As you might have noticed, last week was the first time that I didn’t post. So, this week will be filled with double the content. Considering the length, if there’s something that doesn’t suit your fancy, you can skip it. I’ll be writing about my computer problems, Halloween lesson plans, and a bit on Japanese law.
All my problems started a little over a month ago. I came back from Mito SHS and turned on my computer. I went to the kitchen to prepare my dinner. I returned in horror as my least favorite color has never before been blue. I saw the “blue screen of death.” To those who are unfamiliar with this loathed picture so terrifying that it makes people want to gouge out their eyes, it is a screen that appears when the computer has encountered a critical error. I was worried that I caught a virus. However, a virus scan turned up negative. So, what could have happened? I didn’t have the slightest clue. The blue screen no longer appeared about a week later, but my computer’s disk monitoring system started giving me warnings informing me that my hard drive was corrupted. This was a clear step down from the deadly screen. Now, every time I started my computer, this demonic message haunted me. My computer woes only got worse from there.
I downloaded a spyware program that also finds certain viruses that many virus scanners cannot. It proved successful as it found a Trojan horse virus. I was able to quarantine the atrocity and delete it. All should have been good from there, right? No, of course not! The damage was already done. However, I wasn’t sure which files were affected. I decided that I shouldn’t wait any longer and back up all the files I want to save. It was going very well until I tried to save my desktop wallpapers, which were located in the Windows folder. To my dismay, the status bar indicated that there were no folders or files in “WINDOWS.” This was very disheartening. I hoped that only the service packs were corrupted, so I proceeded to uninstall my service pack 2 with the intention of reinstalling it. My efforts to reinstall proved to be unfruitful as my installation stopped in the middle due to an error. The pack was only half installed, and I couldn’t uninstall whatever was already installed, so my computer became unstable.
To summarize the rest of my problems, I tried to reinstall Windows XP by overriding the original XP on my computer. It wouldn’t let me, because it determined that my hard drive was corrupted. I had enough of these warnings about hard drive corruption. After a few days, I successfully reformatted my entire hard drive. Because I have a laptop, it was difficult to boot both my floppy drive and CD-ROM, so I couldn’t reinstall my XP (it’s the upgrade CD). After a few more days and a few more varied attempts, I finally got everything back on track. When did I realize the disappearance of my Windows files and folders? It was fittingly around Halloween.
During my computer debacle, I did a special Halloween lesson for all my students. I prepared everything and let my teaching partners relax as they were very busy before and during midterms. Similar to my self-introduction, I had one plan for 1-E, 3-E, and all my second year classes; the first year general track classes had a different plan.
I utilized the audio and visual room again for my first plan. I started off with showing a ten-minute clip from a horror movie. For 1-E, I planned to show a clip from the American version of The Ring. For all my second years, I planned to switch between the Chinese horror The Eye and its sequel. For 3-E, I planned to show what I consider one of the best horrors in years, The Descent. Afterwards, I gave a journal topic. For 1-E and the second year general track students, I asked, “Do you like horror movies? Why?” For 2-E, I asked, “Do you believe ghosts exist? Why?” For 3-E, I asked them to write a scary story. The rest of the lesson was the same for all of these classes. I showed an eight-minute clip from the Halloween episode of Friends. Then I showed a powerpoint that I created on Halloween. I started with its Irish origins leading into what people generally eat and do. I ended the lesson with giving instructions on making masks and even gave them about ten minutes to start.
This plan went rather well. My horror movies scared a few people a little too effectively, so I eventually warned all the students about it beforehand. Anyone who didn’t want to watch could leave the classroom with my teaching partner or me for those ten minutes. My test class for The Eye found it to be not scary at all, but The Eye 2 was very effective for the next class. So, I ended up showing The Eye 2 to the rest of my second year classes. 1-E voted to watch a scarier film, so I opted to show them the clip from The Eye instead. The responses to the movies ran the gamut of emotions. I already mentioned the terrified ones, but there were those that had a love/hate response. There were even a few who told me that they never saw a horror movie before, and now they love the genre. It was very interesting to get such different feedback. It’s also noteworthy to mention that 3-E’s scary stories were wonderful! They definitely have a very active imagination. There were some stories that were more like horror comedies, and there were some that grabbed my attention through to the end. It was loads of fun for me to read.
My second plan consisted of something that might be considered more standard. At the end of one lesson, I did the mask activity like the one in my first plan. For the beginning of the second lesson, I made a handout. I used some pictures that I used in my powerpoint. As I spoke about Halloween, the students had to fill in the handout. I didn’t speak in the same order as the handout, so the students had to think a little in order to fill it in completely. I followed this by doing a quiz game. I numbered the handouts ranging from 2 to 12, so there would be a few students of each number. I brought dice with me and rolled a number. The students with that number had to stand. I asked a question that might have been on their handout. The first person out of the people standing to raise a hand answered.
The students seem to love quiz games. They really absorbed the information well as they were even able to answer questions that couldn’t be found on the handout. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the masks were as successful. I informed them that if they wear their masks and come to me on Halloween, they would receive some candy. However, maybe only 10% had a complete mask. I heard that there were some too embarrassed to take out their masks. I thought that if I gave some time in class to start making masks and entice them with candy, there would be a better turnout. I suppose it wasn’t so bad, because I heard that my predecessors didn’t really do anything like this. I have some pictures from the Halloween time for this post.
I will have to take off any picture, where students or teachers can be easily identified, because I cannot post images of other people without their permission. One of the exchange students in Mito SHS told me that Japan has too many strict laws. I wonder if Japan really is so strict. I have recently heard about the privacy issue in regards to photos. In my previous job, I did media licensing and rights work. For any company to use an image or clip, they need the permission of the people who are seen and usually pay a fee. This is a tad different from the privacy law in Japan as this was licensing and rights for commercial use. Since the advent of the internet, governments and companies have been figuring out a way to set regulations. Industries have been losing out to the power of the internet. If someone wants to be a radio talk show host, there’s podcast. For someone who wants to be a published writer, there’s blogging like this fine blog. Don’t you think this is one fine blog? ;) It seems like Japan is treating the internet like one big commercial arena. It no longer is just about a good place for research, but now it is also its own reality. People can buy most things, if not anything, and live off the internet. It’s so convenient. The world is just a click away with virtual reality intertwined.
Recently, there has been a law passed in Japan that will go in effect starting in 2008, which will require fingerprints and photographs of all foreigners entering Japan. This has stirred some controversy. Do you think this is necessary? Do you think it’s fair? Should other countries enact such a law?
Stay tuned next week for another update!
今週の聖書の詩: “In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, ‘Stand up on your feet!’ At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
“When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come to us in human form!’”
- Acts 14:8-11 (NIV)
It’s amazing how easy it is to run into misunderstandings! Actions may speak louder than words, but reactions often overpower the initial actions. I can apply this time of my life to this passage being a Christian Chinese American in Japan. I already come from a mix of cultures, and I am noticing the many differences and similarities to the culture here. However, as a teacher, I need to try extra hard to make sure I am not misunderstood. I think a teacher should not only teach the course material, but a good teacher also teaches about life and practical applications of the material.
Stay tuned next week for another update!
今週の写真: As mentioned previously, here are some “BOOOOOO-rrific” Halloween pictures.