Thursday, March 31, 2011

Synchronicity and all that Stuff

Synchronicity and all that Stuff

by Kevin R Burns
(Kanagawa, Japan)
" I'm convinced God put me here to accomplish a certain number of things;
right now, I'm so far behind I'll never die."

--Petya Lowe, Circle of Light

Synchronicity and all that Stuff

"Everything in this universe is part of an uninterrupted sequence of events."

--Mamoru Mohri, Japanese astronaut

Tokyo, Japan
Japanese astronaut Mamoru Mohri, feels that in the borderless era we live in now, the acceptance of cultural diversity and globalization is very important. "Once people take a broader , more long-term view of the things going on around them, it can give them a totally new perspective on life," said Mohri according to a press report.    Read More


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On the Future of the Whole World

Though I agree that we need to start thinking about what kind of alternative forms of power we are going to use not just in Japan, but worldwide. I don`t think now is the time to debate this in Japan. We need to deal with first things first, which is getting the people up north houses and safe, and fixing the reactors or burying them if that is what is needed.

Most importantly we need to stay positive that we can get all of the above done in a timely manner. It is still winter up north and will be cold for a few months more.

Read More


Monday, March 28, 2011

Minamiashigara Resident Helps Earthquake Victims

Japan Earth Quake
Japan Earth Quake - American Weightlifting Champion helps Victims of 9.0 Earthquake


Two time Kanagawa weight lifting champion; Ukiah, California native Chris Zanella, now calls Minamiashigara City, Kanagawa in Japan home.

The big, affable Californian, survived a hit and run accident in Odawara`s Tomizu area about four months ago, he took just a Friday off of work, didn`t tell his boss about the accident, even though he was very banged up, then taught his students at Kevin`s English School the following Monday, where he has taught children to adults for the past four years. Probably if asked about why he would teach so soon after being hit by car, he would probably just shrug it off. Read More


Sunday, March 27, 2011

On Teaching English in Japan

  • How do you teach English in Japan?

  • What are the first steps you should take?

  • YOUR Stories Your best, worst, strangest and funniest teaching experiences!

  • How much are the salaries in Japan?

  • Oikawa san of Keio, keeps us mindful of some important aspects of teaching

  • Professor John F. Fanselow of Columbia University Teachers College, observes that what you think is happening in the classroom may not be what is happening at all

  • Jobs in Japan for Americans, the unique American situation

  • How do you learn Japanese for free or cheaply?

  • Conrad Matsumoto enlightens us with his "almost no prep activities"

  • How do you teach young children?

  • Chris Weber gives us his hard won advice on teaching English to Japanese

  • David Martin of EFL Press talks about how to be an Effective EFL teacher

  • Should you teach on the JET Program?

  • How do you teach English online?

  • Devanshe Chauhan explains classroom management for newbies

  • What are the Japanese people like?

  • What should I know about working visas?

  • What are the big schools like?

  • Thomas Anderson weighs in on how he teaches university students

  • Follow Us at Facebook or Yahoo Groups

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    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    Japan still needs YOUR Donation

    The fickle media is all ready deserting Japan for other if it bleeds it leads stories.
    the biggest disaster in Japanese history continues and we need your help!

    Imagine America losing her west coast. This is essentially what has happened for a much smaller and less populous nation. This disaster
    is unprecedented in Japanese history.

    The Latest News from Japan


    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Earthquake - I thought I was going to die!

    Earthquake - I thought I was going to die!

    Yokohama, Kanagawa, March 11th, 2011

    I thought I was going to die. The building I was in was shaking much too much and I was on the third floor. I had met friends for lunch in Yokahama, and then went shopping afterwards. Usually the quakes here last a few seconds, usually 30 seconds is the longest. One minute is really long.

    Read More


    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    Reno native Sean Connolly now calls Odawara Home

    Odawara, Kanagawa

    Friday we made contact with some locals now living in areas affected by the earthquake and tsunamis, to hear what they have witnessed in the last 24 hours.

    Many people in those coastal regions said the mood is very reserved and very tense. Those actually in Japan, and those here in the US said it was a surreal thing to experience an earthquake like that, and not something that is easy to get over.

    "The truth is I am still a little bit shaky from the whole situation," Reno native Sean Connolly said in a phone interview from Japan. "It has gotten to the point where I can't tell if it's an aftershock, or if it's just me shaking."

