flonnebonne: (SakuragiHmm??)
Anyone know a good Chinese-English dictionary app? A lot of my students use Youdao (有道) and I think it has a lot of problems. 

flonnebonne: (Default)

Made this comic in Comipo, using the English trial version. Really easy to use. Windows only. Could possibly be used in an educational context.
flonnebonne: (SaiSmile)
Ack! I missed the signup deadline for [community profile] blind_go! That's what I get for falling off the face of the internet for a month. It's kind of refreshing, actually, not being glued to my laptop all the time. 

So, it's been a month of travelling, crying, packing, crying, goodbyes and enkais, more crying. My town and my school have been really good to me--I was exceptionally lucky in my placement as a JET, and exceptionally lucky in finding great friends. I don't think it's really hit me yet that I'm leaving.  

p.s. If you're ever in Tokyo, do please go to the theme restaurant Alcatraz E.R. and tell them it's your birthday. I'm sure you'll have a good time.  
flonnebonne: (AlienSlippers)
Haven't updated the journal in a long time, but stuff has indeed been happening. I'm moving back to Canada at the end of August, which I don't think I've mentioned in my journal before? I was feeling kind of half "I wanna stay" and half "I wanna go home" when it came time to recontract this year, but my family really want me back home, and almost all my JET friends are leaving, including my boyfriend, so that kind of decided it for me.

A rundown of of what I've been up to:

CUT! )
flonnebonne: (Default)
Acapela Text to Speech Synthesis Demo
Type in some text, hit a button, and voila! the program will say whatever you wrote with almost natural (if emotionless) pronunciation and intonation. What's cool about this particular program is that it's got quite a few different language settings, so you can listen to German and Swedish and Arabic and so on! And while it doesn't have, say Australian English, it does have Canadian French for some reason! You can also find out what a keyboard mash sounds like! alifae;flijsefl;jaes;lfjsfe;!!!!!1
I probably wouldn't recommend this site to ESL students because it still has too many glitches, but you can see how cool this technology might be in a few years!

British English pronunciation dictionary. No definitions, just pronunciation. You can search for both words and sentences (it'll find the closest match).
Mwwaah, it used to be that you just had to hover your mouse over a word and a you'd hear a soundbyte, but now you have to click on a word and load up a new page. Puuuuuuh. But it's still a pretty cool site. For some reason "kamehameha" is an entry in there.
flonnebonne: (Rhino)
So just now I taught my adult students the word sketchy when they asked me how to say すけべい in English, andafter that I kind of taught them the meanings of crap/crappy and shit/shitty and plain old poo. I refrained from teaching them any other bad words until one of them mentioned that when she was in Guam a lot of the drivers kept giving her husband the thumb's down sign (for driving on the left side of the road), and that that apparently means go to hell or something (?). Well, I had to tell her that we don't give the thumb's down sign to bad drivers where I come from, we give them the finger, and of course I had to demonstrate the finger and explain what words are actually being expressed when one gives the finger to another human being. So yeah, I'm a terrible human being, though I did make sure to tell my students to not say these words in polite company. My students loved learning this stuff of course--they said they forget most of the English they learn, but today's lesson was one they were unlikely to forget. Hurrahz for corrupting the Japanese!

My first year junior high students also asked me to teach them a bunch of mildly unpleasant words today, like stinky and gross, but eh. I'm more worried about the kids who were saying "five hundred まんこ!" really loudly during class. I'm getting flashbacks to my beastly little third years from last year.
flonnebonne: (SaiSmile)
I've been kind of emo lately because my 3rd year students are graduating soon, and everyone has been writing goodbye messages and I've actually only got two or three more classes with the 3rd years because everything else is cancelled. :( Most of my favorite students are among the 3rd years (ah ha ha, of course I have favorites). They are all-around an amazingly sweet bunch of students. I'll have to do a big post about them one of these days.

What's more, I'll be leaving Japan in August, so there will be even more goodbyes soon. :( I love Japan, but my family misses me and I miss them, and ze boyfriend is leaving in August too and Japan just wouldn't be the same without him.

Le sigh. But I still have several more months before I leave and a batch of new students to look forward to (but I want my old students waaaaaah!), so I shall try to be positive about the new school year! Starting now!

Here's something that my favorite 2nd year class did today )
flonnebonne: (SaiCry)
Today I walked with one of my kindergarten classes to a shrine and then to a ramen place for lunch. Had this conversation on the way:

Little Yuri-chan: You know, my family's dog is dead!
Me: Oh no! (...why are you so cheerful about it?)
Little Yuri-chan: How do you say "dead" in English?
Me: Deeaaadd.
Little Yuri-chan: Dead!
Principal: (walking nearby) Dog dead!
Little Yuri-chan: Dog dead!
Me: Dog is dead!
Principal: Dog is dead!
Little Yuri-chan: Dog is dead. (thinks about it) Cat is dead!
Me: (impressed) My dog is dead.
Principal: My dog is dead!
Little Yuri-chan: My dog is dead! My dog is dead!

