How to Teach a Speech- Going to the Ibaraki Prefecture English Speech Competition!

Ibaraki English Speech Contest!
Ibaraki English Speech Contest!

Every year in Kasama City, Jr. High students from all over Ibaraki come together with their teachers and their ALT’s to present their own unique 5-minute speech. This year 78 students participated, split into 2 groups. Continue reading

Kairaku-en, Ume Matsuri and the Return of the Volunteer Tour Guides!

Candles in the Park's field. Yoru Ume= Night Plums!
Candles in the Park’s field. Yoru Ume= Night Plums!

Located in Mito City in Ibaraki Prefecture, Kairakuen (偕楽園) has been designated as one of the three most beautiful parks in Japan. And lucky me, I only live about 40 minutes drive south! In general, Kairakuen is a pretty park, Continue reading

Ibaraki-ken, Japan, Places in Japan, Travel in JapanIbaraki, Japan festivals, Kairakuen, Mito, plum blossom festival, umematsuri

School Life in Japan: Sports Day!

The whole school marches out behind their flags!
The whole school marches out behind their flags!

Summer break is over, the homework is turned in and 2nd term has started. You know what this means?

You got it! Sports Day!

The late summer air filled with students cheering and laughing, teachers screaming encouragement (because no one here is competitive at all, no, absolutely not!) and parents scrambling to get the best photo spot to practice their action shots (it’s a nation of photographers after all). Continue reading

Hokota-shi, Interac, Japan, Teaching EnglishALT, , Japan school life, Sports Day, teaching in japan

Taking the JLPT in Japan- How I’m Learning Japanese!

And so much more...
And so much more…

I’ve now been living in Japan for a year and a half and I have yet to write anything about learning Japanese! Shameful!

The truth is, my Japanese ability is pretty embarrassing. When I thought I was leaving last March I stopped studying over the winter, thinking it wouldn’t matter, and ever since it’s been hard to pick it back up. But many of my friends are starting to take the JLPT and I’ve decided to challenge myself and join in the weekly study parties to attempt either the N4 or N5. Continue reading

About Me, Japan, Q&Abest Japanese language resources, Japanese resources, JLPT, learning Japanese, studying for the JLPT

A SoCal Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Seasons- Part 2: Fall and Winter!

Mt. Tsukuba
Mt. Tsukuba

Here we go! The year is moving fast and it’s time for a new survival guide! Hope it helps and let me know if you have any more questions!


Ah, the fall. My #1 most favorite season, especially in Japan! Summers humidity is gone, it’s not too cold yet and the colours! My gosh the colours! I’ve never seen trees so vibrant and reds, golds and oranges so breathtakingly vivid. I love summer but the fall totally wins as my favorite season. Continue reading

Japanautumn, fall, fall in Japan, , living in japan, seasons in Japan, survinving the seasons, winter, winter in Japan

Bored in Japan: What To Do When You’re Stuck in the Teachers Room

中学校の 職員室
中学校の 職員室 (JHS Staff Room)

It’s happened. You’re in Japan. You finished all the training. You have all your materials and your Survival Kit is ready for anything. You’re ready to teach up a storm!

Ready, Set….

Sit in the Teachers Room.

Continue reading

About Me, Japan, Teaching EnglishALT, bored at school, bored in the teachers room, how to look busy, , teaching English in Japan

Surviving Typhoons in Japan!

Image Source
Image Source

It’s that time of year again! Typhoon season! We’ve already had one come through the area and I recently found this post I had written back in October 2014 and forgotten about! Woops! So without further ado, the new and improved Typhoons in Japan!

We’re nearing the end of the official typhoon season here in Japan and I’m here to relate my experiences with them, as well as offer some advice from a sunny southern Californian on how to safely weather them if you’ve never seen anything more than an inch of rain falling throughout a whole day (or as a refresher for those who’ve seen them before and just want some reminding). Continue reading

Japanemergency preparedness, , living in japan, typhoons, typhoons in Japan