Saturday, December 18, 2010

Have a great winter break!

GTS was supposed to be in Kyoto today with students if the field study program was realized! I am stuck in Chicago but we are planning to drive southeast to hopefully get to Orlando! As soon as I placed some information about the Fall semester's grade on my facebook, tons of comments came! Whether you pass the Japanese class or not, your life is wonderful as usual (this is always my statement). It is rather painful to give grades to anyone but it seems to be the side effect of my job. 1101 in Spring has over 20 students as well as 1102 in Spring, so it is a good sign! Summer Study Abroad interest seems to be also high even though US dollar is very weak! Wish you a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fall semester ended!

Finally the Fall semester ended and some could not survive unfortunately but it is very usual in GTS class. 48 students were in my 1101 roster at the end: 12 As, 3 Bs, 12 Cs, 12 Ds and 2 Ss, oh yes, 8 Failed. For 2201, everyone survived as expected: 5 As, 4 Bs, 2 Cs, 2 Ds and 1 S! Wish you a Merry Christmas! By the way, 10 students showed up at the end of the semester of Waubonsee Community College out of 25 at the beginning! 3 As, 3 Bs, 2Cs, 1 D and 4F!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

JCC/GTS dinner was great!

It was rather small dinner this month, yet some new people showed up and went very well. Next dinner will be 1/14/2011. Tomorrow will be the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in usual snowy weather and I hope things will be going well especially for those who are coming to take a test from far away. The test will be conducted at DePaul University in Lincoln Park, Chicago. Spring semester Japanese 1101 has only 6 spots left and it is anticipated to be full in a week! The final is coming up and everyone gets busier. Oh new family member Taro, Shiba-inu, loves to play in the heavy snow!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010!

GTS family except TARO visited the friend's family house to have a lunch party! Nothing to do with turkey as chicken is tastier and eating turkey is quite foreign to us. Kids are having fun together and parents are talking about the kids' future. hahaha, sounds very non-unusual. After Thanksgiving, school matters will be wrapped up rather quickly. Weak dollar prevent GTS from visiting Japan this winter so I am planning to drive down to possibly FL towards the end of the year 2010. GTS will make a presentation on Jan. 7 as a panelist in San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf where the annual conference of Japanese Studies Association (JSA) is held! The topic? Of course about study abroad and international field studies! Oh, yeah, JCC/GTS dinner will be held on Friday 12/3/2010! Around 7pm! During the Spring semester, the dinner will be held on the SECOND Friday of the month for various reasons. My Japanese tweet is 'satsutan.' Can be fun for Japanese language study. Only 8 seats for 1101 in Spring are left! 1102 and 2202 still have plenty!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Conference in Boston!

GTS has been in Boston since Friday morning and now I am on my way back to Chicago. I met Prof. Eri Banno, the author of GENKI textbook and talk about the revised edition scheduled to be ready in February next year. Also attended the workshop for using textbook called "Doko Demo Nihongo" which is planned to be used for 2251 next fall. I won the raffle ticket to get a big Doraemon nuigurumi which is probably going to one of the daughters. 5th test has been done for 1101 and now everyone began struggling to master Te-form. Spring registration is underway and only 9 spots for 1101 are left (This is the first time to offer 1101 in Spring at COD!) Though Christmas field trip to Japan was canceled, the summer study abroad program seems to be fairly promising since over 10 students in my class currently plan to apply! Spring break field trip will come back in 2012!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Family member Taro (Shiba-Inu) joined!

Taro (born in 7/1/2010) joined my family since the day of the Halloween and he seems to be the center of all our family activities! 2 daughters of mine are happy to have younger brother and Taro has been still confused about whom he wants to play with. Taro accompanied our trip to Peoria where GTS attended the academic conference of ICTFL (Illinois Council on the Teaching of the Foreign Languages) and he behaved well though he might have experienced stress. Shiba-Inu is the smallest and smartest Japanese breed and I was longing to have it. Well, a dog will not betray us hopefully!

Christmas Japan Trip Canceled!

Oh, sadly I had to cancel the Christmas Field Trip to Japan this year due to the low enrollment as well as weak dollars! Hopefully dollars go up and let study abroad students in summer feel better! (Study Abroad participants seem to be quite a few, so I am not worried about it!). Spring Trip is coming back in the 2012 Spring break! Spring semester registration began and 1101 (which is offered in Spring for the first time!) has already 7 students in it. It is a good start!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shiba-inu join my family on the Halloween Night!

I grew up with dogs before coming to the US but I have never thought of having a dog at home here in the US simply because I cannot travel long! Despite the fact that many hardships are lying ahead, puppy "Taro" DECIDED to be with us the rest of his life! While there are many good points of having a dog at home with children, our responsibility is as huge as having another baby at home. I am just amazed that my wife decided to have a dog though she has never spent her time with a dog. I hope she can find joyful time as time goes by. How should we go to Japan? Oh, headache is already waiting for us!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

JCC Dinner postponed to December:(

As GTS has to go to Peoris for Illinois Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ICTFL), no JCC/GTS dinner in Novemeber and the next dinner will be in December 3rd! I hope many would remember to show up in December! For Next year (year 2011), JCC dinner will move to the SECOND Friday of the month for many reasons. Hope everyone has nice Halloween night with lots of fun!

1101 classes got slim!

Time really flies! Since my daughter began learning ice skating, usually I go skating with Ema. Having been skating back in 70s and early 80s, my legs are still remembering how to skate thankfully though getting tired soon! This is the only time I am sort of exercising. So, we got a family skating pass from the Park District. By the way, Japanese 1101's 4th test is now underway and the average score is probably about 80%, which is good. After mid-term verification period, 40% of originally registered 1101 students has gone and classes are all got slim! I hope that those who remains in classes would survive at the end.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

3rd Test on 1101 and mid-term verification!

