“Bolto is very goodo”

Unfortunately, I can’t post images of my students doing this pose. Don’t want to run into any legal issues– use your wonderful imagination!

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!

It’s Fall!

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

Hawk = Lecture 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)

The lecture meeting

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.

Kazuno

Miscommunication 101

I’ve experienced quite a few moments here where miscommunication resulted in me receiving a huge bag of eggplants or an unwanted cup of hot Japanese tea. But, this experience by far beats all the others. Let me start from the beginning. When I first arrived to Kazuno, I was introduced to a woman named Eriko. She happened to be the mother-in-law of a random foreigner I met at a festival practice and owns a restaurant in the area. I also had the honor of meeting the rest of her family, this includes her brother, the president of the rotary club. In so many broken phrases, I learned that he was my boss’ friend and was coming to the office the following week to meet with him . He said nice to meet you and he gave me his business card. A few weeks later, he arrives at the office and greets us. Shortly after, our boss asks us, Katrina ( other ALT) and I, if we would like to attend the Rotary conference in October. Of course we agreed to attend because why turn down an opportunity to meet other Japanese folks and possibly learn something new. After a few days, I forgot about the meeting but I knew at some point I’de be reminded of the date and time but…. I didn’t expect to be reminded in this way.  Today, I walk in office to find a bunch of papers patiently waiting on the desk, one of which caught me by surprise. Katrina walks over and pulls out the paper about the conference and says… ” Leah, you are scheduled to do a 30 minute speech at the Rotary conference about English and Intercultural Understanding. ” My immediate reaction was… what in the world! When did I agree to this? Katrina agreed that this was news to her. We were both under the impression that we’d just be attending.  Still looking quite confused, I just shook me head alright, guess I have no choice at this point. So, yours truly will tackle the daunting taste of being the keynote speaker at an event that she has absolutely no clue what it’s for.  I wish I had a moral of the story for this moment but, I don’t. I guess I’ll be updating  you on how the speech goes. ( shrugs shoulders.. still in shock)

Katakana Practice

Sooooooooo long story short, I’ve been avoiding having to write my name in katakana. I’ve been lucky enough to have folks around when I needed to write it, but I guess today, folks wanted to put that to an end.  I was asked to attend the 3rd grade class where I was told I’d learn how to write my name in katakana. First thought, ‘ oh man… I really don’t want to try.’ As easy as most of the characters look in katakana, they are pretty tough to write… ESPECIALLY because there is a certain way you have to write the strokes and I think the order you do them matter too. It’s just work  I’d rather not have to worry about especially, since I’m already getting headaches learning the language haha. Anyways, I agreed to attend and here are my results. After several trials my work was posted on the board to be judged. I was nervous, kids can be pretty mean sometimes. It took about what felt like 5 minutes of the students saying ” hmmmmmmmmmmm” until they came to a vote. I thought well if it’s taking that long it must be pretty bad. Dang, I actually thought I did pretty good for the first time. Oh, well!!

 

Oh, the winner is the one on the light green paper.  Thoughts? haha

How’s Japan?– Finding my niche

If you asked me this questions a month ago or maybe even a few days ago, I’d cringe. Not because I didn’t have an answer but because I didn’t have an answer the person was expecting. Many family, friends,  and colleagues have asked me this question and I’ve had to scrape for something good to say. But in all honesty, my first almost two months in Japan have been rough. When I first arrived, I wasn’t on a high like or in “phase one” like everyone else. While I was excited about entering a new phase in my life, I left many important people at home. I sacrificed many important occasions at home to be  in Japan. Yea, that was my decision, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t feel some type of way about it.

Before applying to JET, I had no interest in Japan or any Asian country. I didn’t take any course nor did I bother to learn the language. I applied out of pure curiosity. I wanted to experience something different and not so much in my comfort zone. WELL, I got ALL of that when I arrived in Japan. I left without any expectations and I had few preconceived notions about Japanese culture. I arrived and felt like Japan was not like it was all hyped up to be. It looked like a typical area you’d find in America– well Tokyo did. Holding back my desire to return home immediately, I mixed and mingled with people at orientation searching for something just something that could make me say ‘OH YEA, Japan’s awesome! I should stay.’ Though I did meet a few awesome people, I soon learned that they lived on the other end of Japan which meant I’d have to spend a lot of money to see them. I still continued to fight my emotions towards my big move and headed ‘happily’ to Akita. There, I met a few cool guys and I felt we could hang. At some point, I realized that I wasn’t so much into all the ‘guy talk’ but I still felt I could be myself (there were a small handful of others I felt myself around). As I began to meet more people in the area, it all became overwhelming. I was receiving so much advice from people about what I should and should not do here ( some of it was a little helpful). What was the ‘best’ way to mesh with Japanese people. How to  meet Japanese people. Sometimes, I was condemned for not following ‘the right way’ (this wasn’t verbally but you can tell alot from a person’s facial expressions and tone). It was labeled as “missing out” if you opted to do something differently. While I did not care about what others thought of me, it was still frustrating.

