Monday, 20th November 2023
Yesterday, I went to Gunma Insect World with my friends.
But you know what? I really hate insects. Bugs make me uncomfortable. I don’t like being around bugs!
Gunma Insect World isn’t so bad, because all the bugs are inside glass cages. I can look at them without them touching me, so it’s fine.
Actually, there was some interesting bugs there, like giant stag beetles and bugs that live in the water. My favorite thing was the fire bellied salamander. But those weren’t bugs at all, they’re newts! Huh!? Why are they there?
Also, even though I said the bugs cannot touch me, one landed on my friend when we were outside. I’m happy that it didn’t choose me!
Friday, 17th November 2023
Have you watched Bocchi the Rock? It’s an anime about a high school girl who is not good at talking to people. She plays guitar every day, and uses it to make friends. I watched it after a third year student told me about it last year. I thought it was really good!
A lot of the places in the series are in Tokyo. So fans of the series often visit those places and take photos. I think it is a fun idea, but we should be careful if we do that.
I went to one of the places. There were a lot of signs nearby. They said, “please don’t block the entrance to the other stores or stay in front of our place for too long. We are a business.” It seems that a lot of fans are creating problems for the shops in the area because they want to take a photo.
I agree with the shops. They were there before the anime. So we should respect their rules. Because the store I went to didn’t have a show that day, I took a photo quickly, then left.
Are there any shows you like that have places you can vist in real life? What are they? Have you ever visited those places?
Monday, 6th November 2023
Do you often go outside at night?
When I was in Australia, I never went outside at night. It’s dangerous. I always went home before it got too late, unless I was with a lot of friends.
In Midori City, going outside at night feels very safe to me! So I like to go outside at night. There isn’t anyone around, and it’s very quiet. But now that it’s nearly winter, it gets dark outside earlier. The sun sets before 5pm.
When you leave school after club activities, is it dark? Please be careful on your way home.
Thursday, 2nd November 2023
Wow! Today we got to watch the Osaka Toin High School band perform!
It was really good, and I had a good time. I especially liked the Queen medley that they played near the end of the performance. I think that a lot of Japanese people might not know about Queen, but if you’re interested, you should check them out. They have some very good songs, and they are very famous in many other countries.
Actually, there was a student at Daichu last year who loved Queen. We often listened to their music at the beginning of English class. So maybe some of it sounded familiar to you, too!
Monday, 23rd October 2023
Do you like studying?
I think most people will say “No!” I don’t like studying, either. I am not good at studying. I often get distracted, or start doing something else without thinking about it. Then, suddenly, oops! It’s been three hours and I haven’t studied at all!
Students in Japan study very hard. Recently, I asked the third grade students to give me advice about studying Japanese. They had many ideas, like listening to Japanese music, watching anime, or reading manga.
Wait, I do those all the time! Am I studying all the time?
Maybe I am an amazing student, after all!
Look at these other amazing students who are studying hard in English class. Do your best, everyone!
Monday, 16th October 2023
Hello, how was your weekend?
I have been very busy recently. So I don’t go out much on weekends. But yesterday, Midori City held a ‘Moon Viewing Party.’ Moon viewing is 月見 in Japanese. I made some wagashi, Japanese sweets. And I tried ikebana, flower arranging. It was a lot of fun, and I made some new friends.
I look forward to the next event!
This is the flower arrangement that I made!
My rabbit was too fat, so he became a whale… But he was still delicious…
Friday, 13th October 2023
Wow! It’s Friday the 13th today! Do you know Jason?
Actually, I don’t like horror movies. And I don’t want to meet Jason. No, thank you!
If you met him, would you ask him a question? In third grade English class, students are making videos now. They are doing an interview. Look at this picture. Everyone is working hard!
Do you know who they are talking about?
… They are talking about me!
Wait, this is scarier than a horror movie!
Monday, 2nd October 2023
Today is the International Day of Non-Violence. It is the same day as Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. Third year students learned about him in their textbooks. He was a man who wanted peace by using non-violence.
There are many wars in the world now. Many places and people are in danger. Non-violence should be our first method to create peace, but it’s not always successful. Sometimes, people say that fighting is necessary. But innocent people get hurt. Do you agree or disagree with this method?
Thursday, 28th September 2023
September 29th is Save The Koala Day! Do you like koalas? They are a very important Australian animal. If you go to Australia, you can even hold a koala at a zoo. By the way, did you know that a koala is not a bear? And they only live in Australia, where eucalyptus trees grow.
But the koala is in trouble. Their homes are being destroyed. People cut down the eucalyptus trees to build new houses and roads. So the koalas have nowhere to live, or get hit by cars. Now, there are less than 50,000 koalas left in the world. That’s about the same as the number of people living in Midori!
What can we do to help the koala?
Friday, 22nd September 2023
Wow! I have been very busy since the start of September!
I am doing many things, so I’m often tired. But I like to do many things. I think it is better to be busy than to do nothing. However, it’s also important to relax sometimes.
I saw some news yesterday. They are making a Bluey videogame. It will come out in two months. It’s exciting! I will play it and relax. Maybe you can play it, too!
What do you like to do to relax?
– Caitlin (and Bluey)
Friday, 15th September 2023
Today is International Day of Democracy.
Do you know what democracy is in Japanese? It’s 民主。It comes from some old Greek words, “demos” (the people) and “kratia” (power or authority). So democracy is when the people have the power.
Many countries have a democratic government, including Australia and Japan.
This year’s theme for the International Day of Democracy is “empowering the next generation.” In the last 10 years, the world has become less democratic. Now, it is around the same level as in the 1980’s. Problems such as climate change, human rights, and online misinformation are becoming bigger and bigger. In the future, it will be up to today’s children to try and fix it. It’s a hard job.
But there are things we can do now, too. For example, let’s make sure that everyone in our class has the opportunity to express themselves, and that we listen to everyone’s opinions.
Do you have other ideas? What can we do to make sure our world is democratic?
Friday, 8th September 2023
Yesterday was the Midori City English Speech Competition.
Two of our students competed, and they both had wonderful speeches. I really enjoyed listening to them, and to the speeches from the other schools, too! It seemed like everyone practiced really hard and did their best.
Of course, I couldn’t take any photos at the competition. But I will remember it!
Friday, 1st September 2023
Hello, everyone! Long time, no see!
The first week of semester 2 is almost over. My schedule is slowly returning to normal. How about you?
The reason that I didn’t post here for a while is because I was traveling during summer vacation. I went to Taiwan with my parents. Taiwan is an interesting place, and it has a lot of Japanese stores. I was surprised to see that.
Going to other countries is always interesting. If you could go anywhere, where would you want to visit?
Thursday, 20th July 2023
Last weekend was so hot! It was over 40° in Kiryu. What did you to stay cool? I know that a certain student was holding a hand fan while walking in Kiryu…
Because it’s so hot, I think it’s hard to concentrate well in class. So I was happy that the third-grade students were able to talk in English during a call to another school. Everyone spoke about SDGs and what they thought was important for the future of our planet. There were some very good ideas.
I hope everyone can find more opportunities to use English, even if it’s very hot!
Thursday, July 13th 2023
Do you like money?
I think you said “yes!”
A student showed me something interesting the other day. It was some old Japanese money. I knew about the 1000, 5000, and 10,000 yen bills, and I even knew about the 2000 yen bill, but I didn’t know about the 100 yen bill! I was surprised to learn about it.
When I did some more research, I learned there was a lot of old Japanese money. It was interesting.
Actually, Australia has many old coins and bills, too! A long time ago, we had 2c and 1c coins. I saw them when I was a child. But even longer ago, we didn’t have dollars at all! In 1966, Australia started using dollars. Before that, Australia used Australian Pounds. And before that, Australia used British money!
What did we use before that…? Well, we used rum!
Friday, 7th July 2023
Today is Tanabata! It is also called “The Star Festival.” It is based on a old Chinese legend about two stars that only pass each other once a year. People write their wishes on streamers, and tie them to bamboo branches. In the English room, students have been writing their wishes in English. I hope that they can all come true! I posted about this activity on the New Daichu English Board.
Did you see it yet? I made a new digital English Board for students to use. Until now, I had been making a board every month by putting things on the wall. But it takes a lot of time, and a lot of paper! Did you know 115 billion sheets of paper are used in offices every year? And that 85% of the paper comes from forests that do not grow back?
We study SDG’s in English class, and saving paper is part of SDG’s 12, 13 and 15! So I hope we can use the New Daichu English Board for a long time to help our SDG goals!
Wednesday, 28th June 2023
This week has been very hot! Right now, it is 32.7°C! I guess it really is the middle of summer now.
I like summer more than winter because I don’t like the cold. But I don’t like summer right now! It’s too hot!
On the weekend, I drove out to see the ocean. I thought it would be cooler there. But it was even hotter!
I didn’t go swimming because I think that the beaches in Japan are a little dirty, but it was a very beautiful view.
I want to swim in the future, so I looked for a pool in Midori. But there are no public pools, and the one in Kiryu is only open for a short time. And this year, they said people with tattoos cannot go there. I do not have any tattoos, but I think this is a very bad rule. Tattoos are common in other countries, so it means a lot of my friends cannot go to Kiryu pool. So I won’t go there, either.
I have not been to Carribean Beach, the indoor swimming park in Midori, but some students told me about it. So I’ll try going there this summer instead!
Thursday, 22nd June 2023
The whole school has been taking tests since yesterday. Good luck, everyone!
Were you studying on the weekend? I studied Japanese a little bit, but I think it’s important to take breaks, too. So I went skating with my friend in Minakami. There is a hidden skate park there! It was a very hot day, so we didn’t skate for a long time, but I had a lot of fun. While I was there, I saw a small waterfall. I took a photo with Bluey. I was scared that she was going to fall off and be carried away by the river!
Going outside to enjoy nature was a nice break from studying.
Next weekend, the third grade students will go to Kyoto! How exciting! I hope that they have a good time and can relax after their exams.
What about first and second grade, though? What will you do this weekend?
… Study? ʕఠ్ఠᴥఠ్ఠ 〣ʔ
Friday, 16th June 2023
Can you play a musical instrument?
On Sunday, D, the ALT at Omama East Junior High School, invited me to see her school’s brass band club perform at a concert. Because I was free and I like music, I decided to go.
They performed many songs, and it was interesting for us to watch the students playing music. At the concert, we were given glowsticks! For one of the songs, we shook the glowsticks. It was like Wotagei !
Actually, did you know that D and I went to Daichu’s brass band concert together in December last year? Do you remember? We want to go to the next Daichu perfomance, too!
Tuesday, 6th June 2023
Last weekend, I went to Kiryu Zoo with my friend. It was a very hot day, but it was nice and sunny. There were many interesting animals there. For example, we saw red pandas (they are called lesser pandas in Japan), kangaroos, lions, and monkeys.
The monkeys were playing above the water. The red pandas were sleeping. The lion was very excited when a small child walked by. She looked hungry…
Zoos are good for animals that need our help. But it is important for us to give animals as much space and care as we can. We should try to make their lives better.
When you go to the zoo, what animal do you like to see? How can we improve their lives in the zoo?
By the way, do you think this monkey looks like someone you know..?
Friday, 2nd June 2023
In today’s English lesson, the students went to Australia!
… Well, not really. But we pretended to go to Australia.
To prepare, students watched a presentation about places in Australia, things to do there, and Australian food. They made notes about what was interesting for them, and made a plan.
Next, they had conversations in English about real scenarios.
First, students passed through customs. They talked about their plan and what they wanted to do, and which hotel they were going to stay at. Once their passport was stamped, they went to the hotel and solved a problem.
Students are working hard! Everyone is talking and listening.
The students also got lost in the city, and had to ask for directions. Did they get where they wanted to go…? Oh, they are still searching for the restaurant! I think we will all go there next lesson. I look forward to eating (pretend) Australian food with you!
Does it look delicious? What do you want to eat?
Friday, 26th May 2023
Hooray, it’s Friday!
In today’s 3rd year classes, we had presentations about athletes that we liked. I heard a lot of interesting speeches. Everyone was easy to understand, the speeches were well-memorized, and they used a lot of new grammar. Even though some students were nervous, they did their best to give a good speech. Seeing students try hard makes me happy.
The 1st-year students took a test today. They had to write the alphabet. A… B… C… Is it difficult for you?
Two years ago, the 3rd-year students were doing the same thing and learning the alphabet. They thought it was difficult then. Now, they can give speeches in English that express their own opinions and thoughts. I think that’s amazing! I look forward to seeing everyone improve even more in the future.
Wednesday, 17th May 2023
Do you like snakes?
Some people think they are scary. I am not scared of snakes, but I leave them alone if I see them.
I don’t know which snakes in Japan are dangerous. So I don’t want to make a mistake and get bitten.
However, this weekend I carried a very, very big snake!
But don’t worry. It wasn’t real!
I went to Oigami, in Numata. There was a snake festival being held. First, we went to the shrine. A giant snake mikoshi, a portable shrine, can be seen there. It is 108m long!
There were some real white snakes there, too. I thought they were cute.
Later that night, many people were carrying a smaller snake mikoshi around the town. Whenever they put it down, there was a lot of dancing and drinking!
I carried the snake for a little while, and it was really difficult. The snake is very heavy! (ヘビ!) So I didn’t carry it for a long time. But some people were carrying it for hours. It was a very interesting festival.
Have you ever seen this festival? Have you ever carried a snake?
Tuesday, 9th May 2023
Hello, everyone! How was your Golden Week?
Golden Week is a collection of national public holidays that often happens together with a weekend. It means that we get 3, 4, 5, or sometimes even 6 days off in a row! This year was a lucky year, and we got 5 days off.
Did you do anything during Golden Week? I went on a road trip to Aomori with my friend.
Aomori is famous for apples, and we ate a lot of apple-flavored foods. I drank a lot of apple juice, too. It is my favorite juice, so I was happy.
We also went to many strange and interesting places on the way to Aomori. For example, we went to a UFO museum and even the Tomb of Jesus Christ, which is apparently in Shingo, Aomori (I don’t really understand why or how this place exists, but it was definitely interesting…).
Have you ever been to any strange and interesting places? Are there any places you want to go to?
Monday, 1st May 2023
Yesterday, I went to Fukushima with my friends. We drove there for a drifting event. On the way, we stopped at a special parking area.
This parking area is called Adatama PA. There is a large statue of Ultraman there. Do you know Ultraman? He is a very famous superhero in Japan and other Asian countries. Ultraman is as famous as Superman is in Western countries.
When you buy a drink from the vending machine at this PA, the statue of Ultraman lights up and yells “HYUH” loudly. I think it’s funny.
I want to see many more interesting places in Japan. Do you have any recommendations for me?
Monday, 24th April 2023
On Saturday, I went to a painting event in Maebashi.
It was a cultural and language exchange event run by ALTs from all over Gunma.
I was able to meet some new people. We had a fun time painting together.
At first, everyone was painting the same thing. But the painting was supposed to be of a mermaid.
A mermaid painting… hold on, I don’t want a mermaid painting. What will I do with a mermaid painting…?! No thank you! I did not want to paint a mermaid!
After all, if you paint the same thing as everyone else, isn’t it boring?
Friday, 21st April 2023
Do you know that there are Australian cafés in Gunma?
It’s true! I have been to two of them. One is in Minakami. The owner is an Australian man. He is very friendly, and is good at making coffee. The other is in Maebashi. I went there for the first time.
They have many Australian food items on the menu. For example, you can eat eggs benedict, or a meat pie! Of course, they also have a famous Australian coffee. We call it the Flat White. It is like latte, but there are some differences. Australia has some of the best coffee in the world. So if you are interested, why don’t you try one yourself?
(By the way, a flat white in Japan is cheaper than in Australia…)
Monday, 10th April 2023
On Friday, we welcomed the new first grade students to Daichu! How exciting.
I am looking forward to meeting everyone. I wonder if they like English?
By the way, what did you do during your spring vacation? Did you travel? Did you play with friends, or go to club activities? As for me, I went to Chiba by car with my friends. We went to a car track there. It was a lot of fun, and I took many photos of cars. After that, we had a barbeque. The weather was cold, but it was warm by the fire. We played Mariokart and ate a lot of delicious food.
The next day, we went to Umihotaru PA. Do you know where that is? It is an artificial island between Chiba and Tokyo. It is shaped like a boat! We had lunch there and walked around. There was a nice view of the ocean, too.
Which do you like more, the ocean in Tokyo, or the mountains in Gunma?
Tuesday, 4th April 2023
It’s almost a new school year! I hope you had a fun spring vacation.
This year, I want to try many new things to teach you English. One idea I had is for this blog. Let me tell you about my idea.
In English class, we often watch Bluey. It’s a cartoon about a dog from Brisbane named Bluey. Bluey is very popular all over the world. It has millions of views! It is especially popular in The U.S., and of course in Australia, but it is becoming more and more popular in Japan, too. We watch it to improve our listening skills. Watching shows in another language is a good way to study real conversations. You can use this English in real life. And I think Bluey is very cute!
My friend sent me a Bluey toy from Brisbane. I want to take it to many different places around Japan. Please talk to me in English about the things you see in this blog. Let’s enjoy English this year with Bluey!
-Caitlin (and Bluey)
Wednesday, 22nd March 2023
Have you ever been to Kiyotsu Gorge? It is one of the Three Great Gorges of Japan.
I went there recently. It was very pretty. There are some interesting rocks. They are hexagons- it means they have six sides! They were made during a volcanic eruption about 16 million years ago.
It is now a National Place of Scenic Beauty. It was a little difficult to get there, but I am glad I experienced it. By the way, when I was there, I saw an avalanche! It was a little scary.
If you are interested, why don’t you try going there?
Tuesday, 14th March 2023
The third year students graduated this week. I am going to miss everybody!
Many students thought, “English is difficult!” It’s true, but I hope they had fun learning English. I think that learning another language is fun. It isn’t just for passing a test. By learning another language, you can learn different ways of thinking and hear different opinions. You can understand your own opinions better and become a person who thinks about others. That’s why I think learning another language is important!
I have helped to teach these students for three years. I remember when they first entered the school. Now, they are leaving. It’s sad, but it’s also very exciting. I hope that everyone can find the things that make them happy, and can enjoy learning English in the future, too!
Tuesday, 7th March 2023
Do you know about escape rooms?
They are very popular games in countries like Australia and America. It is a game where you must solve puzzles and escape from a locked room with your friends. Sometimes, the puzzles can be very hard!
For the third grade students’ final lesson, I made an escape room. If the students could not escape, they would have to stay and study junior high school English forever!
There were many puzzles in English. But in the end, every student was able to solve the puzzles. It means that everyone could understand English enough to win the game! I hope everyone enjoyed playing the escape game. I want to play it again next year, too.
Oh, do you want to try a puzzle?
Well, this isn’t one from the escape room. But if you tell me the correct answer, I’ll give you a prize!
Friday, 3rd March 2023
Today is Girl’s Day in Japan!
We don’t have anything like this in Australia. I was interested, so I did some research. First, I learned about the hina doll set. It is a set of small dolls that represent a wedding. They are placed on red fabric. Sometimes, the set has many dolls, and they are displayed on a kind of staircase.
The dolls used for Girl’s Day are very beautiful, but very expensive! I was surprised to see that. They are only seen for a short time once a year, but they can cost a lot of money.
Girl’s Day is meant to celebrate girls, right? But recently, the subject of women’s rights and equality in Japan is a problem. Today, Japan ranks 104th out of 190 countries for gender equality. That isn’t good! Women in Japan have less than 80% of the legal rights of men. Japan only scored 20/100 for pay, compared to countries like Canada and France which scored 100. I think that this is a real problem.
I want us to think about what we can do in the future to make life better for everyone.
Friday, 24th February 2023
Have you ever wished you could time travel?
Last weekend, I time traveled with my friends! We went back to the Showa era!
… Well, not really. But we did go to Seibuen Amusement Park, a 1960’s themed amusement park. It was a lot of fun! There were many things to see, and rides you could go on. There were also shows, like a policeman who did Radio Taiso, but then it turned into a dance!
My favorite ride was the Kimba the White Lion teacups. It is a ride where you can spin around very fast. I always go on this kind of ride. Even when I was a child, I liked teacup rides. This time, I made it spin as fast as possible, but my friends all got sick and I had to stop… I wanted to spin more…
By the way, do you know Kimba the White Lion? It is called “Jungle Emperor Leo” in Japan. Actually, it was the first anime I ever watched! I think it is very cute.
Maybe my friends don’t think Leo/Kimba is very cute any more. When they see him, they feel sick. Sorry!
-Spinning Emperor Caitlin
Friday, 17th February 2023
Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day!
Every day, all over the world, people help others in need. But February 17th is a day to encourage even more people do to kind things!
This day was first celebrated in New Zealand on September 1st. Now, different countries celebrate it on different days. But I think you can do nice things for others any day of the year.
There are many ways to show kindness such as patience, honesty, and being a good listener. However, one of the most important points of a kind person is that when they do something for someone, they don’t expect anything in return.
Some ideas for kind things you can do are:
– Say something nice to your friend or family
– Give your seat to someone on the train
– Donate food or toys to shelters and orphanages
– Have a conversation with a friend who looks lonely
– Write a note for someone
– Do something nice for yourself! You can be kind to yourself, too!
What kind things can you do for someone today?
