Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fall semester is now over!

Time really flies. The fall semester is now over. While everyone beyond 1102 somehow survived, 11 students in 1101 out of my 46 failed! There have been plenty of opportunities to withdraw from the class until the ened of the semester, they did not bother withdrawing from the class. Maybe they believe in miracle to pass the course! I hope those who passed the course would continue to study Japanese in Spring.

Spring Break field trip has begun filling up! It seems that the trip would go!

GTS wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Already December!

The December GTS/JCC dinner went well last week and we are just about to finish the fall semester! Hopefully everyone remaining in Japanese classes survive and continue to study Japanese next semster in 2012!

Spring trip has so far 3 registrants and 4 are coming in soon. Summer Japan program application process has been started and we hope to form the wonderful summer group as usual!

Getting ready for the Christmas break? I hope so!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Japan Trip registration is open!

There will be two Japan trips ahead. One of them is coming in the first week of April during the COD Spring recess to learn Japanese aesthetics and histrical significance of Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) viewing in Kyoto.

Anyone can join the trip with in-distict tution of $450 (Humanities 1800, 3 semester hours) and the trip fee of $2,699. All are welcome. So far there are 7 convinced participants and still plenty of spots!

Another one is annual summer study abroad in Japan in which there is Japanese language study in the morning and cultural excursions in the afternoon every weekday) for 5 weeks. Application is now accepted. Everyone in the US can join with in-district tution of $1,000 (Japanese 1800/2800 and History 1840, 7 semester hours) and the trip fee of $4,299. It is so far the cheapest Japan Study Abroad program in the US!)!


Denver, Colorado!

GTS is in Denver, Colorado for attending the annual conference of American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the largest professional orgamization in the U.S. in the field.

National Council of Japanese Language Teachers (NCJLT) is its affiliate and GTS is one the leaderships of the National Level. NCJLT will merge into another organization and it will be re-born as American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ, 全米日本語教育学会) in January 1, 2012.

GTS is honored to be nominated as one of the three candidates of this new organization and the election will be conducted shortly. Though the chance of winning the election is slim, it is the great thing that teachers in our field recognized GTS!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

GTS/JCC Dinner went well!

There are some new comers as well as a former student from 10 years ago, who was in Kyoto on the Day of 9/11/2001 in GTS field trip group! We almost could not make it in time for returning to the U.S. but we were the first group of returning from Japan!

I am working on the voice acting for Mr. Butch Harmon, the coach of Tiger Woods! Well, nobody will notice my voice but hope many Japanese golfers learn how-to from the DVD!

The end of the year 2011 is really nearing!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tea Ceremony Demo Blasted!

Over 40 students and teachers and community people enjoyed the almost-authentic Japanese Tea Ceremony (Cha no Yu) yesterday with the tea practitioner, Ms. Akiko Sato. She brought almost all the materials and decorative scrolls, etc to the college to show 'traditional tea serving.'

Those who participated the actually ceremony, Otemae, were my students in their 5th semester of Japanese and went to to Kyoto this past summer as a study abroad student.

Everyone in the audience had a chance to taste the traditional Japanese tea and enjoyed a little moment of Japan!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

My talk-show went so well!

As exactly as I planned, my talk-show got all the audience into smiles and laugh and everyone seemed to get relaxed before the actual Taiko Drum Performance.

It was great to see some of community fans of mine and I really felt that I am supported by people in my college community!

Hopefully those students who got free tickets from me enjoyed both my talk and the performance!

Next Wednesday (10/26/2011) has the Japanese Tea Ceremony great performance by the local tea master I invited!

Japanese Tea Ceremony is coming to COD!

COD's foreign language honor society, Alpha Mu Gamma, hold the Japanese Tea Ceremony Demonstration conducted by the local Tea master on Wednesday, 10/26/2011 (next week)!

The ceremony lecture and demonstration will begin 2:30pm at SRC 2800 on 10/26.

I hope many people have a chance to take a look at the actual "way of tea," a part of martial arts!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Japanese Taiko Drum is Coming and GTS Talk!

There will be Japanese Taiko Drum performance at our Art center (MAC) this coming Friday at 8pm. (10/21/2011) This Taiko Group is called "Yamato" originated in Asuka village of Nara, the ancient capitol of Japan (~784).

GTS has no particular relationship with this group but will give a talk prior to the show about maybe drum maybe not.

Hopefully many will show up to enjoy both GTS talk show and the actual Taiko performance!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

1st weekend of October is passing!

Last night was the first Friday night on which GTS dinner was held as usual. About 15 people showed up and one new student joined from 1101 and got motivated to study! (Hopefully) Some came after a long while and one brought his fiance!!! Congratulations!!

Today is the day of the field trip to the Anderson Gardens which is the largest authentic Japanese garden in the United States. The trip was planned by Alpha Mu Gamma (Foreign Language Honor Society) which I am the co-advisor of.

32 people went together and had a great time under the great weather. We went to the very nice but reasonable Japanese restaurant nearby the Gardens in Rockford, IL.

We were all refreshed and energized!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Classes are gradually shrinking but....

1101 will have the second test this week as well as 1102 and 2201. 1102 and 2201 are very stable classes without losing students but 1101 classes are now getting smaller though official number in the registration hasn't changed.

First application for study abroad program 2012 is on its way to my office, it seems. So the program has very bright future next summer!

October is just around the corner and hopefully April Japan Flower viewing Trip will get many participants!

