Winter in Tokyo is always a lovely time. Different parts of Tokyo are illuminated with Christmas lights that create a picturesque wonderland. I love walking around and taking it all in, which is easy to do in the mild winter weather. The winter in Ireland is harsher and it rains a lot, which doesn’t make it very appealing to go outside. I recently bought some new books, which I’m very excited to read during the month of December. Staying inside and getting cozy with a book and a nice hot drink is one of life’s simple pleasures. It’s good to enjoy the simple things in life.



It’s just a few weeks till Christmas! In the Philippines, Christmas is a huge celebration. Most people in the Philippines start preparing for Christmas as early as September! There are many lights and colorful lanterns on the streets, and people prepare a huge feast on Christmas Eve called “Noche Buena.” This year, I’m going to be staying in Japan for Christmas, and although I will miss celebrating it with my family, I’m looking forward to all the Christmas decorations and activities in Tokyo. I’m excited to see the illumination displays all over the city. This time is also the last term for the third year high school students. They’re a very friendly and energetic bunch. I’m going to miss them when they graduate. There are so many things to look forward to in December!



The Changing of the Leaves in Japan This year it will be my third year to witness the changing colors of the leaves in Japan. Each year they have been wonderful to see. I’ve made sure to make the most of my time here in Japan. This year, I won’t be able to travel too far to see the changing leaves but I’m lucky to live and work in such a beautiful part of Tokyo where there are many parks I can walk and jog in. This is my favorite time of year. The weather is perfect; it’s not too cold or too hot. Back in Ireland, this time of year is very difficult for many people. The weather is windy and cold and it rains a lot. The days are long and dark and people tend to stay inside a lot. It is dark when you wake up and dark when you leave work. People need to stay optimistic during the winter months. In Tokyo, I love strolling through the parks with a nice hot coffee, taking in the pretty scenery. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and remember where exactly I am. I’m very lucky to be where I am and I try to not take this for granted. Life is always changing and you just have to move along with it.


今年のハロウィン (ジーアン先生)

At the end of October, Japan celebrated Halloween. But this year, celebrations were pared down and made simple. Most people stayed at home, and I spent my Halloween weekend watching horror movies on Netflix. A friend of mine recently got a new camera so went to nearby Saitama to take pictures of the forest, Tokorozawa Sakura Town, and the LED manholes with anime covers that light up at night. It doesn’t rain much, and there are many days with a lot of sun, but the days are getting shorter and colder. The leaves of the trees are also starting to turn red and orange. I’m looking forward to autumn in Tokyo, but I’m not a fan of the cold weather!



September 23, 2020 Summertime is almost up! Autumn is taking over, and it’s gradually becoming colder by the day. Since I come from a tropical country, I’m not used to the cold. Last year, I experienced my first winter in Japan, and it was freezing! I had to wrap myself in several layers just to stay warm. This year, I’m more than ready to welcome autumn and winter. In fact, there are many things I’m looking forward to in the coming months. I can’t wait to see the changing colors of the foliage, from vibrant green to rich reds and oranges. I can already imagine people in the park cycling under the hail of falling leaves. I also can’t wait for Halloween! I noticed last year that Halloween-themed parties and parades were popular in Tokyo, but I think this year, it would be better to stay home and read books or watch horror movies. In fact, I’m already planning my own horror movie marathon for Halloween! One thing’s for sure—the cold weather is a good time to indulge in hot and spicy meals!


The summer is now over and I am delighted that is it autumn. It was very difficult in Tokyo with the high humidity levels. Sleeping at night was not easy and I relied on my apartment air conditioning system to get me through the long summer days. In Ireland, the summers are less humid and much cooler but it also rains more which I don’t particularly miss. Now that autumn is here, the leaves will start changing color and the weather will be a much bearable temperature. I love autumn because the leaves are so vibrant and colorful and I can wear nice, cozy wooly jumpers. There are so many beautiful parks in Tokyo, which always look so magical during this time of year. It was a long summer but I’m excited about autumn and what joys it will bring.


学校再開と1学期試験終了 (ジーアン先生)

We have just finished the first term exams, and I am happy to know that many students had good scores in their tests. The first term was a short one, but everyone was excited and eager to start the school year—me included!
This school year, I’m working with new teachers. I think it’s exciting, knowing that I’ll learn a lot from teaching with them. I also hope that I will be able to help them properly throughout the school year.
The change in the weather has also been pretty exciting. Some days it’s very hot; some days it’s a bit cold. Right now, Tokyo’s seeing a lot of rain, but I’m looking forward to summer again.
I remember that I first arrived in Japan last year in the middle of the summer. It was very hot and humid, and it reminded me of the Philippines. But now that I have experienced autumn, spring, and winter, I think I’m getting used to Japan’s climate!
Time flies by so fast. We’re already past the middle of the year, and we still have so many things to do! I hope everyone’s as excited as I am to see how this school year will turn out.

長い梅雨 (キャロル先生)

The Long Rainy Season

It seems as though the rainy season in Tokyo is particularly long this year. When I think back to this time last year, I was preparing to travel home to Ireland for a summer holiday and I remember the weather in Tokyo being hot and humid. This year, it’s cooler and everyday seems to bring the chance of rain with it. Luckily, I’m used to the rain, as it is such a common occurrence in Ireland. During these wet days, time can be spent watching movies, series on Netflix or reading a good book. It’s also a good time to be creative and nothing makes me happier than sketching or painting. I usually sketch famous people and try to capture their personalities and characteristics as best I can. It’s good to have hobbies, as these are the things that keep us happy in life. It’s important to pass the time doing things we enjoy, which in turn, will help the rainy season pass by faster.


