Interactive Writing II Session #12: December 18th, 2009

Cover of "Little Plum"
Cover of Little Plum

Report #1: comparing Little Plum with a Japanese children’s story (500 words).

Please introduce your report to the rest of the class, in English and Japanese.

If you did not give me your report today, please email it to me as soon as possible.

Afterwards we listened to a well-known winter song called Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

Make-up day #2: Tuesday, Jan. 19th, 2010, 5th period (same room).

FINAL EXAM: Friday, Jan. 22nd. More details next class, Friday, Jan. 8th, 2010 (also watch this blog). I will give you a choice of topics to write about, and ask you to choose 2. You will need to have finished reading the complete story of Little Plum by then.

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Interactive Writing II Session #11: December 11th, 2009

Today, we continued reading Little Plum. We read chapter 4.

Homework: Your report comparing Little Plum with a Japanese children’s story. For December 18th.

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Research in English II Session #11: December 11th, 2009

World War II, images of different aspects of t...
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  1. Report #2 presentations by
    1. Ms. Tanishima  on Foreign (Imported) Animals in Australia
    2. Ms. Tanaka on World War II
    3. Ms. Takeda on Royal Flying Doctor Service
    4. Ms. Chigira on Multiculturalism
    5. Ms. Kobori on Aborigine Culture (focussing on the didgeridoo)
    6. Ms. Ominami on White Australia Policy
    7. Ms. Kobayashi on Japanese in Australia
    8. Ms. Kawamura on Royal Flying Doctor Service
    9. Ms. Ho on Immigration Species and Mongoose
    10. Ms. Murai on White Australia Policy
    11. Ms. Kuranaga on Flying Doctor Service and Medical Services
    12. Ms. Minamide on Multiculturalism
  2. Some comments on the presentations:
    • What is the difference between “multicultural society” and “multiculturalism“? What does “-ism” mean? Multicultural society is a state of affairs or an actual situation; multiculturalism is a government or state policy.
    • There is a big debate about multiculturalism in Britain right now. The government of Britain has had a policy of multiculturalism for a long time, but some people say it has gone too far. For example, on October 28th, 2009, Melanie Phillips, a British journalist writing in the Daily Mail wrote an article entitled, The outrageous truth slips out: Labour cynically plotted to transform the entire make-up of Britain without telling us. The key points are below.
    • unintended consequences“. Human history has many examples of unintended consequences. The introduction of the rabbit into Australia is one example. The original settlers who brought rabbits with them to hunt and eat never thought that the rabbits would become such a huge problem in the future. The introduction of the mongoose in Okinawa is another example.
  3. Here are some key points from a recent article in a British newspaper (The Daily Mail) in which journalist Melanie Phillips argues that multiculturalism has been a deliberate policy of the British government to destroy the British identity.
    • In its 1997 election manifesto, Labour [Tony Blair‘s government] promised ‘firm control over immigration’
    • a landmark speech in September 2000 by the then immigration minister, Barbara Roche, … called for a loosening of immigration controls
    • For years, …the number of immigrants to Britain shot up apparently uncontrollably
    • the purpose of the policy … was to open up the UK to mass immigration
    • Some 2.3 million migrants have been added to the population since 2001. Since 1997, the number of work permits has quadrupled to 120,000 a year.
    • Unless policies change, over the next 25 years some seven million more will be added to Britain’s population, a rate of growth three times as fast as took place in the Eighties.
    • The Government’s ‘driving political purpose’, wrote Neather, was ‘to make the UK truly multicultural’.
    • Melanie Phillips writes: “It was therefore a politically motivated attempt by ministers to transform the fundamental make-up and identity of this country. It was done to destroy the right of the British people to live in a society defined by a common history, religion, law, language and traditions.   It was done to destroy for ever what it means to be culturally British and to put another ‘multicultural’ identity in its place. And it was done without telling or asking the British people whether they wanted their country and their culture to be transformed in this way.”
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Interactive Writing Makeup session 1: Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

This class was to make up for session #7, Nov. 6th, which I had to cancel because I was busy with entrance exams at my home university.

We talked about the book “Little Plum”, for example:

  • What is this story called?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • When does it take place?
  • Where does it take place?
  • What are the dolls called?
  • Whose dolls are they?
  • Who knows much about Japan and why?
  • Does Gem have a pony?

Then we watched the beginning of a 1987 movie called Empire of the Sun, 太陽の帝国 , directed by Steven Spielberg and starring a very young Christian Bale. We watched the beginning up to where Jamie (Christian Bale) goes back to his empty home and finds his “ama” stealing furniture.  His parents are not there.

