Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Odawara Survival Guide For newly arrived foreign teachers

This brief guide is designed to help you prepare for your move to Japan
and give you an overview of Odawara city and the surrounding area so that you
can get acclimated once you arrive. It is undoubtedly incomplete and perhaps
inaccurate in places. It has been assembled and condensed from a number of
sources, but the mistakes are my own. In particular, I have drawn heavily from
similar guides produced by LIOJ, NTT, and the Sagami-Hara board of education.
Please note that there is not a lot of JET-specific information included here. It is
assumed that you will have an avalanche of information coming in from CLAIR
and AJET that is related to the JET program if you are a participant. You will also
find that there is a disproportionate emphasis on American matters. This is due to
the large number of former AETs (Assistant English Teachers) in Odawara who
have been American.
I, and all of the present AETs, wish you the very best of luck and hope that
your time in Japan is as rewarding as it has been for us.
Alexander Halavais

Odawara city is located near the southernmost border of Kanagawa
prefecture. Kanagawa is home to a metropolis (Yokohama), Japan's tallest
building (Landmark Tower), and a past national capital (Kamakura). Odawara is
roughly 80 kilometers south-west of Tokyo. While Kanagawa is in one of the
most populated prefectures of Japan, Odawara is sandwiched between the urban
sprawl to the east and natural beauty to the west. Odawara, known for its castle,
is also referred to in many tourist guides as "the gateway to Hakone." Hakone
and Atami, both to the south of Odawara are the oldest resort areas in Japan;
Atami is on the coast, a little over a half hour by train, and Hakone is in the
nearby mountains. We are also at the base of the Izu peninsula, one of the most
beautiful areas of Japan. Odawara's most important products are film (Fuji's main
factory is located here), cosmetics (Kanebo), and fish paste (kamaboko). We
also produce prune extract (Miki), computer products (Hitachi), and handmade
wood products.

The climate in Odawara is perhaps among the most temperate in Japan,
but that is not saying much. The winters drop below freezing and the summer
temperatures soar. While winter and summer can be uncomfortable, spring and
autumn are beautiful, if short. We are also blessed with a rainy season (tsuyu) in
early summer and a typhoon season in August.

Japanese Junior High Schools
Japan's educational system is based on the 6-3-3 grade structure borrowed from the US during the
Allied occupation. Students must pass a test to enter high school and, therefore, little importance is placed
on grades. It is virtually impossible to fail a grade or a class - students are held back only in very extreme
cases. The structure and content of the high school and university exams determine the curriculum.
Students are not (officially) stratified in any way within the grades. You will have learning disabled
students in the same class as English-fluent "returnees." A large number of students attend a juku, or cram
school. The high school tests divide students and place them at different level schools.
The year is divided into three terms (Spring, Winter, and Autumn), the first starting in April.
Students go to school for a half day two or three Saturdays each month, but often spend weekends,
holidays, and each school day until five or six doing club activities. Club activities are heavily centered on
sports - baseball, softball, "soft" tennis, badminton, volleyball, basketball, soccer, kendo, judo, swimming,
etc. - but also include homemaking, tea ceremony, fine art, cultivation, science, and, in some cases, an
English Speaking Society.
Students remain in the same classroom for most classes. Teachers go to different classrooms for
each class. Students are also responsible for collecting homework, finding Read More


Friday, April 15, 2011

Quake Jolts Odawaran`s to Attention

M5.9 earthquake jolts Kanto region

Odawara, Kanagawa

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 jolted the Kanto region, surrounding Tokyo, Saturday morning, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The 11:19 quake measured upper 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in Hokota, Ibaraki Prefecture, and lower 5 in several parts of Ibaraki, Tochigi and Saitama prefectures, according to the agency.

The epicenter of the quake was some 70 kilometers below the southern part of Tochigi Prefecture, the agency said.

No tsunami warning was issued.

Shinkansen bullet train services were suspended between Tokyo and Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, according to Central Japan Railway Co. Read More


Odawara Hotel rescued by Hilton

Odawara, Kanagawa

Hilton Hotels bag white elephant, turn it around

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Getting consumers to part with disposable income has become a national mission, and one success story in this regard is the increasing popularity of higaeri, or one-day excursions where travelers go someplace, enjoy that place, and return home without staying the night. Morning news and information programs are filled with suggestions for higaeri, and one of the most talked about destinations is the Hilton Odawara Resort and Spa, located on the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture. Until Feb. 28, the Hilton is offering a special higaeri deal on weekdays. For ¥4,000, a person can partake of the resort’s lavish all-you-can-eat lunch buffet and use all of their spa facilities, which includes onsen (hot spring), sauna, Jacuzzi, an Olympic pool and more. Normally, the buffet itself is ¥3,850 and access to the spa facilities is as much as ¥3,000 for the day. In addition there’s free shuttle-bus service to the hotel from the JR Odawara or Nebukawa stations on the Tokaido line, about an hour from Tokyo Station.

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Odawara`s Futsal Team Shonan Bellmare owns Guinness World Record

Shonan Bellmare is a football club that plays in the J-League and in the F-League of Futsal
or five aside soccer. The F-League is a pro futsal league and Shonan Bellmare plays their
home games in beautiful Odawara Arena (located near Tomizu Station - on the Odakyu Line).

Guinness World Records recognized the world record for the most consecutive futsal penalty kicks was 931 in an event organized by Shonan Bellmare Futsal Club (Japan) at Odawara Arena in Odawara, Japan.


Saturday, April 09, 2011

Odawara Resident releases his Wartime Novel in Japanese

Odawara, Kanagawa

Bret Fisk a long time Odawara resident and owner of Fisk English School in Kamonomiya, Odawara
has released his first novel in Japanese. It takes place during World War 2. I want to read the English version!

Many years ago, Bret taught at Kevin`s English School in Tsukahara, Minamiashigara.
He is a very good teacher and was well liked by his students.

Learn more about Fisk`s novel at his website.


Friday, April 08, 2011

The Quake as it felt near Odawara Castle

Odawara, Kanagawa

The Quake as it felt near Odawara Castle

Keiko Couch can still feel the shaking.

Couch, a local color and image consultant, was in Japan when last week's deadly earthquake and tsunami hit. She and a friend had just finished touring an old castle in Odawara, outside of Tokyo, when the ground started moving.

"You don't know if the whole world is shaking or whether it's just you," Couch said Tuesday, one day after being able to fly back to Texas. "You just think you are having some dizziness, but it feels as though the whole world is shaking.

"It was very scary."

Couch was worried she wouldn't be able to return that night to Tokyo, where she had conducted several color and image workshops, because all of the trains had stopped. Read More


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

小田原警察 小田原で外国人を呼び止める

小田原警察 小田原で外国人を呼び止める













Monday, April 04, 2011

Damn!...I think I been mutated!!!

I think I been mutated!!!!

by Kevin R. Burns

20,20,20 – 4 hours ago,… I think I bin mutated!!!

But my wife thinks its a real improvement, from when – we dated!!!

Just get me to the airport on a cargo plane

Hurry hurry hurry before I GLOW in vain!

I can`t control my fingers I can`t control my brain

Oh no no no no!!!! Read More


Apparel and Accessories at National Geographic