Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Farewell to Plutschow先生

Plutschow先生: Thank you so much for everything you have done for me and for my students in the five years we worked together. We still cannot believe you will no longer be here with us, but we promise we will continue working to achieve our educational goals. Thanks for being such a supportive colleague and encouraging boss. You have made a difference in the lives of many of us and we will miss you. May you rest in peace.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

PTA in Yamanashi Prefecture

We traveled to Kofu this morning for the PTA meeting and we met parents from mostly Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures. It was a pleasure meeting one of my seminar student's mother. She was exactly as I imagined: extremely kind, had a nice smile (and her son inherited that) and showed her love for her son.

The difficulty today was to tell the parents that Dean Plutschow was scheduled to be there with us today and that he was looking forward to meeting everyone. His sudden death still seems to be a bad dream to me--I still cannot believe it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

City Lights Café

The inauguration ceremony of the JIU City Lights Café was held at 1 PM today. The new café is located very close to our campus (closer to Gumyo Station) and it's going to be a perfect place for good live music and excellent organic coffee. The duo LOFT and Professor Jiro Plutschow are scheduled to perform in the near future. Today the international students who are here for the Intensive Japanese Summer Program took part in the ceremony as well. I hope you'll make time to stop by there next time you come to JIU.

Disney Dinner

The seven students who will be leaving for their internship at Disney World in Florida and the teachers who helped them with their studies and also their paperwork for applications (UCR, Disney and visa!) came over for dinner last night. We wanted to get together once again to wish them good luck and say we hope they'll return to Japan in good health and wiser.

June 23: Thank you, Yuko

Thank you, Yuko, for coming to JIU on your day off and for bringing me these huge cans of Earl Grey! I was so glad to hear you traveled to France and England on your own and know that you are using what you learned here and that you have so much confidence now. It's so nice to hear you have kept in touch with John and that your international network remains strong! Thanks again for your kindness and please come visit again!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Dear All,

I would like to ask you to send positive energy to Dean Dr. Herbert Plutschow who was hospitalized on Sunday and needs our prayers.



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 22: Yakiniku with Yuka and Ayako

Yuka & Ayako came visit today. We decided to have "yakiniku" for a change. It's always wonderful to hug former students and thank them for taking the time to come out to Togane to visit.



Friday, June 18, 2010

June 18: Faculty Development & Buckwheat noodles

A pleasant morning meeting with Harue who I met in California in May. A busy afternoon taking part in the Faculty Development session that was from 1:30 to 6:00. A delicious late evening enjoying "soba" at a local restaurant.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June 17: At Josai Senior High School

I went to our sister school Josai Junior and Senior High School in Ikebukuro today to give a talk about cross-cultural communication and understanding. It was nice to see Risa again. We first met when she was in junior high and took part in one English training session in Kamogawa . She is now in her second year of high school. Time really flies! She will be studying in Oregon from August so it was good to see that she has been studying English and her motivation level is high. Good luck in the States, Lisa!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 16, 2010: Brasil estreiando na Copa

You can see here that even my three-year old nephew became a soccer fan during the first Brazilian game in the World Cup this year!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 15, 2010: 市山ゼミ交流会 at JIU

My third-year students gathered today in order to socialize and learn more about each other. They did this as they played some games and ate lots of snacks together! They also congratulated Naho and Kaoru on their participation in the UCR/Disney College Internship Program. They will be departing Japan later this semester and will be studying and working at Disney World in Florida for six months. (The photo above is of the game prize winners.)


Viva Japão!

Primeiro jogo do Japão na Copa 2010. Quase tive um ataque no coração no final do jogo, mas venceu o Japão. Parabéns!! Infelizmente o primeiro jogo do Brasil não será transmitido em nenhum canal japonês, mas encontrarei um jeitinho de ver o jogo, ou parte do jogo, pela Internet.

The first game for Japan this World Cup. I almost had a heart attack towards the end of the game when Cameroon was running out of time, but Japan was able to keep the 1 x 0 score. Congratulations! Unfortunately no channel here in Japan will be broadcasting Brazil's first game, but I'll try to find a way to watch it in the Internet.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

June 13: PTA meeting in Yokohama

Today approximately 120 parents of current students attended the annual PTA meeting that was held in Yokohama. It was the first one this year and from now we will be having the same type of meeting in Yamagata, Tochigi, Niigata, Ehime, Ibaraki, Gunma, Shizuoka, Yamanashi and Saitama Prefectures.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

June 12: Sugahara Glassworks Inc.

