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April 2006

+ The National Japanese Language Speech Contest +

I visited Toronto from April 1st to 4th. My main purpose was to support one of my students who participated in the National Japanese Language Speech Contest as a representative of Ottawa (and a little bit of sight seeing...) The contest was really interesting. There was a variety of speech themes. They spoke about Japanese traditional culture, languages, and pop music. I was very happy because such many Canadians (and foreigners who live in Canada) are interested in Japan. Their speech encouraged me and I enhanced my mind to be a Japanese teacher.

The result was... my student got only a participant prize but his speech was really good. If there were one more prize, he would get it. However I think that such prizes were not so important. I know he practiced a lot and he did his best. Such efforts were so great. I can give him the gold medal.

image: Gold Medal - Excellent! You have done very well -  (Excellent! You have done very well.)

Well, the TV staff from one of the Canadian TV stations that have Japanese programs came and shot not only the speeches but also our conversations during the break. So, I might be on Canadian TV next Sunday, only in a second.

Ah... well... no, I don't think so.

(* Yeah!!! My face was on Canadian TV in a few seconds on April 22nd.)

+ The Taste of Spring +

I went to the Sugar Fest which is a local small event for celebrating spring by eating maple syrup candy. The stage show was already finished when I arrived there but I saw some very interesting things there. There were the woods that almost all of the trees have a small tin bucket like this photo.

photo: the tin bucket

First, I thought that they were nests for birds or squirrels (there are a lot of squirrels in Ottawa) but these were located lower on the trunk and I also thought that tin was not good for such nests. I got close to the tree and opened the bucket slightly. Some transparent liquid dripped from the tube that was sticking out of the trunk. It was an undiluted solution of maple syrup! I didn't know how to get it. After collecting the liquid, they boil it, boil it, and boil it to make it into maple syrup. I heard that one litter maple syrup is made from fifty litters or more. If they boil it completely, it will become maple sugar.

I ate a small maple syrup candy and a maple sugar candy. According to my Canadian friend, such maple taste is "The Taste of Spring" as for Canadians.

As for me, this is really "The Taste of Canada!"

+ Thank you +

Well, well, well... It has been one year since I came to Canada. It was a great year for me. First of all, I want to say thank you to this great country Canada and relative agencies' officers, not only Canada but also Japan, who have had effort to provide the Working Holiday Program. Canada gave me the wonderful chance to think about my life and myself.

I always feel that I only knew a very small bit of the world but now I feel I know it very well. I have been influenced by all people who I met in Canada, but especially by my Canadian friends and by my students. I have learned a variety of thing; not only good things but also bad things, about Canada through my Canadian friends. My students have told me what a wonderful job a Japanese teacher is. They, my friends and my students, are really my treasure.

Of course, it is reality that occasionally Canadian people made me feel bad, let me down, and I had cried once because of terrible miscommunication. Yeah, I remember that I walked down the street with sobbing in the night. But I can say


When I think about my answer, I noticed that it was already clear. Yeah, I will become a Japanese teacher. I found my answer through this Working Holiday Program, and so, what should I do next? Yeah, it’s very simple. I will just do it.

I think that I will go back to Japan in three months to re-study Japanese but I think it is a temporary homecoming. After getting the training for a professional Japanese teacher, I will go out from Japan again. Yeah, I think that I will come back to Canada again.

I want to say thank you to everyone.

Thank you.

+ What I have improved +

Well, well, well...

I have to contact some people to cancel contracts such as my apartment, my cable TV, my Internet line, etc... When I communicated with them, I remembered the panic in my brain because of English when I first made these contracts last year. But now, I can communicate with them in English without having a strange cold sweat. Yeah, my English has improved.

However, I still don't like to talk by telephone in English. It is very hard for me. Yeah, I make a rehearsal time or make a QA sheet before calling. Recently, I really agree with the importance of visual factors and non-verbal factors in communication.

What's that? Did you say such situation is "getting used to" or "my guessing skill has improved" instead of "my English has improved?"


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