Cricket is a very popular sport in Australia. It is a very old English game, and is popular in many countries (India, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Australia, West Indies). It is like baseball, but also very different. The rules are difficult to explain, so have a read on this site ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/クリケット
Yesterday was my last day at Nodaoi Junior High School. To have fun, we played cricket. It was difficult to explain the rules (because the rules are very different to baseball). But, after a little practise, we were having fun. I think they enjoy playing cricket more than study!
Hokkaido English Competition is an English communication competition. The competition is every year. The competition is from HAJET (Hokkaido Association of Japan Exchange and Teaching). The competition is for first grade junior high school and first grade high school students.
The test has four sections. Section 1 is easy warm-up questions. “What is your name? How old are you? What is your favourite food?” etc. Section 2 is reading. Students read a small story to me. Afterwards, I ask them questions about the story. Section 3 is 20 Questions. The students can ask me 20 questions. I can only answer yes/no. They have to guess who/what/where I am. Example, “Are you a man? Are you Japanese? Do you play sports?” Section 4 is listening. I read a short story. Afterwards, I ask them questions about the story. The test is recorded on a video camera, and sent to a judge.
The grand prize is a two-week home-stay! They can home-stay in any English speaking country (USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand). There is also a five-day English camp for 30 junior high students, and 20 high school students. At the camp, the students get to practise English with many different people. There are many English activities and games. There are also many international foods to eat!
Many ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers, my job) in Hokkaido help students to do the test. This year eight students from Yakumo Junior High School entered. They did very well. Congratulations to them, and good luck! And lastly, a big thank-you to Mr Kurita, the first-grade English teacher at Yakumo JHS.
This year I went to two graduation ceremonies (卒業式). I went to one at Yakumo Junior High School, and one at Yakumo Special Education School (養護学校). They were both very interesting. I was very happy to attend them. Graduation ceremonies in Japan are very different to in Australia. Firstly, in Australia students don’t cry, especially not boys! Our ceremony is not very serious, and students have fun. We are sad that we won’t see friends as often, but we are happy that school is finished! I didn’t go to my elementary school graduation because I was on holiday in England. In Australia we don’t have junior high school, so no junior high school graduation. I don’t remember my high school graduation. And, I didn’t go to my university graduation because I was already living in Yakumo!
I also think that a graduation in March is strange. Our graduation is in December, and we start school in January. We have our summer vacation between graduation and starting school in January.
This year, I had 5 English classes for children. The children were 3 to 6 years old. The class was once a week in February-March in the community centre (公民館). I had a lot of help from a member of the Yakumo English Circle, Norie Nishida. Mrs Nishida was an English teacher in Kumaishi. She translated my English into Japanese.
We studied the alphabet, numbers (1-10), colours, foods and animals. We played many games, and sang songs. Parents also came to the classes and helped. The children had LOTS of energy. I had a lot of fun, and I think the children did too!
The last lesson, Shannon, a friend from Australia joined us. She brought her little son Emerson to the class. He is only 4 months old. He was very popular!
To celebrate the New Year, we had a ‘Pot Luck Dinner’. To have a Pot Luck Dinner, everyone brings a different plate of food. We all share, and try many different dishes. I made a very simple Middle-Eastern food, felafel. A friend gave me a recipe using okara and some spices. I also brought a famous Australian alcohol, Bundaberg Rum. There was also cured ham, home-made bread, cheese, many salads, fried squid rings and many other various dishes brought to the dinner from members of the English Circle. It was a delicious dinner, and I’m looking forward to the next time.
A few weeks ago I visited Kuroiwa Elementary School. I had a class with the fifth and sixth grade students, and afterwards a class with the whole school. We practised self-introductions and sang some songs in English (We Wish You A Merry Christmas and I’m A Little Teapot). We also played some games in English (Memory Chain and What’s The Time Mr Wolf). The students did very well at Memory Chain (a game where students have to remember many, many words). Mr Nobuya Kudo came along to help translating for me. It is only a small school, but they have a lot of energy, and it is always a lot of fun!
On December 22nd 2009, we had a Christmas Party for young children in the Kominkan. About 30 children from 4 to 10 years came to the party. 4 members of the English Circle and two students from Yakumo Junior High School volunteered to help me. We played Christmas games, sang Christmas songs, made Christmas crafts and ate a delicious Australian childrens party snack (Angel bread). We also had 3 special guests from Australia! My nephew and his two friends came to the party too. I think that everybody had a good time at the party, especially the children. Special big thank-you to Mariko Sato for helping me organise the party.