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カテゴリ:9.UBC ELI, Home Stay( 6 )
Home Stay at Anglican family of Kitsilano (6)
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[PR]
by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-11 19:54 | 9.UBC ELI, Home Stay
Home Stay at Anglican family of Kitsilano (5)
Between my home and the bus stop on the Broadway was very tall and huge lined-up trees. To and from UBC and then the night school, Education Centre on Broadway, I walked through under the trees with crows and one day suddenly a crow got about to attack me from above.
Telling this story to Leslie, I was told that the crows should be making a nest. Day after day changing the point, their treat has continued. However, Leslie and the other home stay guy, who was a young Korean they got lately, claimed they didn't have such an experience. At first I assumed if my black hair might have him think I was his rival. But, given the Korean guy also had black hair, it couldn't be. Avoiding the crows to detour was so irritating that I kept my way every day.
Not only commuting but also buying potato chips and cigarettes in the supermarket, Safeway, on Broadway, I used the avenue. The Safeway was the store Leslie highly depended on for their foods. It was certain that they didn't need to purchase vegetables because of home-growing, but they needed little money to get other groceries thanks to the "Buy One Get One" system in addition to the Points System. It looked like a kind of public welfare system, which should have never observed in the capitalism society of Japan.
Leslie's family's life was far more frugal than I expected; if an average Japanese see their way of life, he/she must be surprised. I remember when I got home from UBC Gerry was fixing his old van by himself. "What's the matter, Gerry?" He replied, "I changed a engine plug and adjusted something to get it back to the good shape." His turning on the key, the straight-six sounded loudly. However, one of the back millers was kept fixed with a string: whenever he change the lane in drive he had difficulty to confirm backwards.
One day, also, I met his friend with his old car in front of home and Gerry was just mending the car for him. He introduced his friend that he run a restaurant in Downtown. Looking for an emblem of the car, I asked what car it was; such an extent that was old and rare. After his leaving, Gerry said to me, "His car is also old. We are talking each other about which car, his and mine, would go down." Many Japanese people take it for granted to change cars after using several years, but I felt sincerely their style of car life was beautiful and cool.
In that car, he brought me to Bart's ball game in Maple Ridge. They are really a baseball family; they were Anglicans but they didn't go to an Anglican Church every Sunday, instead they always accompanied with his games as well as practices no matter however far it was. At the ball park, Gerry was just relaxing chatting with other parents. His mood varied according to Bart's play.
At lunch break, he drove us to a sandwiches restaurant, Subway, nearby. Interestingly enough that I remember is he translated my English to order to the young clerk. This meant that I could convey what I wanted to say to Gerry but not to the clerk. Returning to the hot ball park, he took can beers out of a cooler box and handed his friend and me.
Gerry did do everything he could by himself. From a window of my basement room, which shows just above the height of the ground, I sometimes found Gerry was doing house-caring. He washed and painted walls and floors, fixed doors, not only gardened planting vegetables and flowers. He even could good-cook when Leslie was absent.
When I mentioned that rather the night school teacher was enthusiastic of teaching and talented than the teachers in ELI, Gerry agreed saying that's because the students to night schools are so serious about learning something. It was quite true; I don't think why they were serious was due to their age but their aims to pursue something dream. Compared with the night school class, the ELI classes were almost equal to plays.
Somehow Leslie disliked Chinese; according to her, money is everything for them. Once they took a Chinese student for home stay, and I heard he asked Gerry who the richest person in BC is. He told me the he replied, "Me. I'm the richest person in BC." Ever since they have never accepted Chinese students.
It was in the latter part of course when I came to know Tony was separating from his wife. According to Tony, it was caused 100% by his wife: his wife had been deceiving him for two years for her affair. I merely couldn't believe it: why so? Why does such a nice person have to get divorce? Later, however, I came to know it was not only for the problem of his wife.
He was already renting a room sharing another person. However, he said he wasn't fond of it because it was messy and smelled badly for the owner's cat. "Since the share-mate returned home," he said, "why don't we rent a room in another good place?" Though I was planning to continue my trip across Canada, I agreed since I wanted my address anyway in Canada keeping my stuff. Soon, he found an apartment right close to the wife's place. He insisted on a nearest place to wife. "Because," he said, "I need to close to Joe (his son) for the sake of him."
