Hakusanroku Journal 白山麓ジャーナル

November 14, 2018 Skype-a-Thon with Vice-president of Microsoft


On November 14 (WED), Microsoft held its annual global education event "Skype-a-Thon." Skype-a-Thon is a 48 hour charity event in which Microsoft connects classrooms all over the world. See here for more information about Skype-a-Thon. ICT participated as one of the two schools from Japan out of 102 countries and first-year students connected with Vice-president Anthony Salcito at Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, USA. Also, Teacher Engagement Manager Education Group Public Sector Hidenori Harata from Microsoft Japan visited us at Hakusanroku campus. The skype session was about 30 minutes long and was divided into two parts. In the first half, students took turns introducing the Hakusanroku campus, local community, personal projects and extracurricular activities in English. Vice-president Salcito listened intently, occasionally commenting on the students' presentation. A list of their presentation is as follows:

  • Introduction of Hakusanroku campus

  • Position of ICT and distance from Seattle

  • Projects using the 3D printer and laser cutter

  • Activities in Engineering Design

  • Extracurricular Activities at local junior high school festival

The second half was Q&A with Vice-president Anthony Salcito. Students asked questions such as "What innovative technologies are you paying special attention to?", "How do you make time to enjoy your hobby?" and "What kind of skills do I need if I want to become vice-president of a multinational company?" Despite being on a 48 hour marathon event, Vice-president Salcito answered these question sincerely and in length. You can listen to his answers in the video. After the Skype session, Mr. Harata also gave a speech to the students, talking about work life balance that was touched upon in the session saying "Recently, the boarder between work and personal time is blurring. I sometimes join a meeting from home while I'm playing with my kids. I bed you sometimes play games while you do your homework."

The students seemed stimulated from talking with the Vice president of Microsoft. I hope the experience of speaking with a top-runner of the IT industry will give them confidence and help them in the future.



2018年11月14日 マイクロソフトの副社長とスカイプで対話授業「Skype-a-Thon」


  • 白山麓キャンパス紹介

  • ICTの位置、シアトルからの距離

  • 3Dプリンターやレーザーカッターを使ったプロジェクトの紹介

  • エンジニアリングデザインの活動紹介

  • 課外活動で訪れた地元中学校の文化祭での活動




November 13, 2018 Storytelling at Hakurei Elementary School

One of the important ICT principles is involvement with the local community and being good neighbors. As part of this policy, Pauline Baird and I go to Hakurei Elementary School 2 times a month to tell the students stories in English. The students are split into 2 groups, grades 1 to 3 and grades 4 to 6. I teach one group and Pauline teaches the other group and the next time we go to Hakurei we switch groups.

So far we have told the students the following stories; The Enormous Turnip, Six Dinner Sid, Edward the Emu, I Want My Hat Back, The Hare and the Tortoise and The Little Engine That Could.  It’s quite enjoyable as the students are eager to be involved in the storytelling and to act out the story. It’s a way to help them and their classmates understand the story.

Next year I hope to bring ICT students to Hakurei Elementary School to help tell the stories. This way the students can become more involved in the local community and use their English skills to teach others English. If you have any suggestions for stories we should tell, please let Pauline or I know.

Ian Stevenson

2018年11月13日 白嶺小学校で絵本読み教室


これまで読んだ本は「おおきなかぶ」「Six Dinner Sid」「Edward the Emu」「どこいったん」「うさぎと亀」「The Little Engine That Could」です。子供たちが授業に積極的に参加して、物語を演じてくれるので、とても楽しいです。演じることで、自身とクラスメイトの理解を助けることにもなります。



November 9, 2018

KTB, the Japanese teacher here. First, congratulations to first-year student Hinata for passing the paper test for English Proficiency grade two! Today, Yuka and Ichika joined us as we set out to take her ID photo needed for the interview test. On the drive back through the tinted mountains, we stopped at the café "Detza" in Torigoe for some sweets. Our conversation varied from all the era names in Japanese history (which Ichika has memorized), how to say Bangkok's formal name (in Thailand they learn it by song), the girls' future and looking forward to skiing in the winter. 