The sad thing is that Little Yuri-chan is really smart and may very well remember how to say "my dog is dead" from now on. I just hope she doesn't traumatize anyone. Or that she doesn't tell her English teacher of a mother what I've been teaching her.
flonnebonne: (Default)
Natsumi: Do you believe in Santa Claus?
Me: Umm.....when I was little. Do you?
Natsumi: ............well, the presents come from somewhere. (gives me a questioning look)
Me:*ohshitohshitohshit*..........Maybe if you believe, Santa comes.
Natsumi: Hmmm. Do you believe in fairies?
Me: Umm.....maybe? (looks outside the window for fairies)
Natsumi: I think I believe.

This was just about the cutest conversation I've had with a third year high student. She's not the only one who still believes either--I remember one of the first year boys saying he kind of believed last year. I bet the current crop of first years (who are nuts) have a few believers too.

Japanese kids--or at least the kids in my area--are such a strange mix of innocent and not-so-innocent. Generally, they're so much sweeter than the kids back home. Even the "bad" kids aren't really that bad, at least around here. They don't do drugs or pull fire alarms or bring weapons to school. They just, I dunno, skip classes and lie around the corridors and store moldy bread on school cabinets or whatever.

At the same time, you just know the little brats are reading hentai manga and peering at the dirty magazines at 7-eleven. Or finding their coach's stash of porn mags in his car (thank you for the TMI, baseball team).

I remember a few months ago when I met Natsumi's older sister Maya coming out of a bookstore and I asked what she had bought. She pulled out a shoujo manga and said something about wanting to learn more about adult stuff. Argh, sex education from manga. Oh well, I guess it's not any worse than learning it from the internet or friends.

In other news, I had an awesome, awesome lesson at one of my kindergartens today. And then the teacher gave me an English picture book and said, "since you're good at drawing things, and the kids like it, maybe you could redraw this story for them?" Eargh. I don't think she meant for me to redraw the entire thing, but it's going to be an assload of work no matter what.
flonnebonne: (Default)


All across Japan, junior high school students compete in English speech contests around this time of year. I helped coach three students from my school for the contest, and at today's district competition THEY ALL GOT PRIZES YO!!

flonnebonne: (Pierrot)
So my adult students and I were talking about fugu, the infamous pufferfish that can kill you if you eat the wrong bits. The internal organs are chock-full of poison. One of my students had something interesting to say about that:

Female farmer: Hm, the poison is from the ransou.
Me: Huh?
Male doctor: (checks e-dictionary) Ovary.
Me: Oh, so only female fish are poisonous.
Female farmer: Yes. (raises arms) I have ovary! And Yumiko-san too. (then points to male students) Not them.
Me: I have it too!
Female farmer: But I'm not poison.

Feminist statement yo.

As a sidenote, my family once caught pufferfish while we were fishing in the Philippines. But we threw the suckers back, since we aren't stupid.

* * *

Another interesting cultural tidbit I learned tonight:

Me: How often do people change their tatami mats?
Tatami maker: I tell my customers to change them about every 4 to 6 years, but they usually wait 10 years or more.
Me: It's the same with carpets back home. Most people never change them.
Tatami maker: Ms. Stephanie, do you want tatami for your apartment? So you can have a Japanese experience?
Me: You're a salesman tonight, aren't you.
Tatami maker: New tatami have a nice smell. Did you know, Japanese men like to change to new wife and new tatami?
Me: You mean at the same time?
Tatami maker: Yes.
Me: That's horrible! (everyone laughs)
Tatami maker: But it's very expensive.
Me: Oh yes, your tatami are very expensive.
Tatami maker: No, not the tatami. The new wife.
Me: Because of the wedding?
Tatami maker: Not the wedding.

It turns out he was talking about the palimony money. Hm, score one for feminism again, except not at all, really. Oh, Japan.
flonnebonne: (Rhino)
While walking back to the staff room after a class:

Mr. S: Did you know sixth period is cancelled today? We have a...hm, not a fire drill.
Me: Hm? Not a fire drill?
Mr. S: Well, the students will run away from a bad man in the gym. Like a drill. A police officer will dress up.
Me: Say what now?

This conversation gave me the impression that the students would be running around the gym en masse while some dubious guy in a ski mask chased after them while the teachers looked on and told them to infuse more terror into their screams. You know, like a proper drill.

Well, it turned out that it was only the student council who got to run away while everyone else just watched. Too bad. But the police officer had an awesome criminal outfit: red toque, sunglasses, surgical mask (the kind that Japanese people wear when they're sick), track suit, a lab coat over the track suit, a baseball bat (the end was padded so that he couldn't accidentally kill anyone), and the piece de resistance, a giant fake aluminum foil knife straight out of Otakon 6.

So here's what happened. The student council were sitting on their desks on stage while one of the teachers conducted a pretend class. When the "criminal" showed up, yelling "HORYAAAAAA~!!" and whacking his baseball on the ground, the teacher valiantly wrestled with him while the students valiantly knocked over their desks (presumably to hamper the bad guy) and ran away like Brave Brave Sir Robin himself. Hurrah! That'll stop the bad guys!

