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16 March 2005

THINKING JAPANESE

Japanese seem to have many formal phrases for certain actions. When visiting your superior or somebody for the first time, these phrases will be helpful to express your gratitude. Here are some common expressions you are likely to use when visiting Japanese homes.

"Gomen kudasai" literally means, "Please forgive me for bothering you." It is often used when visiting someone's home. "Irassharu" is the honorific form (keigo) of the verb "kuru (to come)." All four expressions for a host mean "Welcome." "Irasshai" is less formal than other expressions. It should not be used when a guest is superior to a host.

"Doozo" is very useful expression and means, "please." The Japanese use it quite often. "Doozo oagari kudasai" literally means, "Please come up." This is because Japanese houses usually have an elevated floor in the entrance (genkan) and step up to go into the house. Then, a well known tradition --- take off your shoes at the genkan. You might want to make sure your socks don't have any holes before visiting Japanese homes! A pair of slippers is often offered to wear in the house. When you enter a tatami (a straw mat) room, you should remove slippers.

"Ojama shimasu" literally means, "I'm going to get in your way" or " I will disturb you." It is used as a polite greeting when entering someone's home. "Shitsurei shimasu" literally means, "I'm going to be rude." This expression is used in various situations. When entering someone's house or room, it means "Excuse my interrupting." When leaving it is used as "Excuse my leaving" or "Good-bye." Gift giving and more useful expressions on the next page!

The Japanese customary bring a gift when visiting someone's home. The expression "Tsumaranai mono desu ga ..." is very Japanese. It literally means, "This is an trifling thing, but please accept it." It might sound strange to you. Why anyone brings such a thing as a gift? This is a humble expression. The humble form (kenjougo) is used when a speaker wants to lower his/her position. Therefore, this expression is often used to your superior, in spite of the true value of the gift. When giving a gift to your close friend or other informal occasions, "Kore doozo" will do it.

"Meshiagaru" is the honorific form of the verb "taberu (to eat)." "Itadaku" is a humble form of the verb "morau (to receive)." However, "Itadakimasu" is a fixed expression used before eating or drinking. After eating "Gochisousama deshita" is used to express appreciation for the food. "Gochisou" literally means, "a feast." There is no religious significance of these phrases.

"Sorosoro" is a useful phrase for leaving. In informal situations, you could say "Sorosoro kaerimasu (It's about time for me to go home)," "Sorosoro kaerou ka (Shall we go home soon?)" or just "Ja sorosoro ... (Well, it's about time ...)" etc.

this Education Week

NCLB
Choice Option Going Untapped, But Tutoring Picking Up
Districts are paying scant attention to the provision of federal education law that allows students in low-performing schools to transfer elsewhere, though more are providing children with the supplemental services to which they are entitled. Includes the table NCLB: States Report on Progress
(Requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader.)

TEACHER BLOG
Betsy Rogers, 20-year teaching veteran from Alabama, and the 2003 National Teacher of the Year, is now working at the "neediest school" in Jefferson County, Alabama, and keeping a blog of her experience there.
In this week's entry, she finds herself asking: "Am I the right person to work at this school? Can I really help and have an impact? Do I have what it takes?"
Read her answer, and post your comments, questions, and insights.

TALKBACK
This week's topic: Is NCLB Making History of Social Studies?

Experts are seeing an increasing trend to devote more class time and instruction to reading and math, as well as other core subjects deemed crucial by state and federal mandates. As a result, subjects such as social studies and civic education are experiencing a decrease in curriculum resources.

Is the No Child Left Behind Act's emphasis on reading and writing squeezing social studies from its place as a primary course of study? What role should social studies play in schools today? How can curriculum demands be balanced in schools?
TalkBack to us.

Also, join these ongoing discussions:
# Revamping High Schools
# Schools' Use of Tracking Devices
# The Future of Vocational Education

Scarlett's Letter

Say Hello to the New PC

By Sean Gonsalves, AlterNet. Posted March 15, 2005.

The new PC is about doling out Scarlet Letters through public moralistic scrutiny of individual private behavior with little or no concern for matters of public interest or institutional morality.
The term "political correctness" was invented by sensitive "liberal" academics who wanted to raise awareness about the power of language to dehumanize, but has now become a cynical wise-crack in the mouths of "conservatives" who have made it politically correct to be politically incorrect- - "I know this isn't politically correct but ... (hee, hee)."

Also by Sean Gonsalves

'The Bonus Army' Lesson
The phrase "support our troops" has become code for supporting the war. But it doesn't logically follow that such a sentiment means supporting the policies that unnecessarily put troops in harm's way.
Feb 28, 2005

There's No Crying in Baseball
Is it acceptable for blacks to use the n-word while whites are morally castigated for it?
Feb 14, 2005

Word-Watch: Orwell Reborn
I announce the rebirth of this column as a vehicle for exploring the political language of our day, an effort to "simplify," as Orwell did; to expose "stupid remarks" in all of their obvious "stupidity."
Feb 1, 2005

The term "political correctness" was invented by sensitive "liberal" academics who wanted to raise awareness about the power of language to dehumanize, but has now become a cynical wise-crack in the mouths of "conservatives" who have made it politically correct to be politically incorrect- - "I know this isn't politically correct but ... (hee, hee)."

the state of our Uniion

*** The Bush Budget Disaster, by Rick Cohen
The White House FY 2006 budget proposes some dramatic changes
that if enacted will hurt many nonprofits and their work this
year, and for years to come. According to Cohen, "what we have
all worried about has come to pass…the Bush Administration is
actively substituting charity and philanthropy for government
programs and government funding."
http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/section/670.html

*** Responding to the "Shrink, Shift, and Shaft" Tax Cut Agenda"
by Chuck Collins
A highly partisan and successful agenda to cut government by
cutting taxes has left taxpayers with meager gains and
communities with an increasingly unmanageable burden. Some
affected are organizing to roll back the disproportionate burden
that falls on the disadvantaged and those in need.
http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/section/669.html

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