今週の漢字: 変わる

I recently looked back all the way to elementary school. This isn’t something new. I think about the past once in a while. What got me thinking about it this time was how much I have changed. In one of my classes, we taught some English sayings, and one particular saying reminded me of my own beliefs: “A leopard can’t change its spots.” Since middle school, I have believed that people can’t change much. I still mostly believe in it, but I have modified it a bit.

I don’t think people can completely change unless there’s some extreme push. Without such a force, people change slightly as their environment changes. I think everyone moves together, so a relation between two people would be different from one point to another.

I am still myself and what defines me hasn’t changed too much. However, I have noticed some differences compared to who I was as a high school student. It wasn’t even that long ago, but there are things that have developed more or things that I do now I wouldn’t have done then. I find myself taking more leadership roles these days. I wouldn’t have readily chosen to undertake the amount of responsibility that I do now like what I choose to tackle at Mito HS or the production I started up on my own.

My attraction toward dark topics has developed fully now also. I have embraced my love for it. I had this pull since elementary school, but I never totally gone into the dark side. I tended to mix dark with whimsy even in high school, which I know is an odd combination. Surprisingly, sometimes it worked, but most times it exploded in my face. I have retained a whimsical sense, but I know when it’s best to separate the two polar opposites.

What about you? How have you developed during the past 10 years? I think it’s always good to reflect on your own identity every once in a while. Stay tuned next week for another update!

En français:
Quand j’étais dans le lycée, je ne finissais jamais mes devoirs en avance. J’attendrais jusqu’à le jour avant de la dernière limite. Je m’appelais le roi de temporisation. Pourtant, je finis mon travail rapidement maintenant. Je pense que c’est une grande difference.

今週の聖書の詩: “We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.”
- 1 Corinthians 2:6 (NIV)

今週の写真: This will be the last week for pictures from my sisters’ visit to Japan – Osaka


今週の漢字: 性格

Last year I didn’t really show my true self except for a few friends with whom I have most in common. I am allowing my true personality to shine this year. I am no longer holding back. Why would I hold back in the first place? I knew you might be thinking that. I like to talk a lot, and there are a few topics I like to focus on. Unfortunately, there are many others who don’t have much in common with me. Plus, there are certain types of people I don’t want to associate with. For example, I tend to disassociate myself from arrogant people and big party people. Then, there are people with whom it’s always a struggle to find a fitting topic. I think these really limit it to a few handfuls with whom I can bond well.

I used to feel bad when I talked to teachers for more than about five minutes, because I felt like I was always bothering them. I’m just going all out these days. I speak whenever and however long I want. Of course, I am not just blabbing away 24/7. I do have manners, you know (I hope you do know). It has definitely changed the relationship with teachers. At least for me, it’s getting to be a more comfortable atmosphere. I suppose this being my second year helps too.

I am also more open this year with expressing my likes and dislikes. I suppose it has always been clear with my choice of anime, video game, or Disney pictures that I use on my worksheets, but I am actually talking more about them now. I speak mainly whatever is on my mind, and I am not worrying over trivial matters like I did last year.

Stay tuned next week for another update!

En français:
La semaine dernière, j’ai oublié écrire le français. Alors, j’écrirai plus de français cette semaine. Il est très difficile pour rencontrer avec quelque personnes qui sont mon âge. Où vont-ils? Je ne sais pas! S’ils vont aux bars seulement, je ne pourrais jamais leur rencontrer. Je pense qu’ils travaillent dans les grandes villes de Japon. C’est malheureux parce que je veux leur parler en japonais. S’ils aiment les memes choses aussi, il serais super!

今週の聖書の詩: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
- Romans 12:9-11 (NIV)

今週の写真: My sisters and I at Himeji Castle


今週の漢字: 賢い

This past Thursday was that time again when the first Aichi JET meeting of the contract year took place. The difference is this time I went as a 2nd year JET. I was talking with friends about how it’s so odd that we are in our 2nd year. We remembered how when we arrived last year, we thought the 2nd years must be like Japan gurus. On Thursday, when we looked at ourselves, we noticed how clueless we still are.

