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  • Alex Minor
  • Brett Rawson
  • Matthew Bryson
ALT Blog
A Blog from Alex
        February 1, 2009  

  This week’s blog is written by Alex Miner, our local ALT (assistant language teacher). Alex came to Nikaho City in July of 2007. He works at Nikaho Junior High School. Alex is a wonderful writer. He has written two blogs concerning the same thing. The first blog is a simplified version of the second blog which is written for English speakers. We hope you enjoy them. 
  Barack Obama is very popular in Japan.  One day at the junior high school, I found some boys in the hall.  When they saw me, they said, “Yes we can!”  Then they cheered, “Obama!” many times.  In class, some girls wrote a note for me.  When I opened the note, the words, “Yes we can!” and “Change” were written in it.  There was also a question at the bottom of the note.  It asked, “Do you like Bush or Obama?”
Junior high school students are teenagers. So I thought that maybe only teenagers and adults know about Obama.  But I was wrong.  I showed a picture of Obama to third grade students at an elementary school.  Almost all of the students shouted, “Obama!” or “Yes we can!”  Even kindergarten students know his name.  One of the 5-year-old children in the kindergarten said, “Yes we can,” last week!

Alex Miner

A Blog from Brett
        February 15, 2009
My Getaway

  Since coming to Japan, I have visited various places. Some of the places I’ve been to are Kanazawa, Matsushima Bay, Kyoto, and Osaka. But, of all the places I’ve gone, my favorite is in Kisakata. It is the beach. But, it’s not the big beach where everyone swims during the summer. It’s the beach that is close to Meruhen and the fishing port.

  From as early as March to as late as October, you can find me at the beach four or five times a week (if the weather is good). During the weekdays, I usually go there after school around five and watch the sunset, read a book, or listen to music. On the weekends, however, I usually go there in the afternoon.

  Why do I go to the beach so much? Well, it's because the beach is my "getaway." I mainly go there to relax (or, "clear my mind"). I sometimes get a bit stressed out during the week. Sometimes it is because of work, the language barrier, or other small things.  And so, whenever I feel stressed out, I go to the beach to get away from those things. When I go to the beach, I bring a book, my iPod, and a jacket. I usually sit on a tetra pod, facing out towards the sea and horizon. 

  What do you do when you feel stressed out? Some people go to coffee shops. Some people go shopping. Some people eat food. Some people drink. Some people hang out with friends. But for me, I go to the beach. I think observing nature is one of the most refreshing things a person can do. All you have to do is open your eyes.

  Above are some pictures I took while at the beach.


A Blog from Matt
February 8, 2009

My name is Matthew Bryson and I come from New Zealand. I am currently an ALT in Konoura. Throughout my time in Japan, interesting things often happen to me or around me. For this week's blog, I would like to tell you about one of these interesting experiences.
I was sitting at my desk and suddenly a big yawn came out of nowhere. I accidentally forgot to put my hand over my mouth. A teacher sitting near me saw this big yawn and said in Japanese, "Matthew, did you know it's rude in Japanese culture to yawn and not put your hand over your mouth. No one wants to see your Nodo Chinko." I was very surprised with his reply. I said in a loud voice "Nodo Chinko?" I thought I had misunderstood him.   
    All of the other teachers laughed. He said to me, "You don't have to say Nodo Chinko that loud." I then looked back at him and said, "What is Nodo Chinko?" He said it was the thing hanging down at the back of your throat. I said ohhhhhhhhhhhhh with a big grin on my face. I also apologized for yawning without putting my hand over my mouth, and said it was rude in western culture as well.

Matthew Bryson

 Two minutes later, I went to my English class and just before class started, this teacher came in the door yawning without putting his hand over his mouth. I was very surprised, and looked at him with big open eyes while pointing my finger. I didn't need to say anything because he knew that he was caught.  

   After class in the staff room, I said, the following expression to him "Practice what you preach." My question to readers this week, have you had any personal experiences that have happened to you or someone
else where this expression was said? Hope to hear from you.