Skip to content

Top Five Lists

Are you wondering what to watch on TV? Are you nervous about being a first-year ALT and in need of some advice? Check out the these Top Five Lists from Kakegawa Orientation. Every year at Kakegawa Orientation, recontracting JETs and JTEs share their wisdom and knowledge to the fresh batch of ALTs in the form of Top Five Lists. These lists cover a variety of topics, such as “Top Five Things I Have Learned from ALTs”, “Top Five Shows on Japanese Basic Cable”, “Top Five Foods to Try in Japan”, and so on…  We’ve just posted the Top Five lists from the past three years (2009 – 2011). Why don’t you take a look? Maybe you’ll learn something new!

Top Five Lists – 2011
Click here to download the .doc file!

  • Top 5 in Shizuoka in Summer!
  • Top Five Features of Shizuoka Prefecture
  • Top 5 Foods to Try in Japan
  • Top 5 Local Specialties You Should Try
  • Five Tips on How to Enjoy Your School Life With Your Students
  • Top Five Things I Wish I Had Known Sooner
  • Top 5 Things You Can Do to Avoid Being “Mottainai”
  • Five Things that I Greatly Appreciate about Japan
  • Top Five Outdoor Activities in Shizuoka
  • Five Inconvenient Truths for New ALTs

Top 5 in Shizuoka in Summer!
Miyuki Onoda, Fujinomiya Kita

  1. Food: Melon in Fukuroi, Broiled eel in Hamamatsu, wasabi in Izu and Shizuoka, Ajinohiraki in Numazu.
  2. Uogashi shirts are traditional shirts for fishermen, but also they are popular for people here(especially in Yaizu city) in summer time!
  3. Ryugashido Cave in Hamamatsu is the best place to keep yourself cool. It’s like a natural air-conditioner. Feel fresh and comfortable without an air conditioner. The mystery of nature grabs your heart!
  4. Shiraito Falls is one of Japan’s top 100 waterfalls.
  5. Shizunami Beach is the busiest and most exciting beach around here, and perfect for sea bathing and surfing.

Enjoy Shizuoka Summer!

Top Five Features of Shizuoka Prefecture
Hisae Kaneko, Numazu Nishi

  1. Soccer! (or football). Soccer was very popular in Shizuoka long before the World Cup was held in Japan in 2002. Actually, Shizuoka used to be a leader in soccer – in 1994, ten of the 23 Japanese national team members were from Shizuoka. The present national team also has some Shizuoka boys – Hasebe Makoto (from Fujieda) and Uchida Atsuto (from Kannami) – who now play in Germany and are very popular throughout the country. Shizuoka has 2 J-league teams; Shimizu S-Pulse and Jubilo Iwata. If you’re interested in watching football, ask your colleagues to go, or ask me!
  2. Green tea. Shizuoka is very famous for its good quality green tea. There are different types of green tea…Gyokuro (expensive), Shincha (new), Houjicha (rice-flavoured) etc. Cool bottled green tea is a must in Japanese summers and it’s easy for you to try. Green tea is tasty and very good for your health as well.
  3. Onsen. Izu peninsula has a lot of onsens (hot springs) and many tourists, especially from the Tokyo area, come to enjoy onsens on the weekends. Bathing while watching the ocean is a brilliant experience.
  4. Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, is very beautiful. It is loved by not only the Japanese but also by many foreign people. Thousands of people from Asia come to Shizuoka just in order to enjoy the scenery. You can only climb the mountain in summer, so this may be one of the first things you want to do in Shizuoka!
  5. Easygoing people. People in Shizuoka are sometimes called “easygoing people”. It may be because Shizuoka has almost everything – great mountains, beautiful ocean, clear rivers and mild weather…I hope you’ll enjoy Shizuoka life.

Top­­ 5 Foods to Try in Japan
Mark Simpson, Multicultural Affairs Division

  1. Fugu (Pufferfish): Fugu is strictly controlled but readily available in Japan. The highly poisonous liver is always removed, but other parts of the fish may also contain small amounts of the poison, leaving one with a slight, pleasant numbing feeling. With up to 6 people dying per year from consuming  Fugu, and no known antidote to the poison, it makes a great dish for any daredevil eater.
  2. Basashi (Horse meat): Often served at izakayas, Basashi is sashimi made from horse meat. It is pink in colour and often eaten dipped in soy sauce with ginger and onions added.
  3. Shirako (Soft roe): Shirako, written in Japanese as 白子 (white kids), is a delicacy served in Japan made from the seminal fluid of cod, anglerfish or pufferfish. Not for everybody, but certainly something to write home about.
  4. Sazae (Turbo Cornutus): Sazae are a type of shellfish and a delicacy in Japan. They are cooked, then the corkscrew like animal is drawn out from its spiralled spiky shell to be eaten. A specialty of the island of Hatsushima, a 20min ferry trip from Atami.
  5. Kit-Kats and Fanta: In Japan, Fanta and Kit-Kat can be found in various flavours depending on your region or season. There is anything and everything from Baked-Potato Kit-Kats to Lychee Fanta. Try them!