Thursday, 9th February 2023
On Sunday, I went to Tobu Zoo with my friend. There was an event there, and my friend asked me to go together. I have never been there before, so I decided to check it out.
The zoo was bigger than I expected, and there were many interesting animals. There were elephants, lions, bears, white tigers, and many monkeys. There was even an rhinoceros! I was surprised to see it.
First, we visited the bears. Their enclosure was not too small, so they had a lot of room to move around. There were two bears there; one really big brown bear, and a small baby. The baby was running up to the window to scare people. I think it was having fun. The big bear was eating food from the visitors. You could use a machine to put food inside the cage. The bear was just sitting in front of the machine and waiting for food. This doesn’t sound like a bad life…
After that, we visited all the other animals. I also saw some kangaroos there! That was very surprising to me. If you want to meet a kangaroo, why don’t you try going to that zoo?
Some of the animals looked bored. I hope that in the future, they are given more things to do and toys to play with inside their enclosures. It is important to care for animals properly.
Actually, the scariest animal I saw wasn’t an animal at all. It was the zoo’s mascot. Hey, what kind of animal is this? What is he looking at? Pikasnoopy?
Thursday, 2nd February 2023
Gunma is famous for Daruma. They are good luck charms that were first made in Takasaki. Now, you can find them all over Japan. Some people say that it looks like a Buddhist monk from a long time ago.
My friend went to another prefecture over the winter vacation. When she came back, she gave me this daruma as a souvenir. She said, “I bought this because it looked so weird. It made me laugh.” I opened the box and laughed. She was right, it was so weird!
I don’t think any daruma is cute, but this one… This daruma is very interesting… Mm…
As expected, nothing beats Gunma’s daruma!
Friday, 27th January 2023
I always complain about the cold, but it really is cold…
This week, temperatures have been below freezing every night. Winter really is the worst! Look at this picture. Doesn’t it look cold outside?
I know that you should leave the taps dripping when it is cold so they don’t freeze, but it didn’t work this time… I woke up on Tuesday with no water! I couldn’t do anything. I searched for some sento, Japanese bathhouses, in the area. I was surprised to find some nearby. I heard that they are becoming less and less popular, and many are closing. That makes me sad. I think relaxing in a huge, hot bath in winter is the best! They are also very interesting for tourists. Going to a sento is a part of Japanese culture that can’t be experienced in other countries, so I want many people to try going if they visit Japan. But it can be difficult for tourists.
Let me tell you about my experience. When I visited a sento for the first time, I didn’t know what to do. There weren’t any instructions written in English. If more tourists visit Japan in the future, I think this will become a problem. I am a foreigner here, but I want to experience Japanese culture the correct way. Because Japan is very different to Australia, it is difficult to understand what to do when there are no instructions. Not just when going to a sento, but also when praying at shrines, or even when to wear shoes!
I think that Japanese people should make an effort to teach foreigners. We can learn about other cultures on the internet, but it is very different to experience it for yourself. If we can share cultures around the world, I think it will become a better place to live. Please try sharing Japanese culture with others, and learn about other cultures, too!
Thursday, 19th January 2023
This Sunday is the start of the Chinese New Year. When I was young, I often celebrated it with my family in Australia and Malaysia. Let me tell you about Chinese New Year.
It is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture, and it is common for people to visit their family and eat dinner together. Often, people will clean their house, and hang red paper decoractions on doors and windows. There are firecrackers and lion dancing in the street. I think it is a very loud, but very exciting event!
My favorite thing about Chinese New Year is the food! There are many delicious dishes that you can eat. For example, dumplings, fish, noodles, rice cakes, and many others. I’ll try making dumplings at home this weekend!
Firecrackers = 花火 バクチク Lion dancing = 獅子舞
Tuesday, 10th January 2023
School starts again today. Welcome back, everyone!
Did you have a relaxing winter vacation? I did. I decided to stay home and rest. I played games almost every day. It was great! I am playing a new Disney game. It is like Animal Crossing, but with many Disney characters. It is a lot of fun.
There were some times I was busy, though. For example, Christmas. My friends came to visit me, and we had Christmas Eve together. It snowed a lot that day, so we were all very surprised! We went to the izakaya, a kind of small Japanese bar, near my house. One of my friends had never been to an izakaya before. The owner is very nice, and he is good at cooking. He even taught us some magic tricks!
On Christmas Day, we opened our presents together. I think it is the best part of Christmas. For lunch, we had mashed potatoes, roast vegetables, and roast chicken. It was my friends’ first Christmas in Japan, so we decided to make a Christmas cake together, and put strawberries on top. We don’t usually eat this kind of cake for Christmas in Australia.
On New Year’s Eve I went to hatsumode, the traditional New Year’s shrine visit, with some of my Japanese friends. It was my first time trying hatsumode. We prayed at the shrine, and ate a lot of festival food. It was a lot of fun, but I was very tired the next day. We didn’t get home until 2am! Even though I was tired, I was happy that my friends taught me about hatsumode.
Last month, I wrote about wanting to go snowboarding in Minakami. So on Friday, I finally went!
It was very cold. So, so cold! At night, it was -6°! Why, Gunma!?
However, I think winter is the most beautiful season in Minakami. There is a lot of snow everywhere, and the sky is always very clear, so you can see many stars. Ah, you have to go outside to see them, though…
Here, look at this photo that I took on Friday night. Now you don’t have to go outside to see the stars!
Wednesday, 21st December 2022
It’s only four more days until Christmas!
In Japan, Christmas is more of a cute event, right? People often go on dates, or make Christmas Cake.
But in many parts of the world, Christmas is an important religious holiday. There are people who take it very seriously, and go to church or follow other old traditions. Even in Australia, some people still do this.
But for most people, it is just a time to visit family or friends. The 25th and 26th are public holidays. Many people go to the beach or the park on Christmas Day. They have BBQs, or play sports like cricket on the beach.
People often go shopping on the 26th, which is called “Boxing Day”. It can get very busy! There are big sales in most stores. Those kind of sales are held on New Year’s Day here in Japan. Japan has Lucky Bags, but Australia doesn’t. Instead, the sales are very high. For example, it’s not uncommon to see things at 50% off!
Still, I like the idea of getting a lot of value from a lucky bag, and it can be exciting since you don’t know what you’re getting! It is more fun.
Which do you think is better? A big discount on an item you already know, or a lucky bag?
Friday, 9th December 2022
Wow, it’s December already! It’s gotten very cold. I have to turn on the heater in my house at night now.
My friends in Minakami told me that it is already snowing a lot. So, this year’s snowboarding will be good! I’m excited to start snowboarding again.
By the way, last Friday the whole school went to a special show. I got to go, too! We went to see the Gunma Symphony Orchestra. The musicians were very good. They played a lot of different songs. Did you know any of those songs?
There were many different instruments in the orchestra, and it was interesting to hear about them. I especially liked the harp. It was the most interesting for me.
What instrument did you like the most?
Tuesday, 29th November 2022
In second-grade English, students have been researching a topic they like. Next week, we will present speeches about the results of the surveys that students made.
There are some interesting topics. Many people asked about anime or manga. A lot of people asked about food, too. Last year, there were many people who talked about their oshi, their favorite musician/actor/character. But this year, there are not many about oshi. I was a little surprised to see that.
I am looking forward to hearing everyone’s speeches! I wonder what the most popular topic will be?
Friday, 25th November 2022
This year, Ebisu-ko festival in Kiryu was held again! I was happy to go there with my friends. We ate a lot of delicious food, and watched the performance on the stage. I don’t know the story they were telling, but it was interesting to watch.
At the end of the performance, the actors throw packets of “luck” out to the crowd. I didn’t catch one, because the person in front of me was very tall, and there was an angry old man who pushed me out of the way to get one. “Are the packets that lucky?!” I thought, “What could possibly be inside!?”
But when my friend opened the one he caught, it was just a cookie…
… Hey, was this really so important?
Monday, 14th November 2022
Japanese culture is very interesting. There are many things that you can’t experience in other countries. Of course there are famous things like anime, ninjas and samurai, but some things are less famous in other countries. For example, traditional Japanese theater like Bunraku, puppet theather, and Noh, a dramatic dance performance.
On Sunday, I was to watch a Noh performance in Takasaki. I didn’t know much about Noh, but I want to experience more Japanese culture, so I was excited to see it. Did you know that Noh is the oldest major theatre art that is still performed in modern times? I think that’s interesting!
The name of the play I saw was Tsuchigumo. It is the story of a warrior who fights a spider demon. There was some really amazing stage effects! It was fun to watch, but it was difficult for me to understand what the actors were saying. They use very old Japanese, and it is sung. I asked some Japanese people about it. They said they couldn’t understand, either!
Friday, 11th November 2022
It’s getting cold, so it’s important to go outside as much as possible now!
Last weekend, I went to Onioshidashi with my friends. Have you ever been there?
It’s a volcanic rock park in Agatsuma. The black rocks were created from molten lava when Mt. Asama erupted in 1783. It was a huge disaster that lasted for months. There is a temple in Onioshidashi to remember the people who died then. Actually, Mt. Asama is still an active volcano, and is one of Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains.
When it’s safe, you can sometimes hike to the top, but it takes a long time. My friend has been up there, but I don’t want to try going. That’s too scary! I’ll just enjoy the view from the bottom of Mt. Asama…
Friday, 4th November 2022
Last weekend was Halloween! Did you do anything special?
I spent Halloween with my friends. Do you know the new Disney movie, “Turning Red”? It is called “Watashi Tokidoki Ressā Panda” in Japanese. I wore a costume from this movie. We had a good time!
On Monday, I gave special Halloween stickers to students who said trick or treat to me. Did you get one? If not, there’s still time! Come and ask me.
When I was a child, we didn’t celebrate Halloween in Australia. But I think it is becoming more popular recently. I wonder if people are doing fun Halloween things there now, like trick-or-treating. It’s when you go to other people’s houses and ask for candy. But as for me… I’d rather just buy the candy I like from the store after Halloween, when it goes on sale!
I also recieved a present from the art club. It was really cute, and it made me happy. Thank you, art club students!
Wednesday, 26th October 2022
There are many stray cats in Japan, aren’t there?
Actually, I think it’s a big problem.
There is a cat that lives in my neighborhood. I often see him when I go to the store, or go for a walk outside. He always looks sad and hungry. I don’t know if he has a home. He is very loud, and I can hear him from my house. But I can’t go near him, because he runs away.
In Australia, there are people you can call to collect stray animals. They go to a shelter, where they will be cared for. But in Japan, if an animal goes to a shelter, it will be killed. I don’t want to call the shelter here.
The government said that 30,757 cats were killed in shelters 2018, and about 66% of them were newborn kittens. I think this is way too high!
Mahatma Ghandi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Japan still has many ways to improve how it treats animals. What can we do to make the world a better place for both humans and animals?
Friday, 21st October 2022
I don’t usually like watching sports. So when my friend invited me to watch a game of ice hockey, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it. I had never seen ice hockey before, but what my friend said surprised me. She had never seen it, either! My friend likes Terrace House, and one of the people from that show was playing in the ice hockey game. She wanted to go and see them play.
I thought it might be fun, and it wasn’t too far away. So we went to watch the game. On the way, I tried to read about the rules of ice hockey. We were both very confused. Of course, the basic idea is easy- the players must hit the puck into the goal to score. But we couldn’t understand how certain moves were done, or how players would be penalised or get out. Oh well!
We got to the game, and there weren’t a lot of other people there. The people that were there were all supporting the other team. One person had a very annoying, very loud toy. It made a loud clapping sound every time he hit it. I didn’t like that person.
The players were all very good. The game takes about 60 minutes, but it wasn’t until the final 20 minutes that someone scored a goal. It was the opposing team!
In the last 2 minutes of the game, it was getting very intense. Everyone was trying their hardest, when suddenly, the puck flew towards the goal… and the goal keeper wasn’t there! My friend and I were shocked! Where had the goal keeper gone!? No one had noticed them leave!! But it was too late- the opposing team scored again. Now it was 2-1, and there wasn’t enough time for our team to win.
I was surprised, but watching ice hockey was really fun! Even though the team my friend liked didn’t win, it seemed like everyone enjoyed playing. Maybe I’ll go and watch ice hockey again someday!
Friday, 14th October 2022
Last weekend was a three-day weekend, and Maebashi Matsuri was held! I went with my friends, and had a lot of fun. I watched my friends dance in the parade. They were taking part in the Danbeeodori. “Danbee” is Gunma dialect. I don’t really know why or what it means, though… But is it fun to say, danbee!
When I was at the festival, I ate a lot of delicious food. Cheese dog, lemonade, chocolate banana… and this, pudding in a mayonnaise container! It looks exaclty like kewpie mayo! I thought it was very funny. I decided to play a joke. I started eating it on the way home. No one was looking at me. Then, a small elementary school boy saw me. He was shocked!
-Caitlin (who is full of pudding)
Thursday, 6th October 2022
It has been cold and rainy this week. Last night, it was necessary to use a heavy blanket. But last weekend was very hot. I went to a café in Midori with my friends on Sunday, and it was so hot that we had to sit inside! The café had a very cute garden. There were many flowers on the path to the café. It was nice. The café’s name was “Cat Time.” But there weren’t any real cats there, only drawings and cat-themed items. I was a little disappointed, but the garden was beautiful, and the food was good, so I didn’t really mind.
That day was very hot, but suddenly that night it changed! Autumn is here!
I like autumn the best of all seasons. There are many beautiful places to experience the autumn leaves in Gunma. I am looking forward to things like going hiking, camping, and going to the onsen. Autumn is also when the sweet potato flavored snacks are released in Japan. They’re delicious!
Do you have any favorite autumn snacks? Please tell me what they are. I have to eat a lot in autumn so that I can hibernate in the winter…
Wednesday, September 28th 2022
Today was the school athletics festival!
Because I am in the green team, today I became a frog! But when I took off my hat, I became a kappa!
I thought this was a good thing, because kappa sounds like katta (won!) but it was too bad… We need more power…
Next year, I’ll become Piccolo from Dragon Ball, and everyone can become Super Saiyans and win!!!
I look forward to next year’s athletics festival.
Friday, September 23rd 2022
Last weekend, I went to Kiryu Zoo. Have you ever been there?
It’s free, and not far from my home. But I had never been before. So I finally decided to go with my friend!
It was raining a lot that day, but it meant that there were not many people there. It was nice to walk around in an empty park.
There were many interesting animals, including some I had never seen before. However, there were many animals in unsuitable environments. It made me very sad. There is a crocodile there with no water. He is in a very small cage and cannot move. I think this is not so good. If you have ever been to Kiryu Zoo, what do you think about this crocodile? Please consider the happiness of animals, too.
Friday, September 16th 2022
Do you have time for your hobbies? I think that it can sometimes be difficult to find time to do all the things I want to do. When I was in high school, my hobby was drawing. But I realised that I don’t draw much any more. I want to do other things, and I don’t have enough time to do everything.
However, it made me a little sad. I liked drawing a lot, and I felt like I should draw more often. So I started drawing one thing a day, for five minutes a day. It is a lot of fun!
Even though it’s only five minutes a day, I think my drawing has improved. But it can be difficult to decide what to draw each day. If you have any suggestions, please tell me!
By the way, do you know any of these characters?
Friday, 9th September 2022
When I woke up this morning, there was some interesting news. The queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, had passed away. She was 96 years old, and was queen for almost 71 years.
Actually, she wasn’t just the queen of England, but also of the Commonwealth. Do you know what that is? It is an association of different nations from around the world. Most of them were ruled by England at some point, but now they are members by choice. Many Commonwealth nations share traditions and customs, for example, sports like cricket and rugby; driving on the left side of the road; laws; and using English as a major or even official language.
Australia is part of the Commonwealth. Other countries in it include Canada, New Zealand, India, Singapore, South Africa, Scotland and Wales. There are many more. Almost one-third of the world’s population lives in a Commonwealth country!
There are many arguments for and against the Commonwealth. Some people say that the Commonwealth helps smaller, poorer nations to get help. Others say that these small countries lose more than they gain. They also say that the Commonwealth favors people of certain races, and that it does not do anything important in the modern world. I think this is an important thing to think about. There is a lot of history behind the Commonwealth, and it is important to learn from our pasts. We should decide for ourselves what is good or bad.
Now that Queen Elizabeth II has passed away, I am interested to see if Australia stays a member of the Commonwealth, or if it leaves. The world might change a lot soon. Or it might not change at all. I wonder what will happen?
Friday, 2nd September 2022
I often ask students, “What did you do on the weekend?” or “What are your hobbies?”
Many students answer “video games!” It’s not that surprising, right?
I think video games are becoming more and more popular. I like them, too. Recently, I have been playing Genshin Impact. It is very popular in Japan and Australia. My friends played it, and they told me to try. It’s fun! But I am not good at it.
I like the characters in Genshin Impact. There are many different characters, and they have nice designs.
Have you played this game?
I also play a lot of other games. But my favorite game is Kingdom Hearts! I have loved Kingdom Hearts since I was 10 years old! That’s right, it’s 20 years old now. Wow…
I like Kingdom Hearts because it has a very interesting story. It is a little difficult to understand, but it is very original. And the characters are all interesting, too! There are even Disney characters, like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
If you haven’t played it before, I recommend trying it. It is a fun game!
Are there any games you recommend? What do you like?
Thursday, 25th August 2022
Wow! It’s been a while since my last post, hasn’t it?
I was traveling in my summer holidays, so I couldn’t post here. I hope you also did something fun during your vacation. Did you go somewhere?
I went somewhere with amazing weather. Every day was sunny, and around 20°C.
There was a lot of delicious food there, too. I ate so much!
I went on walks in nature, I saw the ocean, and I went shopping in cities.
I even visited many friends and my family.
It was a long way away, so I had to use an airplane to get there. It took around 8 hours…
Can you guess where I went?
Wednesday, 3rd August 2022
In Midori, August 1st to 3rd is usually when the Omama summer festival is held. For the last two years, there hasn’t been a festival. This year, the city planned to hold it as normal. But because of recent virus numbers, it was cancelled again… sort of.
There were no stalls, and no fireworks or special events. I was a little sad, because I was looking forward to them. But there was still a special parade! The portable shrine was carried through the town center. I watched it with D, the ALT at Daitochu. It was very hot outside, but it was nice to see the shrine. I even saw many old students!
I hope that next year we can go to the festival again. I want to eat shaved ice!
Monday, 25th July 2022
Do you know what this symbol means?
This is called the Help mark. The Help mark is a symbol created by the government in Tokyo in 2012. It is used by people with hidden disabilities or certain conditions to get help easily. It can be used by a person with a prosthetic leg, internal diseases, mental health conditions, or intellectual disabilities. These people might have trouble standing on a bus or train, or have difficulty handling unexpected events or disasters.
The Help mark is only used in Japan, though. In many other countries, including Australia, we use the Sunflower. It can be used by people with any invisible disability; for example, autism, anxiety, chronic pain, speech impairments, hearing loss, or anything that impacts their daily life. It is more inclusive than the Japanese Help mark. Now, it is used in over 130 airports around the world.
You can see these marks displayed in many places. People with this mark will attach it to their bag, or on a lanyard. If you see someone with a special mark, you should think about ways to help them. Give them your seat on a train, or help guide them to safety in an emergency. People living with invisible disabilities often face barriers in their daily lives including a lack of understanding and negative attitudes. So some choose to wear a mark to show people that they may need support, help, or just a little more time in shops, transport, or public spaces.
1 in 7 people in the world are living with a disability. And of those, 80% are invisible. That is 1 billion people who are living with a non-visible disability! I want more people to know this fact.
What other ways can we improve the lives of people with invisible disabilities?
Monday, 11th July 2022
Yesterday, I caught the Jomo train from Kiryu. They often decorate the inside of the train. In the past, I’ve seen the aquarium-themed train, the Gunma-chan-themed train, and the strange drinks-themed train. But I had never seen the tiger-themed train before! I was excited to ride it. And I was the only person on the whole train, so I took many photos.
Do you like this train, too? Somehow, it makes the train feel less scary at night…
Thursday, 7th July 2022
Wow, it’s been warm lately! There hasn’t been a lot of rain, and many people are saying that tsuyu this year is different than other years. There have been many cases of heatstroke, and Kiryu even had the highest temperature in Japan at 40.4 degrees! That’s way too hot!
I went to see the hydrangea at the shrine again this year, but there weren’t as many as last year. I think it’s too hot for flowers, too…
Thursday, 30th June 2022
Today, we had some special guests in the school. It was the Gunma Crane Thunders! Do you know them?
The Gunma Crane Thunders are Gunma’s pro basketball team. Students could ask the players questions. All of the questions were really interesting! For example, what do you do when your motivation is low, or tips for how to become better at basketball.
One of the players is American, and he speaks English. I was happy to hear many students using English to ask him questions. It is difficult to speak in a different language, especially when other people are listening. So I think everyone did an amazing job!
By the way, do you know why the team is called Gunma “Crane” Thunders?
It’s because people say that Gunma is shaped like a crane! However, the crane is not Gunma’s official bird. Isn’t that strange?
Friday, 24th June 2022
Did you know that there are Ukrainian refugees living in Midori City now?
I didn’t know that until my friend told me. My friend works at city hall. She speaks wonderful English, so I often talk to her! Recently, she told me about the Ukrainian family who moved here.
She was worried, because there is a child in the family. The boy must go to school, but he doesn’t know Japanese or English yet.
