Thursday, May 24, 2012

From the classroom, lunchroom and halls

My students crack me up daily. They are honestly the best part of my days, weeks, and life here.

For one thing, they are endlessly creative in their translations to English.  "Japanese speedy-speak" for "Japanese tongue twisters", "my foot was shocking" to describe how their feet fell asleep in Buddhist temple meditation, and "playing human watching" to describe the act of people-watching.

Sometimes it's just passing comments.

(at an elementary school)
me: How are you??
little boy: I'm CANDY!!!

(junior high - supposed to find a way to ask a teacher what they did on spring vacation)
"Do you spring vacation?"
(teacher relates the proper question to him) "What did you do on your spring vacation?"
"Yes I am!!"

(conversation in the hall with one of my junior high boys, who has clearly met me many times before)
"Uhhhh...nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too."
"I am...nice body!!!"

I had a boy hand in a written assignment that said he got drunk on the bus on the class trip...but my teacher told me the Japanese sometimes translate the same word for "drunk" as "sick". That was an interesting one to figure out.

Sometimes they get creative with names.

Sometimes they mishear my English - today, instead of "at the end of April", they got "endless April", which they thought was hilarious. Everything in that class became "endless" - "endless April", "endless worksheet" (or something) and finally the classic "I am endless boy!"

One day at lunch one of my third-years decided it would be a good idea to make his regular milk into strawberry milk by mashing up his strawberry inside the carton. He enlisted his friends' help by asking for scissors so he could cut a hole in the top, which turned out to be a bit too small. Instead of fixing it he just set to work poking at the berry with his straw, attempting to squish it into his drink. During this process he squirted milk onto his school uniform. Panic ensued. His friend calmed the chaos by whipping something out of his pocket and saying reassuringly (in Japanese), "don't worry, I have tissues!!" I turned to the girls next to me and asked what they thought of the whole project.
"Crazy, crazy, crazy!"
"No. It's good idea."
"He's crazy. Crazy boy."
"No I'm not. I'm great!"

Later, to himself:
"I'm great!"

Later still:
"I'm strawberry."

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