Saturday, October 29, 2005

Thinking Tokyo/Yanagawa and Oklahoma

I am not going to take the school's laptop because it is too heavy and I will be responsible for the transportation of what I take. I will find Internet Cafes to communicate via blog. I will continue my weekly journal on paper. I will take as many pictures as possible.

I heard from other FMFers going to Yanagawa. They are Nicole from Austin, Laura from ?, Pat from Chicago, Ann from New Jersey, and Stacey from Massachusetts. The list keeps growing. I can hardly wait to meet my group. Some of them have decided to have teleconferences with their students. I cannot have a teleconference because Casady does not have the necessary equipment.

This weekend is buying gifts and selecting things to take on the trip weekend. I did not get the opportunity to meet a gentelman from Yanagawa as I hoped, but he gave me enough information over the phone to feel happy about my location.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

My lessons with Mari

I spent a few hours with lovely Mari. I ate gyoza, yakiniku, tsukemono, onishime, somen, and myoga. For dessert, I ate daifuku and drank green tea. Thank you Mari for your time, lovey dishes, and suggestions.

What about Oklahoma and Oklahoma City?

: Oklahoma City became the 46th state enter the union on Nov. 16, 1907

State flower: mistletoe State bird: scissor-tailed flycatcher

State song: "Oklahoma" State tree: redbud

State motto: "Labor omnia vincit"(Labor conquers all things)

Nickname: "The Sooner state"

Size in land area: 68,667 square miles

The Sooner State :

Oklahoma City:
List of organizations involved in my daily work

Casady School:

Oklahoma City National Memorial:

Arts Council of Oklahoma: , Oklahoma City Arts Council:, Oklahoma City Museum of Art:

The Oklahoma City Zoo:

Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce: ttp://

Oklahoma City Online: , News from Oklahoma:

Oklahoma City Public Schools: , Oklahoma A+ Schools:

Leadership Oklahoma City:
Camp Fire USA Heart of Oklahoma:
Boys and Girls Club of America: Oklahoma:
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma:
World Neighbors:

News from former FMFers to Japan

Money: There is an international ATM inside the hotel and actually inside any Post Office in Japan. This works just like any ATM in America. ATMs guarantee the very best exchange rates...and without the fees of travellers cheques...and without the long lines at the hotel exchange...and without the Japanese bank fees. Just take a good chunk of money out upon arrival and then another one before we head to our prefectures, where there are not likely to be many exchange venues available. I've done this on several European trips and it was the very best. Headache-less.Alecia Post Office / Cash DispenserHotel New Otani Post Office The Main, Arcade Floor 9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.Closed on weekends. ATM open 9:00a.m. - 9:00p.m. (Mon thru Fri.), 9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m. (Weekends and National Holidays)Cashing from international credit cards (Cirrus, Plus, Maestro) available.

From a friend who is a former JFMFerfrom 2004:1. Open toed shoes is okay but not for professional dress. Americans wear these types of shoes more oftenthan Japanese. It isn't really the best shoe to wearin meetings, etc.2. A lot of people she went with did not spend morethan $1000 (including the free weekend). 3. Do not be too uptight about the gift exchange. Spend some money on your host family (even though youare only sleeping at their home for one night).4. Shirt and tie is for the professional activities,not tours and nightly free time. Check theinformation in teh Basics handbook. She wished shehad brought jeans and at least one pair of shorts tolounge/work out in if possible. Bring sneakers/tennisshoes also! 5. DO NOT get uptight about the follow-on plan. It ispreliminary and not set in stone. You can change it. No worries! 6. There is a Kinko's copy center right around thecorner from the New Otani Hotel. You can make CD's of pictures, etc. there for a little bit of money. not sure the comparison to the States. Not sure about internet access.7. Bring your own slippers if possible (in a plasticbag of course). Japanese shoes are smaller. 8. Credit cards are more accepted around Tokyo than in previous years. You can always exchange traveler'schecks if you need to. 9. If you bring a computer be ready to open up the case in the airport, etc. Also, you may be the one person in your group that is responsible for doing a power point, etc. if you have the technology! Remember you have to carry your arry-on bag a littlebit. More weight is not always fun. 10. Don't fret about the business cards that much. She noticed that many people didn't have a lot of opportunity or time to give many out to people. Unless you are the type to give everyone a card (like me).11. She recommended if at all possible to use melatonin for jet-lag and set your sleep time on Monday to Japanese time. It might mean you are sleeping some on the plane when others are active.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The College Board Focus Group in Austin