I thought, that must be very hard. When I came to Japan, I didn’t speak any Japanese, either. I understand how difficult and scary it can be. It must be worse for a child!
So I offered to volunteer. Together, my friend and I will teach him English and Japanese. I hope that it makes his life in Japan easier.
Can you imagine moving to another country suddenly? Imagine that you can only take your family with you, and that you must live in America tomorrow. How would you do? You can speak a little English, right? Does it sound difficult?
Many Ukrainian families are facing these problems now. They have to leave everything behind because of the war. It’s a terrible situation.
Many people are trying to help Ukraine now. They are sending money, or supporting Ukrainian businesses. But I can’t really do those things. I thought that teaching English to the boy could be my way of helping. I want to do what I can.
Is there anything you can do to help other people in this world? What ideas can you think of? Let’s work together to make it a better place!
Friday, 10th June 2022
In class this week, I told the third-graders about Koalas, and how they are on the Red List.
Have you ever heard of the Red List? It’s a list of endangered animals from all over the world. It helps researchers to understand which animals are in danger. It is used to decide which areas should be protected, and to make new laws and tell people how to protect endangered animals.
Koalas are on the red list because they are now endangered. In recent years, there have been many problems for koalas. For example, during the bushfires in 2020, over 60,000 koalas were killed or injured.
When I was in elementary school, there were a lot of programs about saving the koalas. Even then, the koalas needed our help. It makes me sad that things got worse for the koalas. I hope that people can help them recover.
There are many endangered animals in Japan, too. Did you know that unagi, the eel, is endangered!? I was surprised to hear that. But Japanese people eat it often. In fact, almost two-thirds of all eels caught in the world are eaten in Japan. You can buy unagi-don and other eel dishes in many places, even in convenience stores! I couldn’t understand this. So I did some research. According to WWF Japan, between 40 to 60 percent of eels raised in Japan come from illegal sources. That’s scary! They are often from China or Taiwan, but are sold as Japanese eels. I think more people should be aware of this fact. If people continue to eat eels, they may disappear forever.
It is necessary for everyone to care about wild animals. If we don’t, the world will be a very terrible place to live.
Friday, 3rd June 2022
Have you ever seen fireflies?
Yesterday, I saw them for the first time. I went with my friend to a river near her house. According to her, it is a popular place for firefly viewing in Kiryu. But when I got there, it began to rain! There was a lot of lighting, too. I saw lightning and lightning bugs at the same time. What a bright night! … My photos aren’t so bright, though. Sorry!
Next time, I want to go to a place called Tsukiyono Firefly Village, in Minakami. It has the most fireflies in the Kanto region, and at least three varieties inhabit this area. It’s almost 2km of fireflies! I’m looking forward to it.
Do you have any recommended spots for firefly viewing?
Friday, 27th May 2022
It’s raining a lot today!
When I thought about it, I realised that it’s now the end of May. That means rainy season, tsuyu, is about to begin. Although other countries also have rainy seasons, or monsoon seasons, tsuyu feels different.
During tsuyu, hydrangeas bloom. The blue, pink, white, and purple flowers are very beautiful. You can see them in many different places, such as temples, gardens, or even just by the side of the road! Tsuyu usually lasts for two months. After that, the weather will get very hot and dry, because summer will be here. I hope to see many hydrangeas before the end of the rainy season. Last year, I took this photo at a local temple. I want to go again this year, too.
One bad thing about tsuyu is the humidity. It gets so humid! Clothes, food, and even the floors in your house can grow mould. There are also a lot of landslides and flooding. It can be dangerous, too.
But do you know the worst thing about tsuyu? Can you guess?
… It’s the insects! Auuugh! I hate bugs! And Japanese insects are so scary! I don’t ever want a mukade house guest! No, thank you! Go away, Mr. Mukade!
Friday, 20th May 2022
Today, I discovered that Rocky Road is from Australia. I didn’t know that!
Have you ever seen Rocky Road? It’s like a chocolate bar, but a little different. Usually, marshmallows, cherries, peanuts, and coconut are combined with chocolate. It’s very sweet!
The ingredients are sometimes different in other countries. For example, instead of cherries, some people use candy. In the U.K., they put cookies in it! In America, they don’t usually eat Rocky Road by itself. Instead, they change the chocolate for chocolate ice cream! I think the Australian version is the most delicious of all. And, it’s the original! This version is easy to make, too. Let’s try making the Australian Rocky Road!
All you need is a bowl, a tray, and a spoon. Then, you need these ingredients:
- 500g chocolate
- 200g chopped marshmallows
- 20 g desiccated coconut
- 100g glace cherries OR soft raspberry gummy candy OR other soft fruit candy
- 75g chopped peanuts
Melt the chocolate in the bowl, then add the other ingredients and mix.
Pour it into a tray, and put it in the refrigerator for about two hours.
When it’s hard, cut it into squares and enjoy!
When I showed Mr. Tamaki a photo, he was excited. “Please make this for my birthday!” he said.
His birthday is next week, so I will make Rocky Road then. I hope it turns out well!
Friday, 13th May 2022
Do you often try new things?
I like trying new things, but I think it can be hard. Sometimes, even small choices can become difficult, and you end up choosing the same thing. For example, choosing ice cream! Imagine you are in a convenience store. There are many interesting flavors in front of you. Some of them are new, and they all look delicious. But… what if you try the new one, and it’s not amazing? What if it tastes bad, so you can’t enjoy it? It’s safer to just buy the same ice cream you always buy, right?
For a long time, I thought about things this way. I always bought the same flavors, or only tried the same hobbies, because I already knew I liked those things. When I tried something new and didn’t like it, I was disappointed. “Ah,” I always thought, “I knew it would be like this. I should have just gone with the normal choice.” And, I was afraid of being bad at new things. If I wasn’t good at something right away, that meant I would never be good at it! So it was better to never try new things, right?
But if I kept doing that, I think I would be a different person now. If I was scared of change, I couldn’t move to Japan. If I was scared of trying new things, I wouldn’t be teaching English. I wouldn’t know about delicious Japanese foods like yakimanju or wagashi, because I did not try them.
I often ask people around me for recommendations. For example, yesterday I went to Lawson. There were many kinds of ice cream. Because I was tired, I couldn’t read the Japanese well. I wanted to go home quickly. There were two boys standing near the ice cream. They were playing Rock-Paper-Scissors to decide what to buy. So I asked them, “Excuse me. I’m a foreigner, so I can’t read these labels well. Could you tell me your recommendations?” They were a little surprised, but they were excited to tell me their favorite ice cream. I bought both! I ate one yesterday, and I’ll eat the other one today. I’m looking forward to it. If I hadn’t asked, I would have bought the same ice cream I always bought. It wouldn’t be exciting. So, this way is better, isn’t it!
It can be difficult to find the courage to try new things. But if you buy a new ice cream flavor and don’t like it… just buy another one next time! And then you know which ice cream you like, and which you don’t- and knowing what you don’t like is important, too.
Friday, 6th May 2022
How was your Golden Week? Did you do something exciting, or did you stay home and rest?
Whatever you did, I hope you enjoyed it. I enjoyed my Golden Week! For the first day, I cleaned my house. I even moved furniture and waxed the floors! After that, I went driving with my friends. We saw some nice places. But the car we were driving broke down in the evening! We had to fix it ourselves before the sun set and it became dark. That was a little worrying. But we did it! And we got home safely.
By the way… I asked some other teachers why it is called “Golden Week” when we only have three days off. They said that it’s because other people can take the whole week off, but schools cannot. We must come to school on Monday and Friday. Wow! Do you think we should get the whole week off instead?
Tuesday, 26th April 2022
What do you think about sheep?
Do you think they are cute, or not? Or do you think they’re delicious..?
Last weekend, I went to Ikaho Green Bokujo with my friends. Have you ever been to Ikaho Green Bokujo? You can pet and feed sheep, horses, and other animals there. And because it’s spring, there were a lot of baby sheep there. We call them lambs! In Australia, many people enjoy eating lamb. But I don’t! I think they’re too cute, so I would feel bad if I ate them. My friends and I had a good time petting all the sheep.
In the evening, we went to the arcade and played crane games. Guess what! I’m bad at crane games, but I won for the first time! I won a big capybara toy. I was very happy. It’s almost as cute as the lambs. And it smells better!
Friday, 15th April 2022
I know that last week I said that sakura season doesn’t last very long, but isn’t two weeks too short!?
The sakura are already all gone!
Luckily, I was able to go to hanami once this year. In English, hanami is “flower viewing”. It was my first time going. I drove up Mt. Akagi and saw the Akagi Senbonzakura, which means “one thousand cherry trees”. But it also has the meaning of being in full bloom, or when something is most beautiful. It really was beautiful! There were so many sakura trees!
There were also many stalls with people selling different kinds of food. I ate sakura, mikan and strawberry mochi. I really like Japanese sweets. There was also a stall there selling cucumbers, but I didn’t try eating it. I don’t understand why it was there. Is cucumber a normal food to eat when looking at flowers in Japan? Please explain it to me…
Thursday, 4th April 2022
Today is the first day of the school year! The sakura flowers are blooming outside, and the weather is warming up. It makes me happy! I hate the cold!
There are many things I look forward to now that spring is here. For example, I’ll come to school by bike if it’s not raining. And I want to see a lot of sakura. Did you know that this is my third time seeing sakura, because I came to Japan in August 2019? Sakura only bloom for a short time, right? I was told that for Japanese people, sakura have a hidden meaning. It’s a reminder that everything is fleeting, so we should appreciate it while it’s here.
Today is also World Health Day. It’s a day to remind us how important the health of both humans and the planet is. Health is also said to be fleeting, so it’s important to care about your health and the health of others. For example, if we don’t look after the planet, the sakura might not be able to bloom in the future. I think this would be bad for humans’ health, too! Imagine Japan without Sakura…
Thursday, 31st March 2022
It’s the spring vacation for Japanese schools! In Australia, this would just be a vacation between terms, since the school year starts in February. But in Japan, the school year starts in April- so this is the time between school years. It’s strange for me to have a short vacation between school years. The Australian vacation lasts from the start of December to the end of January. That’s almost two months! And since we don’t have to go to an after-school club, you can stay home, or go on a trip with your family.
Look at the calendar below. All the grey squares are days you must go to school. All the other days, you don’t have to go! You can stay home!
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022
Do you like watching movies?
I think most people would say yes! But did you know that there are many idioms (熟語) about movies that are commonly used in English? Let me tell you about some of them!
Let’s get this show on the road! ＝ Let’s start! = さあ実行に移そう！始めよう！
The show must go on! ＝ It must continue, no matter what. = 一度始めてしまったら、何があっても続けなければならない。
That’s a wrap! ＝ It’s finished! = 終わり！(何かが問題なく終わるときに使います。)
That’s showbiz! ＝ It’s a bad situation, but that’s how it is… = 人生なんてそんなもんだね、現実って微妙そんなもんだから (Showbiz = Show business = 芸能界です)
Break a leg! ＝ Do your best! Good luck! = がんばって。幸運を祈るよ。
What do you think? Have you ever heard these idioms before?
Thursday, 17th March 2022
Today is St. Patrick’s Day! Have you ever heard of it? It’s an Irish holiday, and now it is celebrated around the world. In fact, it is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival! It is especially popular in The United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand.
On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone wears green. It’s the same color as the shamrock, a three-leaf clover, which is a symbol of Ireland. There are parades and festivals, Irish traditional music sessions, and many adults drink alcohol, especially Guinness! Of course, it wasn’t always like this. It used to be a little more serious. In the early 1600s, it was seen as a religious day. St. Patrick was born in the 5th century. He is important to the Christian church because he did a lot of religious work. Now, he is the patron saint of Ireland, and so this day is still very important to the church.
Did you know? Some of my family is from Ireland! So this day is important to them, too. My dad sent me a photo of this traditional food. It’s called “Black Pudding”. It looks a bit different from Japanese pudding, right? You might be surprised by the ingredients. Black pudding is made of oatmeal, herbs, pork fat, and… pig’s blood!? That’s not a pudding at all!
Friday, 11th March 2022
Today is the last day for third-year students. We just finished the graduation ceremony. I thought I wouldn’t cry, but listening to the speech made by one of the students made me cry a little. Even though I can’t understand a lot of Japanese, it was really moving. Many students were crying, and many teachers, too. It’s hard not to cry when everyone else is crying..!
Well, this year’s third-graders were first-graders when I arrived in Japan. I’m glad I could teach everyone like this for the last three years. I hope that some students can experience living overseas with different cultures, too! Do what makes you happy, and tell me what you find the next time we meet!
Congratulations, everyone. I wish you the best!
Tuesday, 1st March 2022
Wow, its March! That means third-year students will graduate soon, and the school year will be over. Time went so quickly! I hope that everyone can relax a little over the break. As for me, I want to try new things that I can’t often do during the week.
For example, last weekend I took a soba making class! Soba is a kind of Japanese noodle made from buckwheat. It was very interesting! I even got to eat the soba my friends and I made for lunch. Some of the noodles were a little thick, but those weren’t made by me! And they were still delicious!
I had never made noodles before, but I had a lot of fun. It was easier than I thought. So I want to make them again at home some time.
Have you ever made soba? How about other noodles, like udon or ramen?
–Monday, 21st February 2022
Japan has a lot of cool trains!
In Australia, I caught the train to work. But it was always dirty and uncomfortable. There is a lot of graffiti and trash on Australian trains, and they are often late. It’s not so fun.
But when I came to Gunma, I was amazed! Not only were the trains clean and on time, but also the inside was sometimes decorated! The train that stops at Akagi Station is the most interestingly decorated of all. One time it had drawings of Gunma-Chan, the regional mascot. Another time, it was full of sea animals!
There’s another interesting train in Midori City. It’s the Watarase Keikoku. It runs from Kiryu to Nikko, and you can see beautiful scenery while you ride. It looks cool, too!
Have you ever ridden these trains? Which do you like, local trains like these, or the fast shinkansen?
Monday, 14th of February 2022
Today is, of course, Valentine’s Day. If you like it, Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you were given some nice chocolate.
If you don’t like Valentine’s Day, that’s okay! Don’t worry. In Korea, April 14th is called “Black Day”. If you don’t like Valentine’s Day or White Day, maybe you can enjoy being by yourself on Black Day instead!
By the way, do you know about White Day? Actually, it’s originally a Japanese holiday. Now it’s celebrated in some other Asian countries, like Korea and Vietnam. Before I came to Japan, I didn’t know about it.
In Japan, only women give men chocolate on Valentine’s Day, and men return it on White Day. You can either give ‘real’ chocolate if you have feelings for someone, or ‘obligatory’ chocolate, which is given to be polite. I think this is kind of funny, but it’s also a little bit sad. I think it’s better to only give presents to people you want to give presents to! I’m glad to hear that it is becoming less and less popular to give obligatory chocolate in Japan.
We don’t celebrate White Day in Australia, only Valentine’s Day. It is celebrated by all genders on the same day. You just give chocolate, flowers or a card to the person you like! Recently, it’s popular to give them to your friends. You don’t need to have someone you like. This way, no one is left out. But did you know that some countries have something even better?
In Finland, Valentine’s Day is called ystävänpäivä. It means “Friend’s Day.” Friends, family, neighbors, and even co-workers can receive presents. It is a day to celebrate all kinds of love and friendship! I think that is the best way of all.
What do you think? What kind of day will you celebrate?
Tuesday, 8th February 2022
Do you know about the Ikaho Toy, Doll, and Car Museum? It’s in Ikaho, and it’s really interesting!
I went there recently to film some videos for work. I didn’t know much about it. But when I went there, I had a lot of fun. There are many old cars and a lot of old toys from the Showa era. There’s even an area that looks like an old sweets store, and a haunted house..? (Don’t worry, it’s not too scary!)
When you arrive, there are many bears and stuffed animals. It’s a bit strange. But some of them are cute. I didn’t spend much time there. The next room was much more interesting. It’s like walking down a Showa-era street! It was interesting for me to look at the different posters and stores.
Upstairs, there is a car area. I think that this is the most exciting area! There are many old and special cars. There are even cars from Initial D and James Bond! If you like cars, please go and have a look.
When I was leaving, it was late, but I saw this strange machine…
It makes babies? They gave me one to take home. I don’t want this…
Tuesday, 1st February 2022
Kung hei fat choi! Gōng xǐ fā cái! Saehae bok mani badeuseyo! Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! Happy Lunar New Year!
Today is the start of the Lunar New Year. Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, is celebrated in China and many other countries, including Taiwan, Mongolia, Indonesia, Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia, and even in some places in Australia and America!
There are some traditional customs that people follow for Lunar New Year. First, the house is cleaned well before New Year’s Day. Often, there are fireworks, parades, and of course, there is always lots and lots of food! Noodles are eaten to symbolise long life, and dumplings symbolise money. People visit their family during this time, too.
This year is the Year of the Tiger. I have seen some tiger pictures around Japan this year, but I realised that Japan doesn’t celebrate the Lunar New Year. Actually, it’s the only Asian country that doesn’t! Why is that?
I researched it, and it turns out that until 1873, Japan did celebrate it at the same time as other countries. But during the Meiji restoration, Japan changed their calendar to the Western one. They moved all the special holidays onto the Gregorian calendar. So the New Year became January 1st.
Even though the date is different, many of the traditional customs are the same, aren’t they? Can you think of any others?
Monday, 24th January 2022
I think if you’ve been reading this page for a few years, you already know that this Wednesday, January 26th, is Australia Day. But there are many other events in January, aren’t there? There’s New Year’s, of course, and Japan celebrates Coming of Age Day on the 10th. But did you know about Compliment Day? Actually, it’s tomorrow!
The 24th of January is Compliment Day, where you can say something nice about another person. It could be that you admire how hard they work, or that you think their shoes are really cool! But as long as it makes the other person feel happy, then it’s good. Why don’t you give it a shot?
The 25th of January is also an event day… it’s Opposite Day! On this day, everything you mean is the opposite of what you say! Yes means no, no means yes, up is down, and left is right! So if someone asked me, “Are you Caitlin?” I would say, “no, I’m not!” If I said, “yes, I am! I am Caitlin!” it means I’m NOT Caitlin. Uh oh!
It can get very confusing, but it can be fun. Do you want to try doing this? How about asking, “Can I play video games all day?”
Wednesday, 19th January 2022
It’s been pretty cold recently, and every night is below 0°C! It seems like it will continue like this for a while…
What kind of things do you do to stay warm? In my house, I have a kotatsu and a heater, but it isn’t enough. It’s always so cold! When I go out, I have a scarf and coat, and pocket hand warmers… but guess what, I’m still cold!
Actually, it was so cold this weekend that some places were frozen! I went on a walk through Rakusan-en, an old landscape garden in Kanra. It was built in the Edo period by a samurai leader, and it’s interesting to walk around there.
There is a pond in the garden with koi fish. I noticed something strange about one of the fish. Even though the other fish around it were swimming normally, the area this fish was in had frozen, and the koi fish had been frozen too!
(Don’t worry, though- the ice wasn’t over the whole pond, so eventually the frozen area thawed. When I checked back later, the fish had moved. He was okay!)
I think maybe I can understand how the fish felt… I’m frozen today, too!
Tuesday, 11th January 2022
Huh. I just wrote “2022” in the date above. That was really weird. It’s 2022!? To me, it still feels like 2020.
Classes started again this week. We had our opening ceremony on Friday, though. I look forward to seeing everyone, and hearing how your winter vacations were! Please tell me about the things you did.
…Oh, me? Well, if you read this page last winter, I’m sure you can take a guess. I went snowboarding, of course! It was a lot of fun, but it snowed heavily. It was a little scary to drive in, so I’m glad I was with friends.
I had a lot of fun, and even made a snowman. I only had one stick, so I had to snap it in half, and his nose is an icicle… I couldn’t give him a second eye either, because it kept falling off and my hands were really cold (even though I had gloves on) so I gave up. Sorry, Mr. Snowman! He’s a bit strange!
Hey, do you know that in Japan, a snowman is made of two snowballs, but three snowballs are used in America and many parts of Europe? The two snowballs in Japan are for head and body, right? But in other places, it’s one for the head, one for the body, and one for the legs! I think the Japanese style is cuter, but which one do you like more?
Tuesday, 21st December 2021
Wow, it’s four days until Christmas! Are you excited? What will do you during your winter holidays?
I’m not going to do much this year. I will eat with my friends, and go snowboarding during the vacation. But other than that, I plan to stay home and enjoy the cold weather from under a kotatsu!
Christmas in Japan is quite different from Christmas in Australia. Of course, you know that the seasons are reversed, so it’s summer in Australia now. But the idea of Christmas is different, too. In Australia, Christmas is a holiday where you stay home with your family or friends, and for many, it is a religious holiday. In Japan, it seems to be viewed as a couple’s date day! And KFC is the most popular choice for Christmas dinner! This was really surprising to me.
Something both countries have in common is Santa! Santa is everywhere. Even KFC! You can find statues of Colonal Sanders wearing a Santa suit, or buy a costume at many stores. But do you know where Santa comes from? No, not the North Pole. Santa comes from a man named St. Nicholas, who was born in Turkey around 280 AD. St. Nicholas acquired his sainthood after giving away all of his wealth to help the poor and the needy. He became the patron saint of children.
