January 15, 2018

JET teacher Teresa's 2017-18 New Year's Blog Post!

Happy New Year! Fifteen days have already passed since the ball has dropped in New York, signaling that 2018 has started.


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Have you done anything different since the new year has begun? Personally, I have been attached to my Harry Potter audiobooks, so you won’t see me without my earphones! I’m not sure if I want to set a reading goal, but I definitely want to re-listen to the Potter books once I have finished listening it for the first time. There are always details you miss that could open your eyes.


As it’s nearing late January, we are approaching something called “daikan” (大寒), which essentially means really cold weather. This year, “daikan” starts January 20th and ends on February 3rd. As it’s said to be very cold during this time, be sure to dress properly!


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Here is a fun, random fact about “daikan” weather: eggs hatched during the early “daikan” weather are called “daikan eggs!” Apparently, they are extremely nutritious and delicious. According to Feng Shui, these eggs also bring luck, health, and fortune! Since it brings such prosperity, I think I’m going to grab a couple of these eggs myself! Why don’t you try some these coming weeks?


See you!

Teresa

January 15, 2018

JET Teacher Laurence's 2017-18 New Year's Post!

JET Teacher Laurence here.


Happy New Year to all of our readers!


This past December, I decided I wouldn’t spend Christmas and New Year and Japan in order to travel and save money. Plane tickets back to Canada usually cost me around $1500! That is over 133,000 Yen!


Instead, I had a video call with my family on Christmas. Then, I went to Numazu, in Shizuoka. The sea was so beautiful. The weather was great too.


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I went to Izu-Mito Sea Paradise there. It’s a famous aquarium. My favorite part was the jellyfish tank. You can see Mt. Fuji from the Aquarium. It was very very windy.


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I also went to the Numazu Fish market. I had Kaisendon, pickled squid and fish Miso Soup there. Everything was delicious.


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A friend from America came to Japan for New Years! I guided her around Tokyo and on the 30th we went to the Winter Comiket. It was at Tokyo Big Sight. I had never been to the Comiket before. It was a very impressive event. There were so many people! It was hard to move around but I am glad I went.


I spent New Years at home. I had a lot of things to do. There are so many things I want to do this year. What are your goals for 2018?


Cheers,

Laurence

January 9, 2018

Happy New Year 2018 from Seiritsu!

A belated happy new year to everyone!


Although there have been extra classes thorough the winter holiday, today is the official first day back at school for staff and students alike at Seiritsu. We hope everyone has had a relaxing end of year break.


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This year in the Japanese calendar is Heisei 30, and is a year of the Dog. Dog in Japanese is inu (pronounced 'ee-nuu'), but the kanji (written character) for the usual pet poochie (犬) and the zodiac hound (戌) are different!


In Japan there are several traditions associated with New Year. One of them is Kagami Biraki, or breaking the kagami mochi (rice cake) ritual. More detail on it can be found here. Every year I take part in the kagami biraki ceremony at the Nippon Budokan, the national hall for martial arts. This is a special ceremony because it invites various styles of martial arts to all practice together in the center arena.
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Lots of exciting things are planned for this year, and the countdown to Tokyo 2020 Olympics is well underway! We are also hoping for lots of visitors, so if you are thinking of coming to Tokyo and want to experience life in a Japanese high school, please get in touch and let us know!


Peter Williams
International Department Coordinator

December 18, 2017

Laurence's December 2017 Blog post!

Hi, Laurence here!


And so 2017 comes to a close!


It’s been a busy year, full of events and unexpected twists. I ended up being busier than ever, but I still travelled a little, worked on side projects and tried lots of new things! Overall, I’m pretty proud of myself.


I am staying in Japan for the holiday season this year and I have many plans for travelling, so be ready to read about it in January! For now, I’d like to talk more about what is coming in 2018.


One of my resolutions for 2018 is to enjoy my life in Japan as much as I can. I don’t know how much longer I will stay here, but I still have much to see. I’m often tired and sick, but I need to overcome these problems if I want to leave Japan without too many regrets. It’s very easy on days off to just stay home wearing pajamas all day, but I can do that in Canada too. I want to enjoy doing things I can only do and see things I can only see while I’m here.


