Hakusanroku Journal 白山麓ジャーナル: 2018年9月の記事

September 21, 2018 Back to School! Anamizu Seminar

Hello, it's Jonathan the camera guy. This week, the first-years students participated in the Anamizu Seminar at the Anamizu Bay Seminar House. The Anamizu seminar is an annual three-day event where students strengthen their English skill and relationship with each other through marine activities and spending time together.


The Anamizu Bay Seminar House is in Hosu District, in the middle of Noto peninsula. It is about three hours by bus from Hakusanroku campus and consists of the main building with dormitories and seminar rooms, and a harbor for marine activities.


After arriving at Anamizu, the seminar began with a welcome speech from the director, Mitsuhiko Sugawara. He explained that he hoped the students would learn sympathy, discipline and leadership through their experience. Then, students were divided into their dormitory rooms. Each room had one or two English speaking teachers, and the students used this opportunity to refresh their English after the summer break.

The first day was mostly orientation and preparation for the following days. Students practiced the procedures of the morning and evening assembly. It was a militaristic and crisp experience. However, the students seemed relaxed and enjoying the disciplined atmosphere.

After dinner, we continued our tradition of the learning session (evening school). Students practiced singing the school song and prepared for their book report presentation. On the morning of the final day, students would give a three to four minute presentation on the books they read over the summer break in English. Many students came to me and other teachers to check their grammar.


Day two was the big day for the marine activities. We woke up at 6:30 to gather outside for rollcall and exercised.

After breakfast, we walked down to the harbor and prepared for the marine activities. First, we took a tour of Anamizu bay on a large cruiser. The weather was perfect and many students took the opportunity to relax and chat with their friends. Others who were interested joined Mr. Sugawara in the main cabin to ask about the ship's radar, sonar and other equipment. The tour lasted for about an hour.


Next, the students learned to tie knots in a ropework class. According to the teacher, a good knot is a knot that is simple to tie, does not come loose easily, but is easy to untie when needed. We learned various knots for tying ropes together or to a pole. The activity ended with everyone tying their ropes together in a circle and leaning outward to see if the knot would hold everyone's weight. Afterward, we returned to the seminar house for lunch.

After lunch, we began the preparation for the main event, the cutter boat race. The cutter boat we used was a rowboat for nine passengers, which include six oarsmen, one standby, the first mate and the captain. Students and teachers were divided into two teams and began practicing. Maneuvering the heavy cutter was not easy, especially because it was our first time. The oars were 7.2 kilograms each and the cutter was almost a ton with all nine passengers. It was about 26 degrees outside and even with the cool sea breeze, sweat glistened on the necks of the oarsmen as they pulled the oars through the water. Rowing is more about synchronization than individual strength, and everyone called out "so-re" in unison as they rowed.


The captain is the only passenger facing forward and is responsible for giving all the orders, calling out the timing of the strokes and steering the cutter. This was a complicated task with many decisions and things to memorize.


At first, each team struggled to control the cutter. The captain forgot her orders and which direction to turn the control lever, and the oarsmen bumped their oars together. However, after a couple of rounds around the harbor, both teams were ready for their race.


The two teams competed how fast they could circle two buoys placed in the ocean. The first obstacle was to maneuver the ship around the first buoy. The wind was blowing from the right and the captain had to calculate how far to turn the ship in order to move straight and turn the corner. After the first buoy was the long home stretch. Now the wind was blowing toward us and it was up to the oarsmen's strength and coordination to progress forward. All passengers joined their hearts and voices together as the finishing buoy grew closer until they finally crossed the finishing line.

After returning to solid ground, we held an award ceremony. The winning team was group one who finished in 7 minutes and 29 second. Both teams seemed happy with their hard work and rejoiced together. The prize was a huge box full of snacks which the students shared with each other.

The second evening session was a special activity designed by the learning mentors to improve the students' English skills using LEGO blocks. In the first half, students were divided into groups of three. Their task was to build a shape using four LEGO blocks and create a manual to come with it. The manual had to be written in English and in a way that the other groups could build an identical shape without looking at the finished product.

In the second half, the students were divided into groups of four, each with a pile of LEGO blocks. Ryan sensei had secretly built a construction behind a curtain. The students' goal was to recreate Ryan sensei's construction with the pieces they had. However, there was a catch. The teams were divided into two recorders and two builders. The recorders could go and look at the construction behind the curtains but could not touch the pieces. The builders could touch the pieces but could not look at the Ryan sensei's model. In addition, both sides could only use English. These activities were fun and challenged the students to think of creative ways to communicating in English.

After the learning session, many students worked on finishing their book reports. The presentations were the following morning and they worked late into the night. The seminar was definitely an exercise for both the body and mind.


The third and final day also began at 6:30 with the morning assembly. After breakfast, the book reports took place in the seminar room. Each student introduced their books by giving brief overviews or explaining things that interested them. The book reports reflected the effort students had put into them and I was happy that they took it quite seriously.

Finally, we held the closing ceremony. Director Sugawara expressed his hopes that the students would follow the values they learned during this seminar and become great engineers in the future. In turn, students promised to show how much they grew to the Anamizu staff in next year's seminar. Everyone packed their bags and boarded the bus to return to Hakusanroku campus.

Altogether, I believe the Anamizu Seminar was crisp, refreshing and an excellent way to start the new semester after a long summer break. The group activities helped cultivate individual strength as well as bonds between the students. There were many incidents of students helping each other such as warning them of the time, encouraging them during the cutter practice and simply being considerate. Also, I observed growth in the students who took up leading roles in the assemblies, ceremonies and marine activities. All students overcame various challenges, both physical and mental, that strengthened them as individuals and as a group. I will continue to observe the growth of these young engineers.

2018年9月21日 穴水研修からスタートする新学期!























September 4, 2018

Yuya trying to "steal" the technique of his seniors.

One downside for having only twelve students on campus is the lack of sport clubs. Many Hakusanroku campus students play sports after school. I often encounter students playing basketball, badminton, table tennis, and volleyball after the evening learning session and there is definitely an upside of living on campus. However, it is difficult to find large competition because the older students currently all study at the Kanazawa campus.

Yesterday, I visited a first-year student who is utilizing his summer vacation to overcome this situation. Yuya Kida is improving his skill by joining the Kanazawa campus badminton club during the summer. Unlike at the Hakusanroku campus where he can beat almost everyone easily (me included), his seniors are much stronger than him. It was interesting to see Yuya be the timid "youngling" when he usually plays so confident.

Even I could tell that his seniors were at a different level. Their speed, strength and precision overpowered Yuya. The sound of their smash was distinctively louder and different from his. I talked to Yuya and he said that defeating them is his current goal, however that it was far from coming true. The two seniors that practiced with him this day were kind and showed Yuya how they practiced and encouraged him to join in. The three practiced for two hours before packing up. I hope similar interaction between the two campuses increases in the future.







HOME Campus Life Hakusanroku Journal 2018年9月の記事