My kids are so cute. I have a student that went to Australia over winter term. I knew she was going, so I have been talking to her a lot prior to leaving and now that she is back. Her English skills have really improved! Tuesday she came into the staff room with a small bag and called me over. She is part of the faction at Tanigawa I call “The Screaming Horde” do to their typical reaction to seeing me. They yell, ANDORYU! Once that is out of the way, many of them are pretty good at English. She told me that we talked all the time and talking to me made her happy. I was a bit embarrassed by the praise. She presented the bag to me as a present. I was really flattered. Inside the bag was an American flag tie (see my flickr site for pictures). It is probably not the type of tie I would buy for myself, but it is a pretty snazzy tie and I was truly touched. The next day I wore the tie to school and I got a ton of complements from teachers and students. The girl who gave me the tie and her friends went crazy with joy at seeing me wearing it. So it was all kind of embarrassing, but also made me feel happy. I will have to make her a thank you card.
On Wednesday, a boy brought in Okinawa food that he made. He grew all the vegetables in the dish on school grounds. I had already eaten a school lunch so I wasn’t too hungry but it was really nice for him to invite me. He is a special needs student, that doesn’t remember a lot of English. Currently I ask him “げんきですか” (genki desu ka?) which is Japanese for, essentially, “Are you well?” He answers me “Yes.” The Japanese answer would be, はい (“hai” which is “yes”). So he is speaking some English. The best thing I tried was a delightful tofu cooked (perhaps pan fried?) in bacon. Tofu is gross, but bacon improves everything!
And in the words of our President, “Foodom’s on the march!” And it marched right down to the Umeda Sky Building. Between the two towers (under the sky garden) they held a Mexican festival with REAL Mexican food. OHHHHH YEAH. It is impossible to find Mexican in Japan and I have sorely missed it. I had a burrito (which was actual a flauta, but that would be pretty hard to explain in Japanese) it was pure heaven. I followed it up with a taco, which was also brilliant. I washed it down with a mango ice drink. Mexican food is delicious. It was also great to have real Mexican food. The Japanese have a way of making Japanese “Authentic” ______ Countries food. For example, we went to a French restaurant that said it was authentic but the dishes had sea weed in them. I don’t know a lot about French food, but I know it does not traditionally have seaweed in it. I do know a thing or two about Japanese dishes and I know they have seaweed in them! So it was with great joy that I tore into my taco knowing there was no seaweed, no mayonnaise, no squid, no anything that should not be there. Yum-diddly-issious. As a linguistic aside, the Japanese for octopus is 蛸 “tako.” Dan and I were very scared that our entire universe would be ruined if we got to the Umeda Sky Building to discover that it was not a taco fest but a tako fest! Or, perhaps most crippling of all, a tako taco fest. How glad we were to see tacos.
As another love related aside, one girl told me about her boyfriend last Friday. She is one of my better students so I asked her if he was a nice guy. She said he is. I asked why she liked him and she said, “He is easy.” She meant “easy going,” but did not have the right words. The fact that she said “easy” is quite remarkable and really spot on analysis of the English language. Had I not been going through my moment of shock I would have congratulated her usage. Alas, your humble narrator was stunned she would be talking to me about him being an “easy” guy. It is funny how we get so set in slang that we forget that it is slang all together.
On my flickr site I have put up some pictures of Osaka from atop the Sky Building. It was night when I shot the pictures and it was absolutely gorgeous out. Japan at night is a real thing to see. The use of florescence and density of the cityscape really stirs feelings of accomplishment and engineering. I could have spent all night up there. Check it out.