My one day trip to Austin as part of an Independent Schools Focus Group for the Southwestern Region was interesting. There were people representing the Oakridge School in Arlington Texas, Cathedral Episcopal School in Little Rock, Arkansas, St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Austin, Texas, St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin, Texas, and Alburquerque Academy in Alburquerque, New Mexico. Our task was to help the College Board brainstorm answers as to how the College Board could help meet Independent School needs regarding College Board tests, teacher training, administration of tests and global education of College Board philosophy and benefits. This year is the 50th anniversary of the AP Program. Last year, the AP program saw its largest increase in AP Independent school participation.

Practical things I learned: Draft of AP Course Audit: Teachers and administrators will complete it. It has a section for requirements and a section for recomendations. The Instructional Planning Report: Results of tests taken by 5 students or more comes with a feedback report of areas of instructional strenght and areas of improvement to AP teachers. The PSAT has an AP Potential Report. There were other things I discovered about fees and test administration, but I need to discuss them with the administrator of these tests to find out what we do in those areas.

What did we do?
After introductions and brief statements about our school's population and our personal experience, we looked over College Board materials. Then, we discussed AP and other data related to the different states represented as well as National statistics. We spent a great deal of time giving feedback based on our personal experience with the College Board work. After identifying global areas of need and possible solutions, we headed back to our respectives schools. I am looking forward to the official report. Meanwhile, I still wonder what is the equivalent of the College Board in Japan?

From this meeting I have the following suggestion for my students:
AP course what does it mean? = Survey course at the college level. 1-2 in an AP is better than no AP at all. There are fee weavers for tests and they also apply for some college application fee weavers. They should ask their AP and college advisors to see if they qualify or they should visit the College Board website and read it carefully.

In the I can not believe I did not know area (I am sure my school does, but I did not):
There are now Pre-AP initiatives. The College Board has professional development I have not attended. My professional training has been from AP readers and consultants, but independent from the College Board. On College Board trainings, they do not only focus on the course, but also on the benefits of the exam results for instructional purposes as well and the relationships with other Collage Board initiatives. I now know better.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

How have I been connected to the Asian World?

바닷물 백가지가
소금 한바가지
우리가 먹는 것은
그저 소금이 아니라
땀과 열정이다
그래서 소금이 짠맛이다.
당신은 가슴에 열정을 품고 있는 가...?
One hundred baskets of ocean water produce
one basket of salt.
The salt we eat everyday is not just salt,
but is our sweat and passion.
That's why salt is salty.
Do you have passion in your heart?
When Ye-Geun introduced me to her above favorite quote, I realized how much we have in common despite our age and background differences. As I looked at the map of the region, I remembered names of people I met from China, Korea, Japan and Russia. Don Toribio (I wonder what his Chinese name was), Sulan, Ye-Geun, Fumitaka, Takafumi, Takeshi, Mari, and Maya. Their perspectives have had so much influence my life. I think what I remember the most about them is their passion and the way they communicate it to me.
As I search for a title for my project and an image to spark interest, I go back to a line in a book, Humanity has met in a teacup. Ellise Grilli, Forward to The Book of Tea, Okakura Kakuzo, page xvii

My Follow-On Plan: Planning Retreat

After I come back from Japan, I need to share the information with my students in a 5-hours retreat (1 hour for cooking and 1 hour for planning their project to take the learned material into the community). The retreat will be created in collaboration with the Japanese American Society of Oklahoma and Japanese college students from our local universities. I will ask local Japanese restaurants to consider helping us with funding and supplies next week.

