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the Trev Report 2007-01-30

the Trev Report 2007-01-30

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Welcome to the Trev Report. This is a letter about the goings on
of the life and times of Trevor Lalish-Menagh. Trevor currently lives in a
two-story house in the small mountain town of Iinan in Shimane Prefecture,
Japan about two hours north of Hiroshima City by car. The town's
population is about 6,500 people and Trevor has been living there for over
three years with his wife Signe Rose. Signe has recently taken over an
assistant language teaching (ALT) position at the local elementary and
junior high school that Trevor had held for the past three years. In turn,
Trevor has started employment with a private ALT company, called ALTIA
Central, in neighboring Miyoshi City across the border in Hiroshima
Prefecture, a bustling metropolis of 30,000. There he works at two
elementary schools and two junior high schools motivating children to
learn English in a country still adverse to the foreign tongue.
We enter this life shortly after the winter vacation of the year
of our Lord two-thousand and six, which Trevor and Signe spent in
communist Vietnam aiding a charity group called Ethnic Minority Outreach,
distributing food and supplies to the much ignored minority groups
throughout the Vietnamese coastline. What follows is a brief account of
this experience in the author's own words followed by other assorted
facts about Trevor in the months since his last correspondence.
And now, without further adieu, on with the report!

Trev and Signe's Trip to Vietnam
--------------------------------
It all started a while back. This summer, for tax purposes
involved with my switching of jobs in Japan, I had to leave the country
for a period of time. As it so happened, a good friend of mine was
planning to go to Thailand for a month, and as I had a month free until
the start of my new position I approached him about coming along. To my
delight he was ecstatic about having a traveling partner and our plans
were made.
As an aside, Signe had to stay behind, for her new job began much
sooner than mine. So it came to be that I and my friend headed to
Southeast Asia for the first time. I will spare you the details of that
trip, as I wrote an extensive journal about my experiences there and
uploaded it to my Live Journal site which you can read at
http://trevmex.livejournal.com/2006/07/ and
http://trevmex.livejournal.com/2006/08/ if you wish.
The part of that journey that relates to our volunteer trip to
Vietnam is when we went to the Kingdom of Cambodia for the main purpose of
seeing the great ruins of the ancient Angkorian Empire, exemplified by the
main temple of Angkor Wat. The ruins were not the only thing we discovered
in Cambodia. We also saw extraordinary poverty: people living in open
straw huts in muddy marshes with little to no clothes to their name. Many
we saw were extremely malnourished and washed their bodies and clothes in
the same rivers they used as toilets for the lack of proper facilities.
There were others war-torn and dismembered from the bloody wars twenty
years hence wandering the streets of the capital, Phnom Penh, which seemed
to the American eye, poorer than the lowliest shanty town in the deserted
plains of the American frontier. It was this poverty and want that called
me to action on my return to my home in the land of the rising sun.
The group that was organizing the charity trip, Ethnic Minority
Outreach (EMO), was created six years ago by a Vietnamese-American woman
in Shimane Prefecture. This trip was their third in six years and the
first we have been involved in. After returning to Japan, Signe and I
agreed that it might be a good idea to go on a volunteer trip, and we
signed up. I had a very positive experience in Thailand and Cambodia, so I
was looking forward to returning to the region and Signe was excited about
seeing some of the sites in Vietnam, like Halong Bay, during our stay. In
the autumn and early winter EMO put on various fundraisers and charity
events throughout the prefecture as well as securing finds from some
wealthy donors and a truckload of schoolchildren's clothes donated by a
company in Tokyo that were getting rid of their overstock and discontinued
items. As a majority of the locations we intended to visit were
kindergartens, this worked out particularly well for the group. The
clothing was transported to Vietnam as check-in baggage for each of the
group members. We took all of our personal items in carry-on luggage. The
head of the group arranged for each passenger in the group to carry over
the twenty kilogram limit allowed since it was for charity. As a result we
were able to bring hundreds of kilograms of clothes with us to distribute.
The donated funds went mainly towards four items. Firstly, at a
variety of kindergartens for ethnic minorities in and around the costal
city of Phan Rang the money was used to buy toys for the children and
school supplies like radios and fans.
Secondly, in an Ede village in the outskirts of the beachside town
Nha Trang over a ton of rice, noodles, and cooking supplies were bought
and distributed to the poorest of the village families and the local
schools. Extraordinarily, one metric ton of rice in Vietnam costs as much
as one ten-kilogram bag in Japan, yet these families are so impoverished
that they can hardly afford one week of basic foodstuffs at these prices.
It was this fact, more than anything that showed me how simple it is to
help those in need. I was amazed and intrigued at how just a little money
can go a long way if applied correctly.
Thirdly, a large portion of the donations were distributed as cash
to about three-hundred needy families in the Da Nang region that suffered
from a serious flood and tornado earlier in 2006 that ruined many houses
