Friday, November 09, 2007

11/10/07 Worlds Collide

It has been an eventful week.

Monday I gave a second demonstration lesson at school. This time quite a few more teachers from Yamabe and all over Ashikaga showed up to observe. The layout was basically the same as the last time with a few minor modifications. We taught a different class of students, though, so sometimes their reactions to questions and things were a lot different... keeps things interesting I suppose. I've given two demos now before anyone else has even done one, so I believe that means that I am done for the rest of the year... or maybe thats just what I imagined someone told me.

I was a bit intimidated when I happened to walk by this display. The slippers, the slippers! This was the point that I realized that my class would have quite a few more visitors this second time around.

Here I am, no doubt captivating and inspiring countless young minds.

I really enjoy working with this teacher. His class is always lively, and his students are very attentive as a result.

I am looking forward to visiting some other schools and being just a spectator for once. I think that there is one coming up later this month. Woohoo.

Thursday night I went to the welcome reception for the 2007 Sister Cities Association of Springfield Citizen Delegation. It was a pretty fancy dinner along with plenty of formalities. Several introductions, along with translations, preceded several courses of some of the best food that I have yet eaten in Ashikaga(or maybe it just tasted better because it was free). I found talking to the delegates very enjoyable. It was pretty amusing how many connections I had with this random handful of Springfieldians. One was a couple of years ahead of me at Ursuline Academy, and another is an Illinois College alumnus. I met him several times while at meetings trying to protect my beloved literary society from the clutches of the vampiric Dean of Students.

The Japanese love introductions more than they love green tea flavored ice cream. A lot.

These visitors also reminded me of how much I have probably been changed by all of this time in Japan. I watched as they grossly mispronounced their memorized Japanese greetings and warily poked at some unnamed piece of seafood on their dinner plate. Sometimes I wonder if all of these experiences I'm collecting are having a completely positive effect on my character, or if I am losing tiny pieces of my Midwest identity with every octopus burger that I choke down. A few days ago I talked with an American teaching English here who is finally leaving after more than seven years in this gig. Rather than return to her home in the US, she is moving to England. Restlessly wandering the earth looking for someplace better is very sad, I think. I wouldn't want to be a foreigner for the rest of my life. But anyway, enough of that.

My parents arrived in Ashikaga last night. With them, they brought their weight in precious, precious things from the US. They will be here for about ten days. It is my sacred duty to entertain them, but Ashikaga isn't so exciting. Tomorrow morning we are going to a nearby city to do some tourism, so check back for that.

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