My Best Teaching Is One-on-One


Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.


But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.


It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.


Saturday, February 25, 2023

Why I Haven't Returned to Teaching English

I really don't have time to be writing this, and I'm sure friends will just roll their eyes and say I'm using avoidance tactics again. And they probably wouldn't exactly be wrong.

But there's something that seems to really need to be said.

I apologize for the length of this, and for not doing the expository thing where I tell you up front and then tell you in detail, and then tell you again. If I approach it directly, most people's immediate reaction will be to argue with me.

Yes, I am a good teacher. Yes, I have the skills teach English, certain science fields (particularly computer science), and math, among other things.

Japan, just like the US, just like much of the rest of the world, needs good teachers -- I mean, really, really needs good teachers, in all subjects -- except the current most popular subjects. (Actually, that's, except the subjects that were most popular two-to-six years ago. There's a delay between demand and supply called getting the degrees.) 

Why? Where are the good teachers and why aren't they teaching?

There are three parts to answering that question, and I'll start with the easiest one first.

There are a lot of mediocre and bad teachers in the education industry. (Don't argue with me on this, education has become an industry.)

And when they see a good teacher at work, they become jealous, and fearful for their jobs. And they start resorting to defense tactics -- mostly subconsciously, I think. I hope.

What defense tactics?

  • Reports and other paperwork are not inherently evil. But they can easily be overdone in volume and style, and other aspects. Overdoing such things eats away at preparation time and other important resources.
  • Likewise, meetings and evaluations are not inherently evil. Likewise about volume, structure, and goals, and about eating resources.
  • Inventing new approaches is a good thing. Trying to enforce them on everyone else is pure evil.
  • Praise and critique are important and good. Faint/false praise and hidden sniping are evil.

For some reason, mediocre and bad teachers are very good at turning attempts to improve things into defense tactics.

And, truth be told, the mediocre and bad teachers could be good teachers if they would actually engage with their subject matter while engaging in defense tactics, and if they would actually dare to engage with their students in meaningful ways (and not just in discussing whatever the currently popular topics are and otherwise currying student favor and encouraging teacher's pets).

Why are so many teachers willing to undermine the education systems?

Here's where I really get into controversial stuff.

I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said it. I'm not sure. It was one of those guys who worked on the US Constitution and played an important part in the birth of the US of A.

Public education should be for children who don't have family who can pay for their private education, was part of the idea. And it should be limited to three years, just enough to get the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. From there, from about the age of nine, ten, or eleven, education should be primarily the responsibility of the individual, initially guided by parents or legal guardians -- individual students, individual children choosing their own courses through the school of life.

I may be remembering that wrong, as well, but I think that's the gist of it.

Education is a lifelong process, and there is nothing more suppressive to education than to force people to study what they have no preparation for and to delay them unreasonably from studying what they are already prepared for. Public education programs can't avoid both pushing students too far ahead and holding them too far back. It's simply in the nature of systems.

The education industry itself engages in defense tactics. Schools are by no means the only source of what they advertise as their main products -- knowledge and education. And I'm going to refrain from repeating myself in analyzing what the industry does, by means of those who run it. 

Wait. If it's true of public education, why isn't it true of private education?

In Japan, Juku has this problem in spades. The Ministry of Education has been trying to reform the entrance examination systems for several decades, but teaching for the tests is viewed as the lifeblood of the juku

Teachers who have not yet obtained tenure do not want to risk their safety net if the don't get re-hired next year, any more than those juku teachers who have not had public education experience. Nor do tenured teachers want to risk their post-retirement options.

Thus, teaching the tests has become entrenched in private education.

Teaching the tests is not education. Can't we finally get past that?

Tests are supposed to be opportunities for the students to stretch and evaluate their mental muscles, but they have primarily been perverted to gate-keeper roles where there should be no gate-keepers -- or, rather, where gate-keepers should be there to help, not prevent.

Tests are being used as tools of exclusion, which is in direct opposition to the only valid purpose of both private and public education.

In Japan, three years is not really enough to master reading and writing.

