To the dentist!
Woohoo for my eighth consecutive workday! I’m making money like a bandit!
Today was par for the course. Normal classes, normal students, normal day. However I was very excited to teach my kids class having gone through training the day before. I felt very at ease as I transitioned through the lesson. Yesterday I had been bragging to the trainers and my friends about how well controlled my classes were. So it was fitting that today was one of my most difficult days controlling a student. The poor little kid was just not going to give me his undivided attention, which I expect. I was both firm and polite, as I’ve always been, except today I was a bit more firm. After long his determination failed to my own and we had a productive class!
The issue of children in this country is a thought that I find myself returning to on a daily basis. Parents in Japan do not discipline their children. Kids are allowed to act as they will, no matter how unpleasant that may be. It is believed that eventually the child will grow up and stop being so immature. As the son of a Southerner, and two parents that provided just discipline, I find this system abrasive. I am of the opinion that if I tell my children jump, they answer “how high?” The child should still be aloud to flourish and grow, but they also must have a respect for my authority. The common absence of this attitude in Japan boggles me.
Otherwise today was wonderful, apart from the weather. Which is increasing looking like winter. Tomorrow is my late start. I plan to rest now so I can get up early and run some errands! Alex, out!
I’m tuckered out tonight! Today is my ninth consecutive day of work! While my job isn’t at all physically demanding, it is mentally draining! However I was able to put on a good mask for my students and push through the day!
Everyday at work I’m reminded of the differences between men and women. I teach all ages of either sex and I find their progress amusing. Women seem to be much more apt to learning a foreign language. They put forth the effort, grasp new concepts easier, and make progress faster. I took particular notice of this in my children’s class today. There are two boys and one girl in this class. The young lady was always first to memorize the new phrases, and could pronounce words faster than the boys. This was later reaffirmed in my discussion class. The female student was quicker than her male counterpart.
That is all I care to muster tonight. I hope tomorrow my energy will have returned!
Today marks one full month I’ve been at Sagamiono school! My how the time has flown by! In all my wildest fantasies, I couldn’t have imagined I’d be doing so well here in Japan.
Yesterday and today my head teacher, Moto, sat in and observed two of my classes. He took notes about my grammar course and my discussion course. Moto is a fantastic teacher and gave me some great tips! It had been a while since I was given feedback over my adult teaching style, not since training. So it was nice to get some fresh new pointers. I am always trying to fine tune what I do!
After work the usual crew returned to our favorite giyoza restaurant for dinner. It’s hard to imagine Joanna will be leaving in two days! I’m trying to squeeze in all the time with her that I can. Today she extended an invitation to Hamish and myself. One of her students invited her over to dinner at her house for a home cooked meal. A home cooked meal! I haven’t had one of those in seven weeks! I fully intend to make good on that offer!
The weather also continues to turn on us here. I believe the temperature after work last night was flirting with the upper 30’s. I had forgotten my stocking cap at home so made the walk home in the cold. Why did I cut off all my hair right before winter?
Today was truly a day of firsts! Naoko, a student and good friend of Joanna’s invited us to her house for dinner. She picked up Hamish, Joanna and myself from Station Square and drove us to her house. Sitting in the backseat, this was my first time riding in a car in Japan, not including taxis. It felt very comforting to be back in a car traveling across town.
A short time later we arrived at Naoko’s home. She saw us in and seated us at the dining room table. The table was covered in traditional Japanese foods that we would be eating for dinner. It all looked so good! This was also my first time in a Japanese home. I was all smiles as I looked at the architecture, furniture and furnishings. Naoko has a very lovely home. She poured us a drink and went about making dinner. She fired up the hotplate and soon we were eating Nabe.
This was my first home cooked meal in almost two months! It was a delight to eat something that was prepared especially for us. We ate and drank and had some laughs. Although she cannot compare to my real mother, Naoko was a very motherly figure and it was nice enjoying her company. Before late, we returned to her car and she drove us all home. The great evening made for a wonderful Friday.