In 2018, I also want to be more organized. This means a clean home, without clutter. It means to procrastinate less and to use my to-do lists more. This will help me enjoy Japan to the fullest.


Lastly, I need to try harder to seize opportunities. Life in Japan moves very much with the seasons, moreso than back home. Buying windows for tickets to any event are very small and if I don’t become more aware and informed of the time I have to do certain things, I will just end up missing out on them.


If I can keep up with these resolutions and have good self-discipline, surely 2018 will be amazing!


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Do you have any resolutions for 2018? What do you want to change completely about yourself, if anything? What do you think you need to work on?


Let’s work hard to make 2018 a great year!

December 18, 2017

Teresa's December 2017 blog

Greetings from a person with a terrible cold!


It’s that time of year when you just want to wear as much clothes as possible without looking silly.


If you don’t properly dress yourself for the weather, you will get sick. So sick that your nose will feel like it’s a running faucet and you will apparently sing without knowing. Descriptive enough? This is all true by the way. I was told that I was singing and I have no memories of doing so!


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Now, how shall we keep warm? One good method is to simply wear more clothes! Whip out those fluffy holiday socks. Do you have more than one ugly Christmas sweaters? Wear them all if possible. Realistically though, have you heard of “kairos”? They are Japanese heat packs that are lifesavers. They are so good that my friend sent some back to Russia! Even though there are many types of kairos, most do not recommend you use them when sleeping. Instead, try using a hot water bottle.


Besides wearing more clothes and using heat packs, eat! Yes, please eat. There are loads of food that warm the body, such as ginger, potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, onions, burdock root, taro, and “daikon” which is Japanese radish! Not surprisingly, almost all taste lovely in a hot pot known as “nabe.”


Lastly, exercise! Working up a sweat to heat your body while burning calories is just the epitome of killing two birds with one stone. Remember to drink lots of liquid! You may feel cold but your body needs water. You’ll be pleasantly shocked to find that the quality of your skin and energy level will thank you.


I think you have a lot of tips from me. Now, go and prepare yourself because winter is already here.

December 15, 2017

Today’s excursion around Yokohama

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It wasn’t a totally smooth start as a few of our students were late but we were still able to get back on schedule fairly quickly. To be fair, it can be difficult for foreign students to find their way to a new area. We always remind them to go early but somehow there is usually one person who gets delayed or lost.

With beautiful blue skies but a cool wind, and a quick stop at the cemetery talking about some history of the opening of Yokohama, we made our way to the Yamate 111 residence next to Harbour View Park.

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From here the students were given a challenge. They needed to make their way to the pier called Osanbashi. Along the way they had to take some pictures of some different popular or famous sites.

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This was excellent practice for the Japanese students who are going abroad next month. The map and the keywords were all in English. This is what it will be like when they go overseas. However it is still very easy for them because all the signs here are in Japanese. And if they are lost they are still in Japan. They can easily ask someone for help so there is a level of comfort that they will not have in a few short weeks.

We met up at the pier, took a quick walk around it, and then we proceeded to the museum where the Japan Times newspaper was having their exhibition celebrating 120 years of circulation. It was incredibly fascinating to see some of the old newspaper articles talking about some of the points of history such as: The coronation of the Taisho emperor, the 1923 Kanto earthquake, the day after Pearl Harbour, and so much more.

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The newspaper museum was also was kind enough to publish a picture of a newspaper article with our picture in it. Every student got a copy of this.

From here we then went for lunch at the World Porters shopping center. After lunch, we went to the red brick warehouse. There was a Christmas market and lots of interesting things could be seen. Some of the students rang the bell praying for peace.

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Finally we walked back to the Minato Mirai area and we said our farewells there.

It was a wonderful day and we were able to do a lot. And in the end students had a great day interacting with each other.


December 13, 2017

Seiritsu's International Teachers host Junior High Christmas Party!

