grad

my former students

2017-05-11 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- I visited my former students who are now full professors at Hokkai Gakuen University.

Takafumi Utashiro teaches the teaching of Japanese language. I observed his class today. His students impressed me with their enthusiasm.
P1440306

HIroya Tanaka has a heavy teaching load in English language. His research in and development of vocabulary acquisition tools is helping my graduate student Ivy Lin.
P1440316

in remebrance of mutsuko masaki

2017-02-20 TOKYO, JAPAN -- We learned this morning that our friend and colleague Dr Mutsuko Masaki (眞崎睦子・まさきむつこ) passed away this past weekend due to a sudden illness at home.

Mutsuko earned her PhD in language and culture studies at Osaka University. She joined Hokudai as an associate professor in 2006, 3 years after I was hired.

We did not work on research projects together -- her interests focused on immigration while mine are in online learning systems and teacher training -- but she, Noriko and I chatted from time to time on topics ranging from pleasant culinary tips (Mutsuko was a serious cook) to exasperating concerns such as a senior professor telling junior colleagues they were unfit for academic duty because they were physically unattractive.

Mutsuko took a stand against coercion. If I understand correctly her interests stemmed from the history of immigrants from Japan to north and south America after the Meiji restoration. Low-class samurai and farmers who lost their jobs were urged to relocate abroad without receiving what nowadays is called full disclosure. Mutsuko gave me a copy of her book about the information the immigrants did receive (ISBN-13: 978-4872591767).
ISBN_13_978_4872591763

During her tenure at Hokudai, Mutsuko's angst widened to encompass present-day coercion resulting in binge drinking at college parties. Her work was often misinterpreted as a crusade against alcohol abuse. Mutsuko told me on several occasions that the central issue to her was being forced into acting unwillingly. Press-ganging into drinking is an example of present-day intimidation, she explained. She taught classes on this topic, and wrote a book (ISBN-13: 978-4891152840).
ISBN_13_978_4891152840

Mutsuko and our last professional connection was in hiring teaching assistants (TAs) for the 2017 academic year. We created an austere web page for potential applicants. The English Online class is hiring 15 TAs starting 2017-04-04.

Our last personal connection was several weeks ago when we passed each other by near Oodoori park in downtown Sapporo. She smilingly declared that she approved of us holding hands in public. (Holding hands in Japan is not as rare as it was 30 years ago, but among our generation perhaps it still is.) Mutsuko had a sweet habit of pointing out positive aspects in people.

My obituary omits Mutsuko's picture because she preferred that her photograph not be taken. A screenshot of Mutsuko's self-introduction on the
Hokudai grad school web site is attached below in remembrance.

mutsuko_masaki_hokudai

our 1st daughter

2017-02-15 FUCHU, JAPAN -- We visited Hiroko, our 1st daughter. Hiroko is an assistant professor at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Japan's top language school.

Her office room number is my birthday.
P1400283_trimmed

From her office window, a wonderful view (through bird-proof netting) of Mt Fuji.
P1400296_trimmed

Unlike me, Hiroko doesn't hoard belongings. Her office is sparse and uncluttered.
P1400313_trimmed

TUFS architecture is classy.
P1400272

We had a quiet French lunch behind the
birthplace of Kondo Isamu, a samurai at the end of the Edo period.
P1400374_trimmed

nobuyasu is hired

2017-01-13 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Our co-teacher Nobuyasu Obata accepted a job as a law professor. Congratulations!

We met when Nobuyasu was a grad student in the school of law. He was studying to become an academic in law, not a lawyer in legal practice. He was our TA while he was a grad student, and has been our co-teacher since he earned his PhD and was hired by Hokudai as a researcher in law. Just last night he received and accepted an offer to be a law professor at a private legal college. He came to my office to deliver the fantastic news. Way to go!
GK5B9351 copy

hokudai elects new president

2016-12-14 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Hokudai elected Toyoharu Nawa as university president. Nawa is a professor of cement engineering, and currently is dean of the school of engineering. On 2017-04-01 Nawa replaces Keizo Yamaguchi, a math professor.