1101 students took their 3rd test and most of them revived as the average score of the test got over 80%! By now quite a few students became ghost and have been beamed up somewhere. Out of original over 50 students in the morning, there seems to be a little over 30 solid students now and hopefully all these members will pass onto 1102. 2201 has good cheerful 15 royal members longing for challenges over challenges and enjoy them. Waubonsee Community College Students are suffering from the class format of 3 hours in one day of the week and I do sympathize them though we have to go forward! 2251 has only 3 energetic challenge-loving students having fun once a week in a very relaxing manner.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Second Test Bullied Students!

1101 classes completed their 2nd test and the average score of 70% drove some students away from continuing the class. 2201 class' second test was also completed with the average score of 80% so we can clearly see 2201 students have been more committed and devoted their time comparatively. GTS/JCC dinner was rather small but I was quite happy to see some rare faces! It is getting colder and we should plan ice skating gathering soon!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

JCC/GTS dinner tomorrow! and Shrinking?

First JCC/GTS dinner will be tomorrow night! I hope to see many of you! I have a business Japanese class to teach at MITSUWA scheduled by Consulate General of Japan between 6 and 7:30pm, so I should be joining the dinner around 8pm. The second test of 1102 was completed and lost some students. The average score was about 70%, so not too good as a test this time but "life goes on and on." This coming Saturday is the workshop for Japanese teachers in Illinois and over 25 teachers across the state and levels (K through 12 plus college) will meet at Elk Grove High School! There seems to be quite a few students who are interested in Summer Study Abroad in Japan (so far about 10 from COD and WCC!) I am hoping that more people would join my Christmas Field Trip!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The first test is completed and shrank as usual!

It has been a while since last time update due to the excessive busy work at the beginning of the academic year and still continues. Yet time goes by and first test of 1101 and 2201 has been completed. The average score of 1101 was 78% and 2201 was 80%. 1101 has always polarization at the beginning and no exception this time. There are two big groups. One was around 90% and another was around 65%. The morning class students at the beginning was over 50 in 2 classes, now 40 in 2 classes, so about 10 students have been beamed up! There are still opening for Christmas Japan Trip class, so you or your friend from anywhere in the United States are welcome. Summer Study Abroad 2011 application has now begun and already getting applications in. It seems that there 5 from COD are seriously interested and 3 from WCC. JCC/GTS Dinner for October will be coming up on Friday 10/1. Beginning around 7pm though GTS will show up around a little after 8pm since I have to teach business Japanese language to JET returnee at MITSUWA!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Oh, September! GTS/JCC dinner canceled!

While I have to cancel the monthly JCC/GTS dinner on September, I am quite excited to visit the family near Cincinnati, OH during this long weekend. They took care of me when I first arrived in the United States back in 1988. He was a first-year student in my class at that time and is now 40 years old and having 3 daughters. So I hope 2 daughters of mine, though too little, can befriended with them!! Some students began evaporated! from 1101 classes and soon all the classes be stabilized!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Second week began! No JCC/GTS dinner on September:(

The second week of the fall semester began and a few students withdrew for various reasons. But big drop will probably come after the first test! Unfortunately I have to cancel the September dinner because I will be heading to Ohio where I can meet with my former student who was 18 at that time and now 40! We will resume the dinner on October! Waubonsee Community College Japanese 101 has 21 students who eagerly study Japanese in my once-a-week class though it must be tough in that format!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Over 100 students in 1101 at A MOMENT!

As usual, including the class taught by my friend, all 1101 classes are full and some are even added! They are having trouble finding a seat in my class as well as a parking spot at COD! Many former students know there will soon be some mysterious seats and some students being beamed up to somewhere! 2201 is a class of very good size and I hope they will stay and enjoy themselves! I have to make a trip to Ohio during the Labor Day weekend to meet my very first student in the US (well, he was 18 now 40!) and his family, I have to cancel JCC/GTS dinner in September! The dinner will be back in Oct. 1! The first class at Waubonsee Community College will be tomorrow and 20 students have so far signed up. The class there will be held only once a week on Thursday so I am not sure how much they can learn but kind of interesting to see how it goes!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

100 seats of Japanese 1101 are now completely filled!

Not only classes of GTS but my friend class has been filled! Well, out of these 100 plus some students, how many students will survive? Now is the betting time! hahaha! Truly hope everyone stay until the last day of the class but.... At least I am getting excited to have new faces in my class. I already noticed some familiar names coming back to the class!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

GTS 1101 are filled!

75 seats of GTS 1101 are filled now. Well, as many of GTS family member knows, soon several ghost students appear! 2201 has 8 more seats left and there are a few students in 2251 now. Another 1101 class taught by Imamura-sensei, a good friend of GTS is still open and I encourage many of you to join her class before being filled. She is an elementary school Japanese teacher and know a lot of fun stuff! Though I am now busy preparing for the first class where I have to "threaten" you, I try getting excited to have the whole new students!

Friday, August 13, 2010

1101 Morning classes are full!

As Fall semester approaches, classes are gradually getting filled and now 1101 morning classes (10am and 11am M-Th) are full. GTS night 1101 class on Mon and Wed (5-7pm) has 16 in it. So 9 more seats left while 13 seats have been taken in 2201 class. As GTS was asked by Waubonsee Community College urgently, he has to teach their 101 class (once a week on Thursday between 2 and 4:45pm). So I will recruit some study abroad participants from there as well. There will be Chiristmas Trip to Japan under Humanities 1840 this fall (We will be in Japan from 12/17 through 12/27). Let's have some fun in Japan in Christmas! Certainly Summer Study Abroad will be back in next summer as well!

Friday, August 6, 2010

GTS is now back! Dinner tonight!

Today is the first Friday of the month and the regular GTS/JCC dinner will be held tonight! Some study abroad program returnees will join us. GTS was successfully returned to Chicago with his 4-year old daughter EMA 2 days ago and is trying his best to recover from the Jet lag! Morning classes of 1102 have 21 students each and 5pm class has 16. 2201 so far holds 14 students! By the way, Shingo's Christmas Field Study Trip has 3 students in now so join the trip (12/17/2010-12/27/2010)!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Kobe Oji Zoo!