Top 5 Local Specialties You Should Try
Sally Little, Kanaya

  1. Botan-nabe ぼたん鍋 – wild boar hot pot. The Kawane region in particular is well-known for this dish as wild boars can be found in these parts. Nabe is a hearty, delicious meal that makes the cold winter tolerable, and the unique flavor of wild boar permeating the stew is something you must sample. I find that it’s like a cross between pork and beef — the texture of pork with the more hearty flavor of beef.
  2. Kuro hanpen 黒はんぺん – pounded fish cake. Don’t let the name put you off; it’s really delicious with a great texture. A staple in the long-simmered dish called oden, it’s just as good in a nabe dish as it is grilled, or breaded and fried. This particular version is unique to Shizuoka, & as far as I’m concerned it’s nothing like the white hanpen, whose texture and flavor rather reminds me of packing peanuts.
  3. Fresh wasabi – Japanese horseradish. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the spicy green paste that comes with sushi, but have you ever had it freshly grated as opposed to prepared from a powder? If you’re not sure, the answer is probably no. Wasabi is grown in Shizuoka, particularly in the Izu region, & as such it can be acquired much more cheaply here than in the rest of Japan. You’ll find that when grated fresh, it has an unexpected sweetness and it’s not as harsh as the paste can be. I also recommend pickled wasabi leaves.
  4. Jizake 地酒 – local sake. In my opinion, Niigata is the undisputed leader of high-quality sake; however, that doesn’t mean you should discount the stuff brewed practically in your own backyard. You’ll likely find yourself at a number of izakayas in the coming months – take the opportunity to sample the jizake available. My personal favorite is Yaizu’s Isojiman 磯自慢.
  5. Fresh, local produce. Shizuoka is known for its strawberries, and when they’re in season, oh boy! They’re amazingly sweet; take some friends and go strawberry picking — for an hour you can pick and eat as many strawberries as you want, dipping them in the sweetened condensed milk that’s provided. You’ll often see unmanned boxes with produce on the side of the road in rural areas; drop a 100-yen coin in the box available and try out the cucumbers that your neighbor grew. Make friends with your neighbors and coworkers and you may find yourself presented with delectable gifts from their gardens, too.

Five Tips on How to Enjoy Your School Life With Your Students
Rebecca Lee, Hamamatsu Kita

  1. Learn some basic Japanese.  Students are really shy, and they feel pressured knowing they could only speak in English in front of you. Once my students found out I could speak some Japanese, they were more willing to come up to me and start a small conversation in English.
  2. Join students during lunch, cleaning, club activity, or even class.  This will give you more opportunities to spend more time with your students and allow you to get to know them better. Believe it or not, students LOVE to spend time with you outside of class English class. Students are always happy to see you participate in their daily activities, and they are very good at taking care of you. I joined the cooking club students once, and the students were so excited they made a broadcast announcement about it.
  3. Create an English bulletin board or English newspaper.  This gives you another opportunity to communicate and share interesting topics you couldn’t share in class with your students. My students loved my weekly riddles and quizzes. It’s a good break for them away from regular textbook English.
  4. Create small events.  Since not everyone belongs to the English club, this will give you and your students opportunities to do something fun together. I only teach the international course at my school, which only has 3 homerooms. The general course students taught by the other ALT at my school rarely talked to me. However, after I created a Christmas event which included general course students, some of the general course students started to talk to me in the hallway.
  5. Just smile and have fun.  When you allow your students to have fun, you will have fun. When you have fun, your students will have fun. So let’s have fun!

Top Five Things I Wish I Had Known Sooner
Jennifer Hwang, Asunaro

  1. Movies in Japan are dubbed, so unless you want to watch a movie in Japanese, make sure it is subtitled. (This symbol means that the movie is in its original language with Japanese subtitles: 字幕. Look for it!)
  2. If you make a mistake on a postcard, you can exchange it for a new one (or stamps) for a nominal fee.
  3. You are not supposed to check email at school.
  4. Certain things close much earlier here than in your home country (e.g. bank, post office, etc.)
  5. Many restaurants are closed between lunch and dinner, so try not to get hungry and want to go out and eat between 2 and 5 pm.

Top 5 Things You Can Do to Avoid Being “Mottainai*”
Takako Okamoto, Hamamatsu Koto

*Mottainai = regrettably wasteful of useful materials/resources

Until recently, nuclear power plants have supplied about 30% of all the electricity we used in our daily lives. However, most nuclear power plants in Japan are now under inspection, i.e. being forced to stop. It is time for us to appreciate what we have – electricity. Individual action is necessary, not only to avoid large-scale blackouts, but to avoid being “mottainai.”

Please keep in mind: Peak energy consumption times are around 14:00 at work, and between 18:00-19:00 at home! Try to save power at those times especially!

