So, I guess all of you have heard by now that there has been a huge earthquake in Japan. It’s pretty terrible, with horrid death tolls and damage reports, but actually, we have not been affected at all in “my” Japan, so today is business as usual. It does feel weird being back to work after all the drama we witnessed on the weekend though.
Ok, something weird just happened… Aoshima-sensei just came to talk to me cuz we have one more class together tomorrow, and he started to me about the earthquake and how scary it was… and we had a looooong 5 minute conversation (he never talks to me randomly so, that was long) and then asks me “so, can you teach?”, as if somehow, the fact that there was an earthquake (that has barely affected me at all) would render me unable to teach a class… eh?
aww, Mao (2-6) just dropped by the staff room to ask me if I wanted to go to her choir performance on March 23rd. I was so upset because I had to say no since I’m doing the stupid English camp on that day. Technically, I might be able to make it cuz closing ceremony (they always have to have a damn closing ceremony for everything in Japan, don’t they?) is suppose to end at 4:30, but it’s never really on time (it’ll be my 3rd year doing it. I know.) and usually the kids want to stay and chat and take pictures after, so it’s highly unlikely that I could make it to her concert, which starts at 5:30… I felt so bad! But I was really happy too because it’s the first time that one of my students has ever asked me to attend one of their events. I promised her that I would attend the next one “for sure!”, teaching her the meaning of “for sure” in the process :p
Just ran into Kumagai (3-1) on the stairs on my way back from the toilets… apparently the sannensei are going home now, but they’ve just gotten their yearbooks and he asked me to sign his. I wrote “I will miss your crazy faces, good luck in high school.” I had to explain what it meant, but then he was sooo happy and his friends laughed. Kumagai is this really weird nerdy boy from 3-1… anytime I would happen to see him in the hallways he would always make a creepy face (rolling his eyes back) or strike a weird pose while making a Michael Jackson “ooh!” noise, or come up to me and point to his friend and go “he is gay”. Weird is the only word to describe this kid, seriously, but somehow, he’s still quite endearing. ^_-
So today I was supposed to eat lunch with 3-2, and it was my last time of the year since Mami had left me a note on my desk cancelling tomorrow’s lunch, earlier today. Well, they forgot me, and I didn’t really bother going up to the class with my food cuz, well, めんどうくさい. But just now, Mami (who happens to be 3-2’s homeroom teacher) just shepherded the class’ two “English leaders” to come and apologize to me for having forgotten me. Except they couldn’t even figure out how to say it in English and it was super awkward. lol.
Why does Daisuke (2-1) always giggle when he looks at me? he just walked into the staffroom to ask Domoto-sensei for something and I looked up to see him glancing at me and he just started giggling, and then he kept on sorta laughing for the whole time he was there. lol. Seriously. I love that kid. He reminds me of Ichiro sooo much. (Ichiro was one of my FAVORITE kids ever, who graduated a year ago… he was really dumb, but always smiling, and for some reason had a radar switch to notice anytime I was looking at him. it was freaky. we could be in the gym will all 600 kids there and if I’d spot him in the crowd his head would flip around and stare at me. eeeeerie!! lol. wonder how that brat is doing?)
Today is the last actual day of classes. I was supposed to have 3, but then when I “reminded” Shigeki-sensei about our 2nd period class, he went “ooooh…”, did a lot of teeth sucking, and so I offered to not come and he was like “ok. thanks. sorry.” Eeh, what a weird old man. He never remembers that we have class. Whatever.
I’m wearing an especially cute get-up today, wine-colored tights and a wine-colored wool shirt to match my new sky-blue tulip skirt that has old-red roses on it… anyways, it’s quite colorful, and really cutesy, so it’s been funny to watch kids do double-takes at me all day, before erupting into peals of “kawaii” :p
Had my last class of the day, of the year, was with 2-4. It was probably the best class of all times. GOD those kids are so much fun. We played the music dice game, and it was funny cuz they remembered it from last year (they were the only ones who did, apparently) and every time the music stopped and someone got chosen they would clap. Ryouga got chosen 3 TIMES!! lol. The first time he had a harmless question, then the second time, all the kids around him pulled away as the dice came so I could stop the music on him (I totally cheat) and then when he rolled the dice some boys changed it to 6 so he would get a challenge card, lol. THEN the 3rd time he got picked (accidentally, sometimes the button slips my finger), literally the whole part of the class that is boys blocked him so he couldn’t fight back when he “rolled” a 6. lol. His challenge card was to “run around the classroom 3 times”, and he did it super slowly and as he was doing it, everyone was clapping and cheering “ganbatte Ryouga!!” over and over, like they do on sports day and it was all I could do to not fall on the floor laughing. It was so funny. They are totally my best ninensei class this year. Love them all.