The idea of the old man in a red suit isn’t the original St. Nicholas, though. That image was created by Coca-Cola! They wanted to sell more product, so they tried to connect their drink with Christmas. Doesn’t it seem strange that companies like Coca-Cola and KFC make so much money from a man who gave all his money away…?
Monday, 13th December 2021
Remember how I said that I have a lot of different hobbies? I think my real hobby is trying new things, and learning about things I didn’t know before. Recently, I’ve been learning about cars. It’s interesting to me.
This weekend, I was helping a friend with their car. We removed the whole engine and put a new one in. I didn’t know how to do this, and I had never seen the process before. But my friend taught me what to do, and it was really fun!
I have been slowly learning many things. Since coming to Japan two years ago, I have learned how to skateboard and snowboard, how to cook Japanese food, how to pray at a shine, how to drive a manual car, how to oil paint, how to play the violin, and of course, how to speak (some) Japanese! There are many other things I’ve learned and tried, too. And there are still many other things I want to try!
Are there any things you want to try? Maybe you’ll be surprised at what you find interesting, too!
Friday, 10th December 2021
Do you think English is boring?
I think it can be fun, sometimes! There are many jokes that you can make in English. But unless you can understand well, sometimes it is hard to know when something is a joke. However, if you can understand the joke, you’ll remember the word very well. For example, look at this sentence. It says, “the trains are not running.” Of course, trains don’t have legs, so they can’t really run. That sentence means the trains have stopped moving. But it would be funny if they did have legs, wouldn’t it?
Thursday, 2nd December 2021
Hello everyone! I can’t believe it’s already December…
It’s getting colder now, and some parts of Gunma are already snowing. It’s almost time to go snowboarding again. I can’t wait!
Though I’ve never celebrated it before, last week was Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is an American holiday, where friends and family gather to give thanks. Usually, there is a lot of food! My American friends can’t see their families again this year because it’s difficult to travel, so I decided to cook a Thanksgiving Lunch and share it with them. I made bread rolls, mashed potato, roasted vegetables, mac and cheese, and creamed corn. My friends could eat roast chicken, but I had a non-meat version instead. I even made cranberry sauce, and a cake! When I gave them food, everyone was very thankful to receive it.
It makes me happy to make other people happy. And I got to eat a lot of delicious food! Though I hope that next year everyone can see their families again, I also hope I can eat together with my friends and celebrate properly, without virus restrictions. I am thankful for such good friends!
What are you thankful for this year?
Monday, 22nd November 2021
It’s been a long time, but there was finally a festival this weekend! Ebisu-ko, in Kiryu, was held on the 19th and 20th of this month. I went there two years ago, before the virus, and I was able to go this year again. There were a lot of delicious foods, and I even saw some graduated students! I was surprised to see them. One of them spoke to me in English! I was very happy. There were a lot of people there, though, so I decided to go home pretty quickly.
After the festival, I watched Raya and the Last Dragon at home. It’s a Disney movie set in Southeast Asia. I thought the animation was amazing. There aren’t any songs in this movie, but there are a lot of cool fight scenes. If you haven’t watched it yet, please try watching it soon!
Other than that, I played Initial D with my friends all day yesterday. Do you know this series? It’s famous all over the world, but actually, it was originally set in Gunma! It’s a series about street racing from the 90’s. It’s fiction, but the places are real, and it’s based on real people. I want to drive on all the roads from the series someday! But I can’t drive them the same way they do in the manga. That’s probably safer for me, anyway…
Monday, 15th November 2021
Do you have any consistent hobbies?
That means, is there anything you like to do often, and you make sure to do it? Is there a hobby that you schedule time for? It could be anything at all. Maybe it’s reading comics or watching movies. Or maybe it’s going to a certain cafe, or a study group once a week, or playing games with far-away friends.
For me, even when I’m busy, I try to meet my friend once a week to go on a walk. Sometimes we go to Kiryu Nature Observation Forest. It’s very nice, but there are a lot of steps. So if we are feeling a little tired, we go to Takasudo Gorge instead. Fall is my favorite season to visit there. I really like the red and orange colors of the leaves.
Originally, we started walking together for exercise, but now it’s more about catching up and having a nice time together. Usually I am not good at being consistent with exercise and hobbies. I like to do new things, so I often forget to do things that made me happy before. But going with a friend makes it easy to be consistent. The more I walk, the easier it becomes!
Sometimes we are too busy, and we miss a week. It makes me a little disappointed because I enjoy seeing my friend and walking together. But it makes me appreciate the weeks we do get to go!
I hope that this Thursday, I can meet my friend as usual. Even if I’m tired, I want to be consistent!
Monday, 8th November 2021
Last week, a new ALT came to Midori City! Her name is D. D will work at Daitochu. She is also from Australia, so I was excited to meet her. I hoped we would have many things in common. So on Wednesday, I took her on a short tour of Midori City. There are many places to visit in Midori, aren’t there? I asked D what she likes the most. She said she likes nature and doesn’t like people! I’m the same, so I laughed. We decided to visit the sunflower fields in Kasakake first. Even though it’s not summer anymore, there were still some pretty sunflowers growing there! I was happy to see them.
After that, we visited Omama Station. We saw the Watarase Keikoku train, and bought some Midomosu goods. Then, we went to Kifune Shrine. I got another red stamp in my book, and D tried a water fortune. Have you ever tried this? You put the fortune paper in the water, and the writing slowly appears! I think it’s really cool. By the way, she got big luck! I hope it means her time in Midori will be enjoyable and lucky!
Finally, we went to Lake Kusaki and Konaka Otaki falls. It was really beautiful with the red autumn leaves! I’m glad I got to see it. I had a lot of fun. There are many other places in Midori that I’d like to go still, so I hope I can show D around some more soon!
Do you have any suggestions? Where should we go?
Monday, 1st November 2021
Wow! Somehow it’s already November!
Yesterday was Halloween, which means that today is The Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos. I think you might have heard about it before. Have you ever watched the Disney-Pixar movie, Coco? In that movie, the main character is accidentally transported to the land of the dead, and it is based on Día de Muertos! In the real world, Día de Muertos is celebrated in Mexico, and by Mexican people around the world. People gather to remember friends and family who have died. They make shrines with photos of their dead relatives, food, and flowers. Some people even dress up and paint their faces to look like skeletons! I think it’s very interesting.
It’s very different from Halloween, isn’t it? Well, even Halloween is different in different countries. In Japan, many adults wear costumes and party in the streets of Tokyo. But in America, it is mostly children who wear costumes and go around the neighbourhood collecting candy. I have never celebrated Halloween in Australia, but I hear it is becoming more and more popular there, too.
But my favorite thing about Halloween in Japan is the cute themed snacks! I bought this Toy Story Alien last night at a convenience store. It didn’t taste very good, but it was cute! To be honest, I don’t really know what kind of snack it was. It was like mochi, but not so soft. Huh. Maybe I shouldn’t eat things if I don’t know what they are. That’s a little spooky!
Tuesday, 26th October 2021
Do you like flowers?
Yesterday, when I came to school, Principal Itoi asked me to look at a flower on his desk. I was a little confused. From my desk, it looked like a normal plant. It had two yellow flowers and big green leaves. Was it somehow interesting..? So, I went over to have a look.
I was surprised to see it! The flower wasn’t normal at all! It was a conjoined flower! Even though it’s not so rare, I had never seen one before. Then, Principal Itoi asked if I had some stickers we could use. Hm… like this?
Monday, 18th October 2021
Hello– wait, I didn’t post last week !? Wh– What happened?
Well, last week was very busy for me. I had a lot of things to do. So, I guess I was distracted. I’m sorry, everyone! Let’s write a lot this week to make up for it.
This weekend was my friend’s birthday. To celebrate, we went out to Akagi Nature Park. It was cold, and very misty! We walked around the park for a while. It was very pretty, and there weren’t many other people there. We even found a small shrine! It was cute. I don’t know what people pray for at this shine, though. Maybe to have a safe walk around the park? Or for health? If you know, please tell me. I am interested to find out!
It wasn’t raining yet, so we were able to have a small picnic there. There were things like fruit, sandwiches, and cookies. I made a lemon cake and sausage rolls. Do you know sausage rolls? It’s a popular food in the UK and other countries like Australia and New Zealand. Usually, it’s made from meat wrapped in pastry. But since my friend is vegan, I used mushrooms and soy meat. It was delicious!
Actually, I also stopped eating meat a little while ago. It’s not too difficult, and I enjoy making interesting dishes from vegetables and other ingredients that don’t use meat. There are even popular restaurants in Omama that have vegan options, like Coco Curry And Mosburger! And you can buy vegan cheese, milk, and even chocolate from many supermarkets here. I don’t think it’s difficult, and it is something I can do for the environment.
Once we finished eating, it began raining, so we left soon after and went to Hara Museum ARC in Shibukawa. Since it was raining, there was nobody else there at all! We could look at all the art by ourselves. There were many interesting She is famous for her sculptures of pumpkins, and the many many dots she uses in her works. She is famous all over the world.
Once the sun set, we went to Ikaho stone steps. It has been a long time since I went there! We didn’t use the hot springs, though. Instead, we walked around and looked at the lights. Most stores were already closed. , so there was no one else around. It was really pretty, but kind of spooky with the mist everywhere and the streets all empty.
We went to a few different places, and there was nobody at any of them! Where did everyone go this weekend? Or maybe they all disappeared in the mist ..? It’s almost Halloween, after all …
Monday, 4th October 2021
This weekend, I went camping!
This is actually the second time I’ve tried camping. The first time wasn’t a success, because there was a typhoon. It was cold and rainy, and I had a bad time. But this weekend Was nice and sunny, and the campsite was very comfortable! So it was a much better experience. I want to go again soon, when it doesn’t rain!
While camping, I went on a small hike nearby. It was to a shine I thought it was really cool to have a shrine there, but it seemed like no one had looked after it for a very long time. The building was falling apart, and even the stone roof above was falling down a little! But it was still pretty, and standing near the waterfall was cool and refreshing. I wish I could have gotten a red stamp there, though!
Do you know of any other interesting places in Gunma? Let’s explore together!
Monday, 27th September 2021
Last week was’Silver Week’ in Japan, because the 20th and 23rd were public holidays. Did you do anything exciting on your days off? As for me, I did a lot of driving, saw some wonderful scenery, and went to some shrines With my friends. I think there are many cool shrines in Japan. You can’t see Shinto shrines anywhere else in the world, after all! This time, I went to Myogi Shrine and Nakanotake Shrine, which are on Mt. Myogi. Did It’s also one of the locations for Initial D, the racing manga and game series. It’s famous in many countries! I got a really cool red stamp there. And I also got a’great luck’ fortune! Yay!
By the way… Two weeks ago, the third year students were learning about natural disasters in English. At that time, I told everyone about Australian disasters. I said, “Australia has floods, fires, and cyclones. But we don’t have earthquakes.”
Actually, last week there was a big earthquake in Australia! It was a level 5 on the Japanese scale. I was surprised to hear it. It was in Melbourne, so my friends there were all very shocked when it happened. Many of them were scared. They didn’t know what to do in an earthquake. In Japan, we have emergency evacuation drills, so that we all know what to do in a disaster. But in Australia, we only know what to do in the event of a fire, flood, or cyclone. Do you have any advice for my friends in Australia? What should they do to protect themselves in an earthquake?
Wednesday, 15th September 2021
This week, it finally stopped being so rainy! But the state of emergency has been extended again, so I can’t really go out and enjoy the weather. Ah…
Last weekened was a little cloudy, but not raining, so I decided to go to a shrine to buy a new goshuincho (a red stamp book). It was a very nice old shrine with a waterfall and a river nearby, so I walked around for a bit. Do you know what I found while I was walking?
I found a tiny crab!
He was trying to cross the road, but I was worried that somone might step on him. So, I tried to move him off the road. But he just tried to fight me! Excuse me, Kani-chan! I’m trying to help you!
The Japanese word for crab is kani, and the word for god is kami. Do you think he was a little angry god? Should I pray to the crab? Does a kani kami want okane?
Friday, 10th September 2021
Yesterday was the Midori City English Speech Contest. We had two third-year students from Daichu enter. Their speeches were very good, and they practiced really hard. I think they did well, and I’m proud of them! Good work, you two!!
The first student’s speech was about finding your passion. It was very inspiring. I think it’s easy to forget about the things that make you happy if you’re busy working or studying. But we should make time for those things, too. It’s important to enjoy our everyday lives. A few years ago, I didn’t have time for my hobbies. I only worked. But I realised I wasn’t very happy, so now I try to have a good balance in my life. That’s why I could understand the feelings behind this speech very well.
The second speech was about challenging yourself and wanting to grow from our experiences. I think this is really important, too! If we never challenge ourselves, we can’t grow, and that’s a little scary, isn’t it? I moved to Japan to challenge myself. It’s a country where I can’t communicate easily. I make mistakes often. There are definitely many challenges, but I don’t regret it. So this speech resonated with me!
Actually, I also had to give a speech, and it was in Japanese. Augh! That really was a challenge! But it made me want to study harder. Next year, I want to be able to give an even better speech, and be able to communicate with all the students and teachers at Daichu more.
As for you, what do you want your next challenge to be? How about entering the English Speech Competition?!
I look forward to hearing what you have to say!
Friday, 3rd September 2021
Friday again! Let’s see… did anything exciting happen this week?
Well, the Paralympics are still happening! They will finish on Sunday. So far, China has the most medals. Australia is 8th, and Japan is 15th. That’s not bad!
Actually, yesterday something cool happened regarding the Paralympics. The Australian government finally agreed to pay Paralympic atheletes the same amount as Olympic athletes. Before, Australian Olympic gold medalists would receive a $20,000 (around 163万 yen) bonus, but the Paralympic gold medalists didn’t get anything at all! Now, they will be paid the same.
In second-year English classes, we study Universal Design, and in third year, we learn about Paralympic atheletes and how sport is for everyone. Both of these subjects are important. It teaches us about removing barriers for people with disabilities. By paying Paralympians the same amount, it is a step in the right direction.
By the way, Japan pays their Olympians $63,000 (693万 yen) but their Paralympians are paid $38,000 (480万). That’s a big difference!
What other barriers do you know of for people with disabilities? How can we make life better for everyone?
Friday, 27th August 2021
School is back today! Even though it’s the first day, students have tests. Oh no!
Did you have to study in your holidays? Don’t worry, I studied Japanese too. It’s necessary for me to study Japanese, or I can’t talk to anybody. Even if I don’t want to study or I feel tired, I have to do it every day. So I know how you feel.
Last week, I spoke about interesting places in Gunma. This time, I want to tell you about something interesting in Midori. It’s an udon vending machine! Do you like udon? It’s thick noodles in soup. I like udon more than ramen, because I think the taste is lighter. Udon is very popular all over Japan. But I had never seen udon from a vending machine before.
When I looked into it, I found out that it is actually fresh udon! The cook fills the machines many times each day, so that it doesn’t run out. There’s also ramen and soba, and toasted sandwiches, and everything is under 300 yen. Since there’s no interaction, I think this is okay to eat during Corona. Of course, I ate in the car.
This place is very famous, and the type of vending machine is rare. I wasn’t interested before, but the more I learned, the more interested I became. I think it’s like that for a lot of things, right? Just like udon vending machines, the more I study Japanese, the more interested in the Japanese language I become. It’s only after you’re interested in something that you can really begin to learn!
What are you most interested in? What do you want to learn about?
Friday, 20th August 2021
Ah… summer holidays are nearly over. Did you do anything fun?
I didn’t do much. I helped my friends move. I practiced skating when it was sunny. When it rained, I drew pictures and played games. I even went on small hikes once or twice.
This is my third summer in Japan, but I haven’t been able to travel or do anything for two of them. It makes me a little sad.
Even so, I really like living in Gunma! When I ask students what they like about Gunma, or what interesting things there are to do, sometimes people can’t think of anything. “Gunma, huh? Well…” is the answer they give me.
But actually, I think there are many interesting things in Gunma!
There are some amazing hot spring towns, like Ikaho or Kusatsu, that have interesting museums and food as well as relaxing baths. There are huge mountains, such as Akagi or Haruna, where you can go hiking or drive on famous roads. There’s Doai Station, which is the deepest railway station in Japan (it’s 70m down!), or Oze National Park, which is beautiful in any season. There’s even a safari park, with white tigers and lions and bears, oh my!
So even though we can’t travel and need to stay home, there are many things we can do in Gunma that don’t require us to be close to other people. Maybe you did some of these during your holidays. Can you think of any others? What are your suggestions?
Wednesday, 4th August 2021
We’re nearing the end of the Olympics. There are only four days to go. Currently, Japan is in 3rd with 19 medals, and Australia is in 4th, with 14 medals.
I don’t have much interest in the Olympics, because I don’t really like sport. But I was excited to see that skateboarding was an Olympic event this year! I think it’s great that sports like skateboarding are being acknowledged. They are actually difficult and take a lot of skill, too!
When I was younger, skateboarding was seen as a bad thing. If you were skateboarding, it meant you weren’t good at studying, or that you were lazy. But at the women’s Olympic event the winner, Momiji Nishiya, was 13 years old! The silver medalist, Rayssa Leal, was 12! Isn’t that amazing? They must practice very hard. If that’s true how can they be lazy?
I think they are giving skateboarding a good image. I hope more people try interesting sports like skateboarding, and don’t worry about what other people think about it. Maybe we’ll have many more interesting Olympic events in the future!
What interesting sports do you want to try?
Friday, 30th July 2021
Hello everyone! It’s been a while; how are you?
Actually, it’s summer holidays now. I haven’t been at school to post this blog. Instead, I have been helping my friends to clean their apartments. For ALT’s like me, the summer holidays can be a sad time. It’s when many of us finish working in Japan and go back to our home countries. This year, many of the friends I have made here are moving. Some are from America, some are from other countries. I may not see them again for a long time, or ever. But I won’t forget them!
It’s also been very hot here recently. Most days are 30°C or more. It can be hard to stay cool (especially when moving furniture…) but Japan has a really cool way to stay cool! It’s kakigori– shaved ice! You can find kakigori with many different flavors. There are many other countries with similar dishes: Korea has bingsu, Malaysia has ais kacang, Thailand has nam kang sai, Vietnam has chè ba màu, The Philippines has halo-halo... each is unique, but they are all delicious! If I visit my friends in other countries someday, I want to try shaved ice with them!
Well, I’m going to enjoy my summer holidays now. See you again soon!
(This is the kakigori I ate yesterday!)
Thursday, 15th July 2021
What differences do you know of between Japanese and Australian life? We sometimes talk about it in English class. For example, in Japan, we call buffet-style restaurants “viking” restaurants! In Australia, we would think of a big, ancient sinviking person! Or in Australia, we call potato fries “chips”. We also call potato chips “chips”. Hold on, which ones am I talking about..?
Another difference between Australia and Japan is the school year. While Australia starts their year in February and splits the year into four terms, Japan starts in April and has trimesters. Next week it will be summer holidays here (yay!) but students still have to come to school every day (no!). In Australia, summer holidays are almost three months long, and you don’t need to come to school. Many families go on holidays together, or students work in part-time jobs. It’s nice to take a break like that, but many people think that three months is too long. What do you think?
Sometimes, the most interesting differences between Japan and Australia are not so obvious. Do you know Domino’s Pizza? I think you might! They have stores all over the world. But did you know the menu is different? Australia has many toppings from all over the world, and even vegan and gluten-free options for people who can’t eat certain foods. It’s really good! Japan has some interesting flavors, too…
Actually, many famous restaurants will change their menu in different countries. If you are interested, you should look at the menu for McDonalds, or even Mosburger!
Do you want to try some Australian flavors?
Wednesday, 7th July 2021
Happy Tanabata, everyone!
Do you know Tanabata, the Star Festival? It starts on the 7th of July every year. It is held to celebrate the meeting of Orihime, the weaver princess, and Hikoboshi, the cow herd. Legend says that the two live separated by the Amanogawa, the Milky Way, and can only meet once a year. However, if it rains, the river floods and they cannot cross. If that happens, they have to wait another year to meet.
Do you think it will rain tonight? If it does, it’s okay! Even though we say that the 7th of July is the Star Festival, legend says that they meet on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar – that’s August 14th this year!
This festival has been popular since the Edo period, and now it is common to see paper decorations hanging from bamboo trees. There are seven different kinds of decorations. The most common one is tanzaku, strips of paper with wishes written on them.
Do you have something you want to wish for? Actually, there’s a tree in the English room! If you want to make a wish, why don’t you write something?
Monday, 28th June 2021
Hello, everyone! I have good news! Next week, I will finally get my COVID vaccine! I will get the Moderna shot.
I’m happy that vaccines are available now because it means we are making the world safer for everybody. If we are all vaccinated quickly, the virus may become less widespread. But because not everyone can take the vaccine, and because it only lasts for a short time, the virus might not ever be 100% gone. That’s why it’s important that everyone who can take the vaccine receives it quickly, so that it doesn’t get even stronger and become a big problem again in the future.
But you know what? I am really scared of needles! When I see them, it makes me cry. I know they don’t really hurt, but looking at them is really scary! I have been scared of needles since I was a child. So I have a question. When you have to do something scary, or something you don’t want to do, how do you get over it? I’m interested to hear your methods!
Monday, 21st June 2021
Last week, everyone had exams. Good work, everyone! I’m sure you’re tired. Did you rest well over the weekend?
