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Friday, January 10, 2014

Parts of The US Colder than Mars / Schools Worry About Assistant Language Teachers in Japan

Welcome again to another year of my random rants !!!
As you see, I changed the colors and a few other stuff.

Days 2115 - 2121
Thursday, January 2 - Wednesday, January 8, 2014 

Day 2115 ( Top 10 Search Terms in Japan for 2013 )
Thursday, January 2, 2014

Today is the beginning of boredom / lonely time. It will only last for a few days though. I stayed in today playing god of war ascension for the most part. This has been one of my favourite franchise over the years of being a game head.


Top 10 search terms in Japan in 2013

While “twerking” and “Harlem Shake” were among the top search terms in the U.S., in Japan, people were busy Googling other, more wholesome words. Let’s take a look at the top trending search terms in Japan this year.
1) 台風 (Typhoon)
Japan is a country that is battered by typhoons every year without fail. This past year was a particularly busy one, prompting the Japan Times to dub 2013, “the year of the typhoon.”
2) パズドラ (Puzzle & Dragons)

Puzzle & Dragons is the number one selling free-to-play mobile game in Japan and is backed by GungHo Online Entertainment, a Japanese video game corporation with a market capitalization above that of Nintendo’s. No wonder it was the second highest trending search term.
3) あまちゃん (Ama-chan)
Japanese television drama “Ama-chan” debuted on April 1 of this year and was a ratings success for broadcaster, NHK. Considered a social phenomenon, the drama follows a young girl who moves to the Tohoku region to become a diver.
4) 半沢直樹 (Hanzawa Naoki)
Another successful television drama, “Hanazawa Naoki,” follows a rich banker at Tokyo Chuo Bank as he climbs his way to the top. Every week the show received consistently high ratings and the final episode reached 42.2% in the Kanto region, the highest for a drama in the past 25 years.
5) iPhone 5s

Although the iPhone craze is tapering off and each new release sees fewer and fewer Apple fans in Japan camping out for hours, and in some cases days, the iPhone 5s still generated enough buzz to land it’s way in the fifth spot.
6) 進撃の巨人 (Attack on Titan)
It seemed every other day was filled with new news of manga turned hit television series, “Attack on Titan.” From weird products to a live-action movie announcement, 2013 was definitely the year of “Attack on Titan.”
7) WBC
Short for Word Baseball Classic, “WBC” was the seventh trending term of 2013. Not only was Japan a host country for the 2013 WBC, the Japanese team took third place.
8) 艦これ (Kantai Collection)
Kantai Collection is a free-to-play online social card game that was released on April 23 of this year. Centered around moe anthropomorphisms of WWII naval warships, it’s definitely a unique game for any fans of cute girls…or old battleships.
9) ラストシンデレラ (Last Cinderella)
The third and final television drama on the list, “Last Cinderella” aired on Fuji Television in April of this year. The story follows a 39-year-old single woman in a relationship with a much younger man. Full of sex and scandal, “Last Cinderella” was a hot topic in 2013.
10) 風立ちぬ (The Wind Rises)

Hayao Miyazaki’s last film, “The Wind Rises,” finishes off our list at number 10. Even though it received plenty of criticism from various groups in Japan, it was received positively by the public with a plot so moving, it brought many to tears.



Day 2116 ( My First Japanese Style New Year's Dinner / Kiki's Delivery Service Anime   )
Friday, January 3, 2014

The second day of the boredom marathon. There was a slight break today though, as the family that invited me to dinner before Christmas (http://davecollyjap.blogspot.jp/2013/12/10-japanese-foods-you-can-make-at-home.html), invited me to my first ever Japanese style New Years Dinner. This is my 6th New Year in Japan, and this is the first time I've experienced New Year's dinner with a Japanese family. I will be forever grateful to them. I have to get them something. This is what the food looked like.

Some stuff was ok...others were ....um well not to my liking. We again played bingo and this time instead of paying 1000 yen (US $10), I had to pay 500 yen (US $5). And again with my luck and these things, it was no surprise that I came in last place. So I won a grand total of 50 yen. Sucks!!!!

