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I think this is the first entry I have ever done in a coin laundry! I’m back in Sapporo now. I climbed Shari Dake yesterday, stayed at the Michi no eki in Bihoro Toge, and then drove back today. It was over 30 degrees up by Sounkyo. I have never known temperatures like this in Hokkaido in the middle of September.

Anyway, thanks for an interesting and lively discussion this week. I can see why some people are in favour of club activities, but I still think they should be separated in some way from school life so that they are not the responsibility of teachers. I think the situation in the UK is pretty similar to the one Anne’s friend described in the US. Young people do go to sports clubs and join local teams, but they are nothing to do with schools.

Regarding the idea of teaching as a “holy” job, I think it is important to remember that Japanese teachers are among the most poorly trained in the developed world. It is incredibly easy to become a teacher in this country. All students have to do is take a few extra courses at university (which are not at all difficult to pass), do a couple of weeks “practice teaching” in a school, and then they are licensed to become teachers. (In the UK, you have to do an extra year of study after graduating that includes six months of properly supervised training.) I know that if you want to work in a public school, you have to pass the saiyou shiken as well, but from my experience, that is more about old men from the local board of education deciding whether or not your face fits than a true assessment of your potential as a teacher. One of the reasons I was so happy to get my current job is that I hope I will be able to make a small difference to the education of English teachers in Japan.

Anyway, here is some feedback on your comments.

Actually, I didn’t want to join none of them.
Actually, I didn’t want to join any of them. (Native speakers might say “none” in conversation, but it is not good English.)

Japanese children are too busy for bukatsu.
Japanese children are too busy with bukatsu.

I think they should take the balance between them.
I think they should find a balance between them.

A large number of mom friends tell me that they are also taken up their weekends and holidays by children’s bukatsu.
A large number of mom friends tell me that their weekends and holidays are taken up by their children’s bukatsu.

But i think i am good i did Bukatu!^^
But I am glad I did bukatsu. (A-Z: glad; think)

I don’t know the situation of bukatsu nowadays much.
I don’t know much about the situation of bukatsu nowadays.

I don’t really mind if he is a good swimmer as many of other mothers do, but how severe school life for children is!!
Indeed! Maybe this is why Japan has one of the highest suicide rates among young people in the world. There is just too much pressure on children in this country.

It’s interesting to know how foreign person think about club activities.
It’s interesting to know what foreign people think about club activities. (A-Z: how)

Do you think parents should help students with club activities as volunteers?
No. I think children should join local clubs outside their schools.

I was in the basket club in junior high, but it’s not obligated, so if you didn’t want to join a club, you wouldn’t have to.
I was in the basketball club in junior high, but it wasn’t compulsory, so if you didn’t want to join a club, you didn’t have to.

I definitely think they should reduce the workloads of teachers and teachers should have less responsibilities.
I agree. If they had more time, teachers would be able to focus more of their effort on professional development and education.

It sounds a good idea, but I’m not sure if schools in Japan have enough budget to hire those teachers or not.
Japan is a country where governments pay to build bridges to nowhere and roads that no one needs. Not to mention the incredible amount of money that is wasted every year on research grants for universities. (That will be the topic of another blog.) Japan has plenty of money; the problem is one of priorities.

I often hear that Japan spends (almost)least expenditure for education among developed countries.
But one of the highest expenditures on construction.

I asked her what time she goes to bed the other day, and she said that she usually goes to bed after midnight. She stays up late using her cell phone or watching videos on her iPad Mini.
Why don’t her parents just take her phone off her at bedtime? Also, if she has an iPad mini, she can make a lot of money! They haven’t been announced yet…

University students are already adults, but school teachers teach children.
I know a lot of university teachers who would disagree with that!

I think teachers and doctors are indispensable jobs: we can’t live without them. So
I heard the other day that doctors in Japan never have to renew their licence and never have to do any professional development. They can stop practicing for ten years, do a completely different job, and then still come back to being a doctor. Is that true?

>”They are paid.”–”They get paid.” sounds more natural.
Actually, either is fine.

I’m glad that we are on common ground.
Do you know the expression “I’m glad we are on the same page”?

> I know the title of the book.
=> I have heard of the book title.
I’ve heard of it.

That’s it for today. I was planning to take a ferry back from Tomakomai to Tsuruga on Sunday night, but the service isn’t running that day. I could take a ferry from Otaru to Maizuru instead, but it’s a long way from Maizuru to Gifu, so I’m going to take the ferry from Hakodate to Aomori on Sunday night and then drive back on Monday. If I don’t have time to do an entry, I’ll do it on Tuesday instead.

