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Messages - kelloggs

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Non-YETI Social Gatherings / Re: 2014 Summer fireworks
« on: July 15, 2014, 04:23:14 PM »
The Yamanashi-shi festival is happening the day after I move, so I'm there for sure! :-D

Items for sale/wanted / Free Books!
« on: July 14, 2014, 10:07:39 PM »
Hi everyone,

I'm moving into a new apartment soon and have a bunch of books laying around my current place left by predecessors of yore. I'm going to be taking all of the books I can't find good homes for to Book-Off and/or the dump before I move, so reply to this message or send me a PM if any of the following catches your fancy.


Lonely Planet India Guidebook, 12th Edition (2007)
Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring, 13th Edition (2006)
Beginning Japanese (2 volumes; all English/Romaji)
Sanseido’s New Concise Japanese-English Dictionary
First Steps in Japanese
Practical Handbook for Elementary School Activities
Super Crafty: Over 75 Amazing How-To Projects
富士を登る(Mt. Fuji Trekking Guide)—Japanese-only, but has lots of beautiful historical pictures of Fuji and the different climbing routes; 2 copies!

Non-Fiction/Self Help:

The Plot Against America: Philip Roth
The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate: Gary Chapman
How to Live 365 Days a Year: John A Schindler
Odyssey of a Romanian Street Child: Catalin Dobrisan and John Kachelmyer
Eat Pray Love: Elizabeth Gilbert


His Dark Materials Trilogy Boxed Set: Philip Pullman
Persuasion: Jane Austen
American Gods: Neil Gaiman
The Pelican Brief: John Grisham
Salt: Adam Roberts
The Red Queen: Philippa Gregory
The Beach: Alex Garland
The Time Traveler’s Wife: Audrey Niffenegger
The Crippled Angel (The Crucible Series Book 3): Sara Douglass
Annie on My Mind: Nancy Garden
Beatrice: Noelle Harrison
Into the Cold Fire (Daughters of the Moon Book 2): Lynne Ewing
In Full Bloom: Caroline Hwang
The Comforts of a Muddy Sunday (Isabel Dalhousie Series Book 5): Alexander McCall Smith
Deadlock: Sara Paretsky
The Beloved Works of C.S. Lewis

Events Archive / Re: UNDOUKAI 2014!
« on: May 09, 2014, 04:00:55 PM »
Do you have to be in the same team?

Certainly don't have to be, but I figure it wouldn't hurt to make a request. Loren and I had a lot of fun last year on our separate teams and we both thought there was a good mix of people on each team, so we'll have fun regardless. I guess it's up to the current council to decide if couples can/should be placed together.

Also, Jotham-- Loren and his super-human strength wasn't even enough to clinch a victory for his team last year, but it was certainly fun to watch him be manly at the tug-of-war! My puny girly arms were envious. :-P

Events Archive / Re: UNDOUKAI 2014!
« on: May 09, 2014, 10:13:07 AM »
I already talked about it with Katherine, but I'm officially RSVP-ing for me and Loren Hellem. We didn't get put on the same team last year, so can we be together this time?

High School / Re: Hanko cards
« on: March 03, 2014, 10:55:00 AM »
That's AMAZING, Conor! Way to go, Miki. :-D I hope you keep that stamp forever.

I don't know how much my kids would care about it (see ''jaded HS kids'') but my husband and his eikaiwa students would love it, I'm sure. Plus, his face is far funnier than mine. :-P

High School / Re: Hanko cards
« on: February 28, 2014, 03:20:06 PM »
Thank you, Greg! Those are all awesome suggestions. :-D

Hanko points in my classes now are worth 10 points, but I've been considering asking my coworkers if we can increase it to 15 next year. I've also been thinking of adding special bonus squares, like getting a piece of candy when kids get 5/10/15 points. I'm surprised even now to see how worked up my students get when sugar is involved (I used to think that kind of thing would only work on elementary kids...).