In the modern world, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are no longer enough.

But we wouldn't be asking them to master anything at school. Mastering things would be done in real world. 

If we want to solve the teacher shortage, we need to integrate the education industry with the real world.

Anyway, since the bike-car accident I had about five years ago, I just don't have the energy to engage in the constant battles that go on between what should be and what is in the education industry.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

If I Won the Lottery --

I don't play the lottery, as a matter of principle. But if someone I trusted bought me a lottery ticket --

It would have to be someone I trusted who bought me the ticket, because "free" money does things to people. 

If it were someone I didn't trust, I would have to waste a lot of time and probably most of the winnings buying off the interest of the giver of the ticket.

Money always comes with obligations. It's an economic principle. It's in the nature of what money is. 

You can never really have "free" value. Value must be generated, and generating value incurs obligations. 

Rich people simply ignore the obligations, saying they know better what to do with it, burning their charisma to get room to exercise their own will on the value.

And money is a (poor) proxy for value.

And I have never been able to simply ignore obligations when I had any means to respond to them.

-- So, if someone I trusted bought me a lottery ticket, and it hit a jackpot, what would I do with it? 

(This is hypothesis contrary to fact. It ain't gonna happen. But what you do with your free time, what you do with your excess, that's what defines you as a person. That's what demonstrates your true priorities. So what I'm doing here is thinking about what I'd do if I had excess. I'm trying to figure out my current priorities.)

First, I'd make sure my taxes and national retirement/social security obligations would get taken care of. Then I'd pay into as much retirement funds as the tax laws allow, both for myself and for my wife. Then I think I'd pay off my children's school loans. Maybe I'd have enough to fund them in going back for advanced degrees. Maybe I'd invest some in the companies they work for. Maybe I'd send my wife to Europe to study nutrition and cuisine. Family obligations.

But that is not what this is about.

If I had a lot of wealth to use as I saw fit (hypothesis contrary to fact in so many ways), I would use it where I think some gaping holes in our society exist, where I think I could apply myself in meaningful ways. 

It would be tempting to provide extra funding for various Free/Libre software: 

But even just ten thousand here, a hundred thousand there, and a million over there would tend to fritter the money away, so that would not be the first thing I'd do.

It would be tempting, and useful, to start my own distributions of Linux and *BSD operating systems. But, again, it would be easy to try to set up a competitor to Ubuntu and Apple, and that would definitely be an easy way to fritter money away.

It would be tempting to start an English as-a-foreign-language company doing it the right way. So many ways the current approach to teaching English as a foreign language are just fundamentally wrong. But it would be a hard sell, and if I succeeded in the sell, Japanese copycats would spring up all over. That might not be a bad thing, but it would burn money.

It would be more than tempting to start my own social media service, with a fundamentally different business model. Or perhaps buy OSDN for the infrastructure. But focus on making it reasonable for the customer to own their own

  • domains
  • servers, including mail, authoring, financial transaction, etc.
  • authoring and archiving tools
  • publishing

and to provide a base community for the customers to reach out from. But I'd basically be trying to take on Google, even if I'd be doing it right as opposed to them. And if I succeeded, I'd have to fight off Microsoft's attempts to buy me out and/or to embrace and extend me.

I'm getting old. I don't have time for all of that.

I have lots of novels I'd really like to finish and publish. That would not take nearly as much money.

And one thing I'd like to do before I die, if I could somehow arrange the money and time, is to define extensions and revisions to my four favorite CPUs

Wait. Why is the 6847 in this list? It's not a CPU. It's a video display generator -- a VDG. (I will explain.)

But, why? you ask. You think you understand why I want to avoid Intel x86 and AMD64, but we have ATmega and ARM. They're cheap, can be had in a variety of small, medium, and large packages, and they can be programmed in C and other high-level languages.

But you need the high-level languages. ATmega, ARM, RISC-V, and other modern CPUs are hard to work with at the assembly language level. Sure, they have a lot of development tools to help, but you don't want to work on them without the tools. That means you really don't understand what's happening at the low level. You only think you do, and I don't think that's a good thing.