The Japanese Society President, Mari Leslie will teach us a Japanese dance. She is even found a Kimono for me. She will also teach us survival Japanese. Mari also loves to cook. When time comes, I will ask to use the Wing's cooking facilities for our retreat and Mari will teach us how to cook popular Japanese dishes.

Considering logistics of location and transportation, I will contact the International offices at OCU: and UCO: and start looking for Japanese students who will be interested in this diversity advocacy and awareness of Japanese culture service-learning project.

What does Service-Learning at Casady look like?

Teens in Action YAC at Camp Fire USA: Katrina Relief Care Back Packs
Do Something Project:

Posted by Picasa Vision: Youth as Leaders, Community as a Partner, Learning as Experiential.

Mission: Create Projects of the Mind, and Perform Actions of the Heart.

Goals: Positive Youth Leadership through Service. Service at the Heart of Learning.

Requirement: 45 hours in three years. Hours start counting the summer of the freshmen year. Transfer students have a 15-hours requirement per year at Casady.
School Service-Learning Resources

Youth and Adult Advisory and Action Council (YAC)
Plans and implements new students' orientation sessions to service learning.
Audience for students and community organization project proposals and demonstrations of learning through service.
Assists youth project leaders with school wide service-learning initiatives

Rainbolt Family Service-Learning Chair
Carmen Clay'74 Contact Information:, Casady School 9500 North Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73120 405-740-3103, FAX 405-749-3223, cell: 405-520-1325. Creates and implements the service-learning program process and documentation for credit. Reports to parents once a year. Writes college recommendations, grant proposals, and marketing resources. Maintains a high profile with non-profit organizations serving on boards and Learn and Serve Youth Advisory Council in Oklahoma City

Casady Faculty and Staff
Connections to academics, advisors, site supervisors, bus drivers, adult project leaders

Casady YAC Planning

Service-Learning in Japan

As I e-mailed Yohei, I realized that I investigated many aspects of the Japanese culture, but I had not researched Service-Learning in Japan. This picture came from

A quick Goggle search took me to two interesting sites: Service-Learning in Japan: ttp://
the Center for Global Partnership: Bringing US and Japan Perspectives to the World:

Japan has the same youth challenges as the rest of the world. Service-Learning is part of their most recent "out of the box" solution.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Tokyo Bound

Gateway to Japan
Places of Interest:

News from Japan:

Journey Through Japan:

Shopping in Japan

Japanese Memorial Fund Organizational Chart:

Wonderful Daily Living Interfering with Trip Preparations

I received wonderful news from Fumitaka. He has found a way to print 100 business cards in Japanese for me. One thing I can check off my list of things to do. Yohei e-mailed me today for the first time. He sounds like a delightful young man. He wants a rawhide wallet. I will start shopping.

Monday and Tuesday I will be in Austin attending a College Board Private School Focus. It will be interesting to see how teachers from other states answer the question: What can the College Board do for private schools? I love this opportunity, but since my Japanese language and dance teacher had surgery, I will have to delay my Japanese immersion until Wednesday after 5:00 p.m. I also wonder what is the equivalent of the College Board in Japan.

My AFS sister, Jenny, is coming this weekend. It is her 30-year reunion at Casady. I hope we find time to look for gifts to take to Japan. It will be fun to share a little of this experience with her. The days are going by too fast!

Today, my students re-started a project that was dormant last year, The Aikman End Zone. The goal of the project is to entertain children with long hospital stays and their families. Beside the hours requirement, the motivation for students who undertake this project is their desire for exposure to the hospital environment as they explore the medical career as a life choice. If you want to know more about this project, visit I cannot help but wonder if the Japanese schools have service requirements for graduation. I just realized I have not researched this aspect of the Japanase culture.