Because of exams, I didn’t have classes last week. Instead, I was making posters to decorate the old computer lab. Since students have their own Chromebooks now, that room is not being used. So I wanted to make it exciting. Now there are many English posters there! There’s information about grammar points, different countries, Australian food and animals, and many other useful words. If you’re interested, please check it out!
What other posters would you like to see there? What things about English are you interested in? If there’s a difficult point or a subject you want to know more about, please tell me. I will add it to the room.
Monday, 14th June 2021
Do you know Animal Crossing (どうぶつの森)? How about Pokémon (ポケットモンスター)?
Both Animal Crossing and Pokémon are popular all over the world. You can catch and collect many different things in these games. But did you know that it actually comes from real bug catching?
Bug catching is very popular in Japan. In summer, many children go out to catch bugs. They can catch grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles. I have seen children putting bugs into small plastic cages to keep as pets. At first, I was surprised to see it. We don’t usually do this in Australia, because many bugs in Australia are very dangerous. We are taught to not touch bugs.
So the other day, when there was a big beetle outside the school, I was worried when some students wanted to pick it up. But we moved him out of the way, and put him in the bushes at the bottom of the stairs. He looked happy!
What do you think about catching bugs?
Tuesday, 8th June 2021
What sports do you like?
When I was a student, I didn’t like any sports. I couldn’t run or swim fast, or catch or kick a ball, and I was short. I was the third shortest person in my senior year at high school. I always came last in marathons and races and often had the lowest grades in P.E.
But sports are important for Australian people. In Australian schools, we have to do a lot of sports. Every Wednesday at my school, we had to wear a sports uniform and play sports for two hours instead of going to class. Some people are good at one sport, like rugby or netball, and can join a team. In Japan, you can join the club you like, and your team will teach you, right? But in Australia, you have to know how to play first and try out for the team. If you’re not good enough, you can’t play that sport. I think this system is unfair. If you can’t try, how can you know if you like it or not?
I played netball in elementary school, but I wasn’t good enough in high school. So I didn’t make a team. I thought, “I am bad at sports. I’m not strong or fast enough.” After that, I only did sports where I could go slowly, or with friends. But I never tried hard, because I was afraid of not being good enough. If I stayed a beginner forever, then I didn’t have to be good, right?
But last winter, a friend asked me to try snowboarding. I was scared, but I tried it anyway. At first, I didn’t like it. I wasn’t strong enough to stand up and I was afraid to go fast. I didn’t want to try again. But another friend told me to keep trying, and that it was normal to be bad at it for a long time. So I tried again. I was surprised to find that I liked it! If you read this blog before, you’ll know I went snowboarding a lot after that! Now, it’s one of my favorite hobbies.
I can’t go snowboarding in winter, so I decided to try another new sport. It’s something I always wanted to try, but was too scared to. And maybe some people don’t like this sport, or don’t see it as a sport… but now it’s in the Olympics! Can you guess what it is? I put a picture of it below…
I didn’t like sports before. But now I know that there are hobbies for everyone! You don’t need to compare yourself to others. You just have to keep exploring and try your hardest. If you are better than the you from yesterday, that’s enough.
Monday, 31st May 2021
Wow, it’s almost June!
That means it will be hot and humid soon, and the school uniform will change to short sleeves. It’s really summer!
Because it’s summer, I want to go to the beach to swim. But Gunma is surrounded by mountains. There is nowhere to swim here, right? I heard you can’t swim in the lakes or rivers, so I guess I’ll just keep going on hikes until I find a place to swim. If you have any recommendations, please tell me!
By the way, I went to Kiryu Nature Observation Forest yesterday. I sometimes go here to walk because the view is nice and the path is not difficult. But yesterday it was so hot… and there were hornets everywhere! No! Summer is the worst!
… I’m supposed to add a photo here, but I can’t access my emails or anything. I was going to show you a photo of Kiryu Nature Observation Forest. But I can’t. So here is a picture of a tree that I drew in 20 seconds. I hope you like it.
Monday, 24th May 2021
Last night, I watched Eurovision. Have you ever watched Eurovision? I talked about it here last year, too!
The Eurovision Song Contest is a large international singing competition held in Europe every year. It was first held in 1956, and over 56 countries have participated in it, including Australia.
Last year, the contest was only shown online, because of COVID-19. This year, they held a live event in Rotterdam, the second-largest city in the Netherlands. They only allowed 3500 people to attend so that it would be as safe as possible. But there were 180 million viewers online! I think it’s more convenient to watch it online, because the time is different in the Netherlands. If I wanted to watch it live, it would be around 4am in Japan! No thank you!
If you’re interested in Eurovision, you should check it out on youtube. Tell me what you think!
Monday, 17th May 2021
The weather is going to be humid and rainy all week… Does this mean summer is starting?
I like summer in Japan. When I tell people this, they seem surprised. “But why! It’s so hot!” they always say. Well, I’ll tell you!
Even though it’s really hot, there are many fun things you can do in summer. For example, you can go swimming, or eat shaved ice. In some areas, you can do fun summer sports, like rafting (I don’t know if this is fun or scary, though). There are also many summer festivals and delicious food!
I think Midori is beautiful in summer, too. Everything is so green, and there are many beautiful flowers.
In Australia, summer means that a lot of nature turns brown, not green. That’s because the sun is so hot, that all the grass burns. There are often huge wildfires or flash floods. It’s so hot, but often you can’t go swimming. The ocean has jellyfish and sharks, and the rivers and lakes have crocodiles! If you go camping, you can’t light a fire because it’s too dangerous. And you have to watch out for snakes and spiders! Did you know that 21 of the world’s 25 most deadly snakes can be found in Australia?! Uh, maybe now you understand why I like summer in Japan…
Monday, 10th May 2021
The Tokyo 2020(1) Olympics are now just 74 days away.
The Olympic Games are usually held every four years, and athletes from over 200 countries come together to participate. The first modern Olympics were held in 1896, but the ancient Olympic Games were held in Greece in the 8th century BC! The Olympics have been canceled only three times in history -1916, 1940, and 1944 were all canceled because of wars.
There are many different opinions about having the 2020 Tokyo Olympics during the pandemic. Some people think it will be okay, but many more think it’s better to cancel it. Currently, a petition to cancel the games has over 300,000 signatures. The petition says the games should not be held to protect people’s lives. The state of emergency has been extended in many parts of Japan. Vaccinations only began for people aged 65 and over last month, and the vaccination rate is at only 2% of the population. Over 10,500 people have died, which is more than in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam. Because of this, people think that it is too dangerous to host the games here.
Other people argue that the games can still be held safely, and that canceling them is bad for the economy. They are also worried about how Japan looks to the rest of the world. These people think that the Olympics will help Japan to make money, and bring more tourists.
Do you think the Olympic Games should be canceled? Why?
Thursday, 6th May 2021
Yesterday was Children’s Day in Japan, right? Many countries have Children’s Day, but it’s at different times. For example, Australia’s is in October, and America’s is in June! There’s also an International Children’s Day in November. Children are important everywhere!
Oh, but there’s something that is only in Japan. Carp flags! They’re very interesting. In Australia, we call this sort of thing ‘kites’ or ‘windsocks’ – does the wind have feet? Weird, right!?
Do you know the story of the Koi that climbed a waterfall?
In the tale, a huge school of golden Koi were swimming in a river in China. The fish grew strong as they swam together through the river. When they reached a waterfall at the end of the river, many of the Koi gave up.
But some of the Koi didn’t give up. Jumping high, they tried to reach the top of the waterfall. Then some demons saw them, and they laughed and made the waterfall taller. After one hundred years of jumping, one Koi finally reached the top. Because of its efforts, the gods turned it into a golden dragon!
This story is the reason why there are carp flags in Japan. They’re a symbol of determination, and for a good future for children. It is the wish that they will grow up healthy and strong.
What’s your wish for the future?
Monday, 26th April 2021
It’s almost the end of April already… The sakura have finished blooming, and the weather is becoming warmer.
But some things are still the same; Tokyo and Osaka went back into a (third) state of emergency yesterday because COVID is growing more and more dangerous.
Next week is Golden Week, a set of holidays in Japan. The new state of emergency will end on May 11, after these public holidays. Usually, it’s one of the most popular times to travel. But I think that it’s too dangerous to travel now. I think it’s too dangerous to even go to places like shopping malls or cinemas, especially in Isesaki or Ota! I hope everyone stays home instead, and that people aren’t selfish. Instead of going to these places, let’s enjoy nature in a socially distant way! For example, I went on a hike in Kiryu. It was a really nice view from the top, and it’s good to exercise!
Until many people can receive the vaccine, we won’t be safe. Although almost 50% of Americans have now been vaccinated, less than 1% of Japan has gotten the first shot. And now, we have the U.K. variant in Gunma, too. It spreads faster, and is more deadly, especially to younger people. Hmm…
I’m very scared of needles, and I cry when I have them. But I will get this vaccine to keep myself and others safe!
How about you?
Tuesday, 20th April 2021
Do you know fish and chips? Have you ever eaten it?
Fish and chips first appeared in the UK in the 1860s. It was really important to them, and it became very popular in other countries, like Australia and New Zealand. The first shop in Australia opened in 1879, in Sydney. But now you can find fish and chip shops everywhere. Apparently, it’s the most popular takeaway food in New Zealand!
I really miss fish and chips the Australian way, but recently I found something very similar right here in Kiryu! I was so surprised. Often, places in Japan use panko crumbs on the fish, but this isn’t what we use in Australia. In Australia, flour is used! And we use large potato chips, not fries. Do you know the difference?
I had some students last year tell me about when they ate fish and chips in Australia during their homestay. I hope that you can try it someday, too!
Monday, 12th April 2021
Japan is famous for a lot of things, like food, anime, and… trains!
Of course, everyone knows the shinkansen, and many people also know about Japan’s rail system. It’s very convenient, efficient, and better than in other countries like Australia (the trains there are very bad).
I think that trains are very important in Japan. 45 of the world’s 50 busiest railway stations are in Japan! There are 30,625 km of railway tracks across the country, and almost 10 billion people ride the train each year.
But did you know that Gunma also has a famous train?
It’s the D51 498 – a steam train! It’s really old. It was originally built to pull freight cars and climb hills. Now, you can see it in Minakami. You can even ride it through Gunma!
Do you often ride the train?
Wednesday, 7th April 2021
The new school year starts today!
Hello to new students, and welcome back to second and third graders. Did you have a nice vacation? What did you do?
I also had a vacation, kind of. It’s still not safe to travel, and a new Monster Hunter game came out… I guess you could say I went on vacation to Kamura Village..?
Oh, but the other day I did get to see some beautiful sakura! I drove to Azuma, in the north of Midori City, and enjoyed the blossoms there.
I also bought a really cool goshuincho – a special stamp book! Usually, goshuincho are for temples or shines, but the one I bought is for the railway. You can travel all over Japan, and get a stamp in different places.
It might take me a long time since traveling is difficult now, but I look forward to trying in the future!
Monday, 22nd March 2021
It’s the last week of school!
Friday this week will be the beginning of the school holidays, and the end of the Japanese school year. It’s still a little strange to me because in Australia we start school in February. So it feels like the start of the year, not the end!
Another strange thing is that many teachers will also leave at the end of the school year. It seems that in Japan, teachers change schools often. They are moved around all over the prefecture. But in Australia, teachers can stay at the same school for years and years… maybe even 20 or 30 years or more! I think both systems have their good and bad points.
By the way, I can see the sakura starting to bloom from the staff room window. It really marks the beginning of the changing seasons, doesn’t it..?
Monday, 15th March 2021
If you are in Japan, you know about White Day. But if you are from another country, like me, maybe you don’t know it!
White Day is a holiday celebrated today, March 15, and is very similar to Valentine’s Day. On White Day, men give chocolate to the women who gave them gifts on Valentine’s Day. Apparently, this holiday began in Japan in 1978. It’s now celebrated in some other Asian countries, too. But we don’t celebrate it in Australia. In Australia, both men and women give chocolates only on Valentine’s Day. What do you think about this?
Even on a normal day chocolate is popular in both Japan and Australia, though. In fact, Australia has many famous chocolates, like Tim Tams, Cadbury Dairy Milk, and of course, Milo! Did you know Milo is from Australia? It’s only just become popular in Japan, but it’s been popular in Australia for a long time. When I was in school, I used to drink it almost every day!
What chocolate do you like the most?
Monday, 8th March 2021
Yesterday, I helped with some school cleaning in the morning.
We moved all the boxes, newspapers, and other recycling outside so that the big trucks could collect them.
Japan is really serious about trash! I think it’s amazing. In Japan, you have to sort all your trash properly. Glass, plastic, paper, cans, and metal are all separated. A lot of it is recycled well.
Last year, Japan also stopped giving free plastic bags with shopping. But actually, this has been normal in Australia since 2018. Some cities stopped using plastic bags in 2003! Now, if you need to buy a bag, you can buy special eco-bags for about ￥20. In Japan, you can still get a normal bag for only ￥2, right? And when you buy fruit or vegetables it’s all in plastic. In Australia, we don’t use this much plastic. You can just take each item one by one.
I think it’s good that the world is taking steps to reduce waste. What other ways can you think of to use less plastic?
Monday, 1st March 2021
Sometimes, communication isn’t just grammar or words. There are many difficult things about interacting with different cultures, even if you can speak the same language.
In many languages, like Japanese or German, there are different levels of politeness. For example, in Japanese you might call someone -san or -sama to be formal, or in German you might use sie. English also has these words. In America, they might call you sir or ma’am at a store. This is a way of being polite. But in Australia, if you use these words, it’s rude! … Hm? What do you mean?
Australian culture is very different! In Australia, it’s rude to be polite to people you know. If you keep talking formally after a while, people will think you hate them, or that you want to fight, even if the person is your superior or older than you. You should drop to the lowest casual form of English if you want to be friends! For example:
- Good morning = Hey!
- How are you? = How’s it goin’?/How are ya?
- I’m fine, thank you. And you? = Not bad, thanks! You?/Pretty good, yourself?
- Excuse me = ‘scuse me (No ‘Ex’ sound).
- Pardon me? = Hm?/What?/Huh?
- Please wait a minute = Hold on.
- I’m sorry = My bad!
- No = Nah
- Yes = Yeah
Actually, it was very difficult for me when I first came to Japan. I didn’t understand that there were different ways to talk to different people, and I used a casual form for everyone… So maybe I was rude to you? My bad!
Monday, 22nd February 2021
Wow! February was over in a flash. I think winter is almost over, too! I decided to ride my bicycle to school today, because the weather was so nice. Today is 20°. It’s a very sudden change. It might get colder again this week, so for now I’m going to enjoy the warmer weather. Right now, nature has a good balance. But I’m sure that when summer comes around, I’ll miss winter…
I think late February and early March are very quiet, for both Australia and Japan. Now that all the major tests are finished, and school has a month left, what is it you want to focus on? Will you study hard for next year? Do you have many things to do, or will you relax a little and enjoy the beginning of spring? Well, I think that if you enjoy the time you wasted, then it was not a waste of time. So like nature between winter and spring, I want to find a good balance.
Tuesday, 16th February 2021
Gong hei fat choy! Friday was Chinese New Year! It’s now the Year of the Ox. Do you know about Chinese New Year? The date is because of the lunar calendar, so it takes place on the first new moon between January and February. There are many important traditions around it. For example, lion dances, parades, fireworks, and most importantly, food!
I don’t think many places in Japan celebrate the lunar new year, and this year is even more difficult because of the virus, so I decided to celebrate at home. I cooked fish, pork, and many dumplings! It’s important to have food left over after Chinese New Year’s Day, because it means you will have a lot of food for the rest of the year.
恭喜发财! Can you read these Chinese characters?
Monday, 8th February 2021
This weekend I went snowboarding… again!
Usually, I don’t like sports and I don’t like getting injured. But for some reason, snowboarding is a lot of fun even when I get hurt. And I get hurt often. Oops. At first, I was also very scared of the lift chairs. I don’t like heights. But now, it doesn’t worry me at all. It’s fun!
Since Australia doesn’t get a lot of snow, especially near my hometown, I had not tried snowboarding before I came to Japan. But now I have been about five times. I can ‘link’ my turns (going from one side of the board to the other) and jump a little. But I’m still a beginner. I know some students at Daichu are very good at snowboarding. Do you have any tips for me?
Monday, 1st February 2021
It’s February now, and it’s still cold! This morning is -3° in Midori City… it must be much colder in other places, such as Minakami. On Saturday, I went to Minakami to go snowboarding. Even though I’m not good at it yet, it’s a lot of fun! I want to go as many times as I can this winter.
By the way, on the way up the mountain, a big van in front of me got stuck in the snow and they needed help to push the car… And then because we waited so long, my car and the cars behind me also got stuck… Well, it was my first time pushing a car, but I got a lot of practice.
Tuesday 26th January 2021
Today is Australia Day. It is a public holiday in Australia. There are ceremonies all around the country, and it is a day when many migrants (people from other countries) become Australian citizens.
On January 26th, 1788, the first white people from the U.K. arrived on ships and began living in Australia. From that day, they decided that Australia was theirs, and said there was no one else living there. But there were already people there, with their own cultures, languages, and traditions. They were the First Nations peoples, sometimes called Aboriginal or Indigenous Australians.
Some people do not celebrate Australia Day, because it is seen as the day when the land was taken from the First Nations peoples. Many call the day Invasion Day or Survival Day. Because of these feelings, some people think that it would be better if Australia Day was celebrated on a different date. I think Australia should still have Australia Day on January 26th, but that it shouldn’t be a celebration. Instead, it should be a day to learn about First Nation peoples and their history and culture.
The next part is interesting. Do you like math?
A recent poll from Australia says that over 70% of people want Australia Day to stay the same. But that’s only for people over 40 years old. For people under 40, it is less than 50%!
Why do you think younger people support change, and older people don’t?
Monday, 18th January 2021
It’s -3° right now! Waaaai~! I’m very cold!
In this and last week’s English classes, third graders are talking about their junior high school memories. Over the past three years, they have all made so many important memories. Some are good, and some aren’t. This year especially has been difficult because of the virus. Many things were canceled, so third-grade students didn’t get to do a lot of the things they were looking forward to.
I hope that everyone can leave Daichu with some good memories. I have only been here for a year and a half, but I already have many good memories!
By the way, can you tell what this student’s important memory was about? What do they want to do in high school?
Thursday, 14th January 2021
Yesterday, first- and second-grade students had tests. How was it? Are you glad that they’re finished now? I hope this weekend you can all take a rest.
This week was shorter than usual because Monday was Coming of Age Day. It’s a holiday in Japan that celebrates people turning 20 and becoming adults.
There is no big ceremony to mark your 20th birthday in Australia like the one in Japan. Here, people wear furisode or suits (or sometimes hakama) and celebrate together. In Australia, maybe you have a birthday party with your friends and family.
That’s because in Australia, you become an “adult” at 18. This is when you can legally vote, drink and smoke (but you shouldn’t drink or smoke anyway). Japan will change the age of being an adult to 18 next year too, right? How do you feel about being thought of as an adult sooner? Is it good, or bad?
Thursday, 7th January 2021
Happy New Year, everyone!
2020 is finally over. Are you glad? Relieved? Does it feel any different?
There are a lot of differences between New Year’s in Japan and Australia.
For example, did you know that in Australia, students move up a grade at the start of the year? In Japan, you change your grade in April, right? So for Australian students, the new year means new classes. And since it’s summer now, the students are still on vacation. Summer vacation in Australia lasts for almost three months… sounds nice, huh?
New Year decorations look very different, too. In Japan, you can find decorations like Kadomatsu and Kagami mochi, but in Australia, it’s balloons and streamers. Japan also has many traditional foods to eat for New Year’s, like mochi, soba, and a special lunch box. Australia doesn’t have anything like this. We also don’t have shrines or temples, so you don’t hear the bells ringing 108 times as you do in Japan for Joya no Kane.
In Australia, people celebrate with their friends and family. Usually, they drink champagne and watch fireworks at midnight. It’s more like a big party! It’s common for people to have parties on boats, too! In Sydney, they have a huge fireworks display. It’s amazing! You can watch it on TV anywhere in Australia. Just before midnight, people count down together from 10, and shout “3… 2… 1… Happy New Year!” Then, people hug, kiss, or shake hands (I guess this year that probably didn’t happen though). The next day is a public holiday, so everyone rests. It’s necessary for people to rest after a New Year’s party!
I think the Japanese New Year’s celebrations are a lot more interesting than Australian ones. Do you want to enjoy a New Year’s party in Australia in the future?
Monday, 21st December 2020
It’s the last week of school before Christmas and winter holidays!
What do you usually do for Christmas in Japan? I’ve heard that people often eat KFC, and I ate it with my friends last year. Usually, we don’t eat KFC for Christmas in Australia though! Since it’s summer there, we eat a lot of things like cold seafood, ham, and vegetables and salads. I often had Christmas with my family. It was always very… lively
This year I won’t do much, since it’s too dangerous to travel. But that means I can stay home, where it’s warm. Every morning has been under 0°, and there is sometimes snow on the roads when I drive to school. Ah, I miss summer!
My friend sent me these photos from Minakami the other day… even though I complain about how cold I am here in Midori, it looks much colder there. He said it’s about -10° in the morning. I don’t think I could live there. I would be too cold.