Motorola's CPUs were easy to work with at the assembly language level. Maybe too easy. But it is actually possible for ordinary people, with a little coaching, to read the assembly language source code and get an idea of what's happening in the code. Other CPUs, especially modern CPUs, not so much.

The one problem with Motorola CPUs is that they each had small design flaws that meant that, as you extended and redesigned your product, you eventually hit walls. And getting past those walls meant using programming techniques that made it hard, again, to understand what was going on.

The 6847 VDG was similar. it was really simple to design display controllers with it and it was really simple to program. It was great for getting output on an ordinary TV (back when more homes had TVs than telephones). Which meant you didn't have to buy an expensive monitor to get output from a computer that used one. 

But the display window was small, barely large enough to display even a small paragraph of text. And Motorola never extended the design. (Radio Shack/Tandy did, but that was too many years down the road.) (Oh, well, actually, Motorola did do some design work to extend the 6847 design, a couple of years after they should have, and in the process of trying to play catch-up, the design ended up overkill, too expensive, and too hard to design for and to test. I'll have to try to remember to link something about that here, next time I see the relevant pages out there on the web somewhere.)

 8|                                |
10|8-BIT CHARACTERS. THAT'S 16     |

That's a tight screen. 

And lower-case characters were not available in most 6847 designs until about 1985, unless the design included an external character ROM, or unless you switched to graphics mode and wrote all the bits for each character to the screen yourself.

The 6847 was great in 1979 or even 1981. Not so great in 1985.

This is really what I mean by flaws and hitting walls. Motorola could have extended each of these, so that the walls could be easily gotten past by the time the average user was hitting them. 

Wait. If you are familiar with the 68HC- and later series processors, you are saying, but Motorola did exactly that.

Well, yes and no. Except for the 6805 series, Motorola was always on the trailing edge of the market window. They were too slow in extending the designs. And when the entire industry took a hard right turn and ran off into the weeds on the question of where to store parameters, Motorola just ended up following, in spite of the fact that the designs of the 6809 and 68000 were such that it didn't need to happen.

Which is where I want to focus on in my attempts to redesign these.


The original 6805 could only use the hardware stack to keep return addresses. If you wanted a parameter stack, you had to do that as a software stack, and that meant juggling the software stack pointer with whatever you might have in the X register. Used time and code, and required you to be really careful about interrupts.

So I want to give the 6805 an additional stack, moving the return address stack out of the direct page (the first 256 addresses) and replacing it there with the parameter stack.

Motorola sort-of fixed this in upgrades to the 6805, the 146805 series and the 68HC05 and 68HC08 series and beyond, but what they did was just allow parameters and temporaries to be mixed with return addresses on the return stack, which is exactly where the entire industry veered hard right. It's a dangerous practice. (You can easily end up trying to store return values on top of return addresses and trying to return to data instead of code, and this is exactly one of the easiest places for bad actors to hack their unauthorized way into your system.) And it ends up a bottle-neck in code, since the code has to continually tip-toe around the return address.

Other obvious extensions -- 

Extending the X register, as is done in the 68HC08, is useful, but not the first lack I'd address. 

Also, adding the ability to index off the stack pointer, as is done on the 68HCS08, is very useful, but I'd do that to the parameter stack, which means the parameter stack comes first.


The 6801 inherited its pushes, pops, and so forth from the 6800, with which it is object-code compatible, which means a single mixed stack unless you want to synthesize a software stack. Being able to push the X register on the return stack helped a little when using software stacks, but it really needs a separate parameter stack as well.

In addition, the 6801 has an add B to X (ABX) instruction which is sort-of useful for accessing fields in records and such, and for deallocating large stack frames, but it doesn't have the matching subtract B from X (SBX), which would have been useful for allocating stack frames.

Furthermore, the unary instructions on the 6801 (like the 6800) do not have direct-page address mode opcodes. If you want to increment or decrement a counter in the direct page, you have to settle for using extended (or absolute) mode, which takes six cycles instead of four, so you end up preferring to pull counters into X or an accumulator instead of fully utilizing the instruction set.

