One Month

So, it’s been about a month in the teaching game now and the nervous tension prefixing every lesson has waned a bit. It’s not completely gone, but merely reduced by a magnitude. My students are such very great fun! Teaching all levels is interesting as one period may have people with barely the ability to say their names, and the next may be full of guys who are brushing up on business skills for better work performance. The classes with females are the most interesting as they seem able to play around with the language a bit while the males are more stoic. Could this be just another part of Japanese culture? I’ve had everything from classes on introducing yourself and dealing with airport personnel to issues of discrimination and fairness in the judicial system. There are really some incredible people here in Japan and it’s a joy to get to know a bit about them. “Voice” can be a high point when the discussion gets heated, but it can become difficult when those who come to talk are anything but talkative. My fellow teachers are also an interesting bunch. It’s a mix of Brits, Aussies, Canadians, and Americans like me. Someone today, in a discussion about hilarity and mirth, mentioned “skylark,” a word I’ve never heard apart from the Buick model and the bird. Apparently it’s meaning has something to do with “being playful” or making some sort of joyful noise. None of our national mix was able to pick that out. It is common for people to translate a Japanese word into English using their portable computer dictionary and then to try to use that word in daily speech. “Skylark” is an example of where that method may go a bit off – it was in the dictionary when I looked it up – but no native speaker would ever prefer that word. This must be how those technical and other manuals get produced: From the dictionary lookup and a misplaced picking from the results. Earlier I had to explain how someone sent their children to school using the idiom “to get them off.” Urgh.