GTS visited Oji Zoo in Kobe with his daughter and niece. It took 1.5 hours from Kyoto but it was quite worth visiting! Two Giant Panda bears were having fun and eating and Four Koala Bears from New Zealand were all so cute as well! I may add this zoo visit to the future trip plan!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

GTS' Dad' Cineration Completed!

GTS's father passed away last summer right before the Study Abroad Program. For a year, his urn has been kept at home and this year his urn will be placed into Cinerarium after becoming the posthumous name tablet in Tanukidani (狸谷不動尊). The cineration celemony was peacefully completed "Yasuragi-Byo (やすらぎ廟)" Cinerarium. Summer Study Abroad students visited this temple during their study last month! We will come back there again!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Arriving in Chicago a bit later than scheduled!

All Nippon Airways having students arrived at O'Hare in Chicago at about 10am which is 1.5 hours later than scheduled. Now the challenge is to recover from the Jetlag to be ready for work and school! GTS will get to Chicago next week after his Dad's cineration on Sunday (8/1)! Regular GTS/JCC dinner is coming up on Friday (8/6)! 26 seats for GTS class are left!

Leaving Japan in the rain!

Everyone met at the train station at 5am while raining and having at least two suitcases per person! GTS got a fever of 102F but tried his best to take everyone to the airport on time. Due to the technical problems instead of severe weather, the flight from Narita delayed for about 2 hours!! GTS is wrapping up the program but could not do much because of the sickness! Ahhhh!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Commencement and Student Performances went well!

2010 COD Study Abroad has just concluded with commencement at which everyone received the Certificate of Merit and the Grade. Regardless of the grade, it was most important for them to experience JAPAN. Everyone will meet at 5am tomorrow and the train and the monorail will take them to the Osaka Airport (ITM). The struggle will be the doubled suitcases they have to carry! Hope we can make it!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Final afternoon excursion to OSAKA Castle!

2010 COD Summer Study Abroad Japan is about to conclude its program and we visited Osaka Castle as a final location for the last afternoon excursion. Hot clear weather made everyone be able to look at the entire OSAKA from the Tower top of the castle! There will be the commencement and a party with host families tomorrow!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Walking in Area where GTS was growing up!

City bus took us to Kamigamo Shrine which is one of the most famous and important shrines during the Aoi Festival on May! As GTS was graduated from Kamigamo Elementary School, it was his familiar place though most streets are now paved! Some classmate's houses are still there and the children's play grounds and parks were still there with the same equipments! The little time travel was very interesting especially with my students! Tomorrow will be the last excursion day and finish up with OSAKA Castle!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Osaka Tenjin Festival swallowed us!

One week after Gion Festival is the OSAKA Tenjin Festival in which so many big float were really floating on the river and finished with the memorable fireworks! There were originally 8 students and 1 host mother followed with GTS and we lost among others. 4 students with 1 host mother were with GTS on the same train heading back from Tenma to Kyoto! There will be exam tomorrow for students and we are really wrapping up the program soon! GTS's 1101 has 41 students and 2201 has 10 students so far! Oh, yes, regular GTS/JCC dinner will resume in August and we will meet on the first friday of August (8/6)!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Movie Village to take a rest!

Past three days, everyone had to go up to the great hill to visit a shrine and temples. So their resting place today was Toei Movie Village where some shows and actual filming were taking place. Some went to the Hollywood film later in the early evening to watch "Inception" whose cast includes Ken Watanabe! Wow, GTS bumped into students at the theater!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One more temple on top of the mountain waited for us!

Three days in a row, we climb up the mountain under the sweaty heat! Tanukidani Fudo-son (狸谷不動尊) welcomed us on top of the mountain. It is located at so-called evil gate (鬼門) of the Kyoto city to protect everyone in the city. The head monk who is GTS's college-time sempai, gave us icy chilled Oshibori and fan (うちわ) then invite us into the main hall to meet Fudo-myo-o (The Immovable). 250 steps with long winding slope road tired us but fortunately we had a chance to cool down at the top! Survived!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Feeling a bit cool in Kurama-temple in the mountain!

In the over 95F weather, we went up to Kurama temple in the mountain to feel a bit cooler! At least 5,6 degree cooler up in the temple though climbing up to the temple gave us enough sweat! We went over the Mt. Kurama to went down to Kibune Shrine which is famous for its sacred water and realization of love! Walking 1.5 miles to get to the train station and headed back to the green'less' city from greenful nature!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fushimi Grand Shrine heated us!

Finally we could visit Fushimi Grand Shrine where we should have visited before! Now Japan's rainy season was over and hot and humid days will continue! Many steps under the thousands of Torii gates gave more than enough sweat to everyone! Only one week is left! Time really flies! Our great adventure still continues!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hot and Humid Gion Parade with Students with Yukata!

Though we could not completely got together due to the huge crowd, some made it to meet together! Most students there wore nice 'Yukata' (summer light cotton kimono) and became celebrity among Japanese visitors to the festival! They observe the parade and went quickly into the shaded shopping street! Some plan to have a party under the blue sky tonight!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Monkeys welcomed us being trapped in the cage!

Finally fine weather visited us and we decided to go up to the Mt. Iwata in Arashiyama area to meet many monkeys at the Monkey Park! Everyone is in the small "cage" from which monkeys outside were fed. For monkeys, all human being seems to be trapped in! The scene from the top of the mountain was superb! As soon as hearing the sound of thunder, we quickly went down the mountain and took the train back to the city! Well, indeed, the rain began soon after getting to the middle of the city! Tomorrow is the day of the float parade! The temperture will go up to mid-90s!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Calligraphy practice at school and real writing at Daikaku-ji!

