Alas, nothing takes the fun out of the exclamation mark like a hundred third graders reciting the text with no enthusiasm, dubious memory, and katakana style pronunciation. Enter the hero of this story, Pablo Picasso. First, he is called Pablo Picasso because last year he simply announced in class “I am Pablo Picasso!” He continued to proclaim this throughout that and many other classes. So I call him that. He liked it and pronounced it so much that by the end of last year even his English teacher was calling him Pablo Picasso. Nicknames in Japan generally do not exist, so I considered this a victory for “English style”.
Each student had to go in front of the class and say “Hello” to which the class was to respond “Hello” but never did. Except for Pablo Picasso, he would yell “OHHH! HELLO!” By the end the class was all yelling “Hello!” The orator would than have to say “I will be reading page (32, 33, 34, or 35).” Page 34 was the hard page. If anyone read this page Pablo would yell, “Page 34? Ohh me too!” It is important to recall that Pablo does not talk much; most of his communication is done through yelling. But he does so with a huge grin on his face, it reshapes the sound and makes it good hearted and funny. It is the same principle as how you can tell when someone is smiling on the other end of the phone just by the way they sound.
When it was finally Pablo’s time to recite he tore the place down! He yelled his part, of course, and spoke quickly (which was so refreshing after the usual word… pause… word… pause… word… …). He also understands that you should raise the pitch of your voice for questions, which he does to absurd levels. The best part though was when he said, “Oh! It’s raining! Look, it’s raining!” He ran over to the window, threw back the curtain and pointed outside. Despite the fact that his pronunciation is not the strongest, he got top marks from me.
After all the members of the class were done, we had some time so Pablo wanted me to perform page 34 too. I did, making the kids laugh with my exaggerated gestures for LOOK! and LISTEN! Then they made my teacher do it too. He drew big laughs for his funny “Lady” voice. It was just a really fun way to spend the final period of my day. Pablo is probably a little too intense to take all the time, but he can brighten a day!