Top 5 ways to reduce energy consumption at home

  1. Air conditioner: Set the temperature to 28 C in the summer and 18 C during the winter. If you set the temperature even 1 degree higher or lower, it saves 5% of your electricity.
  2. Refrigerator/Freezer: Avoid putting too much stuff in the fridge or freezer. Set the temperature to 中(middle) or 低 (low.) It doesn’t have to be 強 (strong).
  3. TV: The brighter the screen is, the more electricity it uses. It may also be harmful to your eyes if it’s too bright!
  4. Lighting: Use eco-friendly inventions: LED (Light Emitting Diode) light bulbs are a good idea instead of incandescent or fluorescent lights. LEDs cost more to purchase, but consume only about 10% of the power of other lamps. They also generate less heat waste!
  5. Stand-by power: Did you know that the stand-by power used at home in a year is worth a month’s total electricity? Before purchasing any extension cord, look for a power strip with individual switches. You can switch the power on or off for each thing when needed.
  • Sprinkling water on the roads on a hot summer evening is a traditional way to enjoy cooling off.
  • Why not enjoy the summer with traditional Japanese uchiwa (fan) and yukata?
  • Saving electricity can also lead to saving money for Japan’s fascinating fireworks festivals!

Five Things that I Greatly Appreciate about Japan
Chris Tebbe, Board of Education

  1. Transportation. I greatly appreciate it that I have been able to live without a car and commute by bike during my time in Shizuoka prefecture. Moreover, I do enjoy being able to take the train to most areas of Japan. The subways and trains are always on time and never smell of urine (for those of you from New York City, you know what I’m talking about).The shinkansen puts Amtrak and British Rail to shame.
  2. Kaiten Sushi. Hunt down the 105 yen per plate kaiten sushi (回転寿司) joint in your locale and give it a whirl. Be mesmerized by plate after plate of sushi and other treats that float by your stool or booth on a conveyor belt. Grab whatever tickles your fancy, leave behind what doesn’t. Stack up those plates and hope that your eyes don’t end up being bigger than your stomach.
  3. Konbini. I love it that the ubiquitous Japanese convenience stores are actually…convenient! Grab a snack or beverage. Stand and read your favorite magazine or manga…and never buy it! But wait, there’s more! Pay all of your utility bills at the convenience store, buy concert or sporting event tickets at the convenience store, meet the love of your life at the convenience store…umm, well, maybe…
  4. High School Baseball. July and August are open season for high school baseball freaks. Support your high school team on the road to Koshien (national baseball tournament) during the prefectural baseball tournament in July. Follow every pitch of every game of the national baseball tournament on TV in August. Players who establish themselves at Koshien become bona fide studs and punch their ticket to Japan’s pro game.
  5. Temples and Shrines. When I need to take a break and engage in some quiet reflection and meditation, I head to a shrine or temple. The variety of shrines and temples in Japan is limitless—head to Senso-ji(浅草寺)in Asakusa, Tokyo with the throngs of masses for a January 1st hatsumode (first temple or shrine visit of the New Year) or take in your local inaka mountainside shrine en solo.

Top five outdoor activities in Shizuoka
Kat Brown, Haibara

  1. Climb Mt. Fuji! While this is the most obvious, it’s also one of the most rewarding things you can undertake! There are lots of options for different paths, starting points, and approaches for summitting this towering giant, so there’s a way for nearly everyone to get to the top. But beware, they say there are two types of fools when it comes to climbing the neighborhood volcano; those who never try, and those who want to do it more than once!!
  2. Kayaking in Izu. The gorgeous beaches of Izu are a perfect starting point for one of the most amazing sea-kayaking experiences you can have in Japan. Paddling around the cliffs, caves, beaches and islands around Izu is truly stunning. Rentals and tours are available during the warmer seasons. As the Izu peninsula is a popular vacation destination, you can always cap off your awesome kayak trip with a dip in one of Japan’s finest onsens, or even shell out to stay in a traditional ryokan while you’re at it!
  3. Hiking / walking / biking the paths around the smaller towns. There is so much gorgeous scenery around – most of it is right in our backyards. Take the steam locomotive (a real “choo choo” train!!) up to Kawane and Senzu to hike around the waterfalls and suspension bridges at the source of the Oigawa river.  Make a day trip to Omaezaki, and hike the coast for gorgeous views and an ancient lighthouse. You can even rent bicycles at several places around Lake Hamanako, to bike a complete circle around the lake – don’t worry, if you get tired, they let you return your bike at any of their partner shops strategically placed around the lake.
  4. Surfing! While I am partial to Shizunami beach with it’s lure of gentle, quiet waves (Shizu 静= quiet, nami 波= wave) and laid-back atmosphere, there are tons of surfing options in Shiz. Omaezaki is the number one destination for the thrill seeking surfer (windsurfers too!), but there’s also Hamamatsu, and a few beaches along Izu & the Izu islands promise waves that certain surfers swear by. Rentals and lessons are available for a reasonable price, often in English!
  5. White water rafting the Fujikawa. If you’re looking for an exciting and relaxing day on a river, there are a few companies that offer guided white water rafting tours of the Fujikawa river.  As the rapids aren’t too extreme, even beginners can enjoy the ride as they paddle, float, swim, and frolic down the river’s winding bends. This is also a great opportunity for those who enjoy the adrenaline of cliff jumping (10 meter cliffs)!

