19 December, 2013

Snapshots from my day

This was Yesterday. 

I worked on the computer from when the boys left till 10. Then I headed to school for the start of a crazy day. I dropped by the library to pick up some books about the Human Brain (a topic for a future post about a big project one son is doing). Then I popped on my Santa Hat and joined the 5th Grade class for their Christmas party.

I got them going on some Charades and then a collaborative building activity (making a Christmas tree out of just a few materials like paper plates, chopsticks and straws). Unfortunately we ran out of time to play the Chocolate Game (see here).
Trying to make a Christmas tree. Alas this group ran out of

After that I shuttled back and forth between the 5th and 3rd grade classrooms taking in both parties. I've got to say, though, the 5th graders had the best food! Home made fudge topping on ice-cream, plus stacks of home cooked goodies.

After all that food before midday, three of us weren't very hungry for lunch. One boy ended up having lunch at 3pm!

At 1.30 I headed off to spend a couple of hours with my language exchange friends. We had a great time, as we usually do, over our coffee/tea in a small restaurant.

One of the things we talked about is this Japan Times article I read during the week. It talks about how Japanese school students are mostly taught English using their own alphabet and pronunciation, which means that English words get very mangled. Japanese has less sounds than English, for starters they only have five vowel sounds. 

For example, when you use Japanese pronunciation, brush and blush sound exactly the same! Here are a number of other examples, that I blogged about a few years ago.

Not only do English words get mangled, but words get attributed to English that aren't actually English, for example sutaduresu taiya, Japanese for "studless tyre". This is something you won't find in a dictionary (but you will find it with a Google). My language exchange partners thought this was pretty funny.

Often, too, the meaning gets changed, as meanings often do when you borrow words from other languages. The word "mansion" has been borrowed by the Japanese language, but it doesn't mean a large house occupied by one family unit, it means a large block of apartments, particularly newer apartments.

Here's some sage advice posted as a comment on the Japan Times article as a comment:
When I was learning Japanese, my professor made is learn hiragana/katakana [Ed's note: Japanese alphabets] the first few weeks, and then the classes were taught solely with them; the English alphabet was absolutely forbidden. It should be done this way with English classes. it may be difficult at first but it results in learning much more quickly than relying on your native alphabet as a crutch.
I totally agree, we were taught using the Japanese alphabets. I now find it hard to read Japanese if it is written in English letters.

While we were inside discussing these fascinating things, the heavy clouds finally began to drizzle. And drizzle at about 5 ˚C just isn't very cheerful! (The drizzle continued all night and all day today too.)

At 5.15 the family headed off the school. For the final wrestling event of 2013. We watched our wrestlers face up against Yokota Air Base's wrestling team. There were some good bouts, at least from a CAJ point of view.

Our son got a wrestle and pinned his opponent. His fourth pin in four bouts this season. Not bad! His first shot nearly went badly wrong, but he managed to extract himself and
Just as the pin was called. It looks like they're lounging,
but in truth they were both straining as hard as they could.
nailed his opponent in only 31 seconds.

The award for the happiest wrestler goes to the son of colleagues of ours. It's his first year wrestling and he's had some tough bouts (he has no competition in the team for his weight class, so he's been wrestling the best wrestlers on the other teams in his class). Yesterday, though, he won against a tough opponent and looked so satisfied at the end.

So there are some snapshots of my day. For some reason, though I was quite tired, I had trouble dropping off to sleep last night. I hope that that trend reverses tonight. Perhaps I was just too keyed up by the day?

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