English Chat Hour: Sweets Edition!

There are a few things in life that I am particularly passionate about, and one of those is food. While I appreciate any kind of well made food,  I particularly love sweets. Cakes, ice cream, cookies, candy, cupcakes, puddings… You name a sweet, chances are I’ve probably eaten and/or made it–and if not, sign me up to try it.  Honestly, it wouldn’t be too big of a leap to say that when I get a hold of a particularly delicious daifuku my face looks a lot like the Sweet Tooth Salaryman Kantaro’s (さぼリーマン甘太朗) when he indulges in a delicious dessert.

Of course, one of the best parts of being a sweets enthusiast is sharing all those tasty treats with other people! I particularly wanted to share some of my favorite sweets from America with the students at IC, so I asked students at Chat Hour if they would be interested in learning to make something. The five girls at my table were incredibly enthusiastic about the idea, so I reserved the small kitchen on the second floor of the cafeteria building for last Friday during 2nd hour.

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IC English Speech Contest 2017

In the morning of last Friday, I believe I had a little glimpse of Japan’s future…

It was the 65th Ibaraki Christian English Speech Contest. In a busy yet rather smooth morning, many junior high school and high school students walked in with their teachers and parents. Indeed, there were many nervous faces. But, I could clearly see that they were ready to take up the challenge of speaking in front of a large crowd, using their second language. Of course, some were maximizing their final minutes to practice with their teachers to gain some extra confidence.

There were 5 events: Junior high school recitation, Junior high school and High school pronunciation, Junior high school speech, and High school presentation. As an “English-as-a-second-language” (ESL) learner myself, I could resonate with the challenge of overcoming the influence of our mother tongue, to pronounce English words accurately. I was particularly impressed with the high schoolers who did presentations. They’ve internalized their contents. Despite unexpected hiccups and interruptions, they were able to rise above the occasion and delivered their presentations with confidence.

This event was particularly valuable for us interns who were interested in Japanese culture. This was definitely not a social event where people from different schools meet and mingle. They were here to represent their schools, to compete. The formality, the atmosphere, the tension – these things might have recalled some of my high school memories in Hong Kong. Sorry for being a bit nostalgic. Three years in an American college probably has made these memories a little bit blurry…

2017 DCE Halloween Party

Everyone looking happy and on various levels of sugar highs at the end of the  party.

Last Friday, after weeks of planning, we finally had the joint DCE and EPH Halloween party! The 20th is a little early, I know, but Japan doesn’t exactly celebrate Halloween like America does. Halloween parties, while not a rarity, aren’t the norm, there’s no trick-or-treating, and you’ll very rarely see anyone out and about in costumes on Halloween. Only one thing seems to remain the same–commercialism. Halloween goods are in every convenience store, Daiso, and shopping mall. With all this in mind, I doubt the students gave a second thought to the Halloween party not being on Halloween.

And regardless of the timing, the Halloween party was a blast! We started the night out by teaching The Time Warp to the students to get them energized and make them laugh a little at our antics. Originally, we had planned to do the Thriller dance, but pro tip there: It takes longer than a half hour to learn.

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