Empire of the Sun is based on a novel by a British writer, J.G. Ballard. The story is fiction, but is based on the author’s personal childhood experiences.

After watching the beginning of the movie, we discussed similarities and differences between Empire of the Sun and Little Plum.

Similarities:

  1. Gem is rich, and so is Jamie.
  2. Gem has no brothers or sisters; nor does Jamie.
  3. Gem has a chauffeur and a governess to take care of her; so does Jamie.
  4. Both stories have some connection between Britain and Japan.

Differences:

  1. Jamie is a British boy living in a foreign country (Shanghai in China)
  2. Empire of the Sun takes place before the Second World War (1939-1945). Little Plum takes place after the War, in 1960’s Britain.
  3. Empire of the Sun is based on the author’s own personal experiences. Little Plum is not based so much on personal experiences.

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Interactive Writing II Session #10: December 4th, 2009

  1. Assigned 1 paragraph of chapter 4 per student to translate into Japanese.
  2. Conferenced with each student to confirm outstanding assignments.
  3. When to do the make-up classes? I cancelled Nov. 6th class due to entrance exams at my home university. I will also cancel January 15th class in order to attend a conference. Official make-up days are Saturday Jan. 9th and 16th, however, many students said they were unavailable on those days. I asked all students to mark on their paper when and what days they would be available for a makeup class. Unfortunately, not all students can make any one day or time. However, most students are free on Tuesday 5th period. Therefore the first make-up class will be December 8th, Tuesday, 2009, 5th period (16:45-18:15).

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Research in English II Session #10: December 4th, 2009

  1. Checked with each student all outstanding assignments.
  2. Returned old papers
  3. Unit VII Part 1 worksheet
  4. Free time for writing report #2 (this report is due next wekk, Dec. 11th)

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Interactive Writing II Session #9: November 27th, 2009

  1. Mini-lecture on “Changing attitudes to children and the police in the U.K.”
    1. Write your notes in Japanese on your blog in 200 characters
  2. We read more of chapter 3 with individual students translating paragraphs. We read up to page the bottom of page 37.
  3. Homework: Write a summary of chapter 3 in Japanese in 200 characters, and post it to your blog by Wednesday December 2nd.

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Research in English II Session #9: November 27th, 2009

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  1. Comments about the report #1:
    1. Don’t use “I” or “me” or “my” in an academic paper (write your personal opinions in a last paragraph)
    2. Don’t put anything in the footer except the page number
    3. Use “according to…”
    4. Distinguish between fact and opinion (especially your opinion and other writers’ opinions).
  2. Listening – textbook page 36: listening (fill in the blanks + worksheet questions)
  3. Listening – textbook page 37: answer the questions on the worksheet
  4. Homework: report #2
    1. due December 11th
    2. 500-800 words (you can count the words using MSWord’s “wordcount” tool)
    3. on any topic from the list: you can choose a new topic or use the same topic as for report #1 (but then you must have new content, of course)
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Interactive Writing II Session #8: November 13th, 2009

  1. Students translated paragraphs from chapter 3, from p. 24-32.
  2. Some questions to think about:
    1. Many young girls in England and Europe want to have a horse or pony. Did you want to have a pony when you were a little girl?
    2. Why does Mother feel sorry for Gem? Do you (feel sorry for Gem)?
  3. Homework:
    1. translate the next section of chapter 3
    2. write 1 paragraph in English (50-70 words) introducing a famous Japanese writer of children’s stories. The writer can be living or dead.
    3. Next class will be November 27th, in 2 weeks’ time.

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Research in English II Session #8: November 13th, 2009

  1. We heard summaries of students’ Australia reports, in English and in Japanese.
  2. Some comments about the reports:
    1. Next time  –
      1. write (in your first paragraph) why you chose the topic,
      2. make some connection with Japan (e.g.: Japan has tried to introduce a Flying Doctor service like Australia’s, but the cost is too high).
      3. please write about the advantages (plus points) and disadvantages (minus points) of the different arguments. E.g., the plus side and the minus side of a White Australia policy; the plus side and the minus side of  immigration or of multiculturalism.
  3. Short quiz on Australian vocabulary.
  4. Homework:
    1. Textbook Unit 6 Part 1 worksheet.
    2. Next report will be due December 11th. For this report, you can choose the same topic as for Report #1, or choose a new topic.
    3. N.B.: next class will be on November 27th.

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