Wednesday, December 22, 2010

5th Graders, Go Fish, and Tears

Yes, I know the title of this is quite funny, but the sad part is that it is true. To make class more interesting for 5th graders, the teachers’ book recommends the game “Go Fish”. Simple right? This was the last group of 5th graders to play the game, so I thought I had all kinks figured out. I guess I overlooked the 5th grade boy. All of a sudden, a seemingly easy game of “do you have blue shorts” -> “yes, I do…No, I don’t. GO FISH!” got way more emotional than it should have. It wasn’t my greatest moment, watching this poor 5th grade boy cry because of a card game, but oh well, life must go on!

Last week was my last 5 day week of 2010! I’ve only got 3 more days of school and then I’m America-bound! I’m quite excited to see my family, although packing is going to be tougher than I originally thought (Christmas gifts really add up!).

This weekend I got a double dose of golf, which also meant I got nothing else accomplished. On Saturday, I was lucky enough to play with the Mayor of Mitake again and two other members of the town office. We played at a prestigious golf course, at least that’s what I translated from the conversations on the course. I played well and I must say, I’m really starting to enjoy the after golf onsen (hot spring) time. Every course has it and it really is just part of the routine.

On Sunday, I played with some of the teachers at a JHS in Mitake. This was the second time I played with them, and they are quite the characters. I learned some new Japanese phrases, some of which they said I shouldn’t say when playing with the Mayor. For all of you golf fanatics out there: in Japan, when you sky your tee shot, they call it “tempura”. Yes, like the food. Let’s just say, I couldn’t stop asking if they “tempura-ed” their tee shot for the rest of the day :) Being on the golf topic, I thought I’d clear up some golf differences from Japanese to American golf courses.

- Okay, most golf courses here have two greens.

- On Sunday, we played golf when the ground was still frozen, something that never happens in America.

- In America, you pay for the round before you play. In Japan, you pay after.

- In Japan, the cost includes breakfast, lunch, 2 drinks on the course, the round, the cart, and the onsen. If you think about it, golf is pretty reasonable.

- In Japan, golf cars seat 4 people in Japan and drive itself (pretty awesome).

We were learning country flags, since we are most commonly referred to as America, I asked the 6th graders if they knew USA. They did. Then I asked them what USA stood for…That was amusing. The best response, “The United Super of America”. Personally, I liked it.

As I sit here at my desk, I’m listening to the fighter jets fly overhead, which is fine, but every time I hear them now, I wonder if North Korea is starting a new war. A war I definitely don’t want to be involved in.

On Tuesday, I had the privilege of eating lunch with the special education students. They are by far my favorite, most of them (there are 6-7 of them) will start a conversation with me, whether I understand what they are saying or not. This really doesn't happen in other school lunch situations. There is this one 4th grade girl whose English level astonishes me. We were playing Japanese alphabet Karuta and she would look at a card and think of the word in English, 3 out of 4 times, she knew the word. One that really got me was bicycle. Back in October, the 6th graders couldn’t understand what a bicycle was, I had to draw pictures. And here is the 4th grade girl, just saying bicycle like its no big deal. I love it when simple things like that can brighten my day!

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