I forgot to tell a story about graduation. Since I was probably more dressed up than any of my students had seen me for graduation, I hear a couple of my second grade girls say “Melissa-sensei, kawaii!” which mean “Melissa-sensei looks cute!” She said it within my earshot, but they know that I don’t know Japanese very well and probably thought that I wouldn’t understand. When I glanced over at them and said, “Thank you!” they realized that I had understood, giggled, and scurried away.
I had Monday off since I had to “work” on Sunday, so we enjoyed sleeping in, Skyped a few relatives, and spent the rest of the day doing various things around the house. For whatever reason, I thought it would be a good idea to make piñatas for my last Thursday night class with the kids. I made four small piñatas, but it took a good two hours to paper mache them each night that I added another layer. After two straight weeks of paper mache and piñatas, I told Ian to smack me over the head if I decide to paper mache anything else anytime soon! Since it got colder, I had to move my piñatas into the warm room, so there is paper mache all over the table, floor, couch, and curtains. I even found it in my hair one night! I have to go home tonight and clean, clean, clean!
Tuesday morning found me back at work. Since I won’t have eikaiwa (Thursday night class) again until late April, I have to make up those hours. Therefore, I’ve had to go in early and stay late a couple of days this week. I normally work 9:10-4 on Tuesday, and when I was complaining about my “long hours” of 8:35-4:30 to Ian, he said “I was working ten hour shifts everyday at AT&T!” I retorted back with, “Yeah, but you haven’t worked there in eight months!” Oh snap!
My nursery school kids were awfully grabby on Tuesday morning. The first school that I went to is my favorite, but for whatever reason, the kids were all wilder than bucks and thought that poking me on the butt was the funniest thing ever. At my second nursery school, I didn’t have to teach. The kids had a magic show that I could watch. All of the kids, from babies barely walking to pre-schoolers getting ready to start first grade, were at the show. I only ever see the pre-school kids, so all of the other kids were very, very curious about me. I opened my arms wide and said “come see me!!” to the toddlers barely walking, but they had a look of horror on their faces and cautiously backed away from the strange foreigner. The other kids were TOO curious about me. They came up to me and touched my boobs. I forget the word they said, but it basically means “big boobs!” The kids are so used to flat chested Japanese women that anyone over an A cup is well endowed. I’ve had friends and family at home ask me “WHY DO YOU ALLOW THAT?” It’s not that I like it, but it’s just that they’re kids. I might be the only foreigner that they’ll see, and they’re curious about me. Think back to when you were that age. Whenever you saw someone of a different ethnicity, weren’t you curious about them, too? Plus, if I draw attention to it, it just makes it worse. They warned us in orientation that things like butt pokes or boob taps would happen, and the best thing to do is just to let it ride its course.
Since the third graders graduated, they are no longer at the JHS. It’s weird to not have them here anymore. I have significantly fewer classes, and the school is missing one third of its students. I only had one class on Tuesday. I noticed that Mr. Fujiwara, who is in charge of first and second grade English, wasn’t at school, so I wasn’t sure how teaching first grade English was going to go down. Ms. Fuchita told me that he had prepared a worksheet for them to work on. When we went upstairs to the classroom, we handed out the worksheets, and Ms. Fuchita told me she was going to make copies of more worksheets……as in she left me ALONE in a classroom of forty thirteen-year-olds. The noise level grew and grew and grew. No matter how much I shhhhh’d or gave stern looks, it didn’t help. They basically considered me to be a joke. It’s so strange because in the States, I really had no problems controlling the classroom, but here it’s a WHOLE DIFFERENT ball game. It TERRIFIES me to be left alone in the classroom, and Ms. Fuchita was gone for almost twenty minutes. That was probably one of the longest twenty minute segments of my LIFE!!!
There’s a new student at school. I’m not exactly sure why he transferred now at the end of the school year. Ms. Fuchita told me that he came from the city. Tuesday afternoon, he was in the teacher’s room when a couple of graduated third grade girls came back to get some paper work. They were all giggling and saying what I image was “New student! New student!” in a very giddy Japanese school girl way. It was cute. Yunomae NEVER gets new students, so I’m sure this kid is the talk of the school. Who would want to move to sleepy little Yunomae from the city??
Eh, I think I’ll stop here. I only have Wednesday and Thursday to go, and then I’ll be completely caught up. I knew I would eventually do it!