Hats Off to Yuma, Kunitoshi & Ken
Today was an extraordinary day. I went to the junior high that is closest to our house which is about a five minute walk. I think they have about 200 students, this one being the biggest junior high of three on the island. I spent the first two hours in class assisting Midori, the Japanese/English Teacher, and then happily tootled back to the teacher's room where I tried to nestle into my short-back chair (hate those) and dug into my Japanese study. I was learning some new stuff in order to make my puny sentences into a little less puny ones, so, I was pretty pumped. Time passed quickly this morning and the sun finally came out to warm up the muddy soccer/baseball field that lies right in front of the school. I often cross it to get to the fusuma-like glass-sliding doors (the front door(s). For lunch, I ate with 7th graders and for some reason they were particularly talkative and NOT shy today, which is odd for most of my junior high schoolers there. We spoke Jinglish (Japanese and English) thru most of the lunch and tried to steal each other's chocolate that was a gift (omiyage)from someone who took a trip recently. I thought that this was one of the best lunch conversations I'd had so far. [By the way, in junior highs and elementary, we (the ALTs) usually eat with the kids in their classroom along with their teacher]. So, I was pretty happy about this particular lunch. Next was hiru-yasumi (kind of like recess) and the students play a wide variety of things from practicing on their instruments, soft tennis, soccer, volleyball, baseball and just hanging out and roaming the halls. Sometimes I play (soccer,baseball, tennis and basketball) too but often I just hang out and try to talk to them. Today, I really wasn't trying to talk or anything when I was suddenly surrounded by three girls (sitting next to me near on the flag pole platform) and three boys standing in front of us. We were sitting right outside the front door(s).
Then IT happened!
One of the girls and two of the guys (whose names are mentioned in the title) began to ask me all sorts of questions while making funny comments about my pink socks. I was so stunned and so bewildered that they were finally coming out of their shell and/or they had been studying. We laughed so hard and smiled so much. I think they were happy to see me laugh so much! I often laugh but today I really couldn't stop because their jokes about my pink socks and also the way they were dancing was hilarious. We had a little exchange of Japanese and English going on and it was by far the best group exchange I've had so far. I even gave them Spanish and French names for fun. I think the thought that most ran thru my head was, "how long have you been able to talk like this?" and "wow, I am so impressed."
Because of this day, I was even more encouraged to study Japanese than ever before. I never thought that twelve-year-olds would be the ones that would give me such inspiration. After that, I went back to the teacher's lounge and wrote my FIRST e-mail in mostly Kanji whereas usually I just write in Hiragana or Katakana. So, that is all I have to say. I thought it would be an encouragement to you who have been wondering about my language study. And yes, thank you Yuma, Kunitoshi and Ken for making my day.