I know that they do not have janitors in their schools and that the kids have to keep the schools clean, but I have not read anything else about Service-Learning or Community Service requirements for graduation. The following site takes you to a follow-up project by The classes of Dianne McAulay, Ph.D. (June; teacher / consultant for the gifted at Cranston Public School (RI)) who has collaborated with Kashiwazaki City's Kenno Elementary School to create an online picture book titled, "Day in the Life of a Japanese Student."

Hopes: Philadelphia: Fight Hunger Walk the World OKC

Leann gets help from Shawn as she handles a Moon Walk to raise money for her trip to Philadelphia. At Philadelphia, Leann hopes to present her Fight Hunger: Walk the World Project in collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme adult organizers from Italy and the United States.

Update: The proposal was not accepted. Leann will not be heading to Philadelphia, instead she will use her money for her Walk the World Oklahoma Project needs Posted by Picasa

Walk the World Oklahoma City Fundraiser

Youth and Adult Advisory and Action Council (YAC) members helped Leann at our last Fall Fest to raise funding for the Philadelphia conference. Leann organized the first youth-led Fight Hunger: Walk the World Oklahoma City in 24 time zones. She hopes her presentation will inspire other youth to organize similar walks in cities all over the United States and the World. Posted by Picasa

Baby steps to solutions for Global Warming

4th grade - High School Environmental Club

Adopt a Street Project
Students adopted the street around our school and they clean it up three times a year. This picture was taken before their first clean up this year.

The environmental club also has improved our recycling program. The program is organized and implemented by youth in collaboration with community organizations and the Casady School faculty and administration.
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Challenge 20/20 Partners

Two headmasters, two schools, two different circunstances in life, one common goal: Support youth brainstorming solutions for two global issues of their choice: Global Warming and Poverty-Hunger. Thank you for your encouragement! Posted by Picasa

Global Warming project teachers

An international Bouquet

Father Jeffries, via Canada, Headmaster and Principal of Bishop McAllister College in Uganda, Challenge 20/20 teachers: Mrs. Zesiger, Science Teacher, Environmental Club Sponsor, via Philippines, Mr. Lewtchec, Geology Teacher, School Newspaper advisor, via Canada.

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The Globe Program:

Globe Program in Japan:

Global Education: Korea: Ye-Geun teaches us

How do you use chopsticks? What is in this Aloe drink? It is delicious and soothing! Posted by Picasa

Global Education: Japan: Justin teaches us

Justin, our Japanese food advisor, answers father Marlin and Dr. Jenkins' question: What is in this sushi? Justin went to school in Japan when he was younger. Posted by Picasa