Students had a chance to practice Calligraphy (Shodo 書道) this morning and in the afternoon excursion, they really had an opportunity to write Han-nya-Shingyo(般若心経) at Daikaku-ji temple (大覚寺での写経). Also we found out that our group photo and interview will be on the next issue of Daikaku-ji magazine called "Chiku-man." It was very lucky today that we weren't really rained on! Oooops, it just began raining now at 5:30pm! Hope to clear up by tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Heavy Rain Warning with SAKE!

The entire Japan has been under the heavy rain warning! Pouring rain let GTS change the afternoon plan and we visited Horino Sake Museum where Kinshi-Masamune (original Kyoto Sake) was brewed during the Edo period and now local beer is brewed. Though heavy raining, everyone could learn the history of Kyoto Sake brewery as well as Kyoto Traditional House (Machi-ya style)! Several students began losing energy as we are getting into the last half of the program!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rainy weather led us to the Heian Jingu Shrine!

We haven't had a clear fine perfect day for a while and today again we had to alter the afternoon excursion plan. After lunch, we visited the Heian Jingu Shrine which was built in 1894 to celebrate 1100-year anniversary of Kyoto becoming capitol of Japan in 794! Though weather was not too good, the rain actually added a nice scene to its garden which is one of the largest shrine garden in Kyoto. After leaving Shrine we visited Kyoto Handicraft Center where everyone can get most inexpensive souvenir with Quality. It seems to be raining again tomorrow! Ahhhh!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Eikando & Nanzenji-temple welcome us with slight rain!

Continuing rain prevent us from visiting the monkey park in Mt. Iwata today and we visited Eikando-temple instead. From their Pagoda, the entire Kyoto City from the eastern mountain became visible. Occasional rain caught us on and off but eventually the blue sky came out by the time we left Nanzen-ji temple! Everyone had a chance to meet GTS' mom! We will meet monkeys tomorrow!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rain Continues and GTS bumped into students again!

It was quite a nice day on Saturday but heavy rain is continuing today on Sunday! GTS and his daughter EMA went to "Kappa Sushi" while shopping some daily goods. My goodness, 4 students walked up to the table right behind GTS and Ema saying, "Shingo is here again" This must be very rare chance to meet with each other without any prior discussion! I was glad to see they are enjoying Sushi." We are longing for sunshine badly!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Phoenix Pavilion in the Rain!

Due to the weather, we had to alter the schedule and visited Phoenix Pavilion in the rain. Lotus in the rain was quite impressive with its water proof leaves! After walking through its museum and shopped some souvenirs, we headed back to Kyoto from Uji-city by Keihan Train. Majority of students will leave for Tokyo by highway night bus and get to Tokyo tomorrow morning. Then they will come back to Kyoto by the fastest bullet train on Sunday! Weather forecast for the next week continue to be unpleasant but hope to clear up! 37 seats out of 75 seats of Japanese 1101 of GTS as of today!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kimono Beauty welcomed us before getting to the castle!

Heat and sweat stalked us today! After lunch break we headed to Nishijin Textile Center where the history of special Nishijin textile history was exhibited. There was a Kimono show in which Kimono Fashion show attracted everyone! After the show we walk to Seimei Shrine which enshrines "Abe no Seimei," the most famous official exorcist some 1000 years ago! Then the group was led to Nijo Castle where everyone could enjoy(?) its famous Nightingale squeaking floor and the garden.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Oooops! Rain caught us to alter the plan!

Though we changed the plan yesterday, we had to alter the plan again today due to the weather! We visited Tofuku-ji temple which is scheduled to be visited this Friday! Climbing up the mountain behind the Fushimi Grand Shrine seemed to be a little too dangerous with pouring rain though by the time we left Tofuku-ji temple, it cleared up! Tomorrow's plan stay as scheduled and we will enjoy Kimono-show and Nijo Castle!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

1001 Buddha for Mercy (Kannon) welcomed us!

The weather report told us in the morning that we might have rain in the afternoon. So I have changed the plan a bit, switching the daily plan with tomorrow. Instead of visiting the Fushimi Inari Grand Shrine and climbing up the Higashiyama mountain, we visited the famous "Sanjusan gendo-temple (Rengeo-in)" to meet 1001 statues of Mercy Buddha which some students do need to meet! Though not raining there, it could have rained on the mountain! We will certainly visit the Fushimi Inari Grand Shrine tomorrow! GTS high school friend is running for the senetor now and hopefully re-elected this weekend and resume his duty as "Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (官房副長官)! Well, GTS visited his election office today to say hello!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Visiting Tenryu-ji temple and went through the bamboo path quickly!

After having lunch before getting on Randen Train at the Kitano Hakubaicho, we got to TENRYU-ji temple where we could get into the main hall as well as its magnificent garden. We entered the main gate from the temple and left from North gate which directly led us to the bamboo trail climbing up the small hilltop from which we could see beautiful scene of mountains and rivers! The hHankyu train took us back to the city! It was one of the most hot and humid day today! Well, no rain is good at least! Cannot complain!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

GTS with Ema bumped into students!

After heavy rainy day on Saturday, the weather improved a bit on Sunday when GTS went to Aeon Mall Hana in Nishioji-Gojo to get some clothing for Ema. After shopping Ema wanted to try again in "Kappa Sushi" (Revolving Sushi Restaurant) because she has been just tuned into Tekka-maki (Tuna roll)! While waiting for the table, 6 students came in!! "Oh, Shingo is here!" Well, they seemed to enjoy the mechanism of really inexpensive sushi restaurant. Hope to have a nice day on Monday!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Giant Buddha stared at us!

Though unstable weather made us worry a bit, the group managed to get to Nara a little late due to the previous train accident messing up our train schedule! As usual GTS walked to the Giant Buddha Hall fast and everyone could successfully meet with Him. Some students beautifully went through the Buddha's Nose Hall created in one of the huge columns to be blessed! After saying good-by to Buddha, the group lost a few members though getting re-united at the Kintetsu Nara Train Station! Students made some plans getting together for the first weekend in Kyoto!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Walking with sweat from Kiyomizu to Yasaka!

