Calligraphy class video

Posted on November 30, 2009 | evankirby

Former student Philippe put a short video on Youtube of his calligraphy class.

Interview

Posted on November 29, 2009 | genkijacs

Today we're introducing a student here at school.

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Q. Your name?

A. Joshua

Q.What were your reasons for coming to Japan?

A. Temples, shrines, Japanese history, anime & manga, Japanese cuisine

Top 3 favorite anime: Fullmetal Alchemist, Inu-Yasha, Darker than Black (violent manga!!)

Favorite Japanese food: sushi, udon, ramen (he ate it in Kyoto), rice, fish (even sashimi), teriyaki


Q. Where are you from?

A. Boston, in America

A closing message:

I have a long stay, but I'm enjoying my studies and my time here! (Everyone is friendly and nice, and the teachers are nice people)


He was very cheerful during the interview.

Joshua-san, thank you very much!!

[Link to the original entry]

Sukiyaki!

Posted on November 13, 2009 | evankirby

A while ago we took students to eat "sukiyaki". This is a Japanese "nabe" or hotpot-style dish, where meat and vegetables are boiled in broth in a communal pot in the middle of the table, and everyone takes what they want to eat directly from the pot.
Sukiyaki

It was all-you-can-eat, which the students always seem to appreciate, especially when that includes meat!
But students seemed to be surprised by the raw egg you're supposed to dip the cooked food into:
Raw egg

But when in Japan...
Eating sukiyaki

Here's everyone, arranged around the "nabe"!
Group photo

New payment option

Posted on November 02, 2009 | evankirby

Uni-Pay logo

This may not be the most exciting news ever, but still: sending money internationally can be quite an expensive proposition. International bank transfers can cost up to 6000 yen each, while Paypal’s fees easily exceed that for largish payments. We previously offered the following 4 methods for payment: bank transfer (both domestic and international), postal money order, credit card (through Paypal), and Moneybookers.com. However, Moneybookers recently stopped allowing transfers from the US to overseas, and students have previously reported that their exchange rates are not very good. So, we have stopped working with them.

Instead, from today we offer a new alternative: Uni-Pay! Uni-Pay is a payment system designed for study abroad. It basically works like this:
1. You click on a link in the invoice we send you, to go to the Uni-Pay website.
2. You enter your information.
3. You receive details of the Uni-Pay bank account in your home country to make payment to.
4. You make payment to that bank account.

The advantage to this is that you only make a domestic bank transfer, not an international one, so you save on the 6000 yen international transfer fee. Uni-Pay charges their own fee, roughly $10 USD, and uses exchange rates based on HSBC’s exchange rates.
Hopefully this will allow you to save a little more money on your way to Japan. Given the high yen right now, every little bit helps!

To pay us through Uni-Pay, click this link.

Economic troubles

Posted on November 02, 2009 | evankirby

It’s a tough time for the world economy, and Fukuoka has of course not been spared. This week brought a couple of new announcements of closings and layoffs.

First, unfortunately Fukuoka’s indoor snowboarding arena, Big Air, closed down a few weeks ago. We have taken students there a few times, so we were sad to see it go. Their website somewhat ironically still proclaims “Yes, we always have snow”.

Next, the turbulent English conversation market. This week we heard that both Geos (one of the major schools in Japan) and Berlitz were closing their Fukuoka schools. This follows the pattern of a massive drop-off in student numbers since the bankruptcy of the Nova chain a couple of years ago, but is still a sad development. And of course ECC combined their three Fukuoka school locations into a single one earlier this year.

Which brings us to the third economic indicator: the GenkiJACS building, Grand Building, has seen a big turnover of businesses this year. At the start of the year, the second floor (where GenkiJACS is) had 5 offices, but now it has only two. The three that disappeared are ECC (as mentioned), Nagino Tree (a restaurant chain and school management company), and the offices of Democratic Party candidate and current Fukuoka representative Mr. Inatomi. We hope some new neighbors will come in soon, but in this economic climate it might be a while. A Japanese friend mentions that his pay was cut by 25% recently, so it doesn't seem as if we're quite on the upswing yet...

But don't worry - your favorite Japanese school is doing OK!