Friday, December 16, 2005

a typical fun-packed friday

This is Uchi-san cooking a mean sukiyaki for the weekly college outreach dinner. oishisou

Here is my Friday English conversation class for Chiba University students. We conducted another pass-along story, but this week I gave each student two words (those little white slips of paper) to use in their contribution. Words ranged from "dolphin" to "sinister" to "Michael Jackson." Of course, most students first consulted their English-Japanese dictionaries which they always carry around. I need to get one too, if I ever hope to learn kanji.

Left to right: Uchida-san, a prospective pastor on my team. I always get into interesting conversations about music with him - the cultural and religious roots of jazz and rock, for instance. James, my "mentor." Neither of us have quite figured out what a "mentor" is yet. Regardless, we share a lot of projects together. James is teaching the class in this picture. Or at least touching his face. Hisa is a high school sannensei. Sannensei = senior in the U.S. The two of us met while barbecueing at a social function - we took turns pointing to the various charred vegetables we were grilling and naming them in our respective languages. I'm a beginner in Japanese and he's a beginner in English, so we make it a point to swap vocab words whenever we see each other.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

asleep at the shutter

(Please click on the pictures if you want a close-up)
On Fridays I spend all day in or around Chiba University (11a-11p). I eat lunch with college students at a cafeteria and afterwards socialize in the sunshine (see picture). Takashi is pretending to skateboard. At right is Nagata-san, the college outreach leader and guitar virtuoso, and the fat middle shadow is me.

At 4:30 I give a small, informal English conversation class at a nearby church. We discuss sports, travel, and the ups and downs of college life. I often let the conversation take its own course as long as everyone is involved. Last week, however, I started a pass-a-long story around the room. Each student added an additional sentence to a cliffhanger story about Leonard the Egyptologist - an instant hit with everyone. Will our hero escape the mummy's curse and find his way out of the pyramid to safety? To be continued...

here is Soneda-san, my Japanese teacher. ah, ee, u, eh, oh.

my Monday lunch: rice, nori, tofu, and soybeans. Very simple, super quick, but quite tasty and very filling.

The Iversons (my next door neighbors/boarding family) are having new floors installed, so everyone camped out in my little house for dinner tonight. The cast, starting left, continuing clockwise:

Dave Abear: an ex-Chiba team member who now works with MTW in the US. He's visiting on a short term trip and is helping the team with some construction work. As soon as you meet this guy you wish he was your uncle.
Kimiko: a very nice Japanese lady who came for dinner.
Dan Iverson: team leader, pastor... all of the above
Steve: a short termer from Boseman who arrived with Dave.
Carol Iverson: Dan's wife, KCS teacher, a very hospitable lady who helped me settle in and is always happy to give me tips on Japanese cooking
Micah Iverson: one of my 6th grade students with a melodramatic flair - always fun to hang around with
Hannah Iverson: 9th grade student, enjoying my kotatsu table
Mark Iverson: 11th grade student, cool, collected, addicted to Starcraft
Seth Iverson: the youngest Iverson, concealed by the kotatsu blanket in this picture