Creativity in the Classroom: Beautiful!

Here is a guy from England who gets it almost perfectly right.
His bit about "kids are being taught that being "wrong" is the worst thing that could happen"
speaks directly to the Japanese school system.

I'm going to watch this a few times, and I invite you to, too. (about 20 min, WELL WORTH IT!)

How to Blog...

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.



2 days ago, I buried myself in the "mystical" ceramic baked pellets made from a mysterious energy-giving "power stone" in a southern island in Japan. Kind of like a hot bath, the above title is the Japanified pronunciation and spelling of "Sand Bath." I have written before about my friend trying to multi-level market me, and get me to experience this health elixir.

So I let them bury me in mystery nuggets.  I sweated up a storm, and literally felt my hands and feet pulsating with the heat.  They told me this was my capillaries opening up, that my body was being cleaned from the inside out.  When I got out of the "sand," they filled it up with hot water again, and pointed knowingly at the film (yuk!) on the water.  "You have a lot of impurities built up in your back and neck. See?"  Well, I didn't really see, but I was not surprised when they recommended the extended course.

I don't think I will be back for a while.  The tension in my neck and shoulders did not vanish.  I had another healthy wild rice lunch there.  And I did feel a bit lighter. (Sweat/water loss?)

The rest of the day got worse.  I found out one of my English classes (where the little girls gave me valentine's chocolates last week) will be closed, starting next month.  An insensitive financial decision. Within the hour, I had to go tell the mothers that their kids would have no class to attend in 3 weeks.  I felt really betrayed by the English school, but perhaps, on reflection, perhaps that is the nature of the beast.  They see four expendible bodies, I see 3 girls and a little guy who love English, and who have improved, who look forward to coming and playing in English. I haven't felt that angry in a long time.

 To complete the day, I also found out there wasn't enough income in I CAN's vaults this month to pay my salary.

 Maybe I shouldn't have gone to the "sandobasu" after all! 

Then again, I could choose to believe that the rest of the impurities were being purged from my being....

On the next day, the kids at I CAN and I made bibimbap, the Korean dish, at a cooking facility in town.  A bit of work, but looking back, with shopping, cooking and eating, they had a very good Free-Schoolish day, full of teamwork and success.

Also, in an interesting development, the college student who came by to volunteer last month (FP1 gratitude card recipient) came back for the entire day, and spent the night until Thursday.  On Wednesday night, we had a good discussion about what he wants to do in the future, and it looks like it may be possible for him to work for a cram school here in town while helping I CAN during his off-hours.  It looks like there should be a way to make a win-win for everybody with this guy.

Of course, I've only known Abe san for 3 days, and I don't know how he will be with kids, but they seem to like him, and it seems like a worthwhile avenue to pursue.

Finally, on my scorekeeping front, the scale read 68 kilos when I went to bed last night, a new low(!)


Another blog about Dieting. How Mundane.

Today I was trying to be mindful of food. The upshot was that I was mindful of this goal all day, and not just when I was eating. My mind is very much on what is going into my body these days. In a way, I think that is a good thing: mindfulness. However, I think that thinking too much about this “diet” will undermine the results I am after. Don’t want to be food-obsessed.

I had a glass of water and a bowl of cereal for breakfast, with half an apple.

For lunch we went with I CAN to the “bento shop” which makes hot, boxed lunches for take out. I chose a vegetable stir fry, and we had rice we cooked in the classroom along with miso soup and some kimchee. Actually I am hoping to get the nutritionist who works 3 doors up the street to come give a volunteer presentation for our group. Some of them have instant cup-ramen noodles for breakfast (if anything), fast food for lunch. I don’t know about dinner, but I do know they are pretty sedentary. Gaming and all. Hopefully I can show off some results before scheduling the nutritionist’s visit.

I noticed that at lunch I felt really hungry, and everything tasted good. I tried to slow down and taste the food rather than inhale it. The 13 year old boys surrounding me (and Japanese males, generally) are pretty good at wolfing down food. They learn it at school where, if it takes only 5 minutes to eat your lunch, you can have 30 whole minutes for recess. You can see salarymen slurping noodles at the “standing only” counters at the train stations. Food eating champions become TV idols.

I was able to come home at 6:30 to have a shortened dinner with my family before returning for classes. Emiko baked salmon, made a tomato salad and a spinach/bonito flake side dish. Water. Again, it tasted better. I tried (with 2 toddlers vying for attention) to focus on the process of eating. Then rushing off to night classes at I CAN.

I feel a little lighter today, less sluggish. Day four without beer though I kind of wanted one while watching the latenight broadcast (in English!) of Desparate Housewives...