Friday, September 16, 2011

First test for every class has been completed!

It is already mid-September and GTS is staying in Chicago downtown hotel to participate in the workshop, "Imagining Japan: Literatures, Arts and Religions." This workshop is a joint project of the East-West Center and University of Hawaii in Collaboration with: The school of the Art Institute of Chicago and College of DuPage and funded by the Japan Foundation. I want to prepare some new discussion materials out of this workshop and utilize in my future classes. These classes will be Japanese 1100 and/or Humanities 1800 (Field Trip to Japan)

During my stay in the hotel, I have finished grading of tests.
The average score of 1101 and 2201 is about 80% and 1102 is 75% as projected. After this first test I will probably lose some students from 1101 as usual.

Spring semester schedule has been now published and there will be 2 classes of 1101 (day and night) and 1102 (day and night) as well as 1 class 2202 at night.

Friday, September 2, 2011

First GTS/JCC dinner of this academic year went well!

Though this is the Labor Day long weekend, 13 people showed up at the dinner. Within this group, there are 4 couples! What a nice evening. Some were those who have not seen for a long time and we had enjoyed our talk about summer experiences!

Those who went to Japan with me (5 out of these 13 people) want to go back to Japan in one way or another. One may even join my next trip to Japan in Spring 2012!

Classes are going well so far but after next week (which is after important "10th day" for COD) I will lose students gradually as quizzes and tests pass.

Hopefully everyone retains acquired Japanese after the Labor Day!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wow, Septemer is just around the corner! GTS dinner!

This is the first week of September, so this Friday (9/2) is the JCC/GTS dinner night. I hope many can make it for this first dinner of this academic year!

Japanese classes are now shaping up a little. The first quiz on numbers in Japanese is today so I might lose some students but so far just about 60 students are spread into my 3 classes of 1101.

The Labor Day weekend is coming up! On Tuesday right after that, about a dozen Japanese students visit me at COD from Hiroshima Jogakuin University.

It seems that we have some hot and humid weekend here in Chicago. Maybe this is the last summer-like days!

Friday, August 26, 2011

First week of the semester was over!

Since there was no particular assignments to submit, I lost only a couple of students in each morning class. But by the time when we are in the middle of Lesson 1, there will be the wave of withdrawal coming up probably!

1101 (including my friend's class) has total 83 students and 2201 has 15 students which is ideal. first time offering of 1102 in the fall semester gave the learning opportunity to 8 students and our highest level class 2251 has 4 students as usual.

It seems that more students than before are showing their interest in our summer study abroad program, which is probably natural when we reflect what has happened in Japan this year!

The only our concern is higher value of Japanese YEN which I hope getting devalued soon.

Overall, good start!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fall Semester Begins tomorrow!

Time really flies and tomorrow is the very first day of the semester and official beggining of my new office work at newly renovated BIC 2625F! It has been already filled up with important 'garbage'!!!

Morning 1101 classes are both filled with some in the waiting list. My early evening class has still 10 more seats available (M/W 5:00~6:50). T/Th night class (7:00~8:50) taught by my friend Prof. Imamura has a couple more seats to fill!

As our first time experience of having 1102 class in fall, only 7 students registered this time, but I am sure it will increase down the road. No cancellation of these classes with fewer students as I will take care of them as much as I can! That is what GTS means to be!

Flower (SAKURA) viewing trip to Japan during the spring break of early April (3/31/2012~4/8/2012) and Regular Summer Study Abroad (6/19/2012~7/26/2012) are also ready to get registration as well as application.

Waubonsee CC Japanese 101 has been also filled with over 25 students!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The academic year is just around the corner!

COD faculty must unfortunately begin the first school day tomorrow and the forst class of the new academic year is coming up on Monday!

Japanese 1101 has 20 more seats left! GTS is now ready to occupy the new office located in BIC 2625F and all the party goods have been moved also into my new office!

Regardless of taking a GTS class or not, everyone is welcome to my office. It is a bit difficult to find it under current construction phase but I do hope you to try visiting me!

Spring SAKURA flower viewing Japan educational trip is accepting students (the trip will be between 3/31/2012 and 4/8/2012!) as well as 2012 summer study abroad in Kyoto (6/19/2012~7/26/2012)!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wow! Renovated Building now but easy to be lost!

In two weeks, new classes will begin! As COD construction project goes on, GTS office has been moved to the newly renovated side of the BIC building (precisely 2625F) close to the entrance 2.

Still a lot of mess are going on within my office as usual, but you should visit me once the semester begins. I have checked all the classrooms that I am supposed to use, They are quite spacious and comfy.

4 classes (one will be taught by my friend teacher) of 1101 will be filled. But our new project of offering 1102 in Fall semester needs more students! Those who were not satisfied with what was learned in 1102 last Spring should hopefully join!

One sad news is to cancel 1100 which is so-called global classroom project seminar on which we could meet and discuss with students in Japan real-time! Maybe next time!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

MITSUWA Summer Festival! HUMID!!!

Though a bit raining early in the morning, it got clear and very humid during the day when usual Mitsuwa Summer Festival was held. GTS happened (as expected) to meet with quite a few current and former students as well as fellow teachers and colleagues and parents of Ema (daughter)'s friends!

There were many cultural performances as well as some Karate demonstration. As we have just returned from Japan a few days ago, this festival let study abroad participants become some what nostalgic!

GTS Dinner was so lively with about 20 people!