Which do you like more, cold or hot weather?
Monday, 14th December 2020
There is a solar eclipse in South America today. Have you ever seen a solar eclipse? It’s when the sun is hidden by the moon. Today’s eclipse will only last for about two minutes, and we can’t see it from Japan, but it’s being live-streamed by NASA, so you can watch safely from anywhere in the world. That’s pretty cool!
Many cultures have ancient stories about solar eclipses. For example, Japan’s story is that the goddess Ameratsu hides in a cave, and can only be lured out again with a mirror. The Chinese story is that a dragon eats the sun. The ancient Egyptian story One Indigenous Australian story is that the sun is a woman, and chases after the moon, who is a man. There are so many stories from different cultures! Which one is your favorite ??
Monday, 7th December 2020
Do you often listen to music? I do. I listen to music on my phone and on my computer at home.
Many of my friends use the same program to stream music. It’s a program where you pay every month, and you can listen to As much music as you like. You can even listen together with friends, so it’s good for online parties too. I think it’s convenient.
Every year, the program tells you what songs you listened to the most, and how much you listened to music . It’s interesting to see what music my friends like! What kind of music do you like?
Here are my top five songs for 2020, and how long I listened to music.
… 90,000 minutes? 63 days?
Er, isn’t that a bit too much?
Tuesday, 1st December 2020
Woah! It’s December !? I don’t know where the year has gone. It’s been really cold the last few days, and the temperature has already hit 0 ° at night. But while it’s winter in Japan, it’s summer in Australia- and there are temperatures above 40 ° right now!
Speaking of Australia, this weekend I was talking to someone who lives there … ah, it’s Peter! He was the ALT at Daichu about four years ago. He remembers many of the other teachers from that time!
Now, he lives on the Gold Coast. He teaches Japanese at a university there.
Peter says he likes both Australia and Japan. He usually speaks English at home. But sometimes he speaks Japanese, too.
Which do you speak at home, Japanese, or English?
I asked Peter about the virus in Australia. Australian people were very careful about the virus. They wore masks, didn’t see friends, didn’t go out to restaurants or shops, and many couldn’t even go to school or work for Because of how hard everyone worked to beat the virus, I think people in Australia will be able to travel to other safe countries soon. Peter wants to visit Daichu again, but there is still a lot of Corona in Japan, so it’s dangerous for people to come here …
Well, I hope things get better soon, so that Peter, my other friends, and my family can visit me here.
By the way, isn’t Peter’s dog cute?
Tuesday, 24th November 2020
Yesterday was a public holiday, which means we had a long weekend. Do you know why?
Of course, it’s because it was my birthday on Saturday!
I don’t think it’s safe to travel to crowded areas or to go to other prefectures, but there’s a lot to see in Gunma too. So this weekend, I drove to Takumi no Sato in Minakami. It’s a traditional crafting village where they have many different things, such as dying cloth, making washi paper, straw working, and even making soba! You can also pick apples and other fruits. I tried to stay outside, so I want to go back and try doing all of the craft experiences I missed next time.
There weren’t many people there, and all of the buildings are traditional too, so it felt like I was a ghost trapped in the wrong time. It was strange!
Ah! I got attacked by a bear!
… Huh? What do you mean, it wasn’t a holiday for my birthday? What is 勤労感謝の日 (Labor Thanksgiving Day)?
Monday, 16th November 2020
Do you know Ebisu?
Ebisu is one of the Japanese Seven Lucky Gods. He is the god of prosperity and wealth for businesses and protects fishermen.
Usually, there is a festival at this time of year in Kiryu with many stalls and people. Last year, I went with my friends and we ate a lot of food, like yakisoba, yakimanju, and many other snacks! Of course, that can’t happen this year, but I think it’s a good thing to avoid crowded areas or places where people are removing their masks to eat. So even though I want to go, I will just wait for next year, and I’ll make all the food at home myself!
… I guess that’s not quite the same though, is it?
Monday, 9th November 2020
When you think of Gunma, do you think of lions and tigers..?
I didn’t! So I was surprised to learn about Gunma Safari Park. It’s in Tomioka City, which is about one and a half hours’ drive from Midori City. You can even drive your own car through the safari park, so it was safe even with the virus.
There were many different animals from all over the world, such as lions, wolves, elk, and rhinoceros! There were even bears from Gunma. They were smaller than I thought, but they are still dangerous.
But I was most surprised to see white tigers! White tigers are very rare, so I was shocked to see two of them there. In Gunma, of all places!
Often, I don’t like zoos because the animals don’t have enough room to move or are separated, and the area isn’t like where they would live in the wild. They are just placed in small cages, and can only sleep. It’s the same as pet stores, where all the animals are in boxes with no toys or other animals. It’s not good for them. But the safari park had room for the animals to move around in their natural habitats, and animals like lions were able to stay together in their pride. So I think this kind of place is a good example of how zoos should be!
Wednesday, 4th November 2020
Speaking of National Parks, Australia also has many beautiful rainforests and protected areas. One of the most famous is the Daintree. It’s an hour north of Cairns, and it is over a hundred million years old!
The Daintree is home to many of Australia’s animals. 30% of all frog, marsupial, and reptile species in Australia live here, and 65% of Australia’s bats and butterflies. Approximately 430 species of birds live in the Daintree Rainforest. Some can’t be found anywhere else in the world! It’s a very important place not only for Australia’s ecosystem but also for indigenous culture. There are 18 Rainforest Aboriginal tribal groups in the area, called the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people. Many places in the Daintree are important for their spiritual beliefs.
Recently, my parents went on a holiday here, and they sent me some photos. I have never been, but I think it looks beautiful and I want to visit there next time I go back to Australia. There are many amazing things you can do there! But if you go, be careful of crocodiles!
Monday, 26th October 2020
Have you ever been to Oze National Park? On Saturday, I went for the first time. Oze is a huge highland marsh that is part of Gunma, Niigata, and Fukushima. It’s important for the Japanese ecosystem.
Oze is very famous for a walkway made of wooden planks that go through the marshland. To get there, you need to take a bus. I didn’t want to use the bus because of the virus, so I went to a different part of Oze instead. It was a mountain near Tokura.
Even though the view was nice, this trail was difficult! I think I made a mistake! I wanted to go to the lake, but it was getting dangerous to continue. It would take too long to get back, and I didn’t want to be on the mountain at night. But the thing that made it the most difficult is that it began to snow! I was shocked, and rushed back down the mountain!
Look at this picture. It’s autumn, so why did it snow!?
I want to go again and see other parts of Oze, but I think I’ll wait until spring…
Wednesday, 21st October 2020
Last week, I gave you a riddle. Did you find the answer?
I’ll tell you. The answer is… a manhole cover! The ‘hidden world’ means the sewers, and ‘bearing the pride of it’s home…” Well, let me explain.
I think if you don’t live in Japan, maybe you don’t know about Japan’s manhole covers. I didn’t know until I moved here. In Australia, they’re not interesting, so you don’t really look for them But in Japan, manhole covers often have art on them. They usually have something about the town they’re in; for example, a place famous for its castle will have a picture of the castle on their manhole covers. There are thousands of different designs all over Japan!
I haven’t seen that many different designs yet, but I think it’s interesting. When I go to a new place, I want to look for the manhole cover in that area. Some places even have trading cards for them! Here is a picture of all the designs I have seen in Gunma. Which one is your favorite?
Monday, 12th October 2020
Have you ever heard of a scavenger hunt? It’s a game where you need to use clues to find items or places. For example, the clue’find an item that starts with the same letter as your name’ means I need to find something that starts with the letter C … like cat, or cake, or canoe!
So this weekend, I went on a scavenger hunt around Gunma. I had to find things like an abandoned store, or a tanuki! Once I had found all the items, it spelled out the coordinates for Shōrinzan Daruma-ji Temple in Takasaki, where the treasure was (don’t worry, there wasn’t really a treasure there!). I didn’t win, but I had a lot of fun.
Do you want to try solving one of the clues? See if you can guess the answer!
“A shield against a hidden world, bearing the pride of its home.”
I’ll tell you the answer next week!
Monday, 5th October 2020
This weekend, I went to Byakue Dai-Kannon in Takasaki. It’s a 41.8m tall statue of Kannon, or Kuan Yin. To get there, I walked through the botanical gardens and over a bridge called Hibikibashi. It is 120m long, and 28.5m high. It was really peaceful, and there weren’t many other people around.
There weren’t many flowers blooming in the botanical gardens, because the season has quickly changed to autumn. I think that it will be more beautiful in a few months, when all the trees turn orange and red. Still, it’s nice to walk around outside a for little bit!
Monday, 28th September 2020
Tomorrow is Daichu’s sports festival. There will be running races and other events. In Australia, we also have sports festivals, but there are many events that are different. In my school, we had three different events, on different days during the year.
In Summer, we had “Swimming Carnival.” The whole school would go to a huge pool, and there were many races. Next, we had “Athletics Carnival.” On this day, we had sprints, which are short races, like the 100m dash. We would also have things like shotput, javelin throw, and high jump. Since my school was next to a university, we would use the track there. It was very nice because it was designed for professional athletes. The last event was “Cross Country,” which is a kind of marathon where you have to run on grass or dirt, up and down hills, and even over rivers!
When I was in high school, I wasn’t good at sport, so I didn’t enjoy these days. But I did like wearing my team’s colors and taking part in the fun events. I was always in the blue team, but at Daichu this year, I’m in the Yellow team!
I hope everyone can do their best tomorrow. Good luck!
Thursday, 24th September 2020
This week, Monday and Tuesday were public holidays. It was nice to relax a little! I didn’t do anything interesting, though. Did you?
Australia has public holidays too. In fact, tomorrow, the 25th of September, is usually a public holiday in Melbourne. It’s the day before the AFL Grand Finals. But this year, the date has been changed because of the virus, so the public holiday has changed too.
Have you ever heard of AFL? It’s an Australian sport. AFL stands for Australian Football League. Sometimes, it’s called ‘footy.’ Two teams with 18 players try to score goals by kicking the ball between the two goalposts. Players can not throw the ball, but they can kick it or do a special move called a handball. They can also tackle another player to take the ball!
AFL is the only football game in the world that is played on an oval rather than a rectangle. It is a very fast and exciting game, and it’s the most popular sport in Australia.
This year, the grand final will be in October instead. Would you like to watch it?
Monday, 14th September 2020
Good morning, everyone!
Suddenly, it feels like Autumn. Only last week, it was still above 30°, but this weekend it suddenly became colder. It’s only 24° and raining this morning. Since I couldn’t really go out all Summer, it makes me a little sad. I wanted to travel!
Well, I guess there’s always next year.
One good thing happened, though- I got mail! My friend, who is from Australia but lives in the U.K. now, sent me a postcard. I can’t visit her, because the virus means if I leave Japan, I can’t come back. So we usually talk online. I was happy to receive this postcard. I want to send one back. Can I find a postcard that has Midomosu on it?
Do you have friends in other countries? Where do they live?
Monday, 7th September 2020
It’s September already! There’s only four months until 2020 is over.
Usually around this time in Australia, spring is starting. Spring in Brisbane is interesting, because many different things begin to happen. For example, Brisbane Festival! It’s a festival that runs all month, with many different events. Brisbane Festival has music, acting , art galleries, fireworks, and even laser shows!
This year it’s a little different, because of COVID. So that people don’t gather in crowds, there won’t be any fireworks. It’s a little sad, but it’s better to be safe. I watched the fireworks with my friends a few years ago, when I lived in Brisbane. It was a fun time. I hope I can watch them again in the future!
Monday, 31st August 2020
Do you have something that you did when you were younger, but stopped doing? I do. Can you guess what it was?
Yesterday, I went to Book-Off. It’s a store that sells secondhand items. It sells not only books, but also things like electronics, clothing, and instruments. I didn’t expect it, but I found something for a very cheap price I was so surprised! When I was in elementary school, I knew how to use this item. I practiced a lot! But when I started high school, I stopped. I didn’t like it any more.
But a few years ago, I had a friend with this thing, and I borrowed it for a little while. I found that it was still fun, and I wanted to learn it again. But it was very expensive, so I couldn’t . So when I saw this thing at Book-Off, I had to buy it!
Have you guessed yet?
It’s a violin!
I’m excited to learn how to play the violin again, even though I have to start as a beginner. It’s easy to look back at all the time I missed and think,’ah, I should have kept playing when I was a child ,’but the longer I think that, the more time will pass without me improving, and I won’t have moved at all. If I start today, I will start improving today.
It’s more important to look at what you’ve done than how long it took you to do it. If we measure time by what we’ve done, or our lives by how much we’ve lived, and not how many hours or days or years something takes, things get a little brighter!
What will you start today?
Monday, 24th August 2020
School starts again today! Today and tomorrow are test days, though, so we won’t have classes. Good luck, everyone!
What did you do for your last weekend of holidays? Did you have to study? I should study more, but instead I played video games this weekend. The game I play the most is Final Fantasy 14 Online –it’s an MMO. MMO means ‘Massively Multiplayer Online,’ and you play together with many different people from all around the world. I play this game with my friends in Australia, and we can use the internet to talk to each other while we play. It’s almost like being in the same room!
Since we can’t go to the beach in reality, we went to the beach in game.
… it wasn’t quite the same, though. Oh well! I still had fun.
Do you play games with you friends? What games do you like?
Thursday, 20th August 2020
Summer holidays are at an end. It makes me a little sad, since holidays are always fun, but this year was a bit different because we couldn’t travel or meet with friends. So I’m looking forward to school starting again!
I have challenged myself to ride my bicycle more and more. So I have been riding every day. This week, I even biked to Omuro Park. Do you know this park? It’s about half way between Midori and Maebashi. I went very early in The morning, before it got too hot. It was really nice! There were some beautiful sunflowers. Since there was no Sunflower Festival in Midori this year, it made me really happy to see some.
How about you make a challenge, too?
When school starts again, what will you challenge yourself to?
Maybe you want to be better at sport, or at English. Maybe you want to make a new friend, or learn how to cook! Please! tell me what you want to do. If you can tell me your challenge, and win, maybe there’s a prize!
Monday, 3rd August 2020
It’s summer holidays! Yay!
But because of the virus, we can’t do anything. Originally, I wanted to go to the beach for my summer holiday, or maybe even to Okinawa. However, since more and more people have been getting sick Recently, I’ve decided to stay as close to home as I can.
I still want to go outside sometimes, and it’s important to exercise, so yesterday I went on a long bike ride. I went almost 12kms!
The first half was easy, and I had a good time. Do you know why? It was all downhill! Wait … that means- ah. The way back was not so easy. I didn’t think about this.
Now I’m so tired. Why does Japan have so many hills? Why !?
Tuesday, 28th July 2020
This time last year, my plane landed in Tokyo.
It was an overnight flight and it took 10 hours, so I was very tired. But I was also very excited. I was about to start working and living in Japan!
In the past year, I have done many interesting things. I learned a lot of new skills, made new friends, and ate new foods (like natto). I even learned how to ride a bike recently!
When I arrived, I decided to set a goal. My goal is to visit all 47 prefectures in Japan. So far, I have been to 25 of them. There are still a lot of places I want to visit, and a lot of things I want to try. So, I’m staying for another year. I look forward to helping you learn English in the future, too! Maybe I’ll even learn how to enjoy natto…
Monday, 20th July 2020
July is almost over, and this week is short! We have two public holidays on Thursday and Friday, making this a four-day long weekend. I think many students will be studying for next week’s tests, though. I hope you can find a way to enjoy the holidays and study too.
This weekend was sunny again, so I went outside. I walked about 8kms, and biked about 5kms. Before this month, I did not know how to ride a bike. So even though I am very tired now, it was good practice! I went to a small mountain near Kasakake, but I didn’t know the name of it. I asked an old man there, but he didn’t know the name, either. Well, there was a nice view from the top anyway.
I also saw lotus blossoms this weekend. The lotus flowers are in season now, so there are a lot of them. I think they’re pretty, but I think that hydrangeas are prettier! What do you think are Japan’s prettiest flowers? Is it sakura?
Tuesday, 14th July 2020
The weather is still rainy, hot and humid. I think August will be better, even if it’s hotter, because if it doesn’t rain I can go outside a little more.
Since the virus is spreading faster again now, it’s still a bad idea to travel, so I have been exploring close to home. Recently, I found some street art!
Do you know about street art? Sometimes it’s called graffiti, but it’s not just when people write their name on a wall. It can also be huge murals on the sides of buildings, or entire streets full of art! There are many famous places all around the world where you can see some really impressive art. Even Australia has a few. There are even artists that started by making street art and are now very famous, like Banksy.
Do you think street art is important?
Wednesday, 8th July 2020
It’s been raining non-stop recently. If it was only raining, it would be okay. But it’s not only raining, but also humid and very hot! I really don’t like it!
Yesterday was Tanabata. It’s my first time learning about this festival.
It’s originally the story of two lovers who are stars in the sky, and are separated by the Milky Way. They can only meet once a year. Each year, people write their wishes on paper and tie it to a bamboo tree. If the sky is clear on the 7th, the wish will come true! But if it rains, the two cannot meet this year, so the wish cannot come true. Ah… last night was rainy and cloudy, so I guess they didn’t get to meet…
Did you wish for something? If we work hard, maybe it will come true anyway! Let’s make our own decorations in English!
Monday, 29th June 2020
Somehow, it’s already halfway through the year.
I guess it feels strange because the normal schedule could not be followed, huh? There were a lot of things I had planned to do in the last six months but couldn’t. Before the virus, I travelled as much as I could, but now all I can do is stay home.
Recently in English class, third-year students wrote to me about different prefectures. I learned things like what the prefecure was famous for, and what you can do there. I think it’s interesting how much there is to see in Japan, even though it’s a small country. There are still many prefectures I want to visit, and now I know about more places I want to go to, too. As soon as I can, I want to go travelling again!
Is there a place you want to go to? Why do you want to go there?
Monday, 22nd June 2020
The weather report says it will rain all week, with storms from Friday to Sunday. I guess I’ll stay inside…
Thankfully, this Saturday was sunny! It seemed like a rare opportunity, so I decided to see Mt. Haruna, one of Gunma’s three famous mountains. It was my first time going there.
The road was steep, so I wasn’t sure if my little car could make it. This road is actually a very famous track in Initial D, isn’t it? The road was very narrow in some places, and had a lot of turns. I don’t think I could drive quickly here though, even if I wanted to. Thankfully there were no problems, and I got to see the mountain and the lake. It was a nice day out.
While I was there, I saw some horses! They were there giving rides to children. There was also a very big horse pulling a carriage. …Hey, you know what? Even though Gunma’s mascot is a horse, that was the first time I had seen horses in Gunma. Why is that?
Monday, 15th June 2020
Right now in America and many other coutries (Japan, too!), people are protesting against racism and the mistreatment of Black people in a movement called Black Lives Matter.
This movement has existed for a long time, because racism has always been an issue. For many decades, people of color have been unfairly treated in some ways, like not being hired for jobs, or not being given the same opportunities in life. Often, peaceful or quiet ways to support the movement were opposed by people in power.
On May 25th this year, a Black man named George Floyd was unfairly killed by police officers. After that, protests started all over America. Many protests are peaceful, but many, especially in the US, have become violent. Now, some cities are talking about changing how their police force works. It’s a change for the better.
The protests are continuing and many people around the world are following the movement and thinking of ways to make things better for Black people, and for everyone else, too.
Often, there are many sides to an issue- but no one ever deserves to be treated badly because of the color of their skin. We live in a globalised world, so it’s important that we think about all the different people who we share it with, and do what we can to keep it fair for everyone.
Monday, 8th June 2020
It’s our second week back at school. Classes are still split in half, and everyone is taking measures to stop the spread of the virus.
For example, usually lunch is eaten in classrooms together, which is a lot of fun, but now everyone has to eat away from each other. Lunch recently has been very interesting. Last Thursday, I tried fish sausage for the first time. I still don’t know if I like it, though…
It rained a lot this Saturday, but Sunday was nice weather. It wasn’t too hot, so I went hiking again. This time, I went to Mt. Nemoto in Kiryu.
At first, it was nice and easy! The path is next to the river, so there was some nice scenery. I wanted to see Junisan Shrine, but somewhere along the way I must have taken a wrong turn, because after two hours I was very lost. I think I ended up Tochigi?
Well, it was a nice walk, even if I didn’t get to see the shrine.
Monday, 1st June 2020
Wow, I can’t believe it’s June already!
That means it’s almost tsuyu, or rainy season, right?
Everyone tells me that the weather will be muggy and humid, and it’s not very nice. But Australia is often like this, too. So maybe it won’t be so bad. I am already used to that kind of weather.
In Australia, we call our rainy season ‘wet season.’ It’s usually between December and March, which is Summer in Australia. During wet season, it is often stormy, and it floods. It can be dangerous!
While it was still sunny this weekend, I decided to go hiking.
Midori has a lot of nice places to go out, and I didn’t even see another person the whole time. I hope I can go hiking with friends again soon though. It’s more fun to be with friends!
Thursday, 28th May 2020
The very long break is at an end. From next week, we will have classes again. Things will be different, though. Now, we can’t do a lot of things that we used to do, like facing each other or talking in pairs. We will have to remember to wash our hands and wear masks or face shields, and it will probably be a long time before this changes. It’s the new world we’re living in.
