I hope you enjoyed your hot Hot HOT two day weekend. I know that in Japan, fall is the season for reading books. However, for me, I always remember reading books in summer afternoons. This weekend it was so hot outside that I took one of my favorite books off the shelf to read again.
The book is called “Ender’s Game”, and it is a science fiction book about a school for children in space. The children study about how to fight using spaceships, and they play games against each other to level up. They are preparing to fight against an alien species. I really like the characters in this story, and also the ideas of philosophy that the writer creates.
How about you? Are you looking for something to read this summer? If you want to try reading an English book, let me recommend one of Canada’s most famous stories: “Anne of Green Gables”. I know this story is popular in Japan, and there has even been a Japanese animation about it. Well, if you want to try and read the story in English, I have some copies of the English book for you. It is not so difficult, so please, come get a copy from my desk any time.
Two more weeks to go before summer vacation, hang in there!
Last week we talked about the World Cup, and this week we are back with more sports talk! Congratulations to M2A for winning the junior high school dodgeball tournament. This is a big upset because usually the grade 3 classes win in their last year.
Today, H1F upset H3C in the finals of the volleyball tournament. This is an even bigger upset for a grade 1 team to win. Congratulation to them. At the final call, the refree says “point, set, and match!” This is because the last point wins the set, and the last set wins the game. This is similar to tennis, where they say “game, set, and match”.
Different sports use different words to measure time. So today, I have a quick quiz for you. Match the time words to the sports. If you do it perfectly, come tell me and you could enter a draw to get a prize.
A. Baseball B. Ice Hockey C. Basketball D. Golf E. Curling
Ends 2. Quarters 3. Innings 4. Periods 5. Holes
Can you match these 5 together? Come tell me your answers before summer starts!
Well it is sad, but Japan is out of the World Cup. The game against Belgium was very exciting, but the Belgian comeback was too much for Samurai Japan. Japan should be proud, however, as their team played well and made it into the round of 16. In fact, in the last 5 World Cups, Japan has made the best 16 three times. Only 15 other countries have done so, which means Japan truly belongs in the top levels of international soccer. People around the world are paying attention.
The Japanese fans at the world cup also made an impression online. After each game, including the last heartbreaking loss, Japanese fans cleaned up the stands. Many people around the world were impressed with this good manner.
Now it is time for Japan to rethink their national team. Many of the members are old, and this is their last world cup. Keisuke Honda, Japan’s best known striker, has retired today. Also, captain Makoto Hasebe has also said he will retire. It is now time for a new generation of young Japanese stars to represent Japan.
As I type this I think about our own school. Today, first term final tests have finished. On Friday, grade 3 high school students will take their assessment tests. Many of them are retiring from their clubs in order to study hard this summer. I hope that our senior cheer the new leaders of their clubs, and that their juniors follow in the footsteps of their seniors.
The World Cup is in full swing, and the group stage is almost complete. Fans in England are happy because their team has looked strong. Japan is tied at the top of it’s group, and can continue to the next round with a win. And Argentina is breathing a sigh of relief as they won last night to survive. Their star player, Messi, scored an amazing first goal.
What a shot, what a goal. Did you see how he touched the ball twice before it hit the ground, once with his thigh and once with his foot? That is incredible control, and it shows why Messi is the best (sorry Ronaldo fans!) player in the world.
Of course, Messi is a very talented player, but he also works very hard at his skills. When we watch people like soccer players, Olympic players, or even great cooks and craftsmen, we are amazed at how they perform. What we don’t see is what it takes to get to the top.
I used to say “good luck on your tests”, but you don’t need luck. You just need to think about these words. How well you want to do is up to you.
On Monday we had a shocking event. An earthquake shook northern Osaka, and we felt it all the way south in Wakayama. It was a scary moment because all the cell phones in the teachers room broadcast the warning at the same time. Fortunately, there was no damage at our school.
Later that day, the principal called all the teachers to the teachers room and told us that students would go home early. The train lines were delayed or stopped, so it was better for students to leave sooner rather than later to get home safely.
After refresh time, Mr. Kamioka made the announcement to all the classrooms. I was very unhappy to hear some classes cheering. I felt like some students didn’t understand how serious the situation was.
The students who cheered were only thinking about themselves. “I get to go home early.” “I don’t have to study this afternoon.” “I have some free time.”
Did you think about how serious the situation was? Did you stop to think about the problems other people were having? Did you wonder “I hope everyone is ok!” or did you just think about going home?
Part of growing up is having empathy for other people. Empathy is imagining how other people feel in a situation. In 2016 there were many earthquakes in Kumamoto that caused a lot of damage, including our sister school Kumamoto Shin-ai. Many teachers and students here worked hard to collect money to help them. I am sure that when Shin-ai students in Kumamoto heard about the earthquake on Monday, they imagined how they felt before, and had empathy for us.
So the next time there is a problem, don’t only think of yourself, but also imagine how other people are affected by it. And when we have an earthquake, or a typhoon, understand that this is not a good thing. There will be some damage. Someone may be hurt or even die. And don’t cheer a terrible event just because you can go home 2 hours early. That is selfish and childish, and I expect better.
Now everyone is back from their school trips. I hope you had a good time! One cool thing happened for the girls who went to Canada. They went to a baseball game! The Toronto Blue Jays are Canada’s only major league team, so really it isn’t just “Toronto’s” team… it is Canada’s team! It was nice of them to welcome our girls to the stadium with a message on the scoreboard:
When I was a boy growing up in Canada I played baseball with my best friend. Even though we lived in Vancouver, we always cheered for the Blue Jays. In 1992 and 1993, the Blue Jays won the World Series. It is rare for teams to win two years in a row, but Toronto did it! The end of the 1993 World Series is one of the most famous homeruns in basball history.
In Japanese it is called a “Sayonara Hit”, but in English we call it a “Walk-off” hit, because afterwards the players walk off the field. The game is over. Joe Carter hit a walk-off homerun to win the series. Even though it happened 25 years ago, I still remember being in my living room, watching Joe Carter run to home.
I’m glad our girls got to have a major league experience, and that everyone came home safely. Thank you again to all the teachers and parents who helped put this trip together!
School trip season has started, and today we said “Enjoy your trip” to the H2 girls going to Hokkaido. It is an important event in school life, so I hope they enjoy themselves. Next week other grades will go to Tokyo, Tokushima, and Kansai Aiport. After that, final tests are coming quickly.
In our M2 English conversation classes we have been writing letters to an elementary school in America. First, the American students wrote to us. Then, we replied. After that they wrote one more time, and this week our final replies will go back to them. Their school finishes at the end of June, so our letters will be a nice summer present.
The students in America study about Japanese culture, so our letters are a good way for them to learn about Japan. For our students, the letter exchange is only in English, so they have to use their English studies to read and write. Of course, everyone makes some mistakes, but it is nice to communicate with new people.
Here are a couple colourful letters we are sending. Good job everyone, thank you for your hard work!
Is it spring? Is it summer? The weather is getting warmer and many students are in short sleeves, but there was still a cool breeze through the classrooms this week as students were bent towards their papers, pencils flying.
We have just finished our week of mid-term exams. Shouts of happiness were heard in the halls as students left school today. There is a lot of pressure in test week, and a lot of effort spent studying and preparing. When the exams are finished, there is a feeling of relief.
Even though they cause some stress, tests are a good way to see how your studies are coming. It gives students and teachers a picture of how far you have come, and how far you need to go. Think about tests as a guide, because they will show you where you are strong, and where you need to get better.
We have a beautiful tree in front of our school. You may remember it at Christmas time when the lights are on it. Looking at it today, it is hard to imagine that it was much smaller when we opened the new school building. Fortunately it is spring, and nature gives us a clue as to how it grows.
You are all growing up, in body, mind, spirit, and knowledge. This week was a a difficult one, but, like the green on the tree, a chance to see how far you have come. Rest, relax, refresh, and be ready to go again on Monday!
For the past 19 years, the school has been opened in the morning by Mr. Sakakibara. Every day, rain or shine, he has arrived on his bicycle to open the gate and unlock the doors. Maybe you do not know his name well, but you have definately seen him every day. He is an important part of our school life. Today will be his last day before he takes a rest.
After opening the school each morning, Mr. Sakakibara helps keep our school clean by picking up fallen leaves and trash around the school, and he also waters the plants. After that, he changes back into his suit and greets students coming to the bicycle gate.
Mr. Sakakibara is also a member of Yakatamachi Church. When we have a mass, such as the new student mass or school trip mass, he is often there.
When we think of school, we think about teachers and students. But a school also needs supporters and staff. Shin-ai is not just a school, it is a part of the community. It is important to remember that.
So I hope that Mr. Sakakibara enjoys his rest, and I want to appreciate him for his hard work, greetings, and great smile every day. Thank you!
Last Saturday and Sunday we held our annual open school, Shin Ai Festa! On both days, hundreds of elementary school girls came with their parents to take model lessons, and also check out the different clubs available. Even though Sunday became very rainy at the end, there was a wonderful turnout. Thank you to everyone who came and enjoyed our school!
For English class we had “Big Sister 2”. In this class the elementary school students worked with some of our grade 2 high school students to practice a self-introduction. After practicing, the guests could challenge three different English teachers to get three different presents.
Both our high school students and our guests enjoyed making these introductions, although Mr. Allen had a difficult time trying to spell some of the characters’ names…
For English Club, we decorated a room with different items of different colors. We then had students identify some different colors, and they also got a picture book.
Thank you to all the students that helped make the Festa a big success. I hope to see all of our guests here next year, either as students or for festa one more time!