Boardwalk is the Death before Life

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Yesterday was a ridiculously good day but I still had a really bad moment.

First the bad moment.

My supervisor didn’t show yesterday, not sure why. Instead, I asked the very nice teacher next to me if she could help. She is very good with English but I could never put my finger on just why she always sounds so strange to me. The problem is that despite her English proficiency, she never took any sort of western culture class which should always accompany a western language class. She speaks in a Japanese style which makes her English very frustrating to listen to. If she were saying the exact same thing in Japanese, there would be no problem.

Let me give you an example of this. My friend Aozora told me about a person that she had a small problem with. I asked her why she just didn’t flat out tell the person that there was a small problem with what they were doing instead of letting it bug her so much. Her answer “I was speaking in Japanese”

Culture and language go hand in hand. You can’t separate them.

Anyway, so I asked the woman next to me to help me out. I finally got the appointment papers for my internet. Should be coming on the 13th (Friday…the 13th). In the end, it turns out that they are going to ship the modem to my apartment when I am most likely not going to be here. They’ll leave a note and I’ll call them and wait patiently like a dog next to the door for them to deliver it between the hours of 5-9pm when I tell them I’ll be home. After that, I will take a precious and coveted vacation day so I can again wait like an obedient dog next to the door between the hours of 1-5pm for the person to come and install and trouble shoot my internet. He probably won’t know what to do with my English computer either.

In the end, it’s actually not all that bad. It just took so long for me to get this information out of the teacher that was helping me that I almost got really sarcastic and rude. I checked myself, but I was still really upset by the whole thing. If someone had just flat out told me exactly what the situation was, I wouldn’t have been in such shock I guess. But it took such effort to get the information that by the end of it, I was….upset.

Afterwards, I went to talk to my principal about something completely unrelated. He asked me, like he always does, if I was adjusting well. This was the first time that I really gave him a decent answer. I never wanted to complain, my problems aren’t all that bad. It’s just the culture shock that is blowing them out of proportion. But I told him about what was on my mind. He then told me his story.

He said that he understood what I was going through and how difficult it was to live in a foreign country. He said that he lived in California for 5 years. He was going to be a business man. He then moved to Tokyo where he was probably doing really well for himself. But because he was the first born son, he came back to Kochi and took care of his parents. Instead of being a businessman, he became a teacher. He also told me that 60 is the age of retirement in Japan (it’s set?) and he’ll be leaving school in March.

Ah, that depressed me. How sad that he had to leave his dream and all that? And then in March he’ll be leaving me!!! He is such a good principal!!! AH, I can just imagine the next guy totally not caring about Largo or the exchange or anything!

I’ll worry about it when the time comes.

Then, he asked me how my Japanese was coming. I told him it was really going well but I don’t feel like I’m learning it fast enough. He asked “why don’t you speak more”? *sigh* I try so hard all the time. I’m too embarrassed sometimes to speak Japanese to people who know English so well. It’s just easier to speak English. I know, I know, that shouldn’t stop me from speaking Japanese…but it does.

The next thing was the class that I taught right after that. I started talking to one of the students and she looked at me and asked “everyday happy?” “no, not everyday. You?” “No, not everyday happy”. I told her it was because we are human. She asked me what something was in English so I pulled out my dictionary. Depression. She said that this school was depression.

That broke my heart.

But in the end, it was a really good day. The lesson that I stole from my predecessor worked amazingly. I’ve finally gotten a good mind set for the class too! If the students do their work, fantastic! If they don’t, that’s ok too. I can use the time to practice my Japanese! There’s no reason to stress myself out about it. There is nothing I can do. Instead of rolling with the punches, I’m ducking them entirely. Why worry? It makes no difference in the end.

I had class with the teacher that I don’t like. He happens to be the only teacher that tells his students to sit down and shut up which I totally admire because guess what?! They actually listen to him! HA! For some reason the kids don’t really listen to the other teachers but at the same time, the other teachers don’t really do much to try and stop the kids in the first place. Note, I used to get frustrated. I just needed to stop caring, like I said before.

Afterwards, I team taught with a new English teacher for Junior High School students that were coming to visit the school. No one told me so, but I got the impression that I really needed to sell Tosayamada so that the students would want to go there. I think I did well :) The teacher ended up taking too much time to do his lesson and I hardly had any time for my part, but that was ok. I’m getting over this sort of ….disappointment? nah. Change is schedule. It’s no big deal.

I then played monopoly with my English club students. I had so much fun. I’m finally singing in class! I’m bouncing around and singing my phrases like I used to do back in America! It feels great to be this happy again! The students give me great reactions too! They start laughing and smiling even if they don’t like the lesson (^0^)/ Things really are getting better.

Finished Bridget Jones Diary, am moving on to Terry Pratchett’s “The Color of Magic”

0 shared their love:

Spreading Nina Love All Over the World - by Templates para novo blogger