I am glad to see Yamaguchi gone. He is an embarrassment in both administrative leadership and public relations. Yamaguchi is a spineless yes-man for the Ministry of Education (he agreed to cut costs and personnel without seeking alternate funding), and a heartless no-man towards the local community (he banned barbecue parties and children from campus). I attended a keynote talk by him, and was appalled by his lack of vision and compassion.

I welcome Nawa, partly because of his corporate experience. He worked at Chichibu Cement before joining academia. Hopefully Nawa's real-world training will put Hokudai back on track.

Similarly to the United State's electoral college, Hokudai's president election is not decided by popular vote. All full-time instructors may vote, but the president is chosen by a closed panel of 13 individuals, who are not bound by the results of the faculty vote. This steering committee is akin to the privy council under the Meiji constitution, and is designed to protect the upper echelons of university administration.

Newspaper clipping from Hokkaido Shimbun 2016-12-14 online edition.
161214_hokudai_president_elect

library talk

2016-11-30 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- The Hokudai North Library invited us to give a workshop on learning phrases in context by using manga and books in L1 (a language you are familiar with) and their translations in L2 (a language you wish to learn).

We expected a tiny audience of somewhere around 3, which was the number of people who told us they might come. 34 people showed up -- a mix of faculty, administrative staff, and grad and undergrad students. Noriko and I were ecstatic.
Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 12.59.13

The workshop took 97 minutes, consisting of (1) 5 minutes of introduction by the library staff, (2) 10 minutes of lecture by me explaining the merits of reading identical material in L1 and L2, (3) 10 minutes of lecture by me explaining how manga and anime are appreciated in America and Europe, (4) 27 minutes of hands-on activity by students under my guidance, (5) 30 minutes of hands-on activity by students divided into groups (each table received different language material), and (6) 15 minutes of sharing results from each group of students.
Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 12.59.30

Students first found corresponding phrases in L1 and L2, then used the L2 phrases to construct new messages, and lastly shared their results with the other participants.
Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 13.00.12

Many thanks to Kyoko Jo and Yuji Nonaka for organizing the event! In the picture below, they are standing 3rd and 2nd from the far right.
Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 12.58.35

library talk

2016-11-11 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- The Hokudai north library invited me to give a workshop on reading in 2 languages. The talk is on 2016-11-30 from 18:15 to 19:45 in the north library, 3rd floor group study zone.

The idea is that by reading your favorite manga or books in L1 (the language you already know) and L2 (the language you want to learn), you can read the books you love in L2, and learn phrases without looking up words in the dictionary. Manga gives graphical context, which provides the nuances of social relationships that are so important to the Japanese psyche. Manga (and to a limited extent novels) provide spoken language expressions in written form.

I intend to ask students to find corresponding phrases, and create short sentences using those phrases.

A pair of slides from my talk. These slides are shown to students at the beginning of my workshop as a warm-up task. The tasks increase in complexity during the 70-minute workshop. The artwork below is from Osamu Tezuka's "Black Jack", a classic medical drama which was serialized when I was in middle school.
Screen Shot 2016-11-14 at 05.02.23

Screen Shot 2016-11-14 at 05.03.29

They made a flyer with a rather embarrassing picture of me. Here's a 2nd galley proof after I asked them to change a few minor portions of text.
161130_poster_v3_mini

back at hokudai

2016-04-01 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Returned to Hokudai today after stopping by our parents' homes on our way back from Lincoln City, Oregon. We are grateful that all of our 4 parents are healthy and active.