First dinner of this academic year was filled with laugh and smile. Interestingly 3 students who stayed at the same family showed up and some who stayed in the same family in the past gathered as well. What a coincidence!

About 20 people showed up including new students from Japan studying at North Central College brought by a GTS former student. Topics of discussion varied and socialization continued!

Fall semester is coming in 2 weeks. 1101 has 40 seats left and will be filling up quickly towards the beginning of the semester.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Study Abroad 2011 completed! Yeah!

GTS came back to Chicago O'Hare International Airport with all the participants.
Our flight was fairly on time except for taking too much time to go through US Immigration at O'Hare as many flights from all over the world arrived almost at the same time!
No major medical incidents and accidents are, indeed, the sign of success of the program this year.
How much every one's trans-cultural competence was improved varies as every one's personality and social habit greatly influence it. I am, however, very sure that all made significant improvement in language proficiency, social awareness, corroborative activities, mutual assistance, etc.
I do hope everyone continues or begin learning Japanese! Thank you for your support!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Commencement and farewell party with host families!

Official commencement was held this morning and every student received the Certificate of Merit from Kyoto International Academy as well as his/her schooling grade.

The schooling grade will be converted into the academic grade for COD summer study abroad program language grade soon.

After the commencement, there was a farewell party with teachers and host families on which every student read his/her thank you letter to each host family as well as final class performance and "watermelon breaking (すいかわり)”

We will be on our way to Chicago after the final weekend fun!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

City Zoo and then Walking on Fire!

At the almost end of the program now, we visited Kyoto City Zoo which is under renovation and has changed a lot since last visit. Luckily we had a chance to see "feeding" of Lions, Jaguar, Tiger, Hippo, Monkeys!

Heavy rain shower attacked us right before leaving the zoo but soon stopped and we were saved!

Tonight (7/28) was the only day of the year for Tanukidani Fudo-in Hiwatari (Walking on Fire) Festival. Our program never had a chance to get to this Festival because we usually finished the program by then!

Most students had a chance to walk on fire with assistance of monks! The head monk, Ryokai-san, is GTS' senior member of college days!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Everyone must visit where GTS actually came from!

Everyone had to take the final exam for their class and GTS will assign the grade based on the report from their performance as well as daily activity behavior.

In the afternoon, we visited Kamigamo Shrine which is located where GTS originally came from as GTS was graduated from Kamigamo Elementary school! We walked through little alleys that GTS still remember from 40 years ago!

We enjoyed having a little fun at the play ground where GTS had fun 4 decades ago!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sushi, Incense and Japanese SAKE!

Today was the day when everyone had to participate in making their own Sushi roll! GTS also enjoyed their masterpiece, too. After making their stomach full with their own Sushi and Soup, we visited Shoyeido, Japan's most famous incense factory headquarters in Kyoto, to see the process of their production line! Their US headquarters is located in Boulder, Colorado!

Some got their souvenirs and then went to Horino Sake Museum where you can see old Japanese Kyoto Style of house as well as Japanese Sake history, taste and certainly souvenir shopping!

Wow! Few more days to finish up the program!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tenjin Festival Fireworks Sparked!

Every 25th of the month has a flea market in Tenmangu right in front of Kyoto International Academy. And the July 25th is the only day of the year when Osaka Tenjin Festival is in progress.

Many floats are in the river from which people on ships waved us! Students enjoyed a lot with some vendor (屋台) food and drink!

Fireworks were right in front of us and everyone got great feeling of Japan's Summer Festival!

Tomorrow, students will make Sushi in school!!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

We made our own CUP NOODLE!

Under the very nice breezing weather, we visited to Ramen Museum in Osaka where everyone can produce his/her own Cup Noodle!

Noodle cup is designed very unique and I feel like tasting each one of them!

Instant Ramen Museum must be the place to visit every summer!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bamboo Walk and Tenryu-ji in exceptionally cool wind

After the typhoon passed, it was exceptionally cool windy day today and we could enjoy nice breeze in the Tenryu-ji temple complex tatami mat room and bamboo walk afterwords.

Upon climbing up a small hill, more pleasant wind with excellent valley view were waiting for us!

Hope this weather continues tomorrow! Probably not, I guess.

I heard the terrible heat wave is attacking our home town, Chicago-land area!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The typhoon avoided Kyoto and HEAT came back!

The Typhoon #6 turn to west before attacking Kyoto and left. Maybe it was afraid of GTS and our members here! As a result, we did have strong wind but not much rain. As soon as it passed, the HEAT came back and now it is very hot and humid!!!

We visited Heian Jingu Shrine and its gorgeous garden which is the largest garden in Kyoto. After the shrine, we went to Kyoto Handicraft Center where everyone should finish souvenir shopping.

Some went to several martial arts equipment shops as well! Oh, well GTS' mom got hospitalized today so now he is busier! Hope she will be released from the hospital in a few days!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Typhoon No.6 is directly attacking us!

After the festival, typhoon No.6 is now viciously attacking western Japan and it is really influencing us as well though not much rain here but very strong wind!

We visited Daikaku-ji temple in the windy weather and most students practiced Buddhist scripture calligraphy writing to show our courtesy.

This is the second rainy day during the program and actual typhoon will approach us tomorrow! The school? Of course, no closure at all. Only two weeks left!!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

GION Festival Parade was gorgeous in heated weather!

Students are supposed to get together in front of Kyoto City Hall at 10 am when the first float (Naginata-boko) will turn the intersection. Only three students made it on time to observe together.