NAIS Challenge 20/20-Connections to Japan

Father Paul Jeffries Visit to Casady and connections to my Japanese trip
History of Challenge 20/20 at Casady School
A couple of my Casady students in August decided to take the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS ) Global Education Challenge 20/20. Challenge 20/20 is a new NAIS global initiative that provides an opportunity for public and private schools to develop international partnerships and to work toward real solutions to global problems. For details about this program, please click here. My school did not qualify for a partnership through NAIS, but we were given the choice to find our own or go solo. My global warming team decided that they could go solo, but my poverty-hunger team could not go solo. I kept on looking.
Since I was selected to go to Japan, I contacted the Japanese Fulbright Memorial Fund Master Teacher Program because one of my students wanted to work on the problem of global warming with a Japanese school. The JFMF Program said that they could not help me at this time. When I read the description of the master teacher program I understood why. They gave me several leads. I contacted the International School in Tokyo. They answered two e-mails, but we have not heard from them since.
I do not usually give up when I feel something feels right for my students and they are ready to undertake new challenges. When a teacher from my school came to talk to me about a possible service-learning trip to Uganda, Africa, a place she found wonderful as a volunteer nurse-teacher; I decided to contact the Headmaster and Principal of the school where Carol had spent beautiful summers serving. The name of the school, Bishop McAllister College Father Paul Jeffries, answered my e-mail inmediatly. After an initial hesitation, he welcomed us as his school's partner in two global issues: Global warming and a youth solution towards hunger and poverty.
My Global Warming group is headed by Dylan. They are working under the guidance of our Geology teacher and other Science teachers such as Mrs. Zesiger.
My poverty and hunger group has three leaders: Andrew, Ankita and Leann. They are not working as a team, but they complement each other. Andrew wants to get art from developing country schools. Bring the art to Oklahoma and sell the art pieces at the yearly World Neighbors World Fest Market. World Neighbors was created by his great-uncle. Andrew is one of the founding members of a Youth Advisory Council at World Neighbors. His team has members from our school and other area high schools. His adult collaborators are the Director of Outreach services and education and the Director of Volunteers at World Neighbors as well as our art teacher, Mrs. Seitter. Their first task is to raise awareness and funding for poverty and hunger in the world through a first city-wide youth-led hunger banquet. His group meets once a month. The project is still at the brainstorming stage.
Ankita's project is called Casady Cans Do. She will collect cans and funding school-wide for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma: the week of Nov.7-11. She is working in close contact with our Activities Director, Mrs. Stewart, our STUCO advisor, Mr. Pena and all division directors. She has been working since August developing partnerships with the Food Bank's Teens Against Hunger Coordinator, Ashley Ozan, and the Director of an after school options for needy children of the Food Bank, Debbie Bell. Debbi heads the Food Bank Kids Cafes Program. Debbie was my first community partner when I started the service-learning program at Casady. Debbie has suggeted Ankita to use our lunch time to bring awareness to our Cyclones about the needs of the Food Bank and the Oklahomas who would go hungry if the Food Bank were not there to assist them. Ankita will have a Hunger in Oklahoma lunch. Our students will be served a meal similar to what the Food Bank would provide to needy people in our community.
Leann is working on a city wide global awareness and fundraiser event on behalf of the United Nations World Feeding Programme, School Feeding area. She will use a walk as an awareness tool. The Fight Hunger, Walk the World Oklahoma City will take place on May 21, 2006. Leann wants to help the United Nations realize its millenium goal of eradicating hunger by the year 2,015. She will help raise funds for the United Nations Feeding Program Leann is particularly motivated by their School Feeding Programs: Leann will be participating in their yearly Fight Hunger Walk the World walks in 24 time zones. She will be organizing her second youth-lead awareness and fundraising Walk the World Oklahoma City. Her team is developing a marketing strategy to sell T-shirts/a hat/a bracelet for a $34 donation. $34 feeds a child for a year in developing nations. We hope to start selling the supplies sent to us by the United Nations World Food Programme from November on. If we sell what we have we can make more than $10,000 for this cause. She will also ask businesses to help her cause. The letter is being drafted. Last year, Leann raised close to $3,000. She will also try to promote the creation of more youth-led walks around the world by presenting her story at the National Service-Learning Conference in Philadelphia if her proposal is approved. On July 2005, Leann attended the Fight Hunger Walk the World strategic planning meeting in Italy. Her reflection inspired organizers around the world to give greater leadership of their walks to youth. If you want more information about this wonderful "EASY" project, contact us at
When Father Jeffries visited our school on August 21, 2005. I found this a perfect opportunity to make global connections, not only to our partnership, but also to focus on the Asian world.
During Activities, when my Youth Advisory Council on Service-Learning came to meet Father Jeffries, they were served Japanese snacks. At the reception for Father Jeffries, the host was my Service-Learning Youth Chair, Ye-Geun, a Korean student. The snacks and beverages were purchased by Justin, a student who lived in Japan when he was younger. We served sushi, prepared by our local Vietnamese Market store, owned by two former Vietnamese students of mine from Heritage Hall. Hai, one of the Vietnamese brothers, suggested to drink an Aloe drink from Korea. People had never had Aloe before. I saw Ye-Geun smiling when everyone wanted seconds because the drink was delicious.

