great time in Gifu

watch shop sign-Gifu
watch shop sign-Gifu

I took the 6 hour train up to Gifu last Friday after work to meet up with a group of students that I taught several years ago and three teaching colleagues. They were visiting from Oregon and staying in Gifu with families of their sister school. It is truly an amazing experience for all of the participants. Almost all of the students are in 4th or 5th year Japanese and they really use Japanese as much as possible. Because of their language skills they are able to communicate and understand so much more than a typical tourist. It is really satisfying to see students that I taught as middle schoolers now with enough proficiency to navigate the cities, the school and their homestay family life.

students from Oregon getting instructions in Japanese on how to make a fan
students from Oregon getting instructions in Japanese on how to make a fan

I really was happy to spend time with my former colleagues and get a hit of Oregon. On Saturday night we went for an incredible dinner at a Japanese style bistro Burassai (we went to the one on the top left. The tofu was the best I”ve ever had. It was served in small basket with sea salt for dipping. Pictures of some of the food on their menu. I am bummed I forget my camera that night.

finished paper uchiwa
finished paper uchiwa

The school visits began again today and I will be going to a different school every day this month. Today I taught 6 classes with about 40 students in each class (4th and 6th grade). I was exhausted at the end of the day. Tomorrow I head out to a smaller school (total # of students: 28). I am looking forward to the smaller classes…I actually feel like I can teach them something. Classroom management for 40 students is really tricky. I wish I saw them more than once every six weeks.

Manhole cover with cormorant design
Manhole cover with cormorant design
another amazing sunset: Gifu

Kai arrives tomorrow night. He’ll be here for ten days. We’re hoping to get in a trip to the beach before the weather cools down. As everywhere else on the planet, we are experiencing strange weather. It has cooled down much earlier than usual (I’m not complaining) and there have been NO typhoons which is also very strange. However there have been several flash floods in Central Japan with serious regional flooding.

street sculpture in Gifu
street sculpture in Gifu

3 thoughts on “great time in Gifu

  1. Anne-Marie September 4, 2008 / 2:05 pm

    what a treat to see students again years later! And to see them doing so well – awesome.

  2. katezawa September 5, 2008 / 10:54 am

    I am always surprised when I run into former students.I just received a phone call from a woman that I taught English with 23 years ago. We will be getting together in a couple weeks and she will be bringing one of our former students who is now an English teacher!

  3. Julie September 14, 2008 / 2:13 am

    am doing a blog-a-thon
    Your’s is great Kate. Very artistic photos.
    Now I will go to Sidney’s, her teachers….
    get to travel vicariously . Have a wonderful time with Kai
    AND will you send me your new home address please.

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