I hope everyone somehow had a chance to see them from somewhere. GTS too those who made it to one of the largest shopping mall to enjoy air conditioned afternoon!

Some are planning to go to Universal Studio of Japan or Kaiyukan (Japan's largest aquarium in Osaka tomorrow!

Me? Lake Biwa!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Phoenix Pavilion and Gion Night!

Under 100F humid sunshine day, we visited to Phoenix Pavilion (平等院鳳凰堂) where we could see how Pureland (浄土) might be!

By the time we got to the Kyoto central area, the pedestrian heaven (歩行者天国) is about to be ready for Gion Night.

A group of students got a 3D Harry Potter newest movie on the first night! Hope everyone enjoys the movie!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Brewery gave us some cool feeling!

Little mountain climbing yesterday gave us sweat by walking but brewery trip today us different kind of sweat! Fortunately we had a chance to grab a bite before getting on the shuttle to the brewery where everyone was in a position to taste some best SUNTORY beer.

Well, some had to take a soft drink but......

Tonight is the first night pedestrian heaven in the central Kyoto continuing next couple of nights!

Hope all students could enjoy some festival atmosphere!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cooling down on top of Mt. Kurama with s little happening!

There was a good choice to go up to Kurama-dera on top of Mt. Kurama to cool down though climbing up stares and hills! On the way over Mt. Kurama to get to Kibune, one student fell and sprained the foot. Several kind students one after another carrying the student down to the mountain, which took a while and skipped to go to Kifune Shrine as a result.

Temperature is really challenging us but tomorrow Brewery tour will entertain us in one way or another!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

From Eikando to Nanzenji and GTS' mom!

GTS visited all the classes in the morning to see how well/bad each student behave in class! Afternoon excursion began walking up to Nyakuoji Shrine (若王子神社) to Eikando (永観堂), Nanzenji (南禅寺) then Lake Biwa Canal Museum (琵琶湖疎水記念館).

While walking to the bus stop from Nanzenji, GTS group had a chance to meet GTS' mom in front of GTS condo!

"Did your mom allow you to stay there?" GTS: "No, I allow my mom to stay at my condo." hahahaha.

A sign of little came but no significant rain came yet!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Surrounded by Monkeys under almost 100F!

Real Kyoto summer seemed to began with almost 100F humid weather. Kyoto Gion Festival is now under way with a climax of the Parade this coming Sunday. Gion Festival is one of three most famous and largest festivals in Japan.

Our afternoon trip was to climb up Mt. Iwata where monkeys (Nihon-zaru) enjoy living. We were in a cage to feed some apple pieces to monkeys!

Many baby monkeys were very cute and every student had fun with them!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Most hot and humid day so far!

35 degree Celsius (95F) with high humidity requires us to enter an air conditioned place every often regardless of how much Japanese government is asking people to save electricity!

I took a couple of students to a bookstore, a comic store, a 100-yen shop, a used book store and finally Kyoto International Manga Museum

Hope their humid weekend day was somewhat cool!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Most humid day attacked us to get to Osaka Castle!

On the contrary to the rainy yucky weather yesterday, it was really hot and humid and the entire city is like a sauna! Yet, we were managed to get to Osaka Castle where we lost one student and 3 conscientious kind students of mine tried to look for him while others were heading back to Kyoto!

Life is tough and I was confident in everyone would get back to Kyoto safely yet I was impressed some strong 'friendship/comrade-ship' among students and I am very proud of them!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

First Rainy day!! to the Castle!

Today is the first real rainy day which requires an umbrella! July 7th is the Milky Way Festival Day (たなばた) on which every student wrote down his/her wish on a paper slip to decorate the Bamboo branches!

After the lunch, we dropped by at the Nishijin Textile Center where we enjoyed some shopping and Kimono show. A few blocks south of the Textile Center is the Seimei Shrine which is famous for Japanese Traditional Exorcism in 11th century.

Rain continued to follow us to the Nijo Castle!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

1001 Kannon Statues welcomed us!

Students enjoyed learning traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony this morning instructed by one of their teachers. Besides teaching Japanese to our students, she teaches Tea Ceremony to native Japanese people. She performed really professionally and GTS was, indeed, very impressed and felt very lucky to have her there!

After the long walk to the mountain top of Fushimi Grand Shrine yesterday, we had a little resting excursion to Renge Oin (蓮華王院) known as Sanjusangen-do (三十三間堂) and 1001 Senju Kannon (千手観音菩薩) statues welcomed everyone this afternoon.

We have not seen significant rain yet and rain seems to come tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fushimi Grand Shrine through Tofukuji without rain!

Though it was rather heavy rain last night, no rain and UV sunshine gave us a hard time to climb up the path surrounded by thousands of Torii Gate to the top of the mountain from which we could enjoy nice view of Kyoto from the south.

From the top of the mountain we went down to the opposite side of the mountain foot from which we walk through the narrow mountain road to get to Tofuku-ji temple!

Another rain-less day was ended!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Still No Rain! Meiji Confectionery Factory was fun!

Though the weather forecast told possible rain and we did have a little rain which did not require an umbrella. For the first time in the summer program's 13 years history, we visited Meiji Confectionery Factory (明治製菓) and enjoyed free snack and observation tour.

Famous snack, Kinoko no Mori (Mushroom shaped chocolate snack) and Karl (Corn puff without using any oil) were interestingly produced on the conveyors!