For me the expiry date of my visitor status (6 months) was approaching. Mr Saito stressed before my coming to Canada that I should never over-stay so that I can complete my immigration because the record would prevent me. Mr Saito also suggested me to obtain a permission of another 6 months stay by going and coming across US boarder.
He arranged clearly me how to come to Canada, so I completely trusted him with regard to my immigration. However, he never contacted me; so I confirmed by email what he said about how to extend my status and it was 1 month before the expiry date. Then, what he reply this time was quite different; I should have sent a form to apply for the permission to the Immigration Office! He said I should do so then and there!
Why did he change? Why didn't he advise so well in advance? Anyway, however, I still believed in him; he made my way to Canada and I was thinking that following his direction must guide me to complete my immigration, because he is my immigration consultant.
He repeated a same word to my immigration: IELTS, IELTS, IELTS... I was far before bored with it, but I booked a test at Downtown campus of Simon Fraser University. Until the test date Leslie promised me to be able to keep staying at her home, though the UBC course should be ended.
The evening just after finishing the test, with relieve I treated myself for Japanese Sake and dishes to get drunk at a Japanese restaurant on Broadway nearby introduced in a free paper. The chef was Japanese and waitresses were also Japanese. The atmosphere was quite Canadian, though the detailed service was definitely Japanese. The taste of dishes were one of the best Japanese I ate in Canada.
I was at the counter in front of the chef. Finally finished anyway, I thought looking back on the stoic nearly 3 months period. In my left hand side, an Asian woman had a seat hesitatingly. "Excuse me, but do you speak Japanese?" "Yes, I'm Japanese," she replied. And then I began using Japanese to her. She sounded and looked something odd when replying to the questions I made.
She came a little long way to from near the boarder to the US to this advertised Japanese place to treat herself. When it came for me to refer to my immigration, she said I have to put aside my career in Japan and should do anything I can; that's the way to survive for Japanese. "What was the most difficult thing you had so far?" After a short consideration, "Still, it's a language barrier. Yes, it's a language problem mainly." Somewhat her Japanese was not able to be described good.
As I was getting drunk with the second pitcher of Ginjo Sake, two White guys sat in the right hand of me. They seemed to know the chef, so I asked, "Do you eat Japanese food very often?" "Well, quite often. We have been his customer before coming this place. He used to be a chef at a restaurant in Steveston but he opened his own restaurant here, so we all the way chased him to continue to have his cook.
I was surprised at knowing such manias for Japanese food exists. For their familiar atmosphere to Japanese, I confessed how the Japan has changed recently and that in a bad way. I praised the owner-chef's dishes as rather a losing taste in Japan. "Why I escaped Japan to immigrate Canada is because ...," I can't remember what I said after that. But I remember one of the White guy kindly said to me in a quiet way, "You don't have to worry about any more. Here is Canada, not like Japan, an immigrants' country. Everybody in this country knows why they came here. We are different, we value different people's different character..." Before I knew it, I began crying. After that and after, a lot of tears flooded from my eyes, which I could never stop it by myself.

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[PR]
by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-10 08:07 | 9.UBC ELI, Home Stay
Home Stay at Anglican family of Kitsilano (4)
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[PR]
by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-09 08:55 | 9.UBC ELI, Home Stay
Home Stay at Anglican family of Kitsilano (3)
In that season what made me amazed was enormous bunch of flowers seen at gardens of houses. When the hot sunshine replace as the cold air under the clouds, different blooms came into full swing next to next as if they went mad. Walk through the path in full bloom along the coast of Kitsilano found me into a vast area, where a group of Indians were fishing casting rods oddly.
They seemed afraid of my approaching. It was likely that the men had taken me for a detective; even for Indians fishing around there was prohibited, which Leslie told me later. "What are you fishing?" A man pointed at a small bucket in which was several Ling Cod smaller than the smallest one I caught in Flores Island. They might know such a size is most tasty.
Every morning Leslie made lunch for me to bring. Whenever I was eating breakfast, usually butter toast with juice, Leslie followed get up to come downstairs to the kitchen. With half asleep she usually made an easy sandwiches in addition to leftovers of the last supper or a Korean cup needle along with some dessert. Nevertheless, I sometimes bought Sushi or something besides at UBC, because I was hungry.
