Back from Sendai, with souvenirs!

Date Masamune and Tanabata festival

Date Masamune and Tanabata, both symbols of Sendai

Sendai was the first stop for this year’s OUP Teaching Workshop series, and what a great place to begin!

Let's Go workshop in Sendai

It’s fun to have interactive toys!

This year the workshops are all about multi-sensory teaching techniques to help students learn more effectively.

It’s also the first time I’ve been brave enough to include some of the interactive tools for Let’s Go. While I had back up slides just in case the tech gods decided to be capricious, both the iTools (for IWBs) and the online games behaved themselves beautifully.

Wakako attended my very first teacher training seminar in 1986

If you’re interested in doing some reading about learning styles (or channels, or modalities, or whatever you want to call them), I’ve added some resource links to the reference shelf page on my wiki. I’ll add the slides from this presentation to the wiki as well, once the tour is over.

Reproducing Masako’s facebook profile picture

As with all workshops, Sendai was a wonderful chance to meet old friends from my early days, and new friends that I’ve gotten to know online.

Sendai is the capital of Miyagi prefecture, in the Tohoku (northeast) region of Japan. It was established in 1600 by Date Masamune, which is why you see his likeness everywhere in the city, from statues to souvenirs.

Since I flew up to Sendai the day before my workshop, I was able to spend a leisurely Saturday afternoon wandering around the downtown shopping streets and buying souvenirs for my blog readers.

I found these little roly poly dolls in a traditional Japanese crafts store. They’re called okiagari koboshi in Japanese. If you tip them over they pop back up. I thought they were adorable, so got two of Date Masamune (the cool dude with the eye patch) and one of each of the others.

Ichibancho Shopping Street

A shopping street in Sendai

I know my readers like to learn new things, so I thought perhaps you might enjoy combining a chance to learn a bit about Sendai with a chance to receive one of these okiagari dolls. As I think I proved with my PLN quizzes, I’ll be happy to send a doll to you wherever in the world you live!

So, use your Internet skills to find the answers to the following simple questions. Then, post your answers below in comments by 5 pm Saturday, February 12th (about 24 hours after publication, since readers live in many different time zones). I’ll post the answers Saturday evening, and randomly select five readers from among those leaving comments to receive one of the dolls (assuming more than five people leave comments!).

Here are the questions:

1. Sendai is famous for many things. What’s one of the things it’s famous for?

2. In which season is Sendai’s Tanabata festival held?

3. What is Sendai’s nickname? “The City of _____”

4. Why does Date Masamune wear an eye patch?

5. Why do Japanese hotels sometimes exclude the 4th floor?

That’s it! You can find all the answers by following the wikipedia links I’ve included in this post, or by conducting a simple google search. I look forward to your comments.

Have fun and good luck!

Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto

About Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto

Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto has taught English and ESL in the US, and EFL in Japan. An EFL teacher and teacher trainer since 1985, she has conducted workshops throughout Asia, the USA and Latin America. Barbara’s motto is ‘Always try new things’, so these days, when she’s not teaching, writing, or giving workshops, she’s exploring the potential of new technologies for collaboration and professional development. You can often find Barbara online working with teachers around the world as Program Director for International Teacher Development Institute ( or on her new blog for English teaches who work with young learners, Teaching Children English.

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4 Responses

  1. Barbara Barbara says:

    So no one wants to put me out for shipping :-)

    I heard from several readers who enjoyed the quiz anyway….

    Here are the answers:

    1. Sendai is famous for its Tanabata festival, beef tongue, zundamochi (a sticky rice treat with sweet edamame paste–much better than it sounds), sasakamaboko (steamed fish thingie in the shape of a bamboo leaf–again, much better than it sounds!), kokeshi dolls, to name a few.

    2. The Tanabata festival is in the summer.

    3. The City of Trees

    4. Date Masamune lost his eyesight to smallpox as a child.

    5. Four in Japanese is “Shi” which sounds a lot like the Japanese word for death. No one wants to stay on the death floor–it’s bad luck!

  2. Hayley Butler says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Loved reading your Sebdai blog and I loved Sendai too! My aunty & uncle lived there for 2 years, teaching English. Sob, they`re back in Aust. now, so I have no more free accommodation up there!!

    Best wishes,


  1. February 11, 2011

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