I’ve been having a great time trying to communicate with people. As any other place, some people take the initiative to come and try to talk to me, but some just leave me alone or wait until I take the initiative. As I am walking to the school, I try to at least greet others who are outside. Usually it just ends there as I am making my way to the school. At Mito Senior High School (SHS), I try to talk to other teachers when it doesn’t seem like they are too busy. Oftentimes, the other teachers seem really focused on whatever they are doing. However, there have been a number of teachers I’ve been able to converse with for longer than just the usual greetings.
Most of the teachers I’ve talked with know a little bit of English. So it’s been a mix of Japanese and English. Then, there are a few teachers who don’t really know any English (or maybe know a little but are afraid to try). I try very hard to communicate still. The exchange doesn’t go very far unfortunately. I think it’s because the other person tries to use very simple Japanese and eventually it gets hard to really go into a more complex conversation.
Some words have been sticking with me like おめでとう (congrats), 作る (to make), and 格好いい (good appearance... something like that). I’ve heard these words a lot. The first was on my birthday. A very nice lady wrote to me: “22才の誕生日おめでとうございます。(Congratulations on your 22nd birthday).”
The second word was used whenever I ate lunch. The dialogue usually went as such:
A先生: (御飯を食べたの後) ええ～御飯を作った？ [A: (after I ate) Eh! You made your meal?]
僕: はい、つくった。 [Me: Yes, I made it]
A先生: ええ～すごい… [A: Eh! Amazing…]
The last was always when I met students. At first I didn’t really know what 格好いい was, but after hearing it so much, I checked my dictionary. Usually, it went something like this:
(生徒は僕を見ている) [(A student is looking at me)]
僕: こんにちは。[Me: Hello.]
生徒: こんにちは。[Student: Hello.]
(僕をまだ見ている) [(Student continues looking at me)]
僕: 私は新しいAETです。アメリカから来ました。[Me: I am the new AET (short for Assistant English Teacher). I am from
(生徒の友達は聞く) [(Student’s friend hears)]
生徒達: ええ～ジュスティン先生～ [Students: Eh! Teacher Justin…!]
僕: はい、モイジャスティンです。[Me: Yes, Justin Moy.]
生徒: 日本人ですか。[Student: You are Japanese?]
僕: 中国人です。[Me: Chinese.]
友達 (生徒と話している): ええ～格好いいだね。[Friend (speaking to Student): Eh! He has a good appearance…]
Note: I don’t really want to say that it means good looking because frankly for me to translate it as such would only come from a big ego…
Anyway, that’s the gist of a lot of my conversations. Of course there are many unique ones, but I am not going to write out all the dialogues that I’ve had. That’s just too silly.
Just a little note on Japanese computer keyboards… when typing in English, the letters and numbers are in the same layout compared to American keyboards, but the symbols are not. For example, if I wanted to type in an apostrophe using a Japanese keyboard, I would need to hold “shift” and press the number “7” key. For quotes, I would have to hold “shift” and press the number “2” key. So where is the “@” symbol? I just need to push a button for it that is located right next to the “P” without holding “shift.” Currently, I’m back to my American layout and I have been pushing the “7” and “2” keys frequently. It’s going to be interesting as I anticipate lots of switching between the two layouts.
This week is an early update because I don’t have internet in my apartment yet and Thursday and Friday will be filled with me going to
Stay tuned next week for another update!
今週の写真: Early last week the students had to come to school for “School Day,” which was basically when the students and some teachers cleaned the school. Some had assignments to mop. Others swept, vacuumed, pulled weeds, etc. Also, it was a day to mark the beginning of summer break. Full day class schedules ended in mid-July, but for a few weeks the students had to attend mandatory “supplementary” classes in the morning. Those who participated in certain sports stayed in the afternoon for practice and/or games. So, you get some pictures of the school and a couple of the all-school meeting in the gym.