Posts Tagged too much stuff

October 14, 2006 – Stuff

Today during my last English lesson I was teaching some lower level students. During the lesson they had trouble understanding the noun “stuff”, meaning a variety of things.

When someone doesn’t understand a word, most people will try to explain the word using other words. This can create a problem for English students who might not understand the other words used in the explanation; instead of having to explain one word you now need to explain 5. Teachers can easily fall into a trap where they keep using more and more words, confusing the class and totally derailing the lesson.

I tried a few times to explain “stuff” using other words, and then realizing that I was digging myself a hole, I tried to think of another way to explain it to my class. Inspiration struck, I excused myself from the classroom, ran to the teachers room, and returned with my messenger bag that I use to carry things to and from work. I told the students that I had a lot of “stuff” in my bag as I started dumping the contents on the desk: some pens, homemade teaching materials, snacks, a book, my Ipod, and other things. After filling the desk, I told my students that maybe I had too much stuff in my bag.

One of the best parts about teaching is seeing the exact moment when a student understands something new. My demonstration worked, with all of my students looking happy and making lesson notes. After the lesson I had to repack my stuff and then explain to the branch staff why I had run out of a lesson – they were truly confused. Fortunately my explanation did not involve me once again dumping out my bag.


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March 8, 2005 – Room setup never ends


Today I spent time once again trying to organize my room at Ooka City Plaza. My room is the smallest of the three bedrooms, and has an awkward shape. That combined with the sheer volume of stuff I am trying to keep in there makes it difficult to get the way I want it.

Today my closet got attention. The closet is large enough that I had at one point considered setting up my futon inside and turning it into a private sleeping area. However, recently it has become a storage area for empty boxes. I cut down the boxes I didn’t need, and organized the rest to make the rest of the closet more usable. My next project is to organize, sort, and throw away some of the random stuff that is currently stashed in my giant suitcases. It is surprising how much stuff a person can collect in a year and a half.

Progress on my room is always very slow. At this pace I will probably just finish finding the ideal setup right before I move back to Canada.

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October 31, 2004 – Packing all night on Halloween

Zoe, me, and Okonomi at Halloween. My costume was "English teacher"

Zoe, me, and Okonomi at Halloween. My costume was “English teacher”

Today is Halloween! It was also my last day living and working in Kawasaki. After work I went out for a final beer at Kiosk with Anzac. I thanked him for all the good advice he gave me as a teacher and wished him the best. It was good to have one last Kiosk beer, but it only served to start my packing later.

Every time I move I realize just how much crap a person can accumulate. I spent a few hours packing by myself, then Okonomi joined me. We packed and worked on a bottle of shuchu. In retrospect, the shochu probably didn’t help productivity very much. The end result of packing was:

  • 2 large suitcases
  • 8 moving boxes
  • a computer
  • one futon mattress
  • a TV
  • my awesome floor couch

I also made some donations to the dozo table of things I just had no room or reason to bring with me. By the end I got two and a half hours of sleep. I hate packing!

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