I think this new year was the second time while living in Japan, where I spent it mostly in close proximity to my apartment. This is how it has been:

Dec 2008- Jan 1- 2009 (Club in Fukuoka, Japan)

Dec 2009- Jan 1- 2010 (Fire works in Manila, The Philippines)

Dec 2010- Jan 1- 2011 (Wedding Party in Maniwa, Okayama, Japan )

Dec 2011- Jan 1- 2012 (On the streets in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan)

Dec 2012- Jan 1- 2013 (My Church in Portmore, Jamaica)

Dec 2013- Jan 1- 2014 (On the streets in Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan )


Kiki's Delivery Service Anime   

Anyway, After returning from the New Year's dinner, I watched a Miyazaki Hayao anime name Kiki's Delivery service or Majo no Takyuubin in Japanese (which actually means "the witches post office or postal service") I guess the English translators didn't like the idea of "Witch"

English Version

Japanese Version
It wasn't too bad. All of Miyazaki's animes usually have a central theme. I think this one was basically saying that we should be kind to others who are different from us, like foreigners..... I give it a 6/10.



Day 2117 ( Parts of The US Colder than Mars )
Saturday, January 4, 2014

Continued on the boredom marathon today. Stayed in blogging (this usually take over 5-6 hours if I go uninterrupted!!!) and playing video games. I also watched another Miyazaki anime. This one is called "Nausicaa of the valley of the wind" or "kaze no tani no naushika"  in Japanese.

This anime was from 1984 actually. But still had lots of themes tied into it. Peace, Love, Care the environment, Get rid of greed, Cooperate with each other ... And more maybe. Good animated film and makes you think. I give it a 7/10.


Deadly chill means parts of U.S. colder than Mars

A deadly chill had much of the United States and Canada in its wintry grip Tuesday, as a record-breaking cold snap brought temperatures lower than on the surface of Mars.
It was so cold in Chicago that the polar bear at the Lincoln Park zoo—who admittedly had not built up the winter fat stores of her wild cousins—was brought inside to warm up.
All of Canada and all the U.S. states bar tropical Hawaii recorded temperatures below freezing on Tuesday, even usually sunny and temperate Florida and California.
But the most dangerous cold—cold that can cause frostbite in a minute and death in a matter of hours—hit the Midwest, dragged down as the ‘polar vortex’ brought frigid air from the Arctic.
Schools, businesses and government offices were closed. Water mains and household pipes froze. Airplanes were grounded, trains were halted and roads and sidewalks became ice rinks.

The town of Embarrass, Minnesota recorded the lowest temperature in the United States Tuesday at a frigid -37 Celsius (-35 Fahrenheit).
Then there was the wind chill: a calculation that represents how much colder it feels when the blinding gusts hit you in the face.
That dipped as low as -52 Celsius in Montana and was in the -40 to -50 Celsius range in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
That’s cold enough to toss a cup of boiling water into the air and watch it turn into snow before it hits the ground.
The Mars Rover has been sending back daily temperature readings from its tour of the Red Planet ranging from -25 to -31 degrees Celsius (-13 and -24 degrees Fahrenheit).
“To be fair, though, Mars is still way colder,” the Smithsonian Institute wrote in a blog post. “The Curiosity rover is driving around in a crater at, roughly, the equivalent latitude of Venezuela.”
But then again, Mars is 78 million miles further away from the Sun.
For a more Earthly comparison, the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station recorded a temperature of -23 Celsius (-9 Fahrenheit) and a wind chill factor of -35 Celsius (-31 Fahrenheit) on Tuesday.
The brutal chill came as people in the Great Lakes region were still digging out from two massive snow storms which dumped more than two feet of snow.
More than 500 people spent Monday night stuck on a train that was stranded by snowdrifts on the line between Detroit and Chicago.