Have a great weekend.

13 Comments

  1. Anne on Friday September 14th, 2012 at 09:27 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback.
    >”They are paid.”–”They get paid.” sounds more natural.
    Actually, either is fine.
    —Oh, I see. I’m glad to know that.

    >I know a lot of university teachers who would disagree with that!
    —I think so. You might read various kinds of unbelievable stories concerning college students.

    You are driving back all the way from Aomori to Gifu? Have a safe drive!

    Have a lovely weekend,everyone!

    PS. By the way, I’ve got the book “Born To Run”(English version) and started reading.

    Anne



  2. YU on Friday September 14th, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback from the coin laundry!

    Actually, I was a bit wondering why you took a ferry to go to Hokkaido, but now I see you needed your car making a tour around Hokkaido!

    >University students are already adults, but school teachers teach children.
    >I know a lot of university teachers who would disagree with that!

    Oh, really?
    Are they still so childish??

    > They can stop practicing for ten years, do a completely different job, and then still come back to being a doctor. Is that true?

    Maybe that is true.
    However, it is very scary to see such a doctor !

    > that is more about old men from the local board of education deciding whether or not your face fits than a true assessment of your potential as a teacher.

    !!! I hope that is not true…
    Anyway, I’m very sure that those old men will not hire me because I don’t look 従順.

    Do you think teachers of 塾 or 予備校 are better trained and have better teaching skills than school teachers??

    Have a safe journey home!



  3. YU on Friday September 14th, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    I forgot to write this.

    >I don’t really mind if he is a good swimmer as many of other mothers do, but how severe school life for children is!!
    >Indeed! Maybe this is why Japan has one of the highest suicide rates among young people in the world. There is just too much pressure on children in this country.

    I think that is just the beginning of their pressureful life. Some parents put pressure on children too much.
    My son’s swimming school has a test for promotion(進級テスト) every two month. And each time I see a lot of mothers pushing children to pass the test before the class. Of course, children don’t look happy at all. I don’t tell my son, “今日テストだよ”, so that he can swim same as usual.

    See you!



  4. Fumie on Saturday September 15th, 2012 at 07:01 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback. It was an interesting discussion.

    >It’s interesting to know what foreign people think about club activities.
    I read A-Z book and googled and read some grammar sites about the differnce between “what” and “how” but it’s still difficult for me. I need more study about this.

    > Do you know the expression “I’m glad we are on the same page”?
    No, I’ve never heard this expression. I like this expression. I’ll use it when I would be that situation.

    >I heard the other day that doctors in Japan never have to renew their licence and never have to do any professional development. They can stop practicing for ten years, do a completely different job, and then still come back to being a doctor. Is that true?

    Really? If it’s true, it’s so scary.

    You have to do a long drive home. Drive safely!

    Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

    Fumie



  5. David Barker on Saturday September 15th, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Hi YU,

    I’m not suggesting that teachers in Japanese schools are necessarily “bad” teachers, just that they are poorly trained. It’s not their fault; it’s the system. I have worked in about 35 junior high schools, 8 high schools, and 6 universities in Japan. I have met some amazing teachers, but I have also met some who should never have been allowed in a classroom. I have heard many people say that jukus attract the best teachers because they pay well, but I’m not sure whether that is true or not.

    Hi everyone,

    Have you been following the news about the Senkaku Islands? It’s a bit scary, isn’t it! We have a lot of Chinese students at my university. I wonder how this will affect them. As I said when we discussed this topic a few weeks ago, I think Japanese people need to be a bit more aware of these kinds of issues because they could have a big effect on your lives in the future. I can’t remember where it comes from, but there is a saying in English: “The only thing needed for evil people to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”

    By the way, I was reading an article about Spain’s problems this morning, and I found the following quote. It made me laugh. Does this sound like any other country you know?

    “The heads of the IBEX35 companies are predominantly old men in grey suits. The world of diversity, curiosity and rapid innovation is not the world they know.”



  6. YU on Saturday September 15th, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Hi David,

    > I’m not suggesting that teachers in Japanese schools are necessarily “bad” teachers, just that they are poorly trained.

    Don’t worry, I know what you mean.

    > I have heard many people say that jukus attract the best teachers because they pay well, but I’m not sure whether that is true or not.

