I taught in Japan (ESL, at … NOVA… *shudder*, as well as a startup called KGC – Kokusai Gaigo Centre) back in 1999-2000 and I do remember the odd transposition (one of so, so many in Japan) of ultra-high tech (I had a cell phone advanced far beyond what was being used in N. America) and ultra low-tech (there was only one place in the town I lived in — Muikamachi, Niigata-ken — where one could access the internet (!). I miss Japan, and I would love to go back to explore the south. My experience there was fairly limited and I only explored parts of Honshu (Tokyo, Yokohama, & Niigata). It’s interesting that your students were able to engineer complex robotics, while at the same time, they have difficulty with what many would perceive as ‘basic’ digital literacy skills. I’m curious – how is ICT taught in Japan? Are many schools utilizing a 1-to-1 program?
Stay safe! I experienced the boxing day earthquake (Indian Ocean, 2004) when I was living in Malaysia (it woke me up!) but you were much closer to the epicentre than I was. Praying that I’ll be prepared if/when the “big one” hits here in Vancouver!