I decided to do my own thing….meet people on my own and go to Japanese functions on my own. I found ways to ‘do me’. I began my search to finding my niche.  However, I still wasn’t happy and began to second guess it all. I know I’m capable of completing this year, but is it worth being so unhappy and feeling so out of my element? I asked God, what’s my purpose in Japan? Why am I here?  I have yet to find something that FASCINATES me. I haven’t found something that gives me complete joy. I love my students but I’d be lying if didn’t acknowledge that some days were extremely frustrating. I’ve met wonderful people in my town. I’m participating in the brass band and might have a hip hop class but, something is missing. I finally broke it down to my parents who gave me some of the most encouraging words that I will always remember.  I left that conversation feeling refreshed and even more determined to stick it out ( still wasn’t sure how ( haha)  but at least I was motivated again)  It hasn’t been a week since that conversation with my parents and already I’ve found something ( I won’t tell yet) that makes me happy. Something that kept me up all night because the wheels were turning. This one thing ( which you soon ( I hope) will learn about) brings me life and excites me. This one thing confirms that I have alot to offer to Kazuno. It taps into my many passions and gifts AND  it aligns with a personal motto I live by— make an impact wherever you go not matter how small or big (THAT WAS IT, the missing thing! I didn’t feel like I was living out this motto here)  So as I stay committed to this motto while in Japan– with this surprise thing in the works, I’m finally excited about my time here in Japan. I’ve joined a brass band (kinda) in hopes to perform in a festival in June. I’ve returned to my all time favorite hobby, dancing and have a performance with my friend October 27th. I’m so grateful that God has finally revealed to me why I’m here. Now, I don’t have to cringe at this famous question ” How’s Japan?”!

I got my groove back —Uncovering old treasure

Few of you know that I used to play the flute in Elementary. Yes yes, I know some of you are thinking dang that’s some years back and it is but I actually was pretty good. I was first chair and sometimes second depending on the song. When we completed a whole song list we’d get many beenie babies as a reward and if you take a look at my room I have lots and lots of those. When it was time for me to head off to middle school, I was looking forward to continuing playing the flute. Unfortunately, I attended a school that did not have a band or a music program. I was pretty sad but that allowed me to discover a different talent– dance! As I went on through life, flute fell to the way side and I developed a love to dance. I watched my little ole flute rust underneath my bed. I dared not to pick it up because I knew just how bad I probably was now. I didn’t know how to read music anymore and please don’t ask me about the fingering of any notes because it would have been a struggle. Every time I saw the flute, I’d say, one day I’ll get back to it. I kept putting it off because I wasn’t so serious about doing that. One day can be 20 years from now. But, it took my 8 year old ( she might be 9 sorry yall) cousin to plant that the seed and make me get off my lazy bum. Her father gave her a flute, she walked into my room over the summer and asked me if I could teach her how to play the flute. My first response, girl it’s been some years. I’m so rusty…but who could deny those sweet little eyes. I was so happy that she even asked me to help her. She inspired me to pick up my flute and start researching about fingering and music. I ended up buying a beginners book off amazon and started to reteach myself. In my head I was like, ‘oh my gosh, this is about to be rough. I don’t remember anything.’ Surprisingly, it took about an hour to get the simple notes down and be able to read the music. I jumped for joy. I danced around in my room and was bragging to my family saying ” Oh snap, I still got it”. I felt like that little girl in Elementary again . The one who you could not tell to stop practicing. The one who was so in love with music that she’d walk around humming tones in her head from  band practice the day before. That’s when I knew I needed to go an uncover my passion for music again. I made a goal to come back from Japan and be able to play a complicated ( not symphony or professional stuff) piece of music.

