Thursday, September 30, 2010

Água na Boca

Fábio Yonemoto who has always contributed to our charity activities during the JIU Festival visited us in Togane today. He is the owner of the company Água na Boca located in Gifu. We'll be selling their cheese "pastel" and "linguiça" (Brazilian sausage) this year.

International Students

Some of the international students who joined our department this month introduced themselves during the 基礎ゼミ hour on Wednesday. We have students from Norway, the Philippines, Finland, France, the US (Hawaii and California), Hungary, Mongolia, Korea, Spain and China.

Dinner with Yoshiko-sensei

This was the first time I had dinner with Yoshiko-sensei at Takedaya. I had been there with Plutschow-sensei a number of times and last night we had a good time talking about him.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


When I arrived at JIU today, I ran into the owners of the flower shop in my neighborhood. What a nice surprise! They were here to see our new exhibition at our museum and were very nice to bring me this great flower arrangement.

Another great surprise was the phone call from Matsudaira Yoshito. He had great news: he received his PhD and was hired by a college in Fukushima Prefecture as an associate professor. He was a student in the very first class I taught at JIU in 1992 and you cannot imagine how proud I am of him!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Winter is here?

I felt today that after a long hot summer in Japan, we suddenly entered winter--no fall this year? It rained all day in Tokyo, and the highest temperature here in Toke was 16 degrees. I then checked the internet and found out that it was 44 degrees in Riverside today! Was the information wrong or is the weather really weird around the world? For some reason, the weather today reminded me of my visit to Budapest last year (photo).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Speech Contest

The 27th Speech Contest for Commercial High School Students was held at JIU yesterday. I am attaching a photo of the champion, a photo of participants socializing with our international students and a photo of the Principal and Vice-principal who were in charge of the competition this year.

Isabel is here!

My niece Isabel was born on September 20 in Brazil.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dinner with students from Hungary

Last night I went out for good Japanese food with my new advisees from Hungary: Aniko, Mariann and Nora. We went to Tokyo An.

Get together

Some students who graduated this year and some last year came to my place for dinner Thursday night. It was good to cook and eat our famous JIU Festival dish "peixada" together again! Takahito: Welcome back from Norway!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Agnes, Valentyna and Cristina graduated yesterday. Agnes is my first students in the dual degree program with the Dahlian University of Foreign Languages. She is going to be attending our graduate school. Cristina and Valentyna are our first scholarship students.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

International Students

The three students from UCR who will be studying at JIU from this fall all came to my office yesterday and I was glad to see they're all in good health and ready to start the semester. I took Hiroko (UCR), her sister, Shiori, Yuki and Miku for dinner. Yuki, Miku and Shiori were at UCR with me until Monday. Takahito also joined us and it was great seeing him and learning about his seven-month stay in Norway where he was TA in the Japanese Program at the University of Oslo.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back in Japan

We had a safe trip back to Japan and arrived at Narita at 4 PM yesterday. As always, I woke up at 3 AM (the magical hour) and have been catching up on e-mails since then!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Certificate Ceremony

Our students were awarded certificates by Dean Sharon Duffy who also talked about her visit to our university in April when UCR Chancellor White received an honorary doctorate degree from JIU. In the photo you can see students singing the JIU song and also "Sarai."

Los Angeles Tour

After the Japanese American Museum in Little Tokyo, we had a short tour of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. We basically only drove around Rodeo Drive for a few minutes because the streets were closed in preparation for a fashion show. In Hollywood we went to the Chinese Theater and Kodak Theater. Our last stop was the Griffith Observatory Park but we had to stay only ten minutes because we couldn't park the bus there. It was crowded because they were having a big concert that evening. On the way back to Riverside we decide to eat at the In-N-Out Burger and some students got to try their "animal" menu.

