The personal blog of an applied linguist, writer, & educator

My First Weekend at Kansai Gaidai

The New Life

The weather cleared up today, and the forecast shows clear skies through Wednesday. Both moving days in Pasadena fell on cold, rainy days, and the weather in Hirakata was no different.

Cherry blossoms on the Kansai Gaidai campus

I arrived Friday night, and tomorrow I will attend my first meeting. The campus is small but well-kept, and the apartment is large and comfortable — bigger than the apartment in Pasadena. It has hardwood floors (which I prefer), furnishings, a larger balcony than I expected, and a traditional Japanese sitting room, complete with tatami mats. Since the balcony is covered, I look forward to grading and writing there when weather permits.

As for location, the campus lies within a few blocks of a 24-hour grocer and 2 pharmacies. I walked 20 minutes to a shopping mall last night. The city’s primary hospital is also within walking distance.

The director gave me and another colleague a tour of the campus yesterday. To my surprise, Kansai Gaidai staff work Saturdays. The campus grounds and architecture are beautiful; the classrooms are modern and well-kept.

Prices vary. Over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, fruits, and vegetables cost more, but restaurants are cheaper. A dinner for two tonight at Gyoza-no-Oyu cost $14. Amazon Prime is also cheaper and delivers the same day. The router I ordered was waiting for me when I arrived Friday night (Japanese routers supply faster Internet — so that’s nice). I received an order I placed yesterday morning last night around 11 PM — I waited up for it.

I miss the on-site gym at my previous apartment, but today I went jogging around the campus. The grounds are scenic, but small for a jogging route. Nevertheless, I prefer running outside, although it’s not practical on hot or rainy days. In the end, I’ll probably need a gym membership.

The Work

This semester, I will teach some less advanced students, so I’m eager to see the results dynamic-written-corrective feedback yields. One of the benefits of teaching developing students is that you can see the improvement. I remain optimistic that writing and revising every day will produce results.

The communications class includes writing and vocabulary objectives. That will go far towards amping up the rigor of a communications class. In hindsight, the focus many schools use of listening/speaking yields an anemic class dynamic because students blow through the activities. Adding vocabulary and reading to the class will go a long way towards raising the curricular density, which should make for a more engaging pace.

I hope to continue recording original listening activities for students with Audacity. However, I’d like to write more original scripts and collaborate with other teachers to create conversation recordings that students can analyze to work on their interactional competence. Linguistic pragmatics occupies a central focus of my communicative approach, and speech act identification works well to that end.

I’m also excited to use the Canvas LMS for the first time. According to the Flip website, I should be able to integrate my Flipgrid account into the Canvas interface. That will allow me to grade their recorded assignments with the Canvas speed grader.

Lastly, I remembered tonight that Duolingo provides a classroom utility. I tried using it in the past, but it doesn’t work with multilingual classes. Here I can assign the English for Japanese courses to everyone, so it should be golden. I may use it for some homework assignments to infuse more English into the students’ lives.

It’s 9:30 at night, so I’m off to read Atlas Shrugged.

I managed to sleep 7 hours last night — a rare occurrence.






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