    Connolly lives in Odawara, Japan--about 300 miles southwest of the epicenter of the earthquake. He said when the 8.9 magnitude quake struck outside Japan, it left people world-wide physically and emotionally shaken.

    "All the emotions of fear and what-ifs came after I was safe," Connolly said, "and my brain just processed it. That's when I started to realize that it was really happening."

    Read More


    Odawara Police Stopping non-Japanese in Odawara

    Odawara Police Stopping non-Japanese in Odawara

    Odawara, Kanagawa

    The police in Odawara and Minamiashigara Shi (Matsuda) are very small town people in general.
    Most grew up in the area, and have very little experience with people from other countries.
    Few speak little if any English, and for these local police, non-Japanese are people they
    see in movies, or on TV. They are naive about us to say the least. Some perhaps find
    the large foreigners rather intimidating so give off a tough atmosphere to cope with that.

    Were the local foreign population, truly hostile and dangerous, a tough stance might make
    sense. Like a zero tolerance stance as they had in New York when crime was rampant.

    However this is our peaceful coastal city of Odawara. Many of the local non-Japanese
    residents here have made their life and family here.

    Isn`t it time to educate the local police about us?

    The Odawara police recently have been stopping a few of my American friends while they
    were walking the streets of our city. One woman was walking her dog, and stopped.
    The police asked to see her gaikokujin toroku shomeisho (her foreign identification card).
    She presented it and they took it away and wrote down her details.

    Another American friend and his tall friend from abroad were also stopped and asked for
    identification. The police wrote down their details.

    Haven`t citizens in Japan been through enough lately? Now we must be stopped by the police when we are out walking our dogs?

    In Kamonomiya, Odawara, a motorcycle policeman almost appeared to try to run me down. I think he was using some kind of tactic to see if I would run away. He was obviously suspicious of me for some reason. I was putting pamphlets (advertising my English school) in the mailboxes of apartments and houses in the area. While this is technically illegal, the police don`t bother much with this crime usually. And the Japanese staff of pizza restaurants and other companies also do it. I`ve never seen them hastled by the Odawara police.

    On another occasion two police appeared to follow me while I was putting pamphlets in
    mailboxes. I wasn`t stopped in either case but the motorcyle policeman upset me. I don`t think buzzing a pedestrian while he is walking is called for in any case.

    Odawara professes to want to be more international. They have a relationship with Manly,
    Australia and Chula Vista, California. They have opened an International Lounge.

    Someone may want to tell the local police that the citizens who have made their life and
    family here, are not the enemy. We are not even guests. This is our country too!


    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Odawara is Safe, the way I see it

    Odawara, Kanagawa, March 18th, 2011

    We are staying put, from what I read from non-sensational media, seems to indicate that we are too far away to be at risk.
    Well over 300kms of windy air between us and anything from Fukushima, plus much of the time it is blowing out to sea. The radioactive particles are heavier than air (to my knowledge) so it is tough for them to travel far.

    Chernobyl was a unique case, where it was spewing radiation for many, many days and they
    kept that secret, and people were not evacuated until much later.

    In spite of the so called leaking of radiation, all indicators also say we are safe.

    If you are concerned about radiation out here in Odawara, you may want to stop putting
    your cell phone up to your ear. Really! That is probably the most radiation you will
    get today, tomorrow, next week, and even next month.

    I am concerned, I am worried, but I also know how rotten the media can be in causing panic which is exactly what they are doing now.
    Michael Moore has often cited this.

    It really is unfair. Fox news even got the location of the reactors wrong-had a map of a nightclub. CNN is terrible frankly. Sorry if you like them,
    I find them sensational and mistake prone as stated in the article below.

    I really don`t think that the British, Canadian, American and Australian governments would lie, and they have all issued statements saying
    there is no need to leave if you are in Tokyo. They would err on caution.

    We are south of Tokyo.

    This may reassure, it is written by an MIT professor:

    Check my forum for statements issued by our various governments:

    I`m scared too, but I think in a week we will see that things have played out okay for us in the south.

    I would stay away from well-meaning friends who scare you, they don`t understand the situation from where they are, and how can they really?
    - stay away from the media--most of them sensationalize, even the radio
    station in Montreal, that interviewed me last night.

    BBC and NHK seem like good balanced sources.