Out of curiosity, how does one go about making stamps? There is an awesome stationary store near me that sells a lot of cute stamps, but making them myself could be cool. If I wasn't sure the reference would be lost on almost all of my kids, I would totally make this:

High School / Hanko cards
« on: February 27, 2014, 01:17:42 PM »
I've been doing the hanko point system in my classes the whole time I've been teaching, but I've been thinking of ditching it for the next school year. In my experience, very, very few students seem to care about hanko and many will either ''forget'' to put them on their desks or just not bring them to class (the JTE and I repeatedly remind the kids that the cards are important and have to be brought to every class, but that doesn't seem to make a difference). The other problem I have with them is that the system is not very balanced, as some classes have had more opportunities to get points than others because of cut/extra lessons. I'm wondering if anyone out there uses a different participation point system or have suggestions on motivating kids to care about hanko cards. This is all a little premature because I have no idea what changes, if any, my school is going to make to Communication English classes for the coming school year, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to plan ahead (for once...)

Junior High School / Re: Speech Contest....again
« on: November 12, 2013, 09:13:31 AM »
OK so here's my rant (copy and pasted from a FB message I sent to Stephanie in Fujiyoshida (sorry Stephanie)):

I can't understand the standardisation of these marks. How can one judge give 20 marks lower than others? My student got 97, 92 and then 72! I'm really confused about the point system.
I know you're proud about your student and don't want to take it away from him but he sucked! His pronunciation was really weird. Maybe it's just my British ears but I couldn't understand him for a lot of the time even though I knew the speech off by heart. I'm trying not to be bitter but when one confident guy acts like a crowd (*clown) and impresses the one judge that scores 20 points lower on average than he'll be sure to win!
All I'm saying is that it's not a fair contest when there's not a standard judging system....sorry.

Although to us teachers this "speech" contest is a bit of a joke; using ridiculous passages with bad English, etc, the students give a shit. And the parents give a shit. And the schools give a bit of a shit. So coming from a juku's point of view, where we can get customers who want specific 'training' for the speech contest, I need to give a shit and make sure my student does a good job. So with regards to the judging of these competitions, I need to know where I stand on how I give advice to my student. Do I tell them to throw their hands around like a monkey? Because I'm sorry but this is how the winning student looked to me.
My student didn't do half as good as she should have (had a cold but not excusing her) but this guy IMO wasn't good.

Jotham, I don't mean to be rude, but you really need to settle down with this speech contest ranting. I'm sorry you can't accept the judges' decision and that you're convinced that Stephanie's student was acting ''like a monkey'', but I chose the student who I thought performed the best and I'm sticking to it. Before the other judges and I even got onto the stage, we were specifically told by the people in charge of the contest that big gestures were ダメ. The category on our judging sheets with the biggest point allotment was 'English', and all of the judges agreed that Stephanie's student had the best pronunciation, pacing, and intonation. I personally didn't like when any of the students used gestures, but the winning student did so well in every other category that I awarded him high marks. I'm sorry you disagree, but the decision was ours and we took the contest seriously.

I'm sure that most teachers want their student to get first place, but come on, your kid got third. That's still a huge accomplishment in my book. I practiced really hard with my two girls for the high school speech contest last year and they both got third. Was I a little disappointed that they didn't get first? Maybe, but I didn't track down the judges and the winning student's coach and question their judgment or skill. I was damn proud of my kids last year and I'm gonna support my students this year whether they get a prize or not. If they walk away empty handed, I'm not going to attack the judges because of it. It'll be done and there will be nothing we can do about it. I'm encouraging you to get over it and try again next year. Move on, please.

Junior High School / Re: Speech Contest....again
« on: October 29, 2013, 04:08:22 PM »
Jotham, if you're talking about the junior high speech contest in our area, it's on November 8th (Friday) from 1-5 in Oshino. I was a judge last year and will be one this year, too, but I was never told if the winners go on to a prefectural contest or not.  :| This particular contest is called the ''South Tsuru Junior High School English Recitation Contest'' (aka 第26回南都留中学校英語音唱大会).

Events Archive / Re: Fall Foliage Festival @ Lake Yamanaka!
« on: October 21, 2013, 02:26:52 PM »
Going! I can also give people rides from Fuji-san Station to Yamanakako (my car has room for 4 passengers). Depending on how long everyone is there, though, I may leave early so I can pick up the hubby at work. After that, the two of us might walk from the Bear Cave to wherever folks decide to go to dinner.

YETI Announcements / Re: 2013 - 2014 YETI Events calender.
« on: October 17, 2013, 01:13:51 PM »
I think we all agreed that we should reach out to the Fujiyoshida side of Yamanashi. There had been passing comments and actual requests to represent that area more which I think is a fair point.

