Day 1 of our new student camp

Hello everyone,

Right now it is 20:45 at our new student camp. We had a busy day that started with a bus trip and then a picnic lunch outside in the sunshine. Our second picnic already this year! After that, our students listened to Sr. Morita and Ms. Okamoto talk about how to be a good Shin-ai student. Then, Mr. Miyamoto helped us practice making formations, and we played some teamwork games. 

Everyone was hungry by the end of the day, and our challenge was to “clean our plates”. Our girls did a good job of finishing their dinner. They must have been hungry from their busy day! Following dinner we met in classrooms to make our class goals for the year.

Now it is time for a bath and off to bed. See you tomorrow,


“Be There” is the most important thing.

Hello everyone!

Grade 1 junior high school students and teachers are getting ready for the new student camp tomorrow. Students need to pack their bags by themselves, so they should double-check everything. At the new student camp our grade one students will study, play, eat, and sleep together. It is a good chance ot make new friends and learn how to be a Shin-ai student.

The most important thing for students is to come every day. If you miss school, two things happen. First, you fall behind in study and homework. It is difficult to catch up if you miss many days. Secondly, you miss memories. Right now classes are working together to prepare for the school festival. These are important times in your school life, so don’t miss these chances!

This year’s first year students are doing a good job of coming to school every day. I hope to see many more days of “all zeros” on the teachers’ room chalkboard. Do your best!

Next stop Kihoku, Allen.

Wakayama Castle Picnic

Hello everyone,

Let’s go to Wakayama Castle!

The weather is getting warmer, and it FINALLY feels like spring. Yesterday we had homeroom in the afternoon because grade 2 and 3 classes are getting ready for the school festival. Grade one classes do not have to prepare for the festival, so teachers wondered “What should we do?”

After we checked the weather forcast and saw that it was a beautiful day, we decided to have lunch at Wakayama Castle and enjoy the cherry blossoms. After that, Mr. Baba gave a lesson about the different finds of plants and trees around the castle. He is a science teacher, and an expert on different kinds of plants. In fact, he uses pictures of different flowers on his New Years card every year!

Enjoying lunch by the cherry blossoms…
Mr. Baba talking about the different plants at the castle…

We also checked out the small zoo behind the castle, and then we walked back to school just in time for cleaning. It was a good chance to make friends, enjoy a beautiful day outside, and appreciate nature.

Have a good weekend!

Online English Lessons Start!

Let’s start our new year. Welcome back everyone!

Last week teachers were working hard to get ready for the new year. Every year we try to improve our school with new ideas and new programs, such as SGH. This year a big change is our online English system. Every student from grade two in junior high school to grade two in high school will have 1-to-1 English training with a teacher each week. This is a special chance for students to practice what they study, and try it with many different people.

Organizing the textbooks…

Yesterday was the first full day of lessons, and everything went smoothly. The technology of the ipads and internet worked well, and the students’ tension when they met their new teacher was very high. After the lesson was over, most students felt tired because it is hard work. However, I am sure that after a few times they will become stronger and more confident.

The first lesson…

Students, if you need any help or have any questions about this new system, please let me know. Good luck, and do your best.


“The Nativity Story” Movie

Hello everyone,

Now that tests are finished, the first year junior high school students have a special program each morning this week. Today we watched a movie called “The Nativity Story”. The movie follows the story of Joseph and Mary as they travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The movie tries to show the difficulties they had on their journey, and it ends with Jesus being born. That day is, of course, Christmas Day.

In December our school had a “Nativity Scene” in the entrance way. Do you remember it? There was Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, as well as the three wisemen, shepards, the animals, and the angel.

Tomorrow our students will have a “study at home day” because teachers have many meetings. It is a good chance to get a head start on your winter homework. Do your best!

English Club Newspaper – Winter 2019

Hello everyone,

Recently the English Club tried making a school newspaper. It was our first time, so it was a little difficult, but we hope you enjoy it. You can find it in your class, of you can read it here. If you enjoyed it, or have any ideas, please let us know.

