Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Banana Girl

I'm back. It's been a while since last I posted. I need to make this more of a routine ordeal, rather than the hodge-podge posting I've been doing lately.

Anyway, on to banana girl. We are now well into the new school year in Japan, which began back on April 6th. I have had several classes this year with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students, 7th, 8th, and 9th grades respective to the American system.

So on Friday last week I was sitting at my desk in the teacher's room and eating my lunch. I don't remember exactly what I was eating but I know it was a lunch that my wife had made. I had just finished eating the main "bentou", or lunch box and had just pulled out a nice, fresh, delicious looking organic banana that my wife had put in my bag. I was eye-balling this banana, getting ready to savor the flavor, when up walks Y-chan.
Y-chan is a first grader who is kind of big. She has these chubby red cheeks that could pass for a sunburn if you didn't know her. She has a heart of gold, and a nice big smile. But she doesn't have many friends and she spends a lot of time in the teacher's room, especially at lunch. So Y-chan walks over to my desk and just stops.

I, meanwhile, am mesmerized by this banana and don't even notice Y-chan at first. But after a few seconds I could feel someone's eyes creeping over my shoulder like some back alley street stalker. So I slowly turned and looked up over my shoulder to see Y-chan staring down my banana. She looks like a little toddler wanting a piece of candy that's sitting behind the glass counter at a candy store. She is nearly salivating. I can tell she desperately wants my banana.

So I offer my delectably tasty banana to Y-chan, not thinking for a second that she would take it. But what do you think she did... she took my damn banana. She grabbed it and walked off. And just as she was about to leave the teacher's room, she turned her head and said in English, "Thank you." I yelled back half-heartedly, "You're welcome." But before she exited the room, she started walking around the room, proudly announcing in Japanese that I had just given her a banana.

She told about 4 or 5 teachers this until one of them told her it would be wise to put away the banana and not eat it in class. I was so embarrassed and felt hungry. I wanted that damn banana, and Y-chan just took it. I also know that she had already eaten her lunch because she usually eats her lunch and then moseys over to the teacher's room to avoid being alone. Normally I don't mind this at all, but when she took my banana I was sad and felt a little angry at her for taking it.

But today, I felt really bad for feeling that way. At lunch again, Y-chan came waddling into the teacher's room carrying something in her hand. Fortunately for me, I have made it a habit to start eating my banana first at lunch so there was no banana for her this time. But she walks over, stops again, and then gives me this thing that looks like a leaf with tape. I am thinking, what in the hell is this? But she quickly explained in Japanese:

"Big Booger-sensei, this is a rabbit. Thank you for the banana the other day."

I felt terrible for being mad at her for taking my banana. Here she gave me this leaf project that she worked on as a thank you gift for me giving her that banana. She had taped 2 tiny leaves onto another leaf to make it look like rabbit ears, and a rabbit's head. She then used a pen and drew 2 tiny eyes, a round nose, 6 whiskers and a tiny mouth for her rabbit face.

I was so proud of that rabbit leaf that I used double-sided tape and put it on the LCD monitor at my desk. I won't ever forget banana girl, ever.