Well, not too much to report as of late. Since the last blog post we held a winter tea party event, and visited a couple of schools with the guest teacher programme. Unfortunately, though, due to the spread of the new coronavirus, we were forced to cancel all our upcoming events, including the final two tea parties (of three originally scheduled), and all school visits following the closure of all public educational facilities. Also, at our association’s board meeting last week the decision was taken to cancel all English classes and Japanese lessons. On top of all this, it’s looking increasingly inevitable that the sister-city exchange visit to Michigan in July will have to be postponed until next year.
I hope things will be back to normal soon (though I fear not), as there isn’t much reason for our association to exist without the work that we do. There are four main aspects to my job: the guest teacher programme, the sister-city exchange, coordinating and helping with YIFA events, and supporting foreign people in Yasu. Of those four, the latter two have been keeping me relatively busy lately. With it being the end of the fiscal year there have been some comings and goings among the foreign population in Yasu, and that has meant that people have required my dodgy interpreting skills over at the city hall, as well as a bit of support getting kids prepared for new nursery schools. Aside from that, in terms of the events, I had been making very early preparations for my British cooking class on May 17th, though we just had a meeting this morning where it was decided to reschedule it in September due to the current circumstances (*sad face*). I suppose at least I have a few months now to actually learn how to cook!
These are the things I was thinking of making in the class, though might change it now that it'll be an autumn event...
Well, the schools are supposed to go back in a week or so, therefore I expect to have a few guest teacher requests coming in, which will give me an important job. And I will head round the schools and nurseries with Takeda-san to greet the principles and give them information about last year’s programme as well as the newly-made request form. In the meantime, however, I have been taking the chance to organise my documents, and get everything in order on my computer, as well as some other little jobs that had been in the pipeline.
There is a famous old story in Yasu of a mukade centipede that lived on Mount Mikami (the mountain overlooking the city) and was killed by a hero called Tawara Toda. Well, I’ve found that story in Japanese and—using a bit of artistic licence—rewritten it in English, in a rhyming children’s book style. I’m not a talented writer, but I think I made a fair effort at it. Super-artist Joan is interested in adding pictures to it, and—who knows—maybe one day a children’s book will come of it. It would be a nice thing to make if at all possible.
For today though, I’m looking ahead to next year’s events and making an early start on my preparations. In August, we are going to hold a week-long English class for elementary school students to come and improve their language skills. I want to make it as fulfilling and useful as possible for anyone who comes, so am already making plans for the curriculum, and what activities I could use. It’s difficult to get very motivated for something so far in the future, but it is going to be a fun project to try and put together, so I’m happy to work on it, and make the most of the time I currently have.
The most important thing at the moment, though, is obviously everyone’s health. So, my main aim is not to get tired of washing my hands so thoroughly, and to keep avoiding public spaces. Hopefully things will start looking more positive soon.