Death, Chaos and Volleyball: What Up With This Week

October 16, 2009

– Students get really excited when they learn a new phrase in English, usually to the point they love to repeat said phrase over and over again to me. This week, one student learned how to say “I’m dying!” and showed off his 911-worthy sentence to me for about three minutes. I imagine this is what being haunted by a ghost might be like.

– If you ever find yourself in a Japanese school staff room, here’s how you can impress the staff – make flashcards. I made some katakana flash cards at work this week and it seemed like everyone stopped by to cheer my studying ways on. I felt very popular, all while making squiggles on cards!

– I got to plan nearly an entire lesson by myself this week, on the very vague topic of “how much does that cost?” The big finale to my lesson was a game called “Bargain,” where students would utilize the phrase of the day “how much does that cost?”) while also learning the invaluable skill of haggling. This also saw me deliver a cringe-worthy explanation that basically boiled down to the pro-capitalism mantra “the goal is to make lots of money!” The first three classes I played this game in went OK, but the last class of the week went absolutely bonkers. Instead of peacefully negotiating with one another to reach a reasonable price on an eraser, these kids basically chased one another around the room and beat one another up to score a good deal. It was pretty much pandemonium, but the Japanese teacher I worked with just sort of laughed it off. To be fair, these kids did pull off some great deals, so maybe violence really is the answer.

– Earlier in the week I mentioned all the third-students weren’t allowed to come to school. They got the whole week off! That’s a pretty sweet deal, at least for the kids who weren’t actually sick. But then, mid-week, all first grade classes got sent home to. The school became very desolate as only the super-immune second graders remained. This also meant a lot of teacher were just chilling out in the staff room.

– The Nabari Board of Education organized a volleyball night at a local community gym-thing today. I expected an hour or two of friendly volleyball competition. What I got was…a bit more elaborate. To keep it simple, it was more like a really long practice featuring a warm-up session of “Red Light, Green Light” that had scorekeepers who weren’t actually paying attention and just arbitrarily awarding points on whoever touched the ball last. It was strange.

But the end made everything completely worth it. Everyone got prizes for participating, and I’m not talking about a plastic medal. These were legit prizes. Everyone in my squad won a free mini-chair…this thing would be great for a small dog. Then, I got to pick out a random individual prize. I drew…Dino Slippers.



I cannot stress how awesome these slippers are. I’m now pumped for the winter to come because I want to wear these dino shoes every minute of the day. Thank goodness for the bizarre Japanese custom of giving out really nice stuff (read: probably re-gifting) at uber-amateur sport outings.

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