Monday, 17 November 2008

Gallavanting around

It's been a bit busy last few weekends for me - I think my family are starting to forget what I look like.

About a month ago I was catching up with my old mate Julian from Barnsley. He has just moved back to Osaka & we explored the old part of town with another mate, having a great meal in a famous but local Korean restaurant. Unfortunately, the food poisoning I got wasn't worth it, but anyway, it's been a while since I have been to Osaka - always exciting and vibrant, and quite different to Tokyo.

The weekend after that, I went to the annual JALT (Japan Association of Language Teachers) conference, this year held near Yoyogi Park. The conference is never exactly exciting, but for me it is a great chance to catch up with a lot of people in the same place, and talk "shop". I managed to find some old Cambridge examiners who want to get back into examining, and interviewed a couple of prospective new ones. I went to a few workshops, picked up some new tricks and remembered some old ones, listened to the good & the great. In between, busy networking. Here you can see my mates from OUP - nearest is Koichi who is a Matsumoto boy, working hard! The OUP was party was good fun, and I met a couple of extremely interesting people.

The first weekend in November I flew up to Sapporo to train a bunch of new examiners. this meant taking two days off work at Luna & cancelling classes, which I hate doing - sorry guys. It was one degree above freezing when I arrived, and snowing - I nearly came straight back! I trained a small group of new examiners for YLE on Saturday, then met the main group of existing OEs on Sunday. Training continued then for KET on Sunday afternoon; PET on Monday morning and a big co-ordination for both that afternoon. A very full schedule and no time for souvenir shopping - I nearly missed the plane back (again) as it was. Literally got back home, changed clothes and came to Luna & taught 4 classes straight. Of course, I did manage to find a pub and watch the football on Saturday, with my Kiwi mate Peter & his lovely wife Yoko, who owns a very nice little school in Sapporo. (The very same pub I was in on June 16th 2002, before the England v Argentina game in the World Cup!)

And this last weekend was another away fixture. I stupidly planned a meeting for Sunday before I could actually get there on the first train, so I got the train down on Saturday evening and found myself in Nakano (instead of Shinjuku). Fortunately, I had my subway map with me & got to Akasaka in time to meet Tall Tim for a curry. We then sampled Whychwood & Old Speckled Hen in the Hobgoblin while we watched Liverpool beat Bolton. Training a brand new group of OEs for FCE was a challenge, as I wanted to improve on the style I was shown. With a bit of help we managed to get my PC hooked up to a projector and could save a lot of time/argument while watching candidate samples on DVD. I was also able to show the new online system to the trainees 'live', which made life a lot easier.

So if I haven't been able to check this blog too much lately I apologise - I haven't been 'here' enough. I have also been a bit behind on my inbox - hope you can appreciate why now! The next few weekends? Let's just say I'm only half way through a very busy season!