A Full Moon Tonight

Hello everyone,

Today we are going to the Culture Hall to watch a concert. I enjoy this day every year, because it is a good chance to experience something new. After the concert, you are free to go home. You have some extra time after school today, so I am going to give you some special homework.

Tonight, after it gets dark, look up into the sky and see the “full moon”. A full moon is a moon that is perfectly round in the sky. There are no clouds today, so the moon should be very beautiful.

The moon has a cycle of 29 days. Starting with a new moon, there are 8 “phases” to each moon. Take a look at this picture to see the different ones.

We also have a special word for the second “full moon” in the same month. It is called a “blue moon”. We use that expression to talk about something that does not happen often. For example, “Mr. Allen eats eggplant once in a blue moon.” (I’m not a big eggplant fan).

Anyway, look up at the sky tonight, and see the moon that people have been looking at for thousands of years. See you!

My friend Michael Wittman

Hello everyone,

This is one of my favorite times of year. The weather is cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon. I hope you enjoy it though, because the days are getting shorter and shorter.

One thing I did during mid-term tests was organize and clean up my desk. Included in that was cleaning up files on my computer. When I was cleaning up my computer, I found some old pictures of a friend and I.

His name was Michael Wittman, and he joined my class when I was an elementary school student. He has cerebral palsy, and so he can not speak and has a difficult time controlling his body. In class he used his eyes to communicate left and no, and used an alphabet board to spell out words to communicate. However, there was nothing wrong with his mind. He was very smart.

At first the kids in my class didn’t know what to do with him. It was difficult to communicate and we didnt understand that behind the body was a normal kid. However, after some time with him and his helper, we understood that Michael was a really funny kid! He also won top prize for math the first year he was at my school.

Over time I got to know him, and we became friends. He lived near my grandparents house, and I often went to his house to play. I even spent the night there. One memory is me pushing his wheelchair across the road running as fast as I can, and Michael having a huge smile on his face. I am sure his parents were nervous, but also happy at the same time.

Over time I moved away to a new town and we lost touch. However, I have never forgotten Michael. I searched his name online and found that he became involved in making music, and also in making technology to help other people with communication barriers.

We are all together at Shin-ai for this part of your life, and afterwards you will scatter into the world. However, the friends, experiences, and memories you make here will stick with you forever. Be the best person you can be here, and create those memories for others.

Below is an article about him (with pictures of me as a kid!). It is a little difficult, but challenge it! Let me know if you read it and if you have any questions. See you next week,


Junior High School Life to High School Life

Hello everyone,

Did you enjoy your sports day? I enjoyed cycling in Shimanamikaido again this year. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great, but it is one of the most beautiful places in Japan.

Before exams, I asked my H1A students to write about the differences between their junior high school lives and high school lives. They did a really good job, and here are three examples:

Also, I began to do SGH this year. There are seven people in my group, but I didn’t know all the girls. I aquired the courage to speak my opinion through SGH because I had many chances to talk with new people. From now on I want to continue no only studying all the subjects, but also doing volunteer activities.

Of course, studying academics is important. But school is also a place to practice skills you will need in the future. Working in a group, being a leader, sharing your opinions, these are all things you will need in society. It is important to practice these skills now.

Also, I belong to GAC. I want to challenge new things and be internationally-minded. I made a handbill for an event with my senior. I had a sense of fulfillment.

The GAC club raises money for a school in Cambodia every year, and at Christmas travels there to learn more about the country and people. I hope you have a great time!

First, I think the difference between junior high school and high school is the importance of classes. The reason was that I was happy when I was sick in my junior high school days so I could be absent from school. But I am schocked to be late for classes now. So I think that I have to do my best every day.

In junior high school, your school life seems endless. However, once you enter high school, you realize that time passes very quickly. In life there are many things you can repeat. You can go to many universities, you can have many jobs, you can join many clubs and make many new friends. However, one thing you can never do again is be a high school student. So, I hope you enjoy your busy high school life. Make it full of friends and learning and memories. Live it with no regrets.

See you next week,


To get rusty

Hello everyone!

The rain is back and another typhoon is set to ruin another weekend. Hopefully this one tracks between Korea and Japan and doesn’t do too much damage. I am a little disappointed however, because every year I take a cycling trip on this weekend. I usually go down to Hiroshima and cycle the “Shimanamikaido”.

This summer was so hot I didn’t have much of a chance to ride my bike. In fact, I would say that I am “a little rusty” at long distance riding. In English, when you haven’t used a skill for a long time, we say that it “gets rusty”.

Rust is the brown colour you see on metal that hasn’t been taken care of. Old buildings, old cars, and old tools can all get rusty. But, with a little practice and a little care, the rust can be removed and something can look like new again.

Take a look at these pictures. On the left are the tracks used everyday at Ozaki station. On the right are the tracks that have not been used since the fire a few weeks ago. See that rusty brown colour?

Like these tracks, your English skills need care and attention. If you leave them too long, they will get rusty, just like these tracks. Take care of them everyday, however, and they will be sharp and ready whenever you need them.

Good luck on your last day of tests,


46th Wakayama English Recitation Contest

Hello everyone,

Another typhoon rolled over Japan this weekend, I hope your home and family are all ok. Before the storm hit, two of our students and I went to Wakayama city hall to participate in the annual recitation contest.

Before the summer, both students were offered 10 different readings to choose from. Miss Oida chose “Visas for 6,000 lives”, which is about a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania during World War Two. Of course you know this story, in which Mr. Sugihara wrote visas for Jewish people trying to leave the country. It is a serious story, and Miss Oida told it with grace.

Miss Takeda chose a piece called “Changing the World”. This is a speech that was first done at a United Nations environmental summit in Brazil. At the summit, a 12 year old girl spoke to adults on behalf of children about the problems facing future generations. Miss Takeda was the first speaker of the day, and her powerful voice set the tone for all of the other students there.

Both students won a special prize sponsored by the “Wiseman’s Club of Wakayama”. They should be proud of their effort! Good job!