This blog has become a mishmash of random information so it’s been on my mind for a while to give it a makeover.  With the turn of the year I’ve rolled out phase one: Educational Journals.  It’s important to me to have a good record of the children’s accomplishments and development, and it’s impossible to provide my mother with enough detail to make up for the wide ocean between us.  Unfortunately, most readers do not have unlimited time to invest in reading about the tiny details of our lives, so I have created a Google document called:


2014 Joseph Educational Journal


In it I will write all the details and stories I think may be helpful as I guide him on his journey and pepper it with appropriate pictures and video links (which is a pain to do on the blog).  My mother and anyone interested can follow along, making comments and suggestions.


Everyone else can continue to read the blog and be spared the tedious details of Joseph’s math obsession.


My thought was to create an educational journal for each child once he or she turns two.  Until then, educational accomplishments are pretty much just normal developmental milestones.


What, then, would you most like to see on the blog?  My thoughts would be to continue to post book reviews and “philosophical musings” (when I get the time, haha) as well as to post a monthly update on the children on their birth dates.  For example, around the 21st of each month I’d write a short summary about Vivienne and list the cute sayings and note we have about her.  Most events in our lives I would record privately and I would save the blog for relating a particular notable experience or revelation with the thought that the more interesting stuff to read are the stories and not just a list of  notes like “today we went to the zoo.”  Since I won’t be using the blog as our only record of these precious days, I hope to make more frequent and shorter posts, which I also assume would make for easier reading.


If you are interested in having access to the Educational Journal please write me privately and I can either give you the right to view and/or the right to comment.


And do let me know what you would like or not like to see on the blog!

Posted by harp on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Edit
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I’ve been in Switzerland for nine months, but I first touched Swiss soil (actually it was snow) a year ago today.  What a lot has changed in 365 days.  I’ve said it before, but I never would have guessed even a fraction of what would happen in my life.  All of it was beyond the capacity of my feeble imagination.  I wondered things like which state I’d live living in and how many kids I’d have.  There was one romantic influence in my life who studied music in Europe but her life was generally impossibly operatic compared to us mortals so there was no way I’d ever get experiences like hers.  Fortunately, I didn’t.  I’ve had better adventures.  Praise to God for his marvelous ways!  They always are, but I’m extra grateful when it’s easy to tell.

Posted by harp on Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm | Edit
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I friend of mine has a glossary in her blog so she doesn’t have to keep defining the same terms over and over in each post. I think it’s a great idea and I’m going to try to implement it here. Let me know if there are words missing. I hope it’s helpful!

ALT, Assistant Language Teacher (my job title)

Futon 布団, flexible mattress laid on the floor that the Japanese sleep on (imagine what we call a futon without the supporting frame)

Gomukyu, the rubber band contraption that people use to practice kyudo

Hai はい, “yes” in the polite form

Ichinensei 一年生 First year student (in high school they’re usual 15-16)

JET, Japanese Exchange and Teaching (the program through which I am in Japan)

JTE, Japanese Teacher of English

Keitai or keitaidenwa 携帯電話, cell phone

Kofu甲府, capital city of Yamanashi-ken which is just East of Ryuo

Kutatsu, a low table with a heating element underneath and a blanket skirt or keeping warm

Kyudo 弓道, Japanese archery

Ninensei 二年生 Second year student

OC I, Oral Communication I (the class I teach to ichinensei)

Ryuo 竜王, the town I live in, which means Dragon King

Sannensei 三年生 Third year student

Seito 生徒, student

Sensei 先生, teacher

Shirane Koko 白根高校, the high school I teach at (koko means high school)

Yamanashi-ken 山梨県, the prefecture I leave in (ken means prefecture)

YETI, Yamanashi English Teacher’s International (social organization mostly made up of JETs)

Posted by harp on Sunday, February 19, 2006 at 8:59 am | Edit
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It has been brought to my attention that there are some of you don't know what I'm doing here in Japan so here is a very brief summary.  I am here with the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program, which is organized by the government of Japan and has brought nearly 45,000 people from all over the world to Japan over the last 19 years to promote internationalization.  Most JETs (including me) are ALTs (Assistan Language Teachers), and in my case I am at a high school where I team teach with the JLTs (Japanese Language Teachers) sometimes following their lead and sometimes creating my own curriculum.  I am just outside Kofu, the capitol of Yamanashi-ken.  Yamanashi is the prefecture just west of Tokyo and has Mt. Fuji on it's southern border.

Why am I doing this?  I lived in Italy for 6 weeks last summer and had a great time learning a language surrounded by native speakers.  6 weeks wasn't long enough so I looked into longer programs and for various reasons I ended up with JET.  My goals are to learn a decent amount of Japanese, get teaching experience and a look into the Japanese educational system, assimilate all the stuff I learned at Eastman and UR and be free to study, practice, and learn what I want to and think about what I want to do with my life now that I'm outside of the Eastman bubble.

Please email me if you'd like my contact info or just want to say hi.  My email is under the About IrishOboe link.

I hope that provides sufficient background!
Posted by harp on Monday, July 25, 2005 at 12:59 pm | Edit
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