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!