was looking at photos in Tanya's album. and loved the shot of a little girl staring at the gorgeous and perfect soap bubbles floating by. in her eyes there is confusion and fascination. it's a beautiful photograph that perfectly captures this moment in childhood. those magical and colorful spheres that are so easily destroyed and just as easily recreated. made me think of all those things that were simple and easy about childhood, and how much i miss it.
what did you use to blow your first ever soap bubbles? we used dandelion stems. If they're thick enough, one can cut an end into quarters and then dip it into a dish filled with water and washing detergent and blow through the other end. take off the flower part before attempting this, of course. and then of course we had the standard stick with a hoop from a bottle with premade soapy solution. but the dandelions stick in the mind.
the mother in the photos is not even blowing the bubbles. they're coming out of a mechanized apparatus that produces perfect bubbles at a set speed. it's fantastic. who cares that it's gone beyond simplicity and is now perhaps lacking a sense of quaintness because it's not a dandelion stem. the eyes of the child are still filled with wander. that's all that matters.
oh to be random on a friday.
wednesday the students sat through prefectural tests on math, japanese and english. i looked through the english tests and realized that i was not wrong about my assumptions. there is a lack of communication between the bigwigs at the ministry and what they want accomplished, and what is actually hapenning in the schools. big surprise there, eh? the questions were well beyond what the students are doing in the class. some, of corse they should have easily answered, we went over quite a few of the material. but the dismal number of students that were able to comlete a simple sentence for the test was dissapointing. so we need to work on writing, even though the ministry is now pushing for speaking.
i think the major problem in junior high school is the speed with which the material is thrusts upon students and the sheer lack of necessity for it. they'll have three more years of English in high school and they again won't have a choice on the matter. so why does a 3rd grader in junior high need to learn passive voice? and why is that followed with rapid succesion with uses of "that" "which" "whose" when they can't even tell me that "i'm going to play basketball this weekend".
i learned a new word today. very proud of myself. dainijisekaitaisen. long, right?
that stands for World War II. i was asking how long Mother's Day has been arond in Japan. and we figured, probably started after WWII. and i can say that too.
hahanohi wa tabun dainijisekaitaisen ata hajimarimashita.
we saw "The Sentinel" on base this week. what a terrible terrible movie. apparently the KGB made contracts 20 years ago to kill the US president when the person who the contract was made with was in the position to do it. what? and it's never explained why would the KGB want that. and we couldn't figure out the accent of the actor playing the main KGB guy. it swung from aussie, to proper british, to irish. and his henchmen didn't even speak russian the few times they spoke. i think it was Polish actually. so so bad. and that's just one detail in a string of details we laughed about when leaving the theater. at least we were entertained and only paid 4$ for it.
karate practice this week was brutal but good. the humidity shot up a couple of dozen percent this week. it's now as hot at night as it is during the day. so karate practice is now a sauna. and it's amazing how much less the okinawans sweat compared to us, westerners. We are learning new katas every week. It took the three of us two months to learn three katas, and in the last month we have started learning four. A very rapid pase and by the end of the session yesterday my brain was no longer following what my body was supposed to be doing.
did i ever mention that carrying a small towel around is absolutely essential and is actually perfectly acceptable and even somewhat fashionable? the days on Okinawa are becoming more humid and it is now necessary to abide by the Hitchiker's essential dogma of always knowing where one's towel is.
i made a new bulletin board. this month we are learning how to greet in English, and to be fare to other users of English, i've included, "How do you do?" and "G'day"
not that any of the kids are going to glance at it. this month our featured English speaking person is Natalie Portman because i really liked her in V for Vendetta and she's in some Japanese commercials, or so i hear, since i don't own a TV. did you know that Natalie was born in Israel, speaks fluent Hebrew, graduated from Harvard, shares the same birthday with Johnny Depp (a fact not to be overlooked), and Portman is actually not her real last name? a very interesting personality and stands out so wonderfully from the typical crowd of 20 somethings in Hollywood. Doesn't live in LA apparently either; has a flat in SoHo.
and if you've never seen Leon, known in United States as The Professional , please treat yourself to a viewing. it's Natalie's breakthrough role, Jean Reno is fantastic, and Gary Oldman is ever graceful in his role as an eccentric bad guy. Directed by Luc Besson, the director of The Fifth Element another great movie, that i watched again while on Tokashiki. Doesn't get old and is still funny.
in slightly dissapointing news--i didn't get picked to be an assistant at the Tokyo Orientation in August. blah.
but am excited for the re-contracting conference at the end of May in Kobe. booked a dorm room in Kyoto for four nights. really looking forward to seeing a tiny bit of mainland Japan.
a few posts back, i ranted about the destruction of Babylon. If anyone's at all interested, the BBC radio is doing a program about the site of Babylon, its history and current condition. I listened to the first part this morning before school and would recommend it. It's called Battle for Babylon
and the weekend plans include a drive to Chatan for a Turkish dinner prepared by Reyhan. I will be providing the turkish coffee making skills.