Friday, April 14

Udon is My Enemy

Before I start in on today, I'd like to say that I am going through Bleach withdrawal. Granted, I haven't watched it in a couple weeks, but I was only able to download through episode 69 before it was licensed in the U.S. and henceforth taken off of the anime downloading sites. So, I am in anticipatory withdrawal for when I finish watching the episodes I have and have no idea how the darn thing ends. I will say, however, that it has served as fodder for much English conversation with the girls at CS3. At the end of each lesson a group always comes up and says "I like Breachi!" And then we talk about which characters we like and don't like. Good times are had by all. Maybe I'll have to start reading the comic books. I have 1 and 2 only... maybe I can find the rest at an English bookstore.... somewhere....

Anyhoo, so today I was at CS3 again, good times, good times. The first class of the day was the sannensei elective class, meaning they like English (I almost wrote Spanish :-( ) enough to choose it as their elective. And they were all decent in it, for 14-year-olds, and willing to speak and ask questions in English. Today all 10 or so girls and all two boys introduced themselves in English with the short paragraphs they had prepared and memorized for homework. They were very good! Afterwards, S-sensei and C-san and I asked them questions about their presentations and the other students did as well. Sometimes. At the end of the two-period class, C-san (Mr., not Miss, as the one class had fun calling him. Dude, you shouldn't even have offered it as an option - saying "NOT Miss C" is just an open invitation for them to call you that!) had to introduce ourselves in Japanese. Fortunately the night before I had had my first Japanese lesson with ST (S-sensei's wife) and I was well-practiced. I laid it out, screwed up my age and said I was 19, and they all laughed. Hey, it could happen!

The next period we had ichinensei (1) with the funny teacher. This guy is a mess. Except for his speaking ability, I think he's the male Japanese version of me as a teacher, in that he's got stuff all over the place and can't find what he wants (it doesn't help that he had three boxes of books to haul over for the kids), he gets ahead of himself and is a little goofy. I like this guy. When I first met him yesterday he said he spoke and taught "fake" English. Yesterday he was asking C-san and I what real English speakers would respond to "How are you?" instead of the book responses "I'm fine" "I'm so-so" and "I'm not so good." Cool. And then C-san got called Miss C. Excellent.

In another class I totally bombed, well, maybe it wasn't me. From now on you must call me Dr. Howell, D.D.S., for I earned my degree in dentistry today pulling kids' teeth. Nary a smile was to be had in this class. Even when I asked "Do you like chocolate?" (in Japanese it's chocoretto, so it's not a huge leap, plus I had a big picture of it on the board. And Japanese chocolate at that.) I got meek looks and no response. Only two girls admitted to liking or even knowing about Bleach. The rest just shut their gobs and either looked nervous or smirked. So I opted to have lunch with that class today, to see if I could work a little Abbey magic. Not to be so. Actually, at my table one kid spoke to me right off the bat. But then that was that.

And we had udon, my first experience with this ginormous bag of huge noodles that you have to put in a full bowl of soup and try to eat with your chopsticks, while also attempting to pick up this fried mass of I don't know what also with your chopsticks, except it's not small and not soft (save!) and has a tendency to go shooting out from between your unwieldy chopsticks and flying onto the table, hitting the kid next to you (who won't even look you in the face) in the elbow. So, as you are only a quarter of the way into your udon bag, with still a half of a fried thing and weird salad to go, plus your milk and orange quarter, you realize that the kids are starting to finish and take up their dishes. Wait! Chotto matte! So I managed to look a fool without getting a rise out of the kids. Darn.

Later, at soji time, the wise guys thought it was funny to swat my little ponytail as they walked by. Ok, it's on. So I got one of them later to show I was in. Tie game. Except they got me back in the same round. W.G. 2 - Abbey 1.

At soji time I tried the soji pep-rally approach, running down the hallway as they stood waiting for the ok to begin, slapping all their hands. Most of them thought it was funny, like where did this chick come from? And a couple of them barely moved and gave me the "I am not amused" face. So soji was good, our class (2-B) was the first one done on our wing so I deemed us the champions and all were happy with that. Apparently my trash-talking was lost on 1-A, but my "team" was right on. Excellent.

I barely made it through the last two periods - we had 5th off because they were just doing orientation in that class and 6th was off anyways today, so I did some Japanese and kanji studying, writing in my journal and trying to look busy without falling asleep.

Today's rating: a challenging and tiring yet good day.

Next up: Second School (SS). Yikes.

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