When I arrive to Japan, I immediately let my predecessor know what I wanted to do. Thankfully, there was a woman at my job who was in the brass band and had a flute I could borrow ( I couldn’t bring mines because it would have been over 50 pounds).  My predecessor left and I had no idea how I was going to ask this woman to become my teacher and help me get my groove back. It took about a month before I built of the confidence to ask her( I used google translate!). She was so happy to help and in so many words and gestures she told me when brass band practice was. The week started up and finally, it was time for go to to my first practice. I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. Would there be a mean conductor getting frustrated with me because I was slower than all the others? ( mind you , I did give her a heads up about my 11 years out of the game) Would I sit in those  intense rows and be thrown a sheet of music to play– to prove I deserved to be there? I had no idea what to expect ANNNNDDDD what made it worse, I don’t speak Japanese. Thankfully, none of that happened. It was a small group of people and they each separated to practice their own music. The lady I asked to help stayed with me and watched me work through my music book. She gave me the beat sometimes and tried her best to correct things. Thanks to Apple and their wonderful translation app because I used that to translate any questions I had. I noticed a change in my emotions. I felt fulfilled. I had many flash backs of Elementary of my music teacher sitting next to me, tapping her foot to the pace of the beat and sometimes showing me how the song is supposed to sound. It was just so wonderful. I fell in love with it all over again. I tapped into my old passion and guess what it’s still passion!!! Though I’m still working on getting to that ‘professional’ level, I feel like I accomplished something tonight. Now I know how it really feels when you get your “groove back”. If I practice hard enough, I will be able to participate in the brass band festival in June–that will definitely top off my experience here in Japan. I’m feeling IN THE ZONE and I can’t wait to get back home and show my skills off! haha

The Birthday I never thought I’d have in Japan

Ok, honesty hour! I seriously thought my birthday was going to suck here. I had a pretty rough start here and I was sure no one would give me the proper celebration I wanted. First, I do not like sharing this day with anyone! Well, because it’s MY day, duh! So, having a group celebration was out of the picture. I wanted everyone to know it was my day and treat me as such ESPECIALLY since this is the only day I am allowed to act selfish.  So, what happened on this GREAT DAY?

On August 27th, I, Leah Davis turned 22 years old. I was told that now I’ve officially crossed over to old people land. (I don’t believe that). This day was actually my first day of class and as I mentioned before, I didn’t know what to expect. I had mixed feelings about how the night would go. The other Assistant Language Teacher’s ( ALT in my town) English conversation class decided to throw me a welcome party. They planned it earlier but I had to attend a conference, so I said my birthday would be a better date. ( My way of having a birthday party but not tehehe)  Based on all the other welcome parties I attended, I expected this one to be exactly the same– lots of delicious food, a speech welcoming me to the town,  kempai ( Japanese way of saying ‘cheers’)  with our drinks,  many laughs, awkward moments, and full bellies.  Well, the majority of this happened. I met Katrina’s ( my friend/ the ALT in my town) class– who are completely awesome AND speak really good English. We ate some great food and I was just happy to be around people that I enjoyed for my birthday. Oh, I also invited my friend Madeline, ALT from a town near me. She surprised me with s’mores ( mmm good!!!) and a very thoughtful and heartfelt card…. wasn’t expecting that.  I was having a fabulous time at the party. I really was touched by how sweet they were, so I gave a mini speech. They didn’t even know me but they were willing to spend their time and money to welcome me and celebrate my birthday with me. After I rushed to my seat ( I rushed back because my eyes started to water), I was met with a delicious looking CAKE.  WHAT A SURPRISE! I was NOT expecting a cake. They turned off the lights and sang happy birthday and everything. (Side note: The cutting of the cake was pretty interesting. Most Japanese people are pretty meticulous so they like things perfect. I walked over to the other side of the room to see what was all the fuss about cutting the cake. One of the women, pulled out an app that made an grid for the cake so that they can cut out  8 equal slices. This is no joke! I was like dang, in the States we just say.. ok what size you want and get to chopping. Not in Japan, folks bust out grids and all lol.)  When the surprise cake came out, I was shocked and at a lost for words. I couldn’t believe how nice and genuine they were to a person they hardly knew. ( Don’t think many folks would have done that at home) My night with them ended well and THEN  Madeline and I left to eat more sweets ( hehe). This is when I got the bright idea to try fried chicken and chocolate. As gross as it sounds, it was awesome. As always, I enjoy hanging with Madeline, she’s definitely a stress reliever. I went home on a full belly, smiling, and grateful for the amazing birthday experience I had.

yea get googlie eyes because it was awesome!

