Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Various Things

Last weekend my friends and I had a little get together at my apartment. Afterwards we went to the hip hop club in Tsuchiura. Much dancing ensued, though Mona, the new girl on the block, got a little sick and our night was shortened (probably for the better, looking back on it) so that we got home around three, I think. If Mona hadn't gotten sick, who knows what would have happened! Beth was slinking around in her little black dress, Katie (who arrived in Ami a month or so ago) was getting down with a rough-looking Japanese gangsta thug. Said gangsta thug's friend came up on me and "battled" me on the dance floor after I'd been dancing for a while. Kevin made friends with some guys making eyes at two halftime-show girls. Thank you for getting sick, Mona.

Some pictures (not of the club unfortunately)...


Me and Mona


Beth telling us how hard her stomach is. (We were very happy by this time.)

Also, went to Edosaki Elementary school today and taught third and fourth graders. The fourth graders had all written me letters thanking me for teaching them last year and telling me various things they don't always get a chance to say in person. It's so strange, because I sat down between classes today and read them all before I left to come home again. And this is what they looked like:

I've chosen to do a little translation (with some rough edges) of this particular letter (shown above). It's from a boy whose letter stood out for me because it was so familiar (some of the letters had a more formal quality to them, thanking me graciously in a semi-repetitive pattern, others were more personally stylized with little side narratives and the language they used was more impromptu than some of the more "formish" thank you letters). So this one goes a little something like this:

"Christopher Barzak sensei, how are you? I am (child's name--I can't read his kanji for his name yet and have to ask someone about it) of Edosaki Elementary school's fourth grade, but last year when you saw me I was in the third grade. Thank you for what you did at that time! We did a whole bunch of different things, didn't we? For example, the card games when you'd say a color and we'd race to grab the right card, stuff like that. Also, after that, you played the Animal Basket game with all of us. I couldn't sit down (editorial: part of the game, long story) but I was able to say a bunch of different animal names because of that. After that you gave everyone an American flag to color and told us about the stars and stripes meaning, and then after that we played dodgeball together during afternoon recess, didn't we! It was fun, wasn't it! I remember everything you taught us well. Thank you! From now on, us kids will be more open to learning English, thanks to you! Take care of yourself and do your best at whatever you do here! Goodbye!"

There was also one from a girl who admitted she didn't like English before I came, but that I've made it much easier to understand, and now she's teaching her mother at home.

Let's hope that's going well for them.


Blogger elad said...

what a pretty looking language Japanese is. I'm curious, though, what does a Japanese exclamation point look like? or is the language just enthusiastic like that?

12:27 PM  
Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

There's not actual exclamation point in Japanese, from what I know. Some people tend to think "yo" at the end of a sentence is like an exclamation point, and in a way it is, but it's also an indicator that what they've said preceding "yo" is new information or something you didn't know. This little boy used "ne" a lot, which is a way of saying "huh" or "didn't we" or "isn't it?" etc. When the kids say it, they're voices always rise at the end of the sentence, and it reminds me of exclamation points, because they're usually excited about something when they use it (there are other ways to emphasize emotion with it, but with the little ones it's usually trying to confirm happiness or enjoyability of something", so I took the liberty of translating some exclamation points where there were ne's. In the junior high, the kids learn the English exclamation point and thereafter often use it in their writing, Japanese or English, it doesn't matter to them.

6:22 PM  

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