Students are becoming increasingly busy in this second semester. However, today became a pleasant lull in their busy life. Lately, the girls are practicing for their performance in music class. I hear they are practicing morning, evening and nighttime, using most of their free time between classes and the learning session. What will their performance be like? On the drive back they spoke about their plans to go to Universal Studios Japan. They seemed reenergized by the time we got back to school, saying the sugar will help them through the learning session.

(*"Detza" is next to the Torigoe Ikkou Ikki History Museum. The people who run the place are parents of my daughter's classmate. Their baked sweets are so delicious you'll want to squeal.)

Yutaka Katabe





潟辺 豊

November 6, 2018 Yaki-imo Party

It has been more than six months since I began living at the cottage at Hakusanroku campus. Since then, I have experienced spring, summer and autumn, and am dreading how much snow we will get this year while I enjoy the beautiful tinted mountains. In Japan, we call autumn "the season of appetite", and as such, we held a yaki-imo party on October 28. ICT students, teachers and local people harvested and the roasted sweet potatoes we planted in April. It was a large and lively party with 20 local people and 25 ICT teachers and family members, a total of 45 people.

My biggest mistake was to eat lunch before the party because I thought there were only yaki-imo sweet potatoes. On the contrary, local people prepared "Kachiri", a local cuisine of potatoes boiled in sugar and soy sauce, seasoned rice, local mountain herb tempura, shiitake mushrooms, boar meat, huge Iwana fish, and dough rapped around thin bamboo sticks. We roasted these over the fire and there even were marshmallows for dessert. These seemed to make the international teachers especially happy.

I enjoyed speaking with the local people even more than eating the delicious food they brought. I was especially grateful for their advice about how to capture kame-mushi (stink bugs). Pour a little water and detergent into a plastic bottle and drop the kame-mushi into it with chopsticks. I will definitely try this.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to Yamazaki sensei of ICT and Yamashita-san of KIT for planning and preparing such an enjoyable event.

Shinobu Ohara


2018年11月6日 焼き芋大会






November 5, 2018 Best Time of the Year?

River crossing from route 178

    The other day I was returning to Hakusan from Kanazawa. The car in front of me was driving very slowly! So, I decided to take the back roads instead of route 157 to get back my apartment. It was the best decision I have made all month! Not only did I get home faster but the view on the backroads was amazing. The rice has been harvested and the area felt very wide and open. I had my window down and the mountain air was crispy and cool. I also had a hot cup of coffee with me. The combination of the open fields, the perfect air, and the hot drink made me very nostalgic. In my home, we love this time of year. Actually, most people like Autumn the best for the same reasons I mentioned above. It truly made me feel like Hakusan is becoming my second home. So, if you have the time, I highly recommend that you grab a hot drink and go for a drive on the backroads of route 178. Lower your windows, get cozy, sip your hot drink slowly and take in the scenery. The experience is simply amazing.

Edward Basquil Jr.


2018年11月5日 最高の季節?



November 1, 2018 Fighting Robots

Hello, it's Jonathan the camera guy. Today, I would like to introduce this week's activity in the Engineering Design class. You can read more about Engineering Design here. It is the course where students use design thinking and engineering skills to make things for society. This week, we are building robots using Lego Mindstorms. Lego Mindstorms is a platform for robots that can be programmed and built using Lego blocks, motors, gears, sensors, tires, etc.

This week's Engineering Design class was divided into two parts. In the first part, students were given a list of challenges to program their robot; such as "turn exactly 90 degrees", "move forward and bring back a box" or "move along a fixed path." Mindstorms has a visualized programming interface, and users can program their robot simply by connecting orders on a computer and uploading them to the robot. Students could do the challenges in any order they wished. There was much trial and error. However, students completed the challenges one by one thanks to Mindstorms' user-friendly interface.

Mindstorms' interface is visually intuitive

The second part was more interactive. The goal was to build and program a robot to fight Sumo wrestling style. Students were given 45 minutes to build and program their robot. Afterwards, they would hold a single elimination tournament. Students quickly began preparing their robots for battle. Many students added weapons to the front, while some worked on reworking the tires. 45 minutes passed in no time, and many students rushed to finish up their programs. Students could not control the robots after the battle started and they had to predict and program their robots as best they could. Students completed their robots and the tournament began.

