library talk

2016-11-30 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- The Hokudai North Library invited us to give a workshop on learning phrases in context by using manga and books in L1 (a language you are familiar with) and their translations in L2 (a language you wish to learn).

We expected a tiny audience of somewhere around 3, which was the number of people who told us they might come. 34 people showed up -- a mix of faculty, administrative staff, and grad and undergrad students. Noriko and I were ecstatic.
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The workshop took 97 minutes, consisting of (1) 5 minutes of introduction by the library staff, (2) 10 minutes of lecture by me explaining the merits of reading identical material in L1 and L2, (3) 10 minutes of lecture by me explaining how manga and anime are appreciated in America and Europe, (4) 27 minutes of hands-on activity by students under my guidance, (5) 30 minutes of hands-on activity by students divided into groups (each table received different language material), and (6) 15 minutes of sharing results from each group of students.
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Students first found corresponding phrases in L1 and L2, then used the L2 phrases to construct new messages, and lastly shared their results with the other participants.
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Many thanks to Kyoko Jo and Yuji Nonaka for organizing the event! In the picture below, they are standing 3rd and 2nd from the far right.
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tokugawa museum and gardens

2016-11-27 NAGOYA, JAPAN -- Noriko and I visited the Tokugawa museum and gardens, located northeast of downtown Nagoya city. The museum contains artifacts owned by the Tokugawa daimyo (feudal samurai lord) family who governed the greater Nagoya area from 1603 to 1868.

The museum does not allow photography.

The gardens consist of sloping areas, flat areas, streams, marshes, and ponds. Most areas are heavily planted by trees and shrubs that mimic nature in miniature.

Gently persistent autumn rains soaked the leaves and bark of Japanese maple trees.

In the mist, a wedding was taking place.

JALT conference

2016-11-26 NAGOYA, JAPAN -- Our research-and-education team gave poster presentations at the JALT (Japan association of language teachers) conference in Nagoya city.

The poster area was heavily attended, partly because our poster session took place immediately after the opening keynote presentation.

Naomi Suzaki explained how our students learn pronunciation of English language by singing songs.

Ivy Lin explained how our students learn vocabulary, particularly collocations (multiple words occurring together at high likelihood).

night before supermoon

2016-11-14 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Early this morning, the moon shone brightly into our apartment. Tonight is a super moon. Maybe the weather will hold.

Hand-held photo of the moon. Sorry about the blurring. Too lazy to set up a tripod in the bedroom at 03:00.

library talk

2016-11-11 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- The Hokudai north library invited me to give a workshop on reading in 2 languages. The talk is on 2016-11-30 from 18:15 to 19:45 in the north library, 3rd floor group study zone.

The idea is that by reading your favorite manga or books in L1 (the language you already know) and L2 (the language you want to learn), you can read the books you love in L2, and learn phrases without looking up words in the dictionary. Manga gives graphical context, which provides the nuances of social relationships that are so important to the Japanese psyche. Manga (and to a limited extent novels) provide spoken language expressions in written form.

I intend to ask students to find corresponding phrases, and create short sentences using those phrases.

A pair of slides from my talk. These slides are shown to students at the beginning of my workshop as a warm-up task. The tasks increase in complexity during the 70-minute workshop. The artwork below is from Osamu Tezuka's "Black Jack", a classic medical drama which was serialized when I was in middle school.
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They made a flyer with a rather embarrassing picture of me. Here's a 2nd galley proof after I asked them to change a few minor portions of text.

Boku Girl

2016-11-02 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- A student recommended to me Akira Sugito's manga "Boku Girl". I fell in love with it! I've re-read the story 7 times in 12 days.

The publisher lets you
read episodes 1, 2, and 3 for free. The entire series contains 107 plus a few bonus episodes.

I wish they would let me translate the 11-volume story! Not entirely sure I have the skills though. I spent middle school and high school in Tokyo. I don't know how adolescents talk in English language. Even if I did, the lingo would be different 35 years later.

I sent a fan message to
Akira Sugito on twitter. He was kind enough to reply!
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I wrote reviews on a few online stores, including (Amazon Japan).
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kazurou inoue

2016-10-11 (UPDATED FROM 2016-09-30) SAPPORO, JAPAN -- UPDATE: Prize arrived! See photos at end of this article.

Kazurou Inoue is one of my top favorite manga artists. He was the first person I sent a fan letter to.

A few months ago, Kazurou Inoue began a new story that appears in a monthly manga magazine. I buy the magazine each month.

I could wait a month to
read the story online for free. I buy the magazine to obtain survey postcards that help the board of editors determine which stories survive and which get axed.

The magazine offers prizes as an incentive for readers to pay their own postage. This month, I found my name among the winners! They say the prize takes 4 weeks to arrive.

UPDATE: Prize arrived 16 days after winners were announced!

A cover letter, if you could call it that, was enclosed along with the prize.

The prize was a 500-yen prepaid card for shopping at various stores. The front side of the card sports an illustration by manga artist
Kazuhiro Fujita. Fujita was born in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. He authors "Souboutei kowasubeshi", currently serialized on Shonen Sunday magazine.

A slip of paper shows which stores accept the prepaid card.