There was another earthquake last night and it was a really big one in Shizuoka, so everyone I know here (foreigners) spent all of last night freaking out. Show up to school this morning to find out nobody’s really stressed about it at all. In fact, hospital teacher spent a good 10 minutes talking to me about how he just bought a jet-ski. lol. Since it’s apparently made in Canada, he thought I would know about it. I’m not sure but he may or may not have asked me to go try it with him one day…. ? (my j-go sucks, and I’m 90% sure he has a crush on me…)
Woaah… today is so boring. There are no classes today. Today is “graduation practice” day. So this morning, everyone went to the gym to rehearse whatnot, and now the 3rd years are gone, and the 2nd years are cleaning the school. I’ve just been shut up in the staffroom being bored. At first, I didn’t know that the 3rd years had left already, so I went to their floor after lunch, because I still have to give passport presents to Yuna and two other kids, but then I saw all the classes were empty and a lot of ninensei girls were writing on the boards. Just as I was about to turn to go back, Moka’s head flipped around and she shouted “ah! Vanessa da!” and everyone turned to look, squealed a bit and Minami was there too, so of course we started talking. She looked at me, pointed at her forehead and went “patsu!” with a cutting motion. So I said yes, I had cut my bangs, and I spent like a minute explaining to her we said “bangs” in English. lol. Then I asked “what are you doing?” and she asked the others “ne, ne, dou iu imi?” (What does it mean?) and they just giggled and said “Minami, ganbatte!” and laughed, and I laughed too and repeated slower. She said they were writing goodbye messages for the sannensei. Then I asked why she wasn’t writing and she said she’d been forbidden to write by teachers. lol. I asked which teacher, and she said all of them. “ijime! ijime!” (it’s bullying!) I laughed and gave her a sympathetic pat on the shoulder, and she laughed too. Then she said “DON’T MIND neeeee.” eheh… it was funny.
On the way back to the staffroom I ran into Nichika and his floppy-haired friend (whose name I forgot…) and they nodded to me and then Nichika said “hello!” and I said hello back and they just started giggling like little idiots. wtf?! What’s so special about my replying when you guys say hello?! Japanese kids of this age are so strange sometimes, because at times they are very obviously teenagers, on their way to adulthood, and then at other times, they are so totally little kids. WAY more than teenagers back home… it’s kinda cute actually ^_-
Today is graduation! and just in time for it, it is ridiculously cold!! There is a piercing, freezing wind outside, and it’s 3C!! On March 18th!!! In my Japan, that is just fucking unbelievable… I remember my first graduation two years ago… it must’ve been like 20C because it was SO nice and warm and we were all standing outside without jackets. Well, no so today. I’m presently trying to rub back sensation into my toes (not working) since I wore cute little (but very weather-inappropriate) black heels to match my dressy skirt. Dressy black cigarette skirt being the only concession I made to the ridiculous ritual that is graduation in Japan. Of course, today, I am the only person not wearing a suit, except the 3 sannensei female teachers, who are in kimonos. The last two times I’ve done this, there was always one of the 3rd year teachers in a special graduation kimono, but this year I guess they all did it. The homeroom teacher of 3-5, who’s a bit chubbs, looks especially ridiculous in hers, with her hair all done up in curls, because she also coaches the baseball club and is normally so butch. Everybody is wearing cheap-looking flower corsages – that I have now noticed they are grabbing from a big box by the window – but no one has told me I should or could get one, so I remain corsage-less.
So now I sit and wait, until 9:30, where I will have to make way to the unheated gym, and freeze for two hours, while trying not to fall asleep listening to long-winded speeches in a language I can’t understand. Fun times! I’ll tell you more about it when I get back.
Aww… so I went off to the 3rd year floor with my bag of presents for the 3 kids that had filled out their passports (cuz this was basically gonna be the last chance!) and all the kids were so excited, nervous, sad and emotional! So cute. I managed to give all my presents away (and a few more, cuz I’m a bad teacher like that and I totally have favorites). I poked my head into 3-6 when I was looking for Yuna, because she wasn’t anywhere and kids were mingling wherever and not just in their own classes, and Kaede came over to see me (and very obviously stare at my tits) but he was freakin bouncing off the walls! He pointed to himself with one thumb going “excited!” lol. Then he waved Kouki over and he was looking all calm and sad. He looked at my face and went “me ga dekai” (your eyes are so big) and it gave me a little pinch to the heart because I know he has a crush on me and was bittersweet/sad about saying goodbye. I asked them if they were gonna cry and they both said yes. lol. In Japan, it’s totally ok for men to cry. lol.