As I talked to some of the newcomers after the meeting, I was actually surprised by how much I have gathered about Japan and Aichi. A lot of it just came with my experiences last year, and I am no longer worried about much in terms of living in Japan. Well, there’s the language barrier that’s ever so present, but I’m not as scared of it anymore. You must be thinking, “Justin! This is all natural. I knew you would get accustomed to Japan.” Of course you’re right. I know it too, but living it is unbelievably different than saying or thinking it.

I understand all that, yet it’s still good to go through all the thinking. When I went back home to New Jersey, I took a lot of pictures I wouldn’t ordinarily take such as Chinatown restaurants. I always had my job as an AET on my mind. Most of the pictures were taken so that I can show them to my students. I showed many classes my pictures from USA and Canada. Some were very interested, but there were those who couldn’t care less. Did it bother me? Not one bit! If I were in their shoes, I probably wouldn’t care much either; I’m not experiencing much nor would I associate much with the pictures.

For this contract year, I want to put myself out there more. Plus, I need to act more too. I feel that it’s getting a tad rusty. Stay tuned next week for another update!

今週の聖書の詩: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
- Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

今週の写真: Pictures from when my sisters and I went to Kobe =)


今週の漢字: 音楽

I find it amusing how when I don’t have much to do, I really DON’T have much to do at all. Then, when I have stuff starting to pile up, I am pummeled quickly. Since the 2nd trimester started at Mito HS, I have been watching my time getting sucked out. It’s good in that I am kept busy, but I wish it were more in spurts rather than all at once. Because of all this, I am once again late with my entry, though I assure you that I will post this weekend.

If you didn’t know, my favorite Japanese band is The Pillows. It’s a band that I have known for many years now. They were formed in 1989, but I got really into them starting about 8 years ago. Last Thursday, I went to a Pillows concert in Nagoya. It was great! I don’t usually go to concerts mainly because I don’t like how loud the music can be. Actually, I didn’t even plan on going to this concert.

The day before, someone who knows that I love The Pillows gave me a ticket. She bought it a while ago, but something came up. Considering how rather unknown the band is with Japanese students, I wondered if she could successfully give the ticket to someone else. She works for the bakery that’s close to my apartment. The bakery sends people to Mito HS to sell bread at a designated area in the school. I occasionally buy from it, but I go to the actual bakery more often. Anyway, I think she’s one of those diehard fans, so I got her something from the concert as I also bought myself plenty of merchandise. I would love to go to another Pillows concert.

Stay tuned next week for another update!

En français (et 日本語の歌詞):
J’ai acheté le plus nouveau Pillows CD dans juin. Il s’appelle Pied Piper. Le plus chanson populaire dans leur disque est Tokyo Bambi. Voila la vidéo et les lyriques japonais:

僕のバリケード 跡形もなく吹き飛んじゃった
何笑ってんだ イタズラじゃすまないぜ

人生はそう 一度きりの主演作品さ

知りたくないぜ 明日がどんな日だって
ただただ ひたすら夜明けを待ってる
意味はいらないさ 捨ててしまったんだ

変なポストカード 目の前のキミから届く
何笑ってんだ バンビの目をして


思ってたのは違った キミを幸せにする


知りたくないぜ 明日がどんな日だって
ただただ ひたすら夜明けを待ってる
意味はいらないさ とにかく必要なんだ
聞こえたかい I need you so my darling

何笑ってんだ カワイイ顔して

今週の聖書の詩: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
- John 3:19-21 (NIV)

These words are so true. I find it interesting how people prefer to act in the dark when it’s something that they consider bad. Live in the light…

今週の写真: Pictures from when my sisters and I visited Osaka (Namba)!