Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Filip Georgiana Diana is GAGA (that`s her nickname :))). She was one of the extraordinary students of 10 I class and now she is going on studying Japanese at Bucharest university. 10 I was an extraordinary class because it was a class with so many talents, interests and ideas, but mostly because 10 I pupils knew how to be FRIENDS. The envy felling always transformed in their case in a fair `Challenge spirit`, so it was always a pleasure to teach at their class.

Gaga, was one of the "quiet"/ "shy" ones. Sitting in the back of the class she did superb in her Japanese language test, but so were 18 other pupils. Still, in 2006, when JICA-JOCV introduced a new challange in our high-school with the help of Ayumi sensei, I wasn`t surprised to hear that after the examinations and a long deliberation GAGA was choosed to represent us in the JESEP (Japan-Europe High School Students Exchange Program) promoted for years by ACE Japan.

The Embassy of Japan approved the choice of Vero-sensei and Ayumi-sensei and GAGA came to Japan for 6 months to live with a Japanese family and to attend the classes of Karyo High School in Yamaguchi Prefecture (Kadamatsu City). It was quite a courajeous act, because to be 17 years old and choose to go in the wide unknow world is not a comfortable adventure.

The arrival in Japan was full of surprises (not pleasant ones) and one week after she got here, Vero senseiw as telling me that something is going on with Gaga, so I just got the address of the host family and I called. I was happy to hear from her and she seemed more than happy to chat - as at that point all the troubles with the getting to Japan added to the cultural shock and made her feel a bit low. I still remebered that she was quite upset as she thought the Japanese houses are so crowded and the space is so limited. (what can I say: I KNOW!!! :)))

But, everything turned out good. She soon got a mobile phone so we could exchange SMS and in a couple of weeks, the shocked was repalce by wonder and at the end of the program when she got back to Tokyo and we were able to meet face to face I was amazed!!! I saw a Gaga who grew so much (not getting fat or anything like that :))).

She grew as a person. She was confident, chatty, open and shining. Her Japanese conversational skills went so high in such a short period of time and her supervisor form ACE was praising her so much, that I felt really proud!

For a teacher is no greater pleasure that to see the students reached their dreams, followed the teacher passion. While in the beginning we feared that Gaga might crack a bit under the pressure and cultural shock, she proved her toughness and moreover she turned her not so pleasant getting to Japan start into the adventure of her life - I was sure she will go back home saying IT WAS SUPER!! which would have stimulated the other pupils in fighting to get in this program. And SHE DID!

If you don`t believe me you can read her articles in the ACE newsletter below or the one in the Karyo High-School magazine:

You can also read her own impression below:


