Hello, I'm lauren goff. This is my blog, where I talk about my life in Japan, writing, theology, and Japanese.

 

日本語を話すのが下手ですが、どうぞよろしくお願いします。
 

Back to School

September 2

Thank you for your patience in waiting for this blog post. The past couple of weeks have been quite busy, what with school and trying to study Japanese more consistently. Do you remember Koi from my first post? Well, he recently passed the highest level of the JLPT, which is "better Japanese than most Japanese people." Hearing that, I've gotten kind of competitive. 

This post won't be as long as the others, fortunately or unfortunately, but next time I write, I'll have revisited a local castle I like during their festival, so I should have plenty of interesting facts to share. Pictures, too, probably. 

So, during summer vacation I had a training, and I came up with three goals:

  1. Talk to at least 5 students outside of cursory "Hello! How are you?"

  2. Voice volume practice.

  3. Study student and teacher name notes for at least 15 minutes a day (and update notes)

I've been doing pretty well with all of these, though I haven't been able to make #1 every day. On the days I don't, I like to think I talk to the other teachers more. This week will probably be good for that, since my classes are going to be cut short because of testing, so I'll have more time to walk around and pester the students in between tests. At first, I was intimidated by them, but once you start to think of them as your kids, that attitude becomes silly. I might just be an assistant teacher, but I am still the boss and I have things they need to know, so why not converse whenever I want?

The changes have been basically immediate. The kids are seldom as shy around me as before, and are often pretty glad to see me. I've been getting better at giving instructions as well. The two Japanese teachers I usually work with at one school, Cockatoo-sensei and Turtle-sensei, have remarked that they've been following my instructions better. 

On the last exam, they did worse on the English sections I taught. That may well still be the case this time around, but I'll be very surprised if they aren't a lot better. I also get to coach Bluebird-san/kun with his speech contest piece, and it's always nice to hang out with him. 

I've also cleared up a bit of misunderstanding with one of my teacher friends, so that's also a load off my mind. There was a kind of strange incident involving a student leaving his or her very expensive e-dictionary on my desk opened to the Japanese word for "reverence" (畏敬 いけい ikei). Kind of weird, I admit. The Japanese teachers seem more concerned about it than I am, probably because of the price of the thing and the importance the schools place on having all official items on the official gear list.

On the writing front, lately, I've been hitting road blocks making my characters do different things. What I mean by that is that my characters have a few set archetypes that make it hard for me to set them apart from each other in action and personality. This isn't so obvious in the two fantasy short stories I've sent into the world of publishing, though you might notice some similarities between Amsel (of "Amsel the Immortal," coming out this fall in Cirsova!) and the yet-unnamed flesh golem creature in "God in the Machine" (The Vortex) as I write more about them. 

You see, most of my main characters have central conflicts that have to do with living up to responsibility, as well as dealing with their own monstrosity and people's reactions to it. That's not bad. For whatever reason, it's a story I want to work out, and it has potential. However, when you combine that character mold with my propensity to take defining aspects of myself and put them into all or most of the poor saps, and you get a recipe for clones.

I've been trying to model characters after common universal archetypes (yes, I have been listening to a lot of psychology videos), but that often leads me into the trap of making them very inorganic and planned. Next, I think I'll try using the people I know and people from history more often.

Kanji of the Day

谷:Kun: 「たに、きわまる tani, kiwamaru」 On: 「こく koku」

valley

 

Word of the Day

微笑「びしょう bishou」

smile (noun)

 

Thought of the Day

最近、新しい髪があって有色のシャツを着ます。ウキウキになったんですから、嬉しいです。

 

Overwork

Niigata, Again