During this around 3 months period of home stay, I merely drank beer or such kinds; to such an extent, I concentrated on learning English as well as French. Even though ELI classes finished far before evening from Monday to Friday, I had an evening school on Broadway on every Monday and Wednesday. Other than that, I had to commute to UBC campus for an elementary French conversation course on Saturdays.
However, I was actually very disappointed with the ELI. Having heard the name of "Intensive Course," I expected kind of substantial arguments in every respect and like Spartan education. However, the homework were so scarce on top of a lot of holidays. According to some students who were successively taking the course, the institute reduced the amount of homework so that students had more free time in correspondence with the request of them.
This is the putting the cart before the horse. Even given the students are the customers, the market shouldn't and mustn't be controlled by such kids. Sadly, however, this is not only for education but for everything now in this world. Parents, the funny thing is, spending out of imaginary money for their kids who they can't control. Instead of parents who have money, the arrogant without common sense boys and girls are influencing in trend making in every market! How awful our future should be!
I was to some extent confident in my English ability, because I crammed intensely before coming to Canada in Japan. However, as a result of the placement test, I was given a middle-level reading class, middle-level writing and a high-level speaking. Come to think of it, something was wrong from the beginning. Looking back how it was, the course was completely intended to younger people who have no experience in life so it shouldn't have worked enough for experienced people able to think in mature ways.
Still, I believed in ELI at that time. I changed my classes in reading and speaking after claiming those were not fitted for me. No need to say there was little change learning with immature kids, though. Meanwhile, at the midst of the reading class suddenly a UBC student who assisted ELI cut in and asked us for filling out an administrative form. It took over half time of the class; I was so irritated feeling why do we have to use our precious expensive class time for an administration matter which advantages only for the office not for us! Needless to say, the other young boys and girls had no complaints about it and followed their way like quiet sheep; after all the expensive fee was paid by their parents.
I claimed to the head this "incident" as making a fool of us. However, he explained it was not wrong with them because they needed the students to enclose to fill the form out; if the assistant didn't take such a way, students shouldn't write down forever; this was his claim. No kidding! It's your problem, not mine. How self-oriented this institute is on one hand it was really commercialised! I remembered once a young English man at NOVA pointed out that the characteristics of English people is described as "Political." This means they behave differently depending on the situations to gain their own advantages regardless of what is to be justice.
The people of this country, Canada, really do play innocent gazing at my eyes, which I can yet hardly believe it. Whenever I met such situations, fighting with my inclining to agree with him or her I assumed it might be a discrimination towards non-English speaking people or Asian and I mustn't be won.
Other than the administrative incident, I asked the head closely about the other concerns of mine - why is the classes' time so short? Why is the homework so little? Why do you adjust class times for leisure activities out of the campus? All of his replies were not understandable for me.
I remember when I was stepping up a stairs to the French class, I came across an English teacher of ELI, who however was not mine. He said he was learning German in the same building as French, and admitting the difficulty of learning foreign language at old age he asked what I thought of ELI. I hesitated to state my honest feeling, but he insisted on knowing it. "I am old enough in life, so I must gain a working knowledge of English. I don't need an Ivory Tower English," I finally said. "Sure, for conversations there are a lot of schools in downtown that might work. It may too late to say, though." Stepping up the stairs, he never replied to my parting greetings.
As for the French class, I could make no progress. Although I learnt French when university, I couldn't remember well what I crammed at that time. Besides, the contents of the class was for, of course, Canadians; in other words, for the people whose first language is English. It was so difficult to catch up with that I abandoned in the middle of the course to concentrate on English.
I further searched for information on the Internet on English institutes in Vancouver hoping some schools might still available, given the writing class teacher mentioned if a student go with ELI they might be able he/she to change schools. Simon Fraser University's English institute looked more like hand-on-experience based. I requested the head to arrange my changing schools with Simon Fraser University.
However, he denied what the teacher said in her class. Then, I requested the teachers to admit me to a class one-upped in reading and writing. However, my asking was too late for the term has almost half passed. When I stopped the reading class, the head finally emailed me, "A student might be better off at other institute. In that case, we would make every effort and assist you to change your schools." I replied yes, but their contact has never come to me after that.