According to the weather forecast, it would be raining tomorrow. Is it true? We will find out tomorrow, I guess.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Great Buddha welcomed us in slight rain!

This morning began with a little rain so I finally felt that we are, indeed, in the rainy season. Despite the fact that I prepared my umbrella, I ended up with not using it!

The fake rainy day with nice breeze led us to the GREAT BUDDHA Image in Todai-ji temple, then February Hall from which you can see the entire Nara area, Tamukeyama Hachimangu, Wakakusa mountain, Kasuga Grand Shrine, and Sarusawa Pond!

We walked quite a bit but everyone had still more energy than needed!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Almost rain but not quite in Kiyomizu Temple!

At the time we left for the afternoon excursion, we saw a little drop of rain but by the time we got off the bus at Kyoto Universoty area for lunch, the sign of rain was replaced by the sweaty sunshine!

From Gion, Yasaka shrine, Maruyama Park, Kodaiji-temple, Ryozan Kannon (largest Kannon statue outside), 2-year slope, 3-year slope then Kiyomizu temple, Jishu shrine, we walked and walked until going down to the main street via Chawan (Tea Bowl) slope!

Ended with sweat without rain today, too.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Philosophized between Silver Pavilion and Nyakuoji-shrine!

Another extremely hot and humid day let us philosophize on the Trail (哲学の道) between the Silver Pavilion (銀閣寺) and Nyakuoji-shrine (若王子神社).

In the Silver Pavilion, GTS bumped into Mr. Kurt Thompson from Oregon. He is a current president of National Council of Japanese Language Teachers and leading 27 middle schoolers to Japan now!

I love Kyoto which gives us surprizing reunion with fellow teachers from the U.S. GTS may happen to meet some teachers tomorrow, too!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Golden Pavilion Embraced us with heat!

A teacher of one of three classes for our students welcomed her birthday today and our students celebrated her birthday in class while learning Japanese.

After having lunch at Ritsumeikan University Cafeteria again, we left for the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji-temple) while the strong sunshine and ultra violet beam attacking us.

Shining Gold, energetic carp, and 600-year old Bonsai pine tree welcomed us and saw us off!

Another humid rain-less day greeted us!!!!

GTS will meet a high school teacher from IOWA tonight!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rock Garden Rocked us with heat!

First day of schooling and only two students were a bit late, otherwise, everything went smoothly. GTS was faked by the dark cloud but today was ended up with rain-less!

We ate lunch at Ritsumeikan University where GTS was graduated over 20 years ago. Those who can speak Japanese a little better helped others in the cafeteria.

1 minute walk from Cafeteria led us to the Rock Garden of Ryoanji-temple where we stayed over 30 minutes right in front of the beautiful moss carpet!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

1st Maigo Found!

Everyone got the first weekend today and some went to the city center, some went around the host family house, and others met Japanese friends. At the end of the day, I got a phone call to my cell saying, "we lost her." Well, there was nothing I could do but waiting. My mom picked up the phone at home. According to my mom, she does not know Japanese but she said "maigo (lost child)." That worried me and called her host family and found out that "Maigo (she) was found safe!" Good to hear that! Another no-rain humid day has passed!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Commuting Practice with sweat!

Everyone was required to come to school in the morning for commuting practice. Some got lost a little bit but overall everyone did a good job and we went to newly developed Kyoto Station Area to explore! For last two days GTS introduce two main spots in Kyoto (Shijo area and Kyoto Sta. area) so that everyone can enjoy him/herself alone! No rain so far but super humid day continued! Hope everyone start to be settled this weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

1st Day passed quickly with sweat!

Before recovering from Jet lag, everyone had to take a placement exam in the morning. To spend lunch time in the center of Kyoto city, we got to Shijo Kawaramachi area where everyone had a chance to walk around under Kyoto's famous hot and humid weather. Having been exhausted, students went back to school and waited for host families picking them up. They will practice commuting to school tomorrow and GTS will go to Kyoto station area with them!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Study Abroad Kyoto Group Arrived in Japan!

COD STudy Abroad Group safely arrived in Kyoto last night. Everyone seemed jetlagged and exhausted but also excited to have 6-week experience in Japan! We will learn about the city and transportation basic today as well as getting ready for class with the placement test!

Our summer began!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

AP Scoring Finished and ready to go to Japan!

13-day AP Scoring session has just ended and be ready to go to Kyoto with 14 students on coming Tuesday. We will fly into Narita by American Airline and transfer to Itami by Japan Airline. Our fist night stay will be at the Kyoto International Academy accomodaiton facility before meeting with host families on the following day.
This year, everyone will get the KIA student ID which allow them to be admitted to various facilities such as, Kyoto Manga Museum, Kyoto City Zoo, Kyoto City Museum, Nijo Castle, etc. as many times as they want. First time Japanese Snack Factory visit is also exciting!
Hope the rainy season end soon and the trip give us great experience. Once getting to Kyoto, this blog will give everyone the daily up-date!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

AP Japanese Test Pre-Reading has begun!

GTS arrived in Kansas City, MO for scoring AP Japanese Test for high school students. Actual scoring session will begin next Wednesday but we are now working hard to create the scoring criteria and training materials. About 2000 students took this test as usual and scoring session will last until 6/16! This is the final year for this scoring location and the site will move to Salt Lake City next year! One of these night, we will probably go to Kansas City Royals ball game and the movie theater where I cannot go that often back in Chicago. I was already tired but am happy to reunited with some teacher friends from all over the U.S.!

