Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kifu Koza

Students in the Honors Club were able to do group research in the academic year of 2011 as well thanks for donations from companies such as Obayashi Gumi, Shimizu Kensetsu, Takasago and Yurtec. Representatives of these companies came to JIU on Saturday to evaluate the presentations given by the students. The main theme this year was the reconstruction of the northern area of Japan after March 11 and students focused on independent fields of research such as volunteer work, energy efficiency, medical needs, and my group focused on contributions made by the United States. The main reason for that is because we received scholarships to go to the States for about two weeks after the catastrophe last year. This was an excellent opportunity for our students to grow and go beyond their everyday studies. I appreciate the donations by all companies.

The students who didn't have to work last night got together for some Indian food. It was a long but enriching day for all them.

Saying Farewell to Ran-sensei

Faculty members got together on Friday to, unfortunately, say farewell to Ran-sensei who will be leaving JIU next week. He was our colleague for 11 years and we'll miss him.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mariage Freres

Hard to believe, but after all that "picanha" we were able to have tea and dessert
at Mariage Freres.


We had a "faculty meeting" at Barbacoa today. When asked by a young and new waitress if it was my first time there, I replied, "No, it's my 250th time." I have been there many, many times, but I always enjoy the great "picanha" and the "palmito" (hearts of palm). I can probably eat both every day! In that sense, it's good that I live in Chiba and not close to the restaurant.
Leaving the restaurant looking happy--and heavier....

Saito-kacho retiring this month

Saito-kacho is retiring this March. He's been working at JIU for 20 years and mainly in the Job Placement Office. I invited him, his wife and son for dinner at my place on Tuesday to express how grateful I am for the assistance he provided my students with all these years. As a surprise, I also invited some of the students who just graduated and who he personally helped with their job search activities.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Commencement 2012

Our graduation ceremony was held at 11 AM on Saturday, March 17. Considering that last year we were not able to have one and we basically didn't have an opportunity to say farewell to students, I felt that we were fortunate to have students and parents on campus. The weather was terrible, but the girls looked great in their "hakama" (a special kimono for graduation ceremonies).
All of my seminar students completed the requirements and were able to receive a BA degree. One of them is going to graduate school, two are becoming English teachers, one is returning to China and luckily most of the other students are going to be working in the Kanto area and hopefully they'll be able to come visit.
A group photo with graduating students and their parents.
Graduating students with some of the juniors who worked hard preparing
for this get together.
She will be living really far from all of us, but she promised to come to the JIU Festival.
She'll be working in Sapporo.
The third-year students ended up leaving JIU after 8 PM because of the cleaning they had to do. Do they look tired?!? They did an excellent job and I'm very proud of them!

Professor Schalow and his son

Professor Schalow gave us the opportunity to meet his son on Wednesday. Eric is visiting Japan and came to Togane for a short visit. My students were practicing job interviews and were all wearing black suits, but in the end I think it was a good opportunity for him to see how different things are here.
Having lunch together at the Center for Language Education.

Thank-you dinner at my place

I wanted to thank the students who invited me to Mariage two weeks ago and had them over for dinner at my place on Thursday.

Who took this photo?!? Sorry, Kaoru.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 11: A year later

We gathered at JIU on Sunday for a minute of silence at 2:46, the time that the earthquake hit the Tohoku are a year ago. The JIU Brass band played two pieces and we also saw together part of the national service held in memory of the 20,000 people that died last year.

Hitomi and Azusa came visit on March 11

They arrived at JIU really early and because there was nobody around I heard-- from the 3rd floor--their voices when they were entering the building. I'm not saying they were loud. I'm saying it was an extremely quiet Sunday morning. It was really nice of them to come from Tokyo to see me.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Invited to tea

Some of my students invited me to tea after the party. I enjoyed my time with them and appreciate their thoughtfulness. They took me to my favorite tea shop in Tokyo.
Superb cake.
Really, really good!

Hoping that this won't be our last tea together.

Graduation Party in Tokyo

The graduating class invited all faculty and staff to a party in Tokyo on Thursday.

Live music with Loft.

Extremely hot Indian food

The owner of Garam Masala knows that I cannot eat spicy food, but for some reason what he prepared on Wednesday was the hottest Indian food I've ever tasted. When I complained about it, he apologized and a few minutes later brought us a plate of chocolate chip cookies.... This was during the meal, so I had a bite of bread with spicy curry and a cookie, then two bites of the spicy chicken and one cookie. That's how I managed to finish my meal. The company was great though.

Students are back from China, Hungary and the US

Many of our students took part in short-term programs in China, Hungary and in the US. This was a week of souvenirs! I was given lots of delicious sweets, a bottle of Tokai wine and some cute things to decorate the house. The three pretty girls above returned from China where they had the opportunity to meet students at some of our sister universities. In May they went to California with me.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Entrance Exams

On Saturday we had another round of entrance exams here in Togane. Friends from around the world ask me why we have so many exams and the answer is: we have so many different types of entrance exams in Japan. Our last round is going to be on March 19 and I know that a Brazilian student will be applying.

Some universities are considering major changes in the near future. The University of Tokyo announced that they are planning to start the academic year in September instead of April. I don't know what the high school students are going to be doing from March to September, but in any case, they would like to adjust to the academic dates in most Western countries. Another university announced they are going to incorporate the quarter system used at many American universities. Here at JIU we use the semester system and for quite a while now we have had two entrance ceremonies-one in April and one in September when we welcome most of our international students and Japanese students who were studying abroad. I feel we have been ahead of most institutions.

Friday, March 2, 2012


As part of the intensive course I am currently teaching, I took my students to Narita Airport where we visited the ANA Logistics and ANA Service Tokyo. It was a long day but I hope it was a fruitful year to the students.
Lunch at the staff restaurant. A nice surprise: my former student Kaoru joined us! She's been working for ANA for three years.
Training room.

Back in Japan: Dinner with Prof. Lubarsky

I arrived back in Japan Tuesday night and went to JIU early in the morning to teach an intensive course on airline/airport career planning from 9:30 to 4:30. In a way that helped me not think about jet lag! Also, Thursday was grade-report day here at JIU, so I was busy from 9 to 6 as well without any time to fancy a nap. Professor Lubarsky is here to teach an intensive course and we went out for some Indian food. He'll be flying back to Barcelona on Monday.