Commuter rail—and even Chicago’s famed elevated trains—were also knocked out of service by the snow and frigid temperatures froze switches and signals.
Nearly 2,500 flights were cancelled in the United States on Tuesday and 3,400 were delayed. That brought the total of flights cancelled since the latest snowstorm hit Thursday to more than 18,000.
Toronto’s Pearson Airport temporarily halted ground operations early Tuesday because of “equipment freezing” and out of concern for the safety of airport personnel, it said on its Twitter account.
Police reinforcements were called in to the airport to deal with rising tension among stranded travelers.
The governor of Illinois declared a state of emergency Monday and called up the National Guard to help rescue stranded motorists as high winds whipped up blinding snow.
Guardsmen were also deployed in Indiana and New York, a Pentagon spokesman told AFP.
Even hardy Canadians were complaining of the cold amid widespread power outages.
Temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius with a wind chill plunged the western Prairies region into a deep freeze.



Day 2118 ( Meeting Stanley / Using Instacollage )
Sunday, January 5, 2014

There was another slight break from the monotony today. My friend Stanley who came to Japan around the same time as I did, came up to this area. So a couple of us met up with him. I haven't seen him since 2008, when I saw a couple of them that summer in Nagoya.

This was a couple of us back in Nagoya in 2008

Just today ....

Because of my boredom, I have been also messing around with some i-phone apps. One of them that I particularly love playing around with is Instacollage. Not only is it free, it is also very easy to use.

I created some collages like these using it. Please don't laugh !!!

Jamaica        and             Japan

Yr 2000 while in NY, I use foil paper on my teeth to look like a platinum teeth rapper
Yr 2002 while in University, I was sporting corn rows
Yr 2006 was the first phase of my brace face
Yr 2013 Just trying to look cool wearing shades, in the night, indoors!!


Day 2119 ( Schools Worry About Assistant Language Teachers in Japan )
Monday, January 6, 2014

Today is the last day of boredom. Work begins tomorrow but I'm still not quite ready for that. I could use 2 more days of boredom. Anyway, stayed in all day playing games and preparing for work tomorrow.


Schools fret about assistant teachers ahead of proposed 2020 reforms

Believe me, that's what I do while teaching Elementary school as well

When Stevie Lim, 30, started singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” with gestures, the first-graders at Minami Elementary School in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, started singing together and mimicking his movements.

As the assistant language teacher (ALT) from Britain started speeding up, the children’s excitement boiled over, and some started screaming.

The children kept asking Lim questions in Japanese while gluing together a Christmas out of colored pieces of paper. The homeroom teacher and another assistant teacher — both Japanese — paid attention to each student’s needs and helped Lim answer their questions using the simplest English words possible.

“Our role, first and foremost, is to make students interested in other languages and other cultures. That’s the most important thing in learning a new language, or learning any subject really,” said Lim, a native of Worcestershire who came to Japan fresh out of university in 2005 and has spent most of his time as an assistant language teacher.

Having an ALT in class does a lot to make children excited about learning English, teachers at the school said. The assistants are the embodiment of Western culture, and because each class gets an ALT-taught lesson only once or twice a semester, it’s special for the children, they said.

“Stevie is really good with kids. While some past ALTs have declined our request to eat lunch together with the children, Stevie eats together with the students and interacts with them,” Minami Elementary Principal Susumu Ichikawa said.

Read more here ... http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/01/02/national/schools-fret-about-assistant-teachers-ahead-of-proposed-2020-reforms/#.Us-ucdIW1kh



Day 2120 ( 24 Day abs challenge )
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Started work today... (yawn) ... It was difficult getting out of bed. I managed to do 1 class at school, then did 2 Business English classes at Komatsu. Only 1 student showed up for the intermediate group, then 2 student showed up for the advanced group. That was it for today.

I am in the middle of a 24 day, flat stomach + abs routine ... and even though I got in at 10:30 pm, I still did it. I'm at around day 17 now and its a killer, but I'm seeing some good results so far :)  

No that's not me ........ YET



Day 2121 (  )
Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Had 2 classes at my main school today then 2 at the YMCA then my private student. Spoke to him mostly about the winter vacation. He recently bought an i-pod touch with a portable wifi.



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