in the area, especially in the poorer neighborhoods where construction is
of a lower quality than in the city proper. Most houses have walls only
one brick thick in these areas.
Finally, much personal funds from the group members, numbering
about twenty, went towards structural improvements to the schools we
visited. For example, one school was badly in need of a proper toilet and
we pooled together the US$400 they needed to have it built; another
project we chose to fund was the building of a sanitary kitchen facility
at a school in the Ede village near Nha Trang we visited. All they
currently have is a dirty fire pit and a pot to serve the school's
one-hundred plus children. Many water pumps and wells were also built with
monies donated by group members throughout the trip.
One especially interesting project the group chose to fund is a
grant we created for minority and impoverished children of high merit to
go to university. This was spurred on by one Ede boy in particular whose
story was moving. When he was a young child, perhaps eight or nine, both
of his parents died and left him with nothing. He lives in a half-exposed
shack on the outskirts of the village and has been working to feed himself
and pay for schooling for the last ten years. Now at age eighteen, he
travels over fifteen kilometers each day over poor terrain to attend the
only high school in the area. He dreams of going to university in Ho Chi
Minh City, but at US$110 a year, the tuition is far beyond his means to
afford. With the financial help of the individuals in the EMO group this
young man will now be able to go to university and give back to the
community that raises him in a way he could never have imagined possible.
Many of us expressed great interest in bringing the gift of higher
education to the peoples in these greatly under-funded regions. So much so
that the organization intends to expand the focus of the group to include
an educational grant program alongside the current relief and support
activities.
Although we did do a good deal of philanthropic work, we also
spent some time touring the country and seeing the sites. In particular
there were two places we visited of a strictly tourist nature. One was the
small town of Ho An, about thirty minutes southeast by car of Da Nang,
where we dispersed the aid money to flood victims. Ho An is well-known to
visitors of Vietnam as a place to get extremely inexpensive tailoring
done. Although we only spent a day there, we both had a number of articles
of clothing tailored for ourselves, including a suit for each Signe and
me, as well as winter coats. I also had two pairs of sneakers cobbled for
myself. The quality was not top-notch (I had a suit tailored in Thailand
of much higher quality not six months prior), but for the price one can
hardly complain.
The second tourist destination we went to was Halong Bay, a three-hour
bus ride from the capital city of Ha Noi in the north. The bay is a
striking series of almost 2,000 small rock islands a short distance from
the mainland. As seems to be what is done there, we rented a private
tourist boat and sailed out to a little floating village in the bay. The
village, we were told, is wholly self-sufficient, the inhabitants rarely
going to shore. So complete is their community that they have their own
schoolhouse on floats. We stopped at one of these residents to buy fresh
seafood for lunch on the boat. Although more expensive than on the
mainland, it was nonetheless cheap from a Western standpoint. After lunch
we made landfall at one of the larger islands where it was discovered in
1993 by a Frenchman an extraordinary cavern of such grandeur that one
could easily see the gods feasting there. Stalactites hung like elegant
drapes of flowing cloth from the ceiling, and their brothers rose up
mightily from the ground in ever more complex shapes and sizes.
After touring the caverns for some time we returned to our boat and
sailed back to the port. That evening we headed back to the capital by
bus for one more night before our journey back to Japan. Signe, while in
the capital, had a very fine traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai, or long
dress, made for her at a silk vendor's shop. The craftsmanship was
markedly improved over that of the tailors of Ho An. Most notable is the
detail of the hand-embroidered chrysanthemums on the body and sleeves of
the dress.
The return trip was uneventful. We flew from the north to Ho Chi Minh
City (Saigon), and after meeting up with a part of the group that left
for Cambodia from Nha Trang a week earlier, we flew home via Korea.
This trip left Signe and I excited to do more volunteer work in the
future. There are many opportunities for two to four week tours all over
the world, though I am especially interested in volunteering in Africa.
This was spurred on in large part by another ALT that was traveling in
our volunteer group. She is from Kenya and excitedly taught us all about
her country during our long bus rides throughout Vietnam. We learned
about its geography, peoples, politics, and especially its great poverty.
One comment of hers really made me think. She noted that the village she
grew up in was much poorer than many of the places we visited in Vietnam.
I would like to go there and see with my own eyes, and help with my own
hands these people that want so little but need so much. She recalled one
time when a volunteer group installed a water tower in her village. When
she asked the volunteers who gave them the supplies to build the water
tower, they replied that they bought them. She was astonished at the
wealth of such people, but this trip showed her, and all of us, that a
small amount of money to us can make a world of difference. It is the
feeling that we can make a difference that inspires me to want to do
more. And now I know that we really can.

Trev's Work
------------
In August after returning from Thailand, I started working in nearby
Miyoshi City for an ALT company named ALTIA Central. I teach at two
elementary schools and two junior high schools about thirty to forty
minutes by car from my house in Iinan, with the exception of one
elementary school that is over an hour away that I visit once every two
weeks. Much like my last job, the schools are small and the students are
energetic. ALT work is much the same throughout Japan, I suppose,
especially in these smaller towns and villages throughout the
countryside, which Signe and I work.
I continue to perform on a monthly English conversation class TV show
broadcast in the town I live in and neighboring Unnan City. I also take
part in bimonthly TV recordings in Miyoshi City, doing much the same as
in my town Iinan. It is always a nice break from the ordinary, with the
added advantage of having your friends and students declare to you that
they saw you on television. :)

Trev's Books
-------------
Having a thirty to forty minute drive to work each day can be quite
boring. So to relieve my boredom I have started listening to audio books
that I buy from a website and load onto our mp3 player, which is usually
kept in the car. I have gotten through quite a few books. I listen to
fiction half of the time and nonfiction the other half. On the fiction
side I have listened to the first two new Battlestar Galactica (BSG)
novels by Jeffrey Carver and Craig Shaw respectively, The Time
Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and
currently, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein.
The Battlestar Galactica books were, as you might imagine, nothing more
than a guilty pleasure. I really like BSG, but I venture to think that if
they were not BSG-themed, I would not have liked them in the least.
The Time Traveler's Wife, on the other hand, is a very good listen. The
story drew me in and I could hardly wait to get back into the car to
listen each day. The story is a love affair between a girl and a man with
a disorder that makes his body jump backwards and forwards in time
randomly. He has no control over it. So, for example, the first time she
meets him she is eight and he is thirty-three, but the first time he
meets her she is twenty and he is twenty-eight. I have heard that a movie
is being made from the book, so I look forward to watching that.
American Gods was a fun listen. It is about gods that were brought to
America long ago, through the minds and hearts of their believers, and
have been long since forgotten in the modern day, like Easter and Odin.
Most of these defunct gods now live among the people as drifters
scrapping by on whatever they can. The gods seem well researched and the
mystery that entails the main plot of the book is interesting, if not
predictable. Being written by Neil Gaiman, I expected it to be better. I
am currently reading his 1990's comic book series, The Sandman, and it
is of much higher quality in my opinion.
During our trip to Vietnam I read the paperback version of The Life of
Pi. That is an extraordinary book. I understand why it won the Man Booker
Prize. The premise is a boy on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. Go! It is
a pretty wild ride.
Currently I am listening to the Heinlein classic: The Moon is a Harsh
Mistress. IT is really interesting, and for science fiction it is pretty
engaging. He lays out in mo uncertain terms his political philosophy in
the book and delves into many subjects a lot of science fiction and
fantasy books tend to shy away from. It is nice to see my favorite genre
dealing with complicated issues instead of a cookie cutter adventure
tale.
I have also gotten through quite a few nonfiction audio books as well: My
Life by Bill Clinton, The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, Fast Food
Nation by Eric Schlosser, Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky,
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, The World is Flat
by Thomas L. Friedman, Getting Things Done by David Allen, and I just
finished listening to 1776 by David McCullough.
My Life, read by President Clinton himself, is very interesting. He is
very candid and frank about his presidency, the good and the bad. The
Audacity of Hope, also read by the author, is interesting, but it feels