Before the ceremony started Asuka-sensei told me to go with her, but then when we left all the 3rd year classes were coming down the stairs so we had to wait til they’d all passed. It was pretty cute because a lot of the kids were waving at me and calling my name. One dumb kid (Hideki) made a “big boob” gesture and I wanted to punch him. But the funniest part was when Yuu passed by and he said to me “not nebocchan!” and then I yelled at him that his hair looked nice today, which made Yusuke laugh behind him (possibly because he was the only one to understand what it meant).
The ceremony itself was ridiculously long and boring. Seriously, if they cut out all the bowing from it, it would last one hour instead of two. Mayuko (3-6) made a speech towards the end and she was soooo good at reading! Like, the inflection of her voice, the pausing, the little gasps… I mean, I didn’t understand much of it but it gave me the chills nonetheless. I couldn’t see many people crying from where I was standing, but I could hear the sniffles, and I had to suppress a giggle when I noticed that Tatsuya, one of my pervs and big cool boy, was BAWLING. He was so red in the face.
At the end all the3rd years sang a song on the stage, and there were a lot of red faces, but a lot less than last year. Then, they started leaving and everybody clapped. I made my way towards the door so they could see me as they left, and the best part was when Yuu noticed me, I stuck my tongue at him and he gave me a thumbs-up. I almost started crying right there!
After that the whole school goes to the front of the building, in the parking lot, makes a “hallway” for the graduating students to pass through (lining on both sides) and clapping, and saying goodbyes. The 3rd years will give their corsage flowers to their kohai (younger students who are either in the same club, or just their friends) and give them cheering words of goodbye. I was standing with Minami and it was kinda hilarious because she asked at least 5 different boys to give her the 2nd button of their uniform. Usually, that’s a high school thing. Well nobody did it anyways, lol. When Kaede walked by at the end, he stopped to say goodbye and I asked him “where’s my flower?” but he smiled guiltily cuz he had already given it away. Students kept on passing by, and we clapped, and then, Kouki, my number 1 perv, who was the very last student from 3-6, came and gave his flower to me saying “for you” with a huge smile, and I was SOOO happy!! I dunno, I can’t explain it, it was really touching.
Oh another funny thing that I just remembered. One time, when the graduation students were passing by, one mother pointed to me and tapped her daughter on the shoulder and went “oh! why don’t you say goodbye to Vanessa!” and I thought it was funny because obviously I don’t know that mother, but she knows me! It makes me wonder how many of my kids go home and prattle on about Vanessa-sensei this, or Vanessa-sensei that to their family… it’s kinda weird. lol.
Well, I have a feeling nothing much will happen today. We already had the closing ceremony and I did my duty as the school mascot, but it was pretty uneventful. And this afternoon I have a meeting at the board of education and I won’t be here. I think that this morning, the remaining kids will be cleaning the classrooms and moving their desks up to the next year halls. Or not. Anyways.
So I thought I would mention what happened after school yesterday. It’s not really “my” kids, but it’s cute. I dunno if I’ve mentioned it before but there is there are these two little girls (like maybe 8 years old?) that I pass on my way to the station after school, who are usually playing outside in the driveway of one of my 2nd year students, Shiho. At first, they used to hide when they saw me coming, and then they started trying to say “hello” to me and running away. The first time was really funny because I was walking, listening to my iPod as always, and I couldn’t hear them shouting “hello” behind my back, until one of the songs ended, and I thought I heard something, so I turned around and I saw these two little girls there behind me giggling. but the thing is that, we were about 2 blocks down from their house! So they had followed me all this way, “shouting” hello at me. lol. and then when I smiled and said hello to them, they ran off!
Then, earlier this week, as I walked by, they rushed over to the fence of the house where they were playing and this one little girl asked me “nihongo shaberu?” (can you speak Japanese?) and I answered “a little”, and so she asked “do you live here?” and I said yes. I told them I thought at the junior high school. and she went “oooooooh… we go to the elementary school… ah! Do you know Emily-sensei?”, the ALT who goes to that elementary school. As it so happens, I do know her, so I answered that I did. “sugoi!! Emily-chan daisuki!!” awww… I thought that was really cute. I said bye bye and was on my way.
Finally, last night, as I walked home, there was a big group of them playing in the driveway. Without stopping their game, a few of them shouted “hello” and that same girl from before called out “Hello, junior high school English teacher! bye bye!” lol. So now I have been upgraded from “nameless blonde foreigner” to “chuugakkou no eigo no sensei”. lol.
Have a good weekend, all. Be safe!