Good on you guys. Love, appreciate, adore and support this decision 100%.  :-D

I passed the driving test.  The first try there were 5 people.  It was the first time for me and one other.  No one passed (I and the other first timer did quite well, I'd say better than the others).  The second time there were also five people, again two first-timers.  I was the only one that passed.  So the pass rate was 1/10...

When I went downstairs to get my license, they insisted that there was a problem with my name on my materials - but all of it matched (well, Japanese documents and my passport with last name first, foreign documents with first name first) and it was prepared exactly as was requested and as I've seen recommended.  This resulted me in getting a green (new driver) license.  I asked my BoE to help me get it worked out, but they said that I drive a leased car so I don't need the sticker and it's a non-issue.  At least I have my license, though!  Thanks for the tips everyone.

I went into the test feeling nervous but also pretty sure that I would pass since I had taken 6 hours of lessons and assumed that I had paid a more than adequate amount of money into the system to make them happy, and I still failed. I know that I made some mistakes, but I really wonder if they have a pass/fail quota...

Mike, I still don't understand what the problem was with your name on the documents. That was one of the most confusing moments I've ever had in Japan. Why would the way your name is written have anything to do with getting the beginner driver sticker?  :? :x :|

I have yet to try the katsu place, even though I've heard many rave reviews.

Would anyone happen to be able to give me the name of it and possibly a Google Maps link? There's also the Indian place-- any info on that? I personally go to Kawaguchikko whenever I want a quick Indian fix since it's closer for me than Tsuru.  :-)

Hello, lovely YETIs!

I'm preparing an information sheet for incoming JETs about ''Block 4'' (which includes Kawaguchikko, Fujiyoshida, Oshino, Yamanakako, Tsuru, Nishikatsura, Otsuki, Doshi and Uenohara), and I would love, love, love your input! As a JET who's rather new to the area, myself, I haven't discovered many of the hidden gems in the block, and I'd love to get some info from the seasoned locals.  :-D

Specifically, I'm interested in sightseeing spots, places to shop, restaurants and any other areas of interest that you think other people might want to know about (share the love, people!).

I live in Fujiyoshida and therefore don't need anything about Kawa, the Yosh or Yamanaka (unless it's a place that you really strongly recommend or suspect that only a few people know about).

I will give you full credit for any place that you suggest on the area information sheet. I think it would be great if we could continue to add to 'The List' and possibly put this information right here on YETI's website so that future folks will be able to bask in the beauty of our collective wisdom.  :-P Something to think about, anyway!

Non-YETI Social Gatherings / Re: Tokyo Orientation Dinners 2013
« on: July 19, 2013, 09:36:56 AM »
rsvp-ing for group B. I'm so excited!!!

Another Kelly/Kelley/Kelli/Kellie!  :-D That makes 3 in Yamanashi (that we know of), deshou? Our conquest is nearly complete, mwahaha!

Welcome to the prefecture, Kelley!

Kelly, give us his details and I'll add him to the next revision of the guide.

Hideki Kyoshima
055-287-9880 or 090-4174-4683 (cell)

Tell him Kelly sent'cha!  :-D

Interview passed!  ~though my wife did not~

For Emily it was is a matter of getting more acceptable proof that she was in the US for one year during the most resent renewal of her license.  I had my family scan and email her pay stubs from 2011 and she is going to bring those to the J-DMV today.  My interviewer was actually super nice and I was joking with him the whole interview.  My wife got a cop who was much more 'by the books' and he even interrupted our interview a few times with questions about Emily.  My interviewer rolled his eyes.  I could tell that he was thinking, "Come on dude, just pass her already." 
The paperwork snafu should be easily remedied today and we scheduled our test for next week.

Does someone have the name and phone number for the Brazilian instructor? 

I figured we will use multiple instructors and just start with him.  I anticipate failing at least 2 times, so my strategy is to use different instructors in the hopes that one of them will put in a good word for us. 

On to the written and practical!

