A note about pronunciation for the names. Japanese vowels sound like the:
a – “ah” in ox
e – “ey” in hey
i – “ee” in kiwi
0 – “oh” in close or open
u – “ooh” in flute
Clockwise: Miyuki, a hotel concierge, Akarumi, a dentist, and Masako, a retired English teacher. These ladies are the best. They’ve all been studying English for decades, so I get to talk about more complicated things with them. Last week we watched Vincent Price’s performance of “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe and this week we read Japanese folk tales translated into English.
Souichirou is my wiz-kid student. He’s eight years old and just finishing up his high-school level studying. He carries so many books that he has to drag his bag to class. He loves Stitch, riding his bike, and going to the library. Souichirou’s an only child, but he has a pet fish, a beetle, a cat, and a dog named Eric. When I ask, “How are you?” he usually responds with something like “great”, “marvelous”, or “fantastic.” (Most of the kids are taught to simply say, “I’m fine, and you?” in school.) He’s responsible for my favorite teaching moment in my time here: a diary entry that read, “I rode my bike fast, so I was cool.” He’s the best. I love this kid!
Clockwise: Kaito, 8, Daito, 7, and Yuki, 8. These boys are a handful. They can usually read with a little help, but getting them to quiet down is always a hassle. As you can see, Yuki wouldn’t even put down some magnets and paper clips for a photo. He’s also got a bit of a mean streak… he’s kicked me before in class, and he taunts & fights with the other boys. Hopefully he grows out of it. Kaito lived in Kentucky for three years, so his pronunciation is pretty good. Daito used to be in a kindergarten class I taught when I first started, but is now in this second grade class. He usually sleeps in the car on the way to the school so he always walks into class half asleep. He’s a sweet boy, if a little distracted.
Kenshū, 14, speaks English very well. Last year he won second place in the prefecture-wide speech contest. In class he’s taking dictation from Spider-Man II; he loves American comics. Kenshū also dances hip hop and competes at local clubs. If he does well on his high school entrance exam this year (he wants to get into one of the most competitive schools in the area. I’m confident in him. He’s a very studious, determined boy), his parents will take him to New York at the end of the school year in March.
Miyu is Kaito’s 10-year-old sister, and she also lived in Kentucky. She’s a very, very quite girl which is a bit of a challenge since her class is mostly conversation and explanation. Her end of the convo is usually limited to “yes” and “I don’t know.” She’s just a bit shy.
Atsuya is 14 and nearly finished with high-school level English (he doesn’t begin high school until April 2012). He likes sports very much. He’s on the track and field team at school, but he also spends a lot of time playing and watching baseball. As you may be able to tell, his favorite color is red.
Thirteen year old Junki is one of the nicest boys I teach. He just completed the high school English book and has moved on to a conversation/vocabulary-building class. We use a book called Totally True 2, a collection of unbelievable stories and he’s transcribing Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl for homework. Junki loves the J-pop girl band AKB48 because “they’re cute” and Harry Potter.
Momoka, 12, is the cutest! She’s a super sweet, nice girl. The one time she forgot her homework in nine months of class together she got a horrified look on her face and promised to bring it next class after apologizing profusely. I’ve seen her abilities progress significantly since April when she started junior high. She’s Chinatsu’s older sister (see Tuesday) and is friendly and talkative. Her school club is volleyball, and her favorite colors are blue and orange.