After having lunch in Hyakumanben area where Kyoto University is located, we all went down to Gojo-zaka to walk up to Kiyomizu Temple with much sweat! Usually we lose several students during this excursion, but none this time! Amazing or everyone was a bit more conscious about how "Evil" Shingo would disappear! Hot and Humid and Hot and Humid and Sweat and Hot!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Silver Pavilion in the heat!

On the contrary to the rainy weather yesterday, it was very sunny and humid and hot. Students got a quick lunch before climbing up to the Silver Pavilion from where everyone took the Philosopher's Trail to the bus stop on the main street. Everyone has still full of energy and planned to go downtown Shijo Kawaramachi for having fun!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Golden Pavilion in the rain!

One student began studying Japanese in the new class. The sunny humid afternoon almost suddenly changed to the rainy day after the lunch at Ritsumeikan University and some got wet by the end of the excursion to Golden Pavilion, which was still beautiful in the rain. The rainy season still continues here in Kyoto but fortunately not so bad at a moment! Japanese 1101 has 27 seats taken out of 75 and 2201 has 7 seats taken as of today!

Monday, June 28, 2010

First Class and Excursion to Rock Garden

Students were placed into three different classes based on initial suggestion by GTS and now teachers at school adjust some before being completely settled!. It was 83F (feeling like 89F) and very humid typical Kyoto summer day! Everyone ate lunch at Ritsumeikan University before visiting Ryoanji Rock Garden. All were little cooling down in the temple and headed back to Randen, Hakubaicho Station by walking for half an hour with huge sweat!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Everyone seems to be ready to go to school!

Everyone practiced commuting to school on Sunday before the first day on Monday. Everyone made it and seems to be ready for schooling! After getting together, GTS took the group to Shijo, the city center and dismissed. GTS took his daughter, EMA, to Kappa Sushi (Rotation Sushi) since she began loving Tekka-maki (Tuna roll)! Indeed, every plate cost only 105 yen! It is a little raining but hopefully the sun welcomes our group on the first day of the school!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Everyone in COD Summer Group Arrived in Japan!

The group has just finished Peace Study in Hiroshima and moved to Kyoto! On the way to Narita, 3 students got Business class seats and 2 other got Premium Economy seats! We were rained in Miyajima Island but everything went well. The biggest episode so far in this trip is that a dozen students got lost in the morning when we were supposed to leave by a long distance bus, so they missed the bus and had to take the bullet train costing $100 extra!! But everyone reunited in Kyoto Station after all! Well, I am looking forward to the next episode!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Departure to Japan approaches!

AP Scoring has peacefully finished and flew back to Chicago and get ready for COD Study Abroad program! Japan is in the rainy season and it seems raining a lot this year though Hiroshima will have a few sunny days just during our stay there! "Re-union" with all the participants since the orientation weekend will be very exciting! Packing! Packing! Packing! Fall Japanese 1101 (GTS class) has 25 out of 75 seats and 2201 has 6 seats so far!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

2nd week in Kansas City!

GTS is working hard in Kansas City for AP Scoring and today is the 9th day! GTS also played the leading role for the professional development night for all Japanese language specialists! Phew! COD Study Abroad Program is now approaching and I heard the news that a new big shopping mall has just opened next to the Kyoto Station! There is an minor change in the host family arrangement but everything is ready otherwise!20 slots out of 75 Japanese 1101 seats in Fall have been taken. Oh, yes, new development! We have decided to offer Japanese 1101 in Spring Semester as well!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

AP Japanese Scoring Began in Kansas City!

The infamous AP Scoring Convention began today in Kansas City today for coming 2 weeks. For this week, GTS is working as one of the scoring leaders to create scoring guidelines for those readers who will join us later! Except meeting with many teaching comrades, there is no fun at all in this hot sauna-like city! Hope to survive but worry about two little ones and the wife back at home in Chicago! I have just checked to see 5 students registering for JAPAN 2201 this fall! Great start!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Study Abroad Orientation well-done!

Preparing for COD Summer Study Abroad in Japan next month, all the participating students gathered for its orientation last weekend. 16 students are going to Japan in June and they are from COD, Harper CC/CLC, Waubonsee CC, NIU, DePaul, Johns Hopkins, Devry! It will be a good sized decent group, I hope! GTS is now ready for getting to Kansas City, MO for AP Japanese test reading for two weeks between 6/4 and 6/17! There will be a new part-time teacher at COD night class for Japanese 1101 (M/W 7-9) and she will be a good buddy for GTS beginning this fall. Don't think about avoiding GTS' famous educational 'torture' but I am sure everyone will love her class as well! By the way, Japanese 1101 in GTS class has already 14 students out of 75 slots! There will also be the field study in Japan during the Christmas break and 1 student registered as of now! Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

ALL Final Exam finished! Some couldn't survive:(

While all Japanese ANIME fan are enjoying ACen, GTS is busy working on grading! And finally realized 25 students survived at JAPAN 1102 out of 33 students. (75% survival rate this year!)Everyone passed at 2202 and 2252. Grade distribution is: 11 A's, 3 B's, 4 C's, 4 C's, 3 S's and 6 F's unfortunately in 1102. 2 A's 1 B and 4 C's in 2202. 2 A's and 4 C's in 2252. Hopefully those who could not survive will try it again in future!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Final Dinner in the 09-10 academic year went well!

Though GTS was a little late, over 15 royal members showed up and partied well. Some are going to Japan as a JET, some are ready to go to Japan for study abroad, some are looking for English teaching jobs in Japan, some are still be ready for the final in my class! The next dinner is planned on AUGUST 6 as soon as GTS comes back from Japan study abroad program! The final exam week is coming up and all the final exams on my class this year are SCANTRON! I am looking forward to seeing how everyone does! Now I have to Begin preparing the study abroad orientation! Before even going to Japan, I still have a big job as a AP Scoring reading leader in early June!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Already May!