like a book written by a politician, whatever that means. I came away
liking the book and it makes me think that the senator from Illinois
might just have a fighting chance in 2008.
Fast Food Nation is an insightful book about the effects the
mass-marketing of food is doing to the agricultural industry. Especially
interesting is the vivid and detailed description of cattle processing
plants. The ways that our food is processed and produced have changed so
much in the last one-hundred years, and not all for the better it seems.
Salt: A World History is fourteen hours straight, all about salt. As lame
as that sounds, it was actually pretty interesting. Kurlansky talks about
the importance of salt supplies throughout history. Many of the world's
greatest wars were fought over the right to control salt production and
trade.
Freakonomics is an interesting and controversial book by a radical
economist that compares various seemingly unrelated things to rather
shocking results. For example, Levitt concludes that swimming pools are
about one-hundred times more likely to kill a child than a gun in the
house; and a leading factor in the recent reduction of violent urban
crime is the legalization of abortion. Although some chapters are more
interesting than others (the final chapter, on baby names is
gut-wrenchingly dull), it is an overall thought-provoking listen.
The World is Flat, on the other hand, is a tad overrated in my opinion. I
chose the book because of the rave reviews it has received in
international relations journals. It is a book that basically sets out to
explain the process of globalization that is occurring around the world
today. It would have been more interesting if I did not know already most
of the things Friedman presents as revolutionary and novel ideas, like
the Internet. Perhaps this book is more exciting to people that know
nothing of globalization when they start reading it. I would not know.
Getting Things Done (GTD), on the other hand, provided very useful. It
presents a simple system for organizing the many things in one's life.
With the GTD system and my trusty personal digital assistant (PDA) I have
been able to get all the ideas floating around in my head under control.
I liked the abridged audio book so much that I bought the paperback soon
after finishing listening to it and carry it around as a reference book.
I just finished listening to 1776, which is all about (unsurprisingly)
the year 1776 and in particular the beginning of the American Revolution
starting with the Siege of Boston in the winter of 1775, through the many
defeats in New York and New Jersey throughout the year, and finally
ending with the Battle of Trenton, when Washington crossed the Delaware
to overtake the New Jersey town in one fall swoop. The story is unfolded
through letters and official correspondences that have been recovered
from generals, as well as common foot soldiers, from both sides of the
conflict. It creates an interesting and in-depth picture of the
battlefront, much more detailed than the jingoistic version of events
taught in U.S. junior and senior high schools.
I have also read a few nonfiction books in print: Train Man (or Densha
Otoko in Japanese) by Nakano Hitori and No Logo by Naomi Klein. Train Man
is a true love story about a boy that falls in love with a girl and asks
in an anonymous electronic bulletin board (called 2-channel) full of
strangers for advice on what to do. What follows, presented in the
original bulletin board format, is a very touching love story. Although
the English translation is awkward in parts, it is an overall enjoyable
and fast read. In fact, I finished it while riding the bullet train. :)
No Logo, written in 2000, has become something like a bible for the
growing anti-corporate movements around the world. It uncovers the dirty
underbelly of a world that is liberalizing trade relations and advancing
multinational and transnational globalization at too fast a pace to
ensure fair trade, compensation to the disenfranchised, and adherence to
global human rights standards. It also introduces the many grassroots
anti-corporation activist groups that have cropped up to combat what they
perceive as companies and organizations with too much pull in the affairs
of men, with too little regard to their rights and civil liberties.