My family

I guess it is time for you to know a little more about the people in my life. This picture was taken nearly 4 years ago when we helped my son, Brian move to New York City from Boston. Brian moved to New York City for two years to work for Goldman Sachs after graduating from Harvard University with a degree in history, bartending and in-love with a wonderful girl named Julia. Mark and Brian are very close friends. They talk business, sports and "things of life relevance." Brian is never going to stop being my "baby." All I ask and pray is for him to have a fullfilling life and stay healthy. Julia is a wonderful girl, so he is in good hands now. Brian will tell you "interesting stories" about my cooking. Lucky for Brian, Mark is a wonderful chef.

I came to Oklahoma from Lima, Peru as an AFS exchange student to Casady School. Mark was a senior at that high school. He went to Peru several times and decided that it was cheaper to marry me that to date me. We met on 1973 and we married in 1976. We went to OU as sophomores and the rest is history. Brian graduated as a lifer from my current school's rival, Heritage Hall. I was the Spanish teacher and later on the Foreign Language Department Head at Heritage Hall. I worked there for 20 years. I have wonderful memories of my time as a Charger. My former students still invite me to their special occasions such as weddings from time to time. It was wonderful to be a Charger teacher and I love being a Cyclone service-learner now. The students at Casady are called Cyclones. Posted by Picasa

More about my friend Fumitaka and his family

This picture was taken this past spring.

Fumi lived at my home on Easy Street in Edmond, Oklahoma with my husband Mark, my son Brian, and I for a short period of time when we were students at OU, as he says, 22 years ago. Brian is now 25 years old. Fumitaka was the most interesting long stay guest my family has ever had. He introduced us to sushi, tempura and wonderful tasty noodle soups. He is now 56 years old, but he looks exactly like he was when he was in college. I hope he will share his fountain of youth and weight control with me. The following is a partial quote from the e-mail after he found out about my trip to Japan: How wonderful it is ! Yes, it is ! Your letter is now beside a coffee cup on my desk , and here sending this message to both of you seeing that Tokyo's sun went down in the West. The time of Oklahoma is 14 hours behind the Japan standard, as far as I remember. Fumitaka is a compliance officer at the securities and investment division of the UFJ( United Financial Japan) group. This UFJ bank merged with the Tokyo-Mitsubishi Holding, October 1st, 2005. Fumitaka joined a new division of the Tokyo-Mitsubisihi, this fall. Posted by Picasa

My Japanese Friends from Tokyo

What a lovely looking family!
Let me introduce "you all" to Fumitaka Saito and his family, a long time friend.
This picture was taken 3 years ago when Yohei, his son, graduated primary school. Standing are Fumitaka, Junko, his wife and Yohei. Seating are Yohei's maternal grandparents, Kenzo Mihara LL.D & Attorney at Law and his wife, Yohei's grandmother. Junko means "BENE+FUCTUS+ION, and Yohei means a man of moderation. He will be 15 years old in April. He is an Aries, like Mark and I. Interesting!
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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Destinations: Tokyo and Yanagawa-Shi, Prefecture of Fokuoka

