The Tragedy in Miyagi, Japan

March 17, 2011

It is a bit surreal to watch the videos of the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan.  There are images of places where I used to hang out flooding with waves 10m high, and photos of roads I’ve driven on a thousand times split in half and with ships beached on them.  It’s been […]

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Language Study: Learning Kanji

February 3, 2011

There are many ways to approach the daunting task of learning the 2,136 joyo (常用/regular use) kanji of the Japanese language.  The first thing to remember is that this will be a process; there’s a reason why Japanese is ranked in the third and most difficult group of languages to learn (for native English speakers) […]

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In the regional newspaper for calligraphy work

September 15, 2010

The following is an article I was featured in from the Sanriku Shimpo, a regional newspaper in the northeastern part of the Miyagi prefecture: (A translated version can be found below) English Teacher Reaches Sho-dan in Japanese Calligraphy July 24, 2010 Phillip Sauvé, an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) in Motoyoshi, Kesennuma, recently reached sho-dan (first […]

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Saying Farewell in Japanese: A Simple Japanese Goodbye Speech to Your School

August 22, 2010

Here’s a speech to use when saying goodbye to your school in Japanese.  It is a simple and respectful speech that expresses your gratitude while not getting too sappy.  Feel free to borrow from it! (Translation at the bottom) 皆さん、おはようございます。いつも________(School name)に来るのを楽しみにしていました。________(School name)のみなさんいつも明るく元気いっぱいで迎えてくれました。面白い経験と日本の生活は一生忘れません。特に英語の先生方には大変お世話になりました。生徒の皆さん、これからも、英語を楽しんで勉強して下さい。校長先生、教頭先生、そして先生方、___(number of years)年間大変お世話になりました。どうもありがとうございました。 (ひらがな) みなさん、おはようございます。 いつも________ にくるのをたのしみにしていました。________のみなさん、いつもあかるくげんきいっぱいでむかえてくれました。おもしろいけいけんとにほんのせいかついっしょうわすれません。とくにえいごのせんせいがたにはたいへんおせわになりました。せいとのみなさん、これからもえいごをたのしんでべんきょうしてください。こうちょうせんせい、きょうとせんせい、そしてせんせいがた、___ねんかんたいへんおせわになりました。どうもありがとうございました。 (English) Good morning everyone. I have always had […]

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Japanese Calligraphy Update: Sho-dan

July 20, 2010

As I had previously posted here, I am running out of time to reach my goal of sho-dan in Japanese calligraphy.  Well, my test paper from June came back and… I did it!  I moved up to the sho-dan ranking! Mission: accomplished. I got a phone call from my sensei— only the second time he’s […]

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Saying Goodbye the Japanese Way

July 13, 2010

Over the next few days and weeks I’ll be coming across the last of many things.  There will be last classes, the last time visiting the three schools I work at, a last time in Motoyoshi, one last surf, my last calligraphy lesson, the last time driving my fantastic Honda Civic, and countless others.  It’s […]

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Surfing: I'm Loving It

June 30, 2010

The sun is shining down.  There are a few seagulls flying back and forth overhead; and the air is filled with a moist, salty sea breeze.  Straddling the board like a marine cowboy, you wait during a lull in the waves for the next good one, your next good ride.  Then you see it, coming […]

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習字:Japanese Calligraphy

June 24, 2010

What is 習字 (shuji)? Shuji (Japanese calligraphy) is the skillful writing of kanji characters in a way that gives them balance and expression.  It is not just writing a character on a piece of paper though.  It is much more than that.  Each stroke has a a proper way to begin and end and there […]

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'Katsudon', i.e. 'The Best Japanese Food'

April 7, 2010

What is this ‘katsudon‘ thing that I speak of?  For those of you unfamiliar, katsudon is a fried pork cutlet, covered with egg and put on top of a bowl of rice.  It’s hot, crisp, and juicy- what else could you want?  It is by far one of the best (and lesser known) foods you […]

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