Friday, May 27, 2011

June is just around the corner!

Upon getting into June, GTS will fly to Kansas City for AP Japanese Scoring Session between 6/3-16 just before taking 14 students to Kyoto for the Study Abroad Program. Probably just about 2000 high schoolers took this year's AP Japanese tests to hope to get some college credits before entering a college/university.
Starting the next year, AP Scoring location will be in Salt Lake City, UT.
Fall registration has begun and 10 students registered for 1101 (100 seats in 4 sections available).
Japan seems to be attacked by 2nd typhoon this year already and the rainy season has also begun. Hopefully the rainy season ends earlier so that my students can enjoy more there!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Study Abroad Orientation passed successfully!

Two-day Study Abroad Orientation was successfully finished last weekend and everyone got excited about the up-coming trip to Japan. There are 14 students (10 from COD, 1 from Waubonsee CC, 2 from Harper CC and 1 from Prairie State College). 10 male students will protect 4 female students during the trip and 3 students with over two years of Japanese learning experience will assist other students. It is a small but good group and I am confident in making this trip very fruitful!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2010-2011 academic year ended!

Final exam week has just passed and all grades were reported! The academic year has done and now should be ready for the orientation weekend for the study abroad program coming up in a few days! Since GTS allows students to withdraw in the last minutes to avoid lowering GPA, quite a few withdrew from classes after the actual enjoyment of the class activities with other classsmates.
Japanese 2252: 1 A, 2 B's (3 survived out of 3)
Japanese 2202: 3 A's, 1 B, 3 C's, 2 S's and 1 F (9 survived out of 10)
Japanese 1102: 12 A's, 2 B's, 1 C, 5 D's 1 S, 2 F's (21 survived out of 23)
Japanese 1101: 4 A's, 1 B, 3 C's, 2 F (9 survived out of 10)
Waubonsee 102: 2 A's, 1 B, 2 C's (5 survived)
Well, over 100 students began learning Japanese last fall and 21 survived (20%)!! Is this low? Not quite!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May Dinner is coming up tomorrow!

Time really flies and May JCC/GTS Dinner will be tomorrow and hope to see many of you at the end of this semester. June and July don't have a dinner because of the GTS' AP Scoring and Study Abroad Program but we will meet again in August 5th before the fall semester!
First experience of 1101 in the Spring semester began with over 25 students but there are only 10 left in class at the end. Hopefully everyone passes the course. 1102 students mostly pulled through the course and wait and see how they are! Summer Study Abroad Program in Kyoto for 6 weeks will have 15 students despite the nuclear and natural disaster!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A few more weeks to go!

1101 has been shrinking into almost a dozen regular attending students especially after the spring break as expected. 1102 still has about 35 students in two classes of which 15-20 students seem to continue to get into 2201 in fall and that is good. 1102 may not make it in fall due to the lack of students yet some current 1102 students may join! One excited thing is the new Learning Community Course (Interdisciplinary experience) between my Japanese 1100 (Culture/Civilization of Japan) and Political Science 2220 (World Politics) taught by Christian Goergen. Political Science 2220 will be on Tuesday night (7-9) and Japanese 1100 will be on Thursday night (7-9) and students must register both classes. We will virtually meet with Japanese students in Hiroshima real-time and discuss several global issues!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring Break has passed! Dinner will be on 4/8!

Last one month of the semester is now left. Each class has a couple of chapters to go in the textbook. Because of recent events in Japan, summer study abroad group got a bit smaller with 15 students, which is still nicely sized! April JCC/GTS dinner is coming up this Friday (4/8). I hope to see many friends there.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Conference in Hawaii!!

Association of Teachers of Japanese will have the annual conference in University of Hawaii this weekend in conjunction with the annual conference of Association for Asian Studies. As GTS is one of the conference organizers, I am in Hawaii now to be ready for it. Since I am in Hawaii, indeed, I am having some fun now at North Shore, Kailua, Dole Plantation, etc. I did swim with 2 daughters under nice sunshine! Last visit to Hawaii was summer 2005, so 5 years have passed. Hopefully I can come back here in Hawaii in 5 years again! Refreshing at least now!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Disaster after Disaster in Japan!

The Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami cost over 20,000 human lives (as of now 23,000) and I am sure that it took the same number of animal lives as well. And it happened with in an hour. Right after this natural disaster, nuclear power plants got in trouble. AND I believe this is NOT a natural disaster but this is rather from human error (miscalculation no matter how unpredictable it might be). Oh, well most of American Students who are in Japan as a official study abroad students from universities in the US are required to return to the US because of uncertainty of those two incidents. Sad Sad Sad.....
GTS students are going to Japan in mid-June as scheduled since Kyoto has no effect from those incidents. We may plan something special there. 16 of us will have the special educational experience there in summer.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

3・11Easten Japan Great Earthquake!

