March 18, 2011

School update

School will restart on April 7. The new school year will start then.

All international students are to email me their status, either in Japan or outside Japan.
I need all their contact information in Japan and outside Japan just to check what I have now is correct.

seiritsu at

Most we have talked to, so things are fine.

Let me be more clear;

International students in Japan who returned early to their home countries are to confirm with me they arrived safely at;

seiritsu at

International students still in Japan must contact me at this gmail email address as to what their plans are, either stay in Japan or leave. I will need all their contact details where they are staying even if they're home stays or accomodation in Japan are unchanged.

International students planning to come to Japan for the new school year are to talk to their parents to review their country's travel policy to Tokyo. Postponing one's arrival might be necessary, which is fine. International students can start at Seiritsu at a later date.

Again, students planning to come to Japan must update their travel plans with me at;

seiritsu at

International staff will not be in the school until April 5. If there is a change in plans, I will update the website.

Any questions or concerns, please email me.

Everyone be safe. Let's hope life returns to normal again soon.

If anyone wants to help with the relief efforts in Japan, please contact your local Red Cross.


Manager, Int'l Dept.

March 17, 2011


Just an update that Thursday morning Japan time I will be unable to go to the office.



March 16, 2011

Earthquake update

Richard here,

Just a quick update as of March 16, 4:30pm Japan time.

School is closed still until March 22 and it seems my work email is only sometimes forwarding messages to me (just a laptop software issue) so if I haven't responded to anyone, I will be in the office Thursday morning Japan time to handle any and all correspondence.

Things in Tokyo are safe, people are stocking up on essentials, but there are no immediate worries. Japanese people are not evacuating south.

The Japanese government, the US military, the Canadian government, the British government, the International Atomic Energy Agency (UN), and the World Health Organization all agree everyone outside 30km exclusion zone around the Fukushima reactors are safe. That's about 230km from Tokyo. They say even in the worst case scenario, we in the Tokyo area are still safe.

You can find the official websites for these groups at the bottom of this update.

There are some non-Japanese leaving Tokyo. Either they had plans to leave later this year so they're going sooner, or they had been in Japan long enough anyway and decided now was the time to go. Some foreign company non-Japanese expat employees were ordered to leave by their overseas head offices and there are some non-Japanese people taking their children south or out of the country.
The concern about the unknown is causing them to leave it seems.

The expat staff leaving will most likely be gone for just a week or two and then come back when things calm down.
Expats I have heard from say the same thing. And some of the non-Japanese leaving early in their stay will of course come back to Japan.

The decision for international students to leave can only decided by students talking with their parents. We clearly understand if some students do leave and respect their decision.

Other than that, since I have my work responsibilities, I will stay as of the time of writing this message. I am making these choices based on the cold, hard facts from official guidelines from the above groups, and from the school.

A good example how how safe it is here is the fact that the US military has 50,000+ personnel in Japan, many of whom have their families here, but they are not evacuating their children nor the other civilians.

Again, there are lots of 'experts' talking on various TV news programs here and around the world, but I'm not listening to them.

Only if there is an evacuation order from the Japanese government will I leave this area, or maybe from my country's embassy, either for the south of Japan or another country, unless other credible information comes my way.

While I have woken up each day expecting for hear this reactor crisis is being controlled, it keeps going sideways, but not worse, in that a 100km exclusion zone is not being created to my knowledge at this time.

I honestly think we are still in the first week of shock and confusion, but by next week, things will be much better.

My heart goes out to the thousands of people still stranded up north.

The official websites I recommend following;

Japanese government in English;

US Forces Japan

US Forces Japan Commander's positive announcement

UK official site

Canadian official site

BBC live Japan - good, except for the odd sensationalist report

There were good articles in the Japan Times English newspaper today.

1) Japanese language and attitudes related to these issues

2) Helpful information sites.
Mobile internet lifeline in Japan

Sorting quake information in Japan

Feel free to contact me if you have any concerns or questions.
I will be in the office on Thursday, March 17 Japan time from around 8am for awhile.



March 15, 2011



I just wanted to post that the school plan is unchanged.
School starts again from March 22.

The International Department's March course from Feb 28-Mar 18 will be over by then, but international students can come to the school on March 22 to talk to school staff.
March 23 is the final official day of school for the year when all the international students can meet their homerooms before the Spring break starts.

On some days between March 24-April 6, there will still be extra Spring break classes and sport's club practices for regular Japanese students.

School starts again April 7 for the new school year.

In regards to the ongoing problems up north, the best advice I can provide for international students is from the Japanese government, that the Tokyo area is safe.
Please visit the Japanese government's English website.

From the UK government, they also state Tokyo is safe and the only evacuations needed in relation to the Fukushima reactor concerns are to be outside the 20km exclusion zone.

