but for good reason - today was a great day! I got out of bed on time this morning, and just attacked the day. I got to school 30 minutes early because I knew I had to prepare for my second period 3rd grade class. The lesson of the day was the name of buildings, e.g. hospital, school, etc. Due to the lack of suitable resources online, I took it upon myself to take my own photos, plus I thought the kids would get a kick out of seeing local buildings. Taking the photos were easy, but printing them was very difficult. After about 45 minutes of trying by myself on 2 computers, I finally made headway on Microsoft Photo Editior. Keep in mind that the Windows environment is entirely in Japanese, and since I'm not that proficient in Editor, I had to try a few things, but it finally worked. I was a couple of minutes late for class, but the sensei was impressed by my flicks. And the kids loved them too because I got a whole lot of "ehhhhhhhhh!" when I showed them, especially when I pointed out my apartment! But this class had one downside - an eight legged downside! There was a huge spider crawling on the ceiling, which freaked me and the kids out. We did the hokey pokey to warm up, but everyone, including me, kept looking up. God, it was a fast son of a bitch. I'm not a spider expert by any stretch of the imagination, but it looked like a brown recluse to me. I don't think they're poisonous (the sensei concurred), but I think their bites are painful, and THEY ARE HUGE!
Ok, here are a few buildings in my neighborhood:
One of my fave restaurants.
My apartment - I live on the 3rd floor
My post office - I'm lucky that one of the workers speaks fairly decent English!
The next period was a lesson on fruits for the ichinensei (1st graders). They were enthusiastic, as always, and we played a couple of games and the lesson just flew by! The sensei is an amazing team teacher and I feel that we are both working together for the common interest of the children. She's a dream, and such a lovely woman. She always chats me up and tells me what a good job I'm doing. We take breaks together and she's always giving me little treats or a sports drink. Today she brought me persimmons. I've only had a persimmon once, so it should be a treat!
After my class was done, I asked her what she was teaching next. When she told me it was Japanese, I told her I'd be right back! I got my notebook and she gave me a textbook and I had a seat next to Anika-chan. The kids were so impressed and so happy and kept saying "Tsugoi!" (Awesome!) One girl, who is especially bright, screamed "gambarre kudasai!" (please try your best!) and they also kept saying "arigato". Today we learned numbers and counting and it is damn hard. I think there are 5 different ways to express numbers. I think I'll only need to learn two, but I gave my best effort anyway. I practiced the numbers in hiragana and kanji, and the kids were hella impressed. So was I, since the only hiragana I know are the syllables for my name and I've never touched kanji. I've borrowed the text to study hiragana because it has stroke pattern, so I expect to learn it fairly quickly.
When that class was over, the sensei invited me to eat lunch with her class. Normally, the whole school congregates in the cafetaria for kushokku (school lunch), but the lunch providers had a holiday so all the teachers ordered a bento (which was delicious). I did so gladly and the kids were just so happy and yappy and I had to sit in the middle of the class to make all of them happy. What I hope they realized is that they made me really happy as well.
My last class was with the gonensei (5th grade) who are older, but still cool. They've really warmed up to me, which makes me happy. And their sensei is a trip. We had a blast, and I stayed past my time to teach some of them common items in English.
I also had a bit of time to prepare for Thursday's lessons and do some research on my trip to Takamatsu (Kagawa-ken) to visit Mel next weekend. It looks like I have to choose between taking a very expensive but very fast shinkansen ride, taking the JR train part way then taking a ferry, or taking the JR train part way then take a bus. I'm looking at a potential price difference of nearly 200$, but I may be willing to pay for the convenience.
Anyway, tonight is badminton, say I gotta eat and jet.