May 27, 2009

Hello! This is Nick.

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Hello! My name is Nick Smith and I am the new International Department teacher at Seiritsu Gakuen. I am from the Washington DC area of the United States of America. I spent most of my life there and eventually graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science (Neurophysiology). Currently, I am responsible for the Math and Science education of the foreign students, as well as several English composition classes for Japanese students.


This year, Math will focus on advanced algebra as well as graphing various types of functions. The Science curriculum will revolve around Human Physiology for 3rd year students, and cell biology for the 2nd year students.


In addition to teaching, I love to travel and play Lacrosse. I’m looking forward to my experience with Seiritsu, and in my spare time I hope to find lots of interesting new places!

May 16, 2009

A student post: host grandmother defends her house!

Hello, hello, Ella here. If you don't already know about me, I’m a Finnish girl who loves music and art. Not boring art, like paintings. And this is actually my first time writing on this site!


Well, I haven’t been here for a long time yet, but I have met some really interesting people. One of them is definitely the grandmother of my host family. It’s amazing how she can be really tough, but also kind at the same time. While I was sick for a few days she came to see how I was doing and made me food. She also speaks very clear Japanese so it is easy to understand what she’s saying.


Anyways, that wasn’t so interesting. The one thing that actually made me amazed was when I heard that during the war in 1945 when Allied bombers flew over Tokyo, she was on the balcony of her house with a gun shouting “Come if you dare!” It sounds so cool. Women have to defend themselves too! Way to go, granny.


Also, there is this one old traffic policeman. I see him everyday when I go to school. He is always talking to some little kids and he has received many drawings from them. He sounds pretty suspicious. Just joking. He might be a good old man.


I hope I will get to know more people and make lots of friends! : )


See you.


Ella

May 16, 2009

A student post: my home stay mom almost never sleeps!

Have you ever met anyone who you thought had super-powers? Or acted like a machine, in body and mind? I think I have a theory about my host mom, Sakayori-san, because she sleeps less than 6 hours a day [Sometimes only 2 hours a day] and works like a madwoman.


My host mom owns a chain of Yoga studios and even instructs at the one on the second floor of their house. Not only does she manage all of the studios and the finance involved, but she takes care of most of the garden in the huge lot of land they own, which is a lot of work to do everyday.


That's just one of the few businesses she deals with. Nearly every weekend my host family throws a party for different groups of people, usually different Yoga groups. One weekend, my host parents decided to throw a party both Saturday and Sunday. The one on Saturday apparently ended at 3 am, I was already asleep by then. When I woke up for a glass of water at 6 am, I looked out the window and saw my host mom and host dad preparing for the next party. That means that they cleaned up after 3 am, and had less than 2 hours of sleep, only to wake up and start preparing for another party. When I met them outside later on, my host mother seemed both completely fine and normal. I think that counts as a superpower of sorts.


Other than being a business genius and Yoga instructor, she is also a 2nd Dan Black belt in Karate, and a world traveler, having been to a dozen countries and is still planning to visit more.

David

May 16, 2009

A student post: my home stay brother

Hey my name's Fraser and I would like to write about my host brother 他家 (Take).


Take is currently at a cram school out in Ikebukuro. If those reading this don't know what Ikebukuro is it's one center of Tokyo with tons of activities. The train station there is one of the main stations for transfering to other lines so it is a very handy place.


Like some of us though Take dislikes school. He is also 19 and he will turn 20 in October so he is definitely excited about being a full adult.


Since I came to Japan Take has always been nice to me and he has taken me out often. For a example he took me out around the time of my arrival, showed me around Ikebukuro and later we met up with his friends which was an enjoyable evening. Thanks to him I met a lot of new people and I now have a ton of new contacts in Japan. Now I just call up my new friends and go out and do whatever, but I will always try to drag my brother out with me. He was a little shy at the begininng but I could see that was natural because I was the stranger coming into his home to live for maybe the next 2 years.


I am very happy that I was put with my current host family or else I would have never met my new host brother. I have actually never had a brother before and I am happy to call him my brother.


Fraser

May 16, 2009

A student post: first day in Tokyo!

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Ai's certificate for climbing up part of Tokyo Tower.


