Sunday, 14 April 2013

Japan: Week 5

5 - It all begins

This week I had a small insight into what term-time's going to be like. On Tuesday, the four of us TEFL students met up with the teachers we'll be working with for lunch, at an adorable restaurant close to the university. It's a bright blue shuttered house, back from the road a little with an elaborate front garden with a stone path, complete with archway. The couple live upstairs, and the restaurant is downstairs. Lunch was delicious (even the sea-snail) and I was surprised how easy it was to relax into conversation. Afterwards we went back to uni to receive the timetables of lessons we'll be observing, and lessons we'll be teaching (!!). Thankfully we have just a couple of weeks to prepare ourselves for teaching, but our first observation was on Thursday.

'Observation' is a term used lightly. Although there was a teacher taking charge of the class, we were put into four groups with one British student as a team leader, and were very interactive with the students. I experienced trying to explain and define really quite difficult English terms, and having everyone look to you when they didn't understand something. Daunting, but will no doubt be practice I'll be grateful of once I have to start taking classes of my own.

I also signed up to be a tutor for Language Lounge sessions; rooms where students can go to learn a language from native speakers, and no other language is allowed to be spoken in the room. I feel any practice I can have at this teaching thing will only do good.

Something to make me very happy indeed was my first frisbee training session in Japan. Nagoya University is split into several colleges; I'm currently studying with Nagoya University of Foreign Studies. Well, Nagoya University of Arts and Sciences is located very close by, and students often join each other's cross-curricular activities.

So when I spotted NUAS students recruiting for frisbee, I positively squealed with excitement and promised to train with them, 5.30 - 8 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. The rules are the same and I've got the head-start on height, so it was pure relief to get back outside, running after a plastic disk, doing something I really know how to do, and not have to worry about the correct grammar structures to use whilst doing it.

This weekend I've taken a bit of a break and relaxed, including a trip to Aichi Arts Centre which I've been promising to myself from pretty early on. This Saturday there was a concert given by 'Rainbow Chorus' and as far as we could tell, would be of traditional Japanese songs and Nursery Rhymes. There was definitely one I picked out quite a lot from, on the subject of a bicycle.

Music never needs to be fully understood though. The way a choir moves just a little as they breathe, the way voices fill a concert hall, and the feeling a conductor puts into their direction is not restricted by a language barrier. It was relaxing and enjoyable. In addition to all that, when a concert invites you to sing along with the final piece, thoughtfully providing music and lyrics on the back of your programme, it's always going to get my vote.

Lessons start in earnest tomorrow, wish me luck!


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