These are the three flaws in the 6801 that I want to fix. They are not even addressed in the 68HC11.

Giving the 6801 wider addressing is definitely a useful feature. This is addressed in the 68HC16, and I think I might address it in my upgrade to the 6801, but, where the 68HC16 gets only four extra bits of indexing (for each of its index registers) and four bits to extend the extended (absolute mode), I'd tend to add an eight-bit extension register for the X register and for the extended addressing mode. I'm not sure whether I'd add eight bits to either stack register, since it doesn't seem too unreasonable to keep both stacks within the first 64K of address space.



The 6809 has direct-mode unaries and two stacks. It's almost perfect. But it has a funny omission in the indexed-mode addressing modes. Where it is able to use an indexed mode to do memory indirect addressing on extended (absolute) mode addresses, there is no such indexed mode for the direct page. That means that indirection through pointers saved in the direct page must be done by explicitly loading the variable into a precious index register. It also means that taking the address of a direct-page variable can't be done with just a LEA instruction. You have to use three instructions, to bring the DP register into the A accumulator, move the offset into the direct page into the B register, and use LEAX D,X or likewise the Y index. 

This severely limits the use of the direct page register as a base for per-process static variables, which is something you really want in processors as capable as the 6809.

I'd definitely widen addressing on the 6809 by 16 bits, either by 32-bit segment registers (similar to the 8086's segment registers, but done right from the outset) or by simply adding 16-bit extension registers similar to the 68HC16's four-bit extension registers. But that's less a design flaw and more an extension feature.

I could then create a true 16-bit version of the 6809 as a follow-up, but not the way it's done in Hitachi's unofficial 63C09 extensions. Those are rather haphazard, and ignore the design of the 6809, tending, rather, to make it look more like the 8086.


One flaw in the 68000 is in the exception stack frames. This is fixed in the 68010. 

But another flaw in the 68000 is that constant offsets in indexing are limited to 16 bits. This means that relative branches and module tables have a natural limit of plus/minus 32K addresses, which becomes too tight when modules exceed 32K in size. Getting around that requires using an address register, which is not completely bad, but it does tend to discourage good programming practices. This flaw is not addressed until the CPU32.

The flaw in the 68020 is excessive complexity, which is why I would not go that direction. Actually, the CPU32 might be sufficient, by which I mean I would not really need to do anything in particular about the 68000.


Extensions to the 6847 include gradually more capable versions. Sprites are not necessary for every application that wants 64 characters or more per line or 512 by 384 graphics modes, more colors, lower-case characters, etc.

Also, since I'd want to use these in modern devices, I'd want to add circuitry to directly control LCD or OLED displays.


All of these need developer tools -- assemblers, compilers, debuggers, emulators, hardware design tools, and such. Tools also take money to develop.


If I were making enough at my current job, and had the energy left over at the end of the day, I could work on my novels, or work on a 6805 emulator. I shouldn't really need to win the lottery to do that. If I had the energy. If I were making enough at my current job.

What I probably need to do instead of daydreaming about this kind of stuff is figure out how I can teach private English classes during my days off.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Examining Japanese Semantics: ゆるす (yurusu -- to permit or forgive) -- 日本語の意味を探る〜「ゆるす」(permit もしくは forgive)

Japanese has several words pronounced 「ゆるす」 (yurusu), and, together, they present an interesting take on the concept of forgiveness.
日本語には「ゆるす」と発音される語彙は複数あります。併せて考えれば、(英語の) forgiveness について面白く語るのです。

* The first set of semantics I offer, sometimes written with Kanji as 緩す、 means to loosen (transitive), as in loosening a pet's collar. It is of course related to 緩める (yurumeru), which is a more general word meaning to loosen.

* The second, which is the more generally referenced meaning, is usually written as 許す、 or sometimes as 聴す、 when using Kanji. The latter writing refers particularly to 聴く (きく - kiku)、 which means to listen carefully, as you might listen to the music in a performance, or to a defendant's testimony at trial.