We live in a world that is full of cultural diversity, and that’s what makes it so special. Just imagine going on a journey throughout Russia, Iceland, New Zealand, Argentina, the tribes in Africa and the mysterious pyramids of Egypt; each and every country has its own heritage. History is alive in so many ways, and you don’t even need to speak the country’s language in order to feel it.
For me it has always been about Japan. Looking back, I realize that everything started by accident, if you can say so. It was 5 years ago, when I was choosing my future high school; for some reason I chose Japanese. Although I knew almost nothing about this Far-Eastern country, it was like this mysterious place was calling for me. Little did I know that I was about to discover one of the things I still am most fascinated about.
I remember my first Japanese lesson: we had to answer some questions about “Nihon”and the only things I had heard about were “tsunami” or “kamikaze”. To tell the truth, my answers were pretty average.. Afterwards, our Japanese teacher started telling us about Japan, and the story of Sadako Sasaki; so, as future Japanese students as we were, we learned how to make tsuru, a japanese crane. I think that the fact that we also had a Japanese volunteer to help us with conversation, kanji, and most important how to interact with japanse people made all the difference in the world.
That was the beginning of 4 wonderful years, during which I could experience all kind of activities, such as ikebana, origami, shodo, try Japanese food for the first time, wear a yukata, traditional dances, see kabuki, learn Japanese history and become more and more caught up in this mesmerizing culture.
This image of Japan being a perfect country had created in my mind. It was at the end of the 11th grade that I would have the opportunity to change my opinion in some ways. I was both thrilled and scared when I found out that I could take a scholarship exam to the land of my dreams. When I passed that exam, happiness mixed up with uncertainty: Were Japanese people going to understand what I was saying? Was I going to have difficulties in adapting?
Time went by and soon I found myself at Narita airport. Although I was surrounded by a mass of Japanese people, I didn’t feel scared , I was only excited about starting a new life. One of the first things that caught my eye was the clear differentiation between Japanese people and foreigners: for example, at the airport there were different counters for natives and gaijins, thus the attention everyone paid to me, a.little and somewhat lost gaijin. The humidity and the heat are also hard things to forget; upon leaving the airport I thought I was going to suffocate, but that wouldn’t have been very heroic of me. The first few days all us 29 Europeans stayed at National Women’s Education Centre located in Saitama ken. You could read the excitement on our faces as we walked through the rooms of the imposant building. In the morning we went to Japanese class and afterwards interacted as much as we could with Japanese students our age. I remember going to Otsuma Ranzan Highschool to be taught shodo by a Japanese master; on entering the school this crowd of Japanese girls were staring and giggling at us (afterwars I would become used to this); I couldn’t understand why, because personally, I didn’t giggle whenever I saw a Japanese person. “ Why do they use the word kawaii for almost anything?”, I thought. And why did they have this apparent obsession for Hello Kitty? After only one day this girl came up to me and gave me a yukata; I was surprised, because she hardly even knew me. “Is this Japanese politness?”, I asked myself. We took purikura together ( personalized stickers that teenagers like very much) and I couldn’t help wondering what that strange machine was, because the pictures that came out were very small. One of the things I liked a lot was the shape of the trees, the way the sky looked, the smell of the air, nature in general; all this time I couldn’t stop myself from taking pictures.
After those few days we were all shipped off to our host families. I took the shinkansen for the first time and couldn’t stop wondering why was it so quiet.I also got a taste of how crowded things can get in Japan first at Tokyo Station, where I was lucky enough not to get lost. I was the only foreigner left in the bullet-train, because I was the last one to descend: in Yamaguchi prefecture, Shunan city, my home-to-be for the next 5 months. At first I wasn’t excited at all about having to leave Tokyo to go to “inaka” , because in my mind I had to be in the heart of the metropolis, looking at the sky scrapers, walking throught Ueno Park or going to Harajuku (later on I would realize how fortunate I was to stay in Yamaguchi). Hashimoto family were amazing. They made me feel safe and at ease from the very first moment. I had my own room and of course I slept on a futon. I had a host sister, Kana, and a host brother, Kenji (both of them were older than me) with whom I developed a special relationship. I would talk to Kana about music bands, songs, fashion or movies, whereas Kenji taught me about Japanese history, geography and the Japanese way of acting and thinking. I would stay in the kitchen talking with my okasan until late in the morning, when I would realise I had to wake up early the next day in order to go to school. Whatever question or doubt I had, I never hesitated to ask.