Five Inconvenient Truths for New ALTs
By the Old Man of the Izu a.k.a. Azim Quentin, Shimoda

  1. You are an adult. Please act like one. Work hard, play hard—have fun! Responsibly. This is an incredible opportunity that not everyone has the chance to experience.
  2. You are now gainfully employed—this isn’t a vacation. You have 20 Nenkyu (Vacation!) days right away, but remember that your students and your classes are what’s important. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy those days away from work when you DON’T have classes or school obligations.
  3. You are an investment of Japanese Tax Money. They would like a return on that investment. With lean economic times comes the axe of “Budget Fat Trimming.” Everyone knows that education is foolishly the first to get trimmed and a “luxury” program bringing foreigners to teach English looks incredibly easy to cut. UNLESS there is a clear list of benefits to the community be gained that could outweigh the short term gain in income. Give them that clear list.
  4. You are now a resident of Japan—which means Japanese Laws and Rules DO apply to you. Laws and Rules of every country are different. Simply because it’s “not what you do back home” won’t stand on any legal ground if you do something wrong or illegal. Be aware (particularly with regard to driving or riding a moped/motorcycle and even a bicycle!) of the rules. Japanese Rules.
  5. Your actions represent the JET Program, and by extension, all foreigners living in Japan. Regardless of whether you choose to accept your new role, you have it. Your actions will speak loudly to all Japanese that witness them. Please show them the best you have to offer and give them a reason to appreciate you, your work and your presence in the community.

Top Five Lists – 2010
Click here to download the .doc file!

  • Top Five Websites/Blogs for Surviving in Japan
  • Top Five Foods that Make Me Feel at Home
  • Top Five Shows on Japanese Basic Cable
  • Top Five Small, Remote Islands You Should Visit in Japan
  • Five Inconvenient Truths for New ALTs
  • Top Five Shizuoka Must-Do’s
  • Top Five Seasonal Treats
  • Top Five Things I Have Learned from ALTs
  • Top Five List of Things to Do While You’re in Japan
  • Four Things that I Greatly Appreciate about Japan (Find the One “Joke” Item)
  • Top Five Off-the-Beaten-Track Museum Day Trips

Top Five Websites/Blogs for Surviving in Japan
by David Thompson

  1. Surviving in Japan: (without much Japanese)
    http://www.survivinginjapan.com

    Lots of unique how-to’s and resources for those both new to Japan and for experienced expats.
  2. Japan Guide
    http://www.japan-guide.com

    Resource for all things travel and information on life in Japan.
  3. Japan Fast
    http://www.japanfast.com

    Comprehensive list of sites and blogs on a wide variety of topics pertaining to Japan, all in English.
  4. The Wide Island View
    http://www.wideislandview.com

    Hiroshima-ken’s JET Programme webzine. Information about a wide variety of topics pertaining to life in Japan, JET and Japanese culture.
  5. Multilingual Living Information (CLAIR)
    http://www.clair.or.jp/tagengorev/en/index.html

    CLAIR’s comprehensive site for finding information about daily living for foreigners in Japan.

Top Five Foods that Make Me Feel at Home
by Sonja McNeir

  1. Pizza with homemade Italian sausage. I haven’t really come across Italian sausage in the supermarkets (though I am sure you can order online), so I decided to make my own. I skipped the casings and made patties and crumbles for the pizza. Ask me for the recipe!
  2. Microwave popcorn. Readily available at large supermarkets and import stores. More expensive than back home (\300 for three bags), but well worth it.
  3. Tacos and fajitas. Again, make a journey to an import store and splurge on taco seasoning and salsa, round up some friends and have a taco party. A great way to integrate foreign and Japanese friends. Tortillas are also available!
  4. Homemade hamburgers. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of forming your own patties, you can buy the premade “hamburg steaks” at the supermarket for a large burger. Buy a good roll at your local bakery, top with cheese and your favorite fixings.
  5. Brownies. Though I love cooking, I am definitely not a baker. What makes this even harder is the size of my oven (literally my microwave that doubles as an oven). I know that it is probably easy to make brownies from scratch, but I take the easy way out and buy Betty Crocker mix. It is absurdly expensive (\600 for a box!), but well worth it when you want a taste of home.

Top Five Shows on Japanese Basic Cable
by Dave Rinehart

One of my greatest regrets in life is that I didn’t turn on my TV during my first two years on JET. Nowadays I watch at least three hours a night and it has done wonders for my Japanese, if not my social life. The colorful cast of characters and clever, constant use of subtitles make it a great way to polish your listening and reading skills. You’ll also sharpen your know-how of Japanese pop culture, which is always useful in the classroom. Here are five of my favorite shows on basic cable channels, ordered by day of the week:

  1. ItteQ! Mon. 8:00pm, SBS. A show that dispatches various Japanese tarento across the world for adventures. My personal fave is Daisuke Miyagawa, who pulls random world festivals out of a hat and goes to take part. Hilarity always ensues.
  2. Waratte Koraete. Wed. 8:00pm, SBS. Hosted by the Japanese voice of Alf & Buzz Lightyear/the guy who would make the coolest grandpa ever, George Tokoro, this long-running hit features “Darts no Tabi,” where he throws a dart at a map of Japan and sends staff where it lands.
  3. Unnan no Rafu na Kanji de. Thur. 9:00pm, SBS. This show has two very funny hosts, “Ucchan” and “Nanchan,” top-tier guests and very clever games. Most recently it was “1or10?” with a “booing stadium” of spectators trying to psyche out tarento with very funny results.
  4. Meccha Ikke!, Sat. 8:00pm, Terebi Shizuoka. This show’s main funnyman, Takashi Okamura, has been in hospital the last couple weeks apparently due to overwork, so they’ve been showing highlights from the last 10 years of the show. They make it clear that he has done some pretty outrageous pranks and party-crashing for Meccha Ikke, and gets away with a lot more than his peers on Japanese TV.
  5. Chibi Maruko-chan & Sazae-san, Sun. 6:00pm, Terebi Shizuoka. Two long-running, legendary cartoons about Japanese families. Both are funny and always have messages, and “Sazae-san” can teach you lots of interesting things about Japanese culture (though Maruko’s funnier).

Top Five Small, Remote Islands You Should Visit in Japan
by Jun Fukami

  1. Okinawa Main Island. 600 kilometers away from the mainland Japan, it used to be an independent country. You can experience unique culture and beautiful beaches.
  2. Ishigaki-Jima. Located 400 kilometers from Okinawa Main Island, and famous for the biggest and the most beautiful coral reef in Japan. It is a small island so you can drive around easily to enjoy marine activities.
  3. Ogasawara. Located 1000 kilometers south from Tokyo; It takes 25 hours to get there by boat. There is no airport, so no air access except in case of emergency. You can enjoy “eco tours” including diving, whale watching and trekking in the wild nature.
  4. Yaku-Shima. Also famous for trekking in wild nature. Some of the cedar trees are said to be more than 2,000 years old. It is also known as a hippie island. You can also enjoy excellent onsen here.
  5. Iriomote-Jima. Located right next to Ishigaki-Jima, Iriomote-Jima is famous for sea kayaking tours. You can sea kayak for days or a week to travel around the island, staying in a tent on a beach or at a river mouth in the jungle. Experienced adventurers only!

Five Inconvenient Truths for New ALTs
By the Old Man of the Izu a.k.a. Azim Quentin

  1. You are an adult. Please act like one. Work hard, play hard—have fun! Responsibly. This is an incredible opportunity that not everyone has the chance to experience.
  2. You are now gainfully employed—this isn’t a vacation. You have 20 Nenkyu  (Vacation!) days right away, but remember that your students and your classes are what’s important. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy those days away from work when you DON’T have classes or school obligations.
  3. You are an investment of Japanese Tax Money. They would like a return on that investment. With lean economic times comes the axe of “Budget Fat Trimming.” Everyone knows that education is foolishly the first to get trimmed and a “luxury” program bringing foreigners to teach English looks incredibly easy to cut. UNLESS there is a clear list of benefits to the community be gained that could outweigh the short term gain in income. Give them that clear list.
  4. You are now a resident of Japan—which means Japanese Laws and Rules DO apply to you. Laws and Rules of every country are different. Simply because it’s “not what you do back home” won’t stand on any legal ground if you do something wrong or illegal. Be aware (particularly with regard to driving or riding a moped/motorcycle and even a bicycle!) of the rules. Japanese Rules.
  5. Your actions represent the JET Program, and by extension, all foreigners living in Japan. Regardless of whether you choose to accept your new role, you have it. Your actions will speak loudly to all Japanese that witness them. Please show them the best you have to offer and give them a reason to appreciate you, your work and your presence in the community.

Top Five Shizuoka Must-Do’s
By Sally Little

  1. Go to an onsen! While most mountainous prefectures in Japan boast that they’re “famous” for hot springs — & it may very well be true in each case – take the time to experience the ones in your proverbial backyard. If you have tattoos, be aware of possible restrictions.
  2. Go berry or tea picking! Blueberries in summer (June~Aug — look for an AJET event coming up!), strawberries in early spring (Jan~May), & tea in late spring (Apr~June). Berry picking is usually pick-all-you-can-eat, but some places allow you to take some home, too.
  3. Create your own crafts – hings like ceramics, lacquer ware, & dyed cloths. Acty Mori may be one of the best places in the prefecture to do this, but there are lots of places you can go. Create a meaningful souvenir to remember not just that visit, but your time in Japan.
  4. Get involved in some kind of traditional activity in your area or school. Taiko (Japanese drumming) is active in many areas & is as therapeutic as it is fun. Calligraphy, tea ceremony and flower arrangement are more delicate arts where each move is calculated & deliberate, but very rewarding. Also consider a martial or performing art, like kendo or kogen.
  5. Participate in AJET events – and lend your voice! We hold events to allow you to try things you might not otherwise do, & we want to serve YOU. Let me know if there’s an event you’d like to see happen & we’ll see if we can swing it!

Top Five Seasonal Treats
By Kat Brown

  1. Mini Kit Kats. These are not your average chocolate bars. They are unusual and delightful variations on a classic. Some are spread out regionally – like the Hokkaido corn flavor, Tokyo Soya sauce, and Shizuoka’s wasabi – while others like ramune, aloe, V8 and lemon vinegar appear and disappear as fantastically as the elusive sakura (which coincidentally is also an amazing flavor!)
  2. Kotatsu. A heated table draped in a big blanket. Like moths to a flame, this is the best way to stay warm and bond with your friends all winter long. My personal record is 14 people huddled round a 3×3 table!
  3. Nabe. Cousin to a hotpot or fondue, this traditional winter dish is like a kotatsu for your mouth. The communal style of cooking and eating warms both your tummy and your heart!
  4. Kakigori. A Japanese variant on shaved ice. It’s the best way to stay cool without AC in the hot summer months, and is easy to spot from miles away – just look for the blue/white/red flag with the 氷 kanji.
  5. Yukata. An inexpensive, light and convenient alternative to kimono, designed for summer wear. They come in a vast array of gorgeous colors and patterns, usually made of cotton. Getting your students to teach you how to wear one is always a highlight. Be brave and wear one to your local fireworks festival!

