first day of my life

Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Friday, September 30, 2005


Kate (neighbour) kindly lent me Stephen Fretwell's Magpie album when I went to raid her collection. Luckily for me, she has good taste in music! Since I can no longer afford to buy CDs :( at least I have someone reliable to allow me to keep discovering new music. As for SF, I like his music, and in a way it reminds me very much of Damien Rice. So, good waking-up to in the morning music... I am really going to try and get into more music though - I really want to hear some Sigur Ros, Antony and the Johnsons, Death Cab For Cutie etc. etc.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

the frog song

As part of our seminar this morning, we had a Japanese teacher come to give us a Japanese lesson (the point being to experience learning a new language for the first time from the point of view of the student, despite the fact that three of us in the class already know Japanese...) But, she was a really inspiring teacher, and she has really motivated me. I was so impressed to by how quickly my classmates picked up the Japanese, and by her teaching methodologies. We sang lots of songs, including the frog song, which is really cute:


It brought back many memories of Sunday lunch and singing around the table!

She used a lot of those plastic fans that are always being given away on the streets advertising random things. Where can I get some from? They would be perfect as an alternative to flashcards...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Day Two and still alive (and still in Sheffield)

Day two has passed successfully. Although I have just spent (way) too much time organising the workload so that I can meet the deadlines. It's crazy what we're expected to do, but I'm just taking comfort in the fact that I seem to be one of the more organised amongst the people I've met so far! What lovely, lovely people on the course though! (But that doesn't mean I'll get through this! I can but try... I will have to stop thinking...)

Sunday, September 25, 2005


This evening I went to see Howl's Moving Castle at the Showroom (the first of many visits to the Showroom cinema I hope!) This cinema is amazing! Only three pounds fifty for students! AND, although I expected the film to be dubbed in English, it was in the original Japanese version! Hooray! Did actually learn some new Japanese words. Some useful, some not so useful:
かぶ   turnip
かかし scarecrow

Anyway, I really liked this film! My favourite character must be Turnip (the scarecrow). What a lovely, erm, scarecrow... Wish I had a nice scarecrow like him to look after me like he looked after Sophie おばあさん! Love the umbrella scene! I think my second favourite character is Heen, the dog. You have to see the film to know what I mean. A perfect way to spend the night before tomorrow...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sympathique/This Modern Love

Actually, the song I was referring to is called 'Sympathique' and here are the lyrics (I love to sing this song!). French practice for you:

Ma chambre a la forme d'une cage
Le soleil passe son bras par la fenêtre
Les chasseurs à ma porte
Comme les p'tits soldats
Qui veulent me prendre

Je ne veux pas travailler
Je ne veux pas déjeuner
Je veux seulement l'oublier
Et puis je fume

Déjà j'ai connu le parfum de l'amour
Un million de roses n'embaumerait pas autant
Maintenant une seule fleur dans mes entourages
Me rend malade

Je ne veux pas travailler
Je ne veux pas déjeuner
Je veux seulement l'oublier
Et puis je fume

Je ne suis pas fière de ça
Vie qui veut me tuer
C'est magnifique être sympathique
Mais je ne le connais jamais

Je ne veux pas travailler
Je ne veux pas déjeuner
Je veux seulement l'oublier
Et puis je fume

Je ne suis pas fière de ça
Vie qui veut me tuer
C'est magnifique être sympathique
Mais je ne le connais jamais

Je ne veux pas travailler
Je ne veux pas déjeuner
Je veux seulement l'oublier
Et puis je fume

☆And now I'm listening to This Modern Love (more Bloc Party). I feel like posting the lyrics:

To be lost in the forest
To be cut adrift
You've been trying to reach me
You bought me a book
To be lost in the forest
To be cut adrift
I've been paid
I've been paid

Don't get offended
If I seem absent minded
Just keep telling me facts
And keep making me smile
Don't get offended
If I seem absent minded
I get tongue-tied
Baby, you've got to be more discerning
I've never known what's good for me
I will be yours

I'll pay for you anytime

You told me you wanted to eat up my sadness
Well jump on, enjoy, you can gorge away
You told me you wanted to eat up my sadness
Jump right on
Baby, you've got to be more discerning
I've never known what's good for me
Baby, you've got to be more demanding
I will be yours

What are you holding out for?
What's always in the way?
Why so damn absent-minded?
Why so scared of romance?

This modern love breaks me
This modern love wastes me

Do you wanna come over and kill some time?
Tell me facts, tell me facts, tell me facts
Tell me facts
Throw your arms around me

week two

I'm now listening to my new Françoise Hardy CD. (Thanks to Demi - for introducing 'Tous les garçons et les filles'.) I have hardly any French music (in fact, come to think of it, none at all really... except my most favourite French song ever - 'Je ne veux pas travailler'. Hmm, makes me think that that could be a good song for practicing the negative at school... That song brings back so memories of summer 2001 in France doing the worst job I've ever done...)

Totally forgot what I was going to write in this entry...

Erm. Well, school was good today. I spent the day with year 5. Haha, it was funny: a girl came up to me today and said that she saw me in town on Saturday (actually in Boyes... of all places... I can't remember the last time I went there, but Annemarie needed material for curtains). She'd never even met me before (I haven't been in her class yet!) but somehow she'd managed to remember my face from assembly or something... Isn't it funny, as a teacher you are recogised EVERYWHERE you go... Scary! The kids at this school are so nice though! I helped a little boy called George today (he has learning difficulties). When the teacher said that I would be helping the pupils on his table with literacy (they put the 'slower' kids on the same table), he said to me 'Sorry that you have to work with my table'. I didn't know what to say! I just said, 'No, that's ok, I really want to work with you'. Poor kid! I was so surprised to hear him say that, as if I wouldn't want to help him. He's a lovely kid though. Mr H does a great job of teaching. So inspiring. Anyway, tomorrow I'm with the other year 5 class (possibly the class with the girl who recognised me).

So, well, that's it for now. More packing to do... Trying to find things to fill up my wall... Don't seem to have kept my posters and things from the last time. Although I have a million and one things from Japan that I could fill my room with. So, get sending postcards, people! Please!!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

✴Blue Light

I have been listening to Bloc Party's Silent Alarm for the first time today. Blue Light~~

You'll find it hiding in shadows
You'll find it hiding in cupboards
It will walk you home safe every night
It will help you remember

If that's way it is
Then that's the way it is

If that's way it is
Then that's the way it is

I still feel you and the taste of cigarettes
What could I ever run to
Just tell me it's tearing you apart
Just tell me you cannot sleep

And you didn't even notice
When the sky turned blue
And you couldn't tell the difference
Between me and you
And I nearly didn't notice
The gentlest feeling

You are the bluest light...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The view from my window tonight

This is a snap of the sky from my window this evening... I just got back from the pub (where I got to use Japanese after such a long time...) and now I'm thinking too much. M said that the rest of my life will have to go on hold... Will it? So many questions... But nothing has to be forever, right?

new-look Guardian

What does anyone think of the new-look Guardian? Today is the first day I managed to get a proper look at it (no longer being at the uni means no more Your Shop and 20p issues...) I'm not quite decided about it. With all the fancy fonts and 'Column Five'. It just feels really thick now. And everyone's going a bit bonkers with the Japanese puzzles (what now - kakuro? Yet another puzzle that no-one over there has ever heard of). Are they making the Saturday edition this size too? We have to give it time, but it may take some getting used to.

Monday, September 12, 2005

KS2 first impressions

So, the 12th September eventually arrived... At first it seemed like it would never arrive, just a fictional date that I could keep telling those who asked what I would be doing, but then it just seemed to creep up from nowhere. Like most things. So, one day down (and how many to go??). It was a good day actually. Hempland school is an excellent school (from what I've seen so far) and the staff even remember my cousin's son who left there a year ago (it would be difficult to forget the talented and gifted Ashley. Or, as we like to call him, galented and tifted....) My first day was spent with years 1 and 2. They are incredibly sweet!! (It made me wonder why I chose to do secondary though...) Some of them only started school last week - bless - and there were the usual tears during the register. It was pretty funny to be called Miss Atkinson (mainly because none of them could pronounce it at all) and I had to keep reminding myself that that is my new name. I might get them to call me Jenny-sensei instead though (sounds nicer!). Maybe not... So anyway, I got to help them with their work (we were learning about different types of houses) and I got chatting to little Charlie, who wanted desperately to tell me all about Stoke-on-Trent where he was born, and how that is where the original gingerbread man was invented (if I can use the word 'invented') and where, apparently - bit suspicious about this one - they don't know what batter is (ie, batter on fish). I told him that probably he meant that they don't know what scraps are (because each region has its own term for those - like in Devon they say 'gribbles'), but he insisted on the batter thing. Anyway. And he was sitting next to Mustafa, from Turkey, who is adorable... Shame I won't be in that class tomorrow...

I think I will try and write about my classroom experiences, even though they're probably not interesting to anybody who might read this blog, but it's a good record to have. To look back on....

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Leaving New York's never easy...

This is a poster that I saw in the NY subway: "I'd leave New York but I'd be frightened of missing something".* I guess this sums up the view of pretty much any New Yorker that you speak to.** (I'm now writing this well into my 36th hour of wakefulness - how I hate overnight flights - so please excuse the more-than-usual-rubbishness of this entry...) I mean, there is absolutely everything and anything you could want in this city. For example, we ate in a Japanese restaurant, and were greeted by いらっしゃいませ's a million times, just like in Japan, with real Japanese people making the yakitori (by the way, I got to eat yakionigiri for the first time since leaving Japan~ and it was better than any yakionigiri I'd eaten in Tottori! Oops, except for the ones I used to get from the vending machine at the service station on the way to Osaka...) and all the other customers were Japanese! So it's like having Japan in your own city! Or any other country for that matter... I guess if I lived in NY then I wouldn't want to leave either - why would you want to when everything's at your doorstep? And how can New Yorkers live anywhere else in the world? How can anywhere else compare? I guess they can live other places, but they will always be longing to go back...

So, here I am back in the Olde Yorke. Back to the blog, trying to make it look cool, although I can't figure out still how to make the font a different colour (must be my old fashioned Mac). It's pretty impossible for me to write here everything (and if I did there would be nothing left to talk about with you guys...) I've posted a few pics of things. From the top: Me and Fran on our way to the UN, the UN buliding (worth the visit, but the tour was a little disappointing), the Spamalot sign (yay - we got tickets from eBay. It wasn't Spam-a-not in the end! Oh my god, it was sooooo good!! Tim Curry was brilliant!), Times Square, Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, some street somewhere near Madison Square Garden, and Katz's Deli (yummy hot dogs). I have tons of pictures, but it would be silly to put them all here. I mean, all 100 of them...

Well, I won't bore you with every last detail of my trip, but here are a few of the highlights for me:

☆ Tenement Museum (preserved nineteenth century apartment block. Fascintating).

☆ Storm King (an outdoor sculpture park outside of the city where we saw works by Roy Litchenstein and Andy Goldsworthy, amongst others...)

☆ cupcakes (the ones we bought for dinner at Kumi's).

☆ Fiddler on the Roof (and how we sat right in the front row!)

☆ Spamalot (fantastic).

☆ Cafe Lalo (where You've Got Mail was filmed...)

☆ Bryant Park (where I wrote all your postcards, you people!)

☆ Bagels for breakfast with Fran and Jonathan.

☆ Walking in Central Park (now suffering with blisters~ silly me, wore the wrong shoes) and reading on the grass...

☆ Fairways (no other market like it!!)

☆ The United Nations (despite the dreary 40's decor, an important place to go. By the way, are there any countries that are not in the UN~~???)

☆ The Guggenheim (actually a little disappointing, given that they were in the middle of installing a new exhibition, but the building itself never fails to impress).

☆ Being anonymous in a big city (isn't it great?!)

☆ Knish (a Jewish snack food that I discovererd - basically a potatoey dumpling)

(In no particular order, by the way.)

I miss the place already!

And why do they not sell Quaker granola anywhere!!!! It's ridiculous!!!

I need to make the blog look better I know with the layout, but I'm cream crackered... I need to sleep...

But, thank you F & J for a great time. I will be back ;)

*Fran, I may have got this wrong - correct me please!
** You might have something to say on this too...