Some stuff from conversations and class today:
- N-sensei walks in with a face mask. The other homeroom teachers react with horror, “N-sensei! What happened?” “I got sick,” he responds. The general consensus becomes “It must have been the students”, to which H-sensei, who is pregnant and leaving for maternity leave soon says “Ah that’s kinda scary!” after all, no one wants to get sick before the real cold even hits.
The agreed upon solution: “Ok yes, good job student y, but please make sure to face the other direction when you speak to me, I’m counting on you, thanks.”
- A student walked into the teachers office today inquiring after x-sensei. At first, her call of “Is x-sensei here?” is met with silence, but her second, louder call ”Is x-sensei here?” warranted a reply. A teacher spoke up from the back, “There are two, which one?” to which the student replied, “What?! I don’t know!? Lady! Glasses!”
- Doing a word relay game in class where I say the word in Japanese and the students in each row need to race to say it in English. The word is “daitouryou” or president.
Entire left side of the classroom yells: “OBAMA”
- Me: “Is the copy machine door always locked?”
JTE: “Just before the exams.”
Me: “Ahhh ok.” thinking - make sense; if it’s a ghetto enough school I can see students going in and sabotaging teacher’s abilities to make copies.
JTE: “In some lower level schools, the students will hack the copy machine.”
That is truly a far more eloquent way to do this than I had initially thought. Also, the fact that it’s the lower level schools is hilarious - they say lower level by intelligence, but clearly they’re not lacking in the hacking department.
In other news: It’s midterms week next week, so clubs are all canceled. This, in turn, means that between 3 PM and 5:40 PM, I have nothing to do other than prep for classes. Seeing as its midterms next week, there are no classes. So instead I did a digital rendition of the English textbook cover, on MS Paint. I have never made anything so beautiful.
New project at work! Apparently a couple students had been asking my JTE if I could eat lunch with them, or if they could write me letters. Prior to that, I had been brainstorming how to make myself available for everyone, especially the students in classes that I don’t see often (ie. third years), but wanted to talk to me. As it is, I generally wander during the club time to watch and also to hassle club managers to entertain me until my bus arrived. But many of my third years go home early (think ‘open end’, in high school, when the last period of class you didn’t have class so you could go home) so it’s actually rare that I see many of those students.
So after midterms, I’ll be making the announcement! It’s essentially an anything box, and students are welcome to write me notes or letters, anything they’d like, and then depending on the response level I’ll figure out how to get replies to them.
We’ll see how it goes! I’ve heard mixed reviews from other JETs - some say that it works well at first and fizzles out. Others say that their students are doing it for points. I think if I can get an English club started, I’d do point, or if I had a bigger role in the classroom I would offer points (fluency points, that sort of thing, rather than points to the overall grade probably, unless I get some control over that too!). It’d be nice, I think, in the future! :D
(I only sort of made that box. The sign’s all me, but when H-sensei saw me struggling to get the cardboard paper I had been given to fit around the box, he gave me a look of horror and took it off my hands, returning it to me in all it’s blue-paper-cute-tape glory.)
So a question for everyone! What do you think would be a good way for me to connect with as many of my 800+ students as possible?
14 October 2014
Whenever a typhoon comes, the sunset the next day is always incredible. Unfortunately, I mixed up the exact timing for the sunset today, and missed it by about ten minutes, but here’s the Tama river instead.
Today was the first time I rode my bike over to work, as a test to try to see how long it would take me. If I go straight from home to work, it would take me about twenty minutes. Given that I’m incapable of not stopping for photos if I see something nice, it actually took me closer to thirty minutes. I did manage to find the perfect view for the sunset though!! It’s only really a fifteen minute bike ride from my house too, which is quite nice.
The water level of the Tama River is also much higher than normal. We’d just finished another typhoon when this second one hit, and the water from the first had not quite drained out yet.
Other than that, this weekend has been fairly unproductive. I had meant to spend it making worksheets and concept ideas for things for class, but instead spent most of it napping. Saturday was the open house at school so I actually worked and taught three classes, but Sunday was free. Monday and Tuesday I had off (thankfully, since the Typhoon was arriving on those days). Since Sunday was free, I met up with a friend, and it essentially escalated into an Ikea trip + dinner hangout, into deliberately missing the last train home and staying out until 5:44 AM doing a tinse of barhopping and something like three hours of karaoke with people we had met literally that night.
It was fun, but damn did it reset my internal clock to American time.
That’s incredible! I’m so glad you messaged though, it’s exciting to hear! I’m quite enjoying Japan, and I know exactly where that is! Do you mind me asking if it was through a high school exchange program? :D
I’m glad you’re enjoying the pictures haha >w< I hope they didn’t pull your heartstrings too much, or at least if it did, in the so-good-it-hurts kind of way~
I went through years worth of my archives to find this please watch
I wanted to share with everyone the reason I was late for work this morning.
There’s something of a more serious post on the way, so please enjoy this.
Also, let it be known that I have students who make that exact face and motion when they “Nee” (come here) at each other.
On another note, walking back from the train station today I heard a yell of SENSEIII and turned and then there was literally a horde of my first years. I just don’t understand where all of them come from, but I’ve been since informed that apparently Oume to Tachikawa (essentially a radius of thirty-minute-train-ride) are all dangerous student spotting zones.
When people talk about ‘your students are everywhere, watching you’ they weren’t bloody kidding.
