Friday, November 12, 2010

A summery afternoon in November.

Whew, I really needed some time like this, just sitting at a cafe, sipping a cup of coffee, browsing internet, and updating my blog post.  Since this August, it seems like I have been always swamped with grading, homework, exams and the preparation for my Japanese class, and I need to admit that it has been a bit too overwhelming.  At the same time, it is hard to believe that it's mid November already and that this semester is close to end.  

I just finished my linguistics exam today, and I feel like I can finally breathe.  I completely bombed it last time, so I needed to do better this time.  I studied until 3am last night, cramming morphology terms into my head and drawing syntactic trees on the notebook.  By the time my right arm got almost numb from writing so much, I stopped everything I was doing and found myself suddenly starting to feel that this very state being very so precious.  Teaching Japanese at college and going to grad school was something that I had always dreamt of, and look at me, I am doing exactly what I'd longed for, for a long time.  I took a while for this to become reality, but I am convinced now that dreams tend to come true as long as I don't give up.

I truly enjoy teaching.  My students never cease to amaze me by their improvement and unthinkable and creative mistakes.  I am still thrilled when I am called "Ishikura-sensei."  I feel extremely happy when students ask me which section I will be teaching next semester, because they want to take "my" class!  I am so proud that my students who did not even know hiragana at the beginning of the semester now know how to say and write "There is a cat underneath the table."  They know more than 10 Kanji's too.  When I am teaching, I feel the happiness that I have never experienced.

I just realized the beautiful sunset outside the window.  It's Friday tomorrow!  I should do something fun with my friends.  I haven't mentioned about my new friends at grad school on my blog yet, so I will have to create one post just about them, because I am surrounded with so many lovely friends here, which I am absolutely grateful for.  Life is good, still good, and it will continue to be good.  Wow, it's getting dark quickly after the daylight saving time ended last week.  I should head back home now.  More later!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Autumn already

Here I am at Greayhouse coffee shop, my favorite cafe in the entire world, listening to the spontaneous live piano performance by a undergrad student at Purdue.  My love is sitting across the table, working and sipping a cup of tea.  We went to the German film night earlier and watched "A friend of mine."  We then went to a Lebanese restaurant on campus and had some light supper.  It's Thursday night, and I only have to go to a Spanish class and teach two Japanese classes tomorrow, so I had some free time writing a postcard to my parents.  Thanks to the nobel prize winner, Dr. Negishi, Purdue University has become famous all of a sudden in Japan.  Actually, it was my mom who told me the news on the phone yesterday morning.  She wanted to make sure with me that it was indeed the university I am studying and teaching at, so that she could boast about it to her friends :)  So, I thought mom would be happy to receive the postcard with a picture of Purdue campus on it.

I realize that my previous blog post was back in August!  Jeez!  Time is really flying.  It really has been nonstop; never ending homework, projects, preparations and teachings.  I am surprised that I am still alive and surviving after these continuous sleepless nights for months!  More surprisingly, I have no stress...yeah I am busy, but I am not stressed out at all.  Pimples on my face completely disappeared, and I feel greater than ever.  I can say aloud to anybody that I am happy, really happy about what I am doing right at the moment, which sounds simple, but I honestly could not say that I was happy for many years before.

One big worry, the long distance relationship with my boyfriend in Japan is actually going super well too.  We must be the most frequent Skype users in the world for sure.  We start and end our days with Skype.  Sometimes, we leave Skype on while I start studying and he starts working.  We remain silent and keep doing our own things but have a sense of closeness that we are connected online.  We stay too busy and forget to eat often, so we sometimes decide to go to the kitchen, cook something and come back to the computer in 15mins or so with some food.  Skype is on the entire 15 mins or so we hear each other doing something in the kitchen.  We come back with food and eat together, on Skype.  The funny thing we have both realized is that we talk a lot more now than when we lived together.  One factor is neither he or I am much of a talkative person to begin with, but more importantly, I didn't have much to say in general before when I was not doing anything challenging for my life.  I  was not doing something I had passion for, so I was apathetic about pretty much everything.  Now I feel like I am finally doing something I have wanted to do for a long time, and interesting topics are pouring onto me, every single day!

Now, we are back to my studio apartment, and I can hear my love snoring.  I should dive into the warm bed and snuggle up with him!  He will visit my Japanese class for the first time to meet my students, so it will be fun!  Life is good, and I am happy, so truly happy.  More later...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You always tell me what I want to hear, my darling

It was late Wednesday night.  I was at Greyhouse Coffee shop, talking with my boyfriend online with tears constantly running down the cheek.

"You are going to end up being the most popular teacher there.  Believe me about that.  Your students are really going to *like* you.  They will look forward to your class and look forward to talking with you in Japanese.  You will make them smile and laugh and feel happy, like you do with everybody.  People *like* you.  You don't have to try hard to make them and if they like you, they will want to learn from you.  You will find a way to teach on your own.  *Your* own way, and it will work."

I am still sobbing...and he continues.

"Trust me, I know you.  You are like a cat."

I look up for the first time and say "A cat?"

He said,

"Somebody can hold you up way high, and drop you, and you will always hit the ground feet first, all four feet, smiling.  I really love you.  You are a very special person, and nothing can stop you when you set your mind to it."

Earlier that day, I had to perform a teaching demonstration to a couple of faculty members and other TA staff.  Because I was inexperienced and nervous and all, I did poorly on that, and I was becoming negative about everything.  I simply did not think I should have been a teacher to begin with, so I was crying and saying that this was end of the world.  

My boyfriend is always very good at calming me down, when I am all worked up like that.  He knows and tells me what I want to hear the most.  After I stopped crying, he did not forget to tease me.  He asks, "Do you remember when you were trying to get your driver's license?"  I say yes.  He says, "Remember how you cried and how hard it was?"  I say, "Oh did I cry for that???"  He laughs and says, "That is what you will be saying later about this." 

He is very true.  I cried when I failed my Japanese driver's license test four times, but it really wasn't a big deal.  I can laugh about it, and now it has become a good story to tell.  

He also told me this,

"When you are teaching *real* students, you will shine.  The thing is, you genuinely really, really *like* people.  That is something that most people don't have."

I felt like I was ready to go teach *real* students then, and here comes this morning, my very first Japanese class, JPNS 101.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010



このあいだ、その畑でじゃがいもの収穫をしていたとき、 「こんなことするの初めてでしょう~?」と、胡桃沢さんが立ち寄ってくれた。私がまた渡米することも知っていて、今度はどのあたりへ行くの?と訊かれ、シカゴから2時間ほどのところです、と答えた後、私は、あ!しまった・・・と思った。



Tuesday, August 10, 2010







あと30分もすると、アメリカへ10日ほど里帰りしていた恋人が、成田に着いてからすぐに、松本行きの高速バスに飛び乗って 、わたしのもとにやって来る。わたしの大好きなひと。思いっきり抱きしめてあげたい。お帰りなさいって。

Tuesday, August 3, 2010





Sunday, July 25, 2010








Saturday, July 24, 2010


 西新宿の彼のアパートのベッドの上。彼がこのブログページをセットアップしてくれた。出来上がって、彼が、"Okay, it's ready.  Now you can start blogging!" と言って私にコンピュータを渡してくれた。しばらくの間、何を書いていいのかわからなくなって、他の人のブログなんかをながめてみたりしたけど、そのひとはその人なりの出来事や、興味のあることを淡々と書いているんであって、私はわたしなりに書いて、このブログを作り上げるんだな、とあらためて思ったのでした。



naoko in Nishi-Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan