Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Am so tired. It's only a few degrees below hellfire and there is no AC at my elementary schools, so naturally a good day to do a lesson that involves singing and dancing. Most of My kids were so cute doing it. I gave out stickers for the best dancers which was a good incentive. Was cracking up laughing at my last class. They were soooo into it.

Am still frustrated with the second grade teacher at this school. It's a different woman than before but even still she refuses to translate or help me out about as much as the other woman did. At least this lady stays in the classroom though. The last teacher would leave me with 38 crazy seven year olds by myself. If Japanese students weren't so well-trained I might have slit my wrists by now, but it's still difficult trying to get a game played right. I even showed her the instructions written in Japanese today and did she relay these instructions to the class? No.

Going to dinner with annoying co-worker tonight and then that's the last I'll see of him since he's going back to the US for good. I go home Thursday for a six week holiday before returning to teach one more year (maybe one more, maybe two, we'll see!) Am so excited to see family and friends. My nephew is no longer the scrawny one month old baby that I left and is now a porky 10 month old who likes to smile and blow raspberries.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Traditional Japanese Dance

Two weeks ago I got the chance to see some traditional Japanese dancing. My friend Sue's mother was performing at the library/cultural center here in Tahara. The performance went on for over three hours and the place was packed, but there was a festive air to the event rather than the stuffy atmosphere you get with the ballet back home. Perhaps it was the small town nature of it. The kimono were breathtaking, the sets amazing, and the dancing very evocative. I really enjoyed it.

Pre-preformance pic. Also pre-wig.

They had very elaborate sets which they changed for each dance.

Afterwards with Saori, Sue, Miwa, Vanessa, me and Sue's mom.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Charades Champion

After living in two foreign countries and visited numerous others, let's just say if you want to play charades, you better hope I'm on your team.

Have suffered two days with horrible allergies. Finally decided today it was bad enough to brave the pharmacist if not the doctor. A few Japanese words, a lot of mimeing, and I'm already feeling better.

And it wasn't nearly as embarrassing as the time I got a yeast infection in France. Try mimeing that one. ;-)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Saturday Night Fever

I see over 1,000 students in a month's time here in Tahara. It's impossible to learn all but a few of their names and I only remember the very good and the very bad. (Very bad being very relative. This is very bad by Japanese standards which means slightly annoying by American ones.)

My two absolute favorite students though are unforgettable. They are Miyu and Ikki. They always have a smile for me, usually michievious in nature, and I can usually count on them to shout "Oh, hello, Ms. Jennifer!" whenever they see me. I met them both last year as first graders (7th grade) and now have them as second graders (8th). The very first thing they said to me when I met them was "Saturday Night Fever!"

I looked at them confused. "What?"

"Saturday Night Fever!" they repeated. I wasn't sure what they were trying to communicate, but they seemed so earnest that I did a little disco dance for them. They almost fell out of their chairs laughing at me. Ikki I think actually did.

And so began our little joke. Now when I see them in the hall or after class one of us points and says "Saturday Night Fever" and the other person has to dance. At one point I had half of Ikki's class dancing during lucnh after I taught him to say "Let's dance" and "It's easy."

The rest of the students just laugh at us and the teachers were really confused the first time they saw me dancing in the hallway, but we have fun regardless. Miyu and I have even expanded our repetoire recently. When I say "Hawaii" she has to do a hula dance. :-)