Hello everyone, my name is Ai. I have started my first year as a second year student at Seiritsu Gakuen. I came from New Zealand, but I was born in South Korea. During this year I hope I learn more about Japanese history, Japan's entertainment and of course Japanese. I have learnt Japanese for only 3 months and I am just starting to read some hiragana and katakana. I wish that I can read more than 100 Kanji at the end of my year in Japan!


I will never forget my first day in Japan. All students from Education First (EF exchange program) met at the Narita Airport after we arrived and when we were all together, we took the bus from Narita to a hotel in Shinagawa. It took about 3 hours. After arriving in our hotel, we had lunch and headed to Tokyo Tower. It was the first time that I went on the train!!! ... in Japan. When we arrived at Tokyo Tower, there was a really long, long line that we had to wait for to enter. While waiting, there was a monkey show next to the door, so all the students were watching and taking pictures.


Ai

May 16, 2009

A student post: karaoke!

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Hey everyone! Its really been a while since our last blog. The new school year has started and our long spring break is over. During my break I went out a lot with my friends. One of the best things I like to do when I go out is go to karaoke!


Ever since I came to Japan it took me around five months before I actually went singing with my friends. I always thought it would be embarrassing, but it’s so fun! I’ve learned that most of my friends aren’t that good at singing too, so it doesn’t matter. Now I go at least once a week.


Because karaoke is so popular here you can find it everywhere. It’s not expensive, usually around 140 yen per 30 minutes (high school student prices). Together with friends you rent a room (usually for one or two hours) that has a large TV, a singing machine, sofas, a small center table and then you can sing as much as you want. For a small amount of money you can also get a drink bar, which means you can drink as much as you want.


My Japanese is still not good enough to sing in Japanese, but it’s no problem. Karaoke rooms have almost every song in English too. I always sing “When I'm Gone” and “Stan” from Eminem and “Where Is the Love” from the Black Eyed Peas.


It’s for sure on my list of things I’m going to miss a lot when I leave Japan. For those of you who are planning to come to Japan, don’t hesitate to go. It’s a really great way to spend your time!!


Wessel

May 16, 2009

A student post: shodo class!

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This time I will write about one of my interesting classes. It is calligraphy or shodo in Japanese. I and my friend usually study it once a week. This subject teaches you how make beautiful and correct Chinese characters, or kanji. What makes me like this class is the teacher, Mr. Maruo. He is very good in calligraphy and most calligraphy classes are taught by him at Seritsu.


When teaching he doesn't make student feel stress, as he teaches each student how to correct their brush strokes after every practice sheet is written on until we can do it all correct. In this class you must have brush, ink and paper. After we finish one practice sheet, he will check our work and he always gives comments to us in order to improve ourselves.


Calligraphy is a very interesting subject to learn. It makes you know a lot of kanji and makes you become stricter. This is due to the fact that in the beginning students must follow every stroke properly. They can't do any different style stroke on their own. At first it was a bit hard for me, but later on it makes me understand a bit more about Calligraphy. Don’t forget to try it if you have the opportunity.


Poom

May 16, 2009

A student post: train seat-sitting strategy

Every morning at exactly seven fifty two am, at the very back of carriage number three, I see Mr. Yamada, as I ride the train to school. I have never actually talked to him, but on his left pocket on his suit he has a name tag with his company name “M. K.”, and his name YAMADA all in capital letters.


From my station to school is about forty minutes. As you know, trains in Japan are really crowded especially in the mornings so it is really difficult to get a seat. When I get on the train in the morning to go to school, he is always sitting to the left on the third seat from the corner. I always try to stand in front of his seat because I know that he gets off at the next station.


So if everything goes as planned, I only have to stay standing for 4 minutes and then have a nice sleep for about thirty minutes…well this was until last Wednesday. I’m not exactly sure where he went, but I think he catches a different train now. Maybe he get a new job…I'm not sure. I guess I have to find a new passenger to stand in front of now so that I don’t have to stand the whole journey from home to school!


Ryosuke

May 16, 2009

Renovated International Study Room

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Our newly renovated international study room - about half of it is in the picture.


From March to April, our smallish international study room was wided and sprouced up before our very eyes. With more floor space added by knocking out a wall, university style desks, new carpet, and a new air conditioner, the room is not only larger and nice, but also a more versitile space than before.


