He stopped looked up and said “Perfect! Good Japanese.” And then went back to work. I asked a simple question and got NO ANSWER! What good is figuring out a new language if my questions get replies like that, which don’t answer the question? I had a bit of a giggle and moved on.

Other exciting Japanese experiences included talking with the Combini lady in Japanese, a chat with my JTE and vice principal in both Japanese and English and a random encounter with three of my high school students near the Combini with some rather funny English (If I could remember exactly what was said in that encounter, it would be landing here as well).