SOUND WABES presented by B.Farrell


2009年4月11日土曜日本日最後の番組は、「SOUNDS WAVES」担当はB.Farrellさん。本日のTOPICは、この二つです。
Today’s broadcasting is Mr.FARRELL.
This program from 8:00PM to 9:00PM
Today’s topic
– English Language Education starts at Primary (Elementary) schools in Japan .
– Fire preventing at home. (Fire alarm installation)詳しくはこちら↓

English in Primary Schools Starting Early
(Sound Waves – April 11, 2009)

Officially English is to become a compulsory subject for 5th and 6th grade classes of primary school from April 2011. However, some schools are jumping the gun, so to speak, and starting this April. In a recent report in the Daily Yomiuri newspaper, 40 percent of Tokyo’s 23 wards and 17 ordinance-designated cities plan to conduct English lessons at least once a week for 5th and 6th graders of primary school.

These schools will hold 35 English lessons in a year, or at least one lesson a week. Since this is being introduced before the official introduction of English as a compulsory subject, wards and cities have to finance these separately. Because some cities have the ability to provide more money than others, there is likely to be a difference among the cities in the effectiveness of the projects.

As mentioned above, some cities and wards in Tokyo will conduct English lessons once a week while others will be able to conduct them only once a month. Not only is there a difference in the number of classes, but also in the teachers who will teach English. Those local authorities that have the money plan to employ foreign teachers either to teach directly or as a team teacher with the class teacher. On the other hand some authorities are asking regular class teachers to teach English. In the Daily Yomuri report, it also gave an example of Okushiri, an island in Hokkaido, which wants to introduce English classes, but no foreigners live on the island and it cannot afford to pay a full-time foreign teachers with living expenses. Other municipalities think they have other more important priorities to spend their budgets on. One city said it thinks it’s more important to reinforce the school buildings to make them more earthquake-resistant.

I am not sure if Kobe city has or will introduce English classes into the elementary school curriculum, but I do know that my local primary school has an English club for upper grades.

Even if all schools have enough money, I don’t think they will be able to find enough qualified foreign English teachers by 2011. Many or most Japanese primary school teachers have no experience of teaching English, indeed, many cannot speak the language, let alone teach it.

Looking at the situation as it is, I think this gives an indication of some of the problems and discrepancies in the ability of local authorities to provide an equal level of English education at primary schools in 2011 when English becomes a compulsory subject at primary schools.

Fire Prevention in the Home
(Sound Waves – April 11, 2009)

I was about to take a shower when I heard the sirens and bells of fire engines. I didn’t pay too much attention to them because my house is quite near a major road and I hear them quite often. But they became louder and louder. I thought there must be a fire in the neighborhood. I got dressed and went out to try to find out where the fire was. I wasn’t the only one. Most of my neighbors where out looking for it. By this time, helicopters were flying overhead making a loud racket.

I could see large plumes of smoke rising high into the blue sky darkening the bright sun. We couldn’t get near the fire because the area had been cordoned off by the fire department people.

I found out the fire was in a house of an elderly couple. Fortunately they were safe, but the house was totally destroyed. Fire men were still hosing it down hours later to make sure the fire was out.

Our neighborhood is like many old Japanese residential areas, full of narrow winding streets that were once narrow paths between rice fields. They are not wide enough for fire engines to enter, so hoses had to be stretched for a hundred meters or more.

When I saw the fire I was reminded of the importance of having fire alarms installed in the house. I mentioned a few months ago, sometime last year, I think, about it being compulsory for fire alarms to be installed in every house. For new houses, constructors must install them in the specified number of rooms – kitchen, living room, stairs, and bedrooms. For older houses and apartments, it is the responsibility of the owner to have them installed.

Our local Bosai Fukushi Community (Disaster Prevention and Welfare Community) promoted the installation of them and actually got some local Jichikai (Residents Associations) to encourage the installation of fire alarms in the houses in their regions.

When I saw the fire in my neighborhood, I felt I need to install more fire alarms in my house and encourage others to do so, too. These fire alarms are on sale at electrical appliance stores, or can be rented or purchased from Osaka Gas and installed by them. I do encourage everyone to have not only one fire alarm but one in every room or in rooms that are regularly used.

Also, try to have at least one fire extinguisher in the house and know how to use it.

Also, check your electrical sockets for dust gathering on plugs, etc. This can cause ‘tracking’ and start a fire. Try not to have plugs and sockets hidden behind furniture where they are hard to see and hard to clean. Also, be very careful when using the gas cooker. I had one or two incidents which could have become serious fires.

Fires can destroy everything you have, and can spread easily in the congested housing situation in Japan. Worst of all, they can take lives.

Keep your house or apartment free from fires.