This is what one of my students said to me as he stood up and hit Usain Bolt’s signature pose. Sidenote: I did not know Bolt had a pose until the whole class stood up and yelled “Bolto” then struck the pose. My week has been pretty awesome. So awesome. I don’t know where to begin. As many of you know, I teach at seven schools. This is mind boggling to most people but, thankfully, they have me on a two week cycle. This means I visit 2 or 3 schools a week for two weeks. After two weeks, I get the next set of schools. This week all my schools were elementary schools. I was extremely excited because elementary students are so cute, fun, and best of all it means… LESS CLASSES!
I started off the week by adding a little spice to my regular warddobe. It’s fall here and thought I’d whip out a scarf. By the way, fall in Kazuno is so cold!! I already started wearing my sweaters for the winter. Everyone else in the office are still wearing polo tshirts and thin business button downs– shows how much of a foreigner I really am. On the second day at first school, I was scheudled for a “Lecture Meeting”. When any says lecture back at home it usually means there will be someone talking at you for at least 30 minutes. I definitely was dreading that part of my day. Midday, the women in the office tried to explain to me what will happen at “Lecture Meeting”. Remember, hardly anyone speaks English soooo, they tried to use good old google translate. WELL, according to google translate, the lecture meeting will be about “Hawk flying so cook the children and small animals” (it was something absurd like that). I thought, well this is about to be one interesting meeting haha. Well, here is what actually happened at the meeting
Yes you are looking at it correctly, there is a HAWK on my arm. Apparently, some animal place came to the school to teach the students about animals in Akita. But, the main event was this hawk. Some students volunteered to be the brave souls of their grade level and participate in the hawk demonstration. I thoughy, ‘oh this is pretty cool and looks sort of insane because this hawk can wild out anytime.’ I TRUST NO ANIMAL! So, I’m in the midst of capturing my photos of the cute little kids with the hawk and next thing you know I hear ” Leah-sensei” ( this is what I am called at the schools) I look in shock. WHAT ME??– surely , there has to be another Leah. Everyone was looking at me and I thought yep… dang it, it is me. I decided to be adventurous and try it out. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad. The glove was a little smelly ( cramping my style) but I could deal. Well correction… I could deal up until the hawk refused to fly back to its owner. After what felt like 10 minutes, it really was about 2 but I was freaking out because it’s claws were huge.. it finally flew back. ( sigh of relief)
Earlier that day, I learned how to make a Japanese dish called Daigakuimo. It is basically fried sweet potatoes with soy sauce. That was pretty cool, especially because I was so hungry ( They eat so late here!) and I’ve been craving sweet potatoes. The students did most of the cooking. I helped whereever I could. The coolest part for me was looking at their awesome aprons that THEY MADE. I was so impressed, they had spongebob, some aprons that had a bunch of love quotes, and another one talking about a shark attack haha. I’m not sure to what extent they made the aprons but nonetheless, they all looked awesome.
After my amazing expereince at my first school of the week, I wasn’t sure what ‘craziness’ I’d get into at my other school BUT I was so excited. This elementary school was an exception to the less classes rule. I had to teach four classses back to back doing the SAME lesson. In Japan, self introductions are important and everyone wants to know where you are from, your hobbies, what do you like, where you work, your family etc.I enjoyed it but what I loved the most were the questions haha. One student asked me, ” What is the best liquor to drink with tacos?” — I mentioned I liked Mexican food. And… there’s the famous question, ” Do you have a boyfriend?” But, this next question threw me off a bit. I wasn’t sure if it was out of confusion from the Japanese English teacher or it if really was the student’s questions ” In America, do you eat beetles?” Initial response… huh? what? beetles? The Japanese teacher attempts to break it down for me but all I understood was that in a certain part of Japan they eat beetles. I really don’t think that’s right but that is what I understood. I say this because from the miscommunication about my participation in the Rotary conference (read other post) to decoding the Japanese teacher’s beetle eating explanation, my week has been fun, full of laughs and just INTERESTING. Despite the mild frustrations on the job or students sometimes being obnoxious, I can always look forward to having this beautiful and calming view of my city on the drive back home.