You’ve been learning Japanese for a while, and reading example sentences in textbooks or materials intended for Japanese learners, like graded readers, has started feeling a bit boring to you. Now that you have a good foundation of vocabulary and grammar… …continue reading
Japan Online Tour Guides You to the Far Corners of Japan in Real-time!
Japan Online Tour proudly announces the introduction of live virtual tours that will allow participants to experience traditional and modern Japanese culture from the comfort of their own home.
Japan Online Tour ( https://JapanOnlineTour.com ) is pleased to announce the launch of real-time, virtual travel experiences featuring the many facets of Japan through live-streaming. From natural wonders to historical sites to bustling city life, you can now explore Japan with knowledgeable, fun and engaging guides.
As the pandemic disrupted travel plans, many people had to cancel or postpone their trips abroad. Japan Online Tour was launched on 1 Sep 2020 to allow people to still experience Japan albeit virtually.
Japan Online Tour is highly interactive. You can interact with the guide in real-time via chat. If you missed the livestream, you could watch the recording later on at any time. You can even make new friends with other virtual travelers. Whether walking, hiking, driving or taking part in various activities, you will feel like you are with us in person. We will bring you authentic experiences not commonly found in travel brochures. You will also meet locals who are enthusiastic about their city/town as well as proud artisans and passionate custodians of Japanese culture. At Japan Online Tour, we always have something for everyone.
The live tours are conducted for premium members and live-streamed in a closed Facebook group.
Join Us for the live tours and discover Japan! https://japanonlinetour.com/
If you have been blessed with a residential stay in Japan, it makes sense to consider putting your child into a Japanese public school. Let’s take a look at some of the factors worth considering when making that decision.
The acquisition of Japanese
Probably the clearest advantage of your child attending a Japanese school would be the acquisition of Japanese language skills. Even if there happens to be another dual-culture child in your kid’s class, and even if that child happens to share the same alternative language as your kid, they will still almost certainly speak together in Japanese at school because it is the common language there. Children adapt and learn so quickly that at the elementary school age it is likely to take only a few months for your child to catch up to the other kids in general language usage.
If your child is starting from zero with Japanese and entering third grade or higher, you will need to be careful that her weak Japanese skills don’t hinder her understanding of the lesson material. Even with mathematics, many questions at this level will be in word form. (e.g. If I have ¥500 and want to buy apples that cost ¥100 each, how many can I buy?) In grades one and two, children study hiragana and katakana (although most have already learned them at home or in kindergarten) and the times tables and basic addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. They are given homework mainly to get them into the habit of doing it. If your child will be in this six- or seven-year-old age group while you are in Japan, it is worth considering sending him to a Japanese school in order for the whole family to really be a part of Japanese society. The same is true for kindergarten.
People studying in Japan often ask GaijinPot Study a very tricky question: is Japanese hard?
If you ask Japanese people themselves, 68.5% will say 日本語（にほんご）は難（むずか）しい (Japanese is hard) in a heartbeat. Even native speakers admit to struggling, especially with written Japanese.
Indeed, Twitter proved brought the matter up last Monday when the expression “police tantrum” (警察駄々（けいさつだだ）) started trending. The hashtag confused users, who wondered what the heck it could mean, and by the end of the day, it became 話題（わだい） (the topic of conversation).
Netizens are divided on the reasons leading to such a misunderstanding.
In this comic strip, a ちび (cute and short character) policeman is having a tantrum, crying and rolling on the floor. He is asking to search the other character’s belongings. That’s a good guess, but it turns out “police tantrum” wasn’t about Japanese police behavior.
What does it all mean? Well, it all started with users mixing up police tantrum” (警察駄々（けいさつだだ）) and “police matters” (警察沙汰（けいさつざた）). Netizens are divided on the reasons leading to such a misunderstanding. A lot of folks, including the press, questioned the literacy level of today’s Japanese people.
