English Spirituality

English Spirituality - Anderson’s Anecdotes

(Pictured, Anne Frank, an example of someone who could look on the bright side of life)

A Strange Foreigner’s Take on Life in Japan

by Tom Anderson

This time around I’d like to share a short article by Charles Swindoll, an American writer and theologian, which I use with my students after they’ve been in class for a few weeks.


“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, talent or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home.” “The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day for the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play with the one string we have and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it with you…we are in charge of our Attitudes!”

(Pictured, the "poet`s house," in Kaisei Machi, Kanagawa)

Of course I take the time to explain the metaphor of the violinist continuing to play even though all but one string is broken. After this I talk to them about why I dislike the “d-word” (difficult) because of the unspoken self-talk that follows it (“It’s difficult so I won’t make any effort”). I tell them about the “c-word” (challenge) and the self talk that goes along with it (“It’s a challenge but I’ll do my best and learn from my mistakes”). Our students, too, are in charge of their attitudes!

English Spirituality

Anderson’s Anecdotes

A Strange Foreigner’s Take on Life in Japan

The Blind Leading…

This morning I had an interesting experience when I was walking our dog. We were waiting to cross the street on our way home when a blind gentleman asked if I could guide him to the station. As we were close to it, I said “sure”. He put a hand on my shoulder and followed me. As we were walking he told me that he was on his way to Yoyogi Park in Tokyo to train for the Tokyo Marathon. People who are visually challenged are allowed to run with a sighted partner.

This made me think back to a student in my writing class a few years ago. On the first day of class I saw him sitting with a Braille typewriter and I wondered to myself how I could deal with such a student. We talked to one of my supervisors and Sato-kun (not his real name) said that he was determined to study in regular classes.

Sato-kun had a computer program at home which would change his Braille to regular English. We did a weekly letter writing (to me) project and he’d do his letter in Braille and give me the English version in the following class. We also did free writing once a week and we’d do the same thing.

When we did writing games involving blackboard use, one of the students in his group would guide him to the blackboard and write for him.

Sato-kun turned out to be one of my best students that term and a real inspiration to his classmates and me. The blind leading indeed…

English Spirituality, You are not Special Speech - High School Graduation

by English teacher David McCullough Jr. of Wellesley High School

To Learning English

To Health Care in Japan

To Travel Japan Mount Fuji

To ESL Cafe

To Books on Japan

To Buddhism in Japan

From English Spirituality to Motivating Japanese Students

From English Spirituality to How to teach English in Japan (home)