30 Days til Departure (JET Programme)

Earlier this year, I was accepted to participate in the JET programme. After what felt like an eon, I got my placement: Gunma prefecture. If you’re like me and don’t know a lot about Japan, you probably thought the same thing: “Where’s that?”
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This was quickly followed by a google search and a fast and furious reading of the wikipedia page for Gunma. Capital city: Maebashi. A mountainous region once known for horsebreeding. It’s main economy is boostered by agriculture(konjacs and cabbages), silk farming, and car manufacturing.

I later found out that I would be placed in Takasaki city. A city famous for the Daruma doll.

My placement is not a big city like Tokyo, but more rural. As I am currently living in North Hollywood near LA, I’m definitely ready for a change of pace.

I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m scared. This is something I’ve been working towards since I was still in Italy trying to figure out how I could live and work abroad. Living abroad was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences I have ever had. I can’t wait to do it all over again.

I will be sure to set my goals and intentions in a following blog post.

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Learning English through Movies

I often tell my ESL students to invest in a Netflix account. Watching movies and TV shows in English with English subtitles is an extremely fun and easy way to pick up language. Not only are students able to relax and enjoy a show of their choosing, they can pick up many skills such as: listening, vocabulary, paralinguistics, cultural knowledge, and linguistic knowledge.

Here’s an interesting application from my friend Allan, directly teaching the narrative of Harry Potter along with vocabulary:

It is important for students to self-select what they are interested in, as this affects how motivated they are to learn and understand the material. For beginning students, slice of life shows like sitcoms may be better suited for their learning goals because of the high frequency words and repetitive nature of these shows.

Lake Elsinore, CA – March 16, 2019 – Wildflower Super Bloom

About two years ago, I drove by the Lake Elsinore bloom on my way to Anza Borrego. The bloom looked pretty but not spectacular. So, when my best friend Sarah, who lives nearby in Temecula, invited me out for an early hike on a Saturday in Lake Elsinore to see the flowers, I shrugged and said yes because I hadn’t seen her for a while and I also haven’t hit the trail for quite some time.

It was an absolutely spiritual experience. Nothing can come close to describing the beauty of millions of golden poppies opening up for the gentle morning sun with flocks of painted ladies alighting gently on said flowers. Sitting up high overlooking this spectacle, I felt hope that even though we see so much darkness and death in the world everything was going to be okay. After years of drought and fire and death, here is Spring dancing and alight with fresh life and beauty.

Here are some pictures that don’t do it justice:

“Self-Portrait of the Artist” Phase 1: Dinosaur Kid

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As promised for #inktober2018, I am doing my artist autobiography in the form of comics. (I suppose these are more of a glimpse into my artistic life rather than a true and accurate retelling.) In any case, one of my earliest memories of drawing is tracing a toy dinosaur after watching Jurassic Park for the millionth time. I loved dinosaurs then and to be honest, I still love them.