    I guess that is true.
    Who wants to work under poorer working conditions?
    Teachers are human, too.

    >Does this sound like any other country you know?

    “The heads of the IBEX35 companies are predominantly old men in grey suits. The world of diversity, curiosity and rapid innovation is not the world they know.”

    You mean, the country I know best in this world – Japan !?

    > I can’t remember where it comes from

    Here is a link regarding the saying ;

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_all_that_is_necessary_for_evil_to_triumph_is_good_for_men_to_do_nothing_mean

    >“The only thing needed for evil people to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”

    So, Ishihara is not a good person, but he’s been aware of this kind of issues, not like “good people” like us. He is the one who poured oil on the fire this spring after a long cease-fire(Deng Xiaoping’s 棚上げ論 in the late 70’s).
    The Japanese government bought the islands and is insisting they belong to Japan. But for China, that is nothing.
    Someone commented on TV a few days ago that China is a country where people’s lives are less valued, and democracy is not yet ripe. So, China could take the islands by military force anytime.



  7. Tsuneko Yano on Saturday September 15th, 2012 at 09:59 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your corrections on my sentences. I have written comments here and have them corrected first time in ages, so it was really refreshing.

    (x)Japanese children are too busy for bukatsu.
    (o)Japanese children are too busy with bukatsu.

    (x)I think they should take the balance between them.
    (o)I think they should find a balance between them.

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for your welcoming words to me this time and last time. I also wanted to join your discussion, but, to be honest, it was very difficult. I enjoyed reading all of your comments. I hope I will be able to write more next time. Thank you.



  8. rinko on Sunday September 16th, 2012 at 04:55 PM

    Hi David.
    Thank you for your feedback!
    And I hope you’ll get home without any troubles.

    I’m really worried about the Senkaku Islands and agree with you that Japanese people need to be more aware of this issue.There is the biggest demonstration against Japanese government and some Japanese people were injured in China,while there are still people who really don’t know about this incident in Japan.This gap is a very serious problem and it could make the situation worse for relationship of Japan and China.

    Have a nice holiday everyone!

    rinko



  9. amo on Sunday September 16th, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your feedback, and I have a question about it.
    I was in the basket club in junior high, but it’s not obligated, so if you didn’t want to join a club, you wouldn’t have to.
I was in the basketball club in junior high, but it wasn’t compulsory, so if you didn’t want to join a club, you didn’t have to.
    I have seen the word “compulsory” before but when I want to say “義務,” obligation come to mind first always. So I am happy that I have leant how to use this word 🙂

    Hi everyone,

    How’s your weekend? I don’t know why but since I came back from Okinawa, I feel so tired. So I went to get a massage yesterday. Before that I did some shopping 🙂 I bought a dress and a pair of jeans.

    P.S. David,
    Are you already on board or not yet? Anyway, please driving safely 😉

    amo



  10. David on Sunday September 16th, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Hi amo

    I’m on the ferry at the moment. If you wanted to use “oblige,” you would have to say either “there was no obligation” or “it was not obligatory.” If you are talking about school, though, “compulsory” sounds more natural. Hope that helps.



  11. amo on Monday September 17th, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your prompt reply 🙂 I used “obligation” in my comment but I didn’t know the word “obligatory,” and about school “compulsory” sounds more natural. so that was a big help.

    Where are you now? I have no idea how long it will take you to drive home from Aomori. Hope you enjoy driving.

    Good night.
    amo



  12. Tomo on Tuesday September 18th, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your feedback!

    >Why don’t her parents just take her phone off her at bedtime?

    My sister is an early bird. She goes to bed before her children, so she doesn’t know how late my niece is up every night. When my niece told me what time she usually goes to bed, she asked me not to tell about it to my sister, so I keep her secret at the moment, hoping she will take my advice.

    >Also, if she has an iPad mini, she can make a lot of money!

    What do you mean??

    >Have you been following the news about the Senkaku Islands? It’s a bit scary, isn’t it!

    I saw the news about the demonstrations(riots?!) in China this morning too. It’s a lot scary!!!

    Anyway, I hope you are having a nice drive.

    Come back safely!

    Tomo



  13. David Barker on Tuesday September 18th, 2012 at 02:31 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    There is no such thing as an iPad mini yet, but there are lots of rumours that Apple is going to announce one next month. If your niece really had one, she would be able to sell it to the newspapers for a lot of money!