Saturday, September 14, 2013
I will no longer be posting here so if you want to keep reading the strange things I write...come on over to BUSANKEVIN DOT COM and "Like" the site or sign up for my BusanKevin email list (the tab i on the site).
Love yas and see yas over there :)
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Monday, August 26, 2013
Friday, August 23, 2013
Raising a Bilingual Child
Teaching Tips: The Daddy Show
A constant thought in my mind is “What can I do to help my two children develop their English language skills while living in Japan?”
I have done and am currently always researching and looking for new ideas. Also, my background as a kindergarten and elementary school teacher has helped a lot. It is a constant learning process however and I want to share some helpful tips I’ve learned with anyone else their raising children in a multi language environment.
The Daddy Show:
I came across this idea while reading a blog sometime ago. I can no longer remember when I read it exactly of even which blog it came from, but it is an idea that stuck in my head. Since I have a background in video editing (one of my hobbies being video blogging) this seemed like such an awesome idea. Even with very limited skills in using a video editor, anyone could do this as well.
I have basically created a short “television” show that my son can watch when I am not at home. He of course has a small library of English DVDs that he watches throughout the day, but I wanted him to have more of a chance to listen to my voice and “interact” with me when I was at work.
Basically what I did was choose 3 short story books that my son likes. I chose “Me and My Dad” by Mercer Mayer, “The Daddy Book” by Todd Parr and “The Feelings Book” also by Todd Parr. I chose 4 or 5 songs that my son enjoys like “Bingo”, “Open Shut Them”, “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, etc. I then mixed a lot of dialogue in there. I would ask my son questions like “How do you feel today?” and then leave a pause so he had time to answer.
I set up my iPhone on a counter, sat down and started filming. I had to make several takes of some of the sings, but it was a lot of fun to do. I then downloaded all the video clips onto my MacBookPro and began to edit them in iMovie. If you have a PC you can easily use can editing program like Windows Movie Maker. There are also many free editing suites out there that are relatively easy to use.
I added some titles at the beginning and then before each song and story, clearly introduced what I was about to do. When I shot the video I looked straight into the camera as if it were my son. I also addressed the camera as my son. That way, when my son watched the DVD, I was making eye contact with him and he really felt it was “for him.”
In the end, my first episode of “The Daddy Show” was about 20 minutes long. I plan to make more in the future and now I’ll be including my daughter in them. Of course, you can make it “The Mommy Show” if you’re a mother or name it anything you want.
If you have any problems with using an editor like iMovie, there are free and easy to follow tutorials on apple.com and of course, as with any editing program, there are many video tutorials on YouTube. Just do a quick search and any questions you have can be quickly answered.
Hope you liked my teaching tip and hopefully you can make your own “TV show” for your kids or friends.
You can follow me on Twitter: @jlandkev
Friday, August 16, 2013
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Monday, August 12, 2013
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I have had the good fortune of meeting some Japanese runners in my time here, but of course would like to met more. I often feel uncomfortable approaching local runners due to the fact that my Japanese language skills aren't very strong.
Last year, my friend Scott Brown, an elite masters runner based in Sakai, a suburb of Osaka suggested forming a running club. He suggested the name "Samurai Runners" and it would be a great way for foreign runners in this part of Japan to network, exchange advice and information about races as well as to socialize. A foreigner running club could give like-minded runners the chance to go for runs together an maybe even organize informal running events. The idea of local Japanese runners joining makes it an even more fun concept.
If you are in the Kansai area or anywhere else in Japan, you are MORE than welcome to join by "Liking" the page. I even plan to set up virtual running events as well as an opportunity for runners in Japan to do charity activities.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Amazing, the way that I feel. I've been through this before. My son was born nearly 3 years ago, but now I'm filled with nervous anxiety again. It feels like I'm becoming a father again for the first time. I'm assuming that emotions like this are common among parents about to have a second child.
Ah well...I'll keep you fine folks posted.
Until then, I'll just try to have fun and be silly with my family!
Sunday, April 21, 2013
I have applied for Osaka Marathon 2013 and tomorrow will apply for Kobe Marathon 2013. Soooooo....I went for a run today!
Monday, April 8, 2013
I saw a crime...
Now, the actual crime itself wasn't cool. Crime by default isn't cool. It was cool because I witnessed some
good Samaritans apprehend a potential criminal.
