Monday, February 20, 2006

Another Tired Monday

iPod morning commute music: Fairport Convention, Meet on the Ledge: The Classic Years (1967-1975), disc 1 (1999)
A great band in their heyday, Fairport Convention featured great guitarist Richard Thompson and the perfect vocalist in Sandy Denny. Disc 1 of this double greatest hits covers the time both were in the band. The highlight for me is A Sailor's Life, a traditional British folk song extended by the band into 11 glorious minutes. Thompson's subtle lead guitar work is a constant in the background, and Denny's voice was never lovelier. The same song can be found on their (arguably) best album, Unhalfbricking (1969), which I also have.

The Koreans arrived safely on Friday, and we got the students off with their host families without incident. Then the Korean teachers, our international committee members, and the higher ups at our school went out for a traditional Japanese dinner of shabu shabu, which is basically cooking vegetables, tofu and paper thin strips of Kobe beef in a soup stock. Shabu shabu represents the sound the meat make as you swish it around the ceramic pot with chopsticks. It was delicious.

On Saturday and Sunday my ESS (English Speaking Society) Club took part in the Osaka Private Schools' English Festival's World Quiz Competition (whew!). Seven schools' ESS Clubs participated. This is the major event of the year for these clubs. This year, the quiz was about the UK. Each school takes a topic (ours was Literature) and writes 20 questions, 10 multiple choice and 10 open-ended, in English of course. The schools then exchange questions, research to find the answers, and memorize them. At the actual competition, held last Sunday (Saturday was a prep day) each school takes a turn asking a question, and whoever raises their hand the fastest gets to answer. In the first half, each question (usually multiple choice) is worth 1 point; in the second half, 2. My school came took 5th place, with awards going only to the top three schools. However, the contest was terrific, the students using English only. All of the teachers were really pleased with the result.

Finally, today I was able to take a tour of the construction site of our new school. Only a handful of teachers joined in, but it was cool to walk through the buildings. It will be a beautiful school when completed.

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