Others think the sound proximity between the words 沙汰（ざた） (zata) and 駄々（だだ (dada) could have just lead to an honest mistake.
“There will probably be opinions saying that words like ‘police tantrum’ and other misuses are caused by educational problems or lack of reading. But I think it’s mainly that regular things that used to be niche, can now be seen and shared on social media.”
One year after Kagawa capped kids’ playtime, will Tokyo follow suit?
Last spring, politicians in Japan’s Kagawa Prefecture enacted the Ordinance for Measures Against Internet and Game Addiction, which prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from playing video games for more than 60 minutes a day during the week, or more than 90 minutes a day on weekends. Ostensibly, this is to protect them from interactive electronic entertainment turning their young minds to mush. Although the ordinance currently has no penalty built into it, kids who go over their daily limits are technically violating the law. Also banned: high school students using smartphones for non-studying purposes after 10 p.m., and younger users after 9.
Kagawa is the first place in Japan to enact such a law, but with less than a million residents in the prefecture, the ordinance affects only a small slice of Japan’s population. However, on Wednesday Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike was asked if she has plans to place a legal video gaming time limit on kids living in the capital.
The question was posed on Wednesday’s plenary session of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, and Koike responded with
“In regard to countermeasures against video gaming and Internet addiction, I believe it is important for the city to calmly assess available information. I am not considering instituting a uniform time limit that has no scientific basis.”
Koike’s words will come as a relief to Tokyo’s game-loving minors, especially since when Kagawa enacted its ordinance last spring, Koike said would “be watching what sort of effects it produces.” Apparently, though, her observations so far have led her to believe that a blanket limit on playing time or …continue reading
Across Japan, graduation ceremonies for students in elementary, junior high and senior high schools will take place in the second week of March. We can likely expect heavily curtailed, socially distant ceremonies—a far cry from the fanfare and celebration teachers are used to and which our students have come to expect. This has got me thinking: Is there anything we as assistant language teachers (ALTs) can do to help our students cope with this upheaval?
First, we need to look closer at the problem we are dealing with.
As an elementary school teacher, I have noticed that preparations for graduation among my sixth-grade students are noticeably more muted than usual. My students seem demoralized and more than a little bit frustrated at being deprived of their moment in the spotlight. It seems especially unfair when we know that none of this current predicament is in any way their fault.
There has been much debate about the necessity to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and the potentially fatal consequences of contracting COVID-19.
The elderly, frail and individuals with preexisting conditions make up the vast majority of fatalities worldwide. However, the coronavirus has the potential to kill anyone, even children. Social distancing, wearing masks, the cancellation of school events and reduced contact time are all unfortunate but necessary steps we must take.
However, to some extent, one aspect that has been overlooked is the psychological impact of the pandemic, especially on children.
After one too many lazy Saturdays, we find ourselves standing at the foot of an ice cold waterfall.
Our Japanese language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma has been in a rut: Sleeping until noon, only dragging himself out of his futon far enough to tuck his legs under his heated kotatsu table, and then lazing there all day until he rolling the few feet back into bed and going to sleep.
Sure, it’s a comfortable rut, but a rut is a rut, and recently he decided he needed to jolt himself out of it, so he decided to go and do takigyo.
By themselves, the kanji characters mean “waterfall” and “go,” so you might think takigyo refers to going to a waterfall to clear your mind and refresh your spirit through the tranquil atmosphere of nature. That’s…half-right.
What takigyo actually is is a form of ascetic meditation practiced in Japan, done while standing underneath a waterfall and letting the water pound on you, driving out mental impurities, evils, and other negative distractions from your mind.
While it’s a part of traditional Japanese culture, for safety reasons we don’t recommend just running off into the mountains and parking yourself under the first cascade you find. Luckily for Masanuki, Ryusenji Temple in the town of Kita Kyushu, not far from where he lives in Fukuoka Prefecture, offers a takigyo program on the second Saturday of every month. Participants of any and all religious beliefs are welcome, and Masanuki showed up for the mid-February session.
