Tuesday, June 27

Midweek Update

Sorry, no illustration this time, just black and white words.

Today was one of those days that started off pretty good, stressed-up for a bit, but then evened-out and ended up being great. I was at ... well, I don't know what my name for it is... let's call it... Intense Elementary School. IES. Because the English there is intense. The kids are great and know a lot of English - and aren't afraid to use it, but teaching there can sometimes be stressful... I'm not sure why.

Anyway, today I walked in and was handed a pile of papers - only after I told them that I never got the fax they sent to the school I was supposed to be at yesterday, but which got changed since they were testing. So everything they wanted me to do today was news to me, with a few minutes to gather my thoughts and figure out how the heck I was going to teach it. Fortunately, M-chan was there with me, and she was fabulous in the classes we had together, so everything flowed out. Plus I'm a damn language teaching machine, so it all worked out.

Today was hot as a mug, I was dripping halfway through the first class, and it didn't stop. During lunch, I had an excellent time with the 1nensei who asked me all kinds of great questions - and may I remind you that these are 6 and 7-year-olds. First graders. Besides the typical birthday, age, etc. questions, they asked me questions such as (in Japanese, of course):

1. What did you eat on the airplane (to come to Japan)?
2. What did you see from the window?
3. Did you see Mt. Fuji?
4. How many meals do you eat per day in America?
5. What time do you eat the meals?
6. What do you have for breakfast?
7. What do you eat with (utensils)?
8. What do you like to eat in America?

I answered in Japanglish, and when they didn't understand they busted out, on their own with no prompting "What do you mean?" Sugoi. These kids are awesome. Proof that language education should start as young as possible and be fostered as much as possible outside of the classroom.

I was also proud of myself for understanding many of the questions they asked me. Especially that window question. Go me!

After school M-chan and I hung out to play with the afterschool stragglers - it started as a 2-on-2 dodgeball match, but eventually kids came streaming in from who knows where and it was full-on. Like thirty kids and us dodging it up. Sugoi. That was amazing. How they all just streamed in to play with us. M-chan is great with the kids and she's infectious, so it helped me to loosen up a little more and get physical with them, be silly and just have Good Times. Eventually I escaped to play soccer with some of the boys, one of whom I want to take home so I can admire his cuteness all the time! Kawaiiiiii!

So, yesterday I was with M-chan at her special school, like LMS is my special school. The kids were great, I had a 20-minute conversation about anime with a few girls - the Bleach reference inevitably brings a few around - during hiruyasumi. Then another girl came by and just about went into convulsions when she found out I like Bump of Chicken. Apparently she's a fan too.

Sunday I went to soccer and had a blast. There were only 7 of us, so we mostly played 3-on-3 with a goalie, (girls, are you listening? this is some good stuff for practice), with a 5-pass minimum before attempting to shoot from outside the cones. All in attendance agreed it was a fine workout and fine training. Of course we were also playing basically in sand, so it made it even more of a workout. I was also the only girl, which was fine, and I felt like I did well (for me), and got lots of ball time.

Here a note about how Japanese culture is seeping into me: after the practice, I went down to the river to wash the sand off my feet and legs. When I got back to the car, I didn't want to put my dirty feet - and especially dirty socks - into my clean running sneakers. My only other option, besides my cleats (not particularly good for driving) were my Adidas sandals for school. I got as far as picking them up, and then decided I just couldn't. They're only for indoor, and I didn't want to get them even the slightest bit dirty. So I drove and hour plus home, barefoot.

My yatta for Sunday, besides my improvements in soccer: I drove there and back by myself, along a new route, without getting lost. YATTAAAAA!

Tonight: a shower, some early bedtime and Brazil at midnight. I tried to Italy-Australia last night, but only made it through the first half. Congrats, Itaria!


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