That sounds like the guy I got. Super friendly to both me and my supervisor and was happy to joke around a little. This whole license process is so completely up to chance and dependent on who you're partnered with for the tests. Hopefully all the stars and planets will be aligned in my favor when I take the practical next week.  :wink:

Andy, I don't know anything about the Brazillian guy, but I've been taking lessons with an awesome guy who's not listed in the driving guide. He doesn't speak English, per se, but he'll use very basic English instructions (turn right, check such and such, etc.) and has been really helpful and understanding. We speak Japanese together, so I don't know if other people with less Japanese ability will find him as great as I do, but the friend who recommended this guy speaks little Japanese and passed the test on his first try. The hubster will also use this instructor and I'm sure he'll have no problems with the lessons.

High School / Re: High School Speech Conest
« on: July 11, 2013, 11:23:05 AM »
OK, and here are all the speeches from last year, all in one handy dandy PDF.   :-D  Now, If anybody remembers who won, that would be some information that I would really like to know.  I couldn't stick around for the whole competition last year, so not really sure which speeches took home the prizes.  :oops:

EDIT:  I consulted with some of the other English teachers here and they are pretty sure that the winners from last year's speech contest were the following: First Place - Kofu-minami High School (speech #7 - Modest Change).  Second place - Ichikawa (speech #14 - Open Up Your Eyes) and Yamanashi Gakuin (speech #16 - The Words on My Bookshelf).

Please correct me if I'm wrong (also if you know who won third place, by all means, please let me know.

Yoshida (my school) got third place in both the recitation and speech contest!  8-) My second-year girl was speech #12-- The True Meaning of Hometown. I'm still so proud of those munchkins...

I won't know who's going to the speech contest until September, but I can already say that Yoshida will rock it this year, too. That's right-- I'm throwing down the gauntlet!!  :-D

Terra - No internet at all? Damn, that surprises me!
I have never used pocket wifi but I regularly hit the 7gb limit with my tethering. With the throttled connection, opening up 3 or 4 tabs takes a while, and forget youtube for the most part. Unthrottled, I can't remember but should be better.
Perhaps the pocket wifi is unthrottled?

au changed their data usage policy with the pocket wifi back at the beginning of January without notifying customers of the changes before the fact, which is how I was able to get out of the contract and switch to wired internet through NTT/plala.

I should add that, before au started throttling the connection, I was able to stream and even download things, though it was much slower than what I was used to at home. I couldn't have recommended the pocket wifi in good faith last year, and, now that the policy has changed, I can't see why anyone would choose it over a regular home connection (aside from desperation to get internet like I was when I first arrived).

I was going to get Softbank when I first arrived (for no particular reason other than that I heard it would be a little cheaper), but, like Fred, I couldn't get a phone without my 在留カード, and, since I wasn't willing to wait the week or so that it took for the card to get to me, I signed on with au. I have an iPhone and have been happy with their service (except for the debacle with the pocket WiFi, but that's neither here or now).

I had my driving interview yesterday (passed without a hitch-- woohoo!) and just thought I would let folks know that, along with all the documents mentioned in the driving guide that you need to bring, I'd also recommend that people bring their city residency certificate. I don't have it in front of me now, so I don't know what it's called in Japanese (and might not be able to read all the kanji even if I did), but it should be a document that your city hall gave you when you first moved to your town. I had no idea that I was supposed to bring it, but the officer who conducted my interview told me it was ok and that I just couldn't forget it when I come for the practical test. What a relief that I didn't automatically fail the interview just for that!  :-D

The posts on this thread and the driving guide have been super, super helpful throughout this process, so a big thanks to everyone who has contributed. If an updated driving guide is posted in the near future, it'd be great to include a mention of the residency certificate just so people aren't surprised when it's potentially brought up during the interview.

So, I'm filling out the JAF application to get my driver's license translated, and I'm not sure what to answer for the question, ''Did you stay in the issuing country for at least 3 months in total after you obtained your current license?'' I brought my then-current license over with me to Japan, but it expired in January and I had it renewed last month, so I now have the old and the new version in my wallet. Obviously, I haven't been in the States since I've gotten my renewed license, so do I put ''No''? Or do I say ''Yes'' since I was living in the U.S. for years after I received my original driver's license? I just don't want the people in charge to think I'm lying and that I got some street vendor in Thailand to make me a (very well-done) forgery. I did the license renewal by mail, so I can bring in a copy of the online payment receipt, if that helps.

Sorry in advance if this question has been asked before.

Why are they including them? Because they are the easiest way to prove that you were in the states for 3 months.

In your case, perhaps you could get an official looking cereal box top letter with a stamp on it from a previous employer and the payslips to prove it?