Trev's Comic Books and Games
-----------------------------
On a lighter note, I have been reading quite a few comic books as of
late. It is a guilty pleasure as I have them shipped from a comic book
shop in San Diego, California (The Comic Gallery) bimonthly. As well as
reading Neil Gaiman's 1990's Sandman series, I also follow the DC
Universe and receive their most popular titles such as Batman, Superman,
Action Comics, etc. I also read a few lesser well known titles like
American Splendor and Green Arrow.
I have a stack of Japanese comics that I have yet to read as well,
including Cross Game (by Mitsuru Adachi, the author of the popular
baseball comic Touch) and Death Note by Tsugumi Obara and Takeshi Obata,
which is very popular with the students right now.
One of my good friends from No Name Anime, a San Jose, California-based
Japanese animation viewing society I am a member of, came to visit us a
few months ago and strongly persuaded me to start playing the massively
multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), Guild Wars (GW). So every
other week or so I log onto the fantasy world with my computer and
connect my microphone to Teamspeak, which allows me to talk with the
other players in my guild, or team, and play with my friends in San Jose.
It is very nice to be able to meet up with them in a virtual world and
hang out once in a while. The game itself is enjoyable as well, but the
real reason I play is to meet with friends I cannot otherwise see. The
reason we chose GW as opposed to some of the other popular MMORPGs on the
market is because GW does not have a monthly fee, unlike most. Since I
only log on perhaps once every one to two weeks, a monthly fee is not
worth paying for me.
Speaking of video games, we just got our third XBOX 360 back from the
repair shop. The first two broke down and I am really hoping that this
one goes the distance, although it has already stalled at least once. The
main game both Signe and I have been playing the most is called Elder
Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It is a very fun fantasy role-playing game and hard
to put down. There are endless interesting quests to complete, the
graphics are impressive, and the game play is uncomplicated. Signe and I
take turns playing each night. She is as hooked as I am.
Now that I am using my PDA more regularly I have on occasion been seen
playing the fantastic handheld game, Space Trader. I first heard about
the game when I was working as a PDA software engineer at iambic, Inc. in
San Jose many years ago and it still remains my favorite PDA game. It is
a space trading game based off the old door game, Dope Wars, but with a
space theme and some special missions thrown in here and there.
We haven't just been playing video games though. The last time Signe
went home to the U.S. she played a board game called Carcassonne.
Carcassone is played with tiles. Over the course of the game the players
must strategically place the tiles on the board to build a small town and
lay claim to parts of it as it is built. The player that has claimed the
most wins. It is a simple, but challenging game to play and everyone we
have introduced it to so far have really enjoyed it.
We also like to play a game called Citadels. Signe likes to call it
Magic: The Gathering-lite. It is a non-collectable where the players are,
again, building a town. The thing that makes the game-play stand out as
unique and interesting is that the role each play has changes each round,
and that role determines not only the order of turns, but what each
player can do in their turn. For example, the player who chooses the
thief card goes before the player with the merchant card, thus can steal
from the merchant, etc. As each player does not know who has what card at
the beginning of each round, they have to plan their moves carefully to
win the day.
Another card game we play sometimes is the two-player Lost Cities. It is
an exploration game where the players have to out-explore each other by
playing exploration cards, in order from one to ten, in front of them in
one of five exploration piles, each one representing a trek to go on. If,
by the end of the game, one player did not explore enough they lose
points, but if the player takes the risk of exploration and succeeds it
can pay off big time. It comes down to a counting game, as each
exploration card has a number assigned to it and after a number is placed
on a pile a lower number may not be placed on top of it. For example, a
two card cannot be placed on top of a four-card, etc. Signe is
remarkably good at this game and often beats me hands down.
We have a new neighbor in town. He is the new ALT from Tonbara, a part of
Iinan about ten minutes away from where we live. We see him about once a
week and usually play games with him. He is really into Magic: The
Gathering, the collectable card game, so sometimes he and I get together
to play. I have not played at all since high school, but the rules are
pretty much the same and it is fun, although Signe is less into playing
it, though she might be warming up to it.

