Today was the PTA bazaar (emphasis on the bizarre -- not really but it is too good a pun to pass up--). This event was the very same that I was complaining about in a previous post. I went around 1:30 and stayed to about 2:45 (just in time to “miss” cleanup!) It was kind of a caravel/fair. There were lots of games like a Frisbee and beanbag toss, a basketball shooting game, a baseball pitching game, and a “golf” game drawn out with chalk. There was also a cup noodle stand, and a tako stand. Tako is octopus so guess what I DIDN’T eat? Tako is icky. There was also a face painting booth. I made two posters for it. The goal of the face painting was international awareness. The school nurse (who is wickedly cool) went to Romania for one-two years. A social studies teacher (who I don’t really know) went to Kenya. So they had signs up with “Hello. How are you? My name is _____. Goodbye. Thank you.” in the languages from those countries. The nurse (Horiguchi-san) asked me to make one. So I made an English one as well as a Latin one. Yup, I busted out the old school! I could do most of it from memory, but I had to look up some words for “how are you?” I was mildly proud of myself.
There also was a stage where parents read stories to the young kids, we also had student acts. It was a nice community event. It wasn’t big budget, but it had heart. A lot of my kids were there and a ton of kids from the neighborhood. I got a chance to meet some of the various kids that say “Hi” to me to and from work everyday. Walking home is running the gauntlet of “He-ro!”s and “Bye-Bye!”s from elementary school kids that I pass on the way. It took them about half a year to get the courage to yell “Hello” to me, but now the word is out that I always say it back to them so now more or less every kid I walk past (around 20-50) on my way home says hello to me. One kid once asked me “How are you?” To which I said, “I’m GREAT! How are you?” to which he turned to his friends and said (in Japanese) more or less the following: “Holy crap! Did you hear that? I said, ‘How are you?’ and he said a whole bunch of stuff in English back! WOW!” I get a big kick out of little kids here. It was nice I got a chance to talk to some of them today. Some just gave me a “Hello!” with a big smile and that’s all I could get out of them. One boy would randomly remember English words and run up to me and yell things like “Gorilla!” while beating his chest gorilla style. He would run up a little later and say “Friend: Good!” and then back to “Gorilla!” One girl I really wanted to talk to wasn’t around. She is pretty young but while passing her one day she said, in very good pronunciation, “Hello, Andrew.” I was blown away when she first said it to me. I think she is a student’s little sister, but I want to talk to her to find out. I am very interested to learn where kids learn English, particularly the kids that have good English.
My school was also selling things. They were selling a ton of plants, to which one of my best students turned out to be a very persistent saleswoman. We were also selling random stuff donated for insanely low prices. I donated some handmade soap I had from America. I was happy to see it had sold. I ended up buying an aloe plant, and then two tea cups. I don’t need the tea cups but I felt bad about buying a plant from the plant group and not buying something from the other group. They also yelled, “Andrew 50 off!” So I got a 50% discount. My two tea cups cost 10 yen after discount. I tried to pay full, but they would have nothing of it. They were delighted I bought something.
All in all it was a delightful hour - hour and half of my day. I am glad I didn’t have to work it because it would have been hard to be “on display” for that long, but to duck in dispense some “Hello!”s, buy a plant and two tea cups (for a grand total of 310 yen), and head for a very late (and overdue) lunch, was great.