A lot of people are talking about what they will do when the virus is over, but I think it is going to be a long time before that happens. But we can’t stay home forever. It’s a difficult decision for the world to make; if everything stays shut, people will suffer because they won’t have enough money to live. But if we all go out like normal, it’s likely that people will get sicker. Maybe the problem isn’t so easy after all. If the world didn’t rely on money, I wonder how things would be different..?
Which do you think is more important- money, or health?
Monday, 18th May 2020
Wow! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
The state of emergency has just been lifted in Gunma, and school is set to resume soon. It doesn’t mean the virus is gone, though, so it’s important to continue to follow healthy practices like hand washing and social distancing.
Over the last month, I tried hard to study, but it was difficult to stay motivated. When there’s no variety in your day, everything becomes boring. Usually on weekends I see friends, so it was hard for me. I was lucky that most of my friends use the internet to communicate, so I could still talk to them often.
For example, this weekend was Eurovision! Do you know Eurovision? It’s an international singing competition that has been held every year since 1956. It is shown on live TV around the world.
After World War II, seven European countries came together to perform original songs, and then vote for a winner. A country cannot vote for itself. It continued to grow every year, and now there are over 50 countries that can compete – even Australia!
I have watched Eurovision with my friends every year since I was in university. This year was the first time it has ever been cancelled, but you can still watch the songs on YouTube. So on Saturday, I watched it with 12 of my friends from all around the world! My favorite entry this year was from Finland. The song was called Think About Things, and it was sung by Daði og Gagnamagnið. I also liked Russia’s song, Uno by Little Big. If you’re interested, you can watch it on YouTube.
Let’s learn songs from all around the world!
Monday, 20th April 2020
Over the weekend, I had to move house. Yesterday while I was deciding where to put things, I thought about habits.
I was putting my things in the same place that they had been in my old apartment, because it was a habit for me to look for them there. So now my new apartment is the same as my old apartment!
Do you know what a habit is? It is something you might do every day, like brushing your teeth, or saying thank you after eating. A habit is something that you always do, and you don’t have to think about it. It’s automatic.
There are other things you can have habits for, like studying. I think if you have good study habits, it becomes easier to remember information. Habits like sleeping at the same time every day or drinking water once every hour are good not only for studying, but also for staying healthy.
Do you have any habits? What works for you?
Tuesday, 14th April 2020
School is canceled again.
Because more and more cases of the virus are appearing in Gunma, I think this is a good thing. Even though it might be boring and frustrating, it’s better to stay healthy and safe.
To stay busy and to protect myself. And people around me, I made some masks. In Australia, it’s uncommon to wear masks when you are sick, but right now everyone is wearing one. Even if you feel healthy, it’s good to think about the people around you who might not be so lucky. That’s why wearing masks, washing your hands, and social distancing are important!
… Hm? Are you still reading? Since there’s no class for a while, why don’t we learn some English? Oh, you’ll stop reading here, right? Well, I’ll just say it’s for me to study Japanese, then.
Here’s some terms about the virus.
Coronavirus = Coronavirus
Infected person = Infected person
Wear a mask = Wearing a mask
To cough = Coughing
Have a fever = Fever
Work from home = Working from home
Blockage Avoid The Three’ Mitsu'(In English, we are calling these’The Three C’s’) =
Closed spaces = Closed closed
Close contact = Close contact
Which of these things are you doing? I hope you are staying safe and healthy.
Monday, 6th April 2020
Welcome back everyone! It’s the start of a new school year!
In Australia, teachers stay at the same school for as long as they want, but in Japan, teachers change schools every few years.I think it’s an interesting system.The teachers changed last week, so now there are a lot of new people. Since my Japanese isn’t very good, it’s hard for me to introduce myself. But I’ll try my best.
What did you do for your last weekend of the holidays? I stayed at home, but I watched a movie with a friend over the internet.It was in Italian, so it was hard for me to understand.I learnt Italian in school, but It was a long time ago.I want to practice more! What about you? Are there other languages you want to learn? Is it English? You want to learn English, right? Right !?
Let’s study hard again this year, too!
Tuesday, 31st March 2020
The new school year is going to start soon.What have you been doing these last few weeks? Since I think it’s important to be safe during this virus, I have been trying to stay at home as much as I can. It was good timing that a new game came out!
どうぶつの森 is called Animal Crossing in English. It’s a cute game where you live in a small village with animal characters. You can go fishing, catch bugs, and build shops and houses. I think it’s a very relaxing game, and you can go at your own pace. It’s perfect for staying at home!
You can also play Animal Crossing with friends using the internet. So I can still see my friends, even though I can’t really see them. I can even play with my friends who live in Australia.
Do you play games together with friends? What game do you like to play?
Monday, 23rd March 2020
Last week marked the halfway point of the school closures in Japan, and today is the start of even stricter rules in Australia.
I have heard that most businesses have to close, and restaurants can only do take-out. A lot of my friends have lost their jobs because their work has to close for a long time, and others have to work from home. People cannot even go outside. I am worried for my friends, and I hope they stay healthy.
Usually in Australia, there is a big parade for St. Patrick’s Day. It would have happened on March 17th, but this year most of those events were cancelled. St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday, but it is also celebrated in Australia and other countries. There are parades with dancing and music, and many people wear green. Since ‘Midori’ means ‘green,’ I wonder if we can celebrate it here in the future, too!
Monday, 16th March 2020
Last week, the third year students graduated. Even though this term was cut short due to schools being closed, it seemed like everyone was happy to see their friends again at graduation. I hope everyone continues to strive for their dreams in the future! Good luck, everyone!
After the graduation ceremony on Friday, I didn’t know what else to do this weekend. It’s difficult to go out right now, because of the virus. So I stayed at home and a friend came to visit. We played games, and made a lot of food! We made bread from scratch, which was interesting. I had never baked bread before, but it tasted okay. We also made taiyaki, the fish shaped snack, and used different fillings. We made some with custard, and some with red bean paste. Taiyaki is one of my favorite Japanese snacks. Do you have a favorite snack? What is it?
Monday, 9th March 2020
It’s been one week since the closures. Since I can’t move around much at work, I wanted to do something active on the weekend. But I didn’t want to go somewhere with a lot of people because of the virus.
Then I thought,” Ah! I got it! I’ll try snowboarding!”
I had never been snowboarding before. It’s difficult to find snow in Australia, after all. So on Saturday, I drove to Tanbara ski resort, which is about an hour and a half from Midori. Because it was in the snow, everyone was wearing masks and gloves, and stayed far away from each other. It’s perfect for the current situation!
At first, it was hard for me to snowboard. I fell over a lot trying to stand up. But by the end of the day, I learned how to heelside, toeside and glide down the hill.
Being in Gunma, we’re lucky to be surrounded by some of the best ski resorts in Japan. I had a lot of fun, and even though I’m very sore, I want to go again soon!
Monday, 2nd March 2020
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that from today, students cannot come to school for a month. It’s to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Not just schools, but also stores and restaurants are closing. Everywhere, masks, hand sanitizer This decision was sudden, but I hope it helps to contain the virus. All the events I had planned to go to during March have been canceled.
On Saturday, I worked with Midori’s tourism department. Because I had to go out, it was very important for me to wear a mask and wash my hands often.
As of today, there are no confirmed cases in Gunma prefecture. By practicing good health hygiene, it’s possible to keep it that way.
Let’s remain calm and make sure we are not spreading rumors.
Stay healthy, everyone!
Tuesday, 25th February 2020
This weekend was a long weekend, so we had three days off. I decided to visit a friend in Agatsuma, and we went to Kusatsu together.
People told me about the smell, but it’s very different to be there yourself. Everything smells of sulfur! Eventually I got used to it, but at first it was very strong. It was snowing though, so I think that helped to make it smell less.
While we were there, we met some other friends by chance! It was nice to have fun as a group. We ate a lot of famous foods, like onsen eggs, and agemanju (fried manju). But my favorite was the black sesame manju !
Next Time I Go Back To Kusatsu, I Want To Eat It Again.
Monday, 17th February 2020
Wow, it was foggy this morning! Even though it’s difficult to drive in this weather, I think it’s pretty.
Since the weather yesterday was also a little cloudy, I went to a cafe with my friends. This cafe is called 1203, and it’s in Kiryu. There are also games you can play there, like chess. They have amazing donuts, and the owners are very friendly. They speak English, so it’s easy for me to order there. I had the homemade hot ginger ale. I liked it a lot. I want to go and drink it again soon!
In the future, I want to go to this cafe often with my friends, and study together. Do you have a place you like to study? Where is it, and why do you like it?
Monday, 10th February 2020
In Australia, people collect lots of different things. Many people collect stamps, or coins. Some of my friends collect anime figures, artwork or even manga. One of my friends collects movie tickets from every time she sees a movie. She has been collecting them for almost 10 years!
Since November, I have been collecting goshuin, seal stamps that you collect from temples and shrines. I think they are interesting, because every place has a unique seal. It’s a reminder of where I’ve been.
This weekend, I collected a seal from Tatebayashi. I went to visit a friend there, and we went to Morin-ji Temple. There is a story associated with the temple about a tanuki who turned into a kettle. I think this seal is cute!
Do you have a collection? What kind of things do you collect?
Monday, 3rd February 2020
It’s somehow February already! I’ve been here for six months now, but it doesn’t feel that long. I feel comfortable living in Gunma.
On the weekend, my friends and I traveled to Ikaho. It was my first time visiting there. We did many things, such as riding the ropeway to the top of Mt. Monokiki, climbing the 365 stone stairs, and even ice skating!
Of course, we also took a bath in the onsen at the top of the stairs. It was very relaxing! It was so cold that there was snow, so the water felt even hotter than normal.
We also ate a lot of food. I had these flat noodles, but I don’t know what it was called. I also had kettle rice- the rice cooks inside the kettle, with a small fire underneath. Waiting for the rice to cook took about 20 minutes, so I was very hungry, but it was so delicious. Japanese food is the best! I want to travel everywhere, and eat everything.
Do you have any recommendations?
Monday, 27th January 2020
Yesterday was Australia Day. It’s a day to mark the anniversary of the First Fleet’s arrival from England. There is a lot of history behind this day, but not everyone thinks Australia Day is a good thing to celebrate. It’s important to listen to the stories. from both sides, and acknowledge the different opinions and feelings that everyone has.
Since I am not in Australia this year, I decided to go hiking with a friend in Kiryu. In Australia, there is a call you can make in the bush. It’s called Cooee . It means’come here’ in the native language of the Sydney area, and it’s used to attract attention or indicate your own location. The louder you can make your cooee, the better! I taught my friend how to cooee from the top of the mountain, but I was louder.
Tuesday, 21st January 2020
Saturday this week marks the start of the Lunar New Year. It will be the Year of the Rat.
In Australia, the Lunar New Year is widely celebrated. Melbourne celebrates the Lunar New Year with a 10-day festival. Not only Chinese, but also Korean and Vietnamese people celebrate together. There are things like cultural activities, dances, lion dances, dragon parades, firecrackers, and of course, food!
Many Chinese Australian families spend Lunar New Year by eating together. Children often receive lucky red envelopes with money, called Hong Bao, Ang Pao, or Lai See. The house is cleaned a few days before, and decorated with flags and lanterns. This year, I will celebrate with my friends and cook a lot of food. I’m looking forward to it!
Tuesday, 14th January 2020
Sometimes it’s nice to relax. This weekend, I went out with friends.
First, we met at a cafe in Kiryu and drank coffee.
After that, we visited a park. Because it’s winter, the trees had no leaves, so there wasn’t much to look at. It was still fun to walk around though.
In the evening, we ate pasta. Do you like Italian food?
This time, I had squid ink pasta. It might look strange, but it was delicious. If you haven’t tried it, I would recommend it. New things can be scary, but I think it’s important to try. You might be surprised at the results!
Monday, 6th January 2020
Happy New Year!
Winter holidays are over, and it’s time for classes to start again. I hope you all had a fun and safe holidays and did many interesting things. As for me, I went on a road trip. I drove more than 2000 kilometers with my friends. I will update the English board soon with photos of my trip, so please check it!
First, we went to Fuji-Q for Christmas. It was snowing!
The second day, we drove to Nagoya. There’s good food there!
After that, we went to Osaka. I went to a JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure themed ramen restaurant. Do you know Jojo’s? It’s popular in Australia, too.
From there, we went to Kobe. I made some new friends. We then drove down through Okayama and Fukuyama, across Kurushima Strait, and into Matsuyama, Shikoku. There, I went to Dōgo Onsen, the bathhouse that inspired the one in Spirited Away. It’s also in the novel Botchan. Do you know these?
The next day, I went to Shimanto, in Kochi prefecture. We went there to attend a blacksmithing workshop, and we got to make our own knives! It was a really interesting experience.
Next, we went to Tokushima. I crossed Iya Vine Bridge.It was scary! So much scarier than the haunted house! Aaaah!
We tried to see the whirlpools at Naruto, but it was too dark… so we continued on to Hyogo for New Year’s Eve. I had a good time with friends.
We went to Nara next, and on the way home, we stopped in Iga, which is known for ninja, and Gifu. After that, we were finally back in Gunma. It’s nice to be home!
Monday, 23rd December 2019
It’s the end of semester! I can’t believe it’s been almost half a year since I came to Daichu. Let’s all do our best next year, too!
Do you like illuminations? In Australia, we call these lights ‘fairy lights.’ This weekend I went to Ashikaga Flower Park to see the fairy lights. It was very pretty. My favorite was the castle, because of the lights that looked like fireworks. Tomorrow, I leave on a big road trip, and we will stop in Nagoya. I’m very excited! So I will get to see the lights in Nagoya, too! I hear they are beautiful.
What will you do during your winter vacation?
Monday, 16th December 2019
This is my first Christmas in Japan, so I don’t know how it is celebrated.I have heard that it is popular to eat KFC for Christmas! What an interesting tradition! What do you usually do for Christmas?
Have you ever been to a Christmas Party? On Saturday, GAJET held their Christmas Party in Maebashi.Many ALTs from the Gunma area came.It was a lot of fun! I look forward to going again next year, too.
Monday, 9th December 2019
I have never been this cold before! In Brisbane, Australia, it usually only gets as low as 5 ° -10 °, even in Winter.How do you stay warm? I have been using my kotatsu a lot.
But this weekend, I left my kotatsu and went to Tokyo to see a friend from Australia. We went to the Monster Hunter cafe! There were lots of themed food and drinks. I had a parfait shaped like a Kirin!
What is you favorite monster ? Mine is Zinogre.
Yesterday afternoon, I went to a new board game cafe in Kiryu called Fufufu. It was a really nice place! They have many games, and some are even in English. I went with my friends, who are all ALTs from Kiryu.
We played Settlers of Catan, Race For the Galaxy, and Cactpot Party. They were all very fun, but Race For the Galaxy was too hard and confusing, so we gave up.
If you have time, I would recommend this place! It was fun!
Monday, 2nd December 2019
Hello! What did you do this weekend? On Saturday, we all went to celebrate the school’s 50th Anniversary together.I feel lucky to have been here for the milestone.
On Sunday, I went to a Daruma workshop in Takasaki. They have been making Daruma for 200 years. There, the traditional craftsman makes almost 70,000 Daruma a year! I watched him paint the Daruma’s face, and then tried to paint my own. It was harder than it looked.
I haven’t made a wish, yet. It’s almost New Year’s, so I have to think about it quickly.
If you had a Daruma, what would you wish for?
Tuesday, 26th November 2019
Last week was my birthday. On Saturday, my friends surprised me with a trip to Disneyland! Everything was decorated for Christmas, and there was a huge Christmas tree! Christmas is my favorite holiday. I think it’s the best because you can have fun with friends and family.
It rained a lot, and it was very cold, but I had a good time.
The next day, we went to Tokyo One Piece Tower. I was happy to go there too, because One Piece is my favorite show. It’s very popular, both in Japan and in Australia!
I did not know that we were going to Tokyo. It was a surprise, and I think I am lucky to have such good friends.
Monday, 18th November 2019
Hello everyone! How are you feeling today? I hope you had a good weekend, and that you are well. It seems like it’s the season for colds now, so please be careful with your health.
On Saturday, I went to Ashikaga, Tochigi, with a big group of other friends from the JET program. There were about 20 of us! We went to a festival at a winery, where there was lots of amazing foreign food. I had Italian sausage, and French bread. I also bought a lot of cheese!
The winery had been damaged from the typhoon recently, and there was an area where a landslide occurred. I have never seen the damage a landslide can cause before. But I think that Japan is slowly recovering. What a strong place!
Monday, 11th November 2019
Right now, there is a natural disaster in Australia. It is in a state of emergency. There are currently 112 bushfires across the country. Hundreds of people have lost their homes, and some people have lost their lives. The fires are spread across 1000kms on Australia’s East coast and have already burned nearly 7000km 2 of land.
Bushfires are very common in Australia. They are more likely when the weather is very hot and dry. They can start from people lighting fires, or from natural causes like lightning. The fire can travel at 22kms / h –that’s almost as fast as you can drive in some areas of Midori.
I hope that all my friends and family are safe, and that the fires are finished soon before more damage is done.
Tuesday, 5th November 2019
What! It’s November already ?! Now the day are getting colder, and I’ve discovered how amazing kotatsu are. I have never used one before, because they don’t have them in Australia.
I was even colder on Saturday, because I went up Mt Tanigawa at night! I went with some other friends, and even though it was a very long drive, it was worth it to see how pretty the stars were.I even saw a shooting star!
Next time though, I’ll definitely wear warmer clothes…
Tuesday, 29th October 2019
Yesterday was Gunma Day! What fun things did you do this weekend?
I went to Takasaki and represented Australia at the Takasaki International Festival. There were booths from many different countries all over the world. I had tea from Taiwan, and food from Indonesia and China!
Every country has its own good points. I think it is important to travel and experience many different countries and cultures, so that we can all understand each other from the heart.
The festival was a lot of fun, and people came to draw traditional Australian art and try Vegemite at our table. Have you eaten Vegemite before? If you’d like to try it, please ask!
Wednesday, 23rd October 2019
This weekend, I went to Tokyo and met some friends from Australia. I forgot how busy it got, wow! I could barely walk down the street, it was so crowded. I went to the Kawaii Monster Cafe in Harajuku for lunch. I really like themed cafes! We don’t have them in Australia, so I want to visit as many as I can while I’m living in Japan.
After that, I went to Odaiba. I went to the TeamLab Borderless exhibit, which was fun. There are some really interesting light displays there. I
also saw the big Gundam statue! Actually, RX-0 Unicorn is my favorite Gundam model, so I was very happy to see it light up and change modes.
When I was in Tokyo, I met Peter-sensei! We had coffee at a very tiny cafe. They even had coffee flavored ice cream there. I want to go again and try it.
Peter-sensei! Come and visit Daichu again soon!
Tuesday, 15th October 2019
On Saturday there was another big typhoon. This one was a bit scarier than the last one, but I had my friends with me all weekend. It was good to have company. We had already prepared food and water, and knew what to do in an emergency. I hope everyone also stayed safe this weekend.
Thankfully the weather on Sunday was very nice, so we all went out and ate burgers in Kiryu. They were delicious! I can’t wait to go back and try everything on the menu.
Monday, 7th October 2019
On Saturday, I went to Nikko. I drove there with my friend Sylvia. It was a little scary, because there are so many small turns on the road, and many dark tunnels. Australia doesn’t have this sort of thing.
In Nikko It was so pretty! I want to go back later when all the leaves change color in Fall.
While we were there, we ate dango and cheese eggs. Then, I became an egg!
Monday, 30th September 2019
It has now been two months since I arrived in Japan. Time flew by fast!
I spent the weekend with my friend. We watched a movie together. It was a musical called’The Greatest Showman.’ Musicals are my favorite type of movie! In Australia, I often went to karaoke with my friends and sang songs from movies.
I want to listen to new music. Do you have any suggestions? Who are your favorite singers?
Tuesday, 24th September 2019
Another long weekend! This time, I stayed in Midori and my friends came to visit. On Sunday morning, we went to a bakery in Kiryu for breakfast. It was very delicious!
In Australia, going out for breakfast is very popular. many cafes and restaurants to choose from. Australian people especially like to drink coffee. Melbourne is famous for its coffee. The menu can get a bit confusing though, as there are too many options!
Do you often go out to eat breakfast? Where do you like to go?
Tuesday, 17th September 2019
Yesterday was a holiday, which meant three days off. In Australia, we call this a’long weekend.’Many people often go away with friends or family. I went to Takasaki to see my friends. But I think I like Midori more! It is quiet and beautiful here.
Did you do anything on your long weekend?
Monday, 9th September 2019
Wow! Yesterday and today there was a typhoon!
In Australia, we also have typhoons, but we call them cyclones. When I was in elementary school, there were a lot of cyclones where I lived.
Since it was a little too dangerous to go outside last night, I stayed home and read a book. What do you do if you are stuck at home? Do you watch a movie or play games?
Both Australia and Japan have many natural disasters. Please stay safe!
Monday, 2nd September 2019
Today is the 2nd of September, which means that in Australia it is now Spring! Australia is below the Equator, in the Southern Hemisphere, so the seasons there are the opposite of Japan. Lots of flowers begin to bloom in Melbourne.
I’ve heard that the seasons in Japan take a long time to change because of the length of the country. What season is it now here in Gunma? Is the weather different in Osaka, or Hokkaido?