We are fortunate to be close to the Sugahara Glass factory which is located in Kujukuri. It's only a 20-minute drive from the JIU Togane campus and we get to see all their beautiful handmade glass work. Besides buying their products, you can also make your own. I've never done that but a large number of students have. Today I bought a nice dish for the summer and also a tiny vase I want to give a friend (photo). I went there after a long day working at my desk so you can imagine how happy my eyes were!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June 10: Sushi night

We went out for sushi tonight and I ate more than I needed.... Ichiriki is one of my favorite restaurants in this area not only because of their great fresh fish but also because of the Sakamotos' おもてなし.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June 9: Summer School-Welcome Party

Our Japanese Language and Culture Summer Program started Monday and we had a welcome party for the students from Hawaii, Tennessee and California from 4:30 today. The students, their conversation partners and teachers attended, and I felt that it was a pretty good start of program as people didn't leave until 7 o'clock.

Earlier in the day they met with our Chancellor Noriko Mizuta. I was impressed at their efforts to use Japanese when greeting her, the President and Vice-Presidents. I am sure they are going to improve their Japanese very quickly here.

June 9: 大学説明会

Today we welcomed high schools teachers on the Togane campus and had the opportunity to explain what we do in our various departments here at JIU. In the 国際交流学科 room, we were able to talk about our English Education and about the achievements of our students in 2009. We also shared the news about the UCR/Disney College Internship Program and the addition of Hungarian studies to our curriculum. Thanks Valentyna, Yasunobu, Haruka, Shunsuke and Tomoyasu for helping us yesterday and today.

Monday, June 7, 2010

June 7: Summer School starting today

The Japanese Language and Culture Course in our Summer Program starts today. This time we have participants from Hawaii, Tennessee and California. They are going to be here at JIU for four weeks, and we hope they will have a great time studying here in Chiba.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I have told many people that "Sazae-san" is one of my Japanese language and culture teachers. Eighteen years ago I didn't understand 5% of what she was saying, but I took notes of her lines and did my research. I can understand a lot more now, and I still see the show whenever I can. I was driving when it started today. It's a little scary to know that nowadays we can watch TV as we drive, but don't worry--today I listened to her; I didn't watch the show.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Students at JIU had the opportunity to experience planting rice in a field near the Togane campus. I hope they will enjoy harvesting the rice in September, too! You can see my seminar students Yo, Jack and Valentyna in the photos.

Saying Farewell

The partner of a new friend I made in California last year passed away, and even though we met only once, I feel I knew him well. I don't remember feeling that way about anyone, and the more I think about it, my conclusion is that I feel that way because I admire my friend for his warmth, kindness and openness. The conversations and e-mails we have exchanged have inspired me to be a better person--I feel for his loss. This is a photo I took at their house in May.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June 3: Princess Takamado Painting Exhibition

I was able to enjoy Princess Takamado's painting exhibition at the Embassy of Canada today. The official title is "Picture Diary: Princess Takamado Painting Exhibition" (open until June 23). It was very interesting not only to see her paintings but also to read the texts about the paintings and feel her love for her family.

June 3: Embassy of Canada

Having a Brazilian passport can be quite problematic when I have to go to other countries especially because I need to get visas. I applied for a visa to Canada and as there were some complications, I had to go to the Canadian Embassy in Akasaka today. I had to leave all my three passports there, but they told me I'll be receiving them all back before 10 AM tomorrow morning--and with a visitor visa to enter Canada! I was quite relieved as my plans are to leave Narita this Sunday. After the Embassy, I decided to stop in Ginza to get some gifts to take to Canada and I think I was very thirsty. Look at the amount of tea I had....

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sarah's Birthday

Today is my god-daughter Sarah's birthday. Unfortunately I don't get to see her as often as I would like to and it's really sad because she lives in Tokyo which is not far at all. This is a photo we took a while ago when we saw Corteo with the Cirque Du Soleil in Tokyo together. It was really fun. Sarah is the youngest one in the photo. Isn't she cute?