I have four very special girls at Kanagi Junior High school. Well, in truth I have many students who are special to me, but these four I have known since day one, and they never fail to bring a smile to my face. They're all members of the Japanese English teacher's homeroom class and are all great English speakers (whether they know it or not). I wasn't sure I ever wanted to get into mentioning any of my students by name in my blog, but after today I just felt so happy about knowing these four that I felt I had to share.
[Side note: When reading any romanized Japanese, names or otherwise, separate out all the syllables by isolating the vowels or consonant/vowel pairs to get the correct pronunciation. The only vowels in Japanese are "ah" (a), "ee" (i), "ooh" (u), "eh" (e), and "oh" (o).]
First we have Eiko. She's not the best English speaker, but she always makes the effort to talk to me and she never gets embarrassed when she's wrong. The others refer to her as "spacy"...but I like to look at it as "pensive." She clearly has a lot on her mind, and as one prone to daydreaming myself I know how she feels. She's an amazing pianist and I never waste a chance to let her know how cool I think that is.
Next we have Misaki. Misaki is cute, sensitive and a little bit of a tomboy. She soundly beats all the other girls at arm-wrestling. She once told me a story about her father going bald that had me in stitches. She kept using a Japanese word I didn't know to describe how her mother felt about her father's hair. Later I looked the word up, it meant "to give up." Misaki is the one out of all my girls who will always try to convey exactly how she feels to me, in a mixture of English, Japanese and sign language. I really appreciate it because most Japanese people are not so free with their feelings.
Then there's Misato. Misato is very, very kind. She always smiles at me in class when she can see that I'm lost or bored or whatever. When I first came to Kanagi she made a point of always letting me know what I should be doing, whether at lunch or cleaning time or whatever. She's kind of like my custodian, as most of the teachers are just as happy to watch me flailing around ineptly than to lend a hand. Her English is amazing, although she isn't always as confident as she should be. I was really excited today when she told me she ordered an electronic dictionary for high school. This means she plans to take her English very seriously.
Lastly there's Fumie. Fumi has amazing English. She has relatives that live in the States and has been there on vacation. She was recently accepted into Gotsu High School for their English program. She often acts as the translator for the other girls when they can't think of the English they want to use, and sometimes she's even quicker than me at explaining things from English to Japanese. All this English stuff aside, she's also a phenomenal human being. She always seems to be able to cheer me up when I'm having a rough day, and we're never at a loss for things to talk about. She also really enjoys music and is learning the guitar. Often times I actually feel more like Fumi's friend than a teacher.
Of course the best thing about all four of these girls is that they actually make an effort to include me in their lives, and to that I thought I'd make this effort to include them in mine.
So why today?
Today was a relatively normal day. At lunch most teachers are assigned seating, but I get to sit wherever I want. As I often do, I chose to sit with my English teacher's class. After lunch my wonderful girls came up to talk to me as usual. They always ask how I am, partially because it's a bit of English that's constantly drilled into their heads. There's constant "Hello, how are you?" "I'm fine thank you, and you?" But with these girls I can always tell that they actually want to know how I am, and they'll always let me know exactly how they feel.
Today, Eiko was having a hard time expressing something to me in English so she paused, thought, and said "I want to play piano for you." So my four girls and I rushed away to the music room where Eiko and the others took turns playing music for me and talking about all the music we liked. They'd done many things to include me before, but for some reason this simple gesture really touched me a lot.
So that's that. I wanted to introduce you to some of my kids, and it's been a long time coming. I have many more special kids, but I'll leave introducing them for another time. I'm tired and I need to sleep before the snowball fighting tourney tomorrow! Goodnight!
Labels: Rhapsody In Blue