Jan. 18th, 2008

Holy Cow.

Jan. 18th, 2008 10:46 am
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I just had an actual brief conversation with one of my kids. A natural, comfortable conversation! With one of my normally nervous, double-checking middle schoolers!

"How are you?" "I'm hungry!" "Me, too. Today is chicken curry!" (I'd looked at the lunch schedule this morning. He went "Ah!" and ducked into the classroom to check.) "Great!" "Yeah, great! I love chicken curry!" "Me, too!" "Well, see you!" "See you!"

It's such a little thing. It took maybe half a minute. But it felt like a normal conversation, a simple fluent exchange. And with one of my first-years, no less. No stammering, no nerves, no terror of screwing up, no trying to flip through a dictionary or the day's worksheets or turning to a friend to giggle nervously and ask in Japanese if they know what I said.

I know it's random and had more to do with the kid's awesome confidence than my or Onodera-sensei's teaching, but I still feel so happy right now...
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Today I picked up a little book in the Uryu Middle School library called 「アイヌのむかし話」, or Folktales of the Ainu, by Yotsuji Ichiro. For anybody who didn't know (it isn't exactly common knowledge), the Ainu were and still are the native tribes of Hokkaido, and they've been around since before colonization by the Japanese. The book is fascinating and at the perfect reading level to challenge me a bit while still allowing me to read for pleasure--I only have to look up one or two difficult words a sentence. Since it's interesting me so much, and since so few non-Japanese know anything about the Ainu, I thought I'd translate the first brief chapter here for you guys.

How Hokkaido was created, and a history of racial epithets made tidy at last. )


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