Trev's TV Consumption
----------------------
Embarrassingly, we have been watching a lot of U.S. TV as of late via
Internet downloading. Downloading shows is a great way of watching
programs when we live outside the U.S. Of course we always watch
Battlestar Galactica (BSG) when it comes out. They are in the third
season and we still love it. Besides BSG, the best show we have watched
recently is Heroes, which is about people that start to develop
superpowers. It is very well made and really draws both of us in.
We kept up with the new Doctor Who series and its spin-off Torchwood for
a while, but eventually stopped watching. It got just a little too corny
for Signe's tastes. Even I, who likes most everything, did not care too
much for Torchwood. We have been watching both Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis
as well, but are less and less impressed with each passing season, so we
might stop picking those up.
At the recommendation of multiple friends we started watching the medical
show House M.D. Although Dr. House is a deplorable anti-hero, we still
continue to watch. At the very least there is an entertaining medical
mystery to solve each week, but the main character is trying at best.
We watched the first half-season of Aaron Sorkin's new show, Studio 60
on the Sunset Strip, which is a drama about the behind the scenes of a
Saturday Night Live (SNL)-like show. It feels like West Wing meets SNL.
Although the dialogue is engaging, I do not feel too attached to the
show, so we might cut it for the time being.
We watched the first part of season three of the hit ABC show Lost and
with a three month hiatus I cannot help but think that some higher-ups in
ABC are trying to get the show cancelled for some reason, ala Angel.
Admittedly, season three is not as gripping as the firsttwo, but it still
is not a bad show.I wonder why they had such a long break after only six
episodes.
Finally, our guiltiest pleasure is watching Desperate Housewives. It is
the definition of a prime-time soap opera. I am just waiting for the
twin-brother to appear and marry the evil doctor that turns out to
actually be a space alien. :P

Trev and Signe's Diet
----------------------
One big change with us recently is that we are on a diet and exercise
program. While I was vacationing in Thailand, Signe started following a
diet program on the World Wide Web that is designed to administer and
monitor dieting routines. Signe lost about ten kilograms (about
twenty-two pounds) while I was gone and I started the program when I
returned. We have each lost well over thirty pounds so far and have about
twenty more to go until we can say we have reached our ideal weight
according to multiple body mass index calculators.
The program is not a pill diet or a radical diet, like Atkins, but a
sensible one that uses regular store-bought food prepared in ways that
minimize fat and oil content coupled with a practical exercise program
that consists of a daily cardio workout and a thrice weekly toning
routine.
The weight comes off slowly, but it is staying off, which is a nice
change. We both look and feel a lot better for it. It is nice to be able
to feel good about how we look. I really started to notice a difference
when I went to school and the kids, usually unabashed about pointing out
any physical flaw, especially obesity, for a good laugh, were shocked to
learn that I am on a diet, stating that they thought I did not need to be
on one. That felt really good.

Trev's Studies (or lack there of)
----------------------------------
Ever since my failing of the Foreign Service Written Exam last year
(albeit by a mere ten points), I have not been too motivated to study
much. That coupled with my new job, which keeps me surprisingly busier
than my last one, creating lesson plans, activities, and such, I have not
found the time for much of anything. At my last job I would study
throughout the day at work, but now I do not have time to do that and
what time I have at home I dedicate to exercise, housework, and
relaxation. It is no excuse, really. I just need to get back into the
habit of reading the news more often.
I want to start studying Japanese again as well, seeing that my speaking
skills seem to be slipping away daily, but I do not know of a good
self-study text for my level, wedged awkwardly between intermediate and
advanced. There is at least one person in Miyoshi that teaches Japanese
to foreigners, but it is a ways away and I am not so committed as to seek
them out just yet.

