Postcards from Himeji
- “When I think about the last year, it is difficult to explain to others how much I have learned and experienced in 13 short months. I have visited famous places most people only read about and also have been to places that most people don't even know exist. I have tried many types of new and unusual food. Many things I have tried, staples to Japanese cuisine, are unknown to eveyone that I love at home. The world of Japanese food is much, much larger than the sushi that Japan is so famous for. I have had to struggle with learning a new language and struggle with teaching my own language. My students think of questions that I have never even considered and have no idea how to explain. I have learned how to survive by myself and, when necessary, to allow myself to rely on others to survive. Everything around me is different and new - the weather, the fashion, the culture, and my place in the world. It is because I have had to learn (and am still learning) how to adapt to my new environment that I am by far a different person then who I was when I left America. While it hasn't always been easy, I would not have traded my experiences for anything.” -Kristen
- “I always wanted to go to Japan, but I could never afford it. Now I get paid to be here. I love going to work everyday, and I love travelling around Japan on the weekends. I have never been happier!” - John
- “The best way to learn more about yourself and your own country is to go abroad and see the lives and everyday rituals of other individuals. This program allows you an insider's look into a culture that prides itself on the ironic combination of a tight homogenous population that holds a burgeoning open door attitude towards the assimilation of western culture and social mores.” -Annie
- “I was so happy that my Japanese study has helped me make friends and secured wonderful accommodation (on my weekend trip). It eases the weary feet and legs to sit in hot water in the evenings. The walk this time was over a number of mountain ranges that were blissfully away from main roads and big trucks.” -Stephina
- “My slow but steady progress is beginning to pay off in little ways, like the time I was able to speak in Japanese for about 5 minutes consecutively about my Thailand trip, or my ability to read some of my mail). These little things are important to me and give the much needed carrot to continue on the path to learning Japanese.” -Matthew
- “I’ve joined some of the other teachers who have a Japanese cooking lesson. One of the ladies from our community lessons comes to Shirasagi and makes dinner with us. She teaches us about the different ingredients in the Japanese dishes and how to prepare them, and we help her with her English. It’s really enjoyable and I’m happy to be learning to cook Japanese food.” -Chelsey
- “There have been so many more events and things that make me love this place: eating amazing food, most of which I have no clue what it is, watching my students suit up for Kendo, staring at the crazy hairstyles of men in Osaka, staying up all night, trying to understand the fashion sense of the Japanese people, buying socks, playing with Shiba Inu puppies at a temple, walking through a mountain side shrine in Kyoto, seeing my first Buddhist ceremony, mastering riding a bike at all times of day in all weather conditions at all levels of sobriety, decorating my own apartment, meeting friends from all over the world, learning a new language, and, most importantly, learning so much about myself.” -Kristen
- “There’s something rather appealing about walking down some small, unassuming street barely wide enough for an SUV, and then going into a random house with a bunch of crazy, awesome art installations. Meanwhile, high school kids biking home stare and smile at the foreigner walking through their neighborhood, and next door, an old lady hangs up the laundry.”-Rob
Jason White, Current Teach Abroad Participant
Jason White is a current teacher for Phoenix Sister Cities’ Teach Abroad program in Himeji, Japan. Having spent most of his life working in various fields, Jason is truly passionate about youth and furthering education. An alumnus of both ASU and NAU, Jason White has continually worked on mastering his own education to ensure his potential to further develop teaching skills in the classroom.
This April, Jason White was invited to present at the Osaka JALT Back to School conference. At the conference, Jason discussed the use of role-play as a way of increasing motivation and lowering anxiety for EFL and ESL students in the classroom. His presentation included a discussion about the risks and rewards involved with using role-play in the classroom, as well as several key suggestions needed for a successful implementation. His presentation also included a discussion of several components needed for the approach: situation, problem or goal, and key vocabulary and phrases. Jason ended with several examples of scenarios that can be used and implemented in EFL and ESL classes. Jason hopes that using role-play scenarios in EFL and ESL classrooms will increase motivation, lower anxiety and create classroom cohesion. The presentation was well-received by the audience and many were interested in his role-playing approach.