It might seem obvious that I’ve been living life here mostly for the weekends. The weekdays can be quite dull, though I try to fill them up with mini happenings: dinner at Himalaya, swimming with Flo, increasing my mileage (well, kilometer-age), learning easy songs on the guitar, catching up with MTV shows, my addiction with the ‘Twilight’ series, going to bed early and on and on. I almost always come back from weekend excursions smiling, thinking ‘aaahhhh what a great weekend’ … not so much on the weekdays. Though today, I really did think ‘aaahhhh what a great weekday.’
For one, they remembered to feed me. Lunch with the 5th graders at Minami was super sweet. I like it when the kids see me as more of a friend than a teacher from a foreign land. Do you remember those monster cards the boys in grade school used to play with? I can’t remember what they were called but I think each card was a different kind of fighter with different powers, points, and something like that. With kids spending too much of their school time competing and fighting due to these cards, they were probably banned at some point, along with the Tamaguchis, POGs, and Poly Pockets. As we all know, Japan’s population is filled with brilliant people, and it seems as though some of them have come up with a clever way to combine that monster-fighter-game with school supplies: pencils with that circular octagonal shape, each side containing the information of a different sort of battle attack, or something like that. The kids, mostly boys, play by spinning the pencils and scream when they land on a good attack, or something like that. Anyways, during the course of the pizza-toast lunch, they found out that I’m into baseball and got the whole class to agree to play during their lunch break. Even better than playing with the 3rd/4th graders at Iwafune, these kids at Minami actually know how to play!! A couple of the other teachers came out to join also, and I was able to show off a couple of my skillzz by smashing a homerun all the way into the soccer field!! Next week I’m going to bring my own mitt, I can’t wait!!
Last week, when Senami Elementary hiked up Gagyuzan, I met one of the volunteering mothers of a first grade boy: Rochelle. She’s from the Philippines, married a Japanese guy, and is now stuck here in Murakami. She speaks perfect English, so Hiki-sensei, her, and I impressed all of the kids on the trek with our English-speaking skills. We hung out again at the Senami Undoukai, and she invited me over for dinner this evening. She had purple sweet potato cake from the Philippines, delicious Italian-style pasta, and orange juice all ready to be eaten since I didn’t have much time before my Eikaiwa class. All that AND she let me borrow Eclipse, the 3rd book in the Twilight series!! It’s just too bad that we’re just becoming friends this late in the game for me.
The first Eikaiwa class is always a little difficult for me since I don’t know what to expect of the students. Since this was the second class, I was able to cater the lesson plan to the general level of the students and it went shockingly great!! I taught them all about how we REALLY greet one another in English, past, present, and future tense verbs. My problem is that I always accidentally go over the scheduled ending time. I remember hating teachers for keeping me after class was supposed to be over, so I’m really going to have to work on that. The positive feedback I received after class was over though really left me with that: ‘aaahhhh what a great weekday’ feeling.