2017: A Round Up


I'll let you into a secret.

I wanted to write an end-of-year "round-up" post last year, but I didn't think I had enough to talk about.

This year there's too much! It's been a busy, brilliant year.

Here's what my students and I got up to in 2017.

I started the year off with a chilly trip to Namayasai, Sussex's very own organic Japanese vegetable farm.

↓ Photo by Shino. Daikon radish by Namayasai.

In March, students and I were invited to the Open Day of the Brighton & Hove Japanese Club.

We tried calligraphy, made kanji name badges, and ate a lot of Japanese sweets.


The first term of 2017 flew by.

In the Easter break we had an impromptu school outing to Hove Park for hanami (cherry-blossoming viewing)...


...and to E-Kagen for noodles and Japanese beer.


May in Brighton brings the Brighton Festival and Fringe Festival.

And this year there were a few Japanese events on!

We saw a show by kick-ass Rakugo (traditional Japanese comic storytelling) performer Katsura Sunshine...

...and enjoyed the sunshine with a trip to the beach.
Students in my new Pre Intermediate class had an end-of-year visit from a special guest.

Haruna came to chat Japanese with students during the Free Talk section of class.

↓ Arigatou Haruna!
In July I also went to the Hyper Japan festival in London for the first time.

That was a frantic day full of shopping, different performances, and Japanese street food.

↓ Domo-kun (NHK mascot) and me at Hyper Japan.
Over the summer I also attended a number of brilliant workshops, as part of Ride the Wave - a business support programme run by the council and the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce.

It was a great opportunity to meet like-minded small business owners!

↓ And I got to wear this red and white badge.
Students and I also went to the Japanese Summer Festival organised by Ohisama Ahaha, a Japanese kids group in Brighton and Hove.




Summer rolled by and I rolled off to Berlin on holiday.

This holiday is significant because its the first trip I've taken (since starting Step Up Japanese) where I put the "out of office" on and didn't check my emails while I was away.

Working hard is important, but we all need time off too.


Many of my students were off on holiday too, including Step Up Japanese student Daniel who spent the whole month of August in Japan.



In August we also had the first Step Up Japanese barbecue! Students brought lots of tasty food to share.


In October I attended the Language Show London for the first time, attending language teaching seminars...
...and Japan Foundation events including a talk from Paralympian Gold Medallist (and fluent Japanese speaker!) Noel Thatcher.


In October half term we had the first Step Up Japanese Origami Night, a relaxed affair in one of my favourite pubs.



In November I went for Japanese Afternoon Tea at Portslade's Café an-an. This was a special event for World Vegan Day.


And before you know it, it's nearly the end of the year!

Students met for noodles and festive fun at the Christmas Party.
Like I said, it's been busy.

I'm really, really looking forward to see what 2018 brings!

Thank you so much to everyone who came to classes, took part in events, and supported me at Step Up Japanese this year.

良いお年を!Have a good new year!

Christmas Party 2017!


Brrrrrrrr, it's cold. Or as they say in Japan, ブルブル "buruburu".

We escaped from the cold snap on Friday night with a Christmas noodle party!


↓ Off to E-Kagen on Sydney Street. Spot the Step Up Japanese students...


We started the night off with a film title quiz: guess the (western) film title from its Japanese translation.

Everybody did well, but there were a few tricky ones in there too.

↓ Intense concentration.



↓ Special thanks to Phil for making an appearance despite having to rush off to host his own event the same night!


It wouldn't be a Christmas party without crackers - these ones had Japan-themed jokes in them too.




I have just realised I didn't take any pictures of the food. I hate food photos. Pictures of people are much nicer, don't you think?

The food was great though! E-Kagen has a real family-style feel, and an open kitchen so you can see your dinner being prepared.


↓ Full bellies. Massive thanks to the owner at E-Kagen for hosting such a big group of us.


↓ Excellent Christmas jumpers.


↓ Off to the pub for a mulled wine. Or as they say in Japan, ホットワイン ("hotto wain").






↓ Impromptu kanji practice. 



Thanks for another great year guys! It's an absolute pleasure to work with such wonderful students.

メリークリスマス (Merry Christmas) - and stay warm!