In this set of semantics, ゆるす (許す or 聴す) means

  • to hear, recognize, and accept a person's requests, desires, requirements, etc.,
  • to adjust things or allow them to be adjusted so as not to inconvenience said person,
  • to allow said person to do as he or she pleases or thinks, to give license or permission,
  • to put a captive at liberty,
  • or to give a degree of freedom to. (This meaning can also be used in engineering and physics when talking about the degrees of freedom an element of a machine has an a particular axis.)

This is the semantic referenced in the word 許可 (きょか - kyoka)、 which is permission, often formal permission. For example, when I need to deliver mail to the huge apartment blocks around the train station, I must go to the police station and get a 駐車許可書 (ちゅうしゃきょかしょ - chūsha kyokasho) -- a parking permit.
つまり、許可そのものです。正式・公式許可も暗黙の許可です。例としてあげれば、駅周辺の大きいマンションに郵便配達に行く前に、警察署に行って仮駐車許可書 (temporary parking permit) をもらっておかないと行けないのです。

The key meaning here is that permission is given or recognized in advance.

* The third set of semantics I offer is related to relaxing one's guard, to allow oneself to be set at ease, to open up.

* The fourth is to extend recognition, including in some senses, recognition of value.

* The fifth, usually written as 赦す、 generally refers to things which have already happened. The meaning here is to allow one to be forgiven of sins, mistakes, offenses, crimes, etc., which are in the past -- to agree not to seek revenge or further recompense or punishment.

* The sixth, also usually written as 赦す、 is the resolution, removal, or dismissal of existing responsibilities and/or duties, and the forgiveness of debt.

Speaking broadly, we can say that

  • 許す has more to do with permission and license on an on-going basis,
  • where 赦す has more to do with forgiving things that have been done and putting them in the past.

I'll note here, that English has parallels in common usage. Informal dialog often fails to distinguish between forgiving things which have happened in the past and giving permission for them to continue in the future.

Sometimes, the distinction is not necessary. Every now and then, the ambiguity can defuse a dangerous situation.

But making a habit of allowing serious abuse in the name of forgiveness really is not forgiveness at all, even if there seems to be a similarity. There is nothing redemptive in doing so.

It's a false similarity. (And I suppose, having said this much, I should write further on how such permission to do evil is actually the opposite of forgiveness, but I'm out of time tonight.)

(Erm, actually, last night. Translation took until this morning, and I am really out of time, now. ええっ、実は昨晩でした。訳すのを今朝にかけておわり、今はもう、本当に時間がゆるしません。 I did get some sleep, though. と言ってもある程度の睡眠ができまして、ご心配不要。)

Friday, April 29, 2022

Link to Government Report on Lack of Scientific Standards in Government Reporting

Want to put an unedited link to this for reference.

I mean, I'm not surprised, but I am surprised. And I'm sure this is going to get "explained", and swept under the rug. This is a government organization reporting on the lack of scientific standards in reporting from government organizations:

One of the reasons I'm not surprised is that scientific standards are a lot harder than most people who bandy the phrase about seem to think. (Not really any easier to pin down than "religious standards".)


Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

There's a rather ironic saying in the southern states of the USA --

Beauty is only skin deep.

Ugly is to the bone.

What you have to recognize when you hear someone say this is that they are presenting a partition they have heard: 

Divide this world into beauty and ugly.

That's it. Nothing else. 

It's the partition of the advertising world. 

And those who say this saying are implicitly rejecting what the advertising world calls beauty.

The beauty used in this world to sell stuff, the beauty that goes on with cosmetics or with personal training or whatever, that's only skin deep.

If that's what beauty is, maybe it's interesting for a little while, but it's not what they want. It's not what we really want.

Maybe I was up too late when I originally posted this to a Facebook group, but I've had plenty of sleep since then. It's still meaningful.

Watch what you buy and what you believe.

True beauty is what the salescrew calls ugly, because they can't make a profit on it.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Are You Meeting with Acephobia? Do People Say You Must Be Asexual? Unemotional?

