winter break

Winter break starts on 2010-12-25 and ends on 2010-01-04. Regarding my undergraduate and graduate classes, the last class day before winter break is 2010-12-24, and the first class day after winter break is 2011-01-07. My grad class on 2011-01-05 will be delivered as an online lecture, not as an in-person class.

Have a great, safe, winter vacation.

speech recognition may improve your pronunciation

My PhD research was in applying automatic speech recognition technology to nonnative pronunciation learning. My systems worked but they were cumbersome and showed only text and audio. Now people at www.englishcentral.com have built an online system where you watch videos and practice your pronunciation. Use a computer that has a speaker (or headphones), a microphone, and web browser, and Flash.

yuka wakatsuki talk on hawaii

On 2010-11-08 (mon4, mon5), 2010-11-09 (tue3), and 2010-11-12 (fri2), Yuka Wakatsuki will talk about her experiences in Hawaii. Yuka went to the University of Hawaii, Hilo on the Hokudai exchange student program. She is currently a junior in the school of agriculture, and one of my teaching assistants (TAs). Her talk will include slides and descriptions. Come to my classes to learn about the Big Island of Hawaii, the Hilo campus, and the exchange student program.

interview with an old timer

The “Transistor Gijutsu” (“Transistor Technology”) magazine is celebrating their 555th issue with a delightful interview with the inventor of the 555 timer IC (integrated circuit) designed in the 1970s. The interview is in English with Japanese subtitles.

Overseas study opportunities

A free seminar explaining overseas study opportunities will be held on 2010-11-06 from 11:00 to 15:00 at the Sapporo International House near Hokkai Gakuen University. See their poster or webpage.

AIESEC internships

AIESEC offers overseas internships for various jobs, places, languages, and durations. Opportunities include teaching Japanese language in America. The following description is from one of AISEC’s webpages.


happy halloween

A friend sent me this nice Halloween card. Noriko and I will wear something for our fri2 class on 2010-10-29. Come to E309.

accessing glexa

Contact me if you need an account or password for glexa. You may do your assignments at school (in the CALL rooms, IT rooms, or library) or at home. You need a microphone to do your spoken assignments. Our CALL rooms have microphones. The IT rooms and library do not (and you need to be quiet anyway).

exchange program talk

The following message is copied from Hokudai’s International Student Center. Hope you find it useful.


集まるのは、「持続可能な社会の実現(SD)」に力を入れている大学ばかりです。"Quality of life:いのちと人生の質を高める"という観点から、各大学がそれぞれ誇りとする「研究」そして「教育」を紹介します。


会   場:学術交流会館第一会議室
主   催:国際本部・国際支援課


visitors welcome

Visitors are welcome at any time. My students, teaching assistants, conversation partners, guest talkers, and I are eager to have you join us. You may drop in unannounced to observe or to participate under my direction. Should you wish to co-teach, prior coordination would be appreciated.

Past visitors have included: family members of students (parents, siblings), students (high school, college), teachers (middle school, high school, college), professionals (software engineers, journalists).

study abroad program

Hokudai’s International Student Center (留学生センター) advises and accepts applications for Hokudai’s Study Abroad Programs (exchange student programs). Deadline for programs next year is 2010-10-27. Programs vary in destination and duration. Visit their website, and click on “Study abroad programs for Hokudai students” link.

ultimate team

I’m a faculty advisor for Hokudai’s ultimate team. “Ultimate” used to be called “ultimate frisbee” but the word “frisbee” was dropped because it is a trademark.

The team welcomes new members. No experience necessary! Everybody welcome. Check out the team website at Paddy, named after the pet dog of one of the founding members.

hokudai's new entrance exam

Hokudai’s undergraduate entrance exam and the curriculum for the freshmen year are changing radically in spring of 2011. View the overview for details. Advise your friends and underclassmen who are considering applying for Hokudai.

