Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thoughts On Education - Part 1

When I was in college at the University of San Francisco, I was an English major. I had no idea what I would do with an English degree but I knew I liked to read and enjoyed writing and, after all, I already spoke the language pretty well. It seemed a reasonable - though not very challenging - choice. I had some vague idea that I would end up as an English teacher somewhere and really didn’t give the particulars much thought. But before I could embark on my glorious teaching career, the Vietnam War came along and I found myself in the navy. I spent two years aboard ship and then in 1968 returned to a very different San Francisco. While I was overseas, my hometown had become the hippie capitol of the world and suddenly standing in front of a group of bored students, diagramming sentences, explaining the difference between who and whom and the proper use of the subjunctive clause, just didn’t seem very exciting. After those restrictive years in the military, I was ready to dive right into this rushing river of young people and let it sweep me off to adventure. I really had no interest in putting on a suit and tie and joining the corporate workforce or the educational establishment. The 60’s and 70’s were a different time; a time of change, a time when anything seemed possible and usually was. It was the great period of youthful experiment in the United States and indeed the world, and I wanted to be part of it. I tried everything…well, at least a lot of things. I made sculptures and sold my work at street fairs and festivals throughout northern California. I ran a little in-home gallery, acted for awhile, drove a cab, worked as a waiter and a restaurant manager and, in general, embraced the creative spirit of the time. My life turned this way and that. It took me on caravans through the mid-west and brought me halfway across the Pacific to Hawaii for a six-year stay in those warm and welcoming islands. And finally, in 1987, fate set me down in the city of Osaka. It was here in Japan that the long rainbow arc of my life came back down to earth with a thump and I found myself in a classroom teaching English just as I had set out to do those many years ago. But it wasn’t what I expected at all. I’ll tell you what I found in Part 2 of my trans-Pacific chronicle.

Major : 専攻 Vague[veig] :ぼんやとした。embark on:実行する glorious:輝かしい(この中では少し皮肉的) aboard:(乗り物、船や飛行機)で hippie capital:ヒッピーの中心地  Diagramming:分解して説明する subjenctive clause:仮定法節 Sweep (someone) off :流れに飲み込む corporate workforce:会社員 educational establishment:学校機関 embrace:引き付ける caravans:キャラバン(馬やラクダで旅をする集団)arc : 弧 thump : 重い物がぶつかるときの擬音語 set out : 計画する

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