Our students are often shocked when I tell them that we don’t have a TV. This is a choice we have made as a family and we have been happy with the results. The one downside to not having a TV is that we are often behind when it comes to news. Of course we can always check an online news source, read a newspaper or listen to the radio, but usually we don’t. We don’t actually need to check the news because we have a fantastic word-of-mouth system in place. Neighbours, friends, our students all tell us the most important news. When Japan’s national soccer team made it to the final in the recent world cup, our neighbour shouted the news to us from her balcony. When that same team lost in the final, every student came to school a little sad and a little proud. All were happy to tell us about the stoic loss.
This week a typhoon is coming. We heard about it first from a student who had been vacationing in Okinawa (typhoons pass through Okinawa about 5-7 days before arriving in Kansai area). Her report was a sort of “early warning system”. Next we heard about it via email from the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, which sends out emergency information to Canadians living in Japan. We also receive a fax from Smith’s School of English head office, informing us that a typhoon is coming and about procedure should lessons need to be rescheduled. Finally we get daily reports from all of our students. I often tell people that I know “all the important news” and I truly feel that I do because I will usually hear the same news again and again and again! I truly love this personable means of communicating. Did I mention how great my students are at telling me news in English?