GenkiJACS blog in Japanese!

Posted on November 25, 2008 | evankirby

We've started a separate blog in Japanese! It's written partly for host families, to keep them informed about what's happening at school, but should be a great resource for anyone who wants to know what daily life at the school is like, and to practice your Japanese reading at the same time! It'll be updated a couple times a week, so keep an eye on it here!

GenkiJACS Japanese blog

Photos of new school

Posted on November 25, 2008 | evankirby

Entrance

We've added an album of photos of the new (since June 2008) school location to our photo gallery. You can see the pictures here. These should give you an idea of what the classrooms and lounge area, etc. look like. It's a lot nicer than the old school was! Instead of cold metal walls, we now have 14 unique classrooms, each with its own "theme" of sorts. The construction this summer was the first stage of our project to build a school that is as interesting and fun as the classes and teachers are. The next stage is scheduled for May 2009, so GenkiJACS is going to get better and better!

New student lounge, overlooking the main street of the city
Student lounge

More photos after the jump!

Japanese and weather

Posted on November 11, 2008 | evankirby



The Japanese love to talk about the weather. I suppose when you have a country with such a diverse climate it’s hard not to. The beaches in Okinawa rival any tropical paradise, and snowy Hokkaido is a Mecca for skiers and snowboarders from around the world.
The seasons are very clearly separated in Japan. The Japanese are very proud of this fact and often ask foreigners whether they have 四季 (shiki, four seasons) in their own countries. In Fukuoka, winters (冬, fuyu) are generally mild with snow falling maybe once or twice a year. Spring (春, haru) is a great time of year to visit as the temperatures get warmer and the 桜 (sakura, cherry blossom) start to bloom. Then, the 梅雨 (tsuyu, rainy season) hits in late May/early June bringing a month of rain and sweat. Summers (夏, natsu) are hot with high humidity and air-conditioning is a must! Finally, autumn (秋, aki), with it’s 紅葉 (kouyou, leaves changing colour), is a great time to experience outdoor Japan.

The continually changing seasons are always a topic of conversation. When writing letters, it is standard practice to add a weather-related comment at the very beginning of the letter, even if it’s an impersonal mass mailing from a company to its customers! The Japanese version of Microsoft Word has a function to automatically insert the relevant phrase, by just selecting the season and the current weather:
Japanese greetings

This inserts a super-polite phrase like this one into your document:
菊花の候、貴社ますますご盛栄のこととお喜び申し上げます。平素は格別のご高配を賜り、厚くお礼申し上げます。

Having recently come back to Japan from a trip to the UK, I was barraged with the usual questions about my home country. The first of which wasn’t “Did you have a good time?” or “Where did you visit?” but always, “Was the weather cold?”!!