Japanese-American National Museum

Mr. Sameshima, Mr. Yamada and Ms Watanabe organized an impressive workshop for us on Friday. Besides having a 90-minute museum tour, we also had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Sameshima about his personal experience in the intern camp and also in Japan in 1945. After that we all had lunch in Little Tokyo (Ebisu) where some of us were really happy to eat miso soup again.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ocean Charter Elementary School

We spent the morning at Ocean Charter Elementary School in Los Angeles where Japanese is taught to all children from the first to the eighth grade. One group stayed on the south campus with Eiji Yano-sensei (photo) and the other group went to the north campus and learned from Hiromi Yoneda-Matsue-sensei. More than learning about how Japanese is taught there, the most important thing was to realize how important it is for Japanese students majoring in International Exchanges to study a lot more about the Japanese culture, language and history. Yano-sensei: Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity and for the warm welcome. We were impressed at how good your students are at Japanese and how interested and engaged they are in the culture. We really appreciate your kindness and wish you all the best!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

California School for the Deaf

On Wednesday we spent the morning visiting various different classes at the California School for the Deaf where they teach children from age 18 months to 22. Besides sharing some Japanese culture with them, the other purpose was to teach them some Japanese sign language. The children seemed to be very excited learning how, for example, "good morning" is done so differently. There is a lot more bowing involved and in the end they were doing the sign language and bowing!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Martin Luther King High School

This is the second year we visit Martin Luther King High School here in Riverside, and again the Principal, Vice-Principal, teachers and students (ASP) received us with an incredibly warm welcome. Besides showing the students around the school and giving them the opportunity to learn about the high school here in the States, we were invited to lunch and learned that the students had brought all the great food!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Palm Springs

We took the Palm Springs Aerial Tram so that we could have a great view of the desert and also see the vegetation they have 11,000 feet up there. The ride itself was exciting for some and scary for others, but we all enjoyed walking around the park and the temperature was just perfect. However, once we got down and went to Cabazon, the temperature was close or above 39 degrees!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mission Bell Elementary School

We were received with a very warm welcome by Superintendent Elliott Duchon, the Principal, students and teachers at Mission Bell Elementary School in Riverside today. We were able to spend time with students in eight different classes and share with them a little bit of the Japanese culture and language. It was a very short visit, but we hope that it was a good intercultural experience for them. It certainly was a wonderful experience for us!

Campus tour & Citrus Park

On Thursday we had a campus tour (photo: Bell Tower) and after that we went to the Citrus Park here in Riverside. A volunteer talked about the history of Riverside and how the naval orange was first grown here. We also drank the most delicious orange juice as we left the park.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Voices from California


Welcome Lunch & Orientation

We had a welcome lunch at noon and then had a long orientation session from 1:15 to 4 PM. The photo is of Daiki greeting Director Bronwyn Jenkins-Deas during lunch.

望実 in Riverside

Greetings from California. I met with Nozomi today and I'd like to share her experience at UCR with you. Here's a short interview:
Me: How long have you been studying at UCR?
Nozomi: I've been here for five months and I really enjoy studying here. I'll be here until March of 2011.
Me: So, are you satisfied with the English and homestay program here?
N: Yes, since I came to America I feel that my English has been improving quite fast.
Me: Do you mean that in Japan your English was not improving?
N: I don't mean that, but here I have to speak English all day and all my courses are in English, too. It's the environment.
Me: I see. Does that mean that your TOEIC score has improved a lot, too?
N: When I was in Japan, my score was low and even though I studied hard, it improved just a little, but since I came here, I feel I studied even more than when I was in Japan, so I could improve my skills and score more.
Me: I think that what you studied at JIU for one year gave you the base for your studies at UCR and that's why you have improved so much.
N: I think so, too. When I was in Japan I learned the fundamentals of English, so that helped my English a lot.
Me: So, do you meet with the Resident Director, Teramoto-sensei, very often?
N: Yes, I often go to his office and we talk about my homestay situation, my life in America, and my English. He always gives me advice. He has studied in Canada himself and has a lot of experience as a foreign student, too. So, it's good to have him as the Director.
Me: I'm very glad to hear that. So, please tell us about your host family.
N: I really like them. There are three people and my host mother likes talking, so she has helped me improve my personality and also my speaking skills. They always take good care of me and show me around as often as they can. I really appreciate them and I'm grateful I am staying with them.
Me: That is great. You are lucky you are getting along so well with them. I hope they'll be able to visit you in Japan one day.
N: I hope so, too. If they come to Japan, I will show them around. I'd also like to invite them to my hometown in Gunma.
Me: I certainly hope they'll be able to go.