Right now, it still feels like Summer to me…
Monday, 26th August 2019
It’s almost time for classes to start.
Last weekend, I went to SMARK in Isesaki. Have you been there? It’s very big, isn’t it? I also went to Takasaki to meet other ALTs from around the world.
The week before last, I also went hiking in Takatsudo Valley. It was very pretty, but very hot! I want to go again in Fall, when the leaves change color and the weather is a bit cooler.
What kind of things did you do on your holidays?
Monday, 19th August 2019
I have been in Midori for two weeks now.
On my first week, I was lucky enough to see two festivals. I went to both the Kiryu and Omama festivals. Kiryu festival was very big and busy, with many people. Omama festival was my favorite though, because I got to see a lot of interesting things like the dashi, and I also met Midomos!
He is very cute. In Australia, we don’t really have mascots like Midomos or Gunma-Chan. I’m happy that I get to see them here in Japan!
Which mascot is your favorite?
Wednesday, 6th August 2019
… Ah, wait, who is this?
I’m the new ALT, Caitlin! I am 26 years old and I was living in Melbourne, Australia. Before that, I lived in Brisbane, Australia.
Now I live here in Omama, and I’m very excited! Even though it is very hot right now, I want to see a lot of new places and experience new things. What do you recommend? What are your favorite things to do in Gunma?
I look forward to meeting everyone soon!
Thursday 18th July 2019
Today is my last day at Daichu. I got many beautiful letters, and drawings from the students.
I had fun with you in English class, and living in Japan for two years. Daichu is a great school, and Midori is a beautiful city.
I will miss you all. Thank you everyone for two years!
Tuesday 16th July 2019
On Sunday I went to Omotesando to a Sailor Moon cafe.
I had a Parfait. It was delicious! After I went to the cafe I went to Harajuku, and Akihabara to go shopping.
I had a good time.
Monday 8th July 2019
On Saturday I went to the Tanabata festival in Maebashi with my friends.
There was a lot of delicious food. I had a kebab, and ice cream. It was delicious!
There were a lot lanterns. My favorite was this cat one. I think it was cute.
We had a good time at the festival.
Wednesday, 26th June 2019
Have you been to Ashikaga school?
It is a very old school in Ashikaga in Tochigi Prefecture. It is over 1000 years old!
Monday, 17th June 2019
I went to the Studio Ghibli museum in Tokyo! Have you been there?
It was amazing! I saw many interesting things there.
What is your favorite Ghibli movie? My favorite is’Majo no Takyubin’ but it is called’Kiki’s Delivery Service’ in English.
Friday, 7th June 2019
I went to Nikko. It took about two hours and thirty minutes by train.
I went to the the Toshogu shrine. It was amazing! I tried delicious food in Nikko, too. I had a good time.
Monday, 8th April 2019
Welcome back everyone! How was your spring vacation?
Yesterday I went to Tokyo. I went to Nezu shrine to the Azalea festival. I saw many beautiful flowers there.
What did you do in spring vacation?
Thursday, 28th March 2019
I often go to Kiryu on weekends.
To get to Kiryu, I take the Jomo electric railway. The trains sometimes have interesting themes! Such as Christmas or spring themes.
My favorite is the aquarium theme. What is your favorite?
Friday, 22nd March 2019
Did you know that the Australian women’s softball team plays in Ota city in Gunma?
The softball team called ‘Aussie Spirit’ practices at the new sports stadium ‘Ota Sports Park’. They are practicing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
I am looking forward to watching the Olympics on TV.
Friday, 15th March 2019
Did you know it is Hello Kitty’s 45th birthday?
I bought the special Hello Kitty steamed bun from Lawson. It had apple and custard cream inside it. It was delicious!
Have you tried it?
Thursday, 7th March 2019
I often go to Harajuku.
My favorite shop in Harajuku is Kiddyland. Do you know this shop? You can buy many cute character goods there!
What is your favorite shop?
Thursday, 28th February 2019
Last Saturday I went to Tokyo.
I went to Shimokitazawa. Have you been to Shimokitazawa?
I went to an Australian cafe called’FRANKIE’. You can buy delicious Australian cakes and coffee. I think Australian coffee is very good!
I had a good time there.
Thursday, 21st February 2019
Yesterday, I put up a new display on the English board. Please have a look.
It’s about the’Sydney Royal Easter Show’. It’s a popular event held in Sydney during March or April. You can see and do many interesting things there.
People can enter competitions and win prizes. There is a lot of delicious food, too.
I always have a fun time there.
Friday, 15th February 2019
On the English board I put up a display! What country do you want to go to?
There are many countries in the world to visit! I want to go to Canada. I want to see the beautiful nature and animals.
What country do you want to visit?
Thursday, 7th February 2019
I think it is important to cook healthy food.
Last weekend, I made banana and oat muffins. They tasted good. I often like to make healthy snacks. Banana and oat muffins are one of my favorite healthy snacks.
What is your favorite healthy snack?
Thursday, 17th January 2019.
When I went back to Australia in winter vacation, I went to the movie theater. I went with my younger brother.
Thursday, 10th January 2019
I went back to Australia for winter vacation.
In Australia’scones’ are a popular snack food. You can eat them in many cafes in Australia. You eat them with jam and cream. My mother made some scones for me. They were delicious! I think my mother makes the best scones
Thursday, 20th December 2018
In Japan Christmas cakes are a popular Christmas food!
But, in Australia they are different. In Australia many people eat’Christmas pudding.’It has dried fruit inside of it. I don’t really like Christmas pudding. But, I like Japanese Christmas cake. I think it is very delicious!
Thursday, 13th December 2018
Recently I went to Mt. Fuji.
I went there on a bus tour. I had fun! I think Mt. Fuji is beautiful!
I did not climb Mt. Fuji, but I have climbed the tallest mountain in Australia. It’s 2,238 meters. Mt. Fuji is 3776 meters. It is smaller than Mt. Fuji.
Have you been to Mt. Fuji?
Thursday, 6th December 2018
When I went to Osaka, I went to Osaka castle.
At Osaka castle there is a time capsule. Have you heard of this before? A time capsule is when people put things in the ground for the people in the future. The time capsule at Osaka castle will be opened in 5000 years! I think this is amazing!
Thursday, 29th November 2018
Last Sunday was my birthday. I went to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.
There were lots of things to see and do. My favorite thing was going to Harry Potter World. It was very fun!
Have you been to USJ?
Wednesday, 21st November 2018
On Tuesday night I went to the Ebisu ko festival in Kiryu.
There were many places to eat! I ate Yakisoba. It was delicious!
Ebisu ko was very crowded, but I had fun!
Tuesday, 20th November 2018
On Sunday I went to Tokyo to meet my mother. She came to Japan to visit me! In the afternoon we walked to Nagame park. We saw the flower festival at the park. The flowers were very beautiful!
We had a good time.
Thursday, 1st November 2018
I changed the display on the English board!
I made a plan for a day out in the Blue Mountains. In the Blue Mountains you can do many interesting things, and see many beautiful places!
Please have a look.
Thursday, 25th October 2018
Last Saturday I went to Takasaki.
When I go to Takasaki I always go to the Gunma chan store at Takasaki station. I think Gunma chan is very cute!
In Australia, we do not have mascot characters for our states. I think mascot characters are interesting. What is your favorite mascot character? Is it Gunma Chan?
Thursday, 18th October 2018
Do you like pizza?
I like pizza! But I also like to make my own pizza. I think making pizza is very fun, and it is easy too. I like to put lots of things on my pizza. On my pizza I put mushrooms, onions, pepper, pork and cheese. It was delicious!
What is your favorite pizza?
Tuesday, 9th October 2018
On Saturday I went to Takatsudokyo gorge in Omama.
Have you been there? I think Takatsudokyo gorge is very beautiful! It took twenty minutes to walk there. I took many photos.
I want to go back there to take more photos of the beautiful autumn leaves.
Thursday, 4th October 2018
Koalas are a very popular Australian animal!
This week on my Australian news display on the English board I put up a story about a Koala. In Victoria in Australia a baby Koala fell out of a tree at night. It was very cold, so the baby Koala climbed onto a dog`s back to stay warm! This story made me happy!
What do you think? Do you like Koalas?
Tuesday, 25th September 2018.
On Sunday I went to Harajuku.
I went to this cafe called Cookie Time. Cookie Time is from New Zealand. They have many delicious foods you can eat! Like cookies and milkshakes. I had a nutella milkshake. It was delicious! Especially the chocolate cookie and cream!
I want to try it again!
Thursday, 20th September 2018
In Australia we have many special animals.
On the English board I put up a display about the Quokka. The Quokka is a very interesting animal. It only lives on a small island near Western Australia. The Quokka is an interesting animal because it can smile! Many people who come to see the Quokka like to take selfies with it! I think the Quokka is very cute. I love Australian animals.
Thursday, 13th September 2018
My favorite season in Japan is autumn.
I like the cooler weather and the leaves changing color. But I also like autumn because there are a lot of pumpkin flavored foods! I tried this Pumpkin ice cream last week. It was great! I am looking forward to eating more pumpkin flavored foods in autumn.
Thursday, 6th September 2018
When I went to Australia in summer vacation I went to the beach.
Do you know this beach? It is called Bondi beach. It is a very famous beach in Sydney, Australia. In Australia it was winter, but people still like to surf and swim in the sea! It was too cold so I did not swim or surf.
Monday, 27th August 2018
I hope everyone had a good summer vacation.
In Summer vacation I went back to Australia to visit my family and friends. I put a display of my summer vacation on the English board. Please take a look. I had a good time in Australia.
Let`s try hard at English this semester!
Thursday, 26th July 2018
Today I have been living in Midori city for one year!
It has been a good year. My favorite thing about living in Midori city is the people, and the beautiful nature! Every one is so kind and friendly! I have also enjoyed teaching at Daichu. I am happy that I can help you with your English and share with you interesting things about Australia!
I am looking forward to the next year living here.
Friday, 20th July 2018
When I was living in Australia I liked to make bread.
Last weekend I made potato bread. Have you heard of this bread? It is made with flour and mashed potatoes. It is very easy to make. I think it was delicious!
I am looking forward to making bread again. It is fun to make!
Thursday, 12th July 2018
Last Sunday I went to Sakura mall.
When I go to Sakura mall I like to eat Taiyaki! My favorite flavor is anko. Did you know, in English we call anko red bean? I think red bean is delicious!
I look forward to when I can eat it again!
Thursday, 5th July 2018
July is the rainy season in Japan. It will be raining for many days this month. I do not like the rain because I can`t ride my bike in the rain.
In Australia, where I live we do not have a rainy season. It does not rain a lot in Australia.
Thursday, 28th June 2018
Last Saturday I went to Kiryu to buy a new phone case at Donki.
When I go to Donki I like to eat a crepe at the crepe stand. In Australia there are not many places you can buy crepe’s, and not many flavors. I love the crepe’s in Japan!
I had a strawberry and chocolate tiramisu crepe. It was delicious! I want to try a different flavor next time I go!
Thursday, 21st June 2018
Today I put up a new display on the English board.’What Fruit do you like’?
In summer you can eat many delicious fruits! I think they are good to eat when it`s hot! My favorite fruit is a strawberry. What is your favorite fruit? Please tell me!
Thursday, 14th June 2018
Last weekend on Saturday I went to an event in Maebashi. Everyone who went had to bring some food for everyone to share. So I made these Banana muffins. I like making muffins, so I was happy to make them for everyone. I look forward to going to this event next year!
Thursday, 7th June 2018
Last weekend on Saturday I went to a cafe in Aioi in Kiryu with my friend.
This cafe had lots of food with pumpkin in it! I ate a pumpkin pizza, and a pumpkin pie. They were delicious. Because I like pumpkin I was happy to go to this cafe. I hope to go there again soon!
Tuesday, 5th June, 2018
On Friday last week I went to Maebashi for an ALT conference.
I learned many new ideas for lessons. I also saw many of my friends there. I was happy to talk to them. I had a good time.
Thursday, 31st May 2018
I put up a new display on the English board called `Monthly Australian News`. Every month I will put up three interesting Australian news stories! Please take a look. I hope you can learn more about Australia from these stories.
I enjoy sharing things about Australia with you!
Tuesday, 1st May 2018
Yesterday I went to Kiryu. I went to the Zoo and Azuma park. The park was very beautiful with lots of flowers and trees!
I saw many animals at the zoo. I saw a Tanuki for the first time! I think they are very cute and interesting. I had fun yesterday. I am looking forward to the next holiday in Golden Week.
Wednesday, 25th April 2018
Yesterday I put up a display on the English board about Australian animals. Please take a look.
This week I wrote about the Bilby. It looks like a big mouse with big ears! You can only see the Bilby at night time. I think the Bilby is very cute!
Monday, 16th April 2018
I put up a display on the English board about my home in Australia. In Australia I live in a city called’The Blue Mountains’. Please take a look.
It is a beautiful city with lots of nature. You can see many interesting things in the Blue Mountains.
Thursday, 12th April, 2018
In Spring break I went to an event called `The Easter Show.` It is held in Sydney. At this event People from rural / farm places in Australia can enter contests. You can also see many attractions and eat delicious food!
Here is a contest where children made pumpkins into characters. Do you know this character? It is a minion. It won first Prize! I think it`s so cool! I like going to The Easter Show.
Monday, 9th April, 2018
In Spring break I went back to Australia to visit my family. I did many things, I had a lot of fun!
Do you know this bird? It is an Australian bird called a Cockatoo. You can see them every where in Australia. They are cute, but very noisy!
Thursday, 22nd March, 2018
Yesterday was Shubun no hi, or Spring equinox in English. I did not do much, but I walked to Sakura mall, in the snow! I was so surprised that it snowed in Spring! What did you do on Shubun no hi? Did you have fun?
Friday, 26th January, 2018
From today I have been living in Midori city for six months! I think the time has gone by so fast! I really enjoy living in Midori city and working at Daichu. Everyone has been so kind to me. I am very happy. I am looking forward to living here this year!
Tuesday, 23rd January. 2018
I was so happy it snowed yesterday! It does not snow where I live in Australia. Even though it was very cold, I enjoyed walking to school in the snow, it was so beautiful!
Monday, 22nd January, 2018
On Saturday I went to Disneyland for my friend’s birthday. It was really fun! My favorite thing was seeing the fireworks and the’Frozen’ performance at night. The castle was so beautiful! I am looking forward to going to Disneyland again!
Monday, 15th January, 2018
Today I made a display on the English board for Australia Day. Australia Day is on the 26th of January. It celebrates when a colony from England moved to Australia in 1788. On Australia day we go to festivals and eat Australian food such as meat pies and Lamingtons! It is a very fun day!
Friday, 12th January, 2018
During my winter vacation I went to Kyoto and Nara with my family who were visiting from Australia. We went to many places, such as Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kinkakuji, and Todaiji. We also saw many deer at the deer park in Nara! They are were very cute! I look forward to visiting more places in Japan in the future.
Wednesday, 27th December, 2017
I finished making the display for New Year`s for the English Board! New Year’s in Australia is very different to Japan. Many people go to watch fireworks at midnight on New Year’s in big cities. People also watch it on tv. The New Year’s fireworks held in Sydney Australia are one of the biggest New Year’s fireworks in the world! I have never been, but I sometimes watch it on tv.
Tuesday, 26th December, 2017
Yesterday, two friends and I had Christmas lunch at my apartment. We sat under the kotatsu, it was nice and warm! We ate fried Chicken and for dessert we ate chocolate cake. Christmas cake in Japan is very different to Christmas cake in Australia. In Australia many people eat fruit cake on Christmas.
Monday, 6th November, 2017
On Friday, I went to Ota to go to the Aeon mall. I was amazed by how big it was! There were many shops! It is much bigger than any of the malls that I have been to in Australia. I look forward to going back!
Thursday, 2nd November, 2017
Yesterday I added something new to the English Board! It is about a famous horse race in Australia called the `Melbourne Cup`. Have you heard of this? It is very popular in Australia and around the world! Many people go watch it. It. is held on the first Tuesday of November. I wonder who will win this year?
Wednesday, 1st November, 2017
Yesterday, for Halloween one of my first year class`s made pumpkins out of cardboard. It was really fun! I had to choose the group made which made the best pumpkin, but I could not choose because they were all so good! I am looking forward to the next holiday which will be Christmas!
Tuesday, 10th October, 2017
Yesterday I went to the Midori sunflower fields in Kasakake. I thought they were beautiful! I was very happy to see them when they were in flower. I am looking forward to when I can go see them again next year.
Thursday, 28th September, 2017
Today I finished making the Halloween section for the English board. I am surprised to see how popular Halloween is in Japan. You can find Halloween themed things in many different shops! Halloween is not that popular in Australia, but every year I think it is becoming more popular.
Wednesday, 27th September, 2017
Today was my first Undoukai. It was very enjoyable! Everyone was amazing, and tried so hard! It was interesting for me to see the many differences between sports days in Australian and Japanese schools.
Monday, 25th September, 2017
On Saturday I went to Takasaki and met up with a friend. I had fun shopping and eating delicious food! I was very happy as I found Australian food in a foreign supermarket. I always enjoy going to Takasaki.
Tuesday, 19th September, 2017
On Sunday, I went to Tokyo to see the Sailor Moon musical `Sera Myu` called `Le Mouvement Final.` It was amazing! I am so happy that I was able to experience going to the Sailor Moon musical, because it was the final musical they made.
Monday, 4th September, 2017
On Saturday, together with some ALT friends from Kiryu, we went to this great hamburger restaurant called JUtheBurger. They have delicious hamburgers! It is my favorite hamburger restaurant! I look forward to going back there again with my friends!
Friday, 1st September, 2017
The first week of the new school semester is nearly over! Thank you to everyone who has been so kind to me during my first week of teaching at Daichu. I am looking forward to meeting and working with you all
Monday, 28th August, 2017
On Saturday I attended a team sports day for ALT`s in Gunma called the `Gunma games`. It was very fun! My team also won, so I was very happy. I am looking forward to next year`s event.`
Wednesday, 23rd August, 2017
Today I finished making the English notice board. I am very happy with how it turned out! Please feel free to stop by and have a look. I hope that everyone can enjoy looking at it, like I enjoyed making it!
Friday, 18th August, 2017
Last weekend with my ALT friend from Saitama I went to the `Q-Pot Sailor Moon` Cafe at Omotesando in Harajuku. You could eat Sailor Moon themed food and drinks! I was very glad to experience this as I have liked Sailor Moon since I was a child.
Thursday, 17th August, 2017
Last week I went to Gunma orientation in Maebashi city with the new Gunma ALT’s. I learnt many news things that will help me with my new job as an ALT and living in Japan. We also met Gunma chan! I think Gunma chan is very cute I am looking forward to when school starts in a few weeks.
Monday, 7th August, 2017
It has nearly been two weeks since I came to Omama in Midori City. These two weeks have been great! Everyone has been very kind to me. I am very happy as it is starting to feel like home.
Friday, 4th August, 2017
Yesterday I went to the Omama Gion festival. It was the first time I had experienced a Japanese festival. It was very enjoyable and I look forward to next year`s festival!
Monday, 31st July, 2017
My Name is Avril, I am the new ALT at Daichu. I am 22 years old and I am from Sydney, Australia. I like cooking and drawing! I am looking forward to working with you all!
Thursday, 20 July, 2017
Today is my last day of lessons at Daichu. When I got to school in the morning, I found a digital photo frame on my desk. There were many wonderful pictures of students, teachers, and the school on it. I was very moved!
Monday, 3 July, 2017
Last month, the third-year students went to Kyoto and Nara on a school trip. They said that they had a wonderful time. For homework, I asked them to interview foreign people in English. I made the results into some graphs, which are interesting to see!
Friday, 2 June, 2017
In Midori City, all elementary and junior high schools give students free lunch. I think it’s wonderful. Today’s lunch had many flavors –naan, meat sauce curry, ravioli soup, burdock root salad, and milk.
I hope next week’s lunches are delicious, too.
Monday, 1 May 2017
Wow, it’s a new month already! Time flies.
This is a picture of the English Noticeboard at Daichu . Every month, I make a new display for the “Monthly Challenge” section. Last month, I asked students to write their names. It has become a very colorful display.
I hope many students try the challenge for May.
Monday, 17 April 2017
Yesterday I rode my bike from Omama to Isesaki to see the cherry blossoms at Kezoji Park. The blossoms were beautiful, but I was very happy to see many carp streamers ( koinobori ). They were very cool. I love this season.
Friday, 7 April 2017
The cherry trees at Daichu are almost in full bloom! Today we had the opening ceremony and the entrance ceremony for new first-year students. Now the students are having their photo taken under the cherry trees.
Thursday, 6 April 2017
School starts again tomorrow. I was busy today because I was making name cards for every student in the school. We use these name cards to remember students’ names, and to collect stickers for good work. I hope the students can get a lot of stickers this year!
Sunday, 19 March 2017
Do you know this pumpkin? It’s a very famous work of art by 87-year-old Yayoi Kusama. When she was a child, she saw things differently. She saw dots on everything, so she started to make many works of art with dots . She is having an art show in Tokyo until May 22nd. Why don’t you take a look?
Sunday, 12 February 2017
Today was the Kiryu Hori Marathon. Did you run in the race? I ran five kilometers with some ALT friends of mine. It was hard, but I had a very good time! Next year, I want to try running ten kilometers!