A few more days before the Final Exam Week and every student must be busy in all the subjects. Students in Japanese classes must decide 'just to finish the course' or 'to ge the Pass/Fail option' or 'withdraw from the course.' This coming Friday will be the JCC/GTS dinner and would like to see many people!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

GTS on Chicago Tribune!

Those who had the Friday Chicago Tribune, you may find my picture with a big smile on North Chicago Extra section about dual language program at the Dooley Elementary School of Schaumburg! Keep it if you have for fun! By the way I am going to ICE skating on Sunday! Well, I will see if I can still skate. Sure I will bring my own skating shoes that I brout from Japan years ago!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Almost the end of the academic year!

1102 has just finished its 5th test and the average score was just over 70%. It is almost the time for each students to decide how to finish the course! Some may have to withdraw to keep a good GPA, some may not care about the grade, some may switch from letter grade option to Pass/Fail option. About 35 students are still actively in class and hopefully some dozen students may continue onto 2201 in fall. We lose some good students by transferring to other institutions! Study Abroad Program is soon coming up and I will be busy preparing for it. There will be 16 participants this summer! The fall semester schedule book came out yesterday and four 1101 classes and one 2201 and 2251 as well as the famous honor seminar 1100 are listed. We will be getting a new part-time teacher this fall! 1101 will be at 10-11am and 11-12am daily, 5-7pm on Mon/Wed, 7-9pm on Tue/Thu. 2201 will be at 7-9pm on Mon/Wed. 2251 will be 2-5pm every Wednesday!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Small GTS/JCC Dinner but Fun!

Rather small dinner this month but a dozen of us enjoyed the Spring dinner. Among them were a married couple who were in my class and met for their life! I was glad to see three men from DePaul. They went to study abroad in 2008. One is getting to Kansai Gaidai, the others are waiting for going to Japan as a JET and finishing up the college! The next JCC/GTS dinner will be on Friday, 5/7/2010!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Safe Return but Cold Weather!

GTS field trip group had a very fast flight from Tokyo back to Chicago for 10.5 hours!! Upon arrival in Chicago we began to see clouds and later hail!! Someone in our group always brings the cold weather wherever we go! Now I'm ready to prepare the study abroad trip having 18 students in it. This group is one of the largest ones so I'm sure we can have many unexpected happenings and incidents in summer! GTS/JCC dinner will be tomorrow (4/9/2010), so I hope to see you all!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hello and Good-bye to deers in Nara!

Last full day was to greet to deers and the Giant Buddha in Nara which is under the celebration of 1300-year anniversary of the elected capital in Japan (710-784AD) prior to Kyoto. Our group were enjoying full bloomed Sakura while playing with deers here and their in Todai-ji Temple Complex. After getting back to Hotel, some enjoyed Onsen (Hot Spring) to conclude the great flower viewing trip! Now we are leaving from Osaka Itami Airport to Tokyo Haneda Airport first, and from Haneda to Narita International Airport by bus through Tokyo downtown before catching the American Airline early evening! Wow, class tomorrow!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Incense and Sake with Sakura blooming!

A little slow start today! City bus first took us to the north gate of the Kyoto Imperial Palace Garden and we walked through in the garden with blooming Sakura to get to the south gate from which we get SHOYEIDO (Incense Factory Headquarters) which has the US branch office in Boulder, CO ( After enjoying traditional KODO (Way of Incense) atmosphere we got to the Horino Sake Museum whose traditional residential style of building is over 130 years old! Trail tasting gave our group some smile and energy to move ahead to Central Shopping Area of Shin-Kyogoku and Teramachi Kyogoku!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Full Blooming Cherry Blossoms in light rain!

Slight rain all day long yet Cherry Blossoms were all blooming here and there! Walking to Nijo Castle through Shinsen-en Park and enjoyed squeaking flooring and gardens, and sure some souvenirs! A city bus took us to the Silver Pavilion which is the beginning point of the Philosopher's Trail and the place GTS was born! Sakura along the Philosopher's Trail were in full bloom and we walk and walk and walk to get to Eikando (Zenrin-ji) Temple and Nanzenji Temple where students had a chance to observe monks' chanting ceremony! Oh, yes, everyone met GTS' mom near the temple before heading back to Hotel! It was a Sakura blooming light rainy day!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nice Cool weather with full blooming Cherry Blossoms!

The bus took us to Daikakuji Temple where we practiced 'Shakyo' (Writing Hannya Shingyo Buddhist teaching with brush) and GTS met a long time acquaintance of the temple and she gave all the students a book of flower arrangement as a gift! Also a young monk trainee explained about calligraphy we did to us! We walked to Nonomiya Shrine and Tenryu-ji temple in the Bamboo forest before enjoying full bloomed Cherry Blossoms at the Arashiyama Park! Yes, the group dinner was tonight!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Osaka Castle & Heian Jingu Shrine!

Snow from the yesterday was still visible on the roof of many cars this morning but the weather got improved though the temperature wasn't rising that much! Since the weather was good, we decided to go to Osaka Castle and the Cherry blossoms were blooming beautifully. After lunch near Kyobashi station near the castle, we went back to Kyoto and visit one of the largest garden in Heian Jingu Shrine before shopping at Kyoto Handicraft Center nearby! Some bought nice souvenirs including woodblock prints and some others bought T-Shirts, Kimono, dolls, etc. GTS's 7-year old niece came with the group and enjoyed friendships since she can speak English because she was born in England!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Flowering, Freezing, and Snowing!!

While 80F might hit Chicago, Kyoto is now getting 30s and snowing though Sakura continues to bloom! The Golden Pavilion in the light rain wasn't too bad though the Rock Garden Squeaking floor froze our feet in the morning. We were escaping from the coldness and running into the Cafeteria of Ritsumeikan University where we had cheap, warm and cozy lunch! Hirano Shrine's Sakura was almost in full bloom and beautiful. GTS visited Kyoto International Academy for running some errands for COD Summer Study Abroad, students were enjoying walking in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. Our group got enough time to visit Nishijin Textile Center for Kimono Fashion Show before heading back to Kyoto Shijo Central Shopping Area! Snow began falling on us on the way back to Hotel. Night show in the Gion Area wasn't enough to make us warm! Who brought snow from Chicago?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bump into Akihito and Michiko (Imperial Family)!