Top Five Things I Have Learned from ALTs
by Tomohisa Suzuki

  1. Students love authentic things. One ALT I worked with was good at singing some popular songs with good facial expressions, imitating some famous actors entertainingly and telling the latest news in his country; it always got the whole class excited. I also enjoyed his classes. Also, a lot of Japanese high school girls have watched the movie ‘High School Musical” and they loved to listen to the story about the actors’ real life. Students can only get information from very limited sources.
  2. Smile, Smile and Smile. If we want students to get excited in our classes, we have to smile a lot. My ALT’s big smiles always brought him students’ cute smiles. Sometimes students were shy and showed no reaction to his questions. But he never got mad. Instead he waited, showed his smile and gave some good examples or tips so that they could answer easily. Classes were always filled with smiles.
  3. Enjoy my life. Japanese workers tend to work overtime and sometimes there might be no distinction between work and private time. My friend, a former ALT, worked hard until closing time and after that enjoyed his private time, having parties, going shopping, watching movies and going snowboarding. His working style must have been more efficient than mine.
  4. Making good relationship with students is the foundation of good classes. A former ALT joined in all school activities such as Cultural Festival and various athletic meetings. There, he talked with a lot of students and had a good time. All the time shared with students changed to the confidence. It was this strong relationship that made English classes better.
  5. Express my opinion! An ALT taught me that in America, when I don’t express my opinion, it means I don’t have one and show no interests to the subject; it is impolite. This polite fiction is different from the Japanese way of joining the conversation. As a second language learner of English, I try to express my opinions, though it is always difficult for me!

Top Five List of Things to Do While You’re in Japan
by Shiomi Arai

  1. Watch the sunrise from the top of Mt. Fuji.
  2. Join a local festival and wear a yukata, jimbei or happi.
  3. Find a conversation partner (join the Japanese social networking site “Mixi”).
  4. Eat Japanese food or drink Japanese tea while you are in Japan (good for losing weight).
  5. Try something from traditional Japanese culture (for example: tea ceremony, calligraphy, wearing a kimono, watching “Noh” or “Kyogen” theatre).
  • Etc: Imitate Japanese comedians. Students like comedians so much.
  • Etc: Hang out with me!!

Four Things that I Greatly Appreciate about Japan (Find the One “Joke” Item)
by Chris Tebbe

  1. Transportation. I dig it that I can live without a car and commute by bike in western Shizuoka. Moreover, I do appreciate being able to take the train to most areas of Japan. The subways and trains are always on time and never smell of urine (for those of you from New York City, you know what I’m talkin’ about).The shinkansen puts Amtrak and British Rail to shame.
  2. Kaiten Sushi. Hunt down the 105 yen per plate kaiten sushi (回転寿司) joint in your locale and give it a whirl. Be mesmerized by plate after plate of sushi and other treats that float by your stool or booth on a conveyor belt. Grab whatever tickles your fancy, leave behind what doesn’t. Stack up those plates and hope that your eyes don’t end up being bigger than your stomach.
  3. Konbini. I love it that the ubiquitous Japanese convenience stores are actually…convenient! Grab a snack or beverage. Stand and read your favorite magazine or manga…and never buy it! But wait, there’s more! Pay all of your utility bills at the convenience store, buy concert or sporting event tickets at the convenience store, meet the love of your life at the convenience store…umm, maybe…
  4. High School Baseball. July and August are open season for high school baseball freaks. Support your high school team on the road to Koshien (national baseball tournament) during the prefectural baseball tournament in July. Follow every pitch of every game of the national baseball tournament on TV in August. Players who establish themselves at Koshien become bona fide studs and punch their ticket to Japan’s pro game.
  5. Hello Kitty. Man, I absolutely love Hello Kitty and just cannot get enough of that frisky feline. I’ve got Hello Kitty slippers, a Hello Kitty bathrobe, a Hello Kitty coffee mug, a Hello Kitty toothbrush holder, etc, etc, etc. You name it, I got that special item bearing my four-legged friend’s mug.

