HAPPY NEW YEAR (17 days late)!!!!! It has been much too long since my last update on how things are going, and I sincerely apologize. I will do better. *bows deeply*
What’ve I been up to? Well, besides my daily struggle against the cold (other than my difficulties retaining body heat, the lock on my front door froze shut the other day, forcing me to leave and re-enter my house from one of my side doors. I felt like a burglar.), I recently had two weeks off for winter vacation, and my fiancé Hunter visited me from America! It was his first time out of the country, and we did lots of fun stuff, so look forward to all the details in future posts 🙂
Here are some highlights from his visit:
- I went skiing for the first time and I’m still alive.
- We went and saw the snow monkeys.
- We went to the famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.
- We went to a bunny café in Tokyo.
- I ate WHALE.
- And much more!
School has been going pretty well so far. Here are some highlights from classes and daily life at school:
- Last month, I ate lunch with a second grade class, and one of the boys insisted on pulling my chair out for me every day which was ADORABLE.
- Also last month, I helped out the middle school teachers with speaking tests for every middle school class. One of the questions for the eighth graders was, “What do you like to do?” This one boy answered, “I like to……. desk.” And he said it with such conviction I almost burst out laughing.
- Recently, the ninth graders were learning the grammar point, “He wants me to _______.” I gave the students the beginning part of the sentence and they had to fill in what they needed to do. Here are some of the sentences they came up with: “Goku wants me to shout Kamehameha.” “Godzilla wants you to eat “Mosura.” “I want my English teacher to give Christmas presents and a lot of money to us.”
- While reviewing emotions with the kindergarteners, my co-teacher and I decided we’d act out the emotions and have the kids guess. So co-teacher decides to act out scared. He gets onto the little stage, points at an invisible something on the ground, says what it is in Japanese, then puts his hands up near his mouth and backs into a corner, saying, ｢怖い！怖い！｣ (Scary! Scary!). One of the kids says, 「ええ？先生、女になった！」(Huh? Sensei, you became a woman!) Soon, kids started agreeing with him, and in an attempt to re-gain control over the class, co-teacher asked them what emotion he was acting out. 「おんんんんなああああ」(womaaaannnnn) they replied in chorus. Luckily I was standing in the back, so the students couldn’t see me shaking in silent laughter.
- When I went to one of my sixth grade classes a few weeks ago, I was surprised when the whole class was making fun of this one student in the front of the class. The homeroom teacher made him turn around so that his back was facing me and the JTE which was when we noticed that there was a hole BURNED through his shorts so you could see his underwear. Apparently he had forgotten about the don’t-sit-on-the-heater rule and it had promptly reminded him of it.
- Today during lunch, one of the students in the second grade class I’m eating lunch with looked at the soup and said, ｢ああっ！英語入った！｣ (Ah! There’s English in it!). And he was correct! It was alphabet soup. Another student, after returning from the bathroom, opened the door and declared, ｢どこでもドア！｣ (dokodemo door — an invention from the famous blue, robot cat Doraemon that can take you anywhere you want to go). I thought it was adorable. The homeroom teacher told him to be quiet and sit down.
- One thing that I find very odd, what with Japan’s obsession with taking in foreign words and sometimes combining/shortening/changing their meaning entirely, is that they accepted “influenza” into their language but didn’t shorten it. So every time you want to talk about the flu you have to stumble over the whole word, which doesn’t quite flow off the tongue as well as it does in English. OR JUST SAY FLU. *sigh* Maybe there is a shortened form, but no one at my school uses it. The couple of times I’ve said ‘flu,’ the teachers look at me like, “crap, did she just speak English?” and get really confused for the couple of seconds before I see that look of panic and correct it.
Speaking of the flu, guess what? It’s currently flu season, yayyy!! …and the school takes it very seriously. Starting on Monday (1/15), everyone is supposed to wear a mask. EVERYone. It’s kind of odd walking into class and seeing all the students wearing masks and the teacher you co-teach with wearing one too. We were supposed to have an assembly with the whole school so they could practice a song, but it was changed so the classes would practice in their classrooms instead. Less chance for the flu to spread that way.
I was pretty sick last Sunday with what COULD have been a mild case of the flu, but so far I’ve been lucky. The eighth graders haven’t been so lucky. Of the three eighth grade classes, two of them are missing a few students, but about half are missing from the third. In a fourth grade class I taught at today that usually has around 21 students, a total of seven students, and the teacher, were out sick. We got a memo today as well that says that if 20% of a class gets sick with influenza, that class will be canceled for a few days to try and prevent it spreading any further; apparently a few classes will be canceled for the rest of the week because of this.
Maybe it was because I just didn’t pay much attention to it when I was in school, but I don’t remember flu season ever being this widespread. I have been keeping up with the news in America that says that this year’s flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in history, so maybe that same strand of the flu is wrecking havoc here as well.
Well that’s all for this post! Thanks for reading, and stay warm and healthy!
Until next time!