The first time we all sat together and had dinner as a family I was embarassed because I couldn’t use chopsticks very well and food kept slipping, but other than that, I had no problem with the food, except maybe for nato or umeboshi. I had a few days to adjust before school started, so my okasan showed me around. Even now I have this impression that all the streets looked the same, that’s why I got lost all the time. I was like a sponge absorbing every new information: the way japanese people spoke to one another, the smiling faces and strangers bowing to me, hearing “irasshaimaseee” everytime I entered a store, seeing men who were wearing suits riding their bike to work or the huge insects I seemed to attract everywhere I went.
The day I had to go to school finally arrived. After saying “ittekimasu” I kept encouraging myself all the way to Karyo Senior Highscool; but nothing prepared me for what was about to happen: a gym class full of all the students and the teachers and me on stage, saying ( in shaky voice) my welcome speech. I just remember it was so quiet you could hear the crickets outside and that the students ( who were ligned perfectly in rows) thought I was the new ALT teacher. The boys were really shy and didn’t talk to me for a month and most of the girls seemed too childish. “ Rumania tte, doko?; Kareshi oru?”- these were some of the questions I was constantly being asked and had trouble understanding because I had never spoken slang before, I always used polite forms. I had a hard time memorizing everyone’s names and knowing my way in school; not only once I entered the wrong classroom and wondered where did all my classmates go to.
But in time I got used to high school life and almost blend in: I took my shoes off upon entering the school (although I hardly ever used slippers, I found them very uncomfortable), the weird noise the bell made when it rang, hiruyasumi, when the classroom smelled like a restaurant ( I liked going outside to eat because the school was surrounded by mountains), cleaning after class, saying “ohayo-san” to the lady at the cafeteria, seeing girls using blankets to warm up during winter time because they had to wear skirts, and most of all, bukatsu. It’s great that you can experience all kind of things, like playing tennis, tea ceremony, drama club, cooking class, playing a musical instrument, judo or archery. But I think it was too much for some of the students, because they had to stay up really late so they were always tired; so tired they were always falling asleep, and to my surprise, the teachers didn’t say anything. Also, they were not allowed to wear accessories or dye their hair. I had heard of the sempai-kohai, but I was astonished when I saw a 2nd year girl talking to a 3rd year boy in polite forms and bowing every second. One of the things I liked doing best was walking home from school; there were students on bikes everywhere you looked, most of them in different uniforms; the boys in primary school had to wear shorts even in winter, and at the high-school near my house students were jogging early in the morning. But everything was so peaceful compared to here, you could feel it in everything that surrounded you.
After I bought a denshijisho I could understand more and more in class; my favorite one was Japanese history, it was like an inside-look of the way Japanese people see their country. But most of all I enjoyed the after-class atmosphere, when everybody was going to his/ hers bukatsu and you could hear laughs and enjoy watching a beautiful sunset.
Apart from school, I was discovering Japan day by day, thanks to my host family. They took me to wonderful places such as Hiroshima, Miyajima, Shimonoseki or Iwakuni. I saw Japanese castles, gardens, shrines, universities, karate tournaments, and also got a touch of the modern times by going with my host sister to her hip-hop dance classes or at her friend’s band practice.
I’ll never forget the beautiful landscape I was surrounded by, especially when we went to visit my ojiisan, who lived up in the mountains. One night Kana and my okasan took me to this place from where we looked at the stars; I had never seen stars so bright before.
So I learned how to use hashi, improved my Japanese, got used to the lifestyle, learned things you cannot find in books, grew so much as a person and became more confident…but…Japanese society has this unexplicable thing; no matter how well you may know Japanese language, at times you can’t help feeling like an outsider. Not just because of the way you look, but also because of the way you think and you act. We tend to always ask (whether ourselves or someone else) why? Why we have to do something or why things are the way they are, whereas a Japanese person hardly ever does that. He or she does something because they have to and they never doubt the authority of a superior. While in school they are encouraged not to express their individuality and originality, because there is no such thing as the nail that sticks out. Due to all of these unspoken rules, polite smiles and whispered criticism a gaijin can not help but to feel a little “lost in translation”… Filip Georgiana

