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BKB Tajiri report – Dec 20-21
So this was my first time teaching sailing in English in Japan. It was kind of a refreshing break not to think so much about what I was saying and also to go into a bit more detail, with out the fear of wrong wording. I soon found out that It was a different eperience. Sailing is the same but how to teach it requires a different mind set. Americans have a difference style than Japanese in a class environment.
I found out the guys did not have text books, so I needed to cover more items that would have been covered as homework reading. With that in mind a made a few changes to way the class was taught. I wanted to make sure they understood some of the details which would be on the test.
The day was cloudy, cold with on and off showers and increasing winds. It was expected to be about 24 or more knots of wind today. It was not going to be pleasant peaceful sailing, it would be wet work. However one does learn a lot under such conditions. There is a saying, one does not become a good sailor under calm and peaceful conditions. Or another, a boat is safe in the harbor, but that is not why it was made, just to sit there. It was somewhat like teaching back in S.F. as far as the winds, steady and strong on a summer afternoon, where the heat from the valleys suck In the coolness from the sea, right through the Golden Gate pass.
After covering the opening items of the class and speaking with the guys about their backgrounds, we set off for the boat. I informed Yoh Sensei the students did not have text books so I was making some changes in the teaching content. He said he would locate some books for the students. Which he had waiting for us when we returned. On the boat we covered the standard items, parts, setting up the boat for sailing, starting the motor, safety, etc.
We finished the on boat explanations, and checks and returned to the classroom. As when were leavng the boat the rain started. Once inside it really started raining hard. I decieded to again change the format some and spoke with Yoh Sensei who agreed. I would cover all the lecture materal, explanations and board drawings work that I would usually do on both the water and classrom over the two days, fullly today. Tomorrow with better weather we would spend the day on the water.
For the rest of the day I covered in detail items they would need to know and understand for the test, plus any questions. Late in the afternoon tue rain and wind calmed. I took the opportunity with the lessening of the wind, although still some rain, to take the student out for some docking practice. Although wet, things went without problems. The students were pleased to get out and moving on the boat.
The next day weather was better. No rain, some sun, cool but comfortable temps, rather brisk winds, but manageable even for beginners with the main reefed. Like an afternoon on the S.F. bay. I found the guys like to tell each other what to do, “coach” each other. They handled that well enough between the two of them. Only once did I have to “step-in” with control and stop the chatter.
The afternoon went well, the students enjoyed the sail, training and the high wind gusts. As airforce personnel, they related much of the experience to flying and expressed a desire to continue on with other levels of sail training.
The conditions got a bit rough when we were returning. Therefore I did not want to send someone forward to take down the jib. I kept the sails up until we were in the harbor and things were a bit more safer to deal with the sails. At the dock we put the sails away and made the boat ready for long docking, including adding spring lines because of the winds. Once the boat was put away we returned to tue classroom. I did a quick review, question and answer period with the students before starting the test.
Both students passed with high scores, within a point of each other.