    Only the French have advised their citizens to leave, however, America, Canada, Australia and Britain disagree with their take on things. (Excuse Moi,)
    Sorry but I trust them over the French.

    What do we have to worry about? Perhaps another earthquake. That is a concern. But you can stock up on water and batten down the furniture. Other than that I guess we all just have to live our lives.

    If you want to head south on a holiday, then that might give some peace of mind but from knowledgable sources they say the radiation is not a concern.

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    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    My Interview and Life in Japan

    I was interviewed at midnight Japan time by a morning radio show in Montreal CJAD 800. I think it went well.

    On the Media Coverage of this Tragedy in Fukushima

    I think the media is sensationalizing much of the tragedy.
    It is HUGE. Probably the worst ever in Japan, but a lot of it is being exaggerated--the radiation and such.
    I heard that even some BC (Canada) people are really, really worried.
    I was surprised. In my interview, I tried to be honest but hopeful, because I know much of the media won`t be.

    The kids around here are great. They don`t realize the full extent of everything, but I think kids are naturally resilient.
    They can teach us adults!

    Here is our current radiation level.

    Japan is not the Soviet Union, I don`t think they would lie about everything "with the world watching," as my brother, Gray has said.
    I was asked if I believed the Japanese government on this crisis, and I replied that essentially I did.

    That said we are being cautious. Wearing allergy masks outside - which we would do anyway as it is allergy season. One radiation expert said it would help.
    We take off our coats at the door and leave them there. And we wash our hands.

    I think unfortunately some people back home and especially, the media, make all of this worse. Maybe they mean to help but they spread more panic.
    I think it is difficult for people to fathom. And Japan looks so tiny on a map.

    I guess too, everyone knows that one day it could be them in this hell. And that really freaks people out!

    But we are okay. We are coping. Shanaya and Sennah just went to school. Jonah will leave soon. I am off from the university so have been
    securing furniture, light fixtures, and shopping for needed goods.

    I realize now how tough Mom and Dad were -during the war years and throughout their lives.


    Odawara is Safe

    The following site has the radiation levels of your town in Japan. Right now all is normal in Odawara!

    Check it out


    Daiyuzan Line Schedule

    Here is the Daiyuzan Line schedule in Japanese.

    Check it out


    Black Out Schedule for Group 4

    On Thursday, March 17th Group 4, which is Minamiashigara and parts of Odawara will be blacked out
    from 6:40PM until 10PM. So you should plan what you are going to eat for dinner. The Daiyuzan Line
    will be stopped.

    We have avoided the black outs so far, but probably this one really will occur.


    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Japan Nuclear Update - British Embassy

    Japan Nuclear Update - British Embassy

    I have just returned from a conference call held at the British Embassy in Tokyo. The call was concerning the nuclear issue in Japan. The chief spokesman was Sir. John Beddington, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, and he was joined by a number of qualified nuclear experts based in the UK. Their assessment of the current situation in Japan is as follows: * In case of a 'reasonable worst case scenario' (defined as total meltdown of one reactor with subsequent radioactive explosion) an exclusion zone of 30 miles (50km) would be the maximum required to avoid affecting peoples' health. Even in a worse situation (loss of two or more reactors) it is unlikely that the damage would be significantly more than that caused by the loss of a single reactor. * The current 20km exclusion zone is appropriate for the levels of radiation/risk currently experienced, and if the pouring of sea water can be maintained to cool the reactors, the likelihood of a major incident should be avoided. A further large quake with tsunami could lead to the suspension of the current cooling operations, leading to the above scenario. * The bottom line is that these experts do not see there being a possibility of a health problem for residents in Tokyo. The radiation levels would need to be hundreds of times higher than current to cause the possibility for health issues, and that, in their opinion, is not going to happen (they were talking minimum levels affecting pregnant women and children - for normal adults the levels would need to be much higher still). * The experts do not consider the wind direction to be material. They say Tokyo is too far away to be materially affected. * If the pouring of water can be maintained the situation should be much improved after ten days, as the reactors' cores cool down. * Information being provided by Japanese authorities is being independently monitored by a number of organizations and is deemed to be accurate, as far as measures of radioactivity levels are concerned. * This is a very different situation from Chernobyl, where the reactor went into meltdown and the encasement, which exploded, was left to burn for weeks without any control. Even with Chernobyl, an exclusion zone of 30 miles would have been adequate to protect human health. The problem was that most people became sick from eating contaminated food, crops, milk and water in the region for years afterward, as no attempt was made to measure radioactivity levels in the food supply at that time or warn people of the dangers. The secrecy over the Chernobyl explosion is in contrast to the very public coverage of the Fukushima crisis. * The Head of the British School asked if the school should remain closed. The answer was there is no need to close the school due to fears of radiation. There may well be other reasons - structural damage or possible new quakes - but the radiation fear is not supported by scientific measures, even for children. * Regarding Iodine supplementation, the experts said this was only necessary for those who had inhaled quantities of radiation (those in the exclusion zone or workers on the site) or through consumption of contaminated food/water supplies. Long term consumption of iodine is, in any case, not healthy. The discussion was surprisingly frank and to the point. The conclusion of the experts is that the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami, as well as the subsequent aftershocks, was much more of an issue than the fear of radiation sickness from the nuclear plants. Let's hope the experts are right!See More