Mom runs a publishing company out of her house. Pictures of my departed sisters adorn the walls.
160331_mom_office_and_kitchen_IMG_1915

I'm relieved that there is hardly any snow left in Sapporo. I slipped and fell a couple of times earlier this winter and was sore for a while. Ouch!
160401_snowless_campus_IMG_1941

Oh and I was promoted to full professor effective today. No big deal -- our school limits the number of full professors so qualified associate professors wait their turn. I qualified years ago. Vacancies were created last month when several professors retired. I ordered bilingual, double-sided business cards.
160329_goh_business_card_en160329_goh_business_card_jp

noriaki katagiri, phd

2013-06-28 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- Noriaki Katagiri, my graduate student, received his PhD at a commencement ceremony presided by the dean of the graduate school of Media and Communication, Hokkaido University. We are proud of his accomplishment.
Download his dissertation. 130628_noriaki_katagiri_dissertation

130628_noriaki_katagiri_dissertation
130711_noriaki_diploma_dissertation_1
130711_noriaki_diploma_dissertation_2
130628_noriaki_katagiri_dissertation

dissertation defense

2013-04-12 SAPPORO, HOKKAIDO -- I am pleased to announce that my graduate student Noriaki Katagiri will defend his PhD dissertation titled "Enabling English Classroom Discourse by Non-native Instructors" on 2013-04-23 Tuesday starting at 13:00 in room IMC-105. Room IMC-105 is across the hall from IMC-110 (see map).

Your attendance would be most appreciated. Refreshments will be served.

Presiding at Katagiri Noriaki's defense will be his dissertation committee, consisting of the following members:

(a) Dr Kenji Araki, Professor of Natural Language Processing, Hokkaido University,
(b) Dr Yoshiki Yokoyama, Professor of English Language Teaching, Hokkaido University of Education, Sapporo, and
(c) Dr Goh Kawai, Associate Professor of Education Technology, Hokkaido University.

Abstracts in English and Japanese languages of Noriaki Katagiri's dissertation are attached below (PDF file, approximately 500 kilobytes). To obtain a full draft of his dissertation (PDF file, approximately 5 megabytes), kindly contact me.

130423_noriaki_katagiri_abstracts

noriaki_katagiri_abstracts

the 90th best job in America

2012-11-02 SAPPORO, JAPAN -- CNN says in their article titled “The top 100 jobs in America” that the 90th best job is Assistant Professor. CNN says assistant professors benefit society and derive personal satisfaction, but stress is high and flexibility is low. I agree with the high stress but disagree with the low flexibility. In fact the flexible work schedule is one of the highlights of my job.

Unfortunately the Japanese government has been lowering salaries at national universities. I make less than I did 10 years ago. And that’s with significant increase in pay scale. (My rank went up but my pay went down.) The government is bankrupt and needs to skim off its employees.

my first hokkaido-style barbecue party


2012-06-29 SAPPORO, HOKKAIDO -- Hokkaido locals love a style of barbecue that they call Genghis Khan, named after the Mongol warrior-king who allegedly fed his troops lamb and mutton to keep them fighting-fit. The Japanese seem to enjoy barbecue sitting on the grass. Noriko and I contributed by smoking salmon, chicken, rice balls, and hard-boiled eggs.

spoken language corpora class starts

The first class will meet met on 2012-04-10 tue1 (Tuesday 1st period) in room ITE-SE (情報教育館3階サーバ編集室).
The second class and all subsequent classes meet in room S316 (CALL staff room B).
Bring your laptop. We have WiFi (801.11g). I will tell you its SSID and password when you come.

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.

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.

アメリカオレゴン州ポートランドで日本語イマージョン教育を実施している公立の学校(小・中・高)でアシスタントとして活躍します。ホームステイ先は1年間無償で提供されます。アメリカの教育システムや方法を学ぶいいチャンスです。ポートランドの日本語イマージョン校は全米から高い評価を受けているイマージョン教育のさきがけとなった学校です。経験豊かな教師と出会えるチャンスがあります。また美しいポートランドで無償で提供されるフレンドリーなホストファミリーと暮らすことができます。大学で教職課程を取っている現役大学生、現役教師を含む若い社会人が主な参加者です。

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).

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).

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.