Primary Need: Food
My husband, Mark, has found the following link to foods in Tokyo restaurants:
Peruvian Food in Tokyo
My husband is always looking for Peruvian food, my native country, everywhere I go. This is his latest link to Peruvian food in Japan. We have tasted Peruvian Food from my mother's kitchen, around Lima, Madrid, New York, Dallas and at our Oklahoma kitchen. Let's say that my mother's has no equal, but New York comes as second best. Yotsuya -- Romina. 3226-6608. Brilliant Peruvian food and drinks at relatively inexpensive prices. Try their vanilla flan for dessert, if you still have room. There's also a big lunch menu. (Avoid Sunday nights if you don't like big crowds.). Yotsuya 1-7-27, Central Yotsuya Bldg. 2F. Open 5-11pm. Closed Wednesdays.
As I write about my favorite subject, FOOD to eat not to cook!, I am a terrible cook, the trip is begining to be more real. I find hesitation growing in my body. Am I worthy of this wonderful honor? Will I get lost in Tokyo? What should I take as gifts for my host family in Janagawa, my school, my Japanese friends in Tokyo? I am running out of time to get my business cards done in Japanese!
From an online encyclopedia:
Yanagawa (柳川市; -shi) is a city located in Fukuoka, Japan. As of 2003, the city has an estimated population of 41,048 and the density of 1,102.55 persons per km². The total area is 37.23 km². The city was founded on April 1, 1952. It is popular with tourists, especially for the river-boats (punts), and its best-known food is eel.
Yanagawa (Yanagawa City)
A short 45-minute trip south by train from Fukuoka City, Yanagawa City is best known for the waterway that crosses it in two directions. To fully appreciate the town's aquatic charm, take a trip on one of the small boats that float gently along waterway. As the boatman deftly swings his pole, propelling the vessel forward, passengers are given a moving view of the blossoming flowers and historical monuments that dot both banks. After a one-hour trip, passengers land near Ohana, home of Shoto Park, where 280 centuries-old pines stand majestically together. In the winter, Ohana becomes a bird-watching area, with over 500 wild birds flying overhead from tree to tree. Yanagawa is also the birthplace of great poet Hakushu Kitahara, whose accomplishments are marked by a memorial park and the many stone monuments bearing his works placed throughout the city. Finally, Yanagawa is renowned for its delicious unagi (eel) cuisine, which absolutely must be sampled by out-of-town visitors.If you make the trip to nearby Okawa City, make sure to check out the Chikugo River Lift Bridge, which was Asia's largest moveable bridge at the time of construction. Today it is open to pedestrians, and is lit up beautifully at night.
From Patricia Land, and FMF participant also going to Yanagawa: The city sounds wonderful. I eat just about anything, but eel and duck, well let's say I have some hesitation. Yanagawa will be my teacher.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Actions and Reactions

Orientation to Service-Learning Results

Once more, 96 students, 16 youth coaches and 30 minutes to accomplish three tasks, in a medium size room, proved to be too much today. We will try groups working at classrooms with smaller agendas next.

The Chinese drinks we purchased at the Vietnamese store were not a hit today. One of the students disliked the consistency of the drink and like a dominoe effect, the others did not even want to try them. I would not say I liked the flavor, but it was not bad once I got used to the difference in consistency.

I wonder how Japanese students would have handled this. I read that teamwork and collaboration are taught from k-on. My freshmen "some what" collaborated, but my coaches' understanding of teamwork needs more experiential learning opportunties. The freshmen found my forms confusing and the wording had too many words they did not understand. I must check this with their English teachers tomorrow.

My student could not film the participants reaction to "Round Up" because the cd player did not work and we were running out of time.

My Japanese instructor and I did not get together for my lesson. I hope she is ok because she took longer than expected at a doctors' appointment. To end the date on a low note, I received the saddest news today. My mother's Alzheimer’s is getting worse. Assisted living is not for her anymore. My sister and I will have to move her to 12-hour supervised care. I knew I would be receiving bad news soon because of the changes I noticed the last time I was with her, but I did not know it was going to be so soon.

At early morning chapel, we have a daily chapel service at school, I heard that God's unanswered prayers make us stronger. I had a small share of strenght today.

Not everything was challenging today. I met "on the net" some people who will spend time in Yanagawa with me. They are: Patricia Land, from Illinois, who described Yanagawa as "the Venice of Japan with tourist boats on the canal." Patricia feels that we got lucky with this city. I also met Sherry Donald from Missisippi and Buffy Fegenbush from Louisiana.