A student stopped me to inform me the other day while I was walking down the hall that she saw me. In Tachikawa. Two weeks ago. In a massage chair. The worst part is that I remember that massage chair, and I’m pretty sure I had the dumbest, most stupid-content face on at the time. If that’s not チョウ恥ずかしい (uber embarrassing) then I don’t know what is.
Sports Festival is tomorrow!
A number of things have been happening - I suppose I’ll update the backlog a bit later today after I’ve finished my class prep :D
But in any case, today was the rehearsal sports festival! I’m super excited to see tomorrow, and to take pictures! :D So today a third year student punched a second year (possibly on accident?!) while tug-of-warring for bamboo sticks and the second year went to the hospital. Last week, a student in the track team pulled something and was sent to the hospital. Ambulances here are free, so I guess it’s not unusual to be calling them left and right? I haven’t figured out how serious the incidents are yet, since ambulances aren’t hard to get, and that destroys my usual gauge. Tomorrow should be ok though, we hope!
I had a meeting about the whole ‘on loan to elementary schools’ deal. I don’t mind it - I’m supposed to be getting involved in the community and a good way to break in and meet more people is probably through the elementary schools. So I agreed when originally asked if I’d be willing to work with the elementary schools.
What I didn’t know at the time was that there were four elementary schools requesting my presence. It’s not a big deal, except that my main school is Fussa, after all, and these schools would be asking me to show up on my normal work days, making me miss out on time with the students at Fussa High.
My teachers and I are still discussing the easiest way to do this (and I’ve suggested I just volunteer my day off a couple times, but no one’s taking the bait…I don’t get it, the bait is so good.)
On the walk over to the Fussa City Hall (where the meeting was held) my principal literally turned to me and said “This is a relax meeting! So relax!” but then we sat down with four schools principals and some city hall people and everyone was keigo-ing (formal speak, aka Japanese Language hell) and any intention to ‘relax’ went straight out the window.
Life is weird, but we’ll work it out!
This Picture is a picture from the station after mine! One day I’ll get a perfect clear picture of the mountains to share with everyone!
My apologies! I didn’t notice the first ask!
My name is Felicia, but some friends call me Kira. It’s my nickname from when I was young, and I’ll respond to both :D
(These days, I’ll respond to Jennifer too, apparently. I guess you can basically call me whatever you like.)
Today has been absolutely bizarre, and completely full of ‘firsts’.
I ended up going to the festival. Last night, one of the policemen had said “I’ll my son’s clothing for you tomorrow” so essentially what happened was I felt bad if they were expecting me, so showed up. They were, as I had worried, waiting. I didn’t even make it fully up the road before the super nice policemen had run up to me with the clothes and told me to wear it.
So then I wandered around with the Mikoshi-kai, the Mikoshi group of the Moriyama area, carrying the shrine on and off. I’ve officially discovered that even in Japan my height is not enough - I helped carry it about 5 or 6 times, but because of my height, the mikoshi didn’t actually manage to sit on my shoulders, so the people in front and behind me ended up taking all the weight.
AKA I am still absolutely useless.
But it was a lot of fun! I spoke to many of the people there, and had a good time. It was ultimately around 7 hours - starting from 12:30 and ending around 6, but with many alcohol and food breaks in between. By the end, the mikoshi was swaying not with the power of man but with the power of alcohol.
People in this area are notoriously friendly. While many might also be shy, I think I caught everyone with enough alcohol in their systems (and most may have been working under the assumption that I was Japanese) that ‘shy’ could not have been the word I used to describe them at all.
After finally returning to the shrine, the two policemen from yesterday asked me how I was getting home. Since I can’t actually ride a bike all that well, I said I would be walking. To which they responded by ” No!! Dame!! Dangerous!!” and somewhat forcibly gave me a ride…in their police car.
I regret to say we did not turn on the siren.
Sometimes I go days without meeting new people. That’s ok; My coworkers are cuties and I have friends here anyways! But then, today was not one of those days.
Today, I went to lunch with the other JET living in the area and tried a place near my apartment, across the tracks. It was absolutely delicious, and the person sitting across to us seemed amused by our combined inability to navigate the Japanese language and recommended we order the Ginger Chicken set. The entire menu was in heavy kanji, so we happily took the recommendation and enjoyed it.
Later, I headed to the local Seiyuu (aka walmart) and went downstairs to play with the puppies that they always have out. There, I overheard the two workers and their friends talking about English pronunciation and started giggling. After mentioning I was giggling because they were discussing how difficult the ‘th’ sound is for Japan, and because I was from America, we somehow ended up exchanging Lines (the popular text messaging application in Japan).
Sometimes, making friends is difficult. I’m the type that is quiet until you get to know me, so it becomes a bit of a cycle. But sometimes, it’s not hard at all.
Afterwards, I ran outside to try to catch the sunset (which naturally, on the day I manage to get to the perfect vantage point in time, there are too many clouds to see). On the walk home, I saw a small shrine gearing up for what looked to be a festival. I wanted pictures, but I’m also always a little wary of taking pictures of what somebody would consider a holy place. After about 10 minutes of deliberation (I kid you not), I decided I needed pictures, and went in to ask the people sitting at the table if I could take a couple.
This snowballed incredibly into being invited to carry the portable shrine with them on their festival day tomorrow.
Sometimes, making friends is hard. Other times, everything happens a little too fast and all at once.