Cards and Coal

Classes are winding down this week before the winter break starts. We make Christmas cookies out of construction paper and stickers; snowflakes for the windows, and cranberry chains that result in pricked fingers. I inform the adult students that chocolate “Christmas cake” is a Japanese invention and that Westerners wouldn’t even dream of eating KFC […]

Frog Yoga

Like many little girls with generous, well-intentioned parents, I was sent to dance classes. Though I’m sure they were thrilled to see me prancing around in the spangly, sequined costumes of the 80s, even Underwater Saffron Snorting would have been a better fit; my coordination, grace, and desire were absolutely nonexistent. All of my unfortunate […]


Stats taken during the 4-kyuu exam, as collected during sweeping surveys of room 404: 3 test segments 104 questions 40 test takers 17 Caucasians 4 annoying college girls who giggled and bragged about answers they got right in between exam segments 13 moments of panic 6 moments of insecurity 30 potential test-taking minutes wasted by […]