BUT

That’s not it! See, you thought I was done. So, later that week, I received a Facebook message from the restaurant owner, Kozue Komaki, wanting to have a birthday celebration for me. My predecessor, Charlotte, told them about my birthday, so they wanted to celebrate. I met them when I arrived to Kazuno and ate in their shop plenty of times. Her husband is a great cook and I had fun the first two times I went there. When I saw the message THAT WAS WRITTEN IN ENGLISH, I was shocked because from what I remembered, they did not speak much English. Anyways, she told me that the party will be a potluck so I had to bring two dishes. I thought to myself, ok ummm don’t know much I can cook for this potluck because all the things I know how to cook contains ingredients special to the States.  I asked the teacher I worked with the next day and he suggested quesadillas. Great idea, since I AM here for a cross cultural exchange too. I made quesadillas and thanks to the motivation of my mother, spinach dip.  I was a little nervous about how they’d receive my food.

The journey to meeting up with them was quite interesting. First, I was running late because I the spinach dip was taking forever. I received a call from Kozue asking where I was. It took about –what felt like– 10 minutes to get her to understand that I was at home but I was one my way. She thought I was lost haha. Thankfully, she put her friend on the line who was a little more experienced with English. I finally arrived to the meeting place and drove behind a car with hazard lights on. I was almost sure that was her. I mean who randomly chills on the side of the road with hazard lights on unless they are waiting on someone and… how many people could be waiting on someone at the same time… very unlikely that it’s not them. Well, WRONG. I ended up following this old man home. I drove up right beside him and I am sure he freaked out! Thankfully, Japan is not a gun packing society haha because I’m not sure if I would have walked away wound-free at home. I returned to my original location and there they were–smiling and excited to see me even though I was 20 minutes late haha.

We finally made it to their lovely home.  Hirosake, Kozue’s husband, was on the grill and the kids were playing pokeman cards. I sat there thinking, Leah, what did you get yourself into.. you don’t know any Japanese and they don’t know much English… how in the world  are you going survive this party alone!!! .  But, I was lucky, a few of her friends knew a little English. Although they knew some English, I wanted to practice Japanese. I was able to have a mini Japanese lesson with her family  and pick up some key phrases. ( not sure how much the phrases stuck with me)  It was time to eat and they made a speech. Then, I all of a suddenly see a huge bouquet of flowers- made by one of the women at the party–  being passed to me. They were absolutely beautiful. I almost teared up again. The flowers said ” Happy Birthday Leah!” with one of my favorite insects attached to it, a lady bug.

Now, it was time to eat. I was so hype about eating all that delicious food. From my last visit to her restaurant, she learned that I don’t eat beef or pork soooo all of the dishes had some type of chicken in it ( now I was in heaven)  Oh, the food was so tasty. I got to try a lot of Japanese dishes that I don’t remember the names to but most were pretty darn good.  I even tried chicken hearts.  Surprisingly, they were really good. Unfortunately, I couldn’t enjoy it like I wanted to because a cut in my mouth ( I got this cut from chowing down too much at my party earlier that week!)  Finally, the moment arrived…. time to taste those quesdillas and that spinach dip of mines. I’m a perfectionist so I was upset the quesdillas cooled down a bit. If anyone knows about good quesadillas, they’d agree that they taste the BEST when they are hot. Anyways, they absolutely loved the quesadillas and the dip too! I think they liked to the dip more because they started telling their children to come over and try it. One lady sort of forced her child to eat it haha. In my head I said “Ay, it’s not the crucial but eat up because I’m not trying to take any home!” During the meal, we talked about so many things.  It was just really chill and I was able to interact with Kozue outside of the shop where she is running around serving everyone everyday

As we continued to grub on that awesome food, I just sat taking it all in. This family opened their home to me and treated me like I was one of their own. They didn’t want anything more out of me than to just spend time with me and learn about my family, culture, and personal interest. I just thought that was so wonderful and a little odd at first.