▼ A temple with a cute illustrated sign saying “Please Google our traditional waterfall meditation program” encompasses a lot of what …continue reading
Osaka District Court ruled on Tuesday that it is legitimate for a prefecture-run high school to ask its students to dye their brown hair black under school regulations and instructions.
In a lawsuit filed by a 21-year-old woman in 2017, the court, however, ordered the Osaka Prefectural Government to pay ¥330,000 to her for failing to include her name in attendance records after she stopped going school.
The woman sought some ¥2.2 million in damages from the prefectural government, claiming that she suffered mental distress as she became a truant student after she was ordered by teachers to dye her hair black. The school regulations ban brown hair.
“The school regulations are reasonable in light of conventional wisdom, and hair color instructions are based on a legitimate purpose under the school education act,” presiding Judge Noriko Yokota said.
Yokota also rejected the woman’s claim that her natural hair color is brown.
On the school failing to include her name in the attendance records when she advanced to the third year and not assigning her a seat in a classroom, the judge said that the school’s decision was extremely inappropriate, and that the school abused its discretionary power.
According to the ruling, the woman entered Osaka Prefecture Kaifukan Senior High School in Habikino in April 2015.
After she was repeatedly instructed to dye her brown hair black for violating the school regulations, she stopped attending the school in September 2016 when she was a second-year student.
The lawyer for the woman said at a news conference that the ruling is regrettable, adding that the court decision that her natural hair color is black is an unjustifiable factual error.
An official of the prefectural bureau of education said its position on school regulations and …continue reading
About 80% of Japan thinks that there should not be an Olympics in 2021. During that low supporting environment, “Yoshiro Mori, an 83-year-old former prime minister (総理大臣sori daijin) with a record of insensitive (無神経なmushinkeina) and sexist pronouncements, had tried to justify the lack of women at a senior level in the Japanese Olympic Committee by saying women talk too much at meetings and make them run on too long. The following day, he apologized (謝るayamaru) but showed no apparent remorse (後悔koukai) and said he had no intention of resigning (辞任するjininsuru).” (Washington Post 2/11/2021)
The whole incident shows curious vocabularies that are rooted deep in Japanese society and culture. Let’s move away from the obvious gender inequality issue itself this time.
On February 3, 2021, Mori said that female directors on the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games were弁えている. 弁える(wakimaeru) is considered a virtue in Japanese society. So what does that mean? In English, the closest would be “know one’s place.” It does not entirely sound positive in English, does it? When asked by a journalist during his apology press conference on February 4 if he meant women had to refrain from speaking, Mori got very angry, declaring that the journalist was just trying to make his article interesting. In Twitter, people tweet with the hashtag わきまえない女– a woman who does not know her place – to show that women should not be silenced.
Mori’s press conference on February 4 was to apologize for the sexist comments he made. However, the conference is referred to as a 逆ギレ会見 (kaiken, press conference). 逆ギレis a noun form of a very popular Japanese term – 逆ギレする (gyakugiresuru). It means one that is in the place to apologize starts getting angry instead.
場所を問わず、学び、教える力はこれまで以上に重要であり、Google はテクノロジーを活用した支援をさらに拡大していきます。この 1 年、Google は、常に児童生徒を中心に考える教育コミュニティの創造性と柔軟性に感銘を受けてきました。より多くの学びを支援するために、Google for Education の新しいサービスおよび新機能をご紹介します。
Google Workspace for Education のご紹介
本日、 Google Workspace for Education を発表します。Google Workspace for Education は、Google Classroom、Google Meet、Gmail、カレンダー、ドキュメントなど教育現場でのコミュニケーションとコラボレーションに適した統合ソリューションです。幼稚園から大学院まで、世界中の教育機関の多様なニーズを満たすために、利用可能なエディションをこれまでの 2 つから 4 つへ拡大します。
Posted by Ben Gomes, SVP, Learning & Education
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