So I’ve been away from the blog for a bit.  It’s been a busy time between work, working out, a bit of hanging out, and worrying about my kitty cat, whom my family informed me has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. T_T

So this weekend I decided to stay home, supposedly to straighten out my apartment. I’ve got a pile of washed laundry that I don’t feel like folding staring at me, a mess of art supplies scattered about, and a head of Fukuoka Lettuce that I’ll try my best to eat before it wilts.  I’ve a lot to get done before the NHK Taiga drama Gou-hime starts in 3.5 hours.  So let’s get caught up with yet another RLS post!

よし!*Cracks knuckles*

New theme Do you like the new blog theme? I don’t like that it doesn’t let me have a header image, but otherwise I think it’s nice and edgy and charcoaly, plus I like how bold the name is.  This is LUCKY ☆ HILL in case you didn’t notice. ^o^

Breaking a habit I’ve known for a while that it’s unnecessary to leave two spaces between sentences in this age of computers, but as someone who learned how to type on a typewriter and has been typing since elementary school, it’s a really hard habit to break. There’s something satisfying about hitting the space bar twice after a period. 困ります。

Slap me thrice and call me Henry Such a tag can only mean one thing: I’ve passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test! @o@ Only N2, and I didn’t do terribly well on Vocabulary/Grammar.

合格 ^o^/♡+@o@

Which makes me think that there should be an Emoticon Proficiency Test…

AHEM, anyway, luckily at the training seminar I went to recently, the publisher Bojiinsha was there selling various books with a 10% discount, so I had picked up some books for both N2 and N1. I’m currently doing the kanji book for N2. I know how to read most of them, but I can’t write the ones I didn’t learn when I was in college, so I’m focusing on that. I know some people are of the opinion that being able to write kanji is unnecessary since we hardly ever write by hand anymore, but it helps me remember kanji a heck of a lot better than flashcards. It also helps my motivation that I’ve found a good use for some particular concert merchandise.

How could you not want to study some 国語 after that?

I actually thoroughly enjoy writing by hand in general. Guess that makes we a weirdo.

I want to thank Professor Happy Land and Professor Increasing Rice Fields for helping me reach this milestone. And while it probably sounds cheesy, I do strongly believe that were it not for the fateful email that put me on the path of GACKT fandom, I wouldn’t have studied on my own as much as I did.

Speaking of using music as a motivator Finals at my school ended last week, which means right now, at least as far as Oral Communication class is concerned, we’re not doing anything that will affect students’ grades. Which means, in turn, that many kids are more disinterested than ever in what us ALTs have to say. ^o^;

I passed out a survey to see what they had liked, didn’t like, and wanted to do for the remaining classes. Unsurprisingly, they liked games and music, didn’t like the textbook nor the test, and wanted to watch movies and listen to music. I left the lesson using movies up to my co-ALT, a film buff himself, and spent a couple of sleepless nights wracking my brains picking music videos and deciding what to do with them. In the end, this is what ended up happening, but it was a little different in each class:

I introduced the lesson by explaining that I love to study Japanese from music, and showed them my own 歌詞ノート or Lyrics Notebook. In this notebook, I simply write down a song’s lyrics, leaving space to the side. In that space, I write down the words I don’t know and their English translation. Then, I’m ready to sing in karaoke! The repetition and melody of songs makes it easy to remember words, I told them, so I hoped that they would likewise find music they really liked in English and make their own Lyrics Notebooks. To get them started, I handed out the lyrics to the songs whose videos we’d be watching. I tried to pick a variety of genres so that hopefully everyone would like at least one song in the bunch. The videos were as follows.

MJ’s “Beat It We just watched it and enjoyed it, then…

Weird Al’s “Eat It I gave them the lyrics, but with blanks. We watched it twice, the second time stopping to fill in the missing words.  So far, 2 out of 3 homerooms LOLed during most of it.