Student working on robot

It was interesting to see the individual strategies each student came up with for exterior and movement. Some students programmed their robot to advance forward, while others took a more "clever" approach and programmed their robot to back off to the side and flank the opponent. You can see a couple of the battles in the video below. As you can see, things do not always go as planned. The robot that won the tournament looks innocent without any added weaponry. However, its secret is in the tire mechanism. The builder explained that working with the gear ratio of the motor and tires, he was able to create a robot that moves slow but powerfully. After the tournament, students gave a presentation on their robot and about what they would do differently next time.

I asked the students about the class and many answered that they enjoyed it. It was an intense schedule, but a fulfilling one. Ogawa sensei, who is in charge of the class, explained that Mindstorms is a perfect way to prepare students for more complex programming and robot building in the future. This technology can be utilized to create robots for manufacturing lines, rescue robots, etc. in the future. There is a distinct muscle in the brain for programming robots the way you wish them to move and I believe this class was a fun and effective way to tap into that field. Thanks for watching. See you next time.


2018年11月1日 戦うロボット

こんにちは、ジョナサンです。今日は今週のエンジニアリングデザインの授業内容を紹介したいと思います。エンジニアリングデザインは学生がデザインシンキングや、ものづくりの技術を使って社会に役に立つものを作ることを学ぶ科目です。今週はLEGO Mindstormsを使ってロボットの製作をしました。LEGO Mindstormsはロボットのプラットフォームで、ブロック、モーター、ギア、センサー、車輪などを使ってロボットを組み立て、プログラミングを使って動かすことができます。





October 25, 2018 Just keep swimming

Assalmu alikom! I enjoyed my summer vacation back home in Egypt with family and friends. It was so exciting to see as many as I could of all of them. I was also lucky to have the chance to see different places and enjoy taking pictures like the ones you see at the bottom. Beautiful! Right? When I showed these pictures to friends in Japan they liked them, but not the same way I did. To me, the pictures had more meaning than just beautiful seen like those millions of beautiful pictures you can see on internet at any time.   The pictures hold knowledge that I gained, memories and experiences that I went through. It is always fun to know and learn more. Just watching is totally different from learning. No matter how long you stay in front of TV watching great swimmers win the races, you will never be able to be able to win the race or just swim yourself before trying.

Swimming is a very similar sport to how our brain process information and gain knowledge. Swimming is one of few sports that people of all ages can enjoy. Babies can start learning how to swim from day 1. Similarly, babies start gaining knowledge of all types from the very first moment in life. Our brains are like muscles and knowledge is like water. The more children get familiar to water and enjoy being in water the easier it is for them to swim.

We teachers, parents, or a society in whole are expected to provide the free chances for our children to enjoy water or knowledge gaining. But, can children be good swimmers by only being in water and enjoying it? They may be able to swim occasionally. But, can they be good or professional swimmers without enough and proper training for their muscles, they need to practice and struggle at some points to get better. Struggles and challenges are what make us better swimmers. We can always take our children to the pool, but it has to be their decision if they just want to enjoy swimming, or be professional swimmers.

It has been almost 7 months since ICT Hakusanroku campus opened and the new educational program has started, students might feel things are getting more challenging, and more effort is needed to be done. To my promising ICT students, I know you are now in the water all by yourself worried about the depth of water. Do not worry, all of us your teachers are all around watching, following your progress, and ready to jump in and help whenever needed.  Remember!  When life gets you down, do you want to know what you got to do...……… There is one thing to be done as my favorite anime character Dory said   “JUST KEEP SWIMMING!”

At one point you will reach your goals! 

Nagwa Fekri Rashed

Arabic famous quote “Seek knowledge from cradle to the grave”


2018年10月25日 泳ぎつづけてごらん








October 24, 2018 The Kobi Kronicles

One day this semester, the school placed a roving avatar robot-like vehicle on the front lawn. It is quite interesting just to see it move up, down, and across the grass all day long. It operated peacefully, until Kobi, the resident, 10-year old maltese-pomeranian came along!

One September morning, Kobi and I went out for our walks later than 7:30 am, when the robot was in operation. As soon as he saw the machine, he bolted towards it.

When he caught up with it, he began trying to use his little paws to catch it. The machine kept moving. It was a sight to behold --dog versus machine. Not to be outdone, Kobi darted around to the left and to the right, touching it here and there. It was something to see.

I couldn’t let him off his leash for fear he may injure himself or wreck the machine but he could not get enough of playing with it.

I am not sure what the machine is meant to do, but I have been thinking. What if I learn some programming and what not? An what if I make a toy, the automated kind? What if the students help me? I think this is a good idea and what better place to do it than at ICT. Stay tuned!

Pauline Baird


2018年10月24日 コビ物語







October 18, 2018 Kaga Yuzen Workshop Part Two at Hakusanroku

On Saturday, we held our follow-up Kaga Yuzen workshop in collaboration with Kobo Hisatsune. You can read about "Kobo Hisatsune" and our career design trip in Yamazaki sensei's journal from October 9. For our second workshop, Hisatsune sensei and staff visited us at the Hakusanroku campus.


Hisatsune sensei visited us at Hakusanroku campus.


The workshop began with students giving presentations on new ideas they came up with for Kaga Yuzen. There were many interesting ideas such as creating designs for license plates and glass corridors. Hisatsune sensei commented that "Experience comes with the tradeoff of flexibility. Fresh minds and ideas are always welcome."

Student explaining ideas they came up with for Kaga Yuzen.

In this workshop, students and teacher actually dyed a picture on a piece of fabric. The people of Kobo Hisatsune provided an assortment of designs to choose from as well as dyeing material. The pictures were outlined with thin lines that can be washed off with water after the coloring is complete.


At first, the cloths looked like white pages of a coloring book. However, we soon discovered that it was not that simple. First, the liquid dye soaks into the fabric, so it is difficult to sustain the colors inside the lines of the picture. Second, utilizing this characteristic is a fundamental technique in Kaga Yuzen; adding a second color for more depth of field or a realistic look. For example, the Kobo Hisatsune staff demonstrated how adding yellow to the tips of green leaves gave them a more natural look.

Yellow on the tips give leaves a more realistic look.

Each student used different colors and dyed the cloths differently. Even if they chose the same designed cloth, the pictures looked totally different. Hisatsune sensei remarked that he enjoys observing how everyone thinks and percepts color differently.

Same picture but looks totally different.

Kaga Yuzen dye does not come off with water. After rinsing the cloths and drying them, the color is permanent. After a couple of hours, everyone had their own Kaga Yuzen handkerchief.

Everyone's finished product.


Everyone seemed to enjoy the workshop and I hope it does not end here. Both sides promised to collaborate in the future, and I am looking forward to which ideas the students came up with may actually come true.



2018年10月18日 友禅染教室








October 16, 2018 Singing in Performing Arts class


Hakusanroku campus does not have a music class. However, as you can see, we are singing! Hello, it's Jonathan, the camera guy. Today, I would like to introduce our latest activity in the Performing Arts class.

In Performing Arts, students learn to express themselves through various mediums such as art and music. Currently, we are learning to sing under the instruction of Yuri Daikoku sensei, a professional vocalist and voice trainer. In the video, you can listen to the students singing "Do-Re-Mi" from the movie "The Sound of Music."

Daikoku sensei is a jazz singer, and we also sang classics such as "Fly Me to the Moon" and "Tennessee Waltz." For these songs, students and teachers took turns singing.

After the class, I asked Daikoku sensei about teaching music at ICT. She explained "It is different from teaching at a music school where all the students are already interested in singing. My major goal is to avoid any students disliking music. Also, I admire Hakusanroku campus' atmosphere. People enjoy expressing themselves freely."

Personally, I was surprised at how little hesitance the students showed singing in front of the group. There may be credit due to the teachers and atmosphere. However, I believe that they are definitely becoming individuals of high caliber.


2018年10月16日 歌で表現力を養う








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