Trev's Computers
-----------------
The old computer is chugging along quite nicely. Although it is now
several years old, having bought it to go to Japan with, it still serves
our every need. I do not envision needing a new computer for some time
lest an accident occur, even if I sometimes lust after the new technology
out there on the market.

Trev's Love Life
-----------------
Great!

Trev's One Point Japanese Lesson
---------------------------------
So you want to learn Japanese, huh? Let's practice a simple
conversation. Try reading this out loud to yourself many times. Some
things to note when reading Japanese:
First, keep your intonation flat. Unlike other Asian languages like
Chinese and Vietnamese, Japanese is not a tonal language. When you are
starting out it is best to try and speak in a flat monotone. Many
foreigners try to add tonal inflections to their speech, but end up
placing their inflections incorrectly. This is known as a gaijin accent,
and it is oft made fun of in Japan (if you are an anime fan, you might
know Pedro from Excel Saga; he speaks in a strong gaijin accent).
Secondly, all syllables (or consonant-vowel pairs) are equally
enunciated. So that ohayou gozaimasu, or good morning, is pronounced:
o-ha-yo-u-go-za-i-ma-su. In English, we tend to blend sounds together,
this is not so in Japanese. Now, let's get on with that conversation:

A short self-introduction:
Matt: Ohayou gozaimasu. (Good morning.)
Ms. Kato: Ohayou gozaimasu.
Matt: Sumimasen, Kato-sensei desuka? (Excuse me, are you Ms. Kato?)
Ms. Kato: Hai, sou desu. (Yes, that's right.)
Matt: Hajimemashite. Matto to moushimasu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu. (We
haven't met. I am Matt. Nice to meet you.)
Ms. Kato: Yoroshiku. (Nice to meet you, too.)

Key phrases:
Hajimemashite.: Use this when meeting someone for the first time. It
literally means it is beginning.
[your name] to moushimasu.: I am [your name]. Use this phrase to
introduce yourself. Note that to is pronounced with a long o like toe,
not a short o, like to in English.
Yoroshiku onegaisimasu.: This means nice to meet you. Use this to end
your short self-introduction. Note that Ms. Kato answers with a shortened
version since she is of a higher position than Matt, namely a teacher, or
sensei.

Keep up your studies. Japanese is a fun and interesting language to
learn. I hope you enjoy it!


Well, that is about it for this edition of the Trev Report. If you have a
chance, send me an email, instant message, or call. I always like hearing
from you. Until next time, take care.

Yours,
trv
--
Trevor Lalish-Menagh
jumex@trevreport.org
www.trevreport.org
+81 (80) 1929-5216
  • I swear, when I read these Trev reports, I can hear you talking. Almost explaining or reading them to me. it's weird. I guess that means I miss yous guys.
    • Man, I miss you too. San Jose was good to us. It was cool living so close to you that we could hang out all the time. I am really starting to feel the urge to return home these days. Too long in the stix, I suppose. :)
  • (no subject) -
    • Yes! Thank you for that. It is totally way sweet of you to send us a Xmas card. You are perma-awesome. How are things these days? I really miss you guys.
  • I miss you guys~ but I'm also extremely proud of the volunteer work you did and intend to continue. It makes me want to follow in your footsteps. (Maybe I can get some more info from you.)

    This spring, I'm definitely coming to Japan (will book my ticket w/in the next three weeks). I'd love to come and visit if that's ok. (No, this time I'm telling the truth!)

    Somehow, you have to regain your drive to study for the test again! 10 points. 10!!
    • Yeah, I knoe. Only 10 points. I was so close. I really should go for it again, but I am wavering. Perhaps next year I will go for it full boar.

      You better come visit this time. We have a lot of stuff to see out here...if you like nature. If you don't like nature, you are SOL, but at least there is us, and Himene, too!
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