Saturday, 29 May 2010

Called an old hag and accused of having athlete's foot all in one day

I've always liked Mei-chan.  She has all of the attributes that my favourite students have: friendly, smiley, cheerful and is willing to try a little as she likes me.  We bonded when she was a first year as she was frustrated that I couldn't understand what she had had for breakfast - ohagi. She insisted to one of the Japanese English teachers that she explain to me exactly what ohagi was (much to both of our amusement).  It sounded gross - sweet rice balls covered with sesame seeds or sweet bean paste.

Anyway,  Friday I was in quite a bit of pain, the old back injury had been creaking ominously for a few weeks and Thursday night it gave out.  I asked the girls to behave because my back was hurting.  Mei said to her friend "Oba-han desu kara ne" "It's because she's a middle-aged woman."  Using the Osaka form han rather than the usual chan made it all the crueller!  I mock-shouted "MEI!" and she put her hand over her mouth and racked her brains for a bit before coming up with "Sorry!" much to her classmates amusement.

I got my revenge not long after.  The third year junior highs have twenty easy questions to answer within two minutes for their mid-term test.  The lower level classes seem to peak in the second year and then pretty much stay the same level for the remainder of the time at school, so her confidently suggested answer to "What did you have for lunch?" was "I had pan".  I explained that pan, the Japanese for bread, is French and not English to which she replied "So, we can't use French?"  I said "Am I a French or an English teacher?  Is this a French or and English test?"  "Oh, I see!" replied Mei.  I related the story to her Japanese English teacher who said "Please don't think that all Japanese are that stupid!"

My bare legs and sandaled feet prompted much muttering amongst the second year high school.  I wasn't really listening, but they must have been wondering why I had no socks on (something the Japanese staff would never do at work) I said to a pair of girls "What are you saying about my legs?" From the other side of the classroom Sayumi announced "mizumushi!" Athelete's foot! I probably dug my own grave by telling Sayumi she was really rude and yes, I did know the meaning of mizumushi so be careful what you say.

As I have been having some trouble with athlete's foot recently, Sayumi caused me to spend the rest of the lesson hiding behind my desk and paranoidly looking at my feet "They can't possibly see anything can they?"  At the end of class she asked about the contents of the writing test. I explained, and then said "I'm deducting 5% for your mizumushi comment!"

The daft emails that students send you

I like the vast majority of my private students: the fact that they chose to come to my home rather than the easier choice of signing up with one of the language schools makes them independently minded and outgoing.  Juggling schedules and other commitments often means that they have to rearrange lessons and I often find myself answering the odd question that they have out of class time.

I had a Rakugo performance today and drink
meeting after that. I perfomanced 'Till Death Do Us Part. 
I am drunk now.
I will read carefully tomorrow after I come back.
I'm sorry  I am a boozer.

Followed an hour later by:

I'm still drunk but I'm so embarrassed to see my spelling mistakes in
the previous mails. Sorry!

My doctor student always cancels and I get these gems:

I am sorry I cannot go today, 10th and 17th. I am very busy this month.  I will pay you every fees, so please don't fire me. I will see you March 24th (you will have a vacation?). I miss you!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Licking the lid

There are plenty of things that one does in the privacy of one's own home (plucking, picking, licking, scratching and scraping) that are fine confined to the gaze of nobody, or only those who are used to your revulsive habits.  Much as you would be unlikely to make any friends by whipping off your socks and whipping out a nail clipper in front of your colleagues, yoghurt-consuming individuals should really consider the fact others are trying to eat their lunch whilst you slither your tongue over the foil covering of your pot and proceed to poke it around to scoop up all the yoghurty lid residue.  Quite a repulsive spectacle!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Feeling slightly homesick?

I guess I must be or else why would some sub-standard photos of bluebells make me burst into tears? It's not the obvious things that get you, it's those you have practically forgotten and, for me, flowers seem to be a theme at the moment. What weird emotions: one minute I'm wiping a tear, then I'm in shock that one of the contributors is a Japanese woman from Osaka (!!!) and then chuckling that the next one is called Harold Lloyd ("do do do do do do do/Harold Llloyd/do do do do do do do/A pair of glasses and a smile"!)

A few weeks ago this small bank covered with  daffodils on Hieizan got me, and easily usurped the last of this year's cherry blossom. 

Dumb Question of the Day

"Sensei, you know that you have blues eyes - by the way why do you have blue eyes? Look at her eyes, everyone!  Look at the shape! Why are they blue? Anyway, is everything you see blue?"

Ah the tendency to see the world through the naively optimistic hue of bluebell-coloured spectacles!

After checking that she didn't, infact, see the world through a shade of turd, I reassured her that, yes, I, also, can detect a spectrum's worth of colour. "That's great!"

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Feeling mildly nauseous

and it will turn into full-scare pit of stomach retching if that smug, gimpy, sense of entitlement Cameron gets in tomorrow.  Just the thought of the Conservatives in again is so depressing that I think I'll weep if they win.

Gary Yonge's article sums up exactly how I feel

Brown may be hated, but be careful of what you wish for. 

Froth is actually quite a tricky word to pronounce.

If you're not careful, your mouth can end up producing a great big raspberry sound.