today during lunch we were chatting about me leaving and the new JET and somehow the conversation turned to the first JET in Ogimi, O'Neill. The young teacher sitting next to me graduated from Ogimi Junior High School and O'Neill was actually her ALT. She remembered him fondly but said he was difficult to understand because he had a very heavy dialect in his American. Apparently he was from rural Nevada but I honestly don't know why that would be difficult but that fact was very memorable to her. The librarian and the office lady also remembered him well and they exchanged a few quick stories about him with each other. I thought how nice it was that there is such a community in this school and in this village. Of course it might be annoying to some how much people know of each other's business here, but I never felt that it was a malignant thing. People seem to actually care and don't seem to use the information they know to speak badly of others. Not to me in any case. :)
Anyways, I just thought about the ALTs before me and the ALTs after me and how we've all impacted this community in one way or another and what a unique experience it must be for the students. I don't know if I've ever sat down to reflect on the "internationalization" aspect of my job as an ALT and how much I've done to make sure that my being here hasn't just been about teaching English but also about sharing the cultures that I come from. All right. Note to self--reflect before leaving. :D
Speaking of leaving. It's been absolutely crazy and it's only about to get even more busy and so forgive me if this might be the last entry before the very last entry. I hope to take the time and fill you in on what is happening as I go through the process of wrapping up my life here, but the actual process might be too time demanding to allow for blogging. Hopefully not.
Tomorrow is my very last English story contest. We've worked hard this year and the two students I've been practicing with have been an absolutely pleasure, and I'm really looking forward to their performances tomorrow. Though it is going to be quite a long day in the process with 31 students signed up for the contest. >.<
Next week is my final karate belt test. Speaking of which. Two things. My story contest student also does karate but at a different dojo in Nago. He told me today that his father won't be able to watch him tomorrow because he'll be going directly to Naha because Sunday night he has a belt test--he'll be going for 3-dan. Cool, eh?
And secondly, wanted to mention that I watched the inter-junior high school karate competition last weekend to see how my story contest student did as he was the only one representing my school. I also went to see the junior high school kids that study at my dojo. The Ogimi student did great--he advanced into the final round and was the only green belt surrounded by brown and black belts. In the boys competition however it was quite obvious that the students from my dojo would be unchallenged. The three places went to them. The girls from my dojo took 1st and 3rd place. It was so wonderful to sit with the mothers and the elementary school kids and to cheer them on.
Here are a couple of photos I really like from that day.
This is a 3rd grader from Yabu JHS who trains at my dojo. He took 2nd place.
These girls were practicing for the 3 person kata competition which followed the individual competition. The girl in front is a 3rd grader from Nago JHS and also trains at my dojo and has taken first place in Kunigami for the last three years.