I’ve been thinking: I’m in Japan working as an ALT, yet relatively little of my blog content deals with the people I serve: the students. Granted, I can’t post up pictures or other identifying information about them, but I think I can do a better job of giving you, O Reader, a concentrated idea of what it’s like to interact with the students in and out of class.
To that end, I’m making this page, “~Vignettes~.” It will deal only with interactions with students. Some of the content on here is stuff taken from older blog posts. When there is a related post, I’ll link to it after the vignette.
Allow me to explain a net convention that perhaps isn’t quite mainstream. Writing stuff between asterisks usually indicates an action performed by the person speaking, yet it’s always written in the third person. It’s kinda like stage directions in a script.
Now, since there’s always the possibility I misunderstood something, I’ll write the Japanese as it was spoken to me (to the best of my memory) with translations in italics. I’ll also write down what I said to the best of my memory, even if I realize in retrospect that I said something grammatically incorrect. Given these points, perhaps rather than say what’s in italics are translations, it would be better to say that those are what was being said to my understanding. ^o^; Of course, every now and then I’ll actually have students speak to me in English, so there’ll be no Japanese in those instances.
And so, here we go!
Boys going home: Oh, Eli! Goodbye~!
Boy 1: Goodbye!
Boy 2: Goodbye!
Boy 3: Oppai!
Me: Bye! *Delayed reaction* Noooo no no no!
Boys: 分かった？！She understood?!
Me: Tsk tsk!
Boys: *Laugh sheepishly*
(“Oppai” means “breasts” or “boobs.” The boy that said it actually did so immediately after another boy said “goodbye,” so it sounded like one person saying “Goodbye, oppai!” On the one hand, that was an inappropriate thing to say to a teacher, but on the other hand, simply as a fan of wordplay I gotta admit it was pretty funny. ^_^;)
~I went to the vending machines by the cafeteria during lunch time. There were some girls in the vestibule to the cafeteria teasing their friend for still wearing her summer uniform instead of switching to the winter uniform. Well, that’s what it looked like to me. Judging from the girls’ reaction, I wonder if I misinterpreted the situation, i.e., if maybe the girl whose shirt was being pulled was named “Aki” and they were pulling on her shirt and saying “aki” for whatever strange reason high school girls may have for doing what they do. Or maybe my Japanese was just 10 shades of wrong.~
Girls: *Tugging on their friend’s short-sleeved shirt* 秋だよ、秋！ Hey, it’s fall, FALL! *Continue to taunt*
Me: *From in front of the vending machine* 秋なのに暑いよ！ Hey, even though it’s fall, it’s hot!
Girls: *Bust a gut laughing*
Girl 1: 「秋なのに暑いよ！」 “Hey, even though it’s fall, it’s hot!”
Girl 2: *Falls to her hands and knees laughing and stays there for a while*
Girl 1: エリー最高！ Eli, [that was] the best!
Me: *Addressing Girl 2* 大丈夫？Are you alright?
Girl 2: *Still laughing on the floor…laughs some more and eventually gets up.* 最高… [That was] the best…
Girls: *Walk away*
~At the School for the Blind, I’m doing a lesson using both Final Fantasy and the new version of “We Are the World.” Here, I’m trying to explain why there’s a new version.~
Me: The new version was made to help the people in Haiti after an earthquake hit it in January of this year. Do you know what ‘earthquake’ means?
Me: ‘Earthquake’ is this. *shakes World-kun’s desk*
World-kun: それは何だったか．．．What was that supposed to be…?
Me: ^_^; An earthquake…
FF-kun: ．．．聞いたことある気がする．．．I think I’ve heard that before…
Me: *Surprised he’s participating* そうそうそう！エフエフにあるよ！「クエイック」という魔法！ Yes yes yes! It’s in FF! It’s a magic called “Quake”!
FF-kun: ああ、それじゃ。Ah, so it’s that.
Me: So, what does ‘earthquake’ mean?
Me: はい、正解！Earthquakeは地震！Yes, that’s right! ‘Earthquake’ is ‘jishin!’
(Related post: FF × We Are the World)
~During Oral Communication class. The class was doing an activity which would lead up to giving presentations in English, something pretty much all my students loathe doing.~
Boy: エリー、エリー、本当の名前は何ですか。 Eli, Eli, what’s your real name?
Boy: 何歳ですか。How old are you?
Me: ２７歳。 Twenty-seven.
Boy: 結婚していますか。Are you married?
Me: いいえ。どうして？ No. Why?
Boy: どうして結婚していませんか。忙しいんですか。時間ない．．．Why aren’t you married? Are you so busy? There’s no time…
Me: *WTH face* Wow, そんなことを聞く勇気があれば、皆さんの前で発表できるでしょう! Wow, if you have the courage to ask me such things, you should be able to present in front of the class!
(At this point my co-ALT walked by apparently wondering what was so funny, so I explained to him the hilarious conversation. I thought that would be the end of it but…)
Boy: 今日は英語ばかり！おい、おい、時間ない．．．Today is nothing but English! Hey, hey, there’s no time…
Me: *WTH face once more* 私の standardsが高すぎるから！仕事をして！！！ My standards are too high, that’s why! Do your work!!!
(Related Post: A Very Special Blog Post)
~During the marathon as I’m running back up the hill towards the school.~
Me: *gives up and starts walking*
Boys: がんばれ！ Do your best!
Me: がんばります！ I’ll do my best!
Boys: 「がんばります」？？ 走れ！ You’ll “do your best”?? RUN!
Me: 後で走りますよ。Hey, I’ll run later.
(Related Post: Marathon)
~In the drawing studio while drawing from copies of Greek and Roman sculptures~
Girl: こんなものは、海外でも描きますか。 Do you draw stuff like this abroad as well?
~At the School for the Blind with an adult class~
Man: Are you…gold hair?
Me: No, sorry, I have dark hair.
(Related Post: 盲学校で訪問指導~Teaching Visit to the Blind School~)
~In a class where the students had to write their own “Have you ever ____?” questions and ask them to people. Earlier in the class I had answered the question “do you have a boyfriend?” with “yes, Tsumabuki Satoshi is my boyfriend.”~
Girl: Have you ever talked to Tsumabuki Satoshi?
Me: Of course, he’s my boyfriend!
Girl: Have you ever seen Tsumabuki Satoshi? *Without waiting for an answer* Have you ever touched Tsumabuki Satoshi?
Me: Hahahahaha, you got me, didn’t you?
~In that same class with a different student.~
Girl: Have you ever bought FF game?
Me: *Internally geeking out completely* Ohmigod I love Final Fantasy!
Girl: *Squeee!* *Speaks in Japanese Eli doesn’t comprehend*
(Related Post: Great Class + More Random Life Stuff)