SACLA activities

SACLA (Sharing All Cultures and Languages) is a Hokudai student organization that socializes internationally. SACLA’s international lunches won Hokudai’s 元気 energetic project award this year. Lunches are on Wednesdays from 12:10 to 12:50 at the International Student Center (留学生センター) 1st floor lobby. Bring your own lunch.

ultimate team

I recently became a faculty advisor for Hokudai’s ultimate team. “Ultimate” used to be called “ultimate frisbee” but the word “frisbee” was dropped because it is a trademark. I know practically nothing about the sport. They asked me to be their faculty advisor because everybody else had turned them down! No matter, Noriko and I eagerly cheer our team.

The team welcomes new members. New uniforms have just come in! Now’s the time to sign up. Check out the team website at Paddy, named after one of the founding member’s pet dog.

teaching certificate workshop

Hokudai’s career center offers a series of workshops aimed at students who wish to become middle school and high school teachers. The 4th workshop (titled 論文指導1/個別面接指導1) is on 2010-08-03 Tuesday from 13:00 to 16:00 at the Information Technology Education building 3rd floor auditorium (情報教育館3階多目的中講義室). All students planning or considering earning teaching certificates should definitely attend. The first of many courses required for teaching certificates should be taken during fall semester of your freshmen year. Delays add to your workload. Don’t wait -- act now.

Werner Stuflesser talk

What language do Italians speak? Italian, of course. But some Italians are native speakers of German. The extreme north part of Italy was annexed from Austria after World War I. My friend comes from that region -- Tyrol, famous for skiing -- and she speaks five languages (German, Italian, English, French, and Dutch).

In her region, there is a research institute called EURAC (European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano, http://www.eurac.edu/). Its director, Werner Stuflesser, is visiting Hokudai and giving a talk. The talk is in English and will be translated into Japanese.

Take this opportunity to experience simultaneous interpretation, and to learn how multilingual communities work together to live together.

Werner Stuflesser, EURAC
Supranational Frameworks, Standardisation, Networking: Organised Diversity Management in Europe, Japan, and Africa
Time and place:
2010-06-26, 15:00 to 17:00, Hokudai Enyuugakusha

For details, read the announcement in Japanese: announcement, PDF.

ultimate team

I recently became a faculty advisor for Hokudai’s ultimate team. “Ultimate” used to be called “ultimate frisbee” but the word “frisbee” was dropped because it is a trademark. I know practically nothing about the sport. They asked me to be their faculty advisor because everybody else had turned them down! No matter, Noriko and I eagerly cheer our team.

The team is having its first match on 2010-06-20 Sunday from 11:00 to 17:30. (Various teams meet up at 09:30 for pre-match social practice, and start tournament games at 11:00.) Place is on the Toyohira riverbank, somewhere near Nakajima park.

The team is looking for new members. New uniforms arrive next week! Now’s the time to sign up. Check out their website at: PADDY.

intercultural internship

Internship Opportunity for College Students (basically for 4th year students) to Help Intercultural Exchange Program for 8 days This Summer
This internship opportunity is for only six college students (3 female and 3 male) to work closely with staff members of World Youth Japan (NPO in Hokkaido), World Learning (NPO in USA) and program participants (mostly North American high school students) to organize/run the intercultural exchange program, and to help the participants to learn Japanese language and culture this summer.
 If you were a college instructor, please let your students and/or other instructors about this internship opportunity.
About internship program:

1.      The term: July 2 – July 9
2.      Time: usually from 9 am until 17:00 to 21:00 (ending time depends on planned activities)
3.      Internship is basically for 4th year students.
4.      Interns will be insured for injuries during the internship.
5.      Jobs include: meeting participants at Chitose airport, guiding the participants to their accommodations, guiding them in downtown, assisting Japanese language teachers and World Youth Japan/World Learning staff members in language and culture programs, managing/supporting other student volunteers, and others.
6.      Interns necessary expense such as, transportation and meals, will be provided.
7.      Deadline for applicants: June 9.
The internship guideline and application form (written in Japanese) can be downloaded from the website below:
Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions or concerns that you might have regarding internship program.
Sonoyo Ishikawa
NPO World Youth Japan
Sonoyo Ishikawa
Tel: 090-2057-6635
Skype: SonoyoIshikawa