The international study room is located on the first floor of the Seiritsu Budojo. Budojo means martial arts hall, which holds a judo dojo and a kendo dojo.


And a wooden slide from the first to second floor.
Everyone who first comes to building always scratches their head when they see a kid's slide built in the Budojo.


There is a very good reason for it, which is not sliding down while practicing kendo slashes. The building used to be the old Seiritsu kindergarten, but when the beautiful new kindergarten was built across the street some years ago, the old building's classrooms were renovated into two dojo. However, the old front office was not needed and remained vacant until it became the international department's room a few years back.


Below are more pictures of the renovations.


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May 16, 2009

New International Students!

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l-r: Fraser, Wessel, Ryosuke, Poom, David, Ella, Ai


Seiritsu welcomes three new second year students - Ai, Ella and Fraser - to the International Department!


Our newest students truly do represent different parts of the world because Ai is from New Zealand via South Korea, Ella is from Finland and Fraser is from Canada. Ai and Ella are in the 10-month Education First program, whereas Fraser plans to study for 2 years at Seiritsu until he graduates.


Our previous EF students, David, Wessel and Poom, will be returning to their home countries in June, and Seiritsu will be welcoming 3 more students from the same program in September.

May 16, 2009

Berlin Home Stay 2009

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Berlin home stayer Misaki Arai


Seiritsu High School has a student exchange arrangement with GHO School in Berlin, Germany. Misaki Arai was one of two students from Seiritsu that went there this year from March 21 to April 4th during the Spring Break in Japan.


SG: Prior to going to Berlin, what were your impressions of Germany?
MA: My impressions of Germany were that the people would not be friendly, the food not delicious, but that Germans love football.


SG: Now what is your impression of Germany?
MA: The people there are very kind, they don’t sleep on the train when commuting like Japanese people, but that the food is so-so.


SG: Please tell us about your home stay.
MA: My home stay sister’s name was Sophia and she’s 17. She lives with her father and mother, but her older brother lives somewhere else. Sophia like Japanese things very much, she studies the Japanese language and she’s kind.


SG: What was the home stay house like?
MA: They had a big house with an electric stove for cooking in the kitchen, which we never see in Japan since Japanese use natural gas. Also it was interesting to see that the shower room and the bathtub room were separate.


SG: What language did you use there?
MA: Mainly I spoke English and a little Japanese. Sophia’s parents can’t speak English so Sophia and I spoke to each other in either English or Japanese and then she would translate for the parents when we were with them. Also Sophia spoke English very fast so sometimes I couldn’t follow it.


SG: How did you find the German high school? Different from a Japanese high school?
MA: Yes, very. There is much more freedom in a German school, as the students wear no uniforms, they can dye their hair any color and school finished at 2:30pm with no extra studies afterwards. I sat in on regular classes plus I participated with the volleyball club and the Japanese club. On the last day we made Japanese food, so I made curry rice and ramen noodles.


In the Japanese classes the Japanese language teachers are both native Japanese and native Germans, which I found interesting.


SG: What did you see in Berlin?
MA: I went to many museums in Berlin and in Dresden, plus I went to Leipzig to watch the German National Football Team beat the Liechtenstein National Football Team 4-0.


SG: What was the most interesting things you saw?
MA: The Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam was really beautiful, with a wide open estate around it. School was also fun, the students were very funny and the senior students in Grade 13 who liked manga and anime were real otaku. It was interesting to see the different school events when students wear different clothing. There was Bad Taste Day, Pajama Day, 80’s Day plus Ladies & Gentlemen Day. Each time students came to school dressed up in that day’s theme, which would never happen in Japan.


SG: Where there some things you didn’t like about the school?
MA: The students only have a very short break time for lunch, so they just eat while walking to the next class.


SG: Was there any German food that you liked?
MA: The German Donor was delicious!


SG: Would you like to go back to Germany?
MA: Yes, I would like to see more of the country, like Frankfurt, which is famous for sightseeing. But I’ve also invited Sophia to come visit me in Japan so hopefully I can show her my country too.

about Seiritsu

Seiritsu Gakuen is a private co-educational high school created in 1925 and it is located in Tokyo, Japan.

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