Sensei mistakes, updates, & Tokyo

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post, just feeling kind of lazy (guess the daily grind got to me a bit.  The weather’s also been unseasonably warm).  Classes are still good, though the younger students are trying to push me by misbehaving and what not.  I’ve gotten completely used to the job which is nice.  BUT March marks the end of the Japanese school year so come April my whole routine will be thrown up in the air.  It’s okay – I’ll adjust.

A few more funny things that happened this week.
Some of my high school students are taking a dictation written by Nelson Mandela about his first day out of prison.  One of the sentences reads about “a huge sea of people cheering, clapping, and laughing,” but because there’s no “l” in Japanese, two students have written, “a huge sea of people cheering, crapping, and laughing.” Yep, I laughed right in class.  Probably a bad idea because the older kids tend to be very stoic and serious and most likely think I’m laughing at their mistake.  Oh, well.  It’s just two damn funny.

I also have a young male student named Sougou (whom I called Souga in class one day and later found out that means ginger in Japanese.  Whoops!).  He’s a bit of a troublemaker, but a pretty cute kid.  In a part of a video game Mike’s playing he has to defeat the Sougou clan, so I just keep imagining a little army of Sougous.  Maybe it’s only funny to me.

On a sadder note, one of my student’s had her last class today.  A few others have quit, maybe 2 or 3.  This time of year is when a lot of the middle school (13-15 years old) stop English school because between cram school and club activities they just don’t have the time.  Another one’s quitting tomorrow, and another at the end of this month.  Her name is Madoka, and she gave me a present:My adult female student also lent me a book:
I love Japanese gift-giving.  White Day, March 13th, is like the other half of Valentine’s Day in Japan.  I’m sure I’m going to get a ton of stuff.  I just wish I could give the students things.  I’ve been asking when all their birthdays are, but my boss said we’re not allowed to give anything to the kids (maybe allergies & things like that).

I also received my first adult paycheck today!  (Well, not really.  Japanese style is bank transfers, but I still got the money.)  Can’t wait to go buy groceries tomorrow.  DON’T WORRY, MOM; I’M EATING.  I just haven’t been paying for anything for the past week haha.  We actually just had this for dinner:It’s okay it’s from a box because we had shabu shabu for lunch.

My boss finally finished the calendar for the school year, so here’s how my vacations are looking:
Golden Week: April 29 – May 5
Summer Holiday: July 31 – August 15
New Year’s Holiday: December 25 – January 5

We also went to Tokyo this weekend.  Mike’s working on a post about that, but I’ll fill you in on two details he won’t be including.

As we sat on the train, Mike chatting with our Japanese friend Taku and I knitting furiously – I’ve gotta finish that friggin’ scarf, I heard a curious splashing noise.  Naturally, I looked up and was lucky enough to catch the trail end of a stream of yellow, chunky vomit excusing itself from a businessman’s mouth.  It was 1 o’clock in the afternoon, so the only reason I can guess is motion sickness or a stomach problem.  In any case, a doctor happened to be on the train & helped the man until the two got off at the next stop.

We also went to a typography exhibit at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum.  No photos, sorry.  When they say no cameras they mean it – there was a person stationed in every room to discourage shutter bugs like myself.  The exhibit was really interesting.  I even jotted down the names & creators of a few posters to share with you, but, alas, I have lost this paper.  Not only am I annoyed at losing it, but also because of the public embarrassment my jotting of a note caused.
You know that glossy paper you just can’t write on, be it pencil or pen?  The museum info paper I had on hand was that finish so I whipped my tiny marker to scribble with.  Apparently that’s not allowed, because the old woman monitoring in the room tapped me on the shoulder, spoke some Japanese, and offered me a pencil.  I thought she wanted to give me it, so I said no thank you.  She speaks some more Japanese.  Now people are starting to look at me, and the woman just keeps gently thrusting the pencil at me.  Exasperated, I turn to Taku to translate.  He tells me mechanical pencils are okay, but please don’t write with ballpoint pens or anything else.  Jeez.

(I found the paper!  Click here to see the cool posters.)

So, that’s what I’ve been up to.  And for those of you who’ve asked for postcards, I haven’t forgotten.  I just haven’t been to the post office recently.  For those of you who have not asked, please do!  We’ve got a ton of them.  Kindly include your address (e-mail me!).


About Michelle

I lived in Japan for a year & a half teaching English. Now I'm blogging about learning to cook in NYC.
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One Response to Sensei mistakes, updates, & Tokyo

  1. Pingback: Sensei mistakes, updates, & Tokyo | garrulous gaijin | TEFL Japan

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