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Alexandra Paun is fire! :)) A bit like me, getting in everything - not always finishing in time what she started :)) - but definetly involved and present, making a statement and making a difference.

I saw her evolve from an ethusiastic student, to a passionate learner of Japanese, then I-GO, then member of Save the Children Romania, then Japanese Language Guide and Interpreter and in the end - a wonderfull human being. I am probably too indulgent with my praise, you might think, but I know what I KNOW.

With her classemate and friend Alina Radulescu she was participating in JRP - Peace Summit Japan and she was the one to win, altough Alina's essey was as good as her - jsut different and she was representing Ion Creanga High-School in Japan. Moreover, she ended up and she did with great pose represent Romania, as the Summit was related that year with AICHI Mondial Expo.

Then she russhed help the I-GO movement, again with Alina in schools arpund Bucharest and in between she made a good impression at the Mondial Conference of Postal Service held in Romania (as part of a team sent to interpret and assist the Japanese delegation) and she passed a little the entrance examination at Bucharest University - Japanese Department.
Oh, many speech contest participations - I will try and find out - how many :)), started Spanish and translation for medical websites, and now she is so into Koreean ...LOL Go girl!
Oh, did I metion she was also in Japanese Theatre Group in high-school performing in the Japanese version of `LA MEDELENI`?? :))


2005 JRP Nihongo Summit“Love, Earth and Peace”Panellists have been selectedI would like to express my great appreciation to all those who gave us their kind support for the organisation of this year’s“2005 JRP Nihongo Summit”, and am hereby pleased to inform you that a total of 16 panellists as listed below from 16countries were selected on the 15th January, from among a total of 55 applicants from 29 countries; 23 from 14 countries forthe Junior Category and 32 from 15 countries for the Senior Category; eight each for the Junior (the invitation closed on 15thOctober) and Senior Categories (the invitation closed on 15th November).

All of them have been selected following the first,second and final screenings based on the assigned essay and the videotape for oral proficiency evaluation, of which the secondand final selections were conducted by ten selection judges.Miyoko IkezakiCEO & Executive Managing DirectorThe Japan Return Programme

【Overseas Panellists】《Junior Category》 8 panellists from 8 countries
Bulgaria Savina IVANOVA 18th high School“William Gladston” (Female/Age 16)
China Kin Ei SAI Ji-lin shi Chao xian zu junior high school (Female/Age 18)
Canada Tiffany TONG Carson Graham Secondary School (Female/Age 16)
Sri Lanka Diani NANDASIRI J.M.C. International Collage (Female/Age 15)
Romania Alexandra PAUN Ion Creanga high school (Female/Age 17)
Mongolia Tungalag BYAMBATSOGT 23rd Dondso Ragoori (Female/Age 17)
Russia Ekaterina MOSHKINA Shiberian State University (Female/Age 19)
Paraguay Lucy LISBOA Eswela de Idioma Japones de Yguazu (Female/Age 17)

Alexandra Paun, reprezentanta Romaniei la Forumul Mondial al Copiilor

29 iulie - Alexandra Paun, o tinara eleva de 17 ani, reprezentanta Romaniei la Forumul Mondial al Copiilor, a vizitat astazi Pavilionul tarii noastre la Aichi. Alexandra este eleva la Liceul Ion Creanga din Bucuresti, studiaza japoneza, si a castigat un concurs de eseuri pe teme legate de ecologie. Ea a participat la Forumul Mondial al Copiilor desfasurat la site-ul EXPO, impreuna cu tineri din intreaga lume. Forumul s-a desfasurat in limba japoneza. In Pavilionul Romaniei, Alexandra a inregistrat mesajul sau catre participantii la Forum, mesaj care a fost transmis in direct la postul de televiziune NHK. In cursul sederii sale in Japonia, ea a vizitat mai multe orase si locuri istorice, precum si Ambasada tarii noastre la Tokyo.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Teodora is a 3rd year student and a awfully passionate scholar in Japanese language.
She started studying Japanese from the secondary school (School Nr. 195, Bucharest) and her dream was one day to get to see the country she loves so much.
As I remember she also got a 1st prize at the Japanese Speech Contest as a pupil of School Nr. 195. After 4 years of studying Japanese language she followed her passion for Japan togheter with one of her secondary school classmate and came as a student in Japanese Class in our high school.

And, as lately a lot of dreams seem to come true at our high school, she is the second pupil to be admited in ACE exchange program. ACE organizes every year a visit program for European High School Students who get the oportunity onot only to visit Japan, but also to experience studying at a school here.