First news of the earthquake came in Thursday night here in Chicago and to me it is quite usual to hear this kind of news from Japan. But when Tsunami news came in, I got so shocked before even looking at any photos as I was a civil engineering major at college and little better idea. Fortunately our family and relatives are all in Western Japan and did not feel any earthquake and Tsunami news is quite foreign/distant to them. COD Study Abroad will be in Kyoto and there is no negative effect from this disaster to the program and all the host families. The Western Japan centering in Kobe/Osaka had a similar devastating experience about 15 years ago but this once in 1000 year disaster really devastated Japan! Besides Japan is now suffering from 'Nuclear Power Station Trouble ' Throughout my high school and college time, I as well as many of my comrades, opposed to built 'Nuclear Power Station' as we know Japanese and many Asian people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII have been especially suffering from radiation by A-Bomb and accidents/natural disasters are inevitable. I sincerely hope that no innocent citizens be hurt by current situation in Fukushima, Japan. The earthquake 15 years ago killed about 6000. The number of this earthquake' victims seems to be reaching over 12000~13000. Japan and people in Japan (not only just a Japanese nationals) will rise again!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Polarization in 1102 began!

Upon finishing up the notoriously difficult test for 1102, the polarization in class began. One group of the class will score probably always about 80% or higher and another group of the class will score about 50% or less. There are some in between but mostly everyone belongs to either group. Student ability of language skills cannot be determined by the score but their memorizing skill and application skill can be shown. It is quite interesting!! Well, I rather don't want to give such a test but...... Summer Study Abroad seems to be finalized with 17 participants!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

GTS/JCC dinner this Friday night!

The regular monthly dinner is coming back to the first Friday of the month and it will be this coming Friday. I will be there at about 6:30pm to be ready. Past few days have been busy for assisting Consulate General of Japan at Chicago for its interview process for JET program and annual Japanese language speech contest initial screening process. Now I have to be spiritually ready for the Annual Conference for Association of Teachers of Japanese held in Honolulu during COD Spring Break. As I am a member of conference program organization committee as well as Conference Proceeding Editing committee, I will become super busy soon. Oh, I have to prepare the summer study abroad program as well. Summer program seems to become one of the largest groups in its history with some 18-19 students!! Airfare is super expensive, dollars are super weak, but students hopefully super GENKI!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

March is just around the corner!

Time really flies. 1101 started with 28 student in January but now 21. By the mid-semester (early April) I suspect about 15 students will be settled and that is a good number for me. knowing that they may not pass the course, some may stay to have fun in class! First week of March is the JET program interview week and I will become one of the interviewers, who gives some nasty questions! I have attended the reception at the official residence of Consul General of Japan last night and enjoyed mini Oboe concert and sushi. Friday next week (3/4) is the JCC/GTS Dinner night so I hope many show up this time. The reservation is 6:30pm. This Dinner tradition is now 15th year! While I enjoyed birthday comments from everyone, I forgot renewing my Driver's License!! (I successfully renewed 19 days after my birthday without much problem!) Hope to see you all in a week.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

2nd Test of 1102 passed!

The average of the first test wasn't too good (65-70%) so this test got better (about 75%) though getting more polarized than before, which is quite usual. So the better grade/points group average is over 80% while another end group is 40-50%. Yet this score will never represent each student's hidden linguistic ability as I know many members of the latter group later got successful in many fields with 'Japanese Skill.' It is rather cruel to put 'a rather negative label' on their back but the schooling gave a tough life to each student. Those who somehow managed to pull through can get to the brighter future statistically! GTS is still hoping everyone could eventually make it! the number of 1101 students began decreasing as well. After the second test next week, 1101 class will be shaped up a bit with less members. There are several availble helpers this semester, so hopefully more students would survive!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Study Abroad Japan Grows!

It is about the time to begin finalizing to organize the group of 2011 Summer Japan Program. There are so far 17 students being committed to the program and began excited to have the adventurous life in Japan. Some may still join and could become almost the largest group in the 13-year history of the program despite this notoriously low value of the US currency! In light of most expensive summer airfare in the history, we have to modify the program a bit and cancel the first few-day orientation/peace study visit to Hiroshima and directly get to Kyoto. In return, students can stay one more weekend at the end of July and come back to Chicago on Monday, August 1. (complete 42-day or 6-week program this year!) Hiroshima peace study visit will be realized one of the weekend during the program, instead. Let's hope DOLLAR goes up! 「ドルさん、がんばってください。」

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Nice JCC/GTS dinner in February.

Recent JCC/GTS dinner has been rather small maybe because it begins late, so I decided to have March dinner on the 4th, which is the first Friday night and begins 6:30pm, so plaese show up at 6:30pm, I will be there! (oh, well it is 3 weeks away so ....) The dinner last night got those who have not seen a while except communicating through 'Facebook.'
It was good to see one new associate from 1101! I hope it would grow more. For classes, I suspect 1101 will shrink next week after returning the first test as you can imagine. The summer study abroad, though still accepting, became a nice sized group of 15 students (6 female students and 9 male students). 11 students are from either my current or previous classes. There is one from Harper CC and another from Oakton CC. Well, hope some more can join us. Horribly expensive airfare and exchange rate, we have to skip the initial Hiroshima Orientation study (it happened in 2008) but I successfully extended the trip a few more day at the end to include one more weekend before returning to Chicago!

Departure: 6/21 (Tue) by American Airline
Return: 8/1 (Mon) by American Airline (42 days 6-week!)
Daily Japanese Language class: 9:00am-12:30pm
Daily GTS Excursion: 12:30pm-5:00pm

Cost: $4200 plus $900 (tuition for 7 semester hours regardless of where you live. No In and OUT district stuff!)
(This includes everything but lunch)


Thursday, February 10, 2011

GTS/JCC dinner this Friday night (Tomorrow)!

