Friday, October 22, 2004

Earlier this week I finally made it to the last elementary school on my list, Takada, so I've been to all of them now and can safely say my favorites are Hatosaki and Takada, which is unfortunate really because those are the two elementaries I visit the least in the next seven months. Two times each, can you believe it? The other, more frustrating schools get me much more. Probably because they have more students in them. Takada and Hatosaki are both small and when I visit them I feel like it's a little piece of heaven on earth. The teachers there dote on me and have better english skills than the other places (not great, but a bit more), the students are incredibly cute and sweet and so damned excited when I come (not that all the schools don't get excited when I'm there, but at these two it's excessive). when I went into the first graders room they squealed and several of them kept saying Ka-Koii! which is basically saying, "This is so cool!!!" Because they're so excited, I get more excited, and by the end of the day I feel like I've done my job. At the end of my day on Thursday the Takada kids gave me a bag of sweet potatoes that they picked that afternoon from their school garden for me. They were so excited to give them to me, and I had a Meryl Streep moment there for a while.

Fujita Sensei and I were trying to figure out if there are any good and easy Halloween songs the junior high kids could learn in English. We managed to think of The Monster Mash, but it's a bit too hard, and then we thought of Thriller, but it goes too fast for them probably. I looked online but only came up with various Christian websites that have sanitized Halloween for their young ones by taking Christmas carols and replacing the words with Halloweenish sorts of lyrics. Not really fun. I can't think of any, so I told Fujita sensei we really don't sing much at Halloween like at Christmas, so if any of you can think of Halloween songs, let me know.

my bad seventh grade boys who previously asked if I like pornography and wanted to talk about their penises ate lunch with me yesterday. Sho, my baseball boy, was also there. He and I had a good conversation in English to the all the other boys amazement and they thought he was a genius. I told him he should come to America some day for a homestay so his English could become more fluent and he got all nervous looking and said no no, I like Japan, as if going to the U.S. meant he'd never get to come home again. I told him I like America, but I came to Japan. It's okay to leave for a while and come back again. Then one of the bad boys looked at me and said, "How long?" and kept doing this little chin lift, not completing his sentence.

I said, "How long what?"

"How long?" he said again, chin lift.

Sho says, "He wants to know if you're a Red Sox or Yankees fan."

"Red Sox," I say. But I'm suspicious. The bell rings then, and I get up to go, and one of the other bad boys comes over, puts his arm around my back and whispers, "How long is penis? Okii? Okii, I think."

I rolled my eyes but he persisted. "Big, I think," he kept saying, and the others had gathered around by then and were nodding with him. So I corrected him again and said, "It's P-nis, not pen-is."

And he says, "Oh, oh, sorry boss! How long P-nis? Big, I think."

Oh, those boys. I can already tell I'll miss them one day.

Last night after Japanese class, Beth, Kevin, Pete, Karina and I went to Tsubahachi for some drinks and snacks. There was a group of young Japanese guys and girls there, who we made friends with. They'd been talking about us earlier and didn't think we could understand because they assumed we didn't speak Japanese, but then we jankened with them (It's just paper scissors, rock, but they do it all the time here in Japan) and they were excited that we knew the Japanese words to Janken and then we started talking a bit and one of them kept giving us sake and by the end of the night we'd invited them to our Halloween party next weekend. Good people. Lots of drunken fun. There was a group of military Japanese men sitting next to us too, and they wanted in on the fun, so one of them came over and introduced himself to us, and while he was talking to our table, I leaned around the divider wall and introduced myself to his three friends and had a conversation in Japanese with them. All really nice guys. When we left, the whole restaurant, it seemed, was waving goodbye to us and saying nice to meet you! It's times like that that really are just amazing. I mean, when's the last time you just made friends with about twenty strangers in a restaurant in America?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A list of traditional Halloween songs from several different cultures. I remember learning the American "Have you see the ghost of John?" in grade school. Still remember the song as being spooky...

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some Asians believe that all American/Western men have big penisis. In kind of the same way some white people think all black men are well endowed. In traditional Japanese (and white)society this was not an entirely admirable thing. Kind of vulgar and a bit bestial, but, of course, fascinating. Some echo of that attitude remains.

11:16 PM  

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