Monday, November 27, 2006

Finally feelin it......

Leaving the classroom is the funnest part of teaching in Japan. Today the Ichi nensei took a field trip to Yui, a center point on the coast of the Suruga bay that would probably be terrorized by tsunamis when the big Tokai earthquake strikes. We hiked on the famous trail that used to be one of the most taken routes from Tokyo, or Edo, down south. Supposedly, the beach did not exist during this time and only appeared until the last gigantic Tokai earthquake pushed the landmass upward and made some beach below the beautiful mountainous terrain on which we hiked. Apparently there are signs that explain all of this throughout the hike, however, I was not informed until the Nomikai hours later. Because remember folks, I cannot read.
Today acted as the transformation that I knew would come eventually. I am speaking about the actual desire to bond. I already knew that the kids are pretty cool, and they were alright with me. I mean, they talk to me enough but it wasn't until we had this chance to spend a whole day together where I actually felt it was appropriate to speak my broken Japanese to them. Upon hearing me, and laughing at me countless times during our hike, I noticed that they ignored their usual fears of speaking English, and actually responding to my Japanese questions in my own language. I had two particularly exciting dorky English teacher moments where I felt accomplished in my job.
The first was when I was walking with a group of boys who found it halarious to make ordinary things be pretend objects in the forest. For example, we walked past this big long pipe, and one boy said, "Oh, Toby, a snake!!! Be careful!!!" I pretended to be frightened and run away, and so the game continued. "Oh, these are traditional Japanese they pointed to the Mikan trees." "Oh, do you want a cherry?" as they handed me small poisonous berries. Of course, I pretended to eat them, and they pretended to be concerned.
My second favorite part of the hike was when a group of girls started pointing to objects and naming them in English. "Bird, flower, worm, mountain, river, mirror...." I replied after each word, "tori, hana, mimizu, yama, gawa, kagami" but when they knew a word, and I didn't, I asked them how to say it, and tried to remember. That is how I learned mimizu and words for the day.
I was happy to finally see the beach, which I haven't done while in Japan, not even from the train. As a huge lover of the sea, I spent our 30 minutes by the beach just watching the waves and pretending I could see the California coast.

There were many things to see on our hike, and one of them was this cemetary.
I like when the kids know how to represent.
The baseball team tends to congregate outside of the team teaching room on the 4th floor, and I often see them eating lunch as I leave 3rd period. My greeting is always the same, "Hello baseball team". "Hello, Toby".
The thing that amazes me about school is that the kids really seem to like their senseis. Here is one of my favorite senseis to work with mostly because he is pretty witty and likes to talk to me with slang. I always appreciate when people greet me with "What's up?"
over the edge
These were the girls that played the "Let's name that object" game with me. They also did a little song performance, and I will import it once my internet speed gets a little faster.
I find the kids to be amazingly communal. I loved watching their lunchtime mannerisms. Each one of them brought snacks like Poki sticks, cookies, those crunchy french fry things, chips....and passed it around and greatly thanked each other after the snack made its rounds. They are so cute.
And last but not least, I found it incredibly special to see this group of boys walking hand in hand with each other. I see the girls doing it all the time, but this was just too adorable not to post.

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