Service connections to my Japan Trip

I can hardly wait to see the reactions of my students to the drinks we purchased for the orientation. They are very different, but tasty.

Tomorrow I will have my first Japanese language class and dance lesson. I am looking forward to learning and teaching what I learn to my YAC.

I received my first e-mail from one of the teachers going to Japan in November. The e-mail had the addresses of the 200 teachers in the November group. 20 of them should be going with me to the city of Yanagawa. One of the teachers going to Japan will be in town this Saturday. I hope we find time to meet.

Traveling is Heavenly

What is my description of heaven on earth? A beautiful, peaceful, warm day at sea with nice people and interesting places around. Posted by Picasa

October: High Expectations

A Saturday with the Asian Society of Oklahoma City
I cannot believe that in less than 30 days I will be heading to Japan. I am reading as much as I can about the places and people I will encounter. I contacted the President of the Japan America Society of Oklahoma, Mari Leslie: She invited me to my first Asian Society meeting. The Asian Society has been operational for 20 years, but I had no notion of their activities as a group. They elected their volunteers of the year during the meeting. They also started their process of scholarship applications for their youth members. The following associations are members of the Asia Society of Oklahoma: Chinese Association of Greater Oklahoma City, India Association of Oklahoma, Indonesian American Association of Oklahoma, Iranian American Cultural Society, Japan-American Society of Oklahoma, Korean Society of Oklahoma, Laotian Women's Association of Oklahoma, Philippine American Civic Organization of Oklahoma, Vietnamese-Americann Association, Taiwanese Association of Oklahoma.

I explained to them that I was selected as a Japanese Fulbrigt Memorial Fund Teacher. I told them that my project was to learn as much as I could about Japan during my trip. After my return, my responsibility will be to share what I have learned with my students and the Oklahoma City community. They invited me to an international lunch sponsored by the Chinese Association on behalf of Katrina Relief. The food was amazing and I received Chinese cakes for my students.

Mari gave me her business card. Business cards are an extension of the soul in Japan and should be treated as such. I will take a special container to keep them. I will also be a careful observer of the etiquette required with them. I will test how reality meets what one reads in books. I wonder what Tozan Yume Yogiku means. Is that Mari's Japanese name or the name of her studio. She is a Japanese dance instructor and entertainer. Mari will give me Japanese language, dancing, and cooking lessons. I have promised her that I will be an active member of the Japan-American Association. Mari told me that when you get your certificate, you have to have a stage name. The first two words are given to you and the last one is of your choice.

Tozan= East Mountain Yume= A dream Yogik=Chrysanthemum

Connecting my trip to my daily activities
Caitlin, a Casady student, will create a video about Casady to take to Japan. I am really looking forward to sharing a youth prespective of our school with the people I will meet in Japan.
During my service-learning learning orientation of the Class of 2009 and new students to Casady, I will serve Japanese snacks purchased at the Super Cao Nguyen Market A youth member who lived in Japan in the past helped with the selection of the snacks. Last year, Justin introduced the current sophomore class to Yum,Yum's. The students loved them. I felt they were too sugary.
Caitlin has agreed to come to the end of the orientation and film my students being exposed to Texas music, "The Round Up." I will take the CD and the video to Japan. If I am given the opportunity I will see what Japanese children create with that tune and compare.
I will talk to June and Houston, Japanese American students, about my experience with the Japanese Society President. I hope their families will join the Japanese American Society in Oklahoma City. Their parents, if interested, could great advocates for the Japanese culture in our city. June and Houston could also qualify for scholarships to college.
The Principal of my International Partner School in Uganda will visit Casady Friday. During the reception, I will serve shushi. I have ordered it from Super Cao. My former Vietnamese student and owner of the store, advised me to serve a Korean drink made with Aloe during the reception. I sampled it. It was delicious. I hope my Korean students will come to the reception. I love entering the Asian World through food because I love to eat.