As the night went on, I learned that we had a few musicians on the group, so they decided to show off some of their skills. They ended up playing ” Oh, happy day” from “Sister Act:2 and designated me and another girl at the party as the singers.  Nope, you didn’t that read wrong, we sang “Oh, happy day” from Sister Act 2. When I first heard the woman killing the beat on the piano, my first thought was.. Oh snap is this really happening haha.  I didn’t even know that Japanese folks knew about this movie let along enjoyed that song. I went with the flow and had everyone laughing at my horrible voice and clapping like  we were in church. It was a wonderful night and a birthday that I will never forget. I am so thankful for the awesome people in the town. Oh, now I have Japanese mother so Momma, don’t worry, there is someone to take care of me now haha. They are excited to meet you and Dad, by the way. I told them you were coming.

Oh, and speaking of awesome people, Chiharu and her daughter, another sweet family that I’ve met ( you’ll here more about them), stopped by my house and blessed me with more awesome sweets and HAIR MOISTURIZER.. oh man did I need that because the sun was killing my hair!  She’s a hair dresser her who has done black folks hair AND  her husband is black which means they have to deal with a daughter with black folk hair sooooo I trust it!.

Overall, I could not have asked for anything better for my birthday in Japan. It met very kind and genuine people. I am extremely grateful for them.  Thanks for making my birthday very special 🙂

Eigo no sensei de Towada ni iku

These are the words my elementary students giggled and chanted while mimicking my gestures during lunch as I tried to remember how to say ” I am an English teacher at Towada.” I am still not sure if this is even the correct translation haha. However, this fun interactive moment marked the beginning of an awesome year of teaching English. It is moments like these where I’ve learned to appreciate the language barrier because we find creative ways to get a laugh or two in.

This week was my first week teaching in the classroom. On the first day, I did not know what to expect. I just knew I had to spend at least 15 minutes in the class talking about myself and my country. As easy as this sounds, it was not that easy. It was difficult to find simple ways to explain things like why there are so many Mexican restaurants in Houston or why there are Afro-Bolivians in Bolivia. After the first class, I got the hang of it. I was actually surprised at how the Japanese English Teachers ( people I help) responded to my lesson. One teacher was so excited, I came back to the office to find that he memorized my presentation and created a worksheet for the students. He also revamped my game to incorporate a point system. You do not know how great that made me feel. I just was taken back by how accepting the teachers were. This particular teacher was so excited and curious about what I taught in class that he went back to research what a quesadilla was and learn about reggaeton.  Sidenote: I mentioned I liked those things in my presentation. The first two days, the students were a little shy and didn’t want to ask any questions about what I presented. I wasn’t sure if it was mostly because they couldn’t understand or because they just didn’t know how to ask the question in English. While this left me a little uneasy about the lack of English comprehension my middle school students had, there was one moment in the week where I felt extremely accomplished.  As I walked curiously into one of the homerooms to enjoy lunch with my students, one girl runs up to me with her book smiling and  pointing to picture while saying fufu. Earlier that week, I taught my students about fufu, a famous African food. I explained how Ghanaians made fufu and showed them a picture of me pounding fufu. When my student ran up to me saying fufu, I swore she had to be wrong. There was no way she actually understood and remembered fufu. I looked at the picture and then read the hiragana (one of three Japanese writing systems) and indeed it read fufu! I asked her what book did she find this picture and she said her social studies. I studied the page and  noticed pictures of different countries and food. I was so excited because while they probably didn’t understand the majority of my presentation, I at least taught them one thing that stuck 🙂

Few Observations

One thing that stood out most to me is my schools was how community-oriented the students and teachers are. I completed my lesson then, suddenly, I see little kids bursting out their aprons and lunch lady caps to serve each other for lunch. I was stunned. I really  was expecting a lunch lady to serve the students. NOPE, they prepare each others meals and work together to make sure that everyone is satisfied.  I think that is by far my favorite things about attending school… just seeing the harmony and the attitude of ” what’s yours is mines”.

I also was taken back by the fact students come in and out the teachers room at any time. In the States, we weren’t ever allowed in the teacher’s lounge. It was off limits. But here, students run in and out the rooms talking to teachers and all that good stuff. Although I don’t know much Japanese, my interactions with my students and teachers have been amazing.  They laugh at how I exaggerate my sounds in class and I laugh at how they mimic me. We celebrate when I finally can pronounce someone’s name correctly and we celebrate when they finally pronounce a word without adding an additional sound at the end of a word.  It has been an awesome first two weeks. I am looking forward to meeting my other students at the next 5 schools!

* another accomplishment

In Japan, they have speech contests where students have to memorize a speech that they wrote or recite on from a book. The girls that I worked very closely with won second and third place. I felt like a proud mother. GO ME!