-Shin-ai English Club

Winter 2019 Eiken Test

Hello everyone,

Well, tests are finished for this year. Are you happy with your result? If you did not do as well as you hoped, then you you need to think about what you will do differently next time. Each time we stumble, it is a chance to change and do better. When you think about yourself, we call it self-reflection in English. Just like a mirror reflects our own face, self-reflection lets us think about ourselves.

Today was a short day as teachers passed back tests, we did some cleaning, and we had an assembly. During the assembly we heard about the tennis team going to their national spring tournament (fight!), the Cambodia team reported about their Christmas trip (good job!), and studetns got various awards for their work this year (congratulations!).

One student who got an award is in high school grade 2, and she passed the EIKEN pre-1 level test. There is a big jump from level 2 to level pre-1. Not only are the vocabulary and grammar more difficult, the concepts and themes are targeted towards adults. For example:

  • Do you think more people in Japan will be interested in having careers in agriculture?
  • Should the government raise taxes in order to improve public services?
  • Should universities provide more opportunities for the elderly to learn?

I hope that next year more of you will challenge the next EIKEN level so that you can express yourselves in many different ways and on many different topics. Good luck! Remember, if you ever need help or want to practice with me, I am always available.

Graduation 2019

Hello everyone,

Today is a special day for our school. Our third grade high school students have their graduation ceremony with their family and friends. Our ceremony is a celebration with music, singing, and words from people who have supported students through their Shin-ai life.

An English word we can use for today is “bittersweet”. On one hand, it is very nice to be finished school, and to have accomplished something so wonderful. On the other hand, our students are leaving the safety and routine of their school for a future that is hard to imagine right now.

To all graduates, your world is about to open up in many different ways. I hope you explore your new chances and opportunites with the same energy and excitement you brought to school each day. At the same time, keep the important lessons of your school life with you, as they will guide you in difficult times.

Be stong and courteous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

All the best, Allen.

Hayabusa2 Success!

Hello everyone,

Last week was exciting news for the JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. After a long wait their Hayabusa2 lander was able to land on the surface of an asteroid flying through space. It mission is to examine the asteroid, collect samples, and then fly back to earth with them.

The distance this spacecraft has traveled is unbelievable. The asteroid, named Ryugu from Urashimataro’s story, is 900 meters across. Or, 0.9 km. Right now Ryugu is 280 million km from earth, or 280,000,000 km. That is a very tiny target.

If you are interested in following the journey of Hayabusa2, JAXA has a nice website with live data coming from the spacecraft. You can find it here in both English and Japanese. There is also an interesting blog about how the spacecraft will land and take off from the asteroid, and the Hayabusa2 Twitter feed for daily updates.


This project needs a lot of teamwork and smart people. Look at how big the team picture is at JAXA! Our own school also has its own Rocket Girl Program which launches a rocket every year. If you are interested in this science and good teamwork, please talk to Ms. Sato or Mr. Yoshida.


This year’s rocket launch.

Be my Valentine?

Hello everyone,

Last Thursday we enjoyed Valentine’s Day here at school. Many students brought homemade sweets, and others brought store-bought sweets to share with friends and teachers. I was talking to a couple students, and they taught me two Japanese phrases for the day: giri-choko and honmei-choko.

In English we could call giri-choko “obligation chocolate”. This is chocolate you give to someone you have to. Honmei-choko could be called “true-feeling chocolate”, and it goes to someone you really like.

But… what happens if a girl is giving obligation chocolate, and the boy thinks that it is actually true-feeling chocolate?!? How can people know? Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day about love, but it seems that there is also a chance for heartbreak.

I would also like to mention that the Japanese sweets industry is very clever, because it has also promoted “White Day” in Japan. In Canada, Valentines day is a chance for both girls and boys to buy each other gifts, but in Japan it is spread out over two different days. That is good for business! However… the boys who received Valentine’s Day chocolate must remember who they got it from and return the favor. Some people say that is should be worth THREE TIMES as much as the Valentine’s Day present. If they don’t, or they forget… more heartbreak!

This is all very confusing. Let’s eat some more chocolate and think about it a bit longer. Have a good week! Only two more weeks until your final tests!