Saturday morning

I have nothing special for you today, besides the fact that I'm eating this divine brunch on a leisurely Saturday afternoon. However, it's been a while since I have had a day like this to write to you, so I thought I'd hit you with some fresh thought-juice.

The third semester at school is rapidly drawing to a close, and I have been working the poor first-years like a slave driver to complete a final project for my class: Show and Tell. Much like American kindergartners, my students will each bring a small object (or picture of a larger object) and describe it to the class in English. It has been a major improvement on last year's final project, wherein the students gave a speech about their "future plans." What I like about Show and Tell is that the topic of discussion is linked directly to a tangible object from the kids' own lives. Needless to say, it has been interesting to see what they bring.

Hands down, the top popular choices have been: cell phone charms, keychains, and mechanical pencils. This represents a good 60% of the speeches because (a) everyone has them and (b) they are often given as gifts or souvenirs. On a linguistic note, these are called keitai charm, key holder, and sharp-pen respectively in Japanese-English.

While there are plenty of such cop-out topics, some of the more interesting choices have been: The autograph of an stunt pilot who subsequently died in a later airshow, a picture of a pet parakeet, a science magazine, A ring from Australia, and so on.

So as you can see, it is just as interesting for me to observe the students, as it is for them. Moreso, actually, by and large. I like watching the decision process and seeing their attempts to describe what is important about these things. The downside is that I have had to hand-check about 300 1-page essays, but as always with that process, I have learned as much about Japanese as they have about English. A lot of the same mistakes seem to come up over and over again, and the more Japanese language I know, the more understandable these errors are. But that's a topic for another post. Another blog entirely in fact.

And on that note, I would like to introduce you to a spin-off blog I have been working on. It's called Student English and it will be devoted entirely to the funny things my kids write, say and occasionally do, with an emphasis on highlighting their written work.

By all means, check it out at your liesure. Names will be blurred to protect the insane.

Also, I have begun a collaborative blog with a few of my friends, dedicated to the things we eat here in Japan. I have been meaning to start a food blog for ages, so this is right up my alley. The last 12 posts are mine, at the moment. Give it a gander.



Alanna said...

I want to contribute to your food blog!

Julieta said...

This was a great blog entry, like a little window into Japan. I loved the English essays you posted on the attached site, too. Your comments on all the essays were sweet -- it's clear you really care for the students. Would love to see more when you have time.