Friday, October 21, 2005


that's the katakana for "title"

wanted to do a quick update, so as people don't think i'm melancholy all the time.

my jambalaya was very well received. they liked it and i even got to explain that it's a cajun dish, which means a mixture of culture and they get that here, 'cause Okinawa is a mix of cultures.. and they even use that word for a dish that's very traditionally Okinawan, called "champuru"...that literally means, "a mix" and there are four standard kinds: goya champuru, tofu champuru, fu champuru, and vegetable champuru (if i'm lying on this one, guys, please correct me).
The female teachers even asked me to explain the process of making the dish, so i had to admit that i use the spices from a packet and don't know what's in them.. but they really didn't care...and Hisako-san asked me to bring it again the next day...and good thing she did, 'cause i had plenty left over and was not planning on eating today being Friday, my jambalaya has been fully devoured at lunch and my fridge is empty once again.

i had three classes today. With the 3rd graders we chatted about different gestures and some of them really got into it and were mimicking the gestures i was making. And i wanted to share with them a gesture from a different culture (it's all about internationalization, right?) so i commented on how "wait" is shown similarly in Japan and the States.. but in Israel it's a completely different gesture..and they loved that.. although there are chances that it means something in Japan and i just don't know what it is.. but i did show it to my JTE before doing it in class, and he didn't react in any alarming way, so i think i'm ok on that one..
("wait" or "rega" in Israel is shown by putting together the tips of the thumb, the index and middle fingers, turning the hand palm up and slightly raising it.)

the second graders were introduced to the "enjoy + -ing" grammar...example: I enjoy typing up these blogs.
Although how grammar can be introduced and explained in 2 minutes is beyond me.. but i'm not the teacher, right?
so we had a worksheet to have them practice the concept. they had walk around and ask their friends and me whether we enjoyed doing different things..and they had to create their own original question. and of course, i got simple stuff, such as "do you enjoy playing baseball/basketball/tennis/soccer" but everyonce in a while, a student would come up with "do you enjoy cycling"..."do you enjoying studying (and studying Japanese)"
i never thought i'd be so excited over hearing "do you enjoy reading books?"

the first graders as always were a treat. i did a mini self-introduction by putting together some photos and pictures of things i like and don't like, such as mexican food, strawberries, traveling (i had photos of me in DC, New York, and Israel), my hobbies...and then i wrote it up on a poster board as they could look at the writing as i was saying it..and it acted as an example when we then asked them to start creating their own self-introduction..
they worked in groups and put their desks together and actaully wrote down ideas and asked me questions..which is also making me realize how many words i've learned so far.. i can actually say a few things to clarify directions for them.. it's pretty cool...and they get a total kick out of me saying "sumimasen" ("excuse me") if i disturb their work space by walking was such pleasure observing a class full of students absorbed in an activity and making progress and seemingly enjoying it...
no matter what my day is like before or after.. moments like these are totally worth it
so their homework for the weekend is to put together a poster like mine, with pictures, cutouts, drawings of things about them...
i'm looking forward to the results...
it's fun doing things like that with the first graders because they had positive experiences with English in elemantary schools, thanx to Gabrielle's enthusiasm of the last three years...and they're not jaded to it like 3rd graders are ..and i can try different things and instill expectations in them that are above the ones asked of them now..and work with that for the next two'll be great to see them as 3rd graders...

so things are good.. they're really good...
and i discovered that i can rent episodes of "the west wing" and that just totally made my night last night..
i know..
i'm a geek..
but Josh Lyman is such a sexy character, especially when he gets angry at something...

oh, and speaking of politics.. yesterday i said to one of the teachers who was asking me about my religion, "politics and religion are difficult...everything else is easy".. i kind of made that up on the spot..but i think i really believe that now--you try explaining to someone who barely speaks English in dictionary-Japanese the difference between being Jewish religiously or culturally..


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that you aren't melancholy all the time. Sent an email re: historical perspectives and ingredients for jambalaya. I start my teaching in a few weeks. Wish my students were... attentive.