ESU-J Tournament Champ!

Mr. Isao Ayabe, half of team "Mind the Gap" who won the ESU-J tournament yesterday.

Yesterday was fantastic. We spent most of the day at Chuo University in the Tama area outside Tokyo giving a workshop for high school teachers who are thinking of using debate in their English classes. The session was 3 hours, and consisted of a question and answer by Professor Yano (yes, pronounced exactly like my name, we have decided we are distant cousins), a discussion of the cultural and social barriers facing academic debate in Japan (we found there were more similarities to the US than differences), and a final lecture by me where I discussed how to train novice debaters in policy. That was fun and a nice blast from the past. Sometimes I miss my policy debate life.

After we finished Sesson 3, we reconviened with some graduate students and undergraduates at "Session 4" - a local bar! Great food including super rare beef, horse and chicken were served. The squid appetizer was especially tasty. I really enjoyed a lot of the food, as usual, and started to realize we are coming to the end of our fantastic time here in Japan. This made me a bit sad, but the sadness was short lived as we quickly finished our drinks and headed for karaoke! During the song fest, where many hits new and old were belted out by the JDA directors and visiting US dignitaries, Isao arrived - he had spent the day at the English Speaking Union - Japan parliamentary debate tournament all day - and emerged the champion! We cheered him as he performed the theme song from Evangelion as well as a couple of hits from Rick Astley and Starship in celebration. Congratulations to Isao on his tournament championship!

After the last of the beer disappeared we made it just in time to catch the last train back to Machida at 12:30AM. I am pretty tired today, but I am about to head out to one of our last 2 debate events - a demonstration debate for high school debaters on the topic of banning worker dispatching companies (or temp agencies, as we call them in the U.S.). Tomorrow is a day off which is good as I have to do world's registration at some point. I better get cracking on that time difference thing. . .