Teodora is now in Tochigi prefecture, in the city of Utsunomiya and I will ask her to write about her experience in Japan at the end of the program as she, as anyoneelse here, is in a tight schedule. LOL Everything is planed and executed by minute and being late is quite an offense in Japan.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I decided to start in an anti-chronological order, so I got to Ramona Mihai who is now a student at Bucharest University.

Her class mate, Alexandra Paun informed her about the Peace Sumit held in Japan, so amazingly a nother student from Ion Creanga was accepted in this program.


The sumit was held today in Tokyo, but I realized too late the exact date and, because the Asociation helding the event is quite strict regarding privacy of the participants I couldn`t get in as a guest on the same day.

This year thema is:

2007 JRP Nihongo Summit

“Peace Across Ethnic Boundaries”

Overseas Panellists have been selected

I would like to express my great appreciation to all those who gave us their kind support for the organisation of this year’s “2007 JRP Nihongo Summit”, and am hereby pleased to inform you that a total of 14 panellists as listed below from 14 countries were selected from among a total of 113 applicants from 46 countries; 64 from 23 countries for the Junior Category and 49 from 23 countries for the Senior Category; six for the Junior and eight for the Senior Categories (the invitation closed on 31st October). All of them have been selected following the first, second and final screenings based on the assigned essay and the videotape for oral proficiency evaluation, of which the second and final selections were conducted by nine selection judges.

Miyoko Ikezaki

CEO & Executive Managing Director

The Japan Return Programme

Overseas Panellists

Junior Category6 panellists from 6 countries

Estonia Johannes REBANE West Vancouver Secondary School (Canada) (Male /Age 16)

Korea Hae-nah LEE Myong-Ji Foreign Language High School (Female /Age 17)

Turkmenistan Dovran DEDEBAYEV Kiev National Linguistic University (Ukraine) (Male /Age 18)

Brazil Leticia Akina SHIROTA Escola de Lingua Japonesa de Kyoei (Female /Age 15)

Mongolia Nomiun DELGEREKH School No.23 (Female /Age 16)

Romania Ramona MIHAI University of Bucharest (Female /Age 19)

Senior Category8 panellists from 8 countries

Azerbaijan Vurghun HASANLI Erciyes University (Turkey) (Male /Age 22)

Uzbekistan Rustam MIRZAHALILOV Tashkent State University of Economics (Male /Age 21)

El Salvador Sonia Margarita MUNOZ CAMPOS Universidad de El Salvador (Female /Age 21)

Cuba Indira RODRIGUEZ RUIZ Instituto Superior Arte (Female /Age 22)

Kyrgyz Arizat USENBAEVA Bishkek Humanities University (Female /Age 22)

China Qi TANG Beijing Foreign Studies University (Female /Age 21)

Poland Marta NEWELSKA Adam Mickiewicz University (Female /Age23)

Morocco Aziz KIMY University of Hassan(Male /Age 24)

Non-Profit Organisation

The Japan Return Programme (JRP)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Kame & Teaching = NO WAY!!


Before university, I went to "Gh. Rosca Codreanu" high school in my native town, Chemistry- Biology class in following the times trend .... everyone let`s become a doctor (money and prestige)! At first my parents wanted to send me to the Pedagogical class to become a primary school teacher because I could play piano, I was good at sport, I was good at history and English and according to them I had a talent with children??????

Me, a teacher?? NO WAY!
I was a pupil myself and seing my mates screaming in some classes and driving the teachers crazy or making fun of him etc, so ... a bunch of 6 years old running and screaming and fighting .... Oh, my GOD!

So, go with the fashion and let`s become a doctor. Still the problem with this idea was that my parents insisted me to become a teeth doctor (stomatology) which I totally repulsed after seing my stomatolog aunt extracting a tooth with her knee holding down a screaming patient .... That was the day when I locked myself in the room until my dad agreed I can be any kind of doctor, but a dentist.

Anyway I started studying for Medical School (Biology, Physics, Chemistry) but I discovered soon I am totaly retarded when it comes to Physics, so between my struggles through the above mentioned subjects, in the 3rd year of high school I start thinking of an "alternate" career.