Top Five Off-the-Beaten-Track Museum Day Trips (in no particular order)
by Amanda Shaw

  1. Meguro Parasitological Museum (Tokyo, JR Meguro Station) – This parasite museum is not for the faint of heart or for anyone who has just eaten lunch. This free museum is packed to the gills with two floors of parasites that feed off the human body. If you were that kid in science class who relished looking at the dead animal in formaldehyde, this museum is for you. The 8.8 meter long tapeworm pulled from someone who made the wrong dinner selection is especially fascinating.
  2. Wakamiya Hachiman-gū Shrine (Kanagawa-ken, Kawasaki Daishi Station) – This small Shinto Shrine can be easily passed over, but the meter-long iron dildo that houses the Shrine’s Diety Kanamara-sama (lit. “Big Iron Penis Lord”) is worth the trip. Look up the legend online and you won’t be disappointed. The Shrine also houses a sex museum, but they try to keep this on the down-low. If you ask the Shrine attendant they will normally be happy to take you upstairs and show you around. Some bizarre Japanese erotica and brilliant omiyage are to be found here.
  3. Edo Tokyo Museum (Tokyo, JR Ryogoku Station) – This museum showcases life in Edo (old Tokyo). Most history museums are a bit boring, but this one is first-rate. Large indoor spaces hold massive reconstructions of famous Edo sites (such as the Nihonbashi bridge) and large scale models of Tokyo neighborhoods and the daily life of Edo citizens.
  4. Mori Art Museum (Tokyo Metro Roppongi Station) – Located in the posh Roppongi Hills Mori Tower is the Mori Art Museum. Its goal is to introduce people to art of the 21st century. The exhibitions are always on the cutting edge of the global avant-garde movements and represent an array of cultures and genres.
  5. Tokaido Hiroshige Art Museum (Shizuoka-ken, JR Yui Station) collects the work of world renowned ukiyo-e (woodblock print) artist Hiroshige Utagawa. The museum contains all his prints showcasing every stop along the Tokaido trail. A great place for art and history lovers to see old prints of Shizuoka-ken. Stop in a nearby restaurant and eat Yui’s famous sakura ebi for lunch.

Top Five Lists – 2009
Click here to download the .doc file!

  • Top Five Things I’m Glad I Did This Year!
  • Top Five Favorites of Japan
  • Top Five Japanese Words & Phrases
  • 1st Five English Phrases I Heard From Students
  • Top Five List of Things to Do While You’re in Japan
  • Top Five Pieces of Advice for New ALTs
  • Five Reasons I’m Still Here
  • My Five Pieces of Sunshine to the Newbies
  • Shizuo-Cuisine Top Fives
  • Five Words of Advice for new ALTs

Top Five Things I’m Glad I Did This Year!
by Ashley Janssen

  1. Climb Mt. Fuji!
  2. Whitewater rafting on Fuji River
  3. Onsen days
  4. Join committees
  5. Buy a car

Top Five Favorites of Japan
by Kory Kilgore

  1. Sapporo Snow Festival
  2. Snow monkeys in Nagano
  3. Shiraito Falls in Fujinomiya
  4. Giants games at Tokyo Dome
  5. Kaitenzushi (revolving sushi)

Top Five List of Things to Do While You’re in Japan
by Shiomi Arai

  1. Watch the sunrise from the top of Mt. Fuji.
  2. Join a local festival and wear a yukata, jimbei or happi.
  3. Find a conversation partner (join the Japanese social networking site “Mixi”).
  4. Eat Japanese food or drink Japanese tea while you are in Japan (good for losing weight).
  5. Try something from traditional Japanese culture (for example: tea ceremony, calligraphy, wearing a kimono, watching “Noh” or “Kyogen” theatre).
  • Etc: Imitate Japanese comedians. Students like comedians so much.
  • Etc: Hang out with me!!

Top Five Japanese Words & Phrases
by Sonja McNeir

  1. よろしくお願いします
    yoroshiku onegaishimasu
    Thanks for your help
  2. ありがとうございます
    arigatou gozaimasu
    Thank you
  3. 素敵(な)
    suteki (na)
    Wonderful, lovely
  4. 最悪
    saiaku
    Worst, awful
  5. ジメジメした
    jime-jime shita
    Muggy, humid

1st Five English Phrases I Heard From Students
by Dave Rinehart

  1. “I am champion.”
  2. “You are gay.”
  3. “Three-way kiss?”
  4. “Nice hunter!”
  5. “High tension, okay!”

Top Five Pieces of Advice for New ALTs

by Tomohisa Suzuki

  1. Establish a good relationship with your students, both in the English classes and out of them. Mikkabi high school’s ALT, Padraig, teaches basketball eagerly after school and actively joins school events. He is trusted by students.
  2. Smile. When teachers look like they are not excited in class, can students enjoy it? When teachers enjoy classes and show their full smiles, then students will be fascinated.
  3. Make clear the goals of your English classes. Students and teachers should share the same goals for each class. This is the first step to making good classes.
  4. Show your specialty. At the last midyear seminar, I was impressed by a wonderful workshop where an ALT who was good at playing the guitar had us write lyrics and we all sung our original song together. It was wonderful. Needless to say, students love exciting classes.
  5. Be modest, and continue studying.

I came to Japan intending to stay only one year.
These are…Five Reasons I’m Still Here

(Other than my wonderful students of course)
by Elizabeth Trevathan

  1. Monday Night Ramen. The legendary kindness of Mama-san and Papa-san is not a myth. Come and sample their famous gyoza and meet them yourself Monday nights in Nirayama (it’s near Mishima on the Izu-Hakone train line).
  2. Barusan bug bombs, Gokiburi Hoi Hoi houses and cockroach spray. I hate bugs, enough said. If, however, you are a bug lover, then welcome to paradise.
  3. Friendly locals. Even if you don’t speak Japanese, don’t be shy. Go out and walk around your neighbourhood. Smile at the shopkeepers and people you pass on the street. You will make some great friends and maybe even receive gifts like fresh edamame straight from the field.
  4. Onsens. Once you have gotten past the embarrassment factor you will love these. Nothing beats an onsen followed by a long nap under your kotatsu (a heated table) on a cold winter day.
  5. Jupiter’s Supermarket at Sun To Moon Shopping Centre. Jupiter’s Supermarket is a great import store that sells food from around the world, even Vegemite (yum). I recommend this place for those in the area, it’s amazing how much a little taste of home can brighten your day. Sun to Moon is a short bus ride from either Mishima or Numazu station.