The Perfect Time to Turn Over a New Leaf (ジーアン先生)

Spring break this year gave me a lot of time to get household chores done, including stocking up my fridge and rearranging my furniture. Now, I know why schools in Japan start in April. The spring season is a great way to start something. The appearance of cherry blossoms and the warm weather make spring the perfect time to “turn over a new leaf.”

This expression in the English language means to become a better person or to give more effort in doing something.

So, this spring, I also decided to give more effort in learning Japanese. It’s very difficult since it’s so different from English and Filipino, but I was able to learn more Japanese words and expressions by answering textbooks and watching several Japanese films. I’m hoping this will increase my Japanese vocabulary!


いつもと異なる新年度 (キャロル先生) - the ways to stay creative and mentally healthy

Welcome to the new school year, I know it’s a strange time for everybody right now but when everything is back to normal, it will be lovely to meet both new and previous students again. It’s good to keep busy during this time. I have been keeping busy by reading, watching shows on Netflix and doing some creative writing. I hope you have all found your own ways to stay creative and mentally healthy, even though this can be difficult to do. I find ways to entertain myself, for example, I have created a number of children’s picture books for my nieces and nephews and godchildren. I create funny stories to help children learn and which in turn, keep me entertained too! Previous stories have involved cats or dogs and even dinosaurs! When they are finished, I send them to the lucky child as a gift. I love creating silly stories and it makes the perfect gift in which they can hold onto forever.

I hope you are all doing good and enjoying your time with your families. I make sure to keep in contact with my family and friends back in Ireland. Everybody is in this together. Let’s use this time wisely and keep our mental health in check. Soon we will be in our classrooms again having fun quizzes and you’ll be showing off your fantastic English skills!


2019年度の終わり (ジーアン先生)

The following months in Japan have been very eventful, with the rise of a global pandemic. Fortunately, it was the last term, and many classes were already over. Spring has already come, and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom!


There’s a sakura tree outside the staff room, and I get a good view of it every day. It’s so beautiful when it’s filled with large pinkish white flowers, and the fact that it lives for only a short while makes it more precious.


There are many beautiful parks in Japan, and I celebrated my birthday with friends at one in Bunkyo. Nearby Inokashira Park is another great place for sakura-viewing, and I’m lucky that it’s just a few minutes away from Fujimura.


I think it’s fitting that, in Japan, the cherry blossoms mark that short period between the end and beginning of a school year. The weather has been getting warmer, and the sun has been out more and more.


This school year has been exciting, challenging, and memorable. I’m looking forward to the next one!


Trip to Nara (キャロル先生)

During the month of February, I was lucky enough to visit Nara and the friendly deer that live there. My friend and I bought some crackers at a small stall to feed them. I held my hand up and bowed to them and was delighted when some deer returned my bow, I then fed them the crackers. One deer was so hungry he tried to eat my trousers and a large group of deer became very hungry as soon as they saw I was holding the crackers. I was too afraid to feed them and ended up screaming and running away, it was all very funny! My friend thought this was hilarious and couldn’t stop laughing at me! The deer in Nara are definitely not shy compared to the deer in Ireland. Nara reminded me of a large, city park called Phoenix Park in County Dublin, Ireland. You can see wild deer roaming and eating grass. If you are lucky enough you can even feed them. I lived very close to this park a few years ago and would spend my mornings jogging while catching glimpses of the deer. It was especially beautiful on cold, winter days when you could see the mist over the green grass.

Hopefully I’ll get to go back to Nara again someday to say hello to the cheeky deer.


永平寺での座禅体験 (キャロル先生)

During my winter vacation, I was lucky enough to stay at a Buddhist temple high in the mountains in Fukui. The temple is called Eiheiji temple and there are one hundred and fifty monks practicing Buddhism in the temple. The temple is over eight hundred years old and surrounded by a stunning waterfall and picturesque bridge. Tall five-hundred year old cedar trees keep watch over the temple and the moss covered landscape.
I stayed for one night and trained in the zazen meditation technique which involved a number of forty minute meditation sessions. This was difficult as my legs became numb from being folded and I found myself drifting off in my own thoughts. The monk informed me that if we lacked concentration during zazen, we would receive a hit with a stick to the shoulder, not as punishment but as encouragement. I found myself with pursed lips and a concentrated face staring at the wall, terrified of the monk with the stick! But luckily, I made it through without being hit and found that the more zazen sessions I


It’s the new year, and I’m excited to be back in school!

I spent my Christmas and New Year here in Tokyo, Japan, and it was my first time to celebrate the holidays away from my family, in another country. It was exciting, and I was able to visit many places in Tokyo.

With some friends, I went to visit some shrines in Asakusa, Bunkyo, Shibuya, and Akasaka. I also saw some amazing sights in Odaiba and Meguro. Although I was far from home, I wasn’t lonely because Tokyo kept me busy with all its lights, festivals, and attractions. It’s impossible not to love it!
The winter break also gave me time to appreciate Japanese traditions and cultures, especially when it came to visiting shrines. I tossed a few coins, clapped my hands, bowed, and rang the bell to offer my prayers and wishes. I also saw many booths selling drinks, food, fortunes, and souvenirs.

Although the weather was extremely cold, the warm atmosphere and presence of friendly company kept me warm.

My first winter holiday in Japan was truly memorable and exciting.