I made up a list with likes and dislikes, but got more confused as the logical result would have been being a ... teacher?!
as I couldn`t be an advocate (I LOVE talking - to be honest I don`t really know how to shut up ... - but memorizing is such a torture), doctor (Biology was a lot of memorizing and Physics), shop assistant (not really a career and I have ended up in family bussines and having as a boss my own mom!! - I love her, but she is a PERFECTIONIST ...), engineer (who am I kidding), secretary (making coffee for misogin bosses?), model (do you want to see my pictures?? anyway, short, plump, wearing glasses and totally hating my nose shape! )

Favourite subjects: NO WAY I am going to get it subjects:
English Logic (there is not a more illogical subject than logic)
Economics Geography (just disliked the teacher! Sorry ....)
Chemistry Physics (so again ... you close the circuit down, but actually open up the light ?)
Literature French (after 4 years of doing nohing but singing the same song on 3 voices ....)
Sport Mathematics (I got so pissed off because I could solve every single difficult problem doing corecctly all the steps, but when doing the last ecuation my results were always wrong - bad arithmetics abilities)

I thought I would like maybe to work as a guide, a translator or something using languages, even a teacher, but my inability of French left me only 2 option: becoming an English- Romanian teacher or start learning another language (in Romania the gasp of only one foreign language is highly un-competitive!)
German was not quite a thrill, but maybe some Spanish or Italian woudn`t be too bad, the only obstacle in my town being that no one was able to teach either of them.

To be honest, learning Japanese would have been ..... the greatest present ever! Why, oh, I forgot to tell you: one year before I started practising karate. By the 3rd year of high school I was Romanian vice-champion in kata sincron and kumite and a Bruce Lee maniac fan.

The answer came from the sky : as a present for my birthday, my English teacher (very aware of my Japan mania) gave me: Learn Japanese without a teacher, by Mrs. Angela Hondru.

From that day one, my life got a purpose and I discovered is such a plus as an adolescent to HAVE A DREAM.
Trying to write for the first time in HIRAGANA (Japanese Silabar), I decided one day I will be able to speak Japanese, I will get a scholarship and I will go to see Japan!!! I WILL!

From that day:
- my high school graduation note was the 4th highest in the whole high school
- I went for Medical School Exam failing 5 points due to my inability to calculate the correct result in a Physics problem
- getting the courage to tell my parent I refuse to accept them to pay another year so much money for getting me to Medical School as I can`t do more than that with Physics
- asking them to have confidence in my and let me go for Japanese language
- knocking at every door possible to find the address of Ms. Angela Hondru and than convince her to accept me as a private student

- learned in 2 months the same Japanese her other students she had leart in 8 months
- slept from 8 to 12 in the morning, studying Japanese, eating studying, sleeping from 5 to 8 in the evening, waking up and eat and study Japanese until next day at 8 (for 3 months daily)
- failing the entrance examination for Japanese department at Bucharest University (the second under line)
- going for English- German section at Spiru Haret University to put my parents mind at ease that I will at least have a diploma in something
failing the 2nd time entrance examination for Japanese department at Bucharest University for the same reasons (poor mark at English)
- understanding that to get a higer mark at English I need to pay lots of money to be tutored by one of the Bucharest University English staff if I want to have a higher mark
- taking a big risk in trying to convince my parents that I want to give up German to get as a fresman in the Japanese - English department starting that year in Spiru Haret University
- 4 years in Japanese section and involving in all the Japanese related events possible
- crying because my university was a private one, so no scholarship were awarded by the Japan Embassy
- working part- time as a baby sitter for a Japanese family to improve my Japanese (not with too obvious result because my baby was only one year was learning his first words)
- although a student going to the Japanese classes Ms. Angela Hondru taught in ION CREANGA (the only high school with Japanese language class)
- bitting my nails as I could never got to the high level IOn CREANGA pupils had in Japanese (they were studying the language from secondary school as Ms. Angela Hondru initiative, than a teacher in 190 School, Berceni)
- going for an awfull graduation exam at Bucharest University as my faculty being a private one needed recognizing from a state one (only me and Oana from Brasov got the guts to take the exam; everyone else waited 1, 2 year until our university received the right to have its own graduation exam)
- graduation exam results: Japanese 10; English 5; Final paper on Enchi Fumiko 9
- start looking for a job related with Japanese other than working for Japan Embassy (no way I could easily get a job there) or a Japanese company as many books about the Japanese salaryman made me aware I cannot possible work as a robot long hours or follow rules without sense (no ofense here!)
- closing my eyes and remember I had so much fun in teaching my baby first words in Japanese (it was fun!!)
- start thinking that being around children is not so difficult because I can tell a lot of stories and I sill have this great pleasure for play
- deciding I would like to teach Japanese from 0 and I would love to transmit my fascination for this language , my passion and everything I knew to someone else
- taking a big step and going to Ion Creanga high school and meet the principal, Ms. Emilia Dorgosan to ask if she knew any other institution I could go as a Japanese teacher and what do I need to do to become a teacher
- being asked if I have a graduation diploma and being hired on the spot as Ion Creanga high school`s Japanese Language teacher (the one they had got a scholarship in Japan)
- getting out, absolutely thrilled: I DID IT!!
- getting chillled all of the sudden because I didn`t know what meant to be a teacher .....

