Friday, July 26, 2013


Things have been a bit busy since school ended two weeks ago, but I found this little set of pics from my last day of classes with my first years. The kids had to give their self introduction in English while Keima and I sat in the back and graded them. 

At the end of class a few students wanted my autograph, not that uncommon of a request here in Japan, but it makes me smile every time they ask.

Keito sign please,

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Photo Dump: Apartment

I have been out of my apartment for two weeks now, living across the alley at a friend's while he is off traveling for the summer. Before I dismantled my apartment I went around, like a nerd, and took a few pictures of my favorite details. I loved my little apatooo.

Sayonara Apato,

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Last Day Of School

After a few wonderful years at The 5th Junior High School of Kamagaya, I have reached my final day. 
Three years, four schools, seven JTEs, hundreds of English lessons, thousands of "Hello!s" and even more "Konichiwas", all happened while I blinked. 

Last Friday morning, on my neighbor Kim's last day of work, I made her pause in front of our apartments to take a picture to document our last day of school. Like a proud parent, I went back and looked at the pictures we took on our first day three years ago, returning with orders for a sleepy Kim. 
"You were standing right here, with your left hand on your hip."
"Really, Kate..."

[Kimu Sensei]

[Keito Sensei]

Here are a few fun facts from my last day today...

-It is a sweltering 34C/91F degrees outside AND inside of the classrooms.
-On my way into school, I gave a little thank you card to the crossing guard I talk to every morning.
-I put a box of sweets with a note in the back of the staff room thanking everyone for the past three years, and added my email so we can all keep in touch.
-I am unbelievably congested. The combination of that plus the heat has put any sadness on the back burner. Though I did well up a little when one of my favorite, former speech contest girls gave me a very heart felt note, and nearly shed a tear as she handed it to me.
-Keima and I took silly pictures in the back of the staff room.
-I had left over pizza for lunch.
-I only had three lessons today, all with the 3rd year students.
-At the end of one class, while I was talking to the girls about how yucky boys are, a boy was dragged to the front of the classroom by his friends. The girls told me to wait. The boy stood in front of me, stick straight and completely still, staring at the floor. He gave me one glance and said, "You are beautiful. I love you." He flushed red and left while his friends cheered.
-I gave most of my students my teacher email. They are over the moon about it.
-I had to do a lesson for observing parents.
-My Principal took pictures of me during the observation lesson, printed them out and handed them to me. All within 45 min.
-The students had to come stand right in front of me and read to me today, at which point one of the girls discovered I had green eyes. She gasped so loudly when she realized, we all stopped to look at her for a second. She laughed but couldn't stop staring.
-I alone was in charge of my cleaning crew today. We assigned everyone an animal as we emptied the trash cans and swept the floor.
-I told a few older girls I had my camera with me, so they came and got me after lunch and we had a mini photo/video shoot in the hall.
-My last day made it on the school's homepage.

It's been an amazing run. 

Thanks for the memories 5Chuu,
Keito Sensei

Just a tid bit from our assembly last week, just prior to my speech.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Little Things: Desk

The other day, on the rare occasion that I had my camera at school, I began snapping shots of my desk. I wanted to remember it as it was before I cleaned it out for the next ALT. I wanted to remember the details, the little things I see everyday that soon will be no longer. 

Desk Details,

Monday, July 8, 2013

Shibuya Shoot

Last week of school over here and things are all kinds of bitter-sweet. I'll deal with that later. 
On a totally unrelated note, I love this little set of photos from when Jessica was here two weeks ago.
Life is just more fun when that blonde is around.

Miss you Jesshka,

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sayonara Speech

I have one more full we week of school, but today we had a school-wide assembly so it was decided that I would give my sayonara speech then. After writing the little speech in English and getting it checked and translated by a few of my favorite Japanese all-stars, I practiced a bit last night. I really wanted to nail the pronunciation and inflection. 
And I am proud to say, I did.
Despite the fact that I was nauseatingly nervous. 

All morning, in between the classes I was teaching with Keima, I was repeating the few words I was struggling to pronounce. At the top of that list was, wasurerarenai, which means do not forget. My kids knew I was leaving, but they did not know I was giving a speech today. A few of my favorite 1st-year girls joked with me this morning, repeating the word back to me and most likely wondering why I was saying it so many times. After the speech they came up to me, hands clasp together, they travel as a unit, giggly, clearly new BFFs, and said, 
"Keito Senseiiiiiii, wasurerarenai! hahahaha. wasurerarenai!wasurerarenai!wasurerarenai!"

Between those two and the beautiful flowers I received post speech it has been an absolutely wonderful Friday.
Oh GoChuu, you are going to be so hard to leave. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Conversation Journals

Responded to a fresh batch of questions this week. 
The kids recently learned the key words up, on, near, under and in. To practice using them in sentences they spent most of the class describing a picture of a bedroom on a worksheet to their partner.
Is there a desk near the window? Is there a cat under the bed? 
At the end of the class, when it came time for conversation journals, the teacher asked them to "try to imagine Keito Sensei's room in America and ask her a question about it". 
Keep that in mind as you read through these, especially the last one. 

Gorilla on my desk? Obviously.
True story. 
Charlie has some serious celebrity status with these kids.
She knew one of the words had double letters...
How well this child knows me.
Seemed like a logical response to his question.
Star student.
This kid basically wrote out a Japanese sentence in English letters which made me laugh.
McDonald's really is synonymous with America. 


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