Since Tokyo is over 200km away from the reactors, there is no need to evacuate.

Official British government website.

Best English updated news information I have found is on BBC live.

Please be aware that clear facts presented by each international student's government is the all important information to refer to. I have found some regular news reports to be false both in Japan and overseas. A sense of panic is unnecessary. I completely understand how people overseas may feel frustrated.

My serious concern is students or staff doing unnecessary things that get them stuck somewhere, or they waste their money for things that were unneeded.

Everyone be safe. This should all calm down soon. The streets are very safe. People are being nice to each other. Most people are making sure they have enough food for one week.

The international staff will not be in the office until March 22.

All the international students have our personal contact information.


Manager, International Department

March 14, 2011

Earthquake update

All international students have safely arrived back to their home stay families.

Seiritsu classes and club activities have been canceled for the rest of the week. Regular school activities will resume on Tuesday March 22nd.

March 12, 2011

Earthquake report

I just wanted to put up a short message that all the international students are ok, they have checked in with us directly or through their home stays.

Tokyo looks just fine and the trains are beginning to move.

Thank you to everyone for the many messages and phone calls of concern.

We all look forward to life getting back to normal as soon as possible.

This year's Japan Experience is still a go, from July 31 to August 13.
More information to follow in the next 4 or 5 days.

If anyone has any questions about anything, please email me at .
I will be back in the office in under 48 hours (Monday morning Japan time).



Manager, International Department

March 11, 2011

We're gonna celebrate and have a good time!

Some class mates and I at "all you can eat grilled meat!"

This march is the last month of the school year and Seiritsu has its annual choir practice! Although my class didn't do so well I still had lots of fun. Unfortunately I also managed to catch a cold right before the event.

Later in the week, on Sunday March 6th, I went to Seiritsu’s graduation ceremony. Towards the end of the ceremony, my classmates invited me to an after graduation party! It is the first time they have asked me to join them in after school activities,
and we celebrated the graduation together.

First we took a bus from Akabane station, which is near the school, to an amusement center called “Round1.” It has a lot of stuff to do like bowling and playing arcade games. However, I ended up in a karaoke box afterwards and had a great time! We spent about two hours there, then we got on a bus back to Akabane to eat. They had reserved food, an
"お好み焼き&焼き肉食べ放題" (all you can eat grilled meat and vegatibles!). We also went to a nearby arcade afterwards. I wanted to stay longer but I had to leave since it is such a long way back to my home stay family. But I'm really happy they decided to invite me as well!


March 11, 2011

Miso time!

Beans and miso paste

Last Saturday I went over to my host mom’s mother’s house to make miso (soy bean paste). For 2 hours straight, we did nothing but smash soja beans and mix it with different ingredients. It was really fun and great bonding with my host family! After we finished smashing and mixing, we made small buns of miso and threw them into two pots, because miso needs six months to ferment. We managed to crush two spoons in the process. I got to spend lots of time with my host family, so I was really happy!

After we finished making the miso, I was so tired that I ended up falling asleep by the table. However, sitting right across from me was my host dad and he was snoring. So I decided it was okay. I woke up after five minutes though, because of my neck hurting. After that, we ate a delicious dinner! All in all it was a blast.


March 11, 2011

Fuwa Fuwa snow in Tokyo!

On my balcony, in the process of transporting snow.

During the evening on February 14, it snowed a lot in Arakawa-ku. It looked like there were deep piles of snow everywhere!

I was very happy since it was actually my first time to see snow. Where I used to live in California, it never snowed except for in the mountains. My family told me I had seen snow when I was young but it was too long ago for me to remember.

Since I was so curious, after my sister returned home from work and told me that the snow had piled up on the ground, I quickly ran out with my camera and started taking pictures.

I even made a deformed snowman and a woman that passed by looked at me weirdly.
After 30 minutes of playing in the snow, when I got back to our apartment, I secretly gathered up the snow that was sitting on the top of the balcony wall and piled it up at the base of our front door.

The next morning, all the snow melted, which was very disappointing but I knew it would snow again later or next year. On March 7th it actually snowed for almost the whole day but I didn't take any pictures. I'm very glad I was able to see snow and I'm looking forward to the next time.


My poor deformed snowman.

March 11, 2011

Preaching to the Choir

Class mates and I after the choir.

The third of March is the annual Seiritsu home room choir for junior high school and first year senior high school students.

Before the actual event, my home room class practiced for almost three hours every day. In total, 12 classes participated in the choir. When we were about to start the actual singing I got so nervous! I hadn’t been on a stage in over four years! When it was finally our turn, I was still really nervous but I was able to pull myself together.
Our class ended up winning the championship!

After that, we went back to our class and then my teacher started to cry. Everyone else also started to cry, including me. Since everyone knew that this was the last time for us to work together. Also, I was thinking what a great memory this will be of the year.




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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