It seems that someone in our group brought cold weather here though it was nice. Tomorrow we may see snow! Ahhhhh. It was completely coincidence that we bump into Emperor Hirohito and his wife Michiko-san. Everyone in our group got a small Japanese Rising Sun Flag and was waving towards the car from which Akihito and Michiko were waving hands! Well, it was a good memory for this group. Cherry Blossoms were just great! We went to Yasaka Shrine, Maruyama Park, Kiyomizu-temple and Sanjusangen-do temple in the morning. After lunch, the group went farther to the Phoenix Pavilion! Though it began raining a little towards the end of the day, we accomplished a lot on the very first day!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

GTS with 7 students got to KYOTO on time!

This trip to Osaka is one of the most smooth ones in recent years! American Airline served a couple of pieces of Sushi surprisingly. OMG, I watched 5 movies!! Transfer to the bankrupted domestic Japan Airline went smoothly and got to Osaka Itami Airport perfectly! The Osaka monorail and Hankyu train took us to the Hotel. Our first exploring begins tomorrow! 65F with clear sky will cooperate with us!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Field Trip to Kyoto is just around the corner!

Spring Break Field Trip to Japan for flower(cherry/Sakura) viewing is coming up this weekend and the weather over in Kyoto seems to cooperate with us! Before the Spring Break 1102 morning class students will finish 4th test and enjoy a bit better during the break while night class students will be busy preparing for it! 2202 students took a test last week and marked the average about 80%. A couple more chapters to go for 2202! Summer Study Abroad Japan so far has 17 students in it and we are flying with All Nippon Airways this year, too! Hopefully dollars would get much stronger!!! GTS/JCC dinner will resume after the Spring Break on Friday 4/9/2010!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Japan Fest at OPRFHS!

Annual Japan Festival was held at Oak Park & River Forest High School on Saturday and GTS with his entire family was joined by several COD students and their family! GTS daughter, EMA at the age of 4 was always tuned into Japanese Taiko Drum Performance which also attracted another daughter Rina at the age of 10-months! Ema had a pink care bear face painting and also concentrate in the Aikido demonstration! OPRFHS has been offering nice Japanese language program for years and GTS has been attending its festival over the past few years as well. There are a student who graduated from OPRFHS and currently entertaining GTS 1102 class! 2202 test is coming up this Thursday and Spring Field Trip to Japan is also just around the corner!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

3rd test in 1102 was another body blow!

Average score of 3rd test of 1102 was about 70%. Quite a few students got body blow and damaged a bit while some students did improve their skill as well. There are still good number of students continue to make an effort to keep up with the pace of 1102. The first classroom meeting for Spring Japan Field Trip Class is tonight and let every participant get excited about the 'SAKURA flower-viewing' in Kyoto. Because COD's spring break this year is rather late, we will be in Japan supposedly at best time for blooming! There will be the Annual Japan Festival this coming Saturday (12noon-4pm) at Oak Park & River Forest (OPRF) High School and GTS with little Ema and some students will be there! Join us!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Former GTS student won the OSAKA great trip!

GTS former student, Tanya, who successfully transferred to University of CHICAGO won the 3-week homestay OSAKA trip at the 24th Japanese Speech Contest held at Consulate General of Japan in Chicago on Saturday! She began studying Japanese in GTS class during her high school time and moved onto U of C. One of the most rare excellent students of COD who could transfer to U of C, one of the most prestigious universities in the U.S. I am really happy for her and myself! Congratulations to Tanya, and Osaka certainly wholeheartedly welcome you! Prior to the speech contest, GTS/JCC dinner was held with over 20 GTS comrades and those who attended this time got a nice Japanese calendar from GTS!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Landed in O'Hare at 11:45pm!

Urgent meeting for the Japanese language teachers' association was held in Denver for complete 2days (Sat & Sun). I missed the plane going to Denver on Saturday though made it on that night and the returning plane was 1 hour delay! I arrived home at 12:30am!! Well, this was a rather important meeting for the Japanese education field in the United States so it was worth being a part of it! By the way, second test for 2201 hit 80% so I am quite happy about it though it was fairly challenging!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Reunion with the family!

Finally the rest of my family returned from Japan and sadly the 10-months old Rina has forgotten me and my face and GTS is just a scary stranger making her cry while Ema was giving me a great hug! I was supposed to break the ice between me and Rina this weekend but the urgent two-whole-day meeting in Denver destroyed the plan! I have to start from the scratch on Monday and hopefully I can re-become her daddy! Next Friday, GTS/JCC dinner is coming up. On Saturday, The Japanese Speech Contest will be held at Consulate General in Chicago and I attend it as a rep from Teacher's association of Illinois. What I am most looking forward to is the presentation of the new SONY Palo (Robot SEAL) as well as my former student's speech presentation. Already March is there and COD Field Trip to Kyoto will be in 4 weeks!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Second test made up the previous one!

1102 class had a second test (L.8 test) and made up the previous test low average as GTS planned a bit harder. The average score rose up to about 80% (120/150) by which most students score rose accordingly. Hopefully everyone continues to improve their knowledge and skill and wins over GTS challenge. Some are writing e-mails to me in Japanese or at least enjoy writing Japanese in their own facebook communication! 2202 class will beat GTS on the second test tomorrow on Thursday!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Second test is just around the corner!

1102 will face the second test on Monday and hopefully everyone gets better than the last one. Still over 25 students are in the morning class which seems to be a nice big family with cheerful smiles. 2202 moves a bit slower and the second test is coming on Thursday before GTS flying to Denver, CO for the important weekend meeting of 'American Association of Teachers of Japanese.' Summer Study Abroad in Japan official registrants are, so far, from COD, Harper, Lake County (CLC), Waubonsee (WCC), Devry, DePaul, and NIU.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Busy Week!!