One month passed very quickly and the dinner is coming up tomorrow! It is a national holiday in Japan (National Foundation Day, which is highly political since nobody knows when Japan was formed!). I hope many will show up! The first test of 1101 finished and I lost 4 students so far (well, the average score was 70%!) 2202 also finished the first test and the average score is about 75% but everyone stick to the class and they can overcome together.
Summer Study Abroad Japan program has now 15 students in it and it seems to be a nice big group of us. I have decided to extend the program dates until 8/1 so that we can include one more weekend! Sad thing, on the other hand, is that we have to cancel Hiroshima orientation peace study due to the high price of airfare! We will visit Hiroshima in the middle of the program, which is planned by the host institution in Kyoto.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ah! GTS Birthday today!

After the big snow storm, GTS birthday arrives. When I was born next to Silver Pavilion in Kyoto so many years ago, I heard that it was a big snow in Japan and everything was stopped except me coming out to this world. Usually no need to go to the office at college but after two-day unexpected off, I must catch up several things there as well as final preparation for the weekend workshop! Our little dog, TARO still has parasite to get rid of and I must bring his stool sample to the Animal Hospital. TARO loves snow just like other dogs but in order to avoid those harmful salt on the road, he was digging and running the snow backyard! Well, too much personal matters!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Japanese Teaching Workshops in Chicago!

After unexpected two-day Blizzard off, this coming Saturday and Sunday have workshops for Japanese education. Two worshops will be held at Japan Information Center (attached to Consulate General of Japan in Chicago). Saturday one is for K-16 Japanese teachers in the area (mostly IL, IN, WI, IA) and Sunday one is for teaching Japanese as a Heritage language. Teaching Japanese, to second-generation Japanese-Ameican kids as well as to those who has a Japanese-speaking parent, has a different meaning for them so we have to focus some effective methods. Oh, well writing about this will need 20-page paper so I should just prepare two workshops. Good thing is that I am just a organizer and the facilitating specialist will come from California! I hope flight from Los Angeles would arrive on time and have a welcoming dinner here!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blizzard closed the school but not GTS!

Once in 40 years blizzard attacked Chicago area and almost all the schools were closed. COD was closed right after 1102 students' taking the first chapter test this semester. Thanks to the Blizzard ironically created time for me to mark every test and find out who were "injured" and who were "defenced well." The average score of the test is just about 70% so I would say it was a bit harder but it was quite usual at the beginning of the semester. Blizzard gave more time for 2202 students to prepare the test due to the cancellation of the class so I am expecting that they will perform great on Monday! I am rather busy for organizing two up-coming workshops this weekend held at the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago! Oh, yea my birthday is coming up on Friday!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cold weekend though expected!

As usual it was a cold weekend here in Chicago. No unnecessary outing has been recommended yet TARO likes to walk or skate on the backyard snow/ice. He stupidly lick some bricks and his tongue stuck to it out of coldness and cut slightly and got bloody a bit! Oh, he is fine now. He enjoyed the hot bath last night! I attended the information session for Japanese Saturday school over the weekend. Since my daughter EMA is in Japanese kindergarten now, she can begin her Japanese Saturday school next year not this year. Phew! Why? Cost of attending the Japanese Saturday school here in Chicago is HUGE if you are not a company employee of a Japanese company which belong to the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Chicago (JCCC)! I am just a teacher!!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rather small GTS/JCC dinner but good start!

The first dinner of 2011 was rather small group but it was a good start of this rabbit hopping year. 1102 classes began and 36 students in 2 classes seems to determine themselves to move on. 1101 and 2202 will begin the course tomorrow and just about 10 students will continue to study at 2202 while 1101 class is full of 25 students. Usually I have a Spring Field trip to Japan during the spring break but there is no trip due to my another professional commitment so regular classroom teaching schedule makes me busier than usual. From Monday through Thursday, 9 to 9 (12-hour daily schedule) working will challenge me until May!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

First day of the Spring semester! JCC dinner tomorrow!

Students in the 1102 morning class took the first quiz on the first day! Night class students as well. It seems that there are 37 students total in 1102 and 25 students in 1101. Just about 10 students are in 2202. Yet Japanese courses this spring increased the enrollment over 33% in comparison to the last spring 2010. Japanese classes are growing in the shrinking college. Yeah!
Waubonsee community college second semester students are only 8 as it is only 'once a week, three-hour class.' Hope everyone will survive. Once they come into GTS facebook circle, they everyone seems to have fun around GTS. hahaha. Tomorrow is the first monthly dinner this year! Hope to see many friends!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Spring Semester 2011 is nearing! Greeting!

GTS hopes that every one's winter break was comforting and energy saving for the beginning of Year 2011. The rabbit year, hopping year, growing year, exploring year, exciting year, .... GTS family including newly added SHIBA-INU, Taro, DROVE down to the Disney World and certainly and safely returned home. How many miles? Just 2400 miles which is equal to the round trip between Hakodate in Hokkaido and Fukuoka in Kyushu! We welcomed the year 2011 in the car in Tennessee while driving back to Chicago. By the way I am writing this in San Francisco where I made a presentation about Japan Trip! Busy life continues in 2011. Spring semester is just around the corner and 2 classes (one is 1101, and another morning 1102) are now full! Night 1102 seems to have 14 more seats left, which I doubt is to be filled. The summer study abroad registration is now ready and I am holding a few successful application forms in hands now. Welcome to GTS page, classes, world and circle. Let's enjoy the rabbit year 2011 together!