How did I do? A look back at 2017's goals


It's no use just making goals. You need to assess them.

How did I do with last year's New Year's Resolutions? Let's find out.

I scored myself a pass or fail for each one...

2017's goals were:

1. Blog more


I published 26 blog posts in 2017, up from 11 in 2016.

That's not the one a week I planned (it's literally half that!) but I'm still pretty happy.

I was helped along the way by an adorable twitter bot created by my student @EliteFreq which tweeted at me when I didn't blog that week:

This was genuinely very motivating.

Conclusion: PASS. Tell your friends your goals, so they can support you along the way.

2. Finish some books


My plan was to read more fiction and to actually finish a book instead of getting excited and moving on to the next one. This didn't exactly go to plan.

However, I reckon I read Japanese news every single day in 2017. I'm pretty proud of that.

I also completed Zero Escape 999, and two (nearly three) Ace Attorney games. Visual novels are reading too...


Conclusion: FAIL but maybe that's fine


3. Watch more drama with my students


This goal didn't come to fruition either. I was on the lookout for things to watch but never found anything "just right".

I planned to use Terrace House (Netflix's Japanese reality TV show - think Big Brother circa 2003), but the logistics of showing Netflix in class got the better of me...

We did watch some Japanese TV ads in class though. That was a lot of fun.

Conclusion: がんばれ! (KEEP TRYING!)


4. Have more parties


From Origami Night, to the Summer Barbecue, to the end-of-year Christmas Party, this year has been really busy. Good busy!

We definitely had more parties and attended more events this year. Onwards and upwards!


Conclusion: PASS


5. Be reflective


I think I have actually spent less time reflecting in 2017 than in previous years, and more time actively doing things. This is probably a good thing.

Conclusion: いいじゃないですか? (That's alright, isn't it?)

How did you get on with your New Year's resolutions in 2017?

And have you made this year's yet? I'm still whittling down my list...

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!

First Annual Step Up Japanese Christmas Party

 First Annual Step Up Japanese Christmas Party

We went to Goemon  arguably the home of Brighton's best ramen - at the end of term for a celebratory bowl of noodles. The inaugural Step Up Japanese Christmas party!

I wanted to introduce my students in different classes to each other, and to celebrate what you've all achieved in 2016.

Oh, and to eat ramen. I love ramen.

I didn't take many photos (oops - too busy having a nice time!) but here they are:

 
↓ (I know it's blurry but I think it catches the mood! Do you know how to say "blurry" in Japanese?)


Not one to miss a "teachable moment", I also wanted to encourage everybody to order in Japanese.

So we practiced in class the week before. Ordering in restaurants is probably one of the most useful things you can learn how to do in another language.

Everyone ordered confidently, the staff were super helpful, and I was (am!) a very proud teacher.


Thanks SO MUCH for all your support over the last year! メリークリスマス!