Anyway, got really freaked out!! 怖い!!!

So could you believe that from not knowing how to be a teacher, I evolved to be in the committee creating Japanese Language curriculum, organizing Japanese Cultural Day every year or apearing on TV??

I can`t really believe it myself, but it is there and to be honest I am not convinced is about being a good teacher or a being a specialist in a certain domain, I think is more about having a dream, entering with joy in the classroom, speaking from the bottom of you heart with passion and having a bunch of most terrible pupils, always asking questions and challenging me and most important ALAWAYS THERE to do things together!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Why to create such a BLOG??

Because again, some smart head (aka ass!) decided to get ride off JAPANESE LANGUAGE SECTION in ION CREANGA High School and I need to let those persons know I AM GOING TO FIGHT BACK!

Sounds theatrical to you, guys? Maybe!
But it is not just let`s do something in between crying because my teacher asked me to write a report in Japanese on Georgio Agamben (nice, smart Italian philosopher, but too elevated for my small & simple brain), fighting with my Japanese boy friend to give up Pachinko game and do something with his life, being depressed that after 2 years in Japan my savings are 300 $ which is really sooo me!, or trying to figure out what I am supposed to do after 4 years in Japan!!!

No! Is is not let`s sound interesting!
It is respect for all involved in Japanese Language teaching in Romania and their fight with lack of materials, money and places to teach. It is respect for all my pupils (whatever they feel the same about me or not) starting with S who was never able to write more than 2 sentences in Japanese (for at least trying) to T who is now in Japan with a scholarsip (for having a dream).

And yes, everyone can say I am not a good teacher or a good scholar in Japanese studies, they can say I was manipulative, many times crazy and driving everyone crazy or rude in expressing my opinions, BUT NO ONE can ever say I ever got into my classroom without passion regarding Japanese or my students.

Ans maybe yes, maybe I stayed in a corner, not reallly involving in what is going on in my high school, but this is because I am HUMAN and I am still confused about what am I doing with my life, because I have regrets about some of the things I`ve done and I thought it is time to give other people a chance to prove the same passion about teaching Japanese language (and guys, I am so proud of you: Corina, Vero, Anca, Catalin, all those guys in charge of the romanian anime site and go association), but I AM NOT keeping silent if Japanese language is about to lose one of the most exciting place to experience learning 6 teaching it:

ION CREANGA High School.

And you know, something, I am not going to talk stupid things or gossip about all the problems we have as teachers of Japanese, but I want to ask everyone to write about their love for Japan and for those who ever visited our high school about their experience.

What is KAME doing in TOKYO?

