Wednesday, August 18, 2010

bfg on I scream!

Today was the hottest day of the summer so far in Shizuoka. It was so hot that I couldn't even bike up The Hill (at this point it deserves capitals... that and a dynamite stick). At school, kids dipped their shirts in water and wore them all day. That or it was their sweat. At a certain point same deal.

When I arrived at school, I felt dizzy and nauseated. Luckily, I was able to wait until 9:30am before having to go team-teach with Mi-sensei. During summer vacation, the kids in Japan go to school and take extra classes to keep up with their material. During the first week of September, every grade has Math, Japanese and English exams. Sounds pretty intense but I think it is a smart system since too often class time is wasted at the beginning of a year reviewing what students forgot. The teachers are still working hard and they have this time to be less formal, chat with the students and spend more time on studying and understanding. I just feel so bad that there is no AC in the school - only the teacher's room does and the temperature is regulated.

The day went by and I spent most of it busy making my hanko card for the kids. Inspired by some ideas during the Shiz Orientation, I thought to make the hanko cards into name holders. Anyways, they are beautiful and on my way out tonight I am going to go buy some stamps at the awesome shop by my house. I intend to use the hanko cards to bribe students to participate in class, write me letters and read.

Today I met a special student. In fact, I think I am in love with him and may have to bring him back with me. K speaks fluent English; his father is Japanese but his mother comes from another country where he grew up until four years ago when his family moved back from Japan.

"Your English is lovely~!" I said, so happy to be able to talk at normal speed. So hopeful.

"Oh no," he shook his head, "It has become dullish."

I have a student that knows the word dull. How does that happen? "What was the last book you read in English?"

Scratches his head... "A long time ago... about three years ago and it was my sister's book."  He seems to be quiet serious, enjoys reading SCI FI! and to be honest I wonder how he is at my high school which is for low-level students. But I am happy to have him - he is mine and I won't have to give him away for another two/three years (he is ichinensei).

Going back to my desk, I tried so hard to stay alive. Yeah, here it takes energy to exist when you are fighting dehydration and sunstroke in a blouse. When the clock hit 2pm, I realized I had not eaten which is stupid. May not be hungry but I have to eat... survival, remember? But just as I sit down a tap on my shoulder.

"isucremu, sukidesuka. ...?" It was one of the teachers with the pretty skirt, who always smiled and tried to talk to me.

"Ice cream. Hai. HAIIIII." I made a gesture which can translate to hot and Ice Cream is Yummy and I am fat.

She gestured for me to followed. I wrapped up the bento and did just that.

Down the hot, steaming halls we went, up and down sets of stairs until finally she brings me to a door. I should have changed my slippers since the was a rack with them in a varient of sizes but she didn't ask me to so I desided to conserve energy... I was not expecting this when I agreed to a dessert.

In we go greeted by the sounds of giggles. Two older women, obviously teachers, are laughing as smoke surrounds them. One is holding a huge silver container, the other stiring.

"Ahhh, ii!" The lady with the bowl dressed to the nines even in this heat handed me a bowl and gestured to what clearly translated to "Stir."

Boy, did I stir. I was sweating and angling my face so it wouldn't drip in the bowl. As I stirred Dressed Up woman took a wooden spoon skimming the rim of the bowl. "Bo -by?"

It took me ten seconds... "Bobby? From JET? British?"


"Yes, I know Bobby!"

She then pointed to herself. Translation: I work with Bobby.

"No way! Too bad he is at English Camp. It would have been fun." and in my head I added, to help me stir! I mean I was happy and having fun but being told several times how "jiyozu"/skilled I am at stirring felt like a hidden message of that is all you can do. Which is true but still!

As I stirred,  my teacher waved a fan and chatted away. I did love bearing witness to the sound of their chatter, it felt like I was in my grandma's basement kitchen rolling gnocchi on a basket. The other kept on pouring the liquid ice which burned my hand and irritated my thigh but was so cool. After, we ate the mango caramel sorbet as we talked about otakus and their children. I love how cooperative they are -everyone was working. We all cleaned up, we all ran around to grab this and that, we all, even me, squealed when the liquid ice burned us. As we sat and ate, they told me of each others homes and families which struck me as so odd and I had to do everything in my power to not change my facial expression as I listened. The other teacher told me about my senseis four children, rich husband and house by the water. Whereas mine told me of Dressed Up Lady's one child who is hyper smart but somewhat of a nerd (to which I said nerds are sexy and they just stared and said "Oh, but her son is the cute one" haha). Once I was told a fact which would surprise me like four kids, cause that is a lot!, I would turn to the person and ask "Honto!?"

"Honto." And they would nod.

Usually, I would say these things, like "I have a dog", "I speak French", "I dislike chicken." I think making this connection really helped me understand why teachers would, what I then thought, brag about me: "Vanessa sensei speaks English, French, Italian and Japanese!" It wasn't to brag about my knowledge (dude, that is nothing in Quebec I always say but no one listens) but to demonstrate at how well they know me and say, if I were Japanese, would maybe be to shy to say on my own. Though this is not the case, I think I am going to try it Japanese style for a while and see what happens.

In closing, no I didn't have my camera. I know... but the memory of the open windows, huge room with the green slippers lined perfectly and the sensation of liquid ice is still with me. I hope the Chemistry Lab kids appreciate the efforts of their teachers!!


This evening I went out for a beer with the gals and it was great. It felt good to be less strung up i.e. needing to do something; I think Internet has really liberated my life. I do have to take care of some paper work for the Driver's License since a scouter requires special papers. sigh. And I still need to get my re-entry permit though I am going to try to go with Mi-sensei when we pick up my alien card.

I was thinking of traveling around but I realize the trap I am setting for myself... always making this weekend the "exception". From now to December it is Thesis Camp for moi, that and teaching and living a normal balanced life with fewer excitements other than awesome students, adventures on The Hill, and crashing my bike into automobiles.

The only pleasure I can have is buying a fucking scouter. You must be so sick of this hill but its my blog so there.

So much sushi and I paid 1000 Yen.

bfg goes to make a to-do list.

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