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Cherry Blossoms Festival 2017
Now – April 9th
Atami Castle, Atami, Shizuoka

Cherry Blossoms Festival in Fujieda 2017
April 1st - 2nd
Fujieda, Shizuoka

Nihondaira Sakura Marathon
April 2nd
Shizuoka City, Shizuoka

Fishermen's Festival
April 4th
Numazu, Shizuoka

MARVEL Age Of Heroes Exhibition
April 4th - June 25th
Roppongi Hills, Minato, Tokyo

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3 DO'S AND 3 DON'TS OF TEACHING by eugene k.

There's a lot of experience and teaching hours here in FIA. Some have worked here for decades, some in various countries/work situations, and some have just arrived in Japan recently. However, despite our various backgrounds and work-related experiences, it doesn't hurt to hear a person’s way of teaching and dealing with students. Maybe you do some of them, maybe you don't, or maybe you disagree, but the point is you can possibly pick up something that you might think is a good idea to use for your work. So here goes:

DO...try to relate to your students. This applies to students of all ages. Establishing good relationships is the cornerstone to a good learning environment. This can be finding similar hobbies, interests like movies or books, or talking about their problems. By showing that you understand and care, they will respond in kind. Otherwise... punctual in all things such as class time, start and finish. This is important for the student, since they have various other things going on in the day. Unless they aren't busy and wish to stay around, it would be best to try to be strict with the time. This is also important for you too. Work is about routine and discipline. You can avoid other seemingly non-related problems such as paperwork, using the restroom, and finishing up before leaving.

DO...practice what you preach. Nothing is worse than someone who teaches in a manner that he or she would absolutely abhor if taught something in the same way. Many of us have experience trying to learn a language. It is a good idea to ask yourself from time to time, “Is this how I would want to be taught?” If the answer is no, change your method or approach.

Don' a character, be yourself. This in my opinion is the most important point. I've witnessed some form of this in all of my previous workplaces. However, nothing tops the variety I've seen in Japan. Not only on TV and media, we now see this played out by teachers in the classroom. It is true that there is some element of entertainment needed in the classroom, but there is such a thing as going too far. If you plan on being a larger-than-life character, you'd better do it 100%, 24-7. If you lapse for even a short bit and reveal your “true” self, you'll be exposed as a fake. Then whenever you do your “jangle”, it will be met with derision and contempt. It's best to not go this route and just stick with who you are.

Don't...lose your cool or play mind games with students.No matter how they are with you, always remember that you as a teacher are supposed to follow the long and high road. When elementary school students call you names, remember they are children. When high school or junior high school students call you smelly, don't call them smelly back. Adults play similar games as well. The alternative is you going down a dark path. You'll become increasing more negative and hateful, and soon you will forget everything about your role and purpose. In the end, it will all backfire and suddenly you are the instigator and offender.

Don't...force your interests onto others, especially if they aren't interested. We all have many hobbies and interests, and of course we'd like to see if others feel the same. It is great when you do find a student that feels the same way as you do about music, movies, sports, exercising and so on. However, never let your class become about that particular thing. There are numerous reasons why you shouldn’t do this but I will stick with the important ones. One, they may just be polite and want to learn more about you. Two, our hobbies should just be a tool to promote their learning. If it doesn't fit, you need to drop it and move on.

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I AM A RUNNER by ryan s.

Recently there was a "I AM A RUNNER" challenge on Runkeeper. This challenge really made me reminisce on my journey. As many of you know I started my journey back in late 2013. At that time I was only doing walks but eventually I started hiking.

September 21st, 2014 I took my first run. My pace was 9 min/km and I could barely keep running for 90 seconds before needing a walking interval. My first 5k came just 2 months later on November 2nd, 2014. As soon as the app announced 5k, I threw up my hands and celebrated only to realize people were looking at me. My 5k time was 0:44:11 but I was so proud of myself.

I ran my first race on October 18th, 2015. I ran in the Numazu Kano River Marathon(沼津かのがわハーフマラソン) 5k course. I was super nervous but my time was 0:28:01. My next race was on February 14th, 2016. I ran the 10k course in the Izu Marathon(伊豆マラソン). My time was 1:00:35.

In the first half of 2016, I ran the Izu Marathon(伊豆マラソン) 10k, Nihondaira Sakura Marathon(日本平桜マラソン) 10k and Fuji Susono Plateau Marathon(富士裾野高原マラソン) 5k.

After that I decided to challenge a half marathon and I wanted my first half marathon to be the same race as the first one I entered, the Numazu Kano River Marathon. This is also my usual running course so I thought it would make it a little easier.

Unfortunately I got an Inguinal Hernia and had to have surgery to fix it in September meaning I would need to miss the marathon. But just 2 months later I ran 8.8k in the Fuji Marathon Festa 2016 in FUJI SPEEDWAY(富士マラソンフェスタ2016 in FUJI SPEEDWAY). During my winter vacation in Canada I ran in 2 races. The Big Elf Run 5k and the Resolution Run 5k.

During my recover I realized how addicted I was to running. I would see people running and miss it. I am still recovering from the hernia and my pace isn't what it was but I began to train for next October's Numazu Kanogawa Half Marathon. I'm currently registered for 5 races in the first of 2017.

I ran 451k in 2015 and last year was 818.2k. Since October 2013, I've lost over 40kg . This year I will accomplish 2 goals. The first will be hiking Mt. Fuji in the summer and the second is running my first half marathon in October.

Thinking about my journey and writing this article, I know I AM A RUNNER.

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