The down jackets are out, fingers are frozen, and stores have been decorated for the holidays for too long already. Yes, that’s right: it’s December! Wherever you find yourself and whatever you may or may not celebrate, I hope this month leaves you with fond memories.

 

For my third year, I’m finally visiting home during the winter and I couldn’t be more excited. While my first year in Thailand was great, being stuck in an airport last year was less than stellar. When I return home, I can finally experience firsthand one of my half-joking, half-deadly serious nightmares of my youngest brother driving. This fear first visited me after it became obvious he is a disaster magnet: before he’d turned 4, he’d already visited the ER three times. Compounding this is the fact that he recently went the wrong way down a one-way street. Fortunately, this transgression did not result in anything more damaging than panicking our mother, though that is no small thing.

 

This month, Mandy gives us the classic winter dish nabe in our food section, which is perfect for parties and eating while snuggled under a kotatsu. Rory shares with us a fiction piece about a pessimist, as well as his reasons for not visiting England while on JET. For those of you that will be going home or traveling during the winter, there is a guide on ways to spend your time during layovers in five airports. Or, you may have visitors come to Japan and want a few tips on how to make that happen. Before all this traveling, you may want to visit Kobe’s Luminarie, which Rackle has written a preview of. Our alumni this month is Justin Pool of (you guessed it) Shiga.

 

Much like the fact that my brother will soon be free to wreak havoc on the roads all on his own, our students will be out of our hands before we know it. Elementary school students become pubescent teenagers (often) become high schoolers taking studies either too seriously or as a joke (sometimes) become university students (hopefully) become productive members of society. While English classes may be arbitrary as they currently stand, becoming proficient opens the world in ways few other languages can. Guiding and gently correcting mistakes now, while the stakes are relatively low, will help students build confidence and avoid crashing into poles. 頑張りましょう。

 

Brittany Teodorski