Today, I was captivated by a teenage boy sitting across from me on the train. His finger was lodged in his nose, probing thoughtfully, seemingly without end. Though I know I shouldn't have, I couldn't help but peek at him from over the top of my book each time I turned a page. There he
A true story, ripped from the classroom. I give you, my 8 year old genius students' responses to the question, "What begins with 'F'?" Fish (thank you, Seira) Flower (very good, Koki) Friday (excellent, Ryu!) and Face of drunk (courtesy of a beaming Reisuke) Face of drunk. Obviously. A is for Apple, B is for
You never answer the door during business hours. You never, ever answer your phone when it's a Japanese number you don't recognize ... at least not while your Japanese is still chugging along at what feels like a snail's pace. You're doing the best you can. Really. You've passed the 4-kyuu, after all. You study
Each week, children die and there is nothing their mothers and I can do but watch. They choke, gasp for air, their faces red, their chubby little arms and legs flapping wildly on the carpeted floor. "Stop it, sensei!!!" they shriek when I cruelly give them a 10-second time limit in which to color their
Today's lesson for 11 year-olds was spelling. Spell cat. Spell dog. Spell hippopotamus. Spell platypus. Spell your name. Spell Shunsuke's name. Spell Keiko's name. Spell my name. A ha!!! I turned to my desk to pick up a sheaf of papers and when I turned back, I saw this on the whiteboard: Shunsuke is hamusuta.
This is what my children's classes would be like - in an ideal world. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leQIbx8BKqk&hl=en] But I can't jump that high. And the dazed, tiny toddlers barely realize they're alive, let alone how much fun it would be to follow my lead. And I'll probably never be Japanese. I do think, however, that I pulled
Back from Hiroshima - this year's Golden Week jaunt - and the verdicts are these: layered Hiroshimayaki is inferior to jumbled Kansai-style okonomiyaki, trolleys are a beautiful addition to any city, and Hiroshima itself is, as many, many others have noted, a true testament to the triumph of life over death. What is it like