Monday, October 18, 2004

103. The Times That Are In It

Busy week: I was off to Mie-ken on Wednesday afternoon, arriving late. Business hotel (usual crap) then off to a Private Schools Conference with 600-odd suited teachers --plus a sprinkling of women. I had to give a presentation on "Writing in the High School Classroom" which I carried off with great elan and class -- I had been thinking about what to say for about a month -- and I got a great response from the younger teachers in the audience (late 20s, early 30s) -- while the rest of the older crowd looked upon me as if I had grown horns and scales.

Murasaki Angels. Check it out!!

I spent the following day in Nagoya browsing in the bookstores and buying loads of cheese and blueberry jam and indescribably volcanic hot sauce. The things we can't get at home.

Off again on my travels the next morning. It was the finals of the English Speech Contest in Shizuoka. Met Memi (our contestant) at the station at 10.30 and we went down together. Memi is a sweetheart. Spent the whole day listening to a clatter of earnestly delivered English -- they haven't heard about jokes, or else wisely avoid them. Memi came through like a jewel,and won Second Prize for the Returnee Group (kids overseas for more than six months).

Something to take home. We're doing OK. We've won the Western District contest for 3 years in a row, placing second in Shizuoka twice during that time. In the past it was all good fun but now it is getting very serious where a win is a Big Deal in the PR pamphlets. The student population is going down (parents hadn't been doing the business 15 years ago; they are still not producing enough children) so we are in competition with the other public - cheaper - schools for a dwindling student population.