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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hanpane Party

hanpane party 20080131

There's been a lot of mentions of following your passion of late. On people's blogs, on the inside cover of the magazine I bought today, on Twitter... red car syndrome perhaps.

Another good day today. Exercised in the morning, taught for a couple of hours at lunchtime, then MC'd a kind of variety show in Meguro organised by a group of friends collectively known as Hanpane.

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It was great, although I did make a bit of an idiot of myself a couple of times due to not really knowing what was going on all the time.

Kicked off with Warusa-P31 [you tube], who were followed by Spanko-ru 'Sexy dancers", then an oriental dance routine by a couple of performers who I'm sure went to a Steiner school. There then followed a couple of singers (the first of which was our friend Ryo-kun, the second was a chap who runs a bar in Shibuya, and had the most incredibly powerful voice). The gig was wrapped up by Warusa-P31.

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Went for pizza after that. There I met a young maths teacher who told me that she'd started paragliding this year, which reminded me that that's something I've always wanted to do. I've decided I will do it before December 2010.

I'm teaching at my part time job tomorrow and Tuesday, 9 hours both days. Part of me is a bit upset that I agreed to do it as I very much want to work on my web-projects, but still, there's no backing out now. I'm sure it will work out fine.

night.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's a small, small world

Photographic entertainment is provided by yesterday's Office Halloween party (sorry for the repetition to those of you who have already seen them in my site feed).

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For the past two weeks I've been looking for someone to do tandem learning with. That is, someone who will teach me Japanese in exchange for me teaching them English.

One might think that having just spent 4 years studying Japanese the last thing I'd want (or need) is more Japanese lessons. Not so. I didn't put as much into my course in my final year as I could have done (a conscious decision that I don't regret to split my energy between my course and extra-curricular activities), thus I failed to internalise a lot of the vocab I was learning.

I'd like to emphasise that this is in no way a criticism of our course, which was bloomin marvellous. If anyone wants to learn Japanese in the UK, Sheffield is the place to go, no doubt (n.b. I may be biased). But of course, you only get out what you put in, thus a lot of my course-mates have much better Japanese than me.

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Whatever, I've come such a long way, and am constantly delighted by the fact that I (of all people) have learnt to speak Japanese. However, I do tend to stick to the grammar patterns that I'm really familiar with, avoiding the use of complex structures. It was brought home to me just how far I've gone down this road when the other night *Twinkle* applauded my use of a complex pattern - it should be normal, not praiseworthy.

So I put the thought out there - I need a Japanese teacher - and tonight she presented herself (although I didn't know she was a teacher until after we'd been chatting for a while).

She contacted me having seen my profile on www.findateacher.net, and requested a trial English lesson. We met at a subway station near my office and made our way to a nice little cafe. We chatted a bit more, with her explaining why she wanted to study English.

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Then she stopped, and with a mysterious look on her face said, 'actually, I've got some photos to show you'. Confused, I took the envelope in her hand and took out the photos...

...and blow me down if it wasn't Phil, my coursemate from Sheffield! I was stunned, and naturally clammering for an explanation.

She explained how Phil had been one of her first students shortly after she qualified as a teacher, when he was living in Tokyo a year or so back. It was only after she'd initially contacted me last Friday that she'd mailed Phil to ask if he'd heard of someone called 'Joseph Tame' who'd studied at Sheffield. Seeing that I was quite a bit older she assumed that we wouldn't know each other ...and thus was very surprised when Phil replied that he did indeed know me!

Spot Joseph

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So that's how it went. We've decided to meet on a weekly basis for language exchange - my calls for a teacher have been answered. Thank you Universe!

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