There’s much more than computers and offices. I should promise myself to spend at least half an hour outdoors daily. To view more, visit my “gallery” --> “hokudai in spring”.

spring flowers

I found a patch of crocuses blooming behind the tiny cozy garden behind NItobe Inazo’s statue. They disappeared a week later. Which reminds me that the best opportunities are fleeting.

SACLA international lunch and events

SACLA (Sharing All Cultures and Languages) is a Hokudai student organization that socializes internationally. They are holding 3 sessions to recruit new members: (a) 2010-04-13 Tuesday 19:00, at the Clark building 3rd floor international room, over (b) 2010-04-22 Thursday 19:00, at the Clark building 3rd floor international room, over and (c) 2010-04-30 Friday 18:00, liberal arts building E, room E201 over. View more information on their blog.

SACLA holds international lunches. This semester, they started on 2010-04-14 Wednesday. They meet from 12:10 to 12:50 at the International Student Center (留学生センター) 1st floor lobby. Bring your own lunch.

undergraduate internships

Internships are highly desirable, in some cases practically mandatory, to secure your dream job. The Hokudai career center is offering internships to undergraduate students. To be considered for this competitive opportunity, attend 1 of 2 identical workshops: (a) 2010-04-14 Wednesday from 18:30 to 20:30, Clark Building, main lecture hall (クラーク会館、講堂)(水産学部への中継あり、大講義室) over, and (b) 2010-04-16 Friday from 16:30 to 18:30, the Information Technology Education building, 3rd floor lecture hall (情報教育館3階多目的中講義室) over.

grad course "spoken language processing" will meet in ITE-SE tue1

The first class will meet on 2010-04-13 tue1 (Tuesday 1st period) in room ITE-SE (情報教育館3階サーバ編集室). Bring your laptop.

We have WiFi (801.11g). I will tell you its SSID and password when you come.

undergrad course "english 2" starts week of 2010-04-12

The first week of class starts 2010-04-12 Monday. The course "English 2” (英語II) is offered in 14 class periods in up to 4 classrooms for each class period. Check your classroom assignment because computer equipment and deadlines vary from class to class.

children's theater performance

The Missoula Children’s Theatre will perform The Wizard of Oz on 2010-04-02 and 2010-04-03 at the Hokkaido International School. This is a great opportunity to enjoy a play, visit a school, and meet people.

This is a great opportunity to spend a few hours and meet people.

The following announcement is copied from the Hokkaido Insider, a free email newsletter that (among other things) notifies readers of public and private events taking place in Hokkaido.

Once again Hokkaido International School will be hosting Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT). MCT is America’s largest touring children’s theater. It has been touring for more than 30 years from Montana to Japan. This will be MCT’s 15th year at Hokkaido International School. This year we are excited to be welcoming Lynda Mondragon and Jeffrey Staso who will be directing the HIS children in a musical rendition of THE WIZARD OF OZ.

Mark your calendars and plan to come out and enjoy a fresh look at an age-old favorite. The play will be performed entirely in English.

Hokkaido International School
Gymnasium, 4th floor
1-55, 5-jo 19-chome,
Hiragishi, Tokyohira-ku
Sapporo 062-0935
Nearest subway station: Sumikawa Station on the Nanboku Line

Performance One: April 2, 7:00 pm in the H.I.S. Gymnasium
Performance Two: April 3, 3:00 pm in the H.I.S. Gymnasium

** Ticket prices are ¥500 per person. Children age 5 and under are free.
Tickets are available at the door or may be purchased from any HIS Elementary school family.

Any questions? Please contact Sherrie Oda at HIS (011) 816-5000.