Introduction to Teaching English in Japan

Would you like the chance to spend some time in Japan but feel turned off by whistle-stop package tourist trips? If so, teaching English may be the answer. There is no better way to get to know a country than by living and working there. By teaching English you become a part of Japanese society, rather than just an observer looking in.

Teaching English is big business in Japan. Despite the collapse of the so-called bubble economy Japan remains one of the richest and most sophisticated nations on the planet, and this status is largely due to its success in overseas trade and investment. Thus, to get ahead in Japanese society, proficiency in English is a significant advantage. Add to that the fact that being able to speak English is simply considered cool and the huge demand for English teachers becomes clear.

Don’t Japanese people learn English at school?

Yes they do. Usually for 6 years or more. The problem is that, unlike most of the school curriculum, English isn’t taught particularly well. Japanese schools tend to follow traditional teaching methods in which the teacher stands at the front and lectures the class. Students are expected to absorb rather than question. The method produces excellent results for subjects like history and mathematics, but not for communicative, participative skills like language. School English education is likely to consist of lots of reading and writing, lots of grammar practice, but very little – if any – spoken communication.

Do I need to speak Japanese?

Not at all. Of course, if you can pick up a little nihongo (Japanese) it will make your daily life easier, but it won’t help one bit as a teacher. The reason is that the most effective way of teaching language is to use only the target language. Thus the only language used in English lessons is English.

How do I start?

Well, you could simply buy a ticket to Japan and start looking for work. Unfortunately, without a work permit, that strategy is illegal. Unless you have a Japanese spouse you need to find a job that will sponsor you for a visa. It is possible to travel to Japan as a tourist and approach a few of the numerous schools advertising for teachers asking if they are prepared to sponsor your visa application.

It helps to undergo some TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) training before looking for work. Not only will this give you some basic teaching skills and confidence, but it also shows potential employers you are serious about teaching and not just a backpacker looking for some financial re-fuelling.

TEFL courses are advertised in most English speaking countries. The more useful ones are provided by working English schools and offer face-to-face teaching practice with real learners.

Accommodation

If you are employed by the JET program or one of the big English school companies they will more than likely arrange accommodation for you. You are of course free to find your own housing if you so wish.

Living in school-found accommodation has the advantage of an English speaking contact to sort out repairs or other problems. The disadvantage is that it’s difficult to quit a job that may not be for you while living in their accommodation. I have also heard of at least one school that charges its teachers a significant premium over market rental rates for use of its accommodation – so beware!

There are several English speaking accommodation agencies advertising in the free English language press, and these generally provide decent accommodation, but at a price.

An alternative favored by many single English teachers are the so-called “gaijin houses” (literally foreigner’s house). These are basically hostels that rent out basic, but adequately comfortable, rooms mainly to non-Japanese clientele. Usually bathroom, kitchen and sometimes communal sitting room are shared. Gaijin house advertisements are to be found in the free English language press.

All About Beijing Duck

OK so you've climbed the Great Wall, wandered through the Forbidden City, taken photos in the Temple of Heaven, walked through the gardens of the Summer Palace and completely ignored Wangfujin street. Now it is time for you to eat Beijing's most classic dish, the Beijing Duck.

Beijing Duck is famous, has a distinguished history, an exquisite taste and is a culinary icon SO before partaking in this mouth watering dish, pause your chopsticks and first develop a well deserved appreciation of the delicacy you are about to feast on.

History

The origin of roasted duck can be traced back to Northern and Southern Dynasties period (420-589) when these hapless birds where roasted in the Jinling area where modern day Nanjing is located. The Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) were gourmets and took the custom of roast duck with them when they packed their bags and set up house in Beijing.

The Inspector of the Imperial kitchen (what a job!) Hu Sihui listed roast duck among the imperial dishes in the "Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages" that he wrote in 1330. This early cookbook even included the cooking process.

Up until the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) ducks were roasted in a conventional convection oven where the duck was hung from the oven ceiling and roasted over burning wood. Duck cooked this was said to be crisp and golden brown with tender and tasty meat. After the Qing came to power they changed the method of duck cooking to hanging the ducks over a flame in an open oven. These two traditional methods of cooking duck are the foundations of the two modern methods of cooking Beijing Duck.

Roast duck was so popular during this period that poets and schools where inspired to roast duck poetry. Personally I think the large quantities of alcohol consumed with the duck were the main inspiration for these wasted poems and bookworms.

Peking duck as it was first called b foreigners taste so good, it is credited with being instrumental in the rapprochement between China and the US in the 70's. All because Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon kept returning to China for more duck. Just imagine how different history would be if the Havana Cigar had the same effect on US politicians!

In summary, that juicy piece of duck you are about to eat has a royal history of over 1500 years. Chew on that!

How to eat Beijing Duck

Your Beijing Duck will be served with steamed pancakes, sweet bean or plum sauce, cucumber and spring onions.

Place one pancake on the palm of your hand, dip a slice of duck meat in the sauce then place the meat on the pancake, add several pieces of cucumber and spring onion, wrap up the pancake, close your eyes and bite. Control yourself, chew slowly and savor this ancient delicacy.

How to cook

First you need to prepare the ingredients. Here is a list of all the ingredients.