At first, I was not sure! Loooong story ...
See when I left Romania I had almost 35 persons seeing me off to the airport, most of them, my high school students and I was already upset because I was leving behind the job I loved most: teaching Japanese.

Now, at the airport my mom was pretty moved to see such a crowd and told me: Woaw, they love you so much they came all this way to say Bye!, but I have my own theory that maybe they just wanted to make sure I am really leaving so they can celebrate!! LOL

(OK, ok! I admitt I was moved and I know how much I mean to all those people seeing me off, so this is why it was so difficult to leave and so difficult to reach Tokyo and discover that NO ONE needs me, cares about me - long story). And it was more confusing because I came from a very hecting, long hours work schedule to something like: you have to be at school Tuesday and Thursday, write your research and stay out of trouble ....

The only good part was that VIO, one of my students also travelled with me in the same plane (She got a 5 years scholarship the same time I got mine. which was the best present for me as a teacher that year!) Since then I had other of my high school students coming to Japan and it was so rewarding to see their joy and their wonder to see all the places they heard about in my classes.

But to get it down to this entry:

I came as a Research Student in Education at Ochanomizu Joshi University (a university for girls famous in Japan for raising: Good wives and Wise mothers!) Hmmm, that will be my comment for another day ......

Now I am a Master Student (1st year) in Educational Science since April 2007 at the same university. I am taking courses like: 教育思想 (Philosophy of Education)、教育発達 (The Progress of Education studying about UNESCO / UNICEF programs)、教育課程 (Curriculum), 生涯教育(Adult Learning Education), I am participating at Education Conferences as the one last week held by HITACHI GROUP or I am part of my team who manage in collaboration with JICA / JOCV a 7 weeks course for Educators from French Speaking African regions (my french really improved).

I am a member of English Speaking Union of Japan (an organization composed of ex-ambassadors and press people in love with English and foreign cultures).

I am also a member of CWAJ (College Women Association of Japan) in Foreign Students Circle (meaning we meet couple of times a month and act as mentors for foreign students living in Tokyo) and in Scholarship Committee (which grants 5 / 6 sholarship per year for people who wish to study in Japan and Abroad).

I am helping Romanian-Japan Music Organization (Mrs. Kazuko Shimada) to organize the George Enescu Contest (last year & this year) and the Romanian Fashion Event to rise funds for musical isntruments to be donated to Romania (a program which also granted ION CREANGA High School an electronic piano).

I am helping and eating from time to time at the Romanian Restaurant in Nakano-Sakaue because the food is great and Iulia the owner is a woderful, down to earth person.

I am working as Pool Administrator at TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB, a job where I feel like home and is almost as rewarding as my job back home at ION CREANGA High School.

In fact my real position is Assistant Manager, but due to my visa status (research student) I cannot be titled accordingly so don`t be surprised if you drop by and see me shouting orders up and down.

Hmm, what else am I doing in Tokyo??

Oh, yeah, I was modelling for Very magazine in June 2006 and I am spending all my money travelling (taking lots of pictures) and shoping at 100 Y Shop!

Kame from TOKYO / Japan

Everyone here in Japan calls me KAME (meaning Turtle LOL).

In fact I received this nickname back in Romania from one of my (and Georgiana`s) Japanese friends enrolled in a doctoral program in Romanian history - 実は彼女がルーマニア語ぺらぺらだよ!ちょっとうらやましい。

We had this discussion that although the short for my name is Cami I should avoid using it as in Japanese it might have 3 (not very appropriate meanings): KAMI.

KAMI - paper 紙
KAMI - hair 髪
KAMI - God, spirit 神

Anyway, you can call me Kame!
I am living from April 2005 in Tokyo studying and working (sorry but to have only 4-5 classes / weeks and nothing else to do when not in school, working was my only way to avoid becoming a Pachinko Maniac - LOL) and I love tenpura & maccha aiscream!
Being here from 2005 I don`t really get how do I got a qualificative (and a nasty one LOL) in 2006 on the Ion Creanga teachers list, as I am not teaching there anymore ......