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09 September 2008 @ 11:50 pm
First day of eikaiwa  
So, tonight was the first day of the local eikaiwa. It's a bit more like a club than a formal school--it's every two weeks, people don't always show up every week, softlykarou and I don't get paid for teaching it, etc. It's also definitely a beginning language class. Some students can hold stilted conversations, a couple can speak very well (and one is basically conversationally fluent), but most of them are fine products of seven years of English education in Japanese schools and have a hard time introducing themselves--though, in their defense, meeting for an hour and a half every two weeks is not going to be a miracle way to learn a language. Since softlykarou's predecessor left us precisely zero information on the class, we used the first day to do mostly introductions and get a feel for what people wanted to learn.

At first, it was kind of awkward. No one answered our questions, there were lots of pauses, etc. Once softlykarou and I demonstrated an "informal introduction" to people in the class, though, and then split them up into pairs and asked them to talk with each other, it seemed to break the ice. They were much more willing to talk when they weren't singling themselves out, and while softlykarou went around and helped correct their English, I chatted with the odd person out from the pairs. He turned out to be a bus driver with pretty good English who's been to America three times and who looks like a younger George Takei. He studied English at NOVA, but liked the Chiyoda Eikaiwa's relaxed atmosphere much better.

I told them to call us by our first names, but I don't know if it'll take. Being Japanese, they prefer last-name + -san, which is fine with me. Most of them are 30 years older than me anyway, so addressing them that way won't seem weird at all even though they're our students.

Oh, and the youngest student there told me my hair was awesome and that he was envious of it, though he had to look up "envious." All the women there also were excited to see our wedding album, which we brought in to show pictures of our families (though if I knew that the Japanese on our wedding invitation would have been read by people in Japan, I would have been more careful and not accidentally put a random hirgana character in the middle of my name when fixing an error).
 
 
Current Mood: relievedrelieved
Current Music: None
 
 
 
Dindrane: honeybeedindrane on September 9th, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC)
Eek, yes, I can imagine having actual Japanese people look at the invitations was stressful, but think how pleased they must have been to see someone who loved "their" culture so much that he wanted to include it in the most important day of his life. How cool they must think that is, and how proud they must be.

Oh, and we're all envious of your hair and Nel's, so you should be used to that. :p
Jeffjdcohen on September 10th, 2008 04:27 am (UTC)
Did any of them happen to ask who that strikingly handsome Jewish best man was? If so, you can tell them that he is a man of mystery who will haunt their dreams forever more.

--Jeff
dorchadasdorchadas on September 10th, 2008 07:31 am (UTC)
They did, actually, though my answer was not quite so snappy.

I think the question was prompted by the picture of me choking you. :-p
softlykaorusoftlykarou on October 10th, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC)
I had a student who saw the album and thought you resembled a teacher at the school...I HAVE NO IDEA HOW. But as established in my LJ the kids are the evil school are crazy.