In April, I began my third year in Japan. It's been a lot of fun getting to know my current 5th and 6th graders, kids who were just 3rd and 4th graders when I came to Japan. My Japanese is limited, and I still slowly developing as an English teacher, and I can communicate a lot better than when I first came. (plodding through my progression in Japanese has taught me a lot about grace).
There are handfuls of stories I will stick in my back pocket and always strand there. While at a convenience store, a 6th grade boy, Ryounosuke,who does not like English, (he tells me so) approached me to say hi and talk. I'm glad my students feel more comfortable around me, my job can at times feel shallow since it is hard to talk with kids about things that really matter with the language barrier.
A while back, on a morning at school, one of the more athletic 6th grade boys at my other school just said, "54" to me. I was confused at first. Then he pointed at me and said "51" and I laughed when I realized what was going on.
On the previous Tuesday, I had a free period and joined my 5th graders PE class, they were seeing how far they could throw a softball. They were really impressed when I threw the ball 51 meters. It's a difficult balance for me; I'm quite competitive when it comes to sports (more so than I've ever realized in the past), even with my kids. So I made sure to throw the small ball far enough to beat all my 5th grade boys.
But, I hadn't thought my distance would get back to the other students.
It did. And my 6th grader greeted me with some friendly trash talk about it. I'll have the last word on Shinta when track season rolls around. I know, I know... I have issues.
On Saturday night I will climb Mount Fuji for the second time. I hope I can be an encouragement to everyone I hike up with and take more pictures than I did two years ago.
|Mason, Daniel and Cameron camping on the beach|
|running to a beach festival with my best friends|
|My backyard in Uchihara. I've been jogging up this mountain to train some for Mount Fuji (The highest point in Japan) this weekend|
|Youth day at the Mito Church. Nao and Kazuyo are a couple 9th grade girls who had good friend Kendon Murrell as an AET from 2nd to 6th grade. Really impressive girls with terrific English!|
|Pictures really do say a thousand words...|
|My first hike up Fuji San two years ago. The view says it all.|
|Yokoyama Sensei came to speak to all 39 English teachers in the city today. She was the first Japanese teacher to teach with English speakers in the classroom 27 years ago. She also taught with Shaun Phelps at the Junior high level.|