ALT Corner


Preparation for Marathon Day

Since the start of this term, the students in Wakoku have been preparing for the Marathon Day that will take place on February 1. It was unfortunate (the students might disagree) that the run was canceled last year due to COVID-19. This year, we will be taking the scenic route and the students will be running around Lake Sai. The girls will be running 10 km and the boys, 15 km. It might be tough for most of the students but I hope they will have fun and make some fond memories while toughing it out with their friends.


Keep running!

Entrance Exam Preparation

This term, the third year students’ classes have been reduced, with no afternoon classes. This is because they are preparing for their university entrance exams. By the beginning of February, the third year students’ classes will be finished, giving them more time to study and prepare.

It will feel a bit empty at Wako-ku without them, and there are many students and teachers who will miss them. We wish the students good luck with their studies and the entrance exams!



Lunch Time English Conversation Group

Hello, it’s me Tunji! It’s a little bit late but Happy New Year! I spent the winter break doing nothing in particular so I have nothing to say about that. I started this a few months ago but I hold an English conversation group at lunch. A student of mine asked me if we could have one. I was a bit surprised by their initiative. Now I hold that group 3 to 4 times a week. During that conversation group I also teach students helpful phrases for conversations, grammar, and give them study tips. If there are students who’d like to join all they have to do is ask. 

Ends and Beginnings

I walked into school the other day to see these laid out near the entrance. The mikan (a variety of mandarin orange) and the daruma are often things commonly seen at the end and beginning of a year.


The Japanese mikan is a familiar sight in Japan during the winter as a classic winter activity in Japan is sitting at a Kotatsu (heated table. A MUST have for winter) eating mikan and watching tv dramas. As for the daruma, it is a round Japanese traditional doll modeled after the founder of Zen tradition in Buddhism. It is seen as a symbol of perseverance and good luck, making them a popular purchase at the start of a new year. When purchased, the daruma doll’s eyes are both blank white. The owner makes a wish or goal for the year and paints in the left eye of the doll with ink. Once the goal is achieved, the right eye is filled in.


The closing ceremony for winter break has already taken place by the time this article was written, and students have officially gone off for their winter break. As we approach the year end, let’s give ourselves a little break and enjoy the festive season. Have a mikan (under the Kotatsu if you can. Have I mentioned that it is life changing?), give thanks for you have gone through a year safely, despite the ups and downs, and perhaps, purchase a daruma doll so that you can start 2023 with a goal to look forward to.


Have a good winter break!