After that, some chick nattered on for half an hour about some stuff I couldn't understand, though I think the basic message was "run away, stupid." I was kind of too busy dreaming up excuses for not working on my [community profile] blind_go* fic and mentally composing this LJ entry to bother listening to her. Oh, and she and her male assistant got a couple students to come up and help them demonstrate how to assault people who attack you.

I don't think this presentation at my school had anything to do with the Virginia Tech shootings, because apparently the police come and do this every year. But the timing is eerie.

*hey, does this count as a blind_go panic entry?
flonnebonne: (SaiSmile)
Oh ho ho, at my old high school there's apparently now a teacher named P. Truelove. I would either love or hate to have a name like that. Now I'm really curious about what the P stands for.


flonnebonne: (SaiSmile)
It's currently spring break at my school, and the new school year is about to begin. I recently had to say goodbye to my third year students, half of my kindergarteners (they do kindergarten for two years here), and to quite a few of the teachers.

I'll talk about my kindergarteners and the teachers in my next post. Hopefully.
flonnebonne: (SoraSilly)
Karakuri Funniest English! In which some white guy walks around Japan (Tokyo? probably Osaka) asking people for funny personal stories--and then he asks them to translate their stories into English. Bad, weird, hilarious English. "Secret zone is very cute!" "Natto twister!" etc.

I could only find three of these videos, but apparently they used to be shown every Sunday night in Japan. SO THERE ARE MORE OF THEM. Anyone know where to find them? Preferably subtitled in English, but raw Japanese would be fine too.

I've been using these videos in my adult conversation class which I teach every Wednesday night. I show them a short segment in Japanese, stop the video, get them to translate it into English, then show them the (usually horrible) English translation done by the poor schmoe on the show. I'm sure it's a good boost for their egos.

JET shtuff

Feb. 19th, 2007 08:57 pm
flonnebonne: (Default)
A university professor calling for the end of the JET program in the Daily Yomiuri newspaper

Longer version of the same article (pdf)

Once I got over my seething rage (the Yomiuri version, which I read first, only has the inflammatory bits), I realized that this guy makes several good points. Everyone kind of knows that the system has plenty of problems. Food for thought.

So, I asked class 3-1 if they want to sing "Imagine" by John Lennon for their appreciation party thingy for the teachers, but it turns out they're already planning to sing Hare Hare Yukai, aka the ending theme of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi. The student body president (who can't sing to save his life) is going to be Kyon. And, yes, they are going to do the dance.

How can "Imagine" possibly compete against "Hare Hare Yukai?" Gaijin smash FAIL.

flonnebonne: (Default)
So, like, I guess I should talk about all the crazy shenanigans that go on in a Japanese junior high school (grades 7-9), as I'm sure you're all dying to know about my sordid little life. My school is actually not too weird, compared to other stories I've heard about schools in which incessant kancho-ing and setting people on fire are common ways of saying hello.

But still, my school is in Japan.

I've been keeping a big list of any weird things my students do (when I can remember to write it down), things both naughty and nice. The list gets weirder as you go along. I've noted who did what and what class they're from too, if I could remember it, mostly for my own benefit and for you, [profile] usagivindaloo.

Enjoy. )
flonnebonne: (AlienSlippers)
HAY ZOESQUE that I Am a Japanese School Teacher blog you recced me is the funniest damn thing I've read this year in the longest time. This dood can WRITE. Most of the entries are about Those Crazy Japanese, but there's also this, which made a few tears roll down my (usually) stoic cheeks. Seriously, it did.

Excerpt from today's entry:

But the Ghetto School has been strangely low-key this week. Even the bastards are sitting in their seats. They're reading manga, but it's better than them doing cartwheels out in the hallway (maybe you think I'm kidding about that one). I'm kind of worried, what the hell is going on? Have I stepped into some sort of Bizarro Ghetto School? Is there a Bizarro School of Peace, where Mousey is a good kid and Ultimate Sweetness is like the biggest slut? Is there a Bizarro version of me? What would that be like? The complete opposite of me -- that would be a small white woman who actually liked being touched inappropriately by little kids. Holy shit, Michael Jackson is the Bizarro version of me! Or am I the Bizarro version of Michael Jackson? Mommy, I'm scared. Hold me.

Am caught up on reading flishshst now. Had something else to post but forgot it. Zzzzzz.
flonnebonne: (SakuragiHmm??)
Final Fantasy Poetry Contest at Squaregamer! The winner can choose between a new FFV for GBA or FFIII for DS (not FFVI) for their prize. Deadline: January 31, 2007.

On a completely different note, one of the most amazing things I've learned since coming to Japan is that the songs "London Bridge" and "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes" and "That Preposition Song I Learned in French Class" are all set to the same tune. Who knew?

sur, sous, dans,
devant, derrier,
devant, derrier,
devant, derrier,
sur, sous, dans,
devant, derrier,
a cote de.

And yes, I know about "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "The Alphabet Song" already.

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