Now suddenly on the Internet E-mail lists someone was able to get a list of all the participants and the emails are flowing! Oh my! My in-box is really overflowing. As of now, though, not all 200 participants are “participating” in responding to the whole group email list. The list serve list is quite large. And, also we are hearing from the summer participants and their experiences…all positive. In addition, there is an assignment given to the participants to read the history of education with the Japanese system. It is proving to be quite interesting. Also, there is more paperwork to be submitted pertaining to the fact that we have read some of the required material including how to prepare for going to Japan. It sill seems all so far away. I am continuing to learn how to use the new laptop system that I being sent with. Also, from our administration building, specialists have come over to train me on how to use the brand new camera system and SKYPE to hopefully be able to “teach” my students from Japan. We’ll see what happens with this! I might be in bed while they are in class and while I am out visiting schools, they might be in bed. The time differences and date changes are sure to be exciting and something to learn from for all of us! Also during this time period my mom and I visited several Indianapolis area bookstores including Borders and Half-Price Books. I thought that AAA would be able to help with maps and tour book information but unfortunately they don’t do this type of information anymore. They used to help me with tour books and maps of Europe, but I guess that’s a thing of the past, too. Information in the travel sections of Indy area bookstores for materials that I wanted to purchase on Japan are pretty limited, too, at least that’s what we found. At each place though we would find just one thing. At one store I was able to get a full map of Japan…everyone was saying just look at it on-line; look in a book…that’s not the same as having it lying out nicely and able to study features right in front of you. At another, I was able to buy a decent map of Tokyo that actually did show Ota-ku, which looks like it might be a suburb of Tokyo. At another spot, a phrase book that’s thin enough to be able to put into one of my jacket pockets. Mom found a book on walking Tokyo at one of her favorite spots she likes to shop at and find bargains. I have reviewed all my paperwork that would tell when my exact times of departure, etc and have found out that I won’t know for another week or so! I have met with each of my classes in regards to this project and explained what I anticipate being able to do with them, if all works. We met in the reference section of our school library, interestingly enough in front of the Japan books! Anyway, I explained that I anticipated being able to visit a school while there, as that seems to be a part of the agenda. I didn’t know it I would be able to speak to their students, but would like to be prepared if I had the opportunity. With that, I let my students know that they would be receiving cards that they could ask appropriate questions of the Japanese students. Also, another card would be directed to me in regards to what they would like for me to find out for them, learn for them, experience for them should the opportunity arise. Most of the students seem to be taking this exercise very seriously. We talked about appropriate and inappropriate or sensitive questioning and hope that the questions that are to come in next week will be ones that I can use and ask or find out about. Two students in one class (Joe and Amanda) really had some great ideas about the technology part of this project. Joe asked if I had heard of Skype and aircards and some other things. At the time he asked, early in the week, I knew nothing of these things, and then suddenly, the computer is equipped with these things (as I mentioned earlier) by the end of the week! Amanda brought in some books for me to look at and study if I had time. Also, she volunteered her father to help me as he does some sort of work in Tokyo periodically, but he will soon be leaving for Europe and it was hoped I would know some detail of my schedule before he left. At this time, I don’t have the travel details. Another student, Patrick, is taking the cards questions very seriously and contacted his uncle who spent quite a bit of time in Japan. The uncle is sending a book to him and they will create some good questions! Another girl, Sylvia, spent some time in Japan over the summer and brought in a couple of unusual crackers and two crispy chocolate type crackers as well for me and Mrs. Mayer (the lady at school that is helping me with all this technology). How kind. She said that these might help me be aware of what things to expect in Japan! While in the library, a parent stopped in to let me know some sad news. A former student of mine, who graduated from Carmel High School several years ago, passed away. Sgt. G.J.Cassidy had served in the US Army and after his term was in the Indiana National Guard. He volunteered for a special assignment with another state’s guard to return overseas and was stationed in Iraq. He was injured by a road explosion, was returned to Ft. Knox in Kentucky, where he died. The lady that came in to see me was his mother. G.J. was married and had two children. He will have full military honors at his funeral. His mother also shared that he loved class and learning. In fact he wanted to become a history teacher in junior high/middle or high school. I certainly remember his positive influence in class, how happy he was, and how much he enjoyed learning. And, I remember clearly how much he loved the military. He will be sorrowfully missed. His service to the country is appreciated and his ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms of people around the world that cherish this will never be forgotten. Thank you G.J.