Indicator Time

16 05 2009

We’ve now been in Japan for 2 months! Time has gone by so quickly.

This week we experimented with miso in our cooking with some awesome miso eggplant and tofu. I entered our average daily food into fitday.com and we seem to have almost ‘by the book’ nutrition – we consume 60% of our 1800 calories from carbohydrates, 30% from fat and 10% from protein.

At school we had 2 groups of prospectives come view lessons. On Thursday 40 5th and 6th grade elementary students came to watch my Senior High School lesson (on electromagnetism) as there were no Junior high lessons when they came – talk about bad timing! So my classroom was invaded and no work or teaching could be done for 10 minutes while noisy children gathered and looked around the rather boring room. Then on Saturday the 5th grade parents came. We had been told that they would come in block 4. So they came in block 3. My students were stunned into silence by the 20 parents in the room staring at them and with all the complicated science vocab on the board I’m sure they looked like the most diligent students that have ever graced this planet. How far from the truth!

I managed several experiments this week- an acid and base reactions practical; red cabbage, litmus and UI paper tests (where the students all brought something from the dorm like milk, soda, shampoo, washing liquid etc to test its acidity); density practical and lighting a bunsen burner with the J-1 kids. It’s more effort as I have to set up the prac and clean it up myself, but the students have so much fun it’s worth it.

The students have mid-term tests/exams next week so the teachers are busy with revision, supervising after school study sessions, writing test papers and preparing for reports. Also this week I had Day Duty for the first time- one teacher each day has to write in a school diary the weather and absentees then lock up the two high school buildings after 5.30pm, ensuring that windows are shut and lights are off.

There seems to be a desire to shorten English words that can’t be shortened. for example, a supermarket and home centre was called “Super and Home”. If you look at a hairdressers you will often find prices for a “sham and cut”. Also in Japanese is a tendency to use English words in ways that we don’t – for examples dresses are called a one-piece.

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GIS and the Inter Students

1 05 2009

Today we finished school early for Golden Week mid-term holidays. Yay for holidays!

In one of the lessons this morning we went to the Chemistry Lab and did 5 experiments in 50 minutes – pop test, precipitation of silver chloride, combustion of magnesium, carbonate base with an acid and a displacement reaction with zinc and copper sulfate. Not bad considering the labs are old, barely used and with a poorly assorted mixture of chemicals half labelled in Japanese. Apart from the hydrochloric acid, all of the chemicals are solids which meant the students had to do some rough and ready making up of solutions – one spatula of compound + some water from the bucket + test tube = solution number 1. Amazingly, for all the dodgy-ness of the chemicals all of the experiments worked well. My only worry is that they don’t have any safety glasses that I can find anywhere…. must be labelled in Japanese if they have any…