Monday, May 30, 2011

Applying for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test

Recent changes in the JLPT mean that it's now easier to take the test in Japan than it previously was. You can now take any level test twice a year (previously only the two highest levels were available twice). In celebration, here's a brief guide on how to apply.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

WS: "Was and Were" JHS 2nd G

This Sunday's worksheet is a nice little story knocked together by my talented 婚約者, Laura. It makes use of a typically English scenario (easily converted to your home country) to practice the appropriate use of "was" and "were".

Friday, May 27, 2011

Japanese Ability to be Linked to Visa Extensions?

This article is a bit dated, but I only stumbled across it fairly recently: In May of 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hinted in a press conference that it would like to start taking Japanese language ability into consideration when issuing visas to or renewing landing permissions for foreign residents.

(A Youtube video of the press conference is also available; there's no particular variation between it and the written record, but of additional interest on Youtube are the scathing comments in Japanese about former Minister of Foreign Affairs Masahiko Komura and his "antinational" proposals.) 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Vehicle Registration and License Plates in Japan

Registration of cars in Japan is handled by the District Transport Bureaus, or 地方運輸局 (ちほううんゆきょく). These bureaus were previously known as 陸運局 (りくうんきょく) before a restructuring of the Ministry of Transport* and are still colloquially referred to as such. In conversation, or within the scope of this guide, the names are interchangeable.

Today we'll learn about what exactly the District Transport Bureaus handle, what they don't handle, and, down there at the bottom of the article, how to find your nearest branch.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

WS: Language Games JHS 1st Grade

Towards the end of the first grade textbook (New Crown), language games are introduced. You know, like when you have


and the answer is...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shoudoshima Island

Shoudoshima 小豆島 is a small island South-East of Okayama, just East of Shikoku. Despite being largely empty and dotted with several burnt out or abandoned hotels and buildings, it has some great sights off the beaten track. It's a famous location for soy sauce production. In fact, the whole island literally stinks of it 24/7.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

WS: "It's Paul's Bike." JHS 1st Grade

Very early in first grade you'll be teaching "Is this/that your...". Around the same time, you'll teach His/Her/Paul's.

This is a sheet I made which covers that in a fun puzzle style.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Anti-Theft License Plates

If you've ever looked closely at a car's rear license plate in Japan, you may have noticed something funny about one of the screws holding it in. At first glance, it just looks bigger than the others. And with a really close look, you might notice that it's inscribed with a kanji corresponding to the prefecture or licensing region of the car's plates.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Cost of Giving Birth in Japan

I hope this doesn't excite my family too much, but recently I've been looking into the logistics of childbirth in Japan. Hence the forthcoming post on maternity leave (see next week).

Sunday, May 08, 2011

WS: "The most..."JHS 2nd Grade

I'm on a roll with this kind of worksheet, so here's another in the vein of my "Did you...", "Do you know how to...", "Can you" and "Will you" sheets, and yet again is a perfect example of not being afraid to reuse ideas for different grammar points.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Distance Running in Japan

If you're an avid runner and like to compete in marathons, 10ks etc, then I have a useful tip for you.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Kettlebells and KB Training in Japan

For those of you versed in the intense world of kettlebell training, moving to Japan may prove slightly taxing if you want to continue your training at a high level. More details follow:

Monday, May 02, 2011

NTT Flets Hikari Internet (Part I)

A major headache for me when I got my own apartment here was setting up the Internet connection. I'd lived in a Leopalace before, which, despite other complaints I've heard about Leopalaces, really has a simplistic Internet setup.

If you haven't already, check out our guides to LEO-NET and Leopalace apartments in general. But for info about getting a connection in a usual apartment setup (with NTT, as an example of a major provider), read on!

Miraikan Science Museum, Tokyo

This cool family science museum on the artificial Daiba islands of Tokyo houses the ground-breaking ASIMO robot, who comes out twice a day to woo crowds.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

WS: New Teacher "Self-Intro Bingo" Grade 1 JHS

Another teacher-bingo style activity, this time to introduce yourself to first graders for the first time. I would precede it with a brief verbal intro as advised by your JTE (name, age, hobbies, ethnic background etc).