Friday, September 28, 2007

TGIF & American TV Boy dilemma

Today I taught my students the phrase T.G.I.F. As it is Friday, we Americans tend to use this phrase quite frequently so I thought I would teach it to my 一年生 ichinensei (first grade) students. I taught them that T means thank and G means God and I means It's and F means Friday. Then I had the Japanese teacher explain the deeper meaning to them in Japanese. We practiced this many times and they seemed to enjoy using T.G.I.F. (F.Y.I.: T.G.I.Friday's is the name of a restaurant/bar chain in America.)

American TV Boy is a topic totally unrelated to T.G.I.F. But I thought I might as well write about it before I forget. The other day I had this really naughty kid come up to me at my desk in the teacher's room 職員室 (shokuinshitsu) and he looked down at me with this impish little grin. I said "Hi American TV Boy." He said hi back and then he asked me, "Big Booger-sensei, what's your email?" all in English. I was shocked that he could speak English so well, so I gave him one of my online email addresses and prepared for the worst.

I was thinking this kids is going to send me some spam, a virus, nude photos or some other inappropriate thing, but then I get his email:

I replied back and then he sent me another email:

I am fine thank you !
Do you like play station or nintendo ?
I like American game.
That game name is a Grand theft.
Grand theft is DANGER !!
Who is the most favorite person in a Prison break?
Because I use English translation of the PC, I may become a funny sentence.

And I replied back that I like some games and I knew Grand Theft Auto and so on. I discussed some American TV shows and he seemed to zero in on TV. He seemed to really be a huge Prison Break fan. Prison Break is a show about a brother who goes to prison to break his elder brother out.

And so we emailed back and forth about the TV programs, games, movies and just about any other topic a typical 3rd year student might be interested in. I never dreamed this kid would be so interested in American TV and culture. But then I get this email:

I am good !!
I have the elder brother.
The age is 18.
Opening was seen with Youtube.
INVASION seems to be interesting.
I was surprised because Mahorn of PrisonBreak had gone out.
I think that I borrow DVD because it look very interesting.
I know Florida state.
For me, the drama in the United States seen for the first time is AXN.
I wanted to be born in the United States.
[Big Booger] teacher's younger brother is 14 years old wonderful with the high school student.
I am 14 years old.
What kind of person is [Big Booger] teacher's wife?
My elder brother retired though he learnt the judo.

So now I don't know what to say to him about wanting to be born in the United States. I guess I 'll have to think about it a while before I reply.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A long hiatus: Sports Festival & Crazy Karaoke

Well it has been quite a while since I last posted. Mainly I just kind of flaked out over the summer holiday and didn't do much "internetting" due in part to a gradual lack of interest. So I thought I would try to get back into the swing of things.

Update time is in order. I am now back at the other school, the one located nearer to the heart of the city I live in. We just finished with 運動会 うんどうかい, undoukai, or sports festival. It was an all day event on Saturday September 22nd. It was hotter than hell and the wind blew up the dust just well enough to cause you to start to hack and cough like Model T Ford. It was so hot in fact that the school put up tents even for the children to shade them from the seering heat. I guess they were afraid some of the kids might die. Normally by the end of September it starts to cool down, but not so this year.

The highlight of the day came actually at night, during the party that the teachers celebrate at the end of 運動会 うんどうかい, undoukai, or sports festival. The party is called 宴会 えんかい and is just a formal banquet for the hard work that teachers and staff put into making the sports festival a successs. Generally there is a lot of drinking, eating, and yapping going on at these parties. And I must say this one was quite on par with the norm.

Big Booger sensei hit the old booze pretty hard and had one wild t
ime. I arrive early and we were given some practice 乾杯 かんぱい, kanpai or celebratory toasts. When I say some, I should actually admit it was 10 or so. As I was like the third person to show up to the party, each successive person was then toasted and I got a good early start on the drinking.

By the time the dinner was over, I found myself heading to a カラオケ karaoke place about 5 minutes away from the restaurant where we ate. By this time almost 80% of those heading to the カラオケkaraoke place were half drunk or even shit-faced. I was one of the later regrettably.

This is where it really took off. I got to see some teachers in a new light that I had never seen before. One teacher, let’s call him Waldo-sensei, stuck out in my mind as being the most entertaining. He was reluctant to get up and sing while three or four times teachers encouraged him to get up and give it ago. Only after a near room racking chant of “WALDO WALDO WALDO” did he finally get up and that’s when it happened.

I never would have believed in my life that I would see a teacher do what this man did but it was a memory I shall not forget for all of a sudden he jumped up on the seat of the couch in the カラオケ karaoke box, he ripped off his shirt, and started to wail! This guy is in his late forties and he is balding, and he was so dark from being out in the sun all day that he looked like a Miami beach bum, but when he ripped off his shirt and started singing リンダ、リンダ、リンダーーー、リンダ、リンダ、リンダ!” I was blown away as this guy was one of the most straight-laced types I had ever seen at our school and here he was singing this song “Linda Linda Lindaaaa, Linda Linda Linda! He was gyrating, swinging, and swaying and his face turned beet red has he let out these uproarious chorus beltings.

And it continued on all throughout the night, until near 1am when we all finally decided to wrap it up and call it a night. By that time I had probably sung six to ten songs and had listened to several teachers wailing on the カラオケkaraoke microphones. It was a night to remember.

The really odd thing is, when we returned to school, everyone acted as if nothing had ever happened. It was an odd experience to say the least.