Signe's new job in Hamada is working out great. she is working four days a week and keeping quite busy. She is also reapplying for the JET Programme this year, so we are both holding our breath on that as well. We have been keeping busy in our free time too, socializing, etc. There is a really good group of people here and we are getting out with them a lot more that we had been in the past few years. Signe just got an iPod for her 1 1/2 trips to Hamada every week. It will be nice to have all of our music on one portable device while we are traveling.
I am still dead set on taking the Foreign Service Written Exam next year at the Osaka Consulate, so I continue to study for it. I am currently reading a book called "Realities of Foreign Service Life" that is written by the spouses and other associates of foreign service officers and specialists. It really gives you a glimpse into the personal lives of foreign service officials and their families. I recently finished reading "Inside the U.S. Embassy," which is all about the different roles inside the embassies, but doesn't explore the personal side at all. I think that reading the two books together might give you a real feel about how life works in a modern-day embassy. I still have a lot of books to read and news to digest, but I am coming along.
I started feeling that I was neglecting my Japanese study, so I ordered some Kanji flashcards and go through one a day, writing out many different vocabulary words that have the kanji I am studying in them. It isn't all out studying, but it is helpful. Between that and writing in my blog in Japanese and English, and speaking it everyday for the audioblog, I feel that I am doing OK with my Japanese.
Work is going well. It really is as same as ever. After 2 1/2 years of doing the job, I have fallen into a good pattern. I work well with my JTEs and I like talking with my students. I go to elementary schools twice a month, and always have a good time there as well. As for next year, unfortunately, I cannot keep this same position for more than 3 years, but there is a chance that I will be able to transfer to a larger city and work in elementary schools for a fourth and fifth year in the JET Programme. Currently there are seven of these types of positions in Shimane Prefecture, and two of those positions will be open for sure come February when I can apply for them. I don't know about the rest, I can only hope. In any case, if I don't make it, and Signe does, I will just follow her wherever she goes on the JET Programme. If neither of us make it we will have to scramble to find private teaching jobs before we have to return to the U.S., three months after our work visas expire. Whatever happens, we will be up for it.
All the computers are running OK. Nothing horribly wrong with any of them. I haven't been doing much with them except to watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report everyday. We also use it to watch Desperate Housewives and Lost each week as well. When Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Battlestar Galactica come back on in January, we will start watching them again, too. I am still doing my blog every workday and recording it for all to hear, but I don't think too many people listen to it, that won't stop me, though!
Trev's One Point Japanese Lesson
So you want to learn some Japanese? That's great! Let's review how to conjugate nounal adjectives or na-adjectives.
A na-adjective like suki-na (like) is conjugated like this:
present positive: suki-na or suki-desu
past positive: suki-deshita
present negative: suki-ja arimasen
past negative: suki-ja arimasen deshita
Try conjugating these na-adjectives yourself:
kirei-na (pretty), yuumei-na (famous), shinsetsu-na (kind), shizuka-na (quiet), benri-na (useful), hen-na (weird).
Keep up your studies and work hard! Japanese can be a fun and rewarding language to learn!
That's about it for this time. Drop me a line sometime, I always like hearing from you, and if you are interested in a more play-by-play portrait of my life narrated by yours truly, check out the blog at http://www.trevreport.org/blog/ and listen to the recordings there. Until next month, take care and have fun!