To conclude with, UBC English Language Institute was much leisure-like with relationships to the tour industry and in money oriented way like in the United Sates maybe. I may well say it is an extension of the English Conversation School "NOVA" in Japan. The only advantage of ELI to NOVA should be not the quality of classes but the environment as an English speaking country.
What I felt about ELI was that all of the teachers I met didn't have enough experience in real society. They insisted strictly on English in text books and seemed to have remained in student-age's thought. Therefore, when it comes to dealing with real society's real matters they seemed to have no skills to cope with. The majority of the teachers were somewhat females and not attractive as women.
I was finding it is interesting that whether to understand my English depends on the person I spoke to. Not only in the previous trip but also after returning to Vancouver area somewhat some people could easily comprehend what I wanted to say but some couldn't even when I repeated again and again. Presumably those who understood were familiar with English spoken by Japanese or similar to me in the way of thought. Seeing many people originated from all over the world, I became conscious that English nowadays should be rather a lingua franca regardless of people's background. American English is having such an way as making people understand easily.
However, IELTS (International English Language Testing System) run by British Council were much more defined in and strict on the traditional usage by the British descendants and that in immature armchair theoretical subjects. The IELTS score 7 in each category (LIstening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) were said by my immigration consultant, Mr Saito, to be necessary for me to immigrate to Canada, though I hadn't been able to go over 6 each in 4 times tries in Japan. Mr Saito continued to say that a specific preparation for IELTS should get me to the 7 all stage, even though I had already taken two courses in Japan.
Mr Saito suggested me that the immigration interview take place that summer, and advised me to have an intensive English program for preparing for the interview and submit the 7 all score on the spot possibly. He also explained the necessity of acquiring elementary French speaking skill for the interview. That's why I took UBC abandoning my photo-shooting plan across Canada.
Also, I was again taking an IELTS preparation course at a night school here in Canada. All of the classmates were adult girls, the majority of whom wanted the score 7 also for getting their nurse licenses in Canada, and the teacher, Judy, sometimes had difficulty to hear out what I was saying.
Even though she could easily understand the Chinese students who were the half of the class, I had difficulty in telling their pronunciation and vise versa. She was one of the examiners of IELTS actually and recommended me to take some pronunciation course in addition. However, hearing this matter at home, Leslie said I should have no problem in pronunciation and it should be the problem of the teacher. Anyway, however, she was an examiner.
What I think now concerning English teacher in Vancouver is few of them can understand mature and complex thoughts. Sadly their minds seem to have stopped at students' stage without knowing real lives. I would say that their thoughts are very simple with English and that it is the limit of English education these days.
Another thing I found at the night school was the Asian way of thought; among the Philippina, next majority in the class to Chinese, had difficulty to refer to the point what she wanted to say straightly. I could easily understand her feeling because in Japanese I came to my conclusion in that way, too.
For English people a long process or procedure to a conclusion seems too complicated to understand. Many English people claim that English is very straight forward language, but I don't think so. English is a superficial language; it is very convenient to convey and share a simple concept, but lives are not that simple. Consequently maybe, using English always has to behave superficially and deceive others to some extent.

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[PR]
by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-08 08:09 | 9.UBC ELI, Home Stay
Home Stay at Anglican family of Kitsilano (2)
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by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-07 09:49 | 9.UBC ELI, Home Stay
Home Stay at Anglican family of Kitsilano (1)
I was 42 years old, but I wanted a home stay for learning English as well as the way of life of Canadians. The hope was accepted by ELI of UBC and well before entering the institute the family's profile was sent to me. I asked for a White people's family because staying at a Chinese family it seemed not to work to improve my English. My host parents were Leslie and Gerry Kitson and they had two children.
The first day of the ELI, I was very surprised at that almost all of my classmates were around 20 years old and majority of them were Chinese, Korean and Japanese! Then what is the difference from the language school in Japan. Anyway, the UBC was top-rated university and the tuition was far more expensive than other schools in downtown, so there should be nothing wrong with me.
I completely trusted ELI. From the common sense of Japanese concerning this kind of matter, my thought should be really understandable, because if something shouldn't go with me the representative of the institute would suggest something by considering we were paying a lot of money. However, here was Canada; I haven't realised it yet.