(This is for people who get questioned over their lack of interest in sex.)

Don't ever believe that you don't have human emotions. Whoever tells you that is either lying for their own power or gain, or trying to use metalanguage you don't use to say something else. 

You can hope for their sake it's the latter, but that's not your problem. Just don't believe them.

The whole social conversation about sex is so skewed that you really can't tell what people are trying to say any more. People claim to be gay or lesbian or even bi-sexual, and yet they claim not to be practicing -- not sexually active. 

Maybe I'm being obtuse, but how can they know if they even have preferences if they don't? It's like saying you prefer the 68000 over the 80x86 (microprocessors) when you've never programmed either. Or like saying you prefer caviar to foie gras when you can't afford either. 

(Okay, the expensive food analogy reveals something about me that some might call bias. Cancel that. Even the CPU analogy will meet criticism, unless you understand that, in my opinion, low-level computer programming is a hobby everyone should try. Hmm. Every analogy I can think of falls a bit short.)

So some people claim to affiliate with the cause of the LGBQT community as a matter of principle more than practice. 

There are other people who claim to be defending the rights of the homosexually inclined, but they themselves are practicing bi-sexual. What do they mean?

Machiavelli and de Sade were not the first, nor were they the last, to assign far more meaning, and less, to sex and gender than can be justified.

It can be sort of understandable sometimes. For too many people, the hormonal flux is the only thing they've experienced that makes them feel good about either themselves or life. Maybe nobody ever hugged them except to try to force them to feel better. Or maybe words of praise were always attached to conditions. Or some other such. So many ways we pervert natural affection.So many ways we pervert love.

There are many ways to express human affection, so many colors. I think that affection which is dependent on gender, on rank in society, on social affiliation, on family connection, or on similar external stuff tends to be tinged with gray. 

Affection of vibrant colors and tints will be born of caring about the other person as a person, not as a member of some artificial group.

Anyway, human emotion has lots of colors. Lots more colors than human sexuality, even.

(And the rainbow flag is now often being used to mute those, even. If you wave it, please be careful not to use it to mute others' colors.)

(Originally published in my talk-about-sex blog:


Sunday, January 9, 2022



ライン共   しっかりしろよ










(ああ、明日予定のビショップとの面接はライン上できません。 Zoom でやるしかないかな。直ぐに eメールしないといけない、な。)


面接は Zoom上できました。











  1. 以前にタブレットに電話モデムのSIMカードを有効にしていてそのタブレットにラインのアプリ入れてライン連絡ように使っていました。
  2. タブレットの契約を安くするために、電話そのものは違う電話会社の貝殻携帯で続けていた。 
  3. その後、タブレットがパンパンなって、ラインは使えなくなって、スマホン買った。そして、ラインをタブレットから削除してスマホに移動させた。
  4. (タブレットの(電話にならない)電話番号の情報がラインのアカウントに残ってたようです。)
  5. 去年の秋頃その毎月払っていた3千円がもったいなく、シムの登録をその電話会社に返納しました。(関連情報を削除する必要があるということがわからなく、そんなあるはずとは期待もしませんまま。)
  6.  数カ月後、その電話番号が誰か、違う人に使用されることになって、その方は矢張りラインに登録しました。
  7. ラインがその登録を「怪しい!」と判定し、予告も容赦もなくイキナリボクのスマホの登録までさえ、取り消してくれました。セキュリティです、と。 

あのね。ライン共よ。デザイン上の DOS という意味がわかりません? Denial Of Service. 提供される供給を客さんの依頼無く切断。ネットの悪奴らがマルウェアを利用してやるようなことを、このサービスを提供する御社がわざわざやってくれています。












(友達の観察ボット GIFへの返事: )

Probably not inappropriate, but I still don't like typing my password for one service and tool into a dialog offered by another service and company that I have discovered I have reason not to trust.

I know, I know, we have nothing to protect and no way to protect it anyway, but you have to set limits and this is one of the places I choose to set mine.