Just got back from my first day back at work after nearly a month away, and man I am tired.

I can’t think very well right now, let alone write. I first typed “right” just now, that’s how tired I am. I am the kind of exhausted that you read about in Greek epics.

These came yesterday though:

So, THAT’S cool.



Today was a pretty bad day. A contract for a class I was set to start teaching from next Monday got delayed into sometime in mid- to late-February, and even that’s still up in the air because they’re not sure if there will be enough students to fill the classes. I have been trying to get more info on this client and a definitive answer on their status since early December, and for it all to fall apart after so much waiting and anxiety was pretty much the worst.

Sorry everyone. Today I was supposed to use my last free day before Tokyo classes started up again to write something upbeat and light, but wasted my whole day in a black hole of depression. That’s already bad enough, but tomorrow morning I’ll be on the rush hour train going to Shinjuku.

I just want to curl up and sleep forever.


Sick day

I was hoping to get more reviews done today, or at least a longer blog entry. Unfortunately, my husband took the day off of work because of a cold, and I’m also not at a hundred percent. I have been reading manga again though, so hopefully I can get something up about that soon? I’ve also decided that I’m going to start logging manga towards my Goodreads goal of 50 books in 2018. It’s kind of cheating but it should count if I’m reading in Japanese, dammit.

First volume of Rin-ne, plus new cloth book cover underneath.

First volume of Rin-ne, plus new cloth book cover underneath.

I bought the first 25 volumes of Rin-ne used in one big bundle. My goal is to make my way through it at least one chapter per day. Ideally I’d like to make it one volume a day since manga goes by so much more quickly than a regular book, but we’ll see.

I also have the full set of Drifting Classroom (漂流教室) on the way. It looks like 2018 is the year I finally throw pretense to the wind and embrace the secret otaku dork I have always been.

Head is throbbing, so gonna go lie down. See you all back here tomorrow.


Minimal pairs branching game

These days I don’t make a lot of original material for my classes since I teach almost exclusively through a vendor who publishes their own textbooks, but on occasion I do find myself reaching into my archives and pulling out stuff I made long ago. My favorite activities are minimal pair games which I often use as brief warm-ups or finishers, and the one my students loved and loathed the most was the branching game. (It’s a terrible name, I know, but I’m still thinking of a better name!)

Download links

How to use

Pair off students and give them all sheets to look at. One partner secretly chooses a numbered word from the right side (e.g. 11) and reads off the words from left to right leading up to it (e.g. BAT – BUTTER – CAP – CUT – MATCH). The other partner follows the path on the sheet and guesses the secret word. If they are correct, congratulations! Have them switch parts.

You can also use this template for any two phonemes that give students trouble, and make up some minimal pairs utilizing those phonemes for the tree.


The New Year Circuit

It’s 2018! Or at least it will be when you read this, maybe, depending on time zones. I’m actually writing this back in the distant past of December 31, 2017 and will schedule this post to go up at 8am on the first.

DK has a few days off to celebrate the New Year and so I don’t know if I’ll have much time to blog or tweet in the meantime, which is a shame since I only just started blogging again and would hate to break my streak. So instead, I’ll be loading up on some old stuff from my archives which people have totally forgotten about so it will be “new” all over again. How convenient!

Hope you’re having a good New Year and I’ll see you all again in a few days. Enjoy the reruns in the meantime.