Ingredients

2.0 to 2.5 kilogram of duck

8 liters of water

1 slice of ginger

1 Spring onion

50ml of honey

20ml of white vinegar

20ml of cooking sherry

25ml of corn starch dissolved in 50ml of water

Spring affairs for garnish

Directions

1. Clean duck then wipe it dry and tie a string around its neck.

2. Hang the duck in cool and ideally windy place 4 hours.

3. Fill a large wok with water then bring to boil. Add ginger, spring onion, honey, vinegar, and sherry. Bring to boil again and pour in the dissolved cornstarch. Stir constantly during this step.

4. Place the hung duck in large strainer over a larger bowl then scoop the boiling mixture over the entire duck for about 10 minutes.

5. Hang the duck up again in cool, windy place for 6 hours until it is thoroughly dry.

6. Place the duck breast side up on a greased rack in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.

7- Place a pan filled with 6 centimeters of water in bottom of oven to collect the drippings then roast 30 minutes.

8- Turn duck and roast for 30 more minutes.

9. Turn breast side up again and roast for 10 more minutes.

10. Use a sharp knife to cut off the crispy skin then immediately serve meat and skin on a warm dish

11 Eat and enjoy.

Labor Union Electrical Training Program

There are many places in the United States where you can get training as an electrician, either for your own basic around-the-home repairs or to build yourself a great new lucrative career as an
electrician. One school in California devotes itself to nothing but electrical training for those who can demonstrate the skill and the ambition to follow through. Lets take a look at what it offers.

In Los Angeles County, California, for example, electrical training is highly regulated and legislated. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers IBEW and the National Electrical Contractors Association NECA are committed to compliance and electrical training that teaches the
methods, tools and regulations to apprentices in the union labor force. The organized workers and administrators realize how important electricians are to the construction process. They have put together an institute for electrical training that teachers journey level electricians the basics of working with logic control systems that are programmable as well as the complex data that are found in today's commercial and residential buildings.

This labor union electrical training program is actually funded by private industry, with contributions coming from the union workers themselves and by their employers. Those apprentices taking part in the training dont have to pay tuition and even get paid a living wage for their hands-on learning.
Apprentices in the training program work under a journeyman electrician who teaches them the electrical trade both in the classroom shop and on the job site. Classes are held in the evenings for at least six hours each week. Wage increases are given periodically dependent on reports of work experience, grades in the classroom and attendance.

Electrical apprenticeship training lasts for five years. Every apprentice attends at least 160 classroom hours each year. They almost must complete a minimum of 8000 hours on the job.

The electrical training program is the NECA and IBEW way of showing customers and potential customers that they are committed to producing highly qualified electricians. As a result of this training the jobs that this work force takes on are completed on deadline with the highest quality products and work. Call backs are a rarity.

Once the initial electrical training at the institute is completed the learning has not ended, however. Its an ongoing process, especially in light of the various green energy projects around the state and the nation. One of the primary goals of the electrical training is the instruction in work place safety. All electrical training courses teach safety. One course is devoted to a safe workplace. Its not just a matter of keeping electrical workers safe, either. The electrical raining takes into consideration that while electrical projects are being completed in retail, office or other commercial environments, employees of the client may continue to work in the facility. They must be kept safe as well.

Electrical technology is evolving continuously and the electrical training institute is away from that. Each graduate electrician is keep up on the latest industry developments and continuing education electrical and related courses are offered on a periodic basis.

Park Benches – Perfect for Creating an Inviting Outdoor Environment

A great way to make an inviting outdoor environment is to use park benches on your property. It does not matter if they are simple or elegant, a park bench will show your neighbors that you would like the outside of your home to be enjoyed by everyone. Park benches are also a great way to meet people since when people see a park bench in a nice outdoor environment, they usually want to sit down and relax for a while.

In a way park benches are a sort of open invitation for people to have a seat and relax enjoying the outdoors. They can sit down and take advantage of whatever you have around the outdoor areas of your house whether it be a beautiful garden, a pond, or just a nice open space to have a seat. Park benches will also create some beautiful outdoor areas where you can sit with friends and family just visiting or having a little get together. They are also a great place to sit with your neighbors and catch up on the gossip in the neighborhood! The inviting atmosphere that park benches bring about can be a great social atmosphere while enjoying the outdoors.

Park benches are also not especially for the backyard or front lawn as they can also be placed near the front entrance to your home or driveway. Having a park bench placed in the front of your property will give the message of openness to everyone passing by. If you do not want people lingering around your property you should not place park benches where people will be walking by as it can be sending the wrong message when in reality you do not want them hanging out there.

Park benches, along with most types of benches, can be made from a wide variety of materials such as wood, concrete, and metal. Some of the more attractive benches can be made of wood as there are several types of wood that are common with benches. Pine is attractive but is not one of the longer lying woods. Cedar and oak last a little longer and are very attractive woods as well. One of the better woods for benches is teak, which lasts longer and is a very beautiful wood.

One way to ensure that your wood park benches last longer is to weatherproof them. If you do not weatherproof your wooden park benches they can warp, split, and become brittle as well as being less resistant to insects. For metal benches it is also a good idea to coat the metal with some type of rust resistant covering to make sure that the metal does not rust and will stay more stable for a longer period of time. There are many styles of park benches to choose from whether it be a Hyde Park teak bench or a personalized concrete park bench. The style is up to you as they can be great additions for around the outside of your home.