Surrounded with immature people in a huge room, I was waiting for Leslie's picking me up for home. The person in charge of home stay announced me that Leslie once received a Japanese female student and when she married she invited Leslie's family to her wedding ceremony in Japan. When my name was called to a desk, before I knew it a plump woman was standing by me among the crowd. She gave me a wiry smile since I was an old student quite different from others there.
Driving her car, she was very talkative and in a very fast way. She said, "I heard you can speak English, so I'll speak normally so that work for you." Actually, however, I had no chance to interrupt her endless tale.
Her house was located in Kitsilano, where is famous as a high-class residential area in Vancouver; so, I imagined a mansion or something. However, it was a pretty nice old house. She parked in front of the house on the road; so have done others. They don't need any permission to do so. My room was on the basement and surprisingly huge; I was refrained from taking it at first saying it was too huge for a Japanese, but she was happy to offer it since there were no one else to use it then.
Immediately after my arrival, Leslie brought me to a ball park nearby; there, a middle-aged man wearing sunglasses on was pitching balls for a tall boy in the batter box. They were the family of Leslie. Her husband, Gerry, was very enthusiastic for training baseball skills of his son, Bart. They reminded me of the Fathers for Baseball Elite in Japan, but later I knew they were rather playing. Leslie was never bored with watching at their play. "See," Leslie pointed at a jalopy van, "that's his car. It's old, isn't it? He has keeping it for a long time. Loading baseball goods, we go to ball games every weekend!" Her story seemed endless.
They also had a daughter, Katie, but she became independent renting an apartment in Downtown. Without Katie, they made it a rule to have supper together. They had a terrace with roof beside the kitchen, and it was the main place for suppers. The view was very good with huge road-side-trees over their well organised beautiful garden.
On the table, Gerry introduced himself that he was a taxi driver. Leslie explained he entered the UBC but stopped somehow and bought a taxi to become the driver. "I don't want to be disturbed by others anyways. I am me, nothing else. My job gives me a freedom, you know. I am hiring my self and can eke money all by myself." He usually worked from evening to early morning, because it was more lucrative.
He also mentioned some other time that among Canadians changing a job-path is fairly common but he kept his way so far. He considered it sometimes, but at the end he continued. He was just around 50 but definitely the host father for me, a 42 years old man.
When I introduced myself that before this home stay I stayed in Steveston for the first place and later travelled BC area, Leslie envied me that even she hadn't had such a travel. Interestingly, Gerry was brought up in Steveston. However, having met and married Leslie who came from Ontario, they purchased the house in Kitsilano, which is the present one. As for his native home, his mother sold it and bought another house in Burnaby because she hated the environmental change of Richmond with increasing Asian people. She was from Burns Lake, the small village I visited; what a coincident!
Once or so a month, they or Gerry himself made it a rule to visit his mother since she was living alone. One time, after their visit, they brought me a dinner she made and it was so good; I remember that was a hum-steak and mushed potatoes and something. Leslie wanted me to call her a gratitude. "Thank you very much. It's far better than expensive hotels," said I, she laughed a little over the phone. Gerry standing by me said, "Good job." But it was my real opinion!
As they referred as Supper, their potions were rather small but they usually ate snacks in the evening watching TV; Leslie called me whenever Vancouver Canoecs's hockey game was broadcasted. Leslie's cook was surprisingly good that was far different from so-called Canadian dishes I ate at restaurants. Sometimes she baked Salmon or Shrimp with salt and pepper but those were rather gorgeous. Mushed Potatoes were must and so good with baked Hums and occasionally Spaghetti. Also, they loved Vegetables Salads were fresh!
After the supper, Gerry walk down to the garden and weeded around. I helped him with by being taught to tell the weeds. Since then, I made it a rule to weed when I had a spare time, because I thought I shouldn't be able to contribute to them in anything else for I was very busy for my study. The time for photo-shooting should have gone now. However, brilliant Canadian lights especially in the long evening towards summer had to make me go out for a shoot once in a while.

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[PR]
by tetsu95jp | 2007-12-06 08:06 | 9.UBC ELI, Home Stay
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