And seeing as it's a new year (Year of the Tiger! My year, y'all!), I figured I should make some of those resolutions that are invariably doomed to fail. I won't bore you with the complete litany...just the one that is related to this! Instead of my original goal of 3 entries a week back when I started this thing, I'm going to for one. I know, way to aim high, right? :-) I'm thinking baby steps is the way to go this time, though... Maybe shorter entries, more often. If anyone even reads this?! Um, ha ha...
Back to work after a week-ish of break was tough. I didn't think it would be as tough as it was! The cold weather probably doesn't help. And yeah, it doesn't really snow in Kyotanabe, yada yada yada, but it is COLD. This humidity stuff sucks! (And if it did snow here, I would be having words with someone about riding my bike to work in it. I have enough issues when it rains. Or even when it's sunny! The bike and I are not really friends.) But today! Just one amusing tale from my day at work. So I'm back at the middle school where people are very nice, but we get a ton of work. I often end up staying late, which I know isn't a big deal in most people's jobs, but I get irritated...riding a bike home for half an hour in the dark is not my favorite thing. They'll tell you Japan is sooooo safe, but I'm not quite convinced... Anyway, today in class I was playing a Jeopardy-style review game with my 8th graders. One of the questions in the trivia category was to name four countries where English is spoken. This might surprise you (or then again maybe not), but this was TOUGH for them! They could get America, but it was what came after that that troubled me.
One Kid: America. Australia. China. ((thinks some more))
Me: ((blinks)) Um, no. In China, they speak Chinese. Good try though.
Kid: Oh, that's right...
Another Kid: America. Australia. Igirisu. (<--- Japanese for "England")
Me: But what is "igirisu" in English?
Kid: You mean that's not English?!
Yet Another Kid: America. Mexic---
After awhile I just got a little slap-happy and was able to laugh at the lack of geographical/linguistic knowledge and take it in stride... See, when my elementary school kids do stuff like this, it's okay! It's cute! They're in second grade! But 8th and 9th graders? A little more worrisome. Times like this it really hits me that Japan is still a pretty insular country, despite globalization and all these people like me they bring in for internationalization.
On a more "WIN!" note, though, in a dialogue-making activity with the 9th graders today I included "yep" as slang for "yes" on their word list. I didn't really draw that much attention to it, but most of the kids decided to try to use it in the dialogues they presented to me!!! Small victories people, small victories. :)