So I return to Ookawa Elementary for the second and third time this past week. The second day started up great. I was relieved that we didn’t have to exercise and run in the morning since it’s getting really chilly here. The news says its around 18 Deg. Celsius. I don’t really know what that is in Fahrenheit but thats a pretty low number to me, its got to be cold! I get to school and many students of all grades are yelling for me, “Tony Sensei, Tony Sensei!”
Sidenote: In Japan, a teacher or one of higher educational ranking, such as the principal, the superintendent, the title sensei is attached after their name. However, you would never refer to yourself as “sensei.” People can refer to you as sensei but you cannot use that word for yourself. If you want to tell others that you are a teacher, you would use the word “kyooshi,” which also means teacher. Why the difference usage? Using the word sensei on yourself gives the persona that you’re arrogant and a big shot whereas kyooshi is a way of humbling yourself and your position. Japan is a culture big on humbling oneself and honoring and boasting others.
Anyway, as I was saying, the day started out fine. I had my regular cup of hot green tea in the morning and as I finished teaching my second class, some teachers told me to join them out there for recess. Apparently, it wasn’t recess persay but the same exercise routine I did the first day, stretching and then running. I have no idea why it was after second period, maybe they thought it would be funny to screw with the foreigner and throw him off muhahaha….Ok maybe not. This time I tried to have more fun by chasing after some first and second graders like i was going to catch them and tickle them. Some of them even purposedly ran close to me provoking me to chase them. There were 2 or 3 second grader girls that ran along side me and started talking to me like I knew what they were talking about when in fact I had NO clue what they were saying. They also did the cutest thing by holding on to my hands while we ran together, one on each side awwwwww… And then I noticed these little mischevious first grader boys running behind me with their hands together and their index and third fingers pointing out getting ready to charge at me from behind. I was forewarned about this phenemenon called “kancho” where they try to shove their little fingers up your you know where where the sun don’t shine. It’s like a game to them and they think its fun!! Luckily I caught this one boy as he was getting ready to charge so I decided to let him run in front of me instead. He seemed happy and excited with hands flaring in the air and the next thing he did, which i never saw it coming, he turned around and took a jab at my jewels and ran away! This is the SECOND time I got punched in that area and this time it was a boy and it was a bigger impact! I was going to go return the favor but I then realized it wouldn’t be a fair fight. The rest of the day went on without a hitch.
The third day went by as usual but there was no stretching or running. I think they’re messing with my head! Or maybe because it was raining on and off and the grounds were wet, who knows. Nothing really exciting or unusaul happened except maybe I made sweet potato biscuits with the handicapped class and saw the teacher who beat me in ping pong the other day cleaning some type of gun in the teacher’s room with a can of Japanese version WD40 while asking me if I possessed gun(s) in the United States! All I thought about was asking him if I could borrow that can to oil up my ride. The chains were getting rusty from the rain. And I did, being more thick-skinned than I usually am in the States.
Well, I’m won’t be coming back to Ookawa Elementary until 2005. I’m going to miss those little bastards…Oops, I mean KIDs!