This week is one of the busiest week in the Spring Semester on which GTS assists the Japanese governmental project of JET by which English speaking college graduates are sent to various public schools in Japan. GTS is one of the interviewers for candidates who are screened into the interview process. It is very lucrative offer for college graduates so I do recommend those who graduate from colleges and universities to apply. GTS has also worked as a voice over project this week for a company employee/customer training video. 'Spring break field trip to Japan' is a small group of 7 participants (as of today) while the summer study abroad will be a large group this year! 1102 students have been suffering from Kanji quiz as usual but I do hope that they will thank this challenge in future.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Seems to be a big group in the summer study abroad!

I have just received the news that a couple of students (intermediate level) join COD Summer Japan Program from University of South Florida! So far besides COD students, non-COD students from Harper, Lake County, Devry, and Oakton join us! This year's group seems to have as many as 18-20 students. Very exciting group is coming up in summer!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

16th Birthday at College of DuPage!

Thank you very much for lovely words for my 16th birthday at College of DuPage. Students in the morning class brought me a birthday cake, some sweet potato cake and a huge smiley face balloon as well as cookies for everyone in class. Sweet sixteen at College of DuPage means that GTS is already one of old timers at COD! Well, I will continue to share smiles with students in class. Oh, maybe some tears after test as well!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

First test bullied lovely students!

Both 1102 and 2202 had a first lesson test and let quite a few students suffer! 2202 test seems to be quite usual and the average score of 74% satisfied me, but 1102 test seemed fairly challenging though some had done very well. The average score of 68% let GTS think much deeper to prepare for next lesson test. Yet, time will not stop and we will move forward carefully. GTS will have the busy weekend during which 2 workshops for Japanese language education are organized by GTS and will ne held at Japan Information Center (Consulate General of Japan at Chicago) in downtown Chicago! Summer Study Abroad has now 11 students and 2 are forth coming.

Friday, January 29, 2010

JCC/GTS dinner went well and got cheerful!

About 15 GTS comrades gathered and enjoyed reunion! Rather small group but very cheerful group! Some got the opportunity of JET interview but some not. No matter what they do the next, I hope everything goes well. All classes will have the first chapter test and I may lose some students after that. Study abroad deadline is coming up and about a dozen students are planning to join the summer Japan program! I want to have some more participants in Spring break Kyoto trip, so you or your friend hopefully join the trip! Next JCC/GTS dinner will be on Friday 3/5/2010!

Monday, January 25, 2010

GTS voice goes into National Japanese Exam for high schoolers!

GTS often works as a voice actor for Japanese male voice making and dubbing. This tme GTS's voice has been used for National Japanese Exam ready for high school Japanese learners. Not completely recovered from Jet lag but the recording was well done and many high schoolers in the U.S. will hear GTS voice during the exam. Sounds fun, right? January is soon ended so the JCC/GTS dinner is coming up on Friday this week (1/29)! New Year and GTS birthday greeting at the same time!

Friday, January 22, 2010

First week passed and GTS/JCC dinner approaches!

I am glad to see rather many continuing students in 1102. 47 began facing a new challenge in 1102 and I hope everyone could survive! 2202 got shrunk to 8 excellent and cheerful students and of those 8 students 4 are also attending 2252 with 3 other students. For those 4 students, Tuesday is the Super duper Japanese day! JCC/GTS dinner is coming up Friday next week (1/29) Let's celebrate a year of the Tiger as well as GTS birthday (2/4). No dinner is planned in February but the next one is on the first Friday of March (3/5).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Reunion with GTS' student of 1988!

One of the first students of GTS' life in America found GTS through Facebook and yesterday drove up with his friend from Cincinnati to downtown Chicago! It was amazing! He was 18 at that time and is now 40! We went to Kerryman (at the corner of Erie and Clark), then Fleming for steak dinner, then Big Bowl for Qingdao Beer, and then Mother's Hubbard (Sports Bar) where we played pool! Certainly I stayed at Embassy Suite where we played poker! Oh, what we have done really reminded me of the life in 1988-89! My Jet lag and sore throat got worsen a bit but it was worth meeting with him! I was glad to hear that he is a father of three daughters yet his young habit of checking out gals around was still in place! Oh, well I tried to forget about being a college teacher but he kept introducing me as a best professor of America to everyone he met for the first time! Am I embarrassed? Not at all. I am proud of him and his successful life especially he paid everything and even gave a drink to everyone in the bar! I will visit him next time!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The first day of the Spring semester!

IC Building of COD now is like a huge maze because of renovation project! There are too few classrooms in the building now and GTS must teach 1102 at M-Building in the morning! 24 students are in the morning class to be ready for GTS challenge though the atmosphere of the class seems to be cheerful like a big family and I like it! I hope everyone can survive in the class! The night class will begin next Wednesday with probably 20+ students! 2202 on the other hand shrank quite a bit and only 7 students left but we can do more stuff with a few people so it is also a cheerful family! Of these 7 students, 4 students are also taking 2252 with a couple more students. So these 4 students are devoting themselves into Japanese language study and I love it! The Spring Break Japan trip seems to have about 5 students now and hope some more join us! I am also looking forward to the application deadline of COD summer study abroad program on 2/1/2010!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Spring Semester begins tomorrow!

GTS is now struggling with Jet lag! I have just flew into Chicago on Monday morning just in time for all faculty gathering at COD. I haven't seen that snowy scene for a while so I was re-confirmed that I am in CHICAGO! Those who will return to COD this semester must have fun with COD IC Building (BIC) Maize! I even got lost at very near my office and hit (No Entry) wall! So far total of 40 students are ready to 1102 and this number should rise a bit before the first night class on 1/20. Spring Field Trip has 3 now and I am trying to recruit more to realize the trip so please encourage your friends to join the trip! The first GTS/JCC dinner will be on Friday 1/29! See you all soon!