Saturday, April 30, 2011

Matriculation Ceremonies on April 28

The matriculation ceremonies were held on April 28. They are usually held before the academic year starts, but due to the present difficult times in Japan the ceremonies were held the day that JIU celebrates the beginning of its 20th year (foundation on April 28, 1992). Everything felt different this year as we had already taught the students, but it was really nice to see so many parents and guests there wishing the one thousand some incoming undergraduate and graduate students a bright future.

Congratulations, Hayashi-sensei!

Hayashi-sensei received the Best Young Teacher Award from JIU on Thursday during the matriculation ceremonies. I am very proud and happy for her. She deserves it!

Monday, April 25, 2011

What a day!

Today was one of those days when everything goes wrong, but towards the end of the day I received two gifts that helped me forget the bad things for a while: the thank-you cookies I wrote about a little earlier and some wild flowers. Every year I get to see them in the mountains in Kamogawa, but because we canceled our two-day trip with the Freshman students this time, I hadn't seen any until today. Mr. Iguchi was so kind to remember that I love them and brought a bunch to class tonight. What a great day to end my day. Thank you, Iguchi-san.

Yuko's visit

I am glad to say that Yuko came to JIU today and I was able to introduce to her a new student from the same high school in Fukushima (next to each other in the photo). We all went out for dinner after my evening class. You might be thinking, "Indian food again?" and I have to tell you that we've been concerned about the lack of business in the restaurant lately and therefore have been going there as often as possible.

Yuko: Thank you for the visit. I hope you'll be able to go to Fukushima next month and that you'll come see us again soon!

Happy Easter

I am embarrassed to say that I had forgotten all about Easter. Being in a country where it is just not part of the culture can make it hard to remember Good Friday and other special days, too--that's my excuse. BUT, coincidentally some students brought me a thank-you gift today and when I saw the bunny in the package I immediately realized my mistake. I'll call my god-daughters, my nephew and niece tomorrow....

Thank you, UCR/Disney applicants for the cute basket of cookies and for reminding me of Easter!

And Happy Belated Easter to all!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

UCR & Disney World Interviews

Our students applying for the Certificate in Tourism and Hospitality Management were interviewed by UCR and Disney World Friday morning. This year all the interviews were online and I'm sure that made the students even more nervous, but they all did a good job. We'll be looking forward to hearing great results.

Du-sensei at JIU

Ms Du from Tianjin Foreign Studies University arrived in Japan yesterday. She will be teaching Chinese on our Awa Campus this semester.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

He ate my popcorn!

To my big surprise, when I came back to my office I found out that Satoshi had eaten all of my American popcorn, BUT he went out and bought me Japanese popcorn--so thoughtful of him.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yutaka again?!?



また連れて来ていただけるかな?^^ Naho

It is a big relieve to have Sukekata back in Togane. We were very worried about him and his family as they live in Miyagi Prefecture. How fortunate we are to have him here and know that his family is well.

Thank you, Naoko-san

Remember I told you that I would like to go to Korea for the first time this year? Well, coincidentally I received three different gifts from people who went to Korean over the past six days! Look at the beautiful cup by Han Chung that Naoko-san gave me yesterday. I am already using it for my favorite morning cup of tea.


Mr. Takahashi treated us to some Taiwanese food and more "anindofu" on Friday. Now that I look at the photo I realize how much more "international" our dinner was: a person from Japan, one from Canada, one from Norway and two from California!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Up and down

We were able to enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossoms today again. We looked up and down and they were everywhere.

I met my new first-year advisees as a group for the first time today. I am looking forward to spending at least the next four years with them.

Charity event on campus

Some students and faculty members from China worked hard until 12 mid-night making dumplings and sold them on campus today. They were really good. Thank you, everyone, for the hard work and I also appreciate everyone who came to eat and to contribute.
The chefs
Lined up for "gyoza"

Do you like "anindofu"?

Do you like "anindofu"?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Scary wake-up call

What a scary way to start a Tuesday! I'm sure everyone here in Chiba felt the quake a little earlier today. It was the biggest I've ever felt in my apartment, and when I turned the TV on, I realized the epicenter was where I was standing. That piece of information might not be precise enough but it explains the strong jolt that came from underneath. The floor didn't move sideways this time. I just now arrived in my office and again, books and broken things are on the floor, but it's not as bad as it was exactly a month ago.

Yesterday Tim shared this site with me. If you want to know a bit about the after-shocks we've had the past month, please take a look at: Don't forget to press the play bottom so that you can see where the hundreds of after-shocks are taking place.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New students on campus today

Orientation is only next week, but I had the pleasure of having two new students in my office today. A former student came visit, too. My office was really "lively" all day!

Beautiful Campus

Not all cherry trees are in full bloom on campus yet, but the "shidarezakura" look really beautiful today. What a nice way to welcome the students back to Togane.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Soba Debut

I took Joseph for dinner tonight and it was his first time eating "soba" noodles. Considering it's a very Japanese dish in the sense that you need to know what to do with all the different bowls and small plates that come with it, he did a great job and seemed to have enjoyed the taste of the seaweed and the tempura, too. So many foreigners have left Japan, so I was happy to see him and Chad here this week. They flew from the States last week and are starting their BA program at JIU this semester.

Takahito joined us and it was nice spending time with him. It was like Christmas today as he brought me gifts. There was no graduation ceremony this year so he came to say good bye. He is going to be teaching at a high school from next week.

Farewell to Daiki

We didn't plan this but ended up going to Garam Masala last night and said good bye to Daiki. He left for UC Riverside this afternoon. People pretended to be sad (photo)...


What a wonderful surprise. A former student called to say she wanted to share some of the flowers her husband had received upon his promotion, and she came to my office yesterday not only with the most beautiful orchids but also with her two sons! It's hard to believe that Seichiro is already nine!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 1: New academic year starts

I was reappointed Director of the Center for Language Education today for two more years and I was also assigned one new position besides continuing as the Chair of the Department of International Exchange Studies: Associate Director of the Center for International Education. It seems like I'm going to be a little busier, but all the jobs are related to international education and I hope to be able to meet everyone's expectations.

Sato Kantoku

I was so pleased I was able to see Manager Sato who despite the situation in Japan flew from Brazil and is here on baseball business. He is the one who introduced me to Hiroyuki (originally from Toronto) in Brazil four and a half years ago. That encounter probably changed his life as he decided to apply and come study and play baseball at JIU. I can't believe he has already graduated though. We both wanted to thank Sato Kantoku for having introduced us to each other and we were happy he made time for us in his busy schedule. We met in Tokyo for some good Japanese Italian food.