At the edge of the horizon

At the edge of the horizon
At the edge of Japan

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

School's Out For....Spring?

So the school year is very nearly coming to a close and the students will soon have a two week spring break before starting a new year.  Just in case you didn't know about Japan's school year, it runs from April to March, with a 6 week break in August and a 2 week break in December and another 2 week break at the end of March.  Personally I'm ready for a good 6 week vacation, though most teachers don't have enough nenkyuu (personal holidays) saved up to cover the entirety of the 6 weeks.  I have about 20 days per year, so I have to use them sparingly if I want to take an extended holiday in the summer.  But we're not even at summer break yet and yet the school year definitely has that sense of closure to it.

                             Here the Karaoke version for you...


My students are done with coursework in the O.C. class, so I decided it was time to have a bigger project.  One that would really allow them to use English in a fun way:  The Super Fun Karaoke Contest!!  They've all been choosing their songs and groups to sing with (not one of them is going to do a solo, but I'm not surprised by that).  Most of the songs are, as you would expect, very pop oriented:  Owl City, One Direction, Carly Rae "Call Me Maybe" Girl, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars.  Basically every band, apart from Lady Gaga, is very teenybopper (at least to me).  I don't know any of these singers/groups, to be honest.  Yes, I have heard the atrocious "Call Me Maybe" song and I know the Bruno Mars "Marry Me" song from any trip I've taken to the local コンビ二.  But I don't really know these things and I realized that I'm getting older and am definitely not a teenager anymore.  That being said, only half the students choose these.  The other half choose oldies.  Yes, oldies.  Beatles, John Denver, Rolling Stones, Journey (which I guess isn't exactly oldies, but...) and the most shocking of all, The Carpenters.  It never fails to have at least one group in one of my classes choose a Carpenters song.  At first, I didn't get it.  I was like, what the hell is up with that?  The Carpenters are basically 1970s muzak in my book.  I asked one of my co-teachers why this phenomenon of students half my age choosing a lame band that's older than me.  He told me that the Carpenters, and in particular the song "Top of the World", holds a special place in most Japanese people's hearts due to the fact that it's a song played during New Years celebrations on TV.  Oh. Why?  Why Japan do you do this to yourself?

This is just another example of the older generation in this country making decisions and imposing them on the younger generations (the use of fax machines is another example.   Who the hell uses a fax machine anymore besides those people in certain industries?)  Speaking of which, take a look at this article on Myths about Living in Japan.

Speaking of Karaoke, I'll be singing this song. Because I am feeling it completely now. Damn, I feel it. And Damn, Alicia Keys. You are hot.  I wish I could be as hot as you. 

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