2014 SPHSS Diary – 7

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Day 7/35 – Wednesday July 9th

Tiger v's Tempura

Tiger v’s Tempura

The students are making good progress with grammar acquisition and listening comprehension. Knowledge gaps are gradually being closed. One of the challenges of this program is that the curricula of Japanese language programs taught at high school level abroad varies widely from country to country and from school to school. Our teachers average 10+ years of experience, including teaching at university level. As always, all classes are taught in Japanese only, but the feedback from the students today over lunch was that the explanations made by the faculty are so good that there is no anxiety anymore about being in a full immersion environment. Their listening comprehension skills are about to make a large leap. They are pretty much adjusted to the climate and timezone now, so naturally we are gradually increasing the amount of homework provided.

The plan for lunch today was unagi (eel), but the restaurant is undergoing some minor renovations, so we’ll postpone unagi until another day. Instead we headed off to a fantastic nearby sushi-ya…. only to find that they are closed on Wednesday.

Facepalm!

駅前天ぷら

駅前天ぷら

Never mind, we can go there tomorrow. Another 200 meters and it was tempura time. We enjoyed マグロ天ぷら (tuna tempura). Was a pretty good feed. After lunch, it was kanji time again. The students are now gradually moving from sight recognition to vocabulary building. They are pretty good at remembering the meanings of the kanji being taught, and the KUN readings, but so far are struggling with some of the ON readings. They are steadily learning the radicals. We will keep making make daily adjustments.

Our main concern for tomorrow is not homework, but a large typhoon. The typhoon is currently about 1000 kilometers (approximately 620 miles) to our southwest. It is a large typhoon, but will weaken quickly, especially when it makes landfall in Kyushu (the southernmost of the major islands of Japan). We are expecting it to pass by us to our south, so tomorrow will probably be a rainy day. There is however the possibility of the typhoon coming closer than we would like, raising the issue of strong crosswinds. In Japan there are announcements made on NHK (the publicly owned national broadcaster) if schools are to be closed due to wind, heavy rains/floods etc. As the safety and welfare of our students is our first priority, we will close for the day if a warning is announced. All homestay families have already been informed. On the brighter side of life, the day after a typhoon passes by, usually brings blue skies and a nice breeze. Should be a perfect weekend.

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