So this week has been クレイジー as we say in Japanese.
Let me start with this weekend.
Friday night I got to watch a three hour special of Music Station, a show where they host artists who just put out music recently, and have them perform. They also do events, and last Friday’s was a flashback, so they asked all the performers what old performances from the past shows they wanted to see. NEWS was on there in the background once and I flipped out. But the real reason I watched was for Flumpool and Mayday. Flumpool has been one of my favorite Japanese rock bands for a long time. Their soft, graceful style is really refreshing, and their lyrics are so amazing I usually put songs on repeat. Mayday has been a new favorite of mine. They are Taiwanese and I am planning to go to Taiwan next summer. Learning Mandarin through songs is one of my favorite things to do in my spare time, as I did this with Japanese and Korean. Both bands collaborated on a song for an upcoming Japanese movie, and it was beautiful. Seeing Mayday perform in Japan on tv for the first time is really inspiring. I love globalization when it comes in the form of performance and music.
On Saturday, some of the other Fukuoka JETs and I went to a baseball game in Fukuoka City to see the Hawks play. After a long and boring first few innings….we tied the score, went into extra innings, and WON! The game was in a dome, so they dimmed the lights and had a ceremony for Saito, a player who retired this year. I like a lot of famous people came and there was a group who sang and usually I would know who they were, but I honestly had no idea haha. Anyway, every time the Hawks win, they shoot off fireworks in the dome, so we waited for that and it was pretty awesome.
So Sunday I woke up and watched the Alabama game and made lunch with the kraft mac and cheese my dad sent me. It really saved me. I was not in the mood to go out. So I looked around my house and it was a wreck. I honestly hadn’t cleaned it REALLY well since I moved in, so I spent the rest of Sunday cleaning. I felt SO much better afterward. Even now, I walk in and I don’t feel like it’s my house. I still need to get around to doing laundry and putting other stuff away, and scrubbing my bathroom wouldn’t be a bad idea, either, but I was proud of myself.
So I realized that I was less than prepared for my classes this week. As in, I didn’t really even know what we were doing in most of them, since I only went to each of my elementary schools once before to do my self introduction. So I was kind of freaking out. I did what I could to come up with games and whatnot, but I hardly slept thinking about all the things that might go wrong.
Well, they DID go wrong.
I got to my first school of the week (I have a week of elementary school visits in which I go to each of my four elem. schools once and sometimes one of them twice) and I was there Monday and Tuesday. I went to class and didn’t have cards to use for vocabulary or anything like that. I was kind of lucky because this was the school where I prepared and started the kids on playing Bingo in two of the classes. I was able to use that a little, but it didn’t go so well and I had to push the actual playing of Bingo to Tuesday. Suffice it to say, I was not feeling too good about myself or my lessons. It was around that time that my JTE (Japanese Teacher of English for all you non JETs out there) told me that next time I should do more conversation games instead of trying to teach them the alphabet or spelling. This kind of angered me, as I will get these students next year or the year after that as junior high school students, and my students even in the third grade of JHS are subpar on reading and writing and it is somewhat of a problem. I want to get them started on things as early as possible. Part of my role here is a bridge between my ES and JHS students.
So after more and more went wrong, I sat in my chair around lunchtime with tears in my eyes. I am a sucky, sucky teacher and I didn’t know what to do about it. Fortunately, Japanese people are very attuned to reading body language and facial cues to know when things go wrong. They call it 空気を読む and it means to ‘read the air/atmosphere.’
They sat down with me for only about two minutes, but we talked about what they could prepare for the lessons to come, and helped me think of ways to improve and come up with other fun things to do. This two minutes was all it took to make me feel more at ease and more connected to my teachers.
After school, a teacher showed me how to use the printer, scanner, laminator, etc. and helped me make cards for the next day onwards. It took me forever, and afterwards I was exhausted but I went to Daiso to buy some magnets and went home and put them on the back of all my cards.
So Tuesday worked much better. Everything went smoothly, and the kids had a lot of fun. My teachers complimented me and told me the students loved my activities, and I heard a few students say English was fun ^^
Last night I went to the store for groceries and I preordered Pokemon X and it made me feel productive. I also got a new game for my 3DS so going home every day excited to play something is a mood booster.
Today’s lessons are going well. Much more smoothly than Monday’s. I am at a different school today, and I will be at another school tomorrow, and another on Friday. Friday I am doing my self introduction lesson, as last time we watched Finding Nemo and didn’t have time.
Today after work I decided to bike to Aeon Mall, which is slightly a ways away but not too bad for a bike ride. I am going to look around the huge mall for a while, which, suprisingly, I have never been to before, even though it has a Uniqlo and everything! But the real reason I have for going is to watch the newest (and last) Hayao Miyazaki film. It will stop playing in theatres by next week, and today is Wednesday, which is ladies’ day (about half off a movie ticket) sooo yeah. I am pretty excited.
I am really glad I am breaking up my normal routine and doing something different. But I still feel unproductive compared to other JETs. I want to start Kyudo (Japanese archery) soon and I really want to travel more. Money this month has been tight, though, since my last two paychecks were smaller than normal. This weekend I am doing something SUPER exciting, so look forward to tons of pictures and a hefty post.