What drink are you most likely to buy from the vending machine?

Ocha! - W.H.
The cheapest one. - Rion
In the winter and spring, canned coffee - in the summer, canned coffee, ginger-ale, or a beer once in a while if there is a beer machine handy :) - Dave
I would most likely purchase hot royal milk tea from a vending machine. - Zuri
Green tea. - Yvette
Beer. - Marc
Hot canned coffee in winter, bottled water or a vitamin drink the rest of the time. - Charissa
Beer for me, milk for my daughter; only at onsen relax room vending machines. -Brian B.


December is called Shiwasu or Teacher Run month because Japan used a theme-based calendar prior to the late 1800s. On that calendar, March used to be Yayoi, or the Month of New Life or Growth. Ironically, the only event that specifically celebrates Yayoi is in April in Nikko, and this year, it runs from April 13-17.

12th Shizuoka Oden Fair
Oden is the Soul Food of Shizuoka and you can get it year-round here. But if you want to try the best oden on offer, you have to try the Oden Fair.
9-11 March, 2018
Aoba Symbol Road, Shizuoka-shi

41st Izu Kogen Cherry Blossom Festival
This is designed to be enjoyed in 3 stages. Theohkansakura, near the station; the sakuranamiki, about 3000 Yoshino cherry trees running along the road for about 3 km as a cherry blossom tunnel; and finally the sakura no sato, or cherry blossom village with about 30 varieties of cherry trees. Izukogen is also famous for its "special" museums, so afterward you can visit the music-box museum or the mechanism .
24 March - 1 April, 2018
Yawatano, Ito City

62nd Shizuoka Matsuri
This 3-day event has it all. A hugeyatai mura (food vendor village), parades with brightly decorated floats and traditional musicians, cherry blossoms, performances, and even cosplay.
30 March - 1 April, 2018
Sumpu Castle Park, Shizuoka-shi


2017's International JALT meeting was held in Tsukuba, Ibaraki and focused on "Language Teaching in a Global Age". As usual, trainers from FIA were there to keep up with the trends in Language Teaching. Here are a couple of perspectives from a couple of them.


  1. It's really useful to make your schedule beforehand using the JALT homepage and the schedule-builder tool on it. I was able to successfully plan the sessions that most interested me and time it really well. I also made sure I had some back-up sessions to attend in case my original picks were full or cancelled.
  2. Stock up on snacks and drinks. You're going to be doing a lot of walking around whatever location the conference is being held at so it's imperative to try and keep your energy level up and stay hydrated.
  3. While I personally prefer using pen and paper to take notes I found myself using my smartphone to take pictures of notes the presenters displayed on the wall. Very useful for referencing later.


My main target for this year’s JALT was the presentation of the new Interchange books. Since one presenter is our former Nellie’s Rep, I have a good relationship with him. About a week before JALT, he sent me a copy of the new book. Upon seeing it I noticed it drastically changed in a good way while keeping the methodology and unit structure.

Here is a list of some of “What’s New”:
50% new content: readings, listenings, etc.
Exercises for readings/listenings Design!
Self-study online
Tests on USB

And “What’s the Same”:
Proven methodology
Flexible unit structure
Content that reviewers liked
Scope and Sequence

A little about this project We reached out to the trainer to learn more about his location and what a typical day in the classroom looks like. Through this small peek into their workday, we hope you can draw inspirations for your own classrooms and be better prepared should you find yourself covering a location as a substitute trainer.


We currently have three offices and three trainers residing at our Makinohara location. The offices, getting there, and the food are all the same but the schedule and activities vary by trainer. Here's a peek into Eugene's office and his day at work.

The Office
I work at the Makinohara location, which is in the heart of city. It has over 3,000 employees that work for various departments, sections and even suppliers. It mainly functions as an electronics development site (such as connectors and converters), training for sister-company ex-pats from all over the world, and a hub for overseas operations and coordination. They also are heavily involved with some well-known Japanese automakers.

As far as the classrooms are concerned, they are in the Wellness Center, which is in the middle of the building complex. We have three offices, and I myself work in the 1st office. They are next to an International travel agency, a large break room, a small restaurant for “finer” dining, and across the small convenience store. The only other things worth mentioning is down the hall there is a clinic and restrooms. This consists of the first floor of the building. Directly above us on the 2nd floor is the cafeteria. It is a very convenient location.

Getting There
The other trainers and I take a JR train from Shimada to Kanaya at 8:15. From Kanaya station, we take a taxi (8:20) to the building complex. It is about a 10-15 minute ride. After picking up the keys at the main gate, we walk to our offices. Usually the time of arrival into our offices is around 8:40.

Going back home is a little different. From the office to Kanaya station, we take the company bus which at the earliest leaves at 5:40 PM. It arrives at Kanaya station around 6:00 PM and from there we catch the train back to Shimada station.



The Schedule
The schedule and membership roster is this: we have 18 members total and meet 9 a day.

Classes begin at 9:00 AM and each class is 30 minutes long with 10 minute breaks in between. The morning block goes from 9:00-11:30 AM (4 classes). Preparation time is from 11:30-12:00, lunch time starts at 12:00, and the next class doesn’t start until 1:30 PM. The evening block is from 1:30-4:40 PM (5 classes).

Special Activities
I can’t say that I do anything that is special and differentfrom what everyone else is doing. So in terms of classroom activities and such, I feel I have nothing significant to add here.

Also like many of you, I have drinking parties with my members regularly. These are generally held in Shimada and in one of the various izakaya places directly in front of the north side of the station. If we have a second party, which is most of the time, we will have it somewhere near the restaurant we were at. I've included a picture below from one of these events.

The only significant activity to report is that my members and I sometimes hold a BBQ at Kikugawa Park, which is a short walk from the station there. It is rare to be able to have a BBQ at a park in a city zone, but you are actually able to do just that at that park after going to the city office, reserving a date, and buying a pass (only 100 yen). To this date we have held two, and the next one is scheduled to be from late-April to early- May. We hold these days on Saturdays but the regular drinking parties are always Friday evening and usually starting at 7:30pm.