Today in class I taught my students something very helpful. The textbook had the onomatopoeia, “hmm.” However many students were pronouncing it as “mmm.” I took a moment out of class to stress the difference between the two. Where “hmm” is a sound that indicates thought, “mmm” is more relative to satisfaction relating to food. “Ohh,” they said, and copied my notes from the whiteboard down into their books. I really get a kick out of “helping” my students with minor things like this. After all, they are choosing to take a class taught by a native speaker to learn things exactly like that.
After work, Joanna, Moto and I took her bags to the hotel attached to the station. Since she is leaving Sunday morning, she has to be ready to leave right away. We dropped off her bags in her room and set out. Moto went upstairs, back to the office, and we met some students downstairs. We went to a restaurant a block from the station and were seated. Eights former students had come out to see Joanna on her last night. We ordered many drinks and sampled several different Japanese foods. At one point raw horse was served. I lunged across the table with my chopsticks to get a piece of the meat. The shoulder cut was very average, it tasted like meat. But the neck cut, was super chewy. It was like chewing bubble gum. After long I just swallowed the piece hole with a gulp of beer. Horse wasn’t at all gross, but then again I will probably never order it again in my life. But I was happy to have had tried it!
After dinner, our attention turned to the karaoke machine in the corner. We all took turns serenading Joanna and clapping along with the others’ songs. Eventually the host of the restaurant came in and announced last call. We finished our drinks and songs and left the microphones behind.
On the street I gave Joanna a good long hug and said goodbye. Our time together had been short, but I had very much enjoyed her company. I am sure she will do well in her future. As I turned and walked away, I briefly thought about when I will be leaving. My mind quickly nixed that thought. I have too much to do between now and then to think about the ending!
Today we celebrated Lisa’s birthday! Lauren, Elisha and myself all made the long commute to Myoden, Lisa’s town. She lives on the opposite side of Tokyo, so I took a subway beneath the city to arrive on the far side. We surprised Lisa with flowers and a card, and then took her out to dinner! Elisha’s cousins, Take & Yuka came out and we all celebrated Lisa’s birthday together.
I have quickly come to really like Take. He and I can’t always communicate perfectly, but we are very much kindred spirits. We joked around all night and had a great time. Although I do very much enjoy spending my time with the girls, its also nice to have some testosterone present, and Take is sure to help out!
Unfortunately tonight was not as perfect as I had hoped for. I was a little over served at dinner and left the restaurant with a slight wobble. Take and I were roughhousing when I took a bad step and did a face plant on the sidewalk. I quickly jumped up so to minimize my embarrassment. However the looks on the girls’ faces was not a funny one, they were horrified. I tasted blood and reached my hand to my mouth. I had a busted lip… and a chipped tooth. I was not particularly phased by any of this. I was mostly upset that I had torn a hole in my favorite jeans. The girls were persistent that I had messed my face up. I clotted the bleeding from my lip until I got to a mirror. Wow, I really did bust my face up. My nose was scratched, my lip bleeding, a very sizable chip was missing from my front left tooth. Lovely. Oh well, there was nothing I could do at the moment. I ordered a beer at the next bar and did my best tough-guy impersonation.
Eventually we made our way back to Lisa’s apartment where we all slept for the night. My tooth would have to wait for the morning.
My eyes opened in the sunlit room and I walked to the bathroom. I wasn’t dreaming, I had messed my face up the night before. I laughed out loud and shook my head. “No sense in being remorseful,” I thought, “It’s a done deal now.” We tided up Lisa’s apartment and set out for the station. The girls were going shopping for the day, and I was going home to pick up the pieces. Back in town I swung by the office to ask my manager to call a dentist. They were absolutely horrified by tooth. This busted tooth is doing wonders for my self confidence! They said they would make some calls and I walked home.
Today was spent doing chores around my apartment and relaxing from two solid weeks of work. My manager, Rie, called me in the evening and told me what she had found. One of my students is a dentist, so she called him. The student recommended his friend, another dentist, who does great work. Tomorrow I am to meet Moto in the morning and will be escorted to the nearby dentist. I am not sure what to expect, but I am hoping that I can get a fix at a cheap cost.
In the meantime I need to start thinking of outrageous stories to tell my students when they ask about my busted up face. I can’t wait to see their reactions!