My Five Pieces of Sunshine to the Newbies
by Andrew Lagemann

  1. If you climb Mount Fuji, proper hiking shoes are your friend! It might sound like a no-brainer to some, but I managed for myself a giant FAIL with basketball shoes. Climbing Fuji is literally like climbing a sandcastle sometimes, and I came off that mountain with what had to be record-breaking blisters, like my entire heel etc. So as the boy Scouts say, Be prepared!
  2. If you are a man or a woman who sweats a lot (and I do), never be caught dead in this country without a small towel and an uchiwa (flat, usually plastic, portable hand fan).
  3. Convenient stores are so much more than the late-night, drunk-food providers of this country. You can pay your bills, taxes, send packages, and use the ATM etc. Find out all the many conveniences that your local “conbini” provides.
  4. Recycle shops are great here. Think your predecessor has charged you way too much for all their stuff? Then find out by visiting your local recycle shop. See what great deals you could have got on comparable secondhand items. Not kidding, you can find good stuff in good condition for a lot cheaper than new.
  5. Finally, prepare yourself to be a foreigner, because it will be what defines you above all else as you spend your time here. It can be good and bad, but try to keep an open mind, and understand how Japanese people are viewing things; it will help you stay on the wagon through any bumps in your adventure here.

Shizuo-Cuisine Top Fives
by Mitsutoshi Yamada

For Dinner

  1. Gotemba Kinka ton. Pork originated in China, sweet in shabu shabu (hot pot)
  2. Fujinomiya yakisoba. B-class champion in Japan!
  3. Kuro Hampen. A light, puffy cake made of ground black hampen fish
  4. Mariko Tororo jiru. Grated yam soup from Mariko, a restaurant in Shizuoka city
  5. Lui Vitton. Pork raised in Asagiri, Fujinomiya. Very high-class

Goes well with sake or beer

  1. Shizuoka Oden. Various vegetables and meats simmered for a long time in broth. Eat in Shizuoka, as Shizuoka people eat!
  2. Hamamatu gyoza. A Chinese-style dumpling.
  3. Yaizu bonito. Yaizu is one of the most famous ports in Japan for bonito fish
  4. Yui sakura ebi (tiny shrimp). Sakura shrimp, pink like cherry blossoms!
  5. Yude Peanuts. Salty boiled peanuts.

For after dinner

  1. Fukuroi Melon. Sweet melons grown in greenhouses.
  2. Ishigaki Strawberry. Strawberries grown in Ishigaki
  3. Unagi pie. Cookie which includes eel powder
  4. Wasabi-flavored Soft-serve ice cream.
  5. Abekawa Mochi. A sweet rice cake the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu enjoyed.

Five Words of Advice for new ALTs
by Melissa Dubuc

1.     SMILE. A smile is like an image; it’s worth a thousand words.  It’s not only a great way to get to know your co-workers and students, but also your neighbours.  Whether it’s at your local “conbini” or at your desk in the teacher’s room, don’t hesitate to smile at people around you.  It’s a great way to have them open up to you.

2.     DARE. Japan is full of surprises.  Food, shops, school…  Everyday is a new challenge, even after a few years.  So take this to the fullest and dare yourself to do things you’ve never done before or that you wouldn’t necessarily do at home.

3.     OBSERVE. It’s a great way to learn.  If you’re constantly wondering whether you are doing things right or not, whether you fit in or you’re totally off-track…  Just take a few moments to observe what’s going on around you, take big breaths and just go!

4.     MAKE MISTAKES. Who cares if you’re acting like a total idiot – at least, you gave it a try.  Whether it is trying to make yourself understood by your students or forgetting you still have toilet slippers on when walking around, it’s OK.  We all need a good laugh once in a while!

5.     APPRECIATE. The experience you’re going to have here is priceless.  Make the most of it!  Remember why you’re here and how lucky you are to be here.  Every moment will become a great story; treasure the time you have here…the bad, the good and the unforgettable!

 

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
JA
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

 

 

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Century”,”serif”;}

Top Five Japanese Words & Phrases by Sonja McNeir

1.     よろしくお(ねが)いします

yoroshiku onegaishimasu

Thanks for your help

2. ありがとうございます

 arigato gozaimasu

Thank you

3. 素敵(すてき)(な)suteki (na)

Wonderful, lovely

4. 最悪(さいあく)saiaku

Worst, awful

5. ジメジメしたjime-jime shita

Muggy, humid

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2013 12:34 am

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks,
    However I am going through difficulties with
    your RSS. I don’t understand why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

Trackbacks

  1. Top Five Lists « Shizuoka AJET | Association of Japan Exchange and Teaching

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: