Extensive Reading: Getting Kids to Read

A joint Nara Chapter-ER SIG Event DATE: Sunday, June 18th VENUE: Yamato Conference Hall TIME: 10.00 a.m. — 4.30 p.m. Speakers: (1) Ann Mayeda Integrating ER into the Curriculum (2) Paul Goldberg The benefits of doing extensive reading online with Xreading (3) Mark Brierley How to persuade them to read (4) Ann Flanagan ER: Building […]

via All You Ever Wanted to Know About ER — Nara JALT

I’m an educator. And also a reader. And of course a writer.

“I cannot live without books.” (Thomas Jefferson)

We cannot educate without books. If you’re in Japan, stop by Nara on June 18th and find out how we can help our students enjoy reading.

 

Freebies and previews

Bunny-coverFinally, a post after two and a half months! Yes, I was/am/will be busy. And so it goes.

As requested, I have finally managed to put some previews of my work online. The new page of “Freebies” has one short story so far (The Lost Bunny Shrine of Annandale), which is currently available as a .mobi download for Kindle. One commenter on Goodreads complained that it was about a bunch of drunken college guys.

Yep. And a bunny shrine is, of course, involved. The horror…

I don’t view that as much of a criticism, to be honest. It is what it is. Check it out for yourself!

I can make other formats available (maybe, if I can figure out how to convert it) if people ask. Other stories have a pic but now file right now. (Coming soon!)

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On “En”

DSC00976I’ve been meaning to add a personal essay page to my web site for stories that didn’t seem to fit into any neat categories. The immediate impetus is an essay that was recently “rejected” by my former graduate program’s in-house literary journal…probably because it’s an essay and not a short story (I posted elsewhere an article about the quirkiness of the English-speaking world’s insistence on an artificial separation of “fiction” and “nonfiction”).

Rather than wait up to half a year to see whether I could get it published online in a magazine (most of which seem to only publish US-centric, “woe is me” or “OMG look at THIS” sensationalist drivel) I thought that at least I could share it here…

The essay is “En” (縁), a topic that Asians (particularly those in Confucian-influenced societies) know a lot about. I first encountered the concept as a teaching assistant in Gojo High School, Nara, about 15 years ago. Almost like a previous life. Maybe it was…

Check it out here.

Goodreads giveaway for Notes from the Nineties

Announcing a book giveaway!

Enter to win one of 10 signed copies of Notes from the Nineties (paperback, $6.98 value).

Begins March 25, 2016 and lasts until May 1, 2016.

Tell your friends! Tell your family! Oh, tell it on the mountain! And dangle your friend off of it…

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Notes from the Nineties by M. Thomas Apple

Notes from the Nineties

by M. Thomas Apple

Giveaway ends May 01, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Notes from the Nineties: Training the Mountain Warrior

This is the second preview of my upcoming collection of short stories and poems, Notes from the Nineties. In the first part, I explained the background behind the first story and poem pair, Cois Fharriage and Ag an gCrosaire.

EnnogyojyaFrom first to last: the final story in the collection, “Training the Mountain Warrior,” is based on two specific events that happened to me shortly after moving to Japan in 1999. The date thus places the story barely in the Nineties; the paired-poem (“Asian Dreams”) was written hastily—scrawled, really—in an old yellow lined notepad the night before I left the US (permanently, as it turned out). I still have the notepad, well used and abused.

The short story describes my attempted nighttime climb of Mt. Fuji (which ended short of the summit due to high winds) and my trek through the ancient mountains of the Kinai peninsula, whose hiking trails later became a World Heritage Site. There were a lot of details that I deliberately left out, and of course the dialogue is completely fictional. But I did, actually, dangle my friend over a cliff.

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New Year’s at the Dojo

This past Sunday, my fellow Shorinji Kempo kenshi and I held our dojo’s “New Spring Law Meeting” (terrible translation of shinshun hokai; basically, “New Year’s Ceremony”). We usually hold it on the second Sunday of January, but delayed it this year due to everyone’s busy work schedules. The ceremony took place after a special three-hour intensive practice for higher level practitioners (we use the term “kenshi,” similar to those who do judo, who use the term “judoka,” or karate, “karate-ka”). No central heat in Japan, below zero temperatures…no problem. Body heat was more than enough.

As with most new year ceremonies in Japan, our ceremony includes one person (this year, the woman in the picture above) reading out a carefully prepared speech on a long horizontal paper folded many times, the contents of which summarize the events of the previous year and then end with a promise to work hard for the upcoming year. This is followed by an exhortation from the shisho (master) for us to do our best and work together to achieve our goals. The ceremony was longer this year because it was the 50th anniversary of the dojo foundation. Only top-level kenshi attend, which is a little disappointing; out of 80 members, only a handful can attend. Continue reading

Christmas in Japan

It’s been a long fall. Lots of work the past two months, with intermittent bouts of family sickness, but somehow we managed to pull through in time for the holidays.

Of course Christmas is not a national holiday where I live (central Japan). It’s mostly treated as an excuse for couples to enjoy a romantic evening at an overpriced restaurant. Except for us, where it’s an excuse for moms and dads to have their kids wreck the house while the parents have a few drinks.

Fortunately. the food is good. Very good. No Christmas turkey or ham here (the main fare is typically KFC actually, since some KFC chief in a brilliant PR stroke managed to convince the entire country that Americans eat fried chicken at Christmas). But there are plenty of parents nearby who are really good at cooking.

And of course there’s always cake:

 So Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays, and other non-denominational festivities to you and your kin!

And no, I don’t want to talk about the 2015 World Series. I’m too busy using the NL Champions shot glass set to be depressed…