Ciara’s “Like A Boy Never fails to elicit a 「すげぇ!」(“awesome!”) when she does that lean back on her ankles thing.  When I explained what the song was about, one of the more lively students said, 「深い!」(“that’s deep!”). ^o^

Willow’s “Whip My Hair They seemed to like it up to the point where Willow comes out with her boombox/paint, but then they seemed downright traumatized. Too much personal expression maybe? ^_^; This video will probably get cut.

*NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye Because I figured these kids, who like Justin Beiber and Disney movies, would love the cheesiness of *NSYNC. But I gotta say, I love the car chase in this vid.

U2’s “Elevation Several homerooms are big on movies, so I figured this would be great for them, and it’s an awesome vid in general.

Then, we had them vote on which song they liked the best, then tried to sing part of it.  It was easy with “Beat It,” but “Like A Boy” was harder, mostly just because it was the class of Kids Who Are Allergic To Speaking English that picked it. ^_^;

But Art Course was different The Art Course kids also answered that they wanted to do music and movies, but about half of them also said they wanted to draw or do something related to comics.  I took this chance to do something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I saw an art student blog about it: you draw a picture in the shape of your initials that contains items/characters whose names also start with those letters.

I had planned to give them 25 minutes to draw, but since it took me 25 minutes just to do the “E” in my sample drawing (including the time it took to decide what to put in the drawing), I figured I should give them 30 minutes.  On the one hand, doing it in English might be hard for them, but on the other, they can draw a heck of a lot faster than I can, so I figured 30 minutes would be enough time.  Also, I didn’t want to give them too much time, because not every student in Art Course is a drawing or painting major; indeed there are some who don’t draw all that well.

While they drew, I played various songs and wrote their title and artist on the board so that if there was a melody that caught their fancy they could look it up later.  I made sure to play “Bachata en Fukuoka” for them. ^o^ Myself and the JTE were probably the only ones in the room who understood it. (This particular JTE speaks a fair amount of Spanish.)

My sample Initial Drawing. There are 11 items for E, and 7 for V. Can you catch 'em all?!

After the 30 minutes were up, I had the students trade drawings and try to list all the items in their classmates’ drawings. Originally I had thought to give a prize to whoever could list the most items, but since people had drawn different numbers of things, and it was the last class, I decided to just give everybody chocolate. My sleep-deprived self, however, forgot that the bag of chocolate I’d taken only had 25 pieces, and there are almost 40 kids. FAIL So I just said, “please come to the shokuinshitsu if you didn’t get chocolate.” ^_^;;;

Calligraphy! There were actually a few kids in each homeroom who had more participation points than they needed to reach 100% on the final, so I decided to give them my usual present: calligraphic nameplates/bookmarks.  I’ll post a picture of some once I make more, as I’ve already given out the ones I’d done. I also told Art Course that if they were interested in learning how to do it, I could show them. I’m thinking it’d be nice to have a couple of one-shot workshops about it, but I have to find an art store that even sells penholders and nibs. You can find some nibs in the form of G-pens, but a C nib? The lady at the local art store looked at me like I was crazy when I described it, asking, “where can you buy such a thing?” >o<

The Andy Warhols of the Future? And speaking of art, the effervescent Year 1 Class 5 (whom I will miss T_T) have a very interesting picture in their homeroom.  Every month, the health club puts out a newsletter that includes an interview with one of the teachers, and a picture of said person.  Several months ago, they interviewed me. A couple of months after that, they interviewed the homeroom teacher of 1-5. So one day, my co-ALT says to me as we’re in their class, “I don’t know what’s with that picture of you and Y-sensei.” He points it out to me and I see it: a picture consisting of about 16 pictures from the health newsletter arranged in a 4 x 4 grid, all of them of their teacher save for the one in the lower right corner: me. ^_^; I busted out laughing and tried to explain Andy Warhol to the kids who were wondering what I found so funny.

I’ll stop procrastinating now And go do some laundry. Till next time, O Reader!

次回!Seriously! I’ma translate that song one of these days!