I Think I'm Turning Japanese
Today was the first day of Summer School. It is more like summer camp, but this being Japan, we have to make fun things sound like work. J It is basically a place for junior high school students from all over Kobe to come to the Gaidai (foreign studies?) school at Kobe University. We were broken up into different rooms with different themes. I got placed in the Wild West Ecology room, which really makes no sense considering we were going to ask the kids to build guns--, yes GUNS—out of chopsticks (hashi). I kind of understand what that has to do with the wild west (I think that concept was lost on the kids… a bunch of gaijin halfheartedly wearing bandanas and cheap ¥100 foam cowboy hats hardly defines “wild west.” As for the ecology aspect, well… there really is no explanation for that.

I was half dreading this day because I didn’t know what to expect. However, as I have learned during my short time with JET, the majority of the time you will have no idea what is going on or what to expect, but don’t worry, it will all work out in the end.

When we met the kids, they weren’t anything but delightful. If we were in America, the prospect of teaching a child how to make a rubber band gun in class would be absolutely inappropriate and even offensive given the gang warfare within the population in which I used to teach. However, we only had to announce to the kids once, “Do not point your gun at your friend, or we will take it away.” And just like that, they listened. ALL OF THEM. If just half of an American classroom full of 12-14 year olds obeyed this simple instruction, it would be a miracle. I think I’m going to really like working here!

The students’ English abilities ranged from proficient to the point of being vulgar (“This is f*cking gorgeous!”) to almost none at all (“Yes,” when asked, “What is your name.”), but we managed to show all the kids an awesome time regardless of language barriers. Once the kids were able to build the guns--- which was a feat the grown ALTs struggled with during practice, but the kids and their nimble fingers were able to do very quickly--- we moved on to target practice. If the fun I had shooting rubber bands at recycled meat trays is any indication, my year teaching in Japan is going to kick a lot of oshiri.



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