Saturday, May 22, 2010

What Are You Anyways? Exploring Multiracial Identity With Jeff Chiba Stearns

One man's story of growing up mixed-Japanese in rural Canada.

It's funny how you can think you know a lot about a subject then all of a sudden something pops into to view that makes you look at things in a completely different way. This is just how I felt when I stumbled across the work of Jeff Chiba Stearns, a Canadian animator using his inimitable talent to explore issues of culture and identity.

His short film Yellow Sticky Notes (2007) seen here, is a reflection of this tunnel vision. When you are slave to your own productivity devices, to-do lists and buckets you become oblvious to the bigger picture. Jeff's classically animated traditional film was hand drawn with black pen on over 2300 yellow sticky notes.

Yellow Sticky Notes is winner of 11 awards including the Prix du Public Labo at the 2009 Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, 2009 Best Animated Short at the Beloit and Victoria Int. Film Festivals, 2008 CAEAA for Best Animated Short Subject, Best Animated Short Film at the Calgary International Film Festival, and Golden Sheaf for Best Animation. The film also qualified for the 2009 Genie Awards under the category of Best Short Animation.

In his directors notes he gives us an insight into the painstaking process of combining fresh illustration and stream-of-conciousness with to-do lists he had compiled over 9 years of trying to get his animation career of the ground. Perhaps unwittingly during that time Jeff has also become a champion for multiracial issues, having lectured around the world on topics of identity, cultural awareness, filmmaking, and animation.

His short film What are you anyways?, winner of the 2006 ELAN for Best Animated Short Subject, expands upon the themes of growing up half Japanese, half Euro Mutt (his words) in rural Canada. As the father of two Hapa (mixed Japanese kids) I was encouraged by the sensitivity and courageous style Jeff employed in telling his story of growing up. When my kids are old enough to be conscious of their differences from other kids his film will be required viewing.

Jeff is now working on a feature length documentary called One Big Hapa Family, about children of mixed Japanese decent and the high Japanese-Canadian interracial marriage rate. On his mother's Japanese side of the family her six sisters married white men, much to his grandfather's chagrin. I expect bigs things from Jeff, and from the comments on his Facebook page I suspect so do his followers.

Do you belong to the One Big Hapa Family? How do you broach these topics of culture and and identity with your kids? Please watch some of Jeff's short films and share how you feel about them in the comments.


Thanks for following, I really appreciate your time here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Japanese Language Coach Brett Fyfield, At Your Service

Why you should hire me as your Japanese Language Coach this Summer 

Are you looking for a Japanese course this Summer? Do you have real goals that you want to achieve with your Japanese? Do you want to make sure you are fully prepared for the JLPT well ahead of time? I'm just about to take time off from full time work for summer in Japan so this presents an unprecedented opportunity for you to accelerate your Japanese study.

"9-2-4-10-5-1" - Yokohama
"9-2-4-10-5-1" - Yokohama by Sushicam

How can I help you achieve your goals in Japanese?

I can offer you a fresh perspective on Japanese that will help you make changes which ultimately lead to more effective learning. After a few hours with me you'll have much better answers to the 'how' and the 'why' that most others take for granted. You'll be able to approach your own learning with much more flexibility and creativity.

Because the focus is on real communication with Japanese, you'll be able use the same innovative techniques to improve your ability outside of the classroom too. You'll break through those plateaus that have been holding you back from acheiving real fluency in Japanese. Before we look at the statistics you might want to know why you should learn Japanese from a non-native speaker.

Let's take a look at the statistics.

Some people like facts and figures when they're making a decision. It's not the only thing you need to think about when finding a Japanese language instructor, but helps to get some background.

In the 2 years I've been teaching Japanese, I have:
  • Completed over 60 hours of personalised one-on-one coaching in Japanese.
  • Completed over 300 hours of group sessions for Japanese students of all abilities.
  • Worked with over 65 full-fee-paying students to improve their Japanese.
  • Featured on the homepage of eduFire as a Rockstar teacher.
  • Had my class workbooks downloaded over 2000 times.
  • Been one of the "Top 5" ranked Japanese tutors on eduFire.

Don't take my word for it, hear what my students are saying.

About my Japanese Language Coaching:
Avatar_256x256_thumb_75"Brett is a great tutor who always comes up with new innovative ideas on how to teach Japanese in a fun, yet effective, way."
Philip Seyfi, New Media Designer and Developer

Björn A "Brett is an excellent teacher and he makes his lessons interesting every time. I've learned quite a bit in the few classes I have taken."
Björn A., Hopeful Exchange Student in Japan

Photo_4_thumb_75"He is flexible, engaging and expressive. He in just one lesson connected well with me and tried to understand what I wanted to accomplish. And we laughed a lot. Great tutor."
Allen Thomas, Interested in culture and communication

About my JLPT Prep Coaching:
"Good information so you can do your best on the test."
Rilitsa B.,
"Very nice teacher, and useful tips for the JLPT !"
Clear M.,
"Good tips on how to focus your study for any level of the JLPT. Lots of answers to general questions about the exam process."
Kara C., Japan Traveller

Elsewhere on the interwebs.

I've been in this J-blogger game for quite some time now, and I never tire of bringing you my unique perspective on Japanese culture. Here are some other places you can check before you make a decision.
I am offering two types of one-on-one Japanese coaching sessions.

1:1 Japanese Language Coaching

Tailored to your needs, these sessions to help you master conversational Japanese. Each session comes with a pre and post-task to help you incorporate sophisticated learning strategies into your daily study. Request a session via eduFire now or go direct with PayPal.

1:1 Japanese Language Coaching

1:1 JLPT Prep Coaching

I’ve spent a lot of time developing and applying the best study techniques for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. With a highly focused 1:1 session you’ll feel more organized and confident about facing the mountain of self directed study you need to do to succeed at the JLPT, no matter what your level. Request a session via eduFire now or go direct with PayPal.

1:1 JLPT Prep Coaching

A Note About Booking 1:1 Sessions: Please give yourself at least 24 hours to find a suitable time. Because of the time difference between where you are and where I am in Australia, I’m probably asleep when you decide to book. Chances are if you leave it too late I’ll miss your request. I wouldn’t want to disappoint you.

All 1:1 Sessions are $60 per hour, unless you're a subscriber to my Japanese Language and Culture Newsletter. We can do them via Skype or via eduFire, whatever you are more comfortable with. Calls can be recorded on request so you can listen later.

Subscribers to my Japanese Language and Culture Newsletter get discounts on 1:1 Japanese Coaching Sessions and special insider tips on passing the JLPT.

What's holding you back from reaching your goal of fluency in Japanese?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Free eBook: Learn to Read Manga with Rainbowhill

Would you like to learn how to read authentic Japanese manga?

I'm happy to say that my e-book, Learn to read manga with Rainbowhill is finally finished!

And yes this e-book is totally free. It's my way of saying thank you to all the people that have come along to the edufire classes I run.

If you have never come along you can get a better idea of how much fun we have when you sign up to receive your free copy. There are some extra bonuses in there including class slides and a link to a recorded session.

When you enter your email below you'll also get a subscription to the Rainbowhill Language Lab newsletter, where you will always hear first about new live video sessions on Japanese language and culture. There are even special discounts for one to one coaching in Japanese so sign up now!

Learn to read manga with Rainbowhill
Enter your name and email below to get Free Instant Access to the most comprehensive guide available on how to start reading manga today.

In addition, you'll receive a Rainbowmail, an irreverent and irregular newsletter about Japanese language and culture filled with tips that you can't find on the blog.