    By: Paul Atkinson


    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Rolling Power Blackouts

    We (Minamiashigara) is in group 4. Some parts of Odawara are in group 4 too.
    Check with a Japanese friend about which group your area is in.

    Monday, March 15, 2011
    Group 1: 15:20~19:00
    Group 2: 18:20~22:00
    Group 3: 6:20~10:00
    Group 4: 9:20~13:00
    Group 5: 12:20~16:00
    About 3 hours of blackout may occur
    Monday, March 14, 2011
    Group 1: (6:20-10:00, 16:50-20:30)
    Group 2: (9:20-13:00, 18:20-22:00)
    Group 3: (12:20-16:00)
    Group 4: (13:50-19:00)
    Group 5: (15:20-19:00)
    About 3 hours of blackout may occur
    *If your address belongs to multiple groups, please wait for the official announcement from TEPCO.
    *We try to update with the latest annoucement, but please refer to the TEPCO web-site for the accurate and latest information.

    *This search system is experimentally developed by an individual volunteer. Please refer to the TEPCO web-site for the accurate and latest information.
    *If TEPCO announces an official search system, please use it instead.

    Search for your area


    Saturday, March 05, 2011

    Odawara News :Car Accidents in Odawara

    There was a big traffic accident in Tomizu, Odawara recently involving a motorcycle.

    Plus a friend of mine was a victim of a hit and run. He was on his bicycle. This also occurred in Tomizu, Odawara.

    Unfortunately if you are hit, you cannot depend on the driver staying to help you, especially
    if he has been drinking.

    Let`s be careful out there!

    Man killed in hit-and-run incident in Saitama

    Tuesday 08th March, 11:58 AM JST


    Police said Monday they are on the lookout for the driver involved in a hit-and-run incident in Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, in which a man was killed.

    Police said they received an emergency call from a passing motorist at around 9 p.m., reporting that a man was lying on the road. They found the man, aged between 50 and 70, with serious injuries from an apparent hit-and-run incident. The man was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

    According to police, marks on the road running southwest from the scene appear to indicate that the man had been dragged by a vehicle for several hundred meters. --Japan Today

    Shigefumi Matsuzawa, Kanagawa Governor will run for Tokyo Governorship

    Thankfully Tokyo Governor Ishihara will step down as governor.

    Though the law against smoking is largely unenforced -- you can see people smoking everywhere
    in public, walking in front of you while they puff away, they puff in front of the station then
    put their butts in the conveniently places public ashtrays.

    If Shigefumi Matsuzawa is going to run on a platform of no smoking in Tokyo, the least he could do is get the police to enforce the laws, and get the transportation companies and others to follow them.

    "During his two terms as Kanagawa governor, Matsuzawa proposed a ban on smoking in public places and Kanagawa became the first prefecture to have a no-smoking ordinance covering such public facilities as hospitals, schools and government offices."

    --Japan Today

    What is the point of having laws if no one follows them and no one enforces them?

    Banning smoking in public places is a great idea, but you have to have the major companies,
    the police and the public on board. Maybe you need a publicity campaign to preach the benefits.

    So often in Japan I find that things are kind of half done in terms of new laws.

    I have to say though that in Tokyo they have been pretty good about enforcing the anti-public
    smoking laws. I have seen a couple of arrests and fines given out.

    My lungs are breathing easier.

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