It’s confirmed: my family will be in Osaka for Christmas (hellooo, Loft) and Kyoto for the new year! Thank goodness for Toyoko Inn chain (which I’ve never stayed in but have heard great things about)–incredibly enough, one of their Kyoto locations actually has (or had) vacancies. We’ll probably be back in Ikeda in between, so I can go cash in one day of work before the winter holidays set in, and we can take a day trip to Hiroshima or something like that, which would also give them a chance to take the Shinkansen (bullet train–Hikari, specifically; I love that name) between Hiroshima and Okayama.
I’m sitting under my kotatsu (oooh, my kotatsubuton are double-sided, so instead of the slightly-clashing-with-the-teddy-bears bright tan, I have a more gingham-inspired blue that complements the teddy bears quite well. I hope my successor isn’t male…I should have selected a more gender-neutral set of kotatsubuton, but after leaving behind the ones at the Daiki Home Store in search of more selection and going to Ikeda Family, I didn’t want to drag my boss back to Daiki once I realized that most of Family’s were really crappy-looking). If you’re wondering what all these words are, a kotatsu is a heating table. It has a grill on the underside, and you plug the table in and flip a switch to turn the grill on. It also has a removable top. You take your kotatsubuton (two individual futons) and put one on the floor underneath the table, and put the other one on top of the uncovered table, and you put the cover back on and sit under the table. I’ll be sure to take a photo for Flickr at some point.
However, now I have the problem of figuring out where to put my actual sleeping-on futon…
Okay, I have a few stories I want to begin to relate, from that list of topics I’d compiled yesterday, and then I should get to sleep.
Yesterday (Wednesday), I was walking to White Background Elementary School, which is closest to my junior high. As I entered the schoolyard, I passed a few girls who were outside on the playground equipment (I guess younger kids’ classes end before the older kids’ do?), and we had the following conversation:
Them: “Ehhh?? Nihongo shaberu no?” (You can speak English?)
Me: “Hai, sou desu ne.” (Yep, that’s right.)
Them: “Doko kara kita no??” (Where’d you come from?)
Me: “America kara kimashita. Daigaku de nihongo o benkyoushimashita.” (I’m from America. I studied Japanese in university.)
Them: “Uwaaa~! Zenbu eigo dake shaberu to omotta…” (Whoa! I thought they all only speak English…)
Me: “Iie! Takusan hito wa gaikoku no kotoba ga dekimasu.” (No! Many people can speak foreign languages.)
Them: “Ehhh, sugoi…” (Wow, awesome…)
They were completely amazed and fascinated by it. I was grinning on the rest of my walk across the schoolyard and into the main building. That’s me, shattering stereotypes left and right…
And one more before I go to sleep: in my 1st-year junior high classes on Monday, the JTE was conducting a memory game (which I really blatantly spiked and used in my elementary school lessons this week, mwahaha), where all the students received action cards depicting “studying” and “riding a bike” and “cooking” and other stuff like that. The person who started would say, “I’m playing basketball.” The next would say, “She’s playing basketball, and I’m eating lunch.” And so on, with each person listing all the things in order that the previous people were doing. After half the class went, the teacher turned to me (during the first class) and asked me to recite the entire chain thus far, which I was able to pretty much do.
Between the first and second 1st-year English classes I team-teach on Mondays is our hour lunch. During that time, I have a tendency to forget everything that went on in the first class. As a result, when the second class was in session, I was just sort of watching stuff and not really paying attention to details or absorbing anything. And then the JTE turned to me after half the class had gone through the game, and I wondered what he was doing at first…but then it hit me, and I blurted loudly, “Ohhh, crap.”
The kids burst out laughing and my JTE really got a kick out of it, too. (Hey–I was teaching English slang!)
It won me a few pity points, because while the kids weren’t allowed to help each other, a few of the kids were very kindly correcting my mistakes or forgiving unchecked ones I made. One of the perks of being a teacher–We Can Do No Wrong. [Palpatine]”Unlimited POWWWAAAHHHH!!1″[/Palpatine]
Heh, anyway, I think I should go to sleep now. TGI-freaking-F!