Trev's Announcement the First
On 2005-01-01 our address in Japan changed because of the merging of the town I live in, Akagi, and the town next to us, Tonbara. The new town is called Iinan, and our new address is as follows:
Signe Rose and Trevor Lalish-Menagh
Iinan-cho, Iishi-gun, Shimane-ken
Please make note of this in future correspondences.
Trev's Announcement the Second
For those of you receiving this "Trev Report" for the first time, please check out http://www.trevreport.org/ for more information on the Trev Report and how to sign up for it monthly. I am entering my ninth year of doing monthly updates on my life, so please sign up if you are interested in keeping in touch with me or Signe.
And now on to the report!
Right now Signe is away in America gearing up for an interview to get onto the JET Programme (http://www.jetprogramme.org/ ) in August. If she succeeds we will be able to stay in Japan definitely until August 2008, so we are al hoping for the best there. The downside is that in all likelihood she and I will be separated for at lease one year, as there are no openings in any towns farther than a 45-minute drive from our current house. As always though, we will endure.
I write about my job often in my blog (http://jumex.blogspot.com/ ), so please check it out if you have time. We are about ready to hold graduation in April, so the 9th graders are getting excited about moving on to a new school and new adventures. We teachers are getting ready for a new batch of 7th graders as well. The 6th grade boys in this town are quite feisty, so I think we will have our hands full starting in April. Ms. Kawashima, my co-host on the monthly English Conversation TV Show I star in, will also be leaving the Junior High School to start working as an elementary school teacher, which she has always wanted to do since she got out of college, two years ago. I am still writing an article in the monthly town communique, but now they only want an article in Japanese. No more English translation. They said that there wasn't any room. In any case, things are par for the course over here these days. Par for the course for an English teacher in Japan, anyway.
Trev's Art Committee
I, along with Signe, have decided to join the JET Arts Group Shimane (JAGS). It is a small committee that is in charge of putting on a show of artwork made by foreigners living in Shimane Prefecture. The show will be in early summer and is planning on touring the 3 corners of the prefecture: Izumo, Iwami, and Oki. I have taken on the role of treasurer and webmaster. The current website (http://www.shimaneart.com/ ) has not been properly maintained in years, so I am finding myself doing a redesign from the ground up. I am making the prototype on SDF (http://sdf.lonestar.org/ ), so I am hopping that the server the site will eventually be hosted on will have support for Server Side Includes (SSI) and UNIX Shell CGI scripts, both of which I use frequently in my web design. I am hopefully creating a site that will be very easy to maintain in the future. I even created a simple web interface to edit the pages from a browser window. The site is not ready to go live yet, but I have made much progress on it.
Trev's Anime and Sci-Fi
As for anime viewing, what I have been watching lately is "The Mysterious Cities of Gold." It was a show animated by the Japanese for the French, and then later dubbed in English and brought to America in the 1980s. When I was a kid, it was my favorite cartoon on TV. Now I am having a good time introducing Signe to my childhood favorite. I want to watch some newer stuff that is out in America now. Brian Papp has given me some good suggestions. Does anyone else out there have any highly recommended shows I should check out?
As for Sci-Fi shows, Signe and I are now caught up with Stargate SG-1 Season 8 and Stargate Atlantis Season 1. We have been watching them as they come out on SkyOne in the UK, thanks to a good friend. We have also started watching the new Battlestar Galactica. I have only seen the pilot miniseries so far, but I really like what I see. I hear that they are set for a second season, and I am excited to watch it as it comes out.
Signe and I have discovered the coolness that is Skype (http://www.skype.com/ ). Skype is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) that allows two people anywhere over the world to communicate over the Internet to one another for free. All you need is the software, a microphone, and some speakers, and you are good to go. The sound quality is wonderful, and often better than calling overseas on the telephone. If you want to talk to Signe or me sometime, just 'Skype' us. Our user ID is "jumex." I have recently gotten a computer at the Junior Hugh School for me to use, and it has shot my productivity all to hell, but I like having it there. It does turn out to be quite useful at times, though.
Signe has discovered a new board game in America that she played with her family. I don't recall the name, but I am looking forward to playing something new. We have a good group of game players in the local area that we get together with every now and again to play with. One of them, Rebecca Butt, is looking into buying a game called "Puerto Rico" that is rated very highly on Board Game Geek (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/ ). On top of that, Emily Watkins, another of our gaming group, has a Nintendo GameCube, and we often play Mario Party on it, which is quite a fun party game. It's like a board game on the TV.
Since I have gotten a computer at the Junior High School where I work, I haven't been studying Japanese as diligently as I have had in the past. I still write in my journal daily, but I haven't been keeping up with the Jet Programme (http://www.jetprogramme.org/ ) self-study Japanese course as well as I should be. I have, although, progressed some with the translation of my website (http://www.trevreport.org/indexj.shtml ) into Japanese. There is only one major page left to change over. As always if you are fluent in Japanese and see a mistake in my grammar, or something that sounds funny, please send me an email about it so I can look into correcting the errors.
Trev's One-Point Japanese Lesson
So you want to learn Japanese, huh? Great! How about past tense for verbs.
Here are a few verbs for us to work with:
tabemasu - to eat
nomimasu - to drink
ikimasu - to go
shimasu - to do
OK. Check out all those words closely. Do you notice something similar in all of them? They all end in -masu. To conjugate a verb in Japanese, all you have to do is change the ending of it! So we will be changing they verbs into the past tense, this is how you do it:
Change the -masu at the end of the verb to -mashita. That's it!
So, let's look at our example verbs:
tabemasu becomes tabemashita
nomimasu becomes nomimashita
ikimasu becomes ikimashita
Can you guess about shimasu?
Until next time, keep up your studies! Japanese can be a real fun language to learn and speak!
That's about it for this edition of the Trev Report. Tune in next time for more OH SO interesting and fun facts about your friendly neighborhood Trevor!