An alternative would be to see if the embassy can pull up your immigration records and show when you entered/left the country.
New Zealanders can ask for this from the NZ embassy in Beijing. (scroll to the bottom)

Perhaps the US embassy would able to do the same?

I can't believe it.  I actually had the foresight to pack an extra official sealed college transcript when I came over to Japan last year.  Thanks past self! 

I also found a copy I made of my official college transcript that I sent with my JET application last year. 


(I'll probably bring my marriage license too, just to overload them with documents)

That's a really good idea, Andy. I think I'll have to do that, myself. Sounds like shoving as many official documents as you can down their throats is the way to go!

Thanks, Brittany. That makes me feel better. *happy sigh*

I didn't even think about asking the BoE for my transcript-- d'oh! I might get a copy from them just in case. Should I e-mail Jeremy/Aimee about that?

I grit my teeth and ordered my official transcript yesterday, so I'm just gonna hope that FedEx will get it here fast enough. Still no driving record, so if it doesn't come in time and I'm screwed, it'll be my own fault for taking so long to get on this crazy process.  :oops:

I'm gonna play it safe and go to JAF next week to get my license translated. I might just be tired and lazy, but does anyone have a direct link to the translation application form? I followed the link from the YETI driving guide and couldn't find the app on that page, so then I looked for a bit on the Japanese page and was overwhelmed by all that kanji (it's too early, dammit!).

EDIT: Never mind-- found it! :D

So, I've got my interview on the 24th, and I've been busy trying to get all my documents together before I go in. This might be a silly question, but for people who might have brought in a college transcript to prove that they were living in the U.S. after they get their license, did you bring in an official transcript, and do you think it would be okay if I brought in my academic record (with classes and dates and all that) instead? I realized as I was looking at the process to get an official transcript from my school that it would be ridiculously expensive (for a piece of paper!!) and might not get here in time, anyway, and I'm also wondering if the people in the interview would even be able to tell the difference between something official and unofficial. I'm already going through the process to get my driving record, which should prove that I was in the States a lot better than a transcript (I got my license in 2003 but started college in 2006). My parents are also faxing me my W2s from last year.

Also, for those who mailed in their stuff to the JAF (license translating place), how long did it take to get everything sent back? I'd rather mail everything since I'd have to take nenkyuu to go there in person, but if it takes longer than a week for the translation to get to me, I guess I'll have to take a day off. :(

Events Archive / Re: YETI Undoukai 2013!! Let's play!
« on: June 03, 2013, 01:51:01 PM »
It was a great time :) Glad to have been a part of it! Thanks to all!

Although, body aching errwhere x_x

Me too.  :cry: Glad I'm not the only one. The combination of aching legs and sunburns all down my left arm and around my shoulders gives me a serious case of the Mondays.

Events Archive / Re: YETI Undoukai 2013!! Let's play!
« on: May 30, 2013, 12:28:00 PM »
Also, Chandre, are you spelling my name with an ''E''? I should immediately withdraw my RSVP for such an egregious error.  :-D

Twas me. Sorry  :oops:

I thought it might be your doing, Fred. Why you gotta break my heart, huh?  :cry:

I just realized that I should have asked why my name has an extra ''E'' in it. Apparently, I forget how to spell my name, too. Then again, ''Klly'' has a nice ring to it...

Events Archive / Re: YETI Undoukai 2013!! Let's play!
« on: May 30, 2013, 10:14:42 AM »
Also, Chandre, are you spelling my name with an ''E''? I should immediately withdraw my RSVP for such an egregious error.  :-D

Events Archive / Re: YETI Undoukai 2013!! Let's play!
« on: May 30, 2013, 10:11:46 AM »
You're cooooomiiiiiiing!!!  :-D
That is worth all the win in the world, so don't sweat it (unless it's on the undoukai field!). I love my Kuma Cave Crew.

HAHAHAHA, just not the cave?

As shocking as it may be to people who aren't blessed with the Bear Cave, I love my apartment (yes, even despite the crumbling foundation, the mold, and lack of running hot water... though the latter is definitely my least favorite thing about the place). Living in Fujiyoshida makes you stronger, yo!  :-D

Haha, we love you too, M. Night Chandramalan.  :-P Let's figure out what time we're gonna leave on Saturday and see if Stephanie's joining us.

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