I was in a subway station in downtown Osaka today after purchasing some bookcases for my new classroom. Myself and a colleague had just put our boxes down in front of the entrance so I could buy a ticket.
I walked to the ticket machine and I could hear yelling of some sort in the distance. I could then see a man, in his late 20's running (not very quickly) while holding a woman's handbag. He was desperately rummaging through the bag as he ran. An elderly man was in chase yelling that the man was a thief!
Suddenly, a business man, in a suit lay chase. He was a fit looking guy in this late 30's. Within seconds he was behind the guy and tackled him from behind. As they got up another couple of men standing nearby grabbed hold of the suspected thief as well. Within minutes a policeman came, grabbed the guy and threw him up against the wall.
The man who did the tackle started to walk away and I intercepted him. I walked up, shook his hand, patted him on the back and thanked him. That put a huge smile on his face.
I wrote about this on Facebook shortly after I witnessed it. Some people asked I I helped capture the guy. I didn't. I didn't have to!
Felt pretty awesome seeing regular people doing good and making the world a enter place.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
So here's the deal. April 1st marked the new fiscal year in Japan. I live in Japan and recently changed jobs. I used to work relatively close to my house in Kobe and my commute was relatively painless. With the new fiscal year and the new job came a new commute. My new commute is a long one to the middle of Osaka and three train lines and about 90 minutes each way, I get from my house to work.
I've been spending a lot of time on a very crowded train this week and I've come to realize a few things:
1. The direction a train goes in can mean a lot to a poor ole commuter. I'm taking the same train I have for the last few years, but this time it's heading in a different direction. Last year, it was heading towards some small cities and wasn't very crowded. This year it's heading the Japan's third largest city, Osaka and its a freakin cattle call! Bloody packed with commuters.
2. The second thing I've come to notice had to do with number one. The trains are bloody packed with "salarymen" ( non-descript, black suit wearing office workers). They are so crowded that they lead to the next few observations I've had.
3. They stink! The trains simply smell bad. Pack a small metal box with hundreds of people and there is a very dynamic array of aromas. You can smell body odour, last night's (or this morning's) alcohol, garlic, pickles, farts and more!
4. They are HOT! Too many people combined with no understanding of climate control cause excessive suffering. Japanese trains kick the heat on near the end of winter and don't turn it off til spring has ended and summer has arrived. It really makes no sense and my advice is to not even attempt to figure it out. There is no answer!
My conclusion is:
Trains used to commute in the city are not fun. It's not a deep conclusion, but it's all I got!
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Fast forward ahead to April 2013 and my son is now 2 years 8 months old. Naturally, both languages have been progressing rapidly and his ability to communicate with others and express himself has grown by leaps and bounds. He can speak to his mother and Japanese adults/children in full, yet simple sentences. He is also able to understand most of what he hears.
Having entered the world of the Terrible Two's so his favorite phrases in both Japanese and English are, "I don't want to" and "I can't."
In English, his basic vocabulary continues to grow quickly. His language bank of nouns, verbs and adjectives is expanding, but he can struggle when it comes to putting them together. Sometimes his storytelling sessions are very easy to understand while at other times it's more of a challenge for me to fully comprehend.
I think one of the most interesting recent aspects of his language development has been his language switching. He now seems to have made the distinction in his mind that he speaks Japanese to Mommy (who is Japanese) and English to Daddy (moi...a Canadian dude). My wife often speaks English to him and even a few months ago he would reply to her in English, but now he won't. He only speaks to my wife in Japanese no matter what language she uses with him. On top of that, he even seems somewhat annoyed when she does speak to him in English. I'm assuming that people out there in a similar family makeup have had similar experiences.
We're continuing to give him the opportunity to watch lots of English TV and movies which have helped. He definitely learns from watching Cars, Toy Story (1,2 and 3), Finding Nemo and others and it's obviously helping his listening skills as well.
His English progress may start to slow over the next two months though. He will be attending Japanese day care leading up to the time my wife has our second child and for about a month afterwards. That coupled with my longer working/commuting hours with my new job means he'll be exposed to almost no English on a daily basis until June.
I'm sure he'll be fine, but I have to admit that I'm somewhat stressed about his upcoming "lack of English."
I'll let you know how things go in upcoming posts.