Hi all. Welcome back to the show. We had a little  break in there, but with all of you being busy with shopping and the like, I  decided that was best...actually it was more the fact I had nothing even  remotely exciting to report. After searching high and low, I have found a  few interesting tidbits (I use that word a lot). Okay here goes...a little  Guam insight, Christmas songs, and a little more about Japanese  education. ------->Well Guam as you know >from my  other emails was pretty good. One of the amazing things I learned was just  how important America's liberating Guam was to ending WWII. My friend Rafi  and I visited a few interesting places. One of those places was a site  that had a few unused Japanese war guns. Seems the Japanese hadn't  completely prepared them by the time the American troops came. When I  learned that I just had to laugh because their trains are always on time (you  could set your watch by them)...oh well. Another interesting thing about  Guam was its way of trying to make the island seem just like mainland  America. Case in point...on a plaque outside the stadium where the  Japanese Pro team, the Tokyo Giants play, it said something along the lines of  "baseball evolved across sandlots in America and the fields of Guam to  become America's past time." For some strange reason I didn't happen  to notice Guam's "important" role in baseball history when I went to  the Baseball Hall of Fame a few years ago... maybe it was an oversight. So  it was a pretty interesting time, and I learned a great deal about an area of  the world I barely knew existed. Also the weather was perfect and the full moon  made nights almost look like day. -------->So the other day one of my teachers asked me if I  could teach a Christmas song..."sure" was my reply.  Thinking...thinking...how about Silent Night? "Too  difficult." Okay, how about Rudolph the Red Nosed  Reindeer?..."Too easy"...okay how about you choose the song?  "How about Santa Claus is Coming to Town?" I retorted  "Sounds good to me"... "Do you have a CD with that  song?" My thinking response..."Yes in my back pocket"...my  actual response "No"..."Is that a pretty popular  song?" My thinking response "Yes, Americans everywhere are  buying up any CD with this song on it...they can't get enough." My  actual response..."Well sure, it's a traditional Christmas song...and I  think that students will like it." Her reply.."Okay then we will  tomorrow." Tomorrow came and she came over to me with Mariah Carey's  Christmas CD and said "The students want to learn this song" as she  handed me the words for "All I want for Christmas is You"...I laughed  and actually said what I thought..."This is probably the most difficult and  longest Christmas song I know."..."Okay" the reply. Well if  all were willing then who was I to say anything? Making an already long  story short we played the song a couple times. I read the words line by  line in complete monotone (I was fighting laughter the whole time) as they  repeated after me...such wonderful lines as "I just want you for my  own...more than you could ever know"..."I'm just gonna keep on  waiting...underneath the mistletoe"..."All I want for Christmas is  you...you baby"...As I read this very NOT traditional Christmas song I  pondered how this could possibly be internationalism...never concluding if I  thought it was at its best or worse. The best part was when after 2  readings of it we played the CD again and everyone "sang"...Notice the  quotes? That is because as it turned out it was a duet of the teacher and  me...I once again learned that Mariah Carey should never be sung to because her  rollercoaster singing "trips" are very difficult to copy...even if you  have her range...which neither the teacher or I came even close to  possessing...but we all laughed...and laughed and laughed...at me...for 9  classes. Still I was surprised to learn that so many  Japanese have Christmas trees and celebrate the holiday. Many believed in Santa  Claus when they were younger.  -------->And now a word about Japanese education.  Hold on tight because I am flying through this. Each grade is broken down  into classes...like American ones (I have been told it is done randomly, and not  based on a student's ability...in America some schools do this...it is called a  tracking system), but these classes do everything together. Each class a  couple times a year, i.e. the Sports Festival and Cultural Festival, compete  against each other. I have video of the Cultural Festival, which involves  singing competitions. These classes stay in the same classroom all  day. It is the teachers who come to them...changing every 50min class  period. Another thing is that in April many teachers leave one school and  go to various others while a group of new teachers come in...the reason for this  I still haven't figured out. Getting back to ability I have seen some  students with learning disabilites. They are part of the mainstream  class. From what I can tell they sometimes go to a resource room some time  during the day. Also I have been told that sometimes they go to a special  school. I found out this information when one of the teachers told me that  a boy in one of my classes was upset because he wasn't going to be in my class  the next day and I would know that he was in a special class. The teacher  told him that I actually wasn't going to be there the next day because I was  going to another school...he was relieved I wasn't going to be there >from what  the teacher said. What information I know has been as a result of  observation or if a teacher volunteered it. I don't ask a lot of questions  because I know that the Japanese are pretty vague with their answers even if  they decide to answer the question. I guess you could say I'm on a  "need to know basis" and with many of these things I don't really need  to know. Oh yeah...yesterday I overheard one of the  female students saying how I had a beautiful nose. How bizarre. I've  never gotten that before, it being a big Adams nose and all...oh  well. Well that is all the news that is the  news...let the count down begin...Ima (that's on purpose) coming  home.