Time is flying at the moment – in a mere five weeks it will be the end of term, and I’ll be faced with an unending expanse of time to spend lying in my apartment with the air-conditioning on. Actually, this summer I will probably try and do lots of sight-seeing, given my impending return to the Land of Eng. Anyhow, here are the highlights of the past few weeks condensed into one post:
- Two weeks mean two t-shirt slogans – yay! The first was on one of my fifth grade students:
Lough and everyone will lough with you
The second was on a teacher, and warrants a description – the shirt was black, and the writing varying shades of purple, one word to a line. Next to each word was a cartoon drawing of a pig with a cutesy happy face. The words?
DRUGS DRUGS DRUGS DRUGS
- Stalker Teacher’s (ST) latest ramblings (I think I could make a regular feature out of these alone) involved the carbohydrates consumed in England. I’m trying to recall how the conversation started, but he basically insisted that we only eat bread in England. I tried to disagree, and said “we eat potatoes, rice, pasta and noodles too”, and he kept saying “no, only bread!”. The scary thing is that the guy has actually been to England, but no doubt on a package tour where they were forced to eat toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and lord only knows what for dinner. Bonkers. I briefly considered asking someone to video tape a British supermarket, to show the aisles of all types of rice, pasta, noodles, grains, beans etc., but didn’t think my efforts would be appreciated.
- I mentioned last time that PM Hatoyama might resign over the Okinawa base issue, and resign he did. It is very unfortunate that Japan now has the fourth Prime Minister in as many years. It has caused nary a ripple in Japanese society, where people don’t seem to complain about these things. But what the country needs more than anything is strong consistent leadership to bring it up-to-date and in-line with the rest of the World, something that I hope his successor, Naoto Kan, can provide. Something else that seems to have been ignored here is the fact that Naoto is married to his first cousin!
- Undoubtedly, the high-point of recent karate classes has been watching the kids kumite at the dojo. By arriving half an hour early, I sometimes manage to catch the end of the mock-tournament that Sensei sometimes does at the honbu. Since the kids start at age five, some of them have no idea about the finer points in fighting but have an abundance of spirit and courage. These two things, and the fact that they all wear protective body and head gear, combine to make the fights resemble something from a slapstick comedy video. They normally start by both kids running at full pelt towards each other, fists hanging limply by their sides. One, or both, will then execute a single punch, sending the other child staggering backwards. One guy even managed an awesome head kick, dropping their opponent to the ground. Sensei, as he referees these bouts with Judi-chan, can barely control his amusement, and neither can I – at one point I had to hide my face and wipe tears from my eyes, lest anyone saw and pronounced me insane. One of the crazier boys, who’s only six, came up to me after class and fired a few English questions at me: “Do you like potatoes?” and “What’s your phone number?”! Brilliant.
- The high point of my school week happened yesterday. Calling it a “high point” is not quite accurate – perhaps “low point” would be better – decide for yourself. Pool season has started which means that the timetable often changes – if it’s sunny the kids swim and English is bumped till after lunch. Anyhow, one day the change had resulted in my being five minutes late to class, and as I walked into the classroom I heard the teacher getting the kids to practise saying “hello”. So far so good? Not really – as I walked in I turned and looked at the blackboard at which she was pointing, only to find written on it the word “harrow”. Doh.