Seeing my students’ progress is joy enough but during the X-mas season I’m lucky enough to receive a few presents from some students, this past year I got a lovely pair of gloves, a nice shirt and some department store coupons. They really didn’t need to but it sure did bring a smile to my face. As I’m into photography these days I printed up some of my favorite photos and laminated them and gave my students the chance to choose which they wanted and on top of that I gave each of them a CD with X-Mas music. Many students commented on how few songs they actually knew because in Japan there aren’t that many X-Mas songs (as a sidenote – many chose “White X-Mas” & “Let it snow” as their favorites). The best thing was these gifts actually became part of the discussion. The CDs led to a discussion of X-Mas and the difference between songs and carols while the photos I gave them led them to ask numerous questions – “Where did you take this?”, “Did you go alone?”, etc. It’s surprising how the little extra we give can become so much more.