Being an international teacher is not just about helping students learn a foreign language; it is also about helping them understand other cultures. Even though it is a tradition that is now celebrated in Japan, the festivities and traditions of Christmas are as varied and diverse as there are countries around the world.


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The international staff at Seiritsu held parties for the Junior high school students, giving them a taste of how we celebrate in the USA, Canada, and the UK. We also played games, with many of the kids being super enthusiastic!


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We feel that this helps the students in many ways. It brings out English use outside of a class environment, builds a more holistic image of life abroad, and builds a stronger bond between teachers and students as they see the human side. This is all part of the 'mienai gakuryoku', or the unseen power of study, at Seiritsu Gakuen.


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We are looking forward to seeing how our interaction builds more world-aware and strong graduates!


Peter Williams
International Department Coordinator

November 28, 2017

Kabuki

Have you heard of Kabuki? Do you know much about it? Have you ever seen it?

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Last week, on the Thanksgiving holiday (November 23rd), all of the junior high school students had a chance to go to the Kabuki Theatre in Ginza to see a live performance of Kabuki. Our school was also able to get a few extra tickets for some of our high school students. Originally we had hoped to bring all of the international students, but we did not get enough tickets. So instead we brought along the Japanese students who are about to go abroad for 3 months on a study abroad experience. Undoubtedly they will be asked about Japanese cultural traditions and they will need to learn a little about the major traditions before they go. This was an excellent opportunity to help them prepare.

We met at 8:20 am below the theatre and then went inside at 8:30. The show started at 9am and finished at 10am. It was meant for children so it was shorter and "easier" than usual. But it was still very difficult to understand. However, even if the words and meaning were difficult to understand, the beauty and complexity and richness of the tradition came across very clearly.

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It was an excellent experience and we hope to expose the international students to a similar event in the future.


November 27, 2017

An update on Connor

Hello everyone,

We had some more good news come to us the other day. One of our graduates, Connor O'Toole, took another major step in his career. He had his A-League debut and did a very good job. According to one site, they said he "had a composed and mature performance" which "earned him a spot on the... team of the week." Several people emailed us with updates and praise. We were all very happy to get and pass on the news.

There are several articles and short video clips available. Here are one of each :

Article:


https://www.brisbaneroar.com.au/news/roars-rising-star-shaped-land-rising-sun

Video link:


https://www.a-league.com.au/video/young-player-follow-connor-otoole



We have also added a blog post on the main Japanese website. If you can read Japanese, check it out:


http://www.seiritsu.ac.jp/articles/-/2705

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All of us here at Seiritsu are confident Connor will continue to do a wonderful job!

November 18, 2017

Teresa's November 2017 blog

Teresa Here!


What does November mean to you? Is it the boring month after Halloween? Perhaps it signifies an acceptable time to gobble up an entire turkey with a can of cranberry sauce before heading out to take advantage of Black Friday sales. Maybe it’s an extension of the holiday season!


Maybe it's none of that! I'll tell you what it certainly means to me… the changing foliage!


Back in the States, I didn't pay much attention to the red, orange, brown, and yellow leaves. It wasn't because we didn't have fall; it was because it wasn't part of our culture. Ever since moving to Tokyo, the idea of taking trips to see the autumn colors (紅葉) has been growing on me!


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Last weekend, I found myself in Nagano prefecture with a group of friends, new and old. Together, we had a walking tour around the town and took lovely pictures. It was slightly cold due to the higher altitude, but it was worth it.


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Believe it or not, we went further up where it actually started to snow! It was my first snowfall of the year. I was so excited because as a Bostonian, I expect to see it as soon as the temperature drops!


Amongst the snow and strong winds, we warmed our bodies and relaxed our muscles in a hotel with more than 6 hot spring pools. I definitely cannot explain how amazing it feels to be soaking in a hot spring with pale blue water while the snow and steam blocked your view.


The combination of the foliage and hot springs made this weekend an unforgettable experience.

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about Seiritsu

Seiritsu Gakuen is a private co-educational high school created in 1925 and it is located in Tokyo, Japan.

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