Ninohe Matsuri – Undeserved Fame

I’ve occasionally had the good fortune to take part in some of Japan’s fascinating cultural festivals. Sometimes the experience has been especially invigorating. On one such occurrence I was invited by my girlfriend’s extended family to go and participate in the Ninohe Matsuri. As well as being a healthy dip into local culture and traditions…

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When There’s Nothing To Do

Not all of the time a teacher spends at school is occupied with actual teaching. For many foreign teachers a majority of their in-school hours are taken up with tedious desk-sitting. This is the ideal time to prepare for future classes, and that’s what most Japanese teachers and private company supervisors expect. However, what does…

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South Korea – The Season of the Lonely Chairs

While on the road in South Korea I saw many things (such as some horse-archery, a beautiful girl, and the reincarnation of a canine deity) but one thing I kept noticing was these randomly placed chairs. They were often spotted next to roads, which led me to believe they were perhaps there for elderly people…

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Activity: Board Games

Board games are a classic tradition that have enriched the childhoods of many and vastly improved countless rain-drenched caravan holidays. The most famous games can be found throughout the world but every country has board games of its own. In Japan it’s not hard to find someone who enjoys a game of Shogi, the Japanese…

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Work in Japan – The Arrival

Flying half-way around the world can be a daunting thing, even more so when it’s to do a job you’ve no experience of, in an area that was recently devastated by a cataclysmic natural disaster. But for whatever reason, that’s exactly what I did in June 2011. I came to work in Japan. How does…

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A Standard Lesson Plan For Junior High and Up

I’ve already written a little bit about some activities that can be used in the ESL classroom and about how to forge an effective worksheet but how do these elements come together to make a decent lesson? Here I’m going to go through a standard lesson plan for Junior High or High School based on…

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Sado Island – Gold, Boats and Sake

After a long and awesome road trip me and my girlfriend finally arrived at Sado Island in Niigata, Japan. Even though the hotel seemed over-priced at first it was quickly redeemed by it’s exquisite dinner arrangement centred around fresh sea-food from the local area. We’d arrived in the evening so our sightseeing activities only truly began the next day. After…

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