Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Norm For Me, A Chuckle For You 7

These little stories that fall under The Norm For Me, A Chuckle For You are some of my favorite to write. Sometimes it takes me a while to realize that something that doesn't even phase me as being weird, makes for a great story to anyone not living in Japan. This time around, I don't have a story, but rather a few little random things that have happened to me over the course of the past few days that I don't want to forget. 

During class while the kids were writing in their conversation journals:
A girl raised her hand, so I went over to her. She kept saying a word in Japanese that I didn't know, wanting the English translation. I made a confused face and smiled, she laughed and rethought her question. Finally she let out, ipaisakana?! and a chuckle. A lot of fish? I told her to go get a dictionary and I looked up the word aquarium and asked her if that was what she was trying to say. She lit up. Mission accomplished, high-fives everywhere. 

She wanted me to know that her sister is going to the aquarium in Okinawa on a school trip. 
Fun stuff!

On the train:
I had my ipod in, staring out the window. An older man got on, looked at me for a second too long and I saw it. I saw the wheels turning, he wanted to try out his English, I could sense it. Usually I am pretty go with the flow with this kind of stuff, but this day I really wasn't in the mood. I politely continued to stare out the window. He took off his watch, and positioned himself in my line of sight, before yelling so all the train could hear, 
"Excuse me, do you know the time?!"
I took out one of my ear buds and said, as politely as possible, 
"I am sorry I don't. I don't have a watch." 
Which was true, and my cell phone was in my bag, and there were a million other people around and, oh by the way, a clock on the platform he just came from. I just really didn't have the energy. But then he got creative. 
"Ahhh ok. Hmmm. What time do you think it is?"
I gave him somewhat of a blank stare. 
You want me to guess the time? That is how desperate we are?
"I'm sorry, I really don't know, maybe 5:30? Maybe just check at the next station."
"Good idea!!!"
One more stop and he was off, and I was back to staring out the window listening to Macklemore.

In a cafe:
I was reading, and sipping ginger-apple tea YUM while waiting for a friend to get to the station so we could go to dinner when a couple decided to sit behind me and start speaking...English. I was surprised, annoyed and curious all at once. I can't tell you what happened in the last few chapters of my book, but I can tell you that the man was prepping this lady for an interview and this lovely little woman knows how to do equity loans, but is nervous about potential conference calls in English to London or Zurich, she studied English in Canada, but hates Toronto, step one of her five step interview is tomorrow with someone in HR...

Grading papers:
My third years were asked to write about a famous place in Chiba. The vast majority talked about Disneyland, not surprising as it is extremely popular here and there is Disney merchandise all over the place. What was surprising, however, was their inability to spell the ever-famous home of Mickey and Minnie.

Here is what some of them came up with...
Disney Land
Disny Land
Dizniy Land
Dizniy Lund
Diesney land
disney rand

Getting on my bike to head home after school:
A few of my favorite boys walk by, all trouble makers but decent English students because they aren't too shy.
We have a great relationship.
They turned to face me then jumped back, acting surprised to see me, 
"Oh! Hellllooooooooooo Keito. Helloooo! Helloooo! Today is Monday!"
I laughed, "I know! Hello, boys!"
We passed each other and I got on my bike. I yelled a "Good-bye!" in their direction. 
Which promptly stared a chorus of good-byes and sayonaras
And one, not-so-quiet, "I love you."
I yelled back, 
"Oh! THANK YOU!!!!"
They doubled over in laughter. 
See ya tomorrow kiddos. 

All in a day... or a few, 

                                                                        [The Latest]

Must Read: Teachers Are Workers Not Martyrs... The Japan Times.
Google Search: Askance.
Tune: We Come Running By Youngblood Hawke. 
Accomplishment: A few rather productive days at work.
Obsessions: Homemade tortilla soup. Again.

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