Thursday, August 30, 2007
''Today, I'm sleep about all day. So, I'm out of write. I'm sorry.''
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Here they (all) are:
The most popular spelling by far was texs appearing on 34 tests.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
Anyway, yesterday I zoned out a little during a class while the JTE (Japanese Teacher of English) was explaining grammar and vocab to the students. And, suddenly, he asked me ''Do you know?'' and pointed at the board, upon which he had written:
care for A = look after A
I froze. He and students waited for my answer as I gave a long ''uhhhmmm'' to fill the silence. After admitting defeat and saying ''I'm sorry, I don't understand.'' the answer came to me, redeeming me as the infallible native English speaker.
Now, I ask you, ''Do you know?''
Highlight (click and drag on) the the italicized text to see the answer.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
1.) All 14 teachers gave one each and the principal gave two at a morning ceremony in the teachers' room.
2.) Again, all 14 teachers gave another speech, the principal gave two and the vice principal gave one at another morning ceremony in gym, which the students attended.
3.) And yet again, all 14 teachers, the principal and the vice principal spoke at a formal farewell party after work.
So: (14 x 3) + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 for a grand total of 49 speeches.
Which equates to about 245 minutes, or over 4 hours of monologue that I couldn't understand.
I don't mean to be irreverent or cynical. I know it was an important event for the school and all these teachers; maybe it's because I couldn't hear the content of each individual speech, but I couldn't help but see the absurdity of 49 compulsory speeches in one day from the same 16 people, but, then again, I'm not Japanese.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Sometimes I feel out of place here. Maybe it's because I've never been part of an ethnic minority, and, unlike in America, you cannot be a different race and be considered Japanese. In other words, any person from any heritage can potentially be American, but in Japan, if you're white or black you're automatically a gaijin*.
On a related note, I passed a Japanese midget the other day on my way to the train station and he looked at me like I was the strange one.
*Gaijin is short for gaikokujin. But, the former literally means ''outsider'' and can be considered rude as opposed to the latter, which means ''foreigner.'' I have never been called gaikokujin.
Disclaimer: the above picture is not of said midget. This one's a Thai boxer. If ''midget'' isn't the current P.C. term, my apologies.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
So, here are the links to his HK posts:
made in Hong Kong, chapter one
chapter three (with pics!)
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
So, the pressure was certainly on but that didn't keep me from losing 20 to 8 in a tiring, humbling one on one game. My D was definitely not tenacious, at least not enough to handle this bone thin 5' 5'' power-house the coach matched me up against. I had half a foot, half a buck and half a decade on this kid but he ran circles around me. I was a sloth swatting a humming bird. That day, David was Japanese and Goliath a lumbering American.
So, the gig was up: The big American wasn't good at basketball after all. I've always known I wasn't good, but at times like these it feels like I need to rediscover all the things I'm bad and good at relative to Japanese. It's like when you are in a different country there's the potential to be a different person, so every day can be a rediscovery of who you are until you realize that geography doesn't determine identity, but that your identity follows you everywhere. So, after coming to terms with what I already knew the coach told me that there will be a four on four full court game if I'd like to play.
I had nothing to prove so I accepted just for fun, but as I watched the students warm up it became apparent that the student I played one on one was, by far, the best player on the team. It was hard to believe but the other players' skill level seemed comparable to mine except I had a head over all the competition.
My confidence returned and the game began. It felt like I had wings at tip off, which empowered me to no end. Suddenly and unexpectedly I became the big American that's good at basketball. All at once, I felt tall, fast and athletic and my new-found self-assurance didn't allow me to act otherwise. I came back from the depths of accepting defeat to a level of confidence matched only by my towering height. I tirelessly glided across the court, I made my shots, I rallied the team; I, for the first time in my life, was good at basketball...so, on second thought, maybe I can be someone else in Japan?
*''Nice Shoot!'' is an example of Japanese English. It's what students say when someone makes a shot. I tried to explain that it should be ''Nice shot'', but they just turned their heads like confused puppies. Some English words like these are so widely used that they think they are Japanese, like the phrases ''Don't mind'' and ''Check it out'' for example, which end up sounding more like ''Don mine'' and ''Shekitau.''
Friday, January 26, 2007
Just in case anyone didn't know, I've decided to re-contract so I'm committing myself to another year of this crrazy Japafantasy life.
Not to assume too much but if you are trying to post comments but your comment doesn't go through, just try again and it'll let you post. I've realized that when I try to comment on other people's blogs it doesn't work the first time I try to send it but always goes through after the second attempt. For some reason this new version of blogger is really adament about protecting sites from spam bots, so you have to prove that you are not a computer program and enter two codes.
And lastly, this is just another shameless plug for my other blog: http://eternityconsidered.blogspot.com/ , go there for all your eternal perspective discourse needs.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
I was teaching a lesson on telling directions and, at the end of the lesson, the mood turned conversational, which always guarantees something...special. The students talked amongst themselves until I heard my name mentioned a few times and suddenly the class looked at me inquisitively.
The teacher then says that the students want me to tell them how to get a girl. I knew that I wouldn't be able to get away from this one without telling them something. They seemed genuinely curious and eager for advice, which might be somewhat attributed to there being only 10 girls at the school. So, I searched my brain for succinct, easily translatable directions on how to get a girl. It not being an art I've mastered, nothing came. Ask me directions on how to pop popcorn, how to wash clothes, how to ride a bike or how to do anything except that and maybe I can break it down into a few steps. But, I dipped into all past relationship experiences in a thin-slice Malcom Gladwell sort of way and turned to the chalkboard; these three simple steps are what came out of me:
1.) Tell her that she is beautiful.
- later amended to ''Tell her that she is 'so' beautiful.''
- The extended explaination: ''Let her know that you like her. And make her feel beautiful.''
2.) At first, do not act like you need her.
- I drew two magnets on the board and explained that, even though the two positives faced eachother, the approaching positive would push the other magnet away. Extended explaination: ''Don't 'come on' too strong and too fast.''
3.) Then, when you know that she likes you, treat her like she is all that matters to you.
The students had never listened so attentively and their English comprehension seemed to improve 10 fold. I walked to the back of the class as the teacher translated and explained. From the back, over the heads of 40 Japanese students, I saw all my directions, notes and drawings on the chalkboard on how the get a girl. First, I felt relief that I pulled it off and that my students wanted to listen to English as a means for getting information that they actually wanted. But then, upon looking again at the students and the chalkboard I became conscious of what I just taught them. I looked out the window and suddenly became very aware of where I was and what I was doing: standing in the back of classroom in Japan after teaching 40 students how to get a girl. I couldn't help but think that I live a very strange life but, right now, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Friday, January 19, 2007
The students talk and laugh as the teacher turns to me with a smile and says,
''They are wondering if you are sadistic.''
Me: ''Uhh, are you serious?''
Teacher: ''They want to know if you are sadistic. In Japanese we say `Ss.`''
Me: ''Wow, umm, no, I'm not.''
The teacher speaks to them in Japanese and turns back to me.
Teacher: ''Now they want to know if you are masochistic.''
Me: ''What?! These are really strange questions...''
I turn to the class and repeat slowly, ''S-T-R-A-N-G-E Q-U-E-S-T-I-O-N-S.'' But the teacher persists.
Teacher: ''So, are you?''
Me: ''Uhh, I don't think, no, no I'm not masochistic."
Teacher: "Oh, so you're nuetral?"
Me: "Nuetral?? Yeah, sure, I guess I'm nuetral...why are they asking me this.''
Teacher: ''Oh, well, they are just making sure.''