Sunday, September 07, 2008

9/8/08 Observations From Class

Being home for a little while has refreshed my Japan perspective a bit. Things that are different from my own culture and worth noting are once again easier to discern. I'll mention a couple of them before they return to being everyday life again.

I have been talking about my summer vacation in class quite a bit, at the behest of the English teachers that I work with. When I get to the part about going to California, I ask two questions. To probably two or three hundred children so far, I have asked "Who is the governor of Tochigi?", and I give a little nod to the teacher to translate, as I don't expect anyone to know what governor means. Out of two or three hundred students, only one or two kids have seemed to know the correct name. Then I ask "Who is the governor of California?" Every class I have asked so far has had someone who knew that Arnold Schwarzenegger is the answer (counting the kids who raise their hands and say "Terminator"). I find that very amusing.

As I'm sure I have mentioned before, there is a point in every schoolday set aside for "cleaning time". Teachers and students all go to their designated positions and clean their little hearts out. Sweep the floors, clean the bathrooms, wash windows, and other assorted tasks. I was recently moved from the relatively comfortable job of sweeping the teacher's room to the rather unfortunate job of trash duty. I supervise a group of students whose job it is to bag the entire school's waste for the day. First, I find it a pretty dirty job for kids to be doing. There are a multitude of awful things appearing in that trash, and it invaribly gets spilled on something or someone. The worst part is that the children are expected to try to conserve the bags. Kids will come to us, dump out a plastic bag of nastiness dripping with milk from lunch and who knows what else, then carry it back, presumably to return it to the trashcan. I think that a few thin pieces of putridly dirty plastic is an acceptable loss, but that's just me, the wasteful American.


  1. I'm all for conservation also but reusing dirty bags like that doesn't make sense. Plus it probably is a health hazard.

    Regarding the California Governor, he visited my office building a couple of weeks ago and I tried to get close to say hi. I got lucky to get about 4 feet from him but he was surrounded by Assistants